Day: March 23, 2018

How Asian Box Catering Stays Committed to Sustainability

Read the full story at EzCater.

Health-conscious Californians are loving the fresh, flavorful, and nourishing food available through Asian Box catering. This Vietnamese-influenced mini-chain, with ten locations in both Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, specializes in rice boxes, noodles, and salads topped with only the very best proteins and vegetables. They use only local and from-scratch ingredients, serving it all in eco-friendly and compostable containers. And as an unexpected (but welcome) bonus, everything is gluten-free.


Mad-Scientist Brewers Bridge the Gap Between Beer and Whiskey

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

Eight years ago, Belgian brewer Urbain Coutteau tasted a batch of his flagship beer Pannepot, a 10 percent ABV unfiltered, unpasteurized dark ale. As owner of De Struise Brouwers, he immediately realized that some of the wrong hop varietals had been used during brewing and, while the result yielded an interesting profile, it was too much of a flavor departure from the original to be released as Pannepot.

Rather than dump the several batches affected, he thought to distill the beer into a spirit—much the way wine is the base for brandy. “Our vision was very simple,” Coutteau says. “The distillate would have to be as drinkable and complex as its base beer Pannepot, with a similar flavor profile.”

Big Ag wants farmers to buy into satellite imagery

Read the full story in Wired.

It might not be apparent unless you’re driving through the mid-longitudes of Interstate 70, but around 40 percent of the land in the United States is farmland. Understanding what happens on that acreage is complicated—for individual farmers and agricultural conglomerates. Understanding how to improve what’s going on is even harder.

That’s why Granular—a farm software business under the agriculture division of DowDuPont—penned a deal with Planet. Planet is an aptly named company, with some 200 satellites around Earth, watching it and its goings-on all the time. As part of this multimillion-dollar, three-year gig announced Tuesday, Granular will get access to daily images of the globe, and some of Planet’s six-year archive of snapshots. Granular can feed the pictures into its agricultural analytics tools, which can, in turn, relay wisdom to farmers.

Why Is China Treating North Carolina Like the Developing World?

Read the full story in Rolling Stone.

How lax regulation made it cheaper for China to outsource pork production – and all of its environmental and human costs – to the U.S.

As Storms Get Stronger, Building Codes Are Getting Weaker

Read the full story from Bloomberg.

The showdown in the Florida statehouse last year had all the drama of a knock-down political brawl: Powerful industries clashing. Warnings of death and destruction. And a surprise last-minute vote, delivering a sweeping reform bill to the governor’s desk.

The battle wasn’t about gun control, immigration or healthcare, but about making it easier to ignore national guidelines on building codes. To the surprise of the insurers, engineers and safety advocates who opposed the change, the home builders won — in a state that gets hit by more hurricanes than any other.

In A Methane Hot Spot, Environmental Politics Roil A County Commission

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

An effort to recall a Colorado county commissioner has become a proxy argument over rules to limit methane emissions.

Climate-Related Risks: SEC Has Taken Steps to Clarify Disclosure Requirements

Download the document.

What GAO Found

To help clarify to companies their disclosure requirements for climate-related matters, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the Commission Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change in 2010 (2010 Guidance). The 2010 Guidance was SEC’s primary form of communication to clarify companies’ climate-related disclosure requirements. In addition, SEC issued individual comment letters to specific companies on their climate-related disclosures. These letters are publicly available and companies can view these letters to understand SEC’s assessment of a particular company’s disclosures. Representatives from industry associations with whom GAO spoke stated that they consider the disclosure requirements for climate-related risks to be clear and have no need for additional guidance.

SEC issued two reports to Congress in 2012 and 2014 that examined changes in climate-related disclosures in select industries. SEC found that most of these filings included some level of climate-related disclosures and reported that there were no notable year-to-year changes. SEC staff also continue to periodically assess climate-related disclosures in addition to its regular disclosure review process. Additionally, in April 2016, SEC requested public input on modernizing certain business and financial disclosure requirements, including potential changes on reporting climate-related risks in SEC’s filings. As of December 2017, SEC staff said they are considering recommendations for the Commission’s consideration based on comments received.

SEC faces constraints in reviewing climate-related and other disclosures because it primarily relies on information that companies provide. SEC senior staff explained that SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance staff assess companies’ filings for compliance with federal securities laws—which require companies to disclose material risks—but do not have the authority to subpoena additional information from companies. Additionally, companies may report similar climate-related disclosures in different sections of the filings, and climate-related disclosures in some filings contain disclosures using generic language, not tailored to the company, and do not include quantitative metrics. When companies report climate-related disclosures in varying formats and specificity, SEC reviewers and investors may find it difficult to compare and analyze related disclosures across companies’ filings. SEC has tools, mechanisms, and resources—including internal supervisory controls, regulations and guidance, a two-level filing review process, internal and external data, and staff training and experience—that help SEC staff consistently review filing disclosures, according to SEC documents and staff. Representatives of industry associations told GAO that they consider the current climate-related disclosure requirements adequate and no additional climate-related disclosures are needed. However, some investor groups and asset management firms have highlighted the need for companies to disclose more climate-related information. But, members of SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee told GAO that investors have not agreed on the priority of climate-related disclosures. Also, additional disclosure requirements or increased scrutiny of companies’ climate-related information—which, if necessary, SEC and Congress can consider—could have mission and resource implications for SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.

Why GAO Did This Study

Impacts from a changing climate can pose serious risks to the global economy and affect many economic sectors, according to reports. Public companies are generally required to disclose certain risks in their SEC filings. In 2010, SEC issued guidance to clarify how existing disclosure requirements apply for climate-related matters.

GAO was asked to review (1) steps SEC has taken to clarify to companies their disclosure requirements for climate-related risks, (2) steps SEC has taken to examine changes companies may have made to their climate-related disclosures since the release of its 2010 Guidance, and (3) constraints SEC faces when reviewing climate-related disclosures and stakeholders’ views of those disclosures.

GAO reviewed SEC’s disclosure requirements, guidance, and reports on changes in climate-related disclosures; queried SEC’s filings system to identify comment letters with issues on climate-related disclosures; identified examples of climate-related disclosures in companies’ filings; and interviewed SEC staff and representatives of stakeholder groups, such as industry associations from five industry groups, and nonprofit organizations that work with investors. We selected these stakeholders because they either were from industries likely to be affected by climate change-related matters due to the nature of their operations, or have a key interest in climate-related issues.

Senior staff from SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance generally agreed with GAO’s findings.

Penn State, United Nations partner to increase sustainable building worldwide

Read the full story at Construction Dive.

Penn State University and the United Nations are partnering in the Global Building Network program, a system of professional organizations and research institutions that intends to document and suggest frameworks for healthier and more sustainable buildings, reported The Daily Collegian.

The network said it will use research and education to implement changes worldwide and convince people those changes are worth making. The research involves documenting and developing technologies for different building cultures. The education component will focus on helping building designers to occupants understand the benefits of sustainable construction.

Vancouver, Pittsburgh, New York, Brussels and Geneva will host municipal Centers of Excellence that will share data and develop and design monitoring tools, as well as implement standard principles for their building industry environments.

Congress’ spending deal rejects Trump’s proposed EPA, energy cuts

Read the full story in the Washington Examiner.

Congress on Wednesday night released a fiscal 2018 spending bill that rejects Trump administration efforts to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department.

Hurricane Harvey’s toxic impact deeper than public told

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

A toxic onslaught from the nation’s petrochemical hub was largely overshadowed by the record-shattering deluge of Hurricane Harvey as residents and first responders struggled to save lives and property.

More than a half-year after floodwaters swamped America’s fourth-largest city, the extent of this environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered.

County, state and federal records pieced together by The Associated Press and The Houston Chronicle reveal a far more widespread toxic impact than authorities publicly reported after the storm slammed into the Texas coast in late August and then stalled over the Houston area.

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