Clean Energy Title in New Farm Bill
On May 8, 2002, Congress approved the 2002 Farm Bill, which includes
a new Energy Title and important new clean energy development provisions
in the Conservation and Rural Development Titles. The new Energy Title
is a fundamental change in the overall structure of the Farm Bill.
The legislation provides significant new incentives for rural wind
power and biomass energy development, and for energy efficiency improvements
in the agricultural sector. There is $405 million of mandatory appropriations
over six years in the new Energy Title. Half of that amount will fund
new clean energy programs, including: direct financial assistance
to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for wind power and
other renewable energy system purchases and for energy efficiency
improvements; appropriations for the Biomass Research and Development
Act; a new Federal biobased products purchasing preference program;
and a biodiesel fuel education program. The other half will fund the
Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) Bioenergy Program to increase production
of ethanol and biodiesel.
In addition, amendments to the Rural Development Title make wind power,
other renewable energy sources and energy efficiency eligible for
hundreds of millions of dollars of more funding. For example, renewable
energy projectsincluding financing opportunities for farmer
equity participation in wind power development cooperativesare
now eligible for USDA direct grants and loans, and they have been
identified as a priority in the Conference Committee Managers
Statement. Likewise, farm- and ranch-based renewable energy projects
are now eligible under the Value-added Agricultural Product Market
Development Grants program, which has received mandatory appropriations
of $240 million over six years.
Other provisions of the Senate-passed Clean Energy Title remain in
the Farm Bill as authorizations, without mandatory appropriations.
The Conference Committee also amended the Conservation Title to allow
biomass harvesting and wind turbine installations on Conservation
Reserve Program land, and amended the Research Title to provide new
emphasis on farm and ranch energy efficiency research.
Companies Endorse CERES Principles
The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) has
announced that six new companies have recently endorsed its principles:
Circe Day Spa (www.circedayspa. com), a full service day spa
in Alexandria, VA, that offers a range of services designed to promote
health, beauty and wellness, and which is affiliated with Aveda.
DMC, The Electronics Recycling Company (www.dmcrecycling.com)
provides comprehensive asset management and end-of-life disposition
of e-waste for Fortune 1000 companies and the federal government.
It has approximately 200 employees with two recycling facilities in
New Hampshire and Maryland.
Natural Spaces (www.naturalspaces.com),
a boutique store based in Portland, OR, that sells a wide range of
products, including home accessories, recycled glassware, stationery,
bed and bath products and garden products made from recycled or natural
and sustainable materials.
Northern Power Systems (www.northernpower.com)
designs, builds and installs state-of-the-art power solutions for
industrial, commercial, government and not-for-profit customers using
a full range of technologies, including wind, photovoltaic, natural
gas and hybrid fossil/renewable power systems. It has installed over
800 systems in 40 countries on all seven continents.
Olive Designs (www.olivedesigns.net)
is a new alternative contract furniture manufacturer based in Greensboro,
NC. All products are original, domestically made, contemporary, and
feature a blend of recycled and organic materials.
United Recycling Industries, Inc. (www.unitedrecycling.com)
provides complete electronics recycling and asset recovery services.
The West Chicago, IL electronics recycling operation features a complete
chip recovery operation, a full test and data erasure area for remarketing
and a shredding and separation system.
Dallas Largest Solar Facility Unveiled
Clean energy takes another step forward in Dallas, TX, as The Winston
School, Green Mountain Energy Co. and Nuon teamed up to dedicate the
citys largest solar facility and harness the power of the sun
to generate pollution-free electricity.
The solar array, known as Green Mountain EnergySM Solar at The Winston
School, is a commercial-scale 58kW solar array that is owned and operated
by Nuon Renewable Ventures LLC and is located on top of The Winston
School. It takes up approximately 6,600 square feet of roof spacelarger
than an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Each year this array will avoid
the emission of approximately 68 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent
to not driving a car approximately 150,000 miles or 300 roundtrips
from Dallas to Houston. It would take about 9,100 trees one year to
remove that much CO2 from the air.
The Winston School, a coeducational college preparatory school, will
incorporate real-time data from a solar array into its curriculum.
The facility will be owned and operated by Nuon, the largest utility
company in the Netherlands. Electricity generated from the installation
will be delivered to the Texas electric grid thanks to the support
of Green Mountain Energy Co.s Big Texas Sun Club members.
Travelers Go Green
Better World Travelers Cluba roadside assistance and travel
club committed to preserving the environmenthas begun signing
members from its Portland, OR, offices. The club provides a full range
of travel and roadside assistance benefits to its members coast-to-coast,
including emergency roadside assistance, exclusive leisure travel
services and home and auto insurancesimilar to organizations
like the American Automobile Association (AAA), but The Better World
Travelers Club reports it will also help reduce the environmental
footprint caused by travel.
Under our Travel Cool! Program, we give one percent of club
revenues to environmental organizations that seek to reduce fossil
fuel usage and fight global warming, says Mitch Rofsky, Better
World president. We also sponsor a unique carbon offset program
to neutralize the impact of air travel. Through our travel agency,
members receive discounts on a range of travel servicesfrom
tours to automobiles to electric bicycles to hybrid electric car rentals.
Travelers can choose remote wilderness retreats, world-class eco-resorts
and green hotels. Better World Travelers Club members
also have a direct line to expert travel agents and destination specialists.
For more information, call 866-304-7540 or visit www.betterworldclub.com.
Landmark Conservation Deal
The Nature Conser-vancy and International Paper announced one of the
largest land conservation deals in North Carolina history. It is hoped
that the 38,320-acre transaction in Pender and Sampson counties will
greatly enhance the conservation of southeastern North Carolina by
tying together big parcels of forestland that protect habitat for
rare mussels, the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, black
bear and numerous rare plants.
To date, International Paper has sold nearly 43,000 acres of forestland
or conservation easements in North Carolina toward the states
open space initiative. The $24 million International Paper conservation
land deal is the largest single financial transaction for The Nature
Conservancys North Carolina Chapter. In terms of the amount
of acreage protected, it is second only to the Conservancys
protection of 118,000 acres, which created the Alligator River National
Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina.
The project consists of nine tracts, five of which are located in
the vicinity of the states Holly Shelter and Angola Bay gamelands
and Camp Lejeune Marine Base. These tracts will provide an important
link between these natural areas, and are an example of landscape
conservation, a strategy employed by the Conservancy. Four of the
tracts are located along the Black River and will protect these Outstanding
Resources Waters (ORW) and rare fish, mussels and other aquatic life.
The Nature Conservancy plans to transfer most of the property to state
land management agencies that will be responsible for their management
and compatible public use.
Report Gives Insight to Social Investing
Global in scope, the new Leading Social Investment Indicator Report
from SRI World Group, Inc. analyzes the impacts of major developments
regarding socially screened mutual funds, corporate governance, shareowner
advocacy, community investing, corporate social research and academic
This first edition of the report highlights important changes and
developments in social investing that occurred in 2001. It includes
a review of global corporate governance developments, including an
examination of the growing interest in corporate governance rating
systems. It also covers a wide range of other useful information,
such as which money management firms filed resolutions on what issues,
and identifies the large institutional investors that are becoming
more active shareowners.
The report is one of a series of new products offered through www.ishareowner.com,
a Web site designed for institutional investors and financial professionals.
SRI World Group also recently published Sustainable & Responsible
Investment StrategiesA Guide for Fiduciaries and Institutional
Investors. The firm offers consulting services that enable institutional
investors to take a customized approach toward adopting social investment
strategies. SRI World Group also operates www.socialfunds.com
for individual investors.
Vermonts Labeling Law Upheld
On June 10, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the National Electrical
Manufacturers Associations (NEMA) latest attempt to have Vermonts
1998 landmark labeling law declared unconstitutional. Vermonts
Mercury Reduction Act requires manufacturers to label mercury-added
products sold in Vermont. The labeling must inform the user that the
product contains mercury and that it is illegal to dispose of it in
NEMA challenged Vermonts law in 1999, claiming it violated their
members rights not to disclose information. NEMA said the law
violated the Constitutions Commerce Clause by imposing an undue
financial burden and interfering with interstate trade. According
to NEMA, lamps are manufactured and labeled for national markets,
not local markets, and said that Vermont would purport
to dictate worldwide lamp labeling requirements.
In November 1999, U.S. District Court Judge Garvan Murtha issued a
preliminary injunction releasing lamp manufacturersincluding
General Electric, Osram-Slyvania and Phillipsfrom the labeling
requirement. On subsequent appeal by the Vermont Attorneys General
(and with friends-of-the- court support filed by Alaska, California,
Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma and New York)
the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York denied NEMAs
appeal, setting the stage for NEMAs final appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Courtand subsequent denial.
For more information, visit www.mecurypolicy.org.
Sharp Establishes Solar Systems Division
Sharp Electronics Corp. (SEC), the U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary
of Sharp Corp., Osaka, Japan, has established a new division to make
Sharps solar cells, modules and systems available in North America.
With a 19-percent share of the market, Sharp is the worlds leading
manufacturer of solar energy products and will significantly expand
solar production capacity from 94MW to 200MW in 2002. Its Solar Systems
Division is based in Huntington Beach, CA, and will also be responsible
for Canada and Latin America.
According to Ron Kenedi, general manager, the new division will market
Sharps proprietary crystalline solar products through distributors
and OEMs during the first year of operation with an emphasis on residential,
commercial and industrial segments.
Sector Reports Outline Initiatives
Sustainable development is too big for companies to handle individually,
regardless of their size. By working together in sector projects,
companies can achieve more than they would alone, shows a new report
released today by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
(WBCSD). The WBCSDs six sector projects, led by member companies,
look at the sustainability performance and challenges for the whole
value-chain of an industry sector. They harness independent research,
stakeholder consultations and partnerships into how a particular industry
can contribute to sustainable development. The ultimate purpose is
to change industry practices and policies to make them more sustainable.
The six WBCSD sector projects include: forestry; sustainable mobility;
cement sustainability initiative; mining, minerals and sustainable
development; electricity utilities; and the financial sector. For
information, visit www.wbcsd.org.
Learning from a School of Fish
Seafood is growing more and more popular because of its high flavor
profile and nutritional benefits. At the same time, more than half
of the worlds marine stocks are depleting at alarming rates
due to over-fishing and harvesting practices that damage the environment.
To help keep seafood plentiful and to preserve oceans, Whole Foods
Market has brought together Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Chefs
Collaborative, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the World Wildlife
Fund to form the Fish For Our Future coalition to direct consumers
to make the best environmental choices when purchasing seafood. It
is hoped that, in the long run, this will encourage fisheries to adopt
sustainable fishing practices that maintain healthy and diverse seafood
The Fish For Our Future educational awareness campaign highlights
wild Alaska salmon, the first North American seafood species to earn
the MSC seal of approval, so consumers can readily identify seafood
that has not been over-fished or caught with methods that harm the
ocean environment. Catch levels of MSC-certified seafood are monitored
by a third party certifier, as are the age and gender of the fish
being caught, which helps maintain population levels and appropriate
From mid-June through the end of Julythe height of wild Alaska
salmon seasonWhole Foods Market urged consumers to Fish
For Our Future through in-store promotions by focusing on the
importance of looking for the MSC seal of approval, the issue of over-fishing
and the power sustainably managed seafood purchases have on helping
prompt change in the fishing industry.
Investors Collaborate on Emissions Questionnaire
A group of large institutional investors with significant assets wrote
to the 500 largest quoted companies in the world by market capitalization
asking for the disclosure of investment-relevant information concerning
their greenhouse gas emissions. The recipient corporations have been
asked to respond within six months, and the information received will
be compiled into a thematic and comparable report (risk and opportunity
by sector/geography) by Innovest Strategic Value Advisers, which has
been retained to perform the analysis. The report will be distributed
to participating shareholding institutions and responding corporations,
and made publicly available at www.cdproject.net
in February 2003. All raw data authorized for publication will also
be made available at this time.
There are potential business risks and opportunities related
to actions stemming from the perception of climate change that have
implications for the value of shareholdings in corporations worldwide,
explained Paul Dickinson, project coordinator. Examples of such
actions are political and regulatory momentum moving against significant
carbon emitters; emissions-sensitive technologies, products and services
superseding those existing today; and shifts in consumer sentiment
due to a corporations stance on climate change. This suggests
it is time for shareholders to better understand climate change risks
The initiative has been coordinated by the Carbon Disclosure Project,
a special project of the Philanthropic Collaborative of Rockefeller
Philanthropy Advisors in New York. The group of investors is not a
legal entity, and the Carbon Disclosure Project has no authority to
make any other statement on behalf of the participants.
Alcan Recycles Over 22 Billion Aluminum Cans
Alcan Aluminum Corp. reported that it recycled over 22 billion aluminum
used beverage cans (UBCs) in 2001, representing 40 percent of the
cans that are recycled in this country. Alcan operates three aluminum
can recycling plants located in Berea, KY; Oswego, NY; and Greensboro,
GA. The Berea facility, the largest UBC recycling facility in the
world, recycled over 11 billion cans, while the Greensboro facility
recycled over 6 billion cans, and more than 5 billion cans were recycled
at the companys Oswego plant.
There are many benefits to recycling aluminum cans. Recycling
is a vital source of energy savings; it conserves natural resources,
reduces litter, and minimizes the need for landfill space. Thats
because once produced from raw materials, aluminum retains the ability
to be recycled, forever, from a can to a can without deterioration
in quality or value, said Pierre Arseneault, president of Alcans
rolled products operations in North America. Aluminum is also
the most valuable beverage packaging material, earning five times
more for its collection in curbside recycling programs than other
materials, like plastic and glass.
Sustainable Pallets for Summit Beer
Single-use wood pallets have long been considered an environmental
nuisance, but the Summit Brewing Co. of St. Paul, MN, has taken a
major step toward making pallets more palatable. The company is purchasing
pallets made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood.
Wood pallets are typically used once or twice and discarded. FSC-certified
pallets benefit the environment by using wood from well-managed forests,
which ensures water quality, species diversity and long-term supplies
of forest products. The 1.2 million acres of FSC-certified public
land owned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Cass
County and Aitkin County provides mixed hardwoods for the production
of pallets. FSC certification recognizes the restoration of these
forests, which in Minnesota means more diverse forests with larger
trees. Quality pallets can be built from smaller diameter, less valuable
logs that are removed from the forest as part of the restoration process.
These larger trees are more effective in protecting the water quality
of the Mississippi River, where the Summit Brewing Co. sources municipally-supplied
water for its beer.
Arcandina Wins Best International
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) awarded its top international
prize to Arcandina, a childrens television show
in Ecuador that was developed with assistance from The Johns Hopkins
University Center for Communication Programs (JHU/CCP) to encourage
children and adolescents to become more environmentally responsible.
The annual National Conservation Achievement Awards recognize programs
and people that demonstrate a long-term commitment to conservation
and environmental protection. Arcandina (The Andean Ark)
was named Best International Environmental Program of 2001.
Through puppets, music and live entertainment, Arcandina
educated children and adolescents about preserving the environment.
It premiered in December 1996 as the first national television show
in Ecuador to promote awareness of and mobilize support for environmental
conservation among children and adolescents.
Allegheny College Pioneers Wind Power
Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, has announced that 7.5 percent of
its electricity will now come from wind powera percentage it
estimates is higher than any other college or university in the eastern
United States has invested thus far. Allegheny will purchase a portion
of New Wind Energy from Community Energy, Inc. (CEI), a clean
energy marketing company in Pennsylvania. Says Allegheny College president
Richard Cook, Colleges and universities have a special obligation
and role to play in the research, development and demonstration of
new technologies that will improve both our economy and the environment.
Allegheny College has committed to purchasing more than one million
kilowatt hours New Wind Energy each year, which equals more than one-quarter
of the output of a new wind turbine to be built in the Allegheny Mountains
of southwestern Pennsylvania. According to Community Energy, the colleges
commitment will prevent nearly 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide
from polluting the air and produce environmental offsets equivalent
to planting nearly 89,000 trees or driving nearly 1.1 million miles