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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an idea that corporations have to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and ecological considerations in all
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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : July/Aug 2002

Actions and initiatives worth noting

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 projects—including financing opportunities for farmer equity participation in wind power development cooperatives—are 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 ( 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 (, 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 ( 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 ( 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. ( 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 city’s 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 space—larger 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 Club—a roadside assistance and travel club committed to preserving the environment—has 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 insurance—similar 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 services—from 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

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 state’s open space initiative. The $24 million International Paper conservation land deal is the largest single financial transaction for The Nature Conservancy’s North Carolina Chapter. In terms of the amount of acreage protected, it is second only to the Conservancy’s 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 state’s 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 research.

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, a Web site designed for institutional investors and financial professionals. SRI World Group also recently published Sustainable & Responsible Investment Strategies—A 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 for individual investors.

Vermont’s Labeling Law Upheld

On June 10, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) latest attempt to have Vermont’s 1998 landmark labeling law declared unconstitutional. Vermont’s 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 trash.

NEMA challenged Vermont’s law in 1999, claiming it violated their members’ rights not to disclose information. NEMA said the law violated the Constitution’s 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 manufacturers—including General Electric, Osram-Slyvania and Phillips—from 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 NEMA’s appeal, setting the stage for NEMA’s final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court—and subsequent denial.

For more information, visit

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 Sharp’s solar cells, modules and systems available in North America. With a 19-percent share of the market, Sharp is the world’s 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 Sharp’s 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 WBCSD’s 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

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 world’s 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 populations.

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 reproductive capacity.

From mid-June through the end of July—the height of wild Alaska salmon season—Whole 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 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 corporation’s stance on climate change. This suggests it is time for shareholders to better understand climate change risks and opportunities.”

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 company’s 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. That’s 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 Alcan’s 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 Program

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) awarded its top international prize to “Arcandina,” a children’s 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 power—a 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 college’s 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 less.

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