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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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Socially responsible investing (SRI) describes an investment strategy which combines the intentions to maximize both financial return and social good.
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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : Jan/Feb 2003

Newslines
Actions and initiatives worth noting

2003
Power Management

Everyone can save energy and money by enabling power management on their computer monitors. With over 55 million office computers in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that over 11 billion kWh per hour could be saved through monitor power management. This amounts to:

* $935 million per year saved at 8.5 cents/kWh.
* Enough energy to power over one million households for a year.
* CO2 reductions equivalent to preventing the emissions from 1.5 million cars or planting 2.5 million acres of trees.

Free software provided by the EPA automatically puts monitors to rest when not in use—saving a significant amount of energy and money. What’s more, monitor power management will not affect computer or network performance. A simple touch of the mouse or keyboard “wakes” the machine within seconds.

The EPA has launched the Million Monitor Drive— a national Energy Star campaign to activate power management on one million monitors nationwide. A company’s “contribution” to the drive is made in the form of a pledge to enable monitor power management that will help to obtain significant environmental benefits.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov

Photovoltaic Rebate Program Launched

Chicago, IL, property owners have one more reason to join the growing number of homes, businesses and institutions that generate their own electricity using the power of the sun. ComEd, in partnership with Spire Solar Chicago, encourages Chicago residents to take advantage of the “Photovoltaic Incentive Program (PIP),” a rebate to help support locally-based manufacturing and installation of photovoltaic systems within the city of Chicago.

PIP makes individuals and organizations eligible for ComEd rebates on grid-tied solar electric systems purchased from Spire Solar Chicago. Systems must be one to 50 kilowatts of direct current nameplate capacity and installed within city limits. The rebates are offered through 2004 or while funds are available. Rebates are $1,250 per kilowatt in 2003 and $1,000 per kilowatt in 2004.

Other incentives, offered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs’ Renewable Energy Resources Program, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and the Federal Business Energy Tax Credit and Accelerated Depreciation, are available to further reduce costs. These incentives lighten the load on PV initial costs, monthly utility bills and the environmental impact buildings create because of their significant energy consumption.

For information, visit the Chicago Solar Partnership Web site at www.chicagosolarpartnership.org.


Corporate Governance Tops SRI Headlines

SRI World Group, Inc., a leading authority on socially responsible investing, announced through its Web site (www.SocialFunds.com) the top social investing stories of 2002. They include:

* Substantial corporate governance reforms.
* SRI mutual funds matched non-SRI peer funds in performance.
* Community investments outperformed equity funds for the third year in a row.
* A shareowner resolution on equal employment opportunity policy got results after 10 years of corporate opposition.
* Government mandates for transparency shaped international momentum for SRI.

All investors welcomed measures to improve corporate governance, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the new listing standards imposed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The measures aim to enhance auditor independence, corporate responsibility, financial disclosure and corporate accountability while guarding against conflicts of interest.

“Out of tragedy sometimes comes good, as the corporate governance debacles finally inspired legislators and regulators to enact reforms that are welcomed by all investors,” said SRI World Group president Jay Falk.

For more details about the top social investing news stories of 2002, visit www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/article1005.html.


Clean Coal Projects Selected

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham has announced the first eight projects, valued at more than $1.3 billion, chosen by the Department of Energy (DOE) in the initial phase of President Bush’s Clean Coal Power Initiative. The projects are the first in a series of competitions to be run by the DOE to implement the 10-year, $2 billion commitment to clean coal technology.

The chosen projects were proposed by: the City of Colorado Springs, CO; LG&E Energy Corp., Louisville, KY; Wisconsin Electric Power Co., Milwaukee, WI; Great River Energy, Underwood, ND; NeuCo, Inc., Boston, MA; University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY; Waste Management and Processors Inc. (WMPI PTY., LLC), Gilberton, PA; and Western Greenbrier Co-Generation, LLC, a newly-formed public service entity serving the municipalities of Rainelle, Rupert and Quinwood, WV

More information is posted on the DOE’s fossil energy Web site at: www.fossil.energy.gov.

A New Industry Standard for Catalogs

The U.S. catalog industry mailed nearly 17 billion catalogs in 2001, using 3.6 tons of paper. Manufacturing this much paper has significant environmental impacts, including wood, energy and water consumption, air and water pollution, and solid waste. With their enormous purchasing power, catalog companies can make a big difference for the environment by switching to recycled paper—a simple step that conserves resources and cuts pollution and waste. The good news is that recycled paper for catalogs is now widely available, is competitively priced and performs just as well as virgin paper. Companies like Norm Thompson Outfitters, Chico’s, Sundance and Hanna Andersson are proving that recycled paper works for the environment and their business. Other catalogers can improve their environmental performance, honor their customers’ expectations and meet their business needs by following their lead.

A recent report from the Alliance for Environmental Innovation, Does Your Catalog Care?, makes the case for catalogers to switch to recycled paper. A question-and-answer section on the environmental benefits of recycled paper explains how doing so helps preserve forests, reduces pollution during manufacturing and cuts solid waste.

For Information , visit www.environmentaldefense.org/alliance


Pragmatic Guide to Reporting

A new report issued by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) answers the worldwide call on companies for greater accountability and transparency by explaining why and how sustainable development reporting can help turn the recent wave of boardroom scandals into renewed boardroom trust. A by-business, for-business pragmatic guide, Striking the Balance is co-authored by Bert Heemskerk, CEO, Rabobank Group; Pasquale Pistorio, president and CEO, STMicroelectronics; and Martin Scicluna, managing partner, Global Strategic Clients, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Striking the Balance is designed to encourage companies to provide a rationale, the business case and tools to produce such reports. It covers three main areas:

* a step-by-step guide to help companies to improve or develop their reports;
* recommendations on how to bridge the gap between the information needs of the financial community and the reporting practices of companies;
* and insight into the debate on the standardization of reporting formats.

The guide is supplemented by an on-line “reporting portal” that features practices drawn from some 50 WBCSD members. For information, visit www.wbcsd.org.


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