Reporting Project Launched
In an effort to enhance public disclosure of environmental and social
performance, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies
(CERES) and the Tellus Institute have launched the Facility Reporting
The FRP is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a generally accepted
framework for facility-level and site-specific environmental and social
sustainability reporting. The framework will be compatible to the
greatest extent possible with the corporate-level voluntary sustainability
reporting guidelines developed by the Global Reporting Initiative
(GRI), a global effort at standardizing corporate-wide reporting.
The FRP is independent of, but will be carried out in formal consultation
with, the GRI.
Initial funding for the initiative will be provided by the Chicago,
IL-based Joyce Foundation, a major funder of environmental initiatives
affecting the Great Lakes region.
A generally accepted facility-level reporting standard is needed,
its sponsors say, because facility-level reporting, where it exists,
is fragmented and highly variable. Poor comparability and accessibility
of facility-level environmental and social information makes it difficult
for concerned groups to assess how manufacturing plants, distribution
centers and other business and institutional facilities affect their
communities and the local environment. Businesses and institutions
seeking to benchmark and improve their environmental and social performance
are likewise handicapped.
According to both groups, standardized facility-level sustainability
* provide a far stronger basis for assessment and decision-making
on the part of the public, government, investors and the facilities
themselves, allowing sustainability performance to be tracked over
time for individual facilities, sectors or geographic areas.
* give facilities choosing to report an accepted reporting
model, reducing the costs of devising reporting frameworks from scratch
and increasing credibility with the public, especially the activist
* empower community organizations in interactions with individual
w enable government and facility managers to identify successes worthy
of replication far more easily.
The framework will be the product of a 12 to 15 member expert panel
drawn from environmental, civil society and labor organizations, business
and academics, and will be informed by a broad stakeholder consultation
process. Project documents and additional information are available
on the FRP Web site (www.facil
Greening The Office Supply
Office Depot, Inc., a leading global seller of office products, has
formed a business relationship with GreenOrder, an environmental consulting
firm, to provide value-added services to Office Depots Business
Services Group (BSG) customers. BSG customers will be offered Sustainability
Audits, to be performed by GreenOrder, to assess the customers
procurement practices and to identify opportunities to purchase environmentally
preferable paper and other products.
We are eager to increase our sales of post-consumer recycled
content papers and other environmentally friendly products, and enabling
our customers to discover how easily and cost-effectively they can
switch to these products, commented Robert Keller, president
of Office Depots BSG. For our customers that have mandates
to utilize environmentally friendly products, including governmental
units and government contractors, this new
service should be particularly valuable.
NAFTA And The Environment
In anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on December 17, 1992, the Commission
for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released a report in early December
detailing some of the effects of NAFTA on the environment. Produced
with financial support from the Ford Foundation, Free Trade and the
Environment: The Picture Becomes Clearer summarizes the key findings
of research presented at the first North American Symposium on Assessing
the Linkages between Trade and Environment. It points to a relationship
that is anything but simple.
Contrary to some expectations, free trade has brought about
advances in technology and management practices that have made positive
environmental changes, said Victor Shantora, acting executive
director of the CEC. On the other hand, in some circumstances,
free trade since NAFTA has also been linked to environmental deterioration.
Among the findings presented in the report are:
* Some border communities have suffered more air pollution.
Local infrastructure improvements havent kept pace with expanded
road freight transport, leading to an increase in air pollution concentrations
at U.S.-Canada and Mexico-U.S. border crossing points.
* There is little evidence of a race to the bottom.
Differences in environmental regulations have not been a significant
factor in determining where business investments are located.
* The petroleum, base metals and transportation equipment
sectors have all witnessed a marginal boost in the emissions of pollutants.
By contrast, NAFTA-related contraction in Canadas base-metals
industry coincides with a reduction in toxic releases from that sector.
While there is much more to know, it is clear that trade liberalization
accompanied by robust environmental policies can help achieve sustainable
developmentjust as freer trade without adequate environmental
safeguards can trigger degradation, noted Shantora. The
key lesson is that policy matters.
A second North American Symposium on Assessing the Environmental Effects
of Trade will be held in collaboration with the United Nations Environment
Programme on March 25 to 26, 2003 in Mexico City. The CEC was established
by Canada, Mexico and the United States to build cooperation among
the three partners in implementing NAFTAs environmental accord,
the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. The findings
presented in Free Trade and the Environment: The Picture Becomes Clearer
are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the CEC or the governments of Canada, Mexico or the United
States. The report is available on-line at www.cec.org.
Kyoto Emissions Trading
The first trade of greenhouse gas emissions allowances under the compliance
regime of the Kyoto Protocol was recently executed by the Slovak Republic
and a major Japanese trading house. The trade of assigned amount units
(AAUs) is the first to use the International Emissions Trading mechanism
defined by the Kyoto Protocol. The buyer can use the allowances to
comply with greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations under the
Kyoto Protocol. The seller will use the proceeds to finance domestic
emission reduction projects.
The Ministry of Environment of Slovakia, which is the authorized body
of the Slovak government for climate change issues, has guaranteed
to transfer AAUs out of its 2008 to 2012 greenhouse gas budget to
the Japanese buyer. The total transaction size is 200,000 AAUs. Countries
that are party to the Kyoto Protocol receive a five-year allocation
of AAUs, each AAU reflecting the right to emit one metric ton of CO2
equivalent. The AAUs will be transferred from the Slovak national
registry to the buyer through Menert s.r.o., a Slovak engineering
company. New York-based Evolution Markets LLC acted as broker for
The proceeds from the sale of AAUs will enable the Slovak Republic
to finance domestic emission reduction projects, which in return will
lower the Slovak Republics greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol may enter into force in the spring of 2003 if the
Russian Federation ratifies the treaty. According to a recent report
by Deutsche Bank, the global market for greenhouse gas emissions trading
is expected to reach $60 billion in annual volume once the Kyoto compliance
market is fully active.
Tour Operators Launch Performance
A new report by the Tour Operators Initiative (TOI), a global network
of tour operators supported by the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) in liaison with UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization,
will help to promote environmentally friendly and socially responsible
tourism. The indicators, in the form of recommendations, represent
one of the first sectoral supplements to the already established
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
More than 30 organizations, from civil society groups to trade unions,
local tourism boards, suppliers and tour operating companies, collaborated
on the Tour Operators Sector Supplement. By reporting on actions
they have taken on the ground, tour operators hope to help prevent
the negative effects of tourism on local peoples, as well as encourage
responsible use of natural resources and prevent pollution and waste
at travel destinations around the world.
Virtually all dimensions of the tour operating business have
environmental, economic and social impacts, said Jacqueline
Aloisi de Larderel, UNEP assistant executive director. What
gets measuredand reportedgets managed, she said.
Through improved disclosure, tour operators can help transform
an industry that is often the largest employer in some countries into
a more sustainable enterprise.
Performance indicators are divided into categories that reflect the
life cycle of the holiday productfrom the planning
stage to the development and delivery. They ask tour operators to
describe joint actions taken with suppliers to support improvements
in environmental and social performance, in addition to ways in which
they raise consumer awareness of sustainable holiday-making, recruitment
of local residents for management positions, and positive cooperation
with concerned organizations and groups at the destination.
The tour operators sector reporting supplement and a list of
project participants are available on-line at www.toini tiative.org.
Information about UNEPs work on tourism can be found at www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/.
Tennessee Forestland Protected
The state of Tennessee and International Paper (IP) have announced
a formal partnership to protect and manage special areas on more than
220,000 acres of IPs forestland in Tennessee. The partnership,
also known as the Tennessee Unique Areas Cooperative Management Program,
will jointly identify, conserve and manage ecologically unique areas
and populations of rare species.
Under the three-year agreement, IP and the state will voluntarily
cooperate to identify special management areas, manage rare species
and habitats, restore and maintain habitats, conduct biological inventories
and jointly develop management plans for special areas on company-owned
forestlands. During the term of the voluntary agreement, IP will continue
to actively manage its forestlands in accordance with the Sustainable
Forestry Initiative® program. Tennessees Department of Environment
and Conservations Division of Natural Heritage will oversee
the agreement for the state.
States Act To Reduce
Many states are taking actions to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,
according to a report released by the Pew Center on Global Climate
Change. Despite the controversy associated with climate change policy
on the national level, state action on climate change has been intensifying
since the late 1990s. States have taken a variety of approaches
to climate change, including the promotion of renewable energy,
air pollution controls, energy development, and solutions in the
agriculture, forestry, transportation and waste management sectors.
The Pew Center report, Greenhouse & Statehouse: The Evolving
State Government Role in Climate Change, authored by Barry Rabe
of the University of Michigan, features case studies of nine statesGeorgia,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina,
Oregon, Texas and Wisconsinthat have taken action to mitigate
climate change. The report tracks trends in state climate change
action and draws conclusions about the potential of state action
and its implications for national policy.
The case studies illustrate that state actions on climate change
play a unique role in overall climate change governance. The United
States comprises diverse regions, and individual state policies
can be tailored to each states strengths. State policies have
the potential to spread among states, as is occurring already with
several of the programs featured in the report. Successful state
actions can become prototypes for federal programs.
Despite finding advantages to climate change action at the state
level, the report points out that states also face limitations.
States have little (or no) funding available for climate change
initiatives and face constitutional limits on engagement in international
relations. In addition, some states have shown scarce interest in
climate change action; in fact, some have taken formal steps to
limit it. Finally, a fragmented, state-by-state approach to climate
policy will inherently be less efficient than a national policy.
The report is part of the Solutions series, which is aimed at providing
individuals and organizations with tools to evaluate and reduce
their contributions to climate change. A complete copy is available
on the Pew Centers Web site at
Three Latin American
A Brazilian manufacturer of a native fabric from the Amazon, a chain
of Mexican coffee shops specializing in organic coffee, and a producer
of solar coffee dryers in Costa Rica have all been recognized in the
2002 New Ventures business competition. The winning companies, whose
business plans call for investments ranging from $500,000 to $1.5
* AmazonLife S.A., a Brazilian pioneer in manufacturing and commercializing
a leather-like rubberized fabric for the fashion industry. The company
uses a unique raw material extracted from the Amazon and works with
local indigenous and rubber tapper families.
* Café La Selva, an upscale chain of Mexican coffee shops
that operates through a unique alliance among small investors and
the indigenous communities of Chiapas to offer certified organic coffee.
* Solar Trade Corp., a company in Costa Rica that has the exclusive
right to manufacture and sell industrial solar biomass coffee dryers
designed by its non-profit affiliate. The innovative patent-pending
technology delivers significant cost savings in energy while delivering
improved coffee quality and environmental benefits.
Winners were announced at the end of the Third Annual New Ventures
Investor Forum (www.new-ventures.org),
Latin Americas premiere marketplace for investors and corporations
who understand that investing in sustainable enterprises makes good
business sense. Since 2000, the New Ventures Investor Forums have
facilitated the transfer of $4.4 million to sustainable entrepreneurs
in Latin America; an additional $2 million is currently under negotiation.
Oregonians Put Renewable
Energy On Fast Track
Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power, Oregons two
largest electric utilities, have announced that customer sign-ups
in that state for renewable power products have more than tripled
from January to October 2002 after they began offering customers 99
percent pollution-free electricity supplied by Green Mountain Energy
Prior to Oregons new energy restructuring law that went into
effect in 2002, about 8,200 PGE and Pacific Power customers in the
state were enrolled in a renewable energy program. With additional
options available, thousands of Oregonians have jumped at the opportunity
to support renewable power. Currently 28,518 residential customers
and 653 small businesses (29,171 total customers) are enrolled in
new renewable energy purchase options offered by Pacific Power and
The customer participation numbers achieved in the Oregon utility
programs are among the best in the nation, said Blair Swezey,
principal policy advisor at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL), which tracks the growth of the green power industry
on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Both utilities will soon begin new efforts to inform customers about
the different energy options that are available to them. PGE is sending
out mailings to every residential and small business customer, with
additional information on its Web site. Pacific Power is conducting
a new educational campaign with customized enrollment forms.