Hybrids Get Green
With 30 percent of new-vehicle buyers indicating that they would definitely
consider a hybrid electric vehicle and another 30 percent indicating
a strong consideration, hybrid vehicle technology is getting a solid
green light from consumers, especially among women, according
to the J.D. Power and Associates Hybrid Vehicle Consumer Acceptance
Study of 5,200 recent new-vehicle buyers.
The study provides answers to three core industry questions about
In which vehicle segments do consumers want hybrids offered?
What will cause them to purchase?
How much are they willing to pay?
Survey respondents overwhelmingly indicate that they want a hybrid
powertrain option in the same segment as their current vehicle. However,
regardless of the vehicle they currently own, nearly all consumers
surveyed select a midsize car as their second most popular choice
for a hybrid.
A hybrid option in the high-volume midsize car segment would
provide manufacturers a broad-based growth path to the mainstream
market, said Thad Malesh, director of the alternative power
technology practice at J.D. Power.
Concern over fuel prices, the high level of U.S. dependency on foreign
fuel supplies, a federal tax incentive and concern for the environment
are the primary motivators behind consumer consideration to purchase
a hybrid vehicle.
In comparing consumer expectations of hybrid vehicle acceleration,
fuel economy and emission levels with those of a gasoline-powered
vehicle, respondents clearly show a need for more information about
hybrids. Respondent comfort levels with various hybrid vehicle operating
featuressuch as idle-off at a stoplight, higher voltage batteries
and consumer expectations regarding the length of the battery pack
warrantyhighlight additional educational requirements.
Domini to Manage New York
Domini Social Invest-ments LLC, manager of the Domini Social Equity
Fund (NASDAQ:DSEFX), the nations oldest and largest socially
responsible index fund, has been selected to manage the socially
responsible account within the City of New York Deferred Compensation
Plan, containing assets in excess of $190 million.
Previously available to over 180,000 New York City employees through
the citys 457 deferred compensation plan, the socially responsible
account is now available to an additional 250,000 individuals through
the citys new 401K plan. Domini will manage a separate account
that is designed to mirror the performance of the Domini 400 Social
IndexSM, a benchmark for socially responsible investors that is composed
of the stocks of 400 large-capitalization domestic companies that
pass a comprehensive set of social and environmental screens. The
index includes companies with positive records in community involvement,
the environment, diversity and employee relations, and excludes companies
deriving significant revenues from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, nuclear
power and weapons contracting.
Verizons $40 Million
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department
of Energy (DOE) have given Verizon (NYSE: VZ) its most prestigious
Energy Star honorthe Corporate Commitment Awardin recognition
of the companys industry-leading energy efficiency program.
Verizons energy reduction programwhich has included installing
low-energy-use lights in buildings, using more efficient cooling fans
in central offices and recruiting over 250 employee volunteers called
energy championsenabled Verizon to cut expenses by about $40
million last year and by about $60 million over the last two years,
and prevented some 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted
into the atmosphere. Citing the nearly five billion kilowatt hours
of electricity Verizon uses to provide local, long-distance and data
services to customers across the country each year, Verizon president
and co-CEO Ivan Seidenberg said the company has a major responsibility
to its customers and the communities it serves to control the rising
use of electricity. And as with all serious issues in our very
complex business, this presents us with a leadership challenge: to
balance our various obligations to control our costs, maintain reliable
service for customers and preserve the environment, Seidenberg
Changing Consumption Patterns
In response to the growing environmental risk created by rapidly rising
consumption patterns around the world, the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) has launched the Life Cycle Initiative, a collaboration
between UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
(SETAC) to help governments, businesses and consumers adopt more environment-friendly
policies, practices and lifestyles. The initiative will develop and
disseminate practical tools for evaluating the opportunities, risks
and trade-offs associated with products and services over their whole
As the world population growsand it is poised to expand
50 percent by 2050it will be accompanied by an extraordinary
growth in consumption, said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP executive director.
The Life Cycle Initiative will help address problems such as
finding alternatives to hazardous substances in products like lead,
as well as better systems of eco-labeling and product design,
he continued. With its focus on sharing of information and closing
the knowledge gap between developed and developing countries, the
initiative will critically translate life cycle thinking into practice.
In many ways, the consumption patterns of the rich are being
exported to, and, therefore, burdening developing counties,
Toepfer added. Our challenge is to change consumption practices
in richer countries while at the same time bringing new tools to the
table, like the Life Cycle Initiative, that will ultimately help tackle
poverty and ensure a safe and secure environment for long term sustainable
The Life Cycle Initiative was launched at the start of UNEPs
7th International High-level Seminar on Cleaner Production (CP-7),
the biennial global forum that looks at progress made in promoting
sustainable production and consumption. Changing consumption and production
patterns will also be high on the agenda of this years World
Summit on Sustainable Development. Life cycle thinking, including
assessments, eco-design and eco-labeling, is increasingly seen as
one way to help tackle the problem of unsustainable consumption.
For more information about the Life Cycle Initiative see www.uneptie.org/pc/sustain/lca/lca.htm.
Training Chinas Future
Some 100 professors from 40 of Chinas top business schools met
in Beijing from April 22 to 24 to discuss how they can incorporate
environmental content into Chinese graduate management curricula.
Growth in clean, profitable and efficient production is a necessity
for China, said Jonathan Lash, president of World Resources
Institute (WRI). Achieving this goal will depend on Chinas
business schools to train the next generation of business leaders
to manage their firms sustainably.
The meeting, called the International Conference on Business and Environment
Education, was organized by WRIs China Business, Environment,
Learning and Leadership (China BELL) project and the Center for Environmental
Education and Communications of Chinas State Environmental Protection
Administration. China BELL was launched two years ago, following a
successful model developed in the United States of integrating environment
into the masters of business administration (MBA) curricula.
All the 62 nationally accredited Chinese business schools were invited
to attend the conference. Seven of these schools developed the core
curricula that was introduced during the conference. Experts in environment
and management from leading U.S. business schools, including University
of Pennsylvania, New York University, University of California at
Los Angeles, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Hawaii
and others, have advised the process from its inception.
TXU: Big on Wind Energy
In 2001, TXU, a global energy business based in Dallas, TX, became
the largest purchaser of wind energy in Texas and the fourth largest
in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA). Globally, TXU has enough renewable energy to power more than
355,000 homes in the United States, Europe and Australia. It added
390 megawatts of wind power in 2001.
Texas wind power production soared in 2001 with a record number of
wind turbines erected in west Texas. TXU led the way with 382 megawatts
of the 916 megawatts installed. Last year TXU received the Utility
Leadership Award from AWEA for being in the vanguard of the Texas
wind energy boom. TXU purchases wind power from four projects located
in western Texas near Abilene, Big Spring and Pecos County.
According to the AWEA, nearly 1,700 megawatts of new window power
capacity was from wind farms built across the U.S.; Texas more than
tripled its wind capacity and would rank sixth among the nations of
the world in wind capacity if it were a country, based on one years
development alone. One megawatt of wind energy-generating capacity
powers between 200 and 300 homes.
Outside of the U.S., TXU is a partner in a 200-megawatt offshore wind
farm in the United Kingdom and has purchased a 40 percent equity stake
in two wind farms under construction in Argon, central Spain. The
first generation from the Spanish wind farm is expected at the end
Solagen Tapped for Investment
On March 28, 2002, Solar Development Capital disbursed its first investment
in Solagen Ltd., a photovoltaic (PV) distributor in Kenya. The company,
a distributor for Solar BP, has imported, sold and installed solar
(PV and thermal) equipment in Kenya since 1994, and will now use debt
and equity from SDC to expand into rural markets.
Only two percent of Kenyas households have access to the
electric grid, which is unreliable and insufficient to meet demand,
notes Candace Smith, COO of SDC. Solar PV presents a stand-alone micropower
resource that is often the least-cost option in off-grid areas.
Solagen is working with Kenya Commercial Bank and other credit providers
to finance PV sales to individuals and groups for domestic and commercial
use. Credit allows deeper market penetration, as most consumers, despite
high monthly expenditures for kerosene and other energy sources, cannot
afford the up-front payment for a PV system. Solagen has outlets in
Nairobi, Nakuru, Merou and Eldout.
Information on Solagen can be found at www.solagen.com.
Gibson Guitars Strums an
The Rainforest Alliance recently honored the Gibson Guitar Corp. and
its chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz. Gibson teamed up with the
Rainforest Alliance six years ago when it introduced the worlds
first line of eco-friendly SmartWood-certified guitars. Today, the
instrument manufacturer also produces a line known as the Les Paul
Exotics, SmartWood-certified guitars made from six of the worlds
most prized woods, harvested from sustainably managed forests.
Ultimately, our goal is not just to promote certified-wood guitars
as something special, but to bring our industry to a point where the
use of certified wood is standard procedure, says Juskiewicz.
The company eventually intends to make its full line of instruments
from sustainably harvested wood.
The Rainforest Alliances SmartWood forestry certification program
provides a seal of approval on well-managed forests and wood products
that ensure a balance of social, economic and environmental factors.
New Jersey Buys Cleaner
Green Mountain Energy Co. is teaming up with the administration of
Governor James E. McGreevey to make New Jersey a clean-powered state
government. A total of 196 state-operated facilitiesfrom the
State House in Trenton to Barnegat Lighthouse at the Shoreare
now purchasing cleaner and renewable electric service from Green Mountain,
one of the nations largest and fastest growing residential provider
of cleaner electricity. The service represents 12 percent of the electricity
purchased by the state government, for a total of 113 million kilowatt
hours over the 15-month term of the contract. Thats equivalent
to the average amount of electricity purchased in a month by approximately
173,000 homes in New Jersey.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S.
Department of Energy, only three other states have implemented green
power purchase programs for government-operated facilities: Maryland
at six percent of the state electric load; Pennsylvania at five percent;
and Tennessee at two percent.
Making electricity causes more air pollution than any other
industry in the United States, emitting billions of tons of carbon
dioxide annually, said A. Clifton Payne, eastern region president
for Green Mountain Energy Co. Green Mountain Energy electricity
will help the state avoid 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over
the length of the contract. That prevents as much carbon dioxide pollution
as not making 136,800 trips by car up the length of the New Jersey
Turnpikeadding up to more than 20 million miles.
Report Benchmarks Air Pollution
In a finding that highlights the financial and political stakes in
the current debate over reducing power plant emissions, a report released
in March reveals wide disparities in air pollution emissions from
the 100 largest electric generating companies. The report concludes
that fewer than 20 power generation companies in the United States
account for 50 percent of carbon dioxide, mercury, oxides of nitrogen
and sulfur dioxide emitted into the air by the 100 largest public
and private electric power companies in the U.S. Between four and
six companies accounted for 25 percent of emissions of each pollutant.
Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Generation
Owners in the U.S.2000, was released by the Coalition
for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), the Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG),
one of the electric power generation companies included in the report.
The report analyzes data submitted by the companies to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and other government agencies for the year
2000. Pollution effects associated with the four emissions include
acid deposition, fine particulates and regional haze, global warming,
mercury deposition, nitrogen deposition and ozone smog.
The groups issued the report to assist government policy makers, corporate
leaders, investors and the public as they take actions that affect
emissions from the electric utility industry. It is hoped that the
report will enable investors and policymakers to see the disparity
in air pollution performance among the nations largest power
producers, and shape future regulatory and business decisions to reduce
CERES said it plans to mail the report to the CEOs of all 100 companies
named in the report, with an invitation to participate in a series
of utility dialogues sponsored by CERES to discuss industry
emissions reduction. The year-long dialogue would include companies,
investors and environmental organizations, and would recommend financial
incentives specifically to reduce CO2 emissions.