High Potential Wind
As the efficiency, durability and size of wind turbines have increased,
wind power has become much more feasible in recent years. With these
advances, U.S. power companies are stepping up efforts to produce
efficient, clean wind energy and plans to install a total new capacity
of 22,000 MW of wind power, or about 15,000 individual turbines. Because
the power produced is very sensitive to wind speed, the search for
optimal high-wind locations is critical to the efficiency of wind
turbines and the cost of wind power. ENSR Internationals research
and development program has developed the capability to assess the
wind energy potential at any site within the U.S. and its offshore
In a key part of this project, ENSR scientists processed advanced
meteorological data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration into a format that can be used with WindFarm
software. Using this application, ENSR scientists streamline the air
modeling process and accurately simulate the wind energy conditions
for a specified geographical location, thereby identifying the most
promising sites for wind power development.
A Summit on Sustainable
Audubon International and North Carolina State University (NCSU) met
in October with over 50 national leaders to discuss the formation
of a Sustainable Communities Partnership. Partner organizations would
assist municipalities across the country in blending economic development,
environmental quality and social well-being.
What we have across the country are communities with real needs.
But its often difficult for them to find available resources
to help with sustainable planning and development, says Ronald
Dodson, president and CEO of Audubon International. At the same
time, there are many resources already out there, but theyre
not well coordinated. The Sustainable Communities Partnership would
create a network of organizations that would offer one-stop-shopping
for information, education, training and technical services.
The push for a national Sustainable Communities Partnership stems
from the successful partnership between Audubon International and
NCSU, formed last year to pilot-test Audubon Internationals
Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) in North Carolina. Through that
partnership, the citizens of Williamston, NC have been working with
Audubon International and NCSU staff to further community-wide environmental
action, civic engagement and strategic planning.
Next steps include further exploring how the national Sustainable
Communities Partnership will be structured, drafting a set of principles
for member selection, and identifying funding sources for this innovative
partnership. For more information, visit the Audubon International
Web site at www.audubonintl.org.
Study Proves Green
Buildings Are Cost Effective
Investments in green buildings pay for themselves 10 times over, according
to a new study for 40 California agencies. The study, by the Capital
E group, Lawrence Berkley Laboratory and participating California
state agencies, thoroughly examines the cost-benefit analysis of green
With this study, the California Department of Finance, for the first
time, has signed off on the existence of financial benefits associated
with improved health productivity and lowered operations and maintenance
costs in green buildings. The California Board of Regents also drew
on the early findings of this study and is moving forward in pushing
for all state higher education new construction to be green.
This study, drawing on national data for 100 green buildings and an
in-depth review of several hundred existing studies, found that sustainable
buildings are a very cost-effective investment.
The report concluded that financial benefits of green design are between
$50 and $70 per square foot in a LEED building, over 10 times
the additional cost associated with building green. The financial
benefits were found to be in lower energy, waste and water costs,
lower environmental and emissions costs, and lower operational and
maintenance costs and increased productivity and health.
For a copy of the report, visit:
Forum Calls for Responsible
A two-day multi-stakeholder Forest Investment Forum concluded in October
with a call to curb illegal logging, which today represents worldwide
annual losses in revenues and assets in excess of $10 billion, and
to increase responsible forest investments in developing countries
and economies-in-transition. A statement issued by the sponsoring
organizationsthe World Business Council for Sustainable Development
(WBCSD), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Forest Trends, Program on Forests
(PROFOR), the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation
(IFC)emphasized that this gathering, which included leaders
of multinational forest companies, governments, ministries, international
development and financial institutions as well as environmental and
civil society organizations, was a crucial platform to move ahead
a sustainability agenda for the forest sector.
It is estimated that some 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests
for their livelihoods. Sixty million indigenous peoples depend on
forests for their subsistence. Forest resources also represent a survival
base for as many as 200 to 300 million small farmers around the world.
Forests worldwide harbor 90 percent of land-based biodiversity, including
numerous threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Forests
provide valuable goods like timber and medicines, and important services
such as regulating climate change by storing carbon and filtering
drinking water. Despite their importance, many of the worlds
richest forests are rapidly disappearing.
Inaction is not an option, said Odd Gullberg, COO for
the WBCSD. Population growth, rising standards of living and
industrialization are placing pressure on forest products and services.
Investment in forestry, which increases each year, can support responsible
forestry if businesses, governments, financial institutions, and NGOs
Americans Less Than
Candid About Their Cans
The national recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans has fallen
to nearly 50 percent, but 70 percent of Americans say they always
or often recycle aluminum cans, according to a new survey conducted
by Alcan Inc. Industry statistics reveal an incremental, but steady,
decline in aluminum can recycling from highs approaching 70 percent
just 10 years ago. Today nearly half of all recyclable aluminumworth
an estimated $800 millionends up in landfills. Alcans
survey, conducted as part of the companys participation in America
Recycles Day on November 15, shows that almost half of respondents
say they recycle more aluminum cans now than they did five years ago.
Only 19 percent say they recycle less.
We seem to have a skewed perception when it comes to recycling,
said Martha Brooks, president of Alcan Rolled Products, which supplies
aluminum can sheet to can makers and recycles used beverage cans.
If as many Americans recycled as they say recycled, we would
not be seeing this alarming waste of a valuable resource.
Other significant survey findings include:
* The U.S. public is split on the importance of recycling aluminum
cans; half consider it important, roughly two in five are neutral,
and over a quarter consider it unimportant.
* 45 percent said increasing the number of recycling centers or containers
in the community would be very effective; 41 percent said more
public education about the environmental benefits of aluminum can
recycling was very effective; 37 percent thought more public
education about the monetary benefits of aluminum can recycling was
Complete survey findings are available at www.alcan.com.
Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co., in collaboration with Torontos
Schulich School of Business at York University, have announced a $2
million endowment of the Hewlett-Packard Chair in Corporate Social
Responsibility at Schulich. The creation of this chair in Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) is the result of more than 10 years of
academic leadership by Schulich in CSR. The chair is intended to extend
Schulichs impact across the globe, playing a pivotal role in
defining emerging corporate social responsibility issues, conducting
research, teaching CSR-related courses and engaging in community outreach.
A key area of exploration will be new models of stakeholder engagement
and the role of information technology within the global economy.
The Schulich School is internationally recognized for its commitment
to CSR. It was recently honored by the World Resources Institute and
the Aspen Institute jointly as one of only six cutting-edge
business schools from around the world preparing future executives
with a solid training in environmental and social impact management.
(See Educating Effective Leaders in this issue.) The Schulich
School offers a variety of corporate social responsibility courses
of study including a comprehensive program in business and sustainability
as well programs in corporate governance. The school also runs the
Sustainable Enterprise Academy, an executive education program on
EPA Accepting Green
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting nominations
for the 2004 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. These
prestigious awards recognize innovative chemical technologies that
incorporate green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and
use. Green chemistry is the use of chemistry to prevent pollution.
Nominated technologies should reduce or eliminate the use or generation
of hazardous substances from a chemical product or process. Any individual,
group or organization, both non-profit and for-profit, including academia,
government and industry, may nominate a green chemistry technology
for these awards. Self-nominations are welcome and expected.
Typically, five awards are given each year: one to an academic researcher,
one to a small business, and the rest in specific areas of green chemistry.
A nominated technology must have reached a significant milestone within
the past five years in the United States. Nominations must be postmarked
by December 31, 2003 to be eligible for the 2004 awards, which will
be presented at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC,
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/howto.html.
Retail Success with
In June 2003, Wild Oats successfully launched a packaging line made
from NatureWorks PLA in 11 stores throughout the Portland, OR area.
Based on a noticeable increase in sales and positive consumer response,
Wild Oats is expanding NatureWorks PLA to Colorado this fall and plans
to launch it in all of its remaining stores through early 2004.
In addition to U.S. introductions, success in Europe points to the
global appeal of the nature-based packaging concept. In Italy, IPER
hypermarkets have also noticed similar success in their fresh food
aisles. The company first launched NatureWorks PLA in 2002, selling
a broad range of fresh and prepared deli items packaged in clear containers
with heat sealed lidding made from NatureWorks PLA. In the first year,
strong consumer interest and good sales have encouraged IPER to expand
its use of the new packaging to all 21 of its stores. Additionally,
IPER is now using NatureWorks PLA to package a wider variety of foods,
including tomatoes and sliced meats. IPER is testing several other
new applications now and is also considering using the natural packaging
with its store brand Patto Qualità, products.
The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and Nike announced they are
re-lacing their partnership to recycle used athletic shoes, expanding
the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program to every state in the continental United
States. In year two of the partnership, NRC and Nike anticipate all
32 of last years participating recycling organizations to return
as well as 50 new recycling programs, including the partnerships
first curbside Nike Reuse-A-Shoe recycling effort in Contra Costa
County, CA. All of the participating organizations will commit to
collecting a minimum of 5,000 pairs of worn-out athletic shoes in
the coming year.
After registering with NRC and Nike, recycling organizations collect
and store old athletic shoes in a way that best suits the organizations
needs. When enough shoes have been collected to fill a 27-foot trailer
(approximately 5,000 pairs), Nike arranges for the shoes to be picked
up and shipped to its Reuse-A-Shoe recycling facility in Wilsonville,
OR, free of charge. Nike then grinds the shoes and gives them new
life as athletic surfaces. The NRC and Nike provide each organization
with communications tools to promote its collection effort, including
customizable radio spots, media releases, posters, print ads and more.
Two $25,000 grants will be awarded to participating recycling organizations
The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program celebrated its 10th anniversary this
year. Since its inception, the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled
more than 15 million pairs of shoes, and has helped donate over 150
athletic courts, tracks, fields and playground surfaces to communities
around the world.
Three professional associations, representing more than 90 percent
of the commercial interior design, architecture and corporate real
estate/workplace management sectors, have announced the winners of
the Sustainable Design Leadership Awards, an international awards
program. The associations are the International Interior Design Association
(IIDA), The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Interiors Committee
and CoreNet Global.
The awards recognize sustainable design leadership as articulated
by advocacy, mentoring and projects that reflect consistent commitment
to the principles of sustainability in professional practice. They
are awarded in two categories: design firms practicing sustainable
architecture and interior design; and corporate/organizations that
have established sustainable business operations and practices which
include architecture and interior design.
The design firm award was presented to Mithun Architects+Designers+Planners,
Seattle, WA. Two awards recognized operational achievements: Toyota
Motor Sales, Torrance, CA (recognizing its achievements within the
corporate, for-profit sector), and Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia
(recognizing its work as a non-profit/government organization). Special
commendations were also given to HOK (St. Louis, MO) and to Fox &
Fowle (New York, NY), recognizing their pioneering efforts in the
practice of sustainable architecture and interior design.
The Sustainable Design Leadership Awards are underwritten by corporate
sponsor Tandus, Dalton, GA.
Three Win in China's
First Green Business Competition
The first Chinese producer of organic honey, a manufacturer of testing
kits to detect genetically modified organisms (GMO) and an organic
food company were declared recently as winners of the first green
business competition in China. The winning companies, whose business
plans call for investments ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million,
* Beijing Organic Foods Co., Ltd., a pioneer enterprise in Chinas
organic foods market, which currently has sales of $2.3 million. The
company sells products in 60 supermarkets throughout 12 cities in
* ChongQing Jinbiao Biotechnology Co., Ltd., a company that manufactures
and markets testing kits that can detect GMOs in one minute and cost
one-fourth less than the industry average.
* Nanjing Ruikang Agriculture Co., Ltd., a company that produces and
exports organic honey to the United States, Japan and Europe and holds
66 percent of the global market for organic royal jelly.
The winners, chosen from a pool of 10 finalists, were announced at
the end of the first annual New Ventures Investor Forum in China,
held October 2003 in Shanghai. It is a marketplace for investors who
understand that investing in sustainable enterprises makes good business
sense. The forum is sponsored by the World Resources Institute (WRI)
and Citigroup. Originally implemented in Latin America, WRI and Citigroup
expanded the New Ventures program to China last year to support sustainable
businesses in a country that relies heavily on material- and energy-intensive
production processes. These have depleted the countrys natural
resources and increased environmental pollution.
Protecting the Oceans
The Pew Institute for Ocean Science has been created at the Rosenstiel
School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami.
Devoted to marine conservation, the institute is a $3 million collaborative
effort with The Pew Charitable Trusts and consolidates much of the
marine conservation work currently sponsored by the Pew Trusts.
The establishment of the Pew Institute comes at a time of growing
concern over the health of Americas oceans. In July of 2003,
the independent Pew Oceans Commission published Americas Living
Oceans, with findings based on a three-year study of the oceansthe
first of its kind in more than 30 years. The policy report followed
groundbreaking research on the global decline in populations of
large marine fish due to industrialized fishing. In a few months
the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy plans to publish its report
on U.S. ocean policy.
The new institutes three primary missions will be to: continue
the trusts sponsorship of groundbreaking, nonpartisan marine
research; provide consultation and selective assistance on fishery
management issues; and oversee the Pew Fellows Program in Marine
Conservationthe most prominent marine fellows program in the
world. The Pew Fellows Program will relocate from the New England
Aquarium to the Rosenstiel School in December 2003.
The Rosenstiel School is one of the worlds foremost institutions
for research on coral reefs, aquaculture techniques and commercially
important fisheries. It runs the Center on Sustainable Fisheries
and works closely with two neighboring institutions: NOAAs
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and the Southeast
Fisheries Science Center.
A Financial Tool
IdealsWork Financial has agreed with SRI World Group, Inc. to distribute
IWF Advisor, a new financial services application that gives investment
advisors tools to identify investment opportunities that are customized
for each clients social and financial values. IWF Advisor
allows investment advisors to rate companies, industries and indices
according to individually selected social and financial criteria.
The personalized ratings, which use Morningstar and IRRC research
as their foundation, enable advisors to find investments that are
tailored to each clients social and financial goals.
Although 12 percent of managed assets are currently subject to some
social screen according to the Social Investment Forum, many of
these assets are controlled by institutions, which employ analysts
to compile and evaluate data on companies. IWF Advisor provides
individual advisors with similar access to information and analytic
capability. The tool also enables advisors to build relationships
with their clients through discussions about their clients
social and financial goals. A recent Calvert/Harris study revealed
that 88 percent of investors said they would trust their advisor
more if the advisor introduced them to socially responsible investing
IWF Advisor is available through SRI World Groups Web site
Dell and the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) have formed an
alliance to educate school, municipality and non-profit officials
on best practices for the reuse and recycling of computers. The
program is designed to raise awareness of computer disposal issues
and help consumers empty closets of unwanted equipment. The pilot
training program began on October 10 at Stanford University, followed
on October 11 by a hands-on collection event that attendees of the
training session managed. This recycling education program follows
a 15-city National Dell Recycling Tour, which collected nearly two
million pounds of used computer equipment this spring and summer.
Dell hopes to share what it learned during the tour with university
and community recycling coordinators, empowering them to conduct
future collection events in their own communities as one additional
means of environmentally responsible recycling.
We fully recognize that one-time recycling events are not
a long-term solution to the electronic waste issue, said Pat
Nathan, sustainable business director for Dell, but they are
a highly-effective awareness tool that allows us to educate consumers
about the importance of recycling and computer end-of-life options.
Dell and the NRC have developed a best-practices guide as part of
the partnership, covering topics such as selecting donation partners,
estimating participation, training volunteers and event promotion.