Toyota, Nissan Enter
Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.,
Ltd. have concluded a basic agreement on the long-term, continuous
transaction of hybrid systems including technical cooperationan
agreement made possible, company officials say, because both companies
found common ground in terms of philosophy and outlook in their
discussion on the future popularization of hybrid vehicles.
Aiming for a business relationship of 10 years or longer, the agreement
calls for Toyota to supply state-of-the-art hybrid system components
to Nissan. In addition, both companies have also agreed to start
exchanging information and discussing joint development of components
related to hybrid systems that both Toyota and Nissan are currently
As an initial project, Nissan will be installing a hybrid system
currently under development by Toyota in Nissans vehicles
to be sold in the United States in 2006. Volume is expected to reach
approximately 100,000 units within a five-year period starting in
2006. The components for the hybrid system, such as the transaxle
and inverter, will be developed by Toyota, while Nissan will conduct
development of its own engine and application of the hybrid system
on its own vehicle, which will have a direct impact on Nissans
Illinois Gets Commercial Wind Farm
ComEd, Illinois Wind Energy (IWE) and Tomen
Power Corp. (TPC) have announced plans to create the first commercial
wind farm in Illinois. The Crescent Ridge wind energy project will
become one of the largest wind farms east of the Mississippi River
and will generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 20,000
Under the agreement, ComEd will purchase the entire output of the
51 megawatt wind generating facility. ComEd is adding this renewable
resource to its supply portfolio, available to serve its customers.
The Crescent Ridge wind energy project will be located across 2,200
acres of farmland in Bureau County, IL, though the wind turbine facilities
themselves will actually take up less than 20 acres of land. The land
can continue to be farmed, except what is needed for the wind facilities
themselves. The project will be built near Tiskilwa, about 110 miles
west of Chicago, and is expected to be completed in mid-2003.
IWE and TPC are co-owners and co-developers of the Crescent Ridge
wind power project. TPC, which is financing the project, is a subsidiary
of Tomen Power Holding Co., one of the worlds largest wind power
A Sweet Deal for Cars?
Reuters News Agency reported that researchers
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say they have found a relatively
easy way to extract the clean fuel source hydrogen from a glucose
solution. According to the report, Jim Dumesic, who leads the UW-M
research team, told Reuters that, We are at the (laboratory)
bench experiment stage so far, but it works. Dumesic went on
to note that the experimental process was far more efficient and quicker
than the alternative of using bacteria to break down plant material
such as maize to generate hydrogen.
The research, also published in the science journal Nature, found
that heating the sugar solution to 392ºF and passing it over a platinum-based
catalyst broke it down into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen
could then be piped off into a fuel cell, with the carbon dioxide
released into the atmosphere, where it could be absorbed normally
by growing vegetation and transformed back into oxygen.
Portland Awarded $1 Million
The Portland, OR, City Council has executed
a unique contract with The Climate Trust to reduce global warming
by improving the energy efficiency of apartments and commercial buildings.
The Climate Trust will provide almost $1 million for this project
because it reduces energy use and related emissions of carbon dioxide.
Over the next five years the Portland Office of Sustainable Development
Energy and Green Building Divisions will use The Climate Trust funding
to work with the owners of over 12,000 apartment units and about 40
commercial buildings statewide to improve energy efficiency. This
collaboration leverages existing funds to provide technical expertise
and facilitate access to financial incentives. It is expected to create
over 20 jobs in Oregon.
The program implements a key piece of Portlands Local Action
Plan on Global Warming, which established a goal of reducing local
emissions of greenhouse gases to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.
Any program costs will be covered through a pay-for-performance contract
with The Climate Trust, a Portland-based non-profit organization that
invests in high-quality greenhouse gas offset projects.
Coffee Project Receives
Starbucks Coffee Co., the Ford Foundation,
Oxfam America and CEPCO (Oaxacan State Coffee Producers Network) will
collaborate in a pilot project to help small-scale Mexican coffee
producers expand their access to the global marketplace and increase
the availability of high quality Fair Trade-certified coffee. This
collaboration aims to enhance the livelihood and capabilities of small-scale
Oxfam America and CEPCO, Mexicos largest cooperative of small-scale
coffee producers, will implement the partnership in the state of Oaxaca.
Starbucks and the Ford Foundation have committed a total of $250,000
to the pilot for its first year. The comprehensive quality program
will provide farmers with valuable technical assistance, market information
and product quality feedback. Ultimately, the project seeks to strengthen
trading relationships between small-farmer fair trade cooperatives
and coffee roasters in the U.S. specialty coffee industry.
With coffee prices at historic lows, farmers who produce high quality
coffee are better positioned to earn higher prices and generate greater
income for their families. Oxfam America, which has worked with small-farmer
coffee cooperatives for more than 30 years, believes the partnership
will support small-scale farmers efforts to redefine quality
coffee to mean coffee that is environmentally, socially and
economically beneficial, in addition to tasting good.
The United Nations (UN) has released Building
Partnerships, a comprehensive over-view of the growing cooperation
between the UN and the business community in tackling a range of development
challenges in the pursuit of broad UN goals.
The booka joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and the
UN Department of Public Information in cooperation with The Prince
of Wales International Business Leaders Forumprovides an overview
of the evolving relationship between the UN and the private sector,
ranging from traditional procurement and consultative arrangements,
which have been in place since the founding of the UN in 1945, to
the new types of innovative partnerships that have emerged in recent
years and become a hallmark of secretary-general Kofi Annans
office. It provides more than 150 examples of UN-business partnerships,
highlighting several initiatives that illustrate how the UN is working
with the private sector on projects of increasing magnitude and scope.
Which Recycling Programs
State and federal lawmakers are floating
legislation that would place a fee on electronics containing cathode
ray tubes (CRTs), with funds going to help local governments recycle
the lead-containing equipment. But do government-run electronics recycling
systems work? Electronics Recycling: What to Expect from Global
Mandates, recently published by Raymond Communications, finds
that perhaps industry can do a more efficient job.
Countries with mandated industry-run collection systems for old electronics
appear to be reaching higher recovery rates than where government
finances the systems, according to the report. Figures from Europe
show that 50 to 80 percent of information technology equipment is
being recovered in three countries with existing take-back mandates:
The Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway. The figures, provided by
privately-run collection groups, include both consumer and commercially-generated
equipment. Most have a visible fee to consumersbut
the money is provided directly from manufacturers to collection organizations.
However, in Denmark, where local governments are expected to ensure
collection and recovery, the recycling rate was about 30 percent in
2000, according to government figures.
The report finds that 11 countries already have electronics recycling
mandates on the books, and within five years, there will be 28 countries
with such laws because of the two stringent directives soon to be
finalized at the European Union. The new directives also will require
re-design of chip boards and other equipment because of a ban on lead,
cadmium, mercury, chromium and certain brominated flame retardants.
U.S. lawmakers are currently struggling over the electronics waste
issue. While major stakeholders are attempting to work out a national
voluntary recovery system, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts
and New York are moving on bills that would place fees on cathode
ray tubes. On July 19, Rep. Steve Thompson (D-CA) introduced a federal
bill that would place a $10 fee on CRTs and computers, with the money
to be funneled through the U.S. EPA to local governments.
The pilot studies indicate that collection systems run with
retailers are the least expensive in the U.S., says publisher
Michele Raymond. However, retailers are the least cooperative.
Manufacturers do not want to offend retailers, she points out.
However, if industry is unable to come up with a national voluntary
agreement in the U.S., governments could move on a patchwork of government-run
solutions, which will end up costing consumers and industry much more
in the long run, Raymond says.
The 197-page report covers U.S. state and federal legislation, as
well as detailed coverage of 16 countries. It includes results of
a 50-state survey of electronics recycling policy and summarizes what
28 major electronics firms are doing in recycling, waste reduction,
design for environment and related issues.
Raymond Communications publishes the newsletters State Recycling
Laws Update and Recycling Laws International. For information,
call 301-345-4237 or visit www.raymond.com
SC Johnson Joins BELC
SC Johnson has joined the Business Environmental
Leadership Council (BELC) of The Pew Center on Global Climate Change,
thus joining the organizations efforts to battle global climate
change. The Pew Center established BELC with 13 members in May 1998;
the addition of SC Johnson brings its total membership to 38.
SC Johnson, the first and only consumer packaged goods company in
the BELC, has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by
five percent per year through 2005. Based in Racine, WI, with annual
revenues of nearly $5 billion, the company is a leading manufacturer
of household products.
BELC members commit to take steps in their domestic and foreign operations
to assess their greenhouse gas emissions and establish programs to
reduce them. The BELC considers the Kyoto Protocol a first step in
global efforts to mitigate climate change and supports the development
of market-based mechanisms as called for in the Kyoto Protocol.
PAG Pilot Project Underway
Plasma Environmental Technologies Inc.
(PET) has signed a Technology Develop-ment and License Agreement with
Kinectrics Inc. to develop and test the Plasma Assisted Gasifier (PAG)
Technology. The PAG is a unique cogeneration system that destroys
sorted municipal solid wastes and industrial and commercial organic
wastes while producing electricity. PET and Kinectrics will develop
and build a PAG Pilot Plant to demonstrate the commercial applications
of the PAGs waste destruction and energy conversion process.
The PAG incorporates a graphite plasma reactor that operates as a
closed system without combustion, and consequently is much cleaner
than incineration. The skid-mounted plasma gasifier will generate
a syn-gas that is quenched, cleaned and compressed to produce a fuel
for a gas turbine or internal combustion engine. The trailer-mounted
PAG Pilot Plant will convert solid waste into a clean, high energy
fuel that will drive a generator to produce electricity.
U.S., Canada Face Tough
A new report indicates that the United
States and Canadas success in improving local environments
where its people can live with clean water and air and enjoy green
spaces has come at the expense of global natural resources and climate.
For example, each Canadian and American consumes nine times more gasoline
than any other person in the world. With only about five percent of
the worlds population, both countries accounted for 25.8 percent
of global emissions of heat-causing carbon dioxide.
The report, North Americas Environment: A 30-year State of the
Environment and Policy Retrospective, is published by the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the World Resources
Institute (WRI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development
(IISD), and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of the North
American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
While Canada and the U.S. has had notable success in resolving
a lot of environmental problems, progress has slowed largely due to
increasing consumption by its growing population, said Brennan
Van Dyke, regional director of UNEPs Regional Office for North
The report cites the two countries success in stabilizing desertification
and the reduction by as much as 71 percent of toxic chemicals discharged
into the Great Lakes, the worlds largest freshwater system.
Between 11 and 13 percent of the two countries land area are
now set aside as parks and other protected areas. Wetland losses have
slowed considerably, with over 70 percent of Canadas wetland
resources covered by federal and provincial wetland policies. Sulphur
dioxide emissions in the U.S. have declined by 31 percent from 1981
to 2000. Both countries reduced non-essential chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)
consumption to nearly zero by 1996, thereby protecting the worlds
However, the report stressed that Canada and the U.S. still face serious
challenges before North America is on a sustainable development path.
Soil and wetland losses still outpace the gains and although withdrawal
rates have declined, the regions aquifers are still being depleted.
The report urges Canada and the U.S. to accept more responsibility
for the environmental changes they are causing. Among others, both
countries need substantial and concrete changes toward use of automobiles
that rely on more fuel-efficient technologies, and toward urban development
strategies that curb urban sprawl.
for Transit Buses
Ballard Power Systems, Vancouver, British
Columbia, Canada, has received an order from Gillig Corp. for three
heavy-duty Ballard fuel cell engines and support services. The 205kW
fuel cell engines will be integrated into transit buses for delivery
in 2004 to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA),
based in San Jose, CA. The fuel cell buses will operate for a two-year
period in revenue service under real-world conditions, in response
to California Air Resources Boards zero-emission transit bus
requirements. VTA will evaluate fuel cell technology for the public
transit industry, including maintenance and operating performance
and costs, fueling safety, employee training and public education
and awareness. This is a joint demonstration program with VTA, the
San Mateo Transportation District, the California Fuel Cell Partnership
and the California Air Resources Board.
In support of the program, the fueling stations at VTAs Cerone
operating division in San Jose will be enhanced with hydrogen refueling
Goes to NatureWorks
Cargill Dow LLC, Minnetonka, MN, is the
2002 recipient of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, Alternative
Reaction Conditions Award for its development of Nature-Works PLA,
a process to make plastic from corn. NatureWorks is a commercial-grade
polymer used in fiber and packaging markets. It is reportedly able
to compete head-to-head with traditional materials used in these industries.
The award, operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
a partnership of various trade, scientific and academia entities,
recognizes companies that have found innovative solutions to reduce
or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances in the
production of chemical products.
Fulfilling the award criteria, Nature-Works offers key benefits including
its life cycle, which requires up to 50 percent less fossil resources
than comparable petroleum-based products. In addition, PLA generates
15 percent to 60 percent less greenhouse gases (GHG) than the material
it replaces. NatureWorks PLA technology produces the renewable resource-based
resin by harvesting carbon from plants, such as corn,
which has been removed from the air during photosynthesis. The carbon
and other elements in these natural sugars are used to make polylactide
through a simple process of fermentation and separation.
A new guide aimed at helping individual
investors align their investments with their values has just been
published by SRI World Group. The 20-page guide, entitled Investing
in Socially Responsible Mutual Funds, is part of a free socially responsible
investing (SRI) Mutual Funds Kit that can be ordered from www.SocialFunds.com,
a service of SRI World Group and a personal finance Internet site
devoted to socially responsible investing.
Investing in Socially Responsible Mutual Funds addresses the misconception
that social and environmental screening hurts performance. It also
gives readers the information they need to start investing in SRI
mutual funds and covers fundamentals such as asset allocation, investment
style and the different types of SRI mutual funds. Investing in Socially
Responsible Mutual Funds also explains how different funds integrate
social and environmental criteria into their investment strategies
and includes prospectuses and informational materials about funds
offered by several socially responsible mutual fund companies.
for Sustainable Enterprise Receives Gift
The University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hills Center for Sustainable Enterprise (CSE) at Kenan-Flagler
Business School has received a $100,000, three-year grant from DuPont.
The Center for Sustainable Enterprise, part of the business schools
Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, is an acknowledged
world leader in teaching, research and outreach designed to equip
current and future business leaders with the broad vision and knowledge
to effectively champion sustainable development strategies within
their organizations. Sustainable enterprises use business as an instrument
of social development and environmental improvement, integrating these
objectives proactively into core business strategies. For a growing
number of companies and non-profit organizations, competitive advantage
is rooted in these new sustainable capabilities, such as pollution
prevention, urban reinvestment, industrial ecology, stakeholder collaboration,
life cycle management and sustainable development.
DuPont is a founding member of CSEs Base of the Pyramid Co-laboratory.
The co-laboratory is a consortium of multinational corporations, government
agencies and NGOs experimenting with innovative business models that
provide culturally appropriate and ecologically effective goods and
services to the four billion individuals at the base of the socioeconomic
Mac Bridger, CEO of C&A Floor-coverings,
Dalton, GA, has been honored by the National Recycling Coalition with
its Recycling Works Recognition Award for actively promoting
environmental initiatives and the principles of sustainability both
within the company and the business community nationally. The
award went on to say that Bridger, during this tenure, has brought
C&A to national leadership among corporations through not only
recycling, but also the triple bottom line of social,
environmental and economic performance. Examples of C&A achievements
include: pioneering technology to achieve closed loop recycling of
its carpet back into carpet; and, since 1974, sending no manufacturing
waste to landfills or incineration since 1974; and developing the
industrys first take-back program where customers
return their old carpet of similar composition (regardless of the
original manufacturer) for recycling to C&A.