GM Opens Fourth Landfill
General Motors Shreve-port, LA, assembly facility has become
the companys fourth location to utilize landfill gas as energy.
Three other GM facilitiesToledo, OH; Orion, MI; and Fort Wayne,
INalso use landfill gas to power plant boilers, and a fifth
project is underway at Oklahoma City, OK. In addition, GMs Service
Parts Operations headquarters in Grand Blanc, MI, utilizes landfill
gas by purchasing eight million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually,
generated from the Granger Energy landfill gas-to-electricity project.
According to the World Resources Institute and the Green Power Market
Development Group, GM is the largest non-utility user of landfill
gas in the U.S.
All of GMs landfill gas projects have proven to save money,
generating annual savings greater than $500,000 at each plant,
said Joseph C. Bibeau, group director of GMs Energy and Utility
By driving energy conservation initiatives and by using various renewable
energy sources, such as methane gas, GM has reduced its natural gas
consumption by 21 percent since 1995 and is on its way to achieving
its 25 percent energy reduction goal by 2005. The sum of the landfill
gas being utilized at the four GM plants is 1.6 trillion BTUs per
year, which is equivalent to the energy needed to power over 45,000
Have CR Initiatives
Gearing Up, a new SustainAbility report launched at the United Nations
Global Compact Leaders Summit in June, concludes that despite achieving
impressive momentum, the corporate responsibility (CR) movement is
bumping up against real limits. Some responsible businesses have scratched
the surface of global issues like climate change and HIV/AIDS, but
just as many work to maintain the status quo. The efforts of business,
in combination with government and civil society, are quite simply
being outpaced by the problems.
SustainAbilitys report concludes that the CR movement is constrained
by too narrow a focus and the lack of appropriate links to wider global,
regional and national governance frameworks. Where links do exist,
they are often dominated by regressive lobbying.
On climate change, the report notes that a few companies have made
significant cuts in CO2 emissions, but globally emissions have increased
8.9 percent since 1990, against a 60 percent reduction target. On
the health front, some companies are helping to fight HIV/AIDS by
providing anti-retrovirals to their employees. Yet in the poorest
countries, less than 10 percent of the six million people who need
such drugs currently get them. Too often, its a case of too
little, too late.
In order to make real progress, and reverse the unfolding backlash
against globalization, the authors call on Global Compact participants
and other leading companies to help drive system-level change. Business
is generally encouraged to stay out of politics, but the challenge
business leaders face is increasingly political. Corporate responsibility
has the potential to bring about positive change on a much larger
scale, agrees Georg Kell, executive head of the Global Compact.
But to get there, the CR movement will need to focus on two
things simultaneously: achieving critical mass across all industry
sectors, and connecting private actions with public policy efforts
so that root causes of problems are tackled. CR cannot operate in
isolation any longer.
To make these connections in a legitimate way, companies must be more
transparent and consistent in their public policy positionsand
they will need to involve other interested parties. The report encourages
business leaders to:
* increase transparency and demonstrate real progress in integrating
CR into core business operations;
* work alongside civil society and governments in progressive
alliances to achieve public policy changes that directly address
social and environmental challenges;
* and champion policies that ensure more responsible forms of globalization.
UPS Helps Manage
UPS Supply Chain Solutions now offers a service that helps companies
properly manage the disposition of used and obsolete electronic goods
and components. Through its new Asset Recovery and Recycling Management
service, UPS Supply Chain Solutions oversees the final disposition
of these electronics through repair, recycling or disposal in an environmentally
safe manner, all while controlling logistics-related activities. The
new service tackles the growing problem of how to manage used and
obsolete electronic goods, such as computers, cell phones, printers
as well as their electronic components.
With government enforcement of proper handling standards increasing
globally, the new service is designed to help companies address the
fragmented logistics processes to reclaim these goods from many locations,
the high costs of managing returns, and the liability associated with
this activity if done incorrectly. UPSs Asset Recovery and Recycling
Management service provides companies with a single point of contact,
enhanced visibility and tracking and governmentally compliant documentation.
UPS Supply Chain Solutions, through its vendors, also offers resale
and remarketing services on behalf of companies for their used electronics.
SRI Funds Generate
Of the 60-odd socially responsible investment (SRI) mutual funds tracked
by SocialFunds.com, two funds have produced year-to-date (YTD) returns
in the double digits at the half-year mark, according to a report
issued on July 21, 2004 authored by William Baue. The Ariel Fund generated
YTD returns of 11.84 percent, placing it in the third percentile compared
to its peersdomestic equity value funds that invest in small-
and mid-cap companies. (In other words, it performed better than 97
percent of its peer funds.) The Pax World Growth Fund produced YTD
returns of 10.61 percent, ranking in the second percentile compared
to its peersdomestic equity growth funds that invest in mid-
and large-cap companies.
Performance statistics cited were current as of June 30, 2004, and
are based on data provided by Thomson Financial Network, unless otherwise
On social issues, the two funds converge on some screens. Both funds
exclude companies that produce weapons, nuclear power, tobacco and
negative impacts on the environment, and both have positive screens
for strong employment policies. Neither fund practices community investment.
The funds diverge on other social issues. For example, the Pax World
practices shareowner advocacy, engaging with companies it holds to
encourage progressive social and environmental policies and practices;
Ariel does not. The Pax World Growth Fund also employs several additional
screens, such as exclusions on companies involved in alcohol and gambling.
In contrast, the top holding in the Ariel Fund portfolio is Caesars
Entertainment, a casino operator.
Ford, BP to Build
Hydrogen Fleets, Fueling Stations
Ford Motor Co. and BP plc are undertaking a major initiative aimed
at moving the United States closer to a hydrogen economy. Ford intends
to place up to 30 hydrogen-powered vehicles, and BP plans to build
a network of fueling stations to support them, in metropolitan Sacramento,
CA; Orlando, FL; and Detroit, MI. The proposed fleets and fueling
stations are in response to the U.S. Department of Energys solicitation
entitled Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration
and Validation Project.
The Ford and BP joint proposal calls for Ford to provide up to 30
hydrogen-powered Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV). Assembly of
the vehicles will begin in the fourth quarter of 2004, depending on
the timing of successful contract negotiations with the U.S. DOE and
various state and local entities. The Ford Focus FCV uses an 85kW
fuel cell stack supplied by Ballard Power Systems. It is hybridized
with the addition of a nickel metalhydride battery pack and
a brake-by-wire electro-hydraulic series regenerative braking system.
BP plans to install a network of stations demonstrating state-of-the
art fueling technologies to support the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Some BP hydrogen refueling stations will evaluate technologies that
have near-term commercial feasibility, such as reformation of natural
gas, while others will explore more long-term technology options and
assess the potential to produce renewable-based hydrogen that achieve
U.S. DOE hydrogen fuel cost targets.
GHG Protocol Revised
The World Business Council for Sustain-able Development (WBCSD) and
World Resources Institute (WRI) have released a new edition of The
Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard,
an international standard used worldwide by businesses to report and
set targets for their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). This standard,
first launched in 2001, has become the most widely used global standard
for corporate accounting of greenhouse gas emissions. It was developed
by over 500 experts from businesses, NGOs and governments, and adopted
by over 150 companies, including industry associations representing
pulp and paper, aluminum and cement.
The revised standard reinforces and solidifies the standards of its
widely used predecessor, but adds more case studies, annexes and guidance,
including a new chapter on how to set credible GHG reduction targets.
These additions draw upon the experiences of numerous businesses and
climate programs that used the first edition.
The GHG Protocol reduces transaction costs for business, improves
consistency, and ultimately facilitates efforts to link different
trading schemes into a global market. It is also contributing to other
accounting efforts, such as the forthcoming ISO standard on GHG accounting,
which has signaled its intent to be compatible with GHG Protocol.
The objective is also to rally more companies globally to use the
protocol and thus facilitate corporate action on climate change.