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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : Sept/Oct 2001

Newslines
Actions and initiatives worth noting

2001
CERES Gains Grant, Endorser
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation granted $400,000 to CERES, supporting its work on establishing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as an independent institution by 2002. GRI is a multi-stakeholder effort to create a common framework for economic, environmental and social reporting in which hundreds of worldwide organizations and stakeholders participate. The foundation channels the grant through the U.N. Foundation, which will trigger matching funds of $400,000 for both CERES’ and the U.N.’s Environment Programme’s work on the GRI.

The grant will be used to research and develop governance structures for an independent GRI and support other initiatives required to ensure GRI’s approach to becoming an independent institution.

In addition, CERES has acquired a new endorser in FatEarth, which provides services for businesses pursuing the triple bottom line objectives of economic viability, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. FatEarth’s brokering services connect companies seeking cost-effective sustainable products and services with screened suppliers, and it offers research, analysis and subscription services with access to specialized Web sites.

For more information, visit www.global reporting.org, or www.FatEarth.com.


Solar Community Gives Back

The U.S. Home Corp. announced a partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC) that proposes the largest residential solar project in the country, the Bickford Ranch, made possible by the CEC’s Emerging Renewables Buydown program. The Placer County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the community in the fall.

U.S. Home will equip the proposed 1,954-acre Bickford Ranch community in Placer County, CA, with energy-producing photovoltaic systems. The plan includes 963 single-family homes, a 917-home active adult community, a golf course, a neighborhood commercial village, public parks, trails and facilities including a new fire station, soccer fields, athletic fields and a new elementary school site. Also, at least 83 neighboring homes are able to participate in the solar program.

The program will, at times, provide more electricity to the power grid than it uses during peak usage periods. Peak energy production is projected to be equal to a two-megawatt power plant. “During sunny days, homes at Bickford Ranch can provide more power to the grid than they will use,” said Brian Bombeck, president of U.S. Home’s Sacramento, CA, land division. “Electricity meters on these homes will actually run backward on sunny days.” AstroPower, Inc. and Atlantis Energy will provide the photovoltaic systems used at Bickford Ranch.


Leader of the “Package”

Faced with increased competition from “virgin” paperboard materials and material quality issues, the 100-percent-recycled paperboard industry rejuvenated a historic brand. It celebrates its 120th anniversary with the production of the 400 millionth ton of its product and the 10th consecutive year of marketshare leadership. Paper recycling is no longer a special practice conducted by a small percentage of the population, but occurs in over 90 percent of U.S. households.

After a five-year manufacturing and marketing renovation, recycled paperboard is seeing increasing demand as the packaging material of choice in traditional applications and making significant inroads into new high-growth markets.

Three coordinated efforts have been responsible for this remarkable turnaround: significant improvements in the product’s quality and performance capabilities; a sophisticated branding program with an updated, distinctive recycling symbol; and an ongoing educational effort to build consumer awareness of the product.

Currently, folding cartons made from 100-percent-recycled paperboard are used for thousands of branded and private label products from many of America’s great companies including Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and FedEx.


Coffee Company Plants Trees

As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impact that it has on the planet, the northern California gourmet coffee company, Thanksgiving Coffee, asked a non-profit group that measures greenhouse gases to evaluate its operations.

Considering fuel going into trucks and ships that transport the coffee, propane heating the roasters, electricity running lights and computers and even customers’ brewing of coffee; Maryland-based Trees for the Future determined that Thanksgiving Coffee was adding 1,553 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere annually.

Thanksgiving Coffee recognizes that true sustainability means not causing any harm, so it continually takes steps to reduce its waste emissions at the source. To offset the impact, the company has partnered with Trees for the Future to plant an estimated 69,000 trees in Ethiopia, where some of the world’s best coffee is produced. At $90 per acre, it will fund the planting of 21,000 trees the first year, working with the local Beam of Hope. The majority of the money will go to train local leaders in agro-forestry techniques.

Thanksgiving Coffee’s other projects include a worm farm, an expanded recycling program and retrofitting the company’s lights with energy-efficient ballasts and compact fluorescent light bulbs. For more information, visit www.thanksgivingcoffee.com.


Amfac Receives Travel Awards

Amfac Parks & Resorts received two prestigious awards recognizing its environmental initiatives: the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2001 Environmental Achievement Award and the Travel Industry Association’s (TIA) Odyssey Award—environment category. Amfac is the country’s leading national park concessionaire and operator of facilities at parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

Amfac was the only concessionaire to receive the Environmental Achievement Award, in recognition of its efforts to minimize environmental impact while operating concessions at national parks.

TIA’s Odyssey Award recognized Amfac’s “excellence and exceptional achievements in travel and tourism,” noting that “Amfac has successfully balanced economic viability with ecological responsibility, weighing up-front costs against long- term savings and educating employees about the benefits of new technologies and conservation practices” in its comprehensive environmental management program.

For more information, visit www.amfac.com.


Recognizing Individual Efforts

William H. Crawford, Frederick, OK, and Keith Etheridge, East Lansing, MI, are winners of the 2001 Environmental Excellence Awards, presented by International Paper (IP) and The Conservation Fund. Each award is accompanied by a $10,000 grant from the International Paper Co. Foundation.

Crawford won the Alexander Calder Conservation Award for leading a six-year, $10 million, 7,600-acre effort to restore the Hackberry Flat wetlands in the semi-arid southwestern corner of Oklahoma in Frederick. Thanks to his leadership and hard work, the wetlands—once drained for agriculture—are now a stopping place on the central flyway for 30,000 Canada geese, 30,000 sandhill cranes and 50,000 ducks and shorebirds. Half a dozen species nest at Hackberry Flats, which is now also an eco-tourism destination, drawing visitors from throughout the nation and providing significant economic benefits to the community.

Etheridge, a fifth grade teacher at Murphy Elementary School, won the Gene Cartledge Award for Excellence in Environmental Education for his vision of creating, generating the funding for, implementing and replicating the Murphy Model for Environmental Education (M(2)E(2)), a comprehensive program that presents students with balanced and often opposing viewpoints on local environmental issues and addressing the social, economic and ecological aspects of the problem. By using conflicts regarding the future of local wetland resources to help students understand the issues involved, the program’s goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become participatory citizens, capable of making informed decisions.


Bank Helps Heal the Bay

Non-profit Heal the Bay has received a grant from the Union Bank of California (UBOC) Foundation’s “Taking Steps to Keep It Clean” initiative for its environmental preservation. The $7,500 grant goes toward the continued preservation, conservation and cleanup of Los Angeles County beaches and coastal waters.

In its 16-year history, Heal the Bay, which began as a fight to stop the pollution of Los Angeles sewers from seeping into the bay, has made a measurable improvement in the Santa Monica Bay region where sewage overflows had caused damage to the ecosystem with dangerously high levels of bacteria. The grant helps Heal the Bay reach its 2001 goals, which include continued reporting on the Malibu Creek Watershed, lobbying for funds to restore Santa Monica Bay and expanding its Spanish-speaking outreach program to encourage the Latino population to recycle oil and household hazardous waste.


Bio-diesel Across Ohio and SF Post Office

Ohio has become the nation’s largest user of bio-diesel in the nation’s first collaboration between big oil and bio-diesel with BP Amoco, the largest traditional oil company to be involved in the supply of bio-diesel, and World Energy Alternatives (WEA), America’s largest bio-diesel provider. WEA will provide Envirodiesel® B20 (a blend of 20 percent bio-diesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel), delivered through BP Amoco and Direct Resource, Inc., to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s three-year, $8 million fuel supply contract.

Adding to Ohio’s commitment, greater Cincinnati’s transit buses will also use bio-diesel B20. Also under a CMAQ grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Metro will switch its buses primarily in Cincinnati’s eastern service area. If every transit in America followed Cincinnati Metro’s lead, U.S. farms would see immediate results. New demand for 25 million bushels of soybeans per year could increase the annual U.S. net farm income by 0.7 percent. The New York City/New Jersey market alone could consume the bio-diesel produced by those soybeans.

WEA has also partnered with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to fuel mail delivery trucks in San Francisco, CA’s central mail depot with Envirodiesel® B20. The move comes after San Francisco’s May opening of the first retail bio-diesel station.


Water/Wastewater Hot Through 2004

A new market intelligence report entitled “U.S. Environmental Markets: 2001-2004,” from management consulting and publishing company ZweigWhite, says to look to the dollar sign and the population curve instead of the federal government’s seal for the hottest markets for environmental firms in the next few years.

The hot markets in the environmental industry will be those driven more by economic and population factors than by regulatory drivers, which have seen an adverse effect in the past decade’s decline in federal environmental legislation and regulations. The report identifies water supply and wastewater as two of the hottest environmental markets through 2004. Mature markets, such as hazardous waste and air pollution, are projected to grow at a slower rate.

Water supply’s health as a market for consulting firms will be propelled by population growth, much of which occurs in drought-stricken areas of the western and southern U.S. Also, the wastewater market, although a bit slower, is also being driven by population growth. Increasing populations need new wastewater treatment plants and sewers and the aging infrastructure is also creating massive rehabilitation needs for systems to function properly.

Other hot markets between 2001 and 2004 will be brownfields redevelopment, driven by the increasing availability of environmental insurance and liability protection and environmental management systems and by the corporate desire to control expenditures and waste streams. The entire report is available from the publisher for $7.95, plus $4 shipping and handling. Contact ZweigWhite at P.O. Box 8325, One Apple Hill Drive, Natick, MA 01760; 508-651-1559; fax: 508-653-6522;

e-mail: info@zweigwhite.com; or www.zweigwhite.com/store/inenv.


New Sustainability Formula for Future@Work™

“Future@Work™: A Sustainable Approach to the Workplace,” opened its new location in downtown Seattle, WA, at the City Centre Bldg., 1420 5th Ave., Ste. 1575. The 3,000-square-foot exhibit showcases workplace design solutions that demonstrate the bottom-line benefits of energy-efficient, sustainable buildings and practices.

The opening was concurrent with the Seattle city council’s efforts to revise the Seattle Energy Code for commercial buildings to meet an aggressive efficiency goal: 20 percent below state-mandated levels.

“As the region faces the dual pressures of surging energy costs and an economic slowdown, developers, building owners and tenants can go to Future@Work for ideas on how to conserve energy and implement other measures that make the workplace more environmentally friendly,” said Callison principal Andrea Vanecko, a Future@Work co-founder.

To mark the opening, the building design and energy experts from Future@Work and betterbricks.com, as well as representatives from Seattle City Light, discussed the advantages of sustainable design and highlighted the resources available to businesses in the region. Betterbricks.com representative Margaret Gardner noted that the right investment in building improvements is an investment not only in the space, but also in an even more valuable resource—the people who work there.

The resource-rich environment at Future@Work includes interactive office displays illustrating the latest in advanced workplace technology; futuristic lighting and design; and on-line “rate-your-workspace” surveys from betterbricks.com.


Elkington Offers The Chrysalis Economy

SustainAbility, Capstone/New Society Publishing and John Wiley & Co. have launched John Elkington’s latest book, The Chrysalis Economy: How Citizen CEOs and Corporations Can Fuse Values and Value Creation. The new book builds directly on the foundations laid out in Elkington’s 1997 bestseller, Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st-Century Business (Capstone/New Society, 1997).

It has many key messages for its readers: • We have entered a 30-year period, “The Chrysalis Economy,” where political battles will increasingly be fought around sustainability issues.

• Business and markets will be central to the debate.

• Growing numbers of companies—and other organizations—have been experimenting with triple bottom line strategies, but many are hitting barriers (both internal and external) to change.

• A new generation of business leaders is emerging to tackle the challenge, embracing (with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success) what the book dubs the “Citizen CEO” agenda.

• A five-stage (5-I) corporate and market transformation model is introduced, focusing successively on invasion, internalization, inclusion, integration and incubation.

• Important questions are raised about the capacity of major companies to make the necessary transitions, suggesting the growing importance of incubating new market-disrupting business models and technologies.

For more information, or to order the book, visit www.sustainability.com; or contact SustainAbility at 11-13 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LY, UK; +44 (0) 20 7245 1116; or fax: +44 (0) 20 7245 1117.


Cement Industry Invests in Sustainability

Ten of the world’s largest cement producers are collaborating in a $4 million project study on sustainable development, which is being undertaken by the Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, OH, and coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Conches-Geneva, Switzerland. The study provides the cement industry with a roadmap to move it closer to long-term sustainability.

As major users of energy and natural resources, the sector has long been aware of its social and environmental obligations; however, this is the first time that leading industry figures have aligned their companies behind a common objective in sponsorship of “Toward a Sustainable Cement Industry.”

Once the research findings by Battelle Memorial Institute have been published in 13 sub-studies and stakeholder interest has been determined, the 10 worldwide cement manufacturers—which represent about 30 percent of the global cement production—plan to prepare a response document, addressing their plans and timetables for acting on the study’s recommendations. For more information on the progressing research, visit www.wbcsdcement.org.

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