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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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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : Jan/Feb 2004

Actions and initiatives worth noting

Investors Call for Action on Climate Risk

At a November 2003 summit convened by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) at the United Nations in New York, NY, institutional investors representing over $1 trillion in invested capital assembled for the first time to examine the financial risks of global climate change. At the Institutional Investor Summit on Climate Risk, eight state and city treasurers and comptrollers and two major labor pension fund leaders issued a 10-point “call for action” demanding new steps by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), corporate boards and Wall Street firms to increase corporate disclosure of the risks posed by climate change to investors. As part of the call for action, the 10 pension fund leaders announced the formation of a new Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR). CERES has been named the secretariat for INCR. The initial focus of INCR is to promote better understanding of the risks of climate change among institutional investors and to follow through on the call for action.

The summit marked a turning point in the debate over the economic effects of global warming, said CERES executive director Mindy Lubber. “At the summit, fiduciaries and their fund managers were presented with the science and the economic risks and were able to ask questions and discuss the implications of global warming and excessive carbon dioxide emissions in financial terms,” she said.

Over 250 people attended the summit including representatives of public pension funds, state and municipal treasury offices, financial services firms, foundations, academia and the United Nations. Investors at the summit included state treasurers and comptrollers from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York State, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont, the heads of labor funds SEIU National Industry Pension Fund and the CWA/ITA Negotiated Pension Plan, trustees of Los Angeles and New York City, the heads of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), and representatives of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and the Michigan Municipal Employee Retirement System.

Wall Street and financial services firms were represented by executives from Bank of America, Bank of New York, Barclays, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, Lazard Asset Management, Lehman Brothers, Marsh and McLennan, Mellon Financial, Morgan Stanley, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, State Street, Swiss Re, among others.

For more information, visit

FTSE Examines Global Indices

TSE Group, a leading global index provider, has launched a worldwide consultancy to gather market users’ views on the process used to classify countries as developed or emerging in global indices. As international investment flows grow and countries compete for these assets, FTSE notes that it is imperative that a clear, global standard to assess the market status of countries is identified and adopted by the investment community.

“Investors want to see global benchmark providers adopting more transparent and objective ways of treating country classification. Relying on GNI per capita alone doesn’t give the right answers. When classifying a country or deciding whether to include or exclude it from global benchmarks, investors need to consider the economic wealth of a country as well as the quality of the local stock market and access for international investors. FTSE seeks to gather input on the most accurate and useful way to do this, and we aim to begin implementing a structure, based on these consultation results, during 2005,” said Mark Makepeace, chief executive of FTSE Group.

Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance

The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) and Conservation International (CI) have formed a joint initiative to protect biodiversity in top cruise destinations and promote industry practices that minimize the cruise industry’s environmental impact. The Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance has targeted four initial priorities:

* Best Practices for Wastewater Management: improved shipboard technology, specifically accelerating and adopting Advanced Wastewater Purification (AWP) systems.

* Establishing Destination Partnerships:
working with local governments and communities to maintain high-quality travel experiences by protecting the natural and cultural assets of cruise destinations.

* Promoting Environmental Education: raising guest and crew awareness of and support for critical conservation issues.

* Promoting Vendor Environmental Education: lessening the environmental impacts of suppliers.

The initiative’s first step will be to establish a science panel of experts in conservation, environmental technologies and cruise industry environmental practices that will independently review core environmental issues facing the cruise industry and provide advice as to the best course of action to deal with those critical challenges.

The ICCL, which represents 15 of the world’s leading cruise lines, has committed $850,000 to the initiative and its supporting projects. Conservation International has matched this contribution with an investment of $250,000. The alliance’s focus on tourism and biodiversity issues is important because approximately 70 percent of cruise destinations are in biodiversity hotspots.

Fuel Cell Groups to Collaborate

Leading fuel cell organizations have signed a collaboration agenda that will initiate information sharing, education, regulation and technical exchange. The U.S. Fuel Cell Council, Fuel Cell Commercialization Conference of Japan, Fuel Cells Canada, World Fuel Cell Council and Fuel Cell Europe collectively represent more than 300 businesses, research institutions and others interested in fuel cells and hydrogen.

The agreement implements a Memor-andum of Understanding committing to cooperation on significant aspects of commercialization:

* support a proposal to change the regulation of air transport of methanol fuel cell cartridges, to accommodate micro-fuel cell products for cell phones and computers;
* explore other avenues of cooperation and information exchange on regulatory issues, to the extent that the organizations individually deem productive and appropriate;
* exchange information on test protocols and for some PEM fuel cell components;
* organize a Second Fuel Cell Summit of Vehicle Demonstration Programs, and a concurrent exchange on Education and Communications;
* and Internet-based information sharing.

The organizations will meet at least annually to assess progress and refine their activities; the next meeting will be held in June 2004 in

Top 10 Conservation Groups

In recognition of the efforts of conservation advocacy groups, Dr. Reese Halter and the staffs at Global Forest Science ( research facilities in Banff, Canada have identified their top 10 conservation groups for 2003. Groups were identified according to the contributions made in the areas of resources, funds and innovations to environmental and wildlife conservation. Foregoing a traditional ranking system, Reese determined that each of the conservation groups that made the list were of equal value, and are listed here in no particular order:

* Ducks Unlimited, protecting waterways throughout North America and educating children.
* Conservation International, dedicated to maintaining the biodiversity in tropical regions, and working with Starbucks to sustainably promote coffee harvests.
* Nature Conservancy, purchasing fragile ecosystems throughout North America, while protecting the environment, animals and forests.
* Audubon Society, protecting birds, particularly those of high elevations in sub-alpine and alpine regions, and developing outstanding children’s programs.
* National Geographic Society, supporting treetop ecology work in tropical forests, and providing excellent children’s programs.
* The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, supporting ecosystem conservation throughout the Pacific Northwest.
* The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, supporting basic forest science research toward understanding conservation biology in the Pacific Northwest.
* Gordon E. & Betty Moore Foundation, extensively contributing to protection efforts of the waterways of southern Brazil.
* The Pew Charitable Trusts, protecting the Northern “boreal” forests and waterways.
* Paul Allen Foundation, purchasing fragile and unique ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest.

Lessons for Climate Change

Government policies will be critical to the development and adoption of new technologies needed to abate global warming, according to a report released by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. The report, U.S. Technology and Innovation Policies: Lessons for Climate Change, examines U.S. experience with technology and innovation policies—both successes and failures—and draws lessons for climate change policy.

“We cannot solve the problem of global climate change without the development of new technologies, but new technologies don’t just happen—the market needs a signal, and that signal needs to come from government,” said Pew Center president Eileen Claussen. “Well-crafted policies can create a setting for continuing innovation where technological improvements build upon one another.”

In U.S. Technology and Innovation Policies: Lessons for Climate Change, report authors John A. Alic (consultant), David C. Mowery (University of California, Berkeley), and Edward S. Rubin (Carnegie Mellon University) examine a range of policies and programs—including intellectual property protection, energy and environmental regulations, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, and the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles—to glean lessons for future applications, including climate change policy. The authors found that because innovation is a complex, iterative process, different policy tools can be employed as catalysts at various phases (e.g., invention, adoption, diffusion).

The full text of this report is accessible at

Winslow Fund Among Leaders

The Winslow Green Growth Fund (WGGFX) finished 2003 with a return of +91.74 percent, which places it among the leading small-cap growth funds for the year. For the one-year period ended December 31, the fund ranks second out of 483 small-cap growth funds, based on total returns, according to Lipper, Inc. Overall, small-cap growth funds had an average return of +44.77 percent for the year.

“The overall performance of the Winslow Green Growth Fund during 2003 reinforced our belief that environmental performance is tied to a company’s overall financial performance,” said president and lead portfolio manager Jackson W. Robinson. “We have found that companies that are environmentally responsible historically outperform those that are not.”

As of December 31, the fund’s average annual returns are +91.74 percent for one-year, +23.00 percent for five years and +20.15 percent since inception on May 3, 1994.

More Green Power for Conneticut College

Students and administration at Connec-ticut College, New London, CT, have helped solidify the college’s ongoing support for the generation of green power by purchasing wind power energy certificates that equal approximately 44 percent of the college’s annual electricity consumption. The college has committed to purchase wind energy certificates, which financially support the renewable energy industry, for the next two years from EAD Environmental, a New York-based renewable energy credit and greenhouse gas marketer.

The effort to commit to renewable energy at Connecticut College began three years ago. Students in the College’s Renewable Energy Club proposed a petition to increase student fees to cover the additional cost of purchasing renewable energy attributes. More than 75 percent of the students signed the petition, and it won overwhelming support from the Student Government Association and, consequently, the College’s Board of Trustees.

Connecticut College has agreed to purchase 13.3 million kilowatt-hours of EAD Environmental’s 100-percent Green-e Certified, New Wind RECertificates. This is equivalent to the total output of nearly four 1.5-megawatt wind turbines and will prevent the emissions of approximately 17.2 million pounds of greenhouse gases.

Sustainable Development in the Panama Canal

Working toward protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) recently participated at a Corporate Social Responsibility Conference in Panama, sponsored by the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank. At the conference, ACP administrator Alemán Zubieta spoke to participants about the canal’s vision and mission toward economic development, ecological balance and social development. Barely four years in Panamanian hands, the ACP has gained ISO 9001 Certification for its management, as well as ISO 14001 Certification—a testimony to its quality of service and commitment to the environment.

The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. For nearly 90 years, the canal has served as the global pathway for the shipment of major world commodities. Since the end of 1999, when the ACP assumed the responsibility for the management, operation and modernization of the canal as well as the protection and conservation of its watershed, it has shifted to a market-oriented business model focused on customer service and reliability, making major capital investments for new and modern equipment and machinery, increasing safety and operational efficiency for customers.

For more information, refer to the ACP’s Web site at

Energy Efficiency and the Bottom Line

With a focus on energy efficiency, U.S. manufacturers can boost competitiveness and protect themselves from fuel supply problems, says a new report from the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and Executives for Energy Efficiency, a steering committee of New York State business stakeholders. The report provides guidance to plant managers and energy program officials who promote energy efficiency measures to add to bottom line business performance.

Motivating Business Leaders to Improve Profitability through Energy Efficiency reveals that the benefits of energy efficiency are not confined to lower utility bills, but also include timely solutions for manufacturers seeking relief from competitive pressures and fuel supply and price challenges. With industry accounting for about a third of U.S. natural gas consumption, industrial energy efficiency will help offset this winter’s potential natural gas supply shortages.

A companion report released concurrently by the ASE, Strategic Energy Efficiency: Reduce Expenses, Build Revenues and Control Risks, elaborates on the connection between energy efficiency and business performance. Both reports are available on the project’s Web site at

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