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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Jul/Aug 2001 : Newslines

NEWSLINES
Actions and Initiatives worth noting.

Exploring Economics
Versus Environment


Climate Notes, published by the World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington, DC, assesses the potential interaction between one important market-based environmental mechanism–the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)–and the framework of international investment law.

Rules about global environment and international economy are currently separate realms. Yet environmental agreements can have strong economic implications; and meanwhile, economic liberalization rules can limit the environmental agreements’ effectiveness. The question is whether industrialized countries should be allowed to use their development assistance funds to finance CDM projects.

After examining the arguments, recommendations said CDM rules should prohibit aid-funded credit-earning projects and leave capital investments in the CDM to the private sector. At the same time, in developing countries that prioritize the CDM, aid could be used for human and institutional capacity development in both sectors, focused on creating circumstances conducive to attracting CDM projects.
For more information, visit
http://wristore.com.

Canon, Toyota Earn Stewardship Awards

Canon USA and Toyota received Environmental Stewardship Awards at the 15th Annual Corporate Conscience Awards for their responsible business practices. They were selected by the Center for Responsibility in Business panel of judges, which represents a cross-section of experts in fields relating to corporate, social and environmental responsibility.
Judges cited the following reasons for their selections:

• Canon USA—It is recognized worldwide as a premier producer of photographic and imaging equipment. In operating its toner cartridge return program, Canon designs and builds some of the most energy-efficient office machines, supports endangered species and habitat conservation with leading non-profit organizations, and encourages its employees to practice workplace conservation.

• Toyota—Prius (Latin for “to go before”) is a fitting name for the world’s first
mass-produced vehicle powered by both gas and electricity. Toyota first introduced this hybrid to Japan in 1998, and today there are more than 50,000 of these vehicles on the road in the U.S. and abroad providing a safe, efficient and practical alternative to conventional cars. With hopes of engaging motorists in the new technology, pricing for the Prius is set at
a fairly affordable $20,000.

Web Helps USPS Get Green

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) selected GreenOrder, a firm that facilitates procurement of resource-efficient products, to build a Web-based system to assist it in meeting its environmental goals.

“The Postal Service has long been committed to greening its operations,” said Mike Fanning, environmental specialist at the USPS. “We are always looking for new opportunities and partners, and GreenOrder’s expertise and technology offer unique value.”

GreenOrder is creating customized procurement tools for the USPS to make it easier and more economical for its employees to source and purchase energy-efficient products made with recycled content, or are otherwise environmentally preferable. GreenOrder also explores the feasibility of using network technology to facilitate reuse and recycling of personal computers and other electronic equipment.

GreenOrder’s contract with the USPS demonstrates the importance of information technology to sustainable procurement. Despite growing interest among enterprise buyers in environmentally preferable alternatives, inefficiencies impede these purchases.CERES

Gains Network Participants


Environmental Defense, New York, NY, a national non-profit organization, and its corporate partnership program,the Alliance for Environmental Innovation, have joined the Coalition
for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES).

By joining CERES, Environmental Defense lends promotional support for environmental responsibility among CERES–endorsing corporations. Such coalition members help initiate and monitor corporate environmental progress and foster accountability by bringing together a range of experts that help corporations find solutions to their environmental problems.

Environmental Defense is a leading advocate for economic incentives as a new approach to solving environmental problems. Since 1967, it has linked science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions for the most urgent environmental problems. Its staff includes more than 75 full-time scientists, economists and attorneys
working on myriad issues.

The Alliance for Environmental Innovation is a joint initiative of Environmental Defense and the Pew Charitable Trusts. It works cooperatively with businesses to reduce waste and build environmental considerations into business decisions. By bringing the expertise and perspective of environmental scientists and economists together with major corporations, it creates solutions that make environmental and business sense.

Domini Celebrates 10 Years

The Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEF), the nation’s oldest and largest socially and environmentally screened index fund, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. DSEF has played a leadership role in the growth of socially responsible investing over the past decade. It has also pioneered the promotion of responsible share ownership and corporate governance, being the first mutual fund in America to publish its proxy votes, and filing more than 60 shareholder resolutions on issues ranging from environmental disclosure to board diversity and from sweatshops to excessive CEO compensation.

The 10th anniversary of the DSEF is a milestone not only for the Socially Responsible Investment industry, but also for the mutual fund industry as a whole. Some of the nation’s largest financial institutions have embraced aspects of social investing as a result of strides achieved by Domini Social Investments. The DSEF itself is now a core offering of some of the nation’s largest private and public retirement plans.

Students “Green-e” Electrify School

Students at Connecticut College, New London, CT, celebrated a win for the environment as their university committed to support 100-percent Green-e certified renewable electricity. The students spearheaded the switch to the cleaner, environmentally friendly energy.

The Connecticut Energy Co-op, Hartford, CT, is an electricity supplier pioneering the effort in New England to offer 100-percent, Green-e certified renewable electricity. The Co-op will serve Connecticut College with renewable resources through its EcoWatt™ program, offering electricity at a price lower than the current electricity rate.

Green-e is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, San Francisco, CA, and is the nation’s first voluntary certification and verification program for renewable electricity products. The Green-e Program sets consumer protection and environmental standards for electricity products and verifies that Green-e certified products meet standards.

“Connecticut College students have challenged every other student body in America to accept responsibility for the energy they consume and the pollution their campuses generate,” said Bob Maddox, co-op marketing director. The student body, organized by Sara Ziza and Kassie Rohrbach, raised $1,500 to join the co-op as an organizing partner and circulated a petition seeking support for the $25 tuition increase. The Student Government Association overwhelmingly supported the initiative and the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the measure on May 5.

The students have also pledged to reduce the environmental impact of the college through conservation. The co-op will assist students, staff and faculty in developing a strategic energy management plan, audit building energy use, suggest ways to use energy more efficiently and conduct educational seminars. As an organizing partner, the entire Connecticut College community will have access to all co-op products and services, including reduced lifetime memberships for their private use.

The college’s purchase will reduce its emissions of sulfur oxide by 17,254 pounds-per-year, nitrogen oxide by 3,612 pounds-per-year and carbon dioxide by 2.3 million pounds-per-year.

For more information on Green-e, visit www.resource-solutions.org.

Best Practices for Hotels

The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), Boston, MA has launched the Green Hotel Best Practice Survey, a conference planning tool that businesses can use to communicate their environmental preferences to the hotel industry. Companies that have committed to using the Best Practice Survey for business travel and hotel services include General Motors Corp., Aveda Corp., American Airlines, Northeast Utilities, The Bullitt Foundation, Bethlehem Steel Corp., Interface Inc., Recycled Paper Printing, Inc. and William McDonough + Partners Architects.

The Green Hotel Initiative (GHI), launched by CERES in October 2000, is
a national campaign to catalyze the demand and supply of environmentally-responsible hotel services. GHI involves business, the hotel industry, non-governmental organizations, academia and
environmental advocates.

The GHI Best Practice Survey is an easy-to-use list of criteria that measures a hotel’s environmental performance. It allows meeting planners and travel buyers to choose hotels that meet their business needs, including environmental considerations. American Airlines, the only airline to endorse the CERES Principles of environmental conduct, is incorporating the Best Practice Survey in its procurement process for crew accommodations.

“On average, American Airlines secures 6,500 hotel rooms every night for our flight crews around the world—or more than two million rooms a year,” said the airline’s manager of hotel contracts, Monica Chamberlain. “It’s important that we consider hotels that not only meet the specific criteria for overnight crew stays, but also hotels that can share our personal commitment to environmental stewardship. The Best Practice Survey is now a part of our procurement package.”

According to Sarah Raposa, project manager for CERES, the GHI was born out of the organization’s desire to run a world-class conference with as little environmental impact as possible.

Raposa knows first hand the value of the Best Practice Survey, having recently managed a two-day conference at Swissôtel Atlanta. Swissôtel agreed to add a Green Commitment clause to the conference contract. The hotel then appointed a “green team” and worked with a representative of the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to assess the state of the hotel’s environmental performance. The team then identified and implemented improvements in the three major areas of energy, water and solid waste.

“Swissôtel Atlanta exceeded expectations in providing a green conference by implementing dozens of programs ranging from improved air quality and supply purchasing to the methods of serving food and beverage,” says Raposa

According to Tedd Saunders, executive vice president of Saunders Hotel Group and president of EcoLogical Solutions, the greening of hotels is simply smart business.

“I’d like to hear of any other strategy where hotels can lower their operating expenses while generating new business and building customer loyalty,” says Saunders

Swissôtel in Boston, MA, has been implementing environmentally-responsible practices for a few years and reports that its recycling programs have reduced the amount of trash by 2,000 to 3,000 pounds, saving close to $7,000 annually.

“If large companies with their significant buying power place environmental requirements in their RFPs for meeting space, we as an industry will meet their demand,” says David Gibbons, general manager of Swissôtel Boston. “It is not only ethical business practice, but also good economic sense.”

For more information, visit www.ceres.org.

Improving Visibility in National Parks

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Christie Whitman has signed a national park visibility protection proposal, widely known as the “BART” rule, containing no significant changes to its original proposal. The proposed rule provides guidelines for states and tribal air quality agencies to determine air pollution controls for a number of older, large power plants and other industrial facilities.

The BART (Best Available Retrofit Technology) rule was delayed until EPA had completed an energy impact analysis required in a May 18 Executive Order directing all federal agencies to prepare an energy impact statement on any major regulatory action. EPA has determined that this proposal is not likely to have an adverse effect on supply, distribution or use of energy. Plans for signing the proposal were announced in an EPA press release May 29.

The proposal aims to clear the skies in the nation’s most treasured national parks and wilderness areas, such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, by helping states control haze-causing emissions from older power plants and industrial facilities. Specifically, BART amends EPA’s 1999 regional haze rule to guide states and tribal air quality agencies in deciding which facilities must install air pollution controls and the types of controls to be installed.

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments required EPA to establish a rule to improve visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas. The Amendments also called on states to require these older plants to install best air pollution controls available.

The proposed amendments will appear soon in the Federal Register (with a 60-day public comment period), and can be accessed immediately at: www.epa.gov/
ttn/oarpg/ramain.html.

Silvercrest Builds Sustainable Homes on West Coast

Portland General Electric (PGE), announced that Silvercrest Western Homes Corp., Portland, OR, is the first manufacturer to sell certified sustainable manufactured homes on the West Coast.

Silvercrest is also the latest to enroll in PGE’s Earth Advantage™ program. Homes certified as Earth Advantage are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than those built to state code and have healthier indoor air. Earth Advantage also promotes environmental responsibility and resource efficiency through better building practices.

Earth Advantage offers manufacturers an opportunity to set themselves apart in the marketplace while positively impacting the community and the environment. The program also offers invaluable tools and resources, including marketing and sales support and technical guidance.

For more information, visit www.earth advantage.com, or call (888) EARTH-33.

Foster Wheeler Garners DDE Excellence Award

Foster Wheeler Environmental Corp., Clinton, NJ, received the 2001 Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in construction from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This prestigious award is granted annually to one large business excelling in its use of small businesses as subcontractors. The winner is recognized for outstanding achievements in utilization of small businesses in performance on federal contracts. Award criteria also include participation in mentor-protégé programs, mentor outreach and use of the SBA’s database of certified companies called PRO-Net and Sub-net.

At the end of 2000, Foster Wheeler Environmental had 40 prime contracts with the federal government. It awarded approximately $84 million to various categories of small business concerns from a total subcontracting value of $120 million. The company has been involved with the U.S. Department of Defense mentor-protégé program since 1993. The company also offers specific business and technical management training to its mentor companies.

 


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