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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 : Mar/Apr 2004

Actions and initiatives worth noting

Electronics Recycling Agreement Reached

Representatives from the U.S. electronics industry endorsed in February a resolution with state governments and environmental groups to develop sustainable, fair and flexible recycling efforts nationwide, according to the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). As part of that resolution, manufacturers will work together to develop a framework for financing the nationwide recycling program that an EPA-initiated stakeholders group known as the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) will then recommend to Congress. The task ahead for industry is to reach consensus on the divergent views among companies. Specifically, industry will create a proposal for legislation that will finance recycling programs through a fee at point-of-sale or allow companies to create alternative plans to manage costs without a fee on their products. Manufacturers will also be given flexibility in fulfilling their recycling responsibilities either collectively or individually, through the development of Alternative Stewardship Plans. These plans will demonstrate how manufacturers intend to meet or surpass collection and recycling goals set by the U.S. EPA or another neutral party.

EIA has been a charter member of NEPSI since the multi-stakeholder dialogue effort was organized by the U.S EPA in April 2001. The objective of the initiative was to discuss and reach agreement on a national solution for the financing of end-of-life electronics. EIA believes one of the primary benefits of participation in NEPSI has been the ability of all stakeholders to understand the complexities posed by the electronics waste issue. “This isn’t just a manufacturers’ issue, or a consumer issue, or a problem the states have to handle,” noted Heather Bowman, EIA director of environmental affairs. “It is an issue affecting everyone.

“EIA is optimistic that, in time, industry manufacturers will be able to reach consensus on the issue of financing,” Bowman added. “If we can make this overall framework a part of any legislation introduced in Congress, we’re confident we can make electronics recycling efforts more effective and sustainable.”

Sustainable Practices in China

In a continued effort to promote business involvement in sustainable development worldwide, the China Business Council for Sustainable Development officially became the 48th member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) Regional Network. The China BCSD is the first organization of this kind in the country, bringing together a cross-section of national and foreign companies. Its aim is to implement more sustainable practices in the country, and is the result of a joint effort with the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC). The China BCSD’s board includes the following WBCSD members: Sinopec, Novozymes, BASF, Shell, BP and Lafarge.

“China’s businesses face major challenges to implement more sustainable practices, such as improving resource and energy efficiency to support their current pace of spectacular economic growth,” said WBCSD president Bjorn Stigson at a press conference in January. “Another challenge is the need to restructure industry sectors to achieve economies of scale to afford environmentally friendly modern technology.”

Stigson added that the government’s aim to quadruple China’s GDP by 2020 adds to the challenges ahead, and also means that the growing demand for resources is likely to affect prices of natural resources on the world markets. “Global sustainability is not possible without a sustainable China,” he said.

The China BCSD’s priorities for 2004 include: raising awareness and building capacity on sustainable development in management schools and public administration institutions; promoting higher environmental standards and eco-efficiency within Chinese industry; and cooperating actively with Chinese authorities on policy development.

Carbon Financing for Small-scale Projects

EcoSecurities and E+Co have launched 2E Carbon Access, an enterprise focused solely on bringing carbon financing benefits to small-scale projects in developing countries. It was created to address the concern among advocates and smaller developing countries that the global carbon financing efforts underway will mainly benefit high volume, industrial-scale greenhouse gas reduction projects, leaving behind the opportunity that thousands of small projects and enterprises in developing countries represent. Small, developmentally appropriate projects are challenging to transact in the current market due to a combination of perceived project risk factors. These transactions require specialized approaches and experience.

It is hoped that 2E Carbon Access will provide this specialized access for small-scale energy projects in developing countries, and will fill a critical need by identifying, preparing and supplying high-quality, investment-ready, small-scale energy projects to committed buyers of certified emission reductions (CERs), thereby helping fulfill the Kyoto Protocol mandate that emissions trading promote sustainable development.

2E Carbon Access represents a strategic partnership between E+Co, a leading supplier of seed finance and business development services, and EcoSecurities, a leading greenhouse gas advisory firm. 2E Carbon Access has a pipeline of over 20 projects, a number of contracts in hand and is preparing project documents for potential buyers. As 2E Carbon Access is implemented, there will be a need for additional partners, including small-scale project developers, CER buyers and financial and development partners. Information is available at

Reducing Steel's Emissions

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) has launched a North American research initiative to develop new steel-making technologies with little or no CO2 emissions. AISI will play an integral part of an international effort, organized under the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), in which many regions around the world are attacking the CO2 issue. As part of this effort to reduce CO2 emissions, the international steel industry is focusing its collective attention on the development of revolutionary new processes that minimize, eliminate or capture carbon emissions through the CO2 Breakthrough Program.

“All of the North American companies that have joined the program will share the benefits of this global effort,” said AISI chairman Daniel R. DiMicco, vice chairman, president and CEO, Nucor Corp. “We expect that some meaningful benefits will be returned early and others in the long-term.”

The first phase of the program is entitled “concept discovery and assessment,” during which concepts will be investigated and developed in the hope that several will show sufficient promise to effect dramatic reductions in emissions. Some areas already identified for study include the use of non-carbonaceous fuels such as hydrogen and methane, advanced scrap processing technologies for residual removal and more efficient melting, the use of biomass and closed-carbon-cycle processes, and CO2 sequestration.

AISI is currently soliciting research proposals into abatement technologies, which will be evaluated and for

Durst Buys Green Power

The Durst Organization, one of New York City’s most prominent commercial real estate owners, is making an annual purchase of approximately 10.5 million kilowatt-hours of NewWind Energy®, clean and renewable green power from Community Energy, Inc. It will be used to help power Durst’s 7.5-million-square-foot portfolio of seven high-rise office buildings in Manhattan and represents 10 percent of the total energy consumed in the company’s New York properties. NewWind Energy is supplied from the Fenner Wind Power Project, located east of Syracuse in Madison County. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a state agency, supports the initiative by providing funding for marketing support. ConEdison Solutions, an energy services company, partners with Community Energy Inc. to bring green power to the New York City area.

GEMI Releases "Advantage" Tool

A new tool designed to enable businesses to measure, manage and communicate EHS value to the financial community has been unveiled by the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). Called “‘Clear Advantage: Building Shareholder Value/Environment Value to the Investor,” the tool provides compelling evidence of the link between EHS activities and shareholder value, according to Elizabeth Girardi Schoen, chair of GEMI, and is intended for senior company executives, including CEOs, CFOs and Investor Relations (IR) professionals, mainstream financial analysts and fund managers and EHS and other company managers.

“EHS is among the intangible value drivers that are hidden sources of organizational power—from regulatory compliance that prevents liabilities, to proactively managing risk. Leveraging EHS resources can help create additional value for the enterprise through strategy execution, enhancing brand and reputation, boosting innovation and leadership,” said Jim Thomas, co-chair of the GEMI work group that developed “Clear Advantage.” This “is a resource and guide containing a variety of data and tools to assist managers in unlocking the value contained in activities they are required to perform, but frequently regard as a cost of doing business—rather than as an opportunity to better position the enterprise with customers, investors and lenders, alliance partners and current or prospective employees,” he added.

For more information, visit www.

Cleaning Up Contaminated Sites

Earth Pledge, a sustainable development non-profit organization based in New York, NY, has launched The Guardian Trust, a public/private partnership to provide accountable, on-going land use and engineering controls and to enable trustworthy redevelopment of environmentally contaminated properties. The goal of the partnership is fourfold:

* to protect human health and the environment by preventing improper usage of environmentally contaminated sites and assuring the integrity of remedial solutions;

* to provide financial assurances for the long-term stewardship of properties;

* to facilitate the ability of owners to transfer sites to buyers;

* and to allow companies to safely end their active day-to-day management of contaminated properties and focus on their core business strategies.

Guardian Trust Management Services, an affiliate of MGP Environmental Partners LLC, Stamford, CT, will manage the program. The Guardian Trust is an outgrowth of a pilot study funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Also participating in the study were the United States Navy, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the California Environmental Protection Agency. The pilot study looked at innovative approaches to solving problems associated with land use and engineering controls at sites where contamination remains behind after the initial clean-up. The vast majority of all environmental clean-ups use risk-based methods.

MGP Environmental Partners uses private sector approaches to solve complex issues involved in the transaction and redevelopment of contaminated sites.

Greening Hotels and Resorts

Audubon International is partnering with TerraChoice Environmental Services, Inc. of Canada to create the Audubon Green Leaf™ Eco-Rating Program for hotels, a cooperative program geared toward expanding environmental and eco-efficiency initiatives within the hospitality industry throughout North America.

“Hotels participating in the Audubon Green Leaf Program will be provided the opportunity to reduce costs and improve performance, as well as achieve a Green Leaf rating that enables them to make gains in market share,” explains Kevin Gallagher, vice president of TerraChoice Environmental Services Inc. “From the initial level to the more advanced, hotels can work with the program to their advantage.”

The two-tiered program combines environmental awareness and education with best management practices tailored to the hotel and resort industries. During the initial stage, a member receives educational materials and begins making improvements in its environmental performance. In stage two, the hotel completes an environmental checklist that reviews all functioning areas of operation. It then receives a verification audit, followed by a rating—from one to five Green Leafs—for its level of achievement, together with a report that details ways to improve and achieve an even higher rating in the future.

For more information about the Green Leaf program, visit

Johnson Controls Receives WEC Award

The World En-vironment Center’s Annual WEC Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development has been awarded to Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI). The Milwaukee, WI-based company was honored for “creating tremendous shareholder value through businesses and initiatives that enable energy efficiency and reduced carbon dioxide emissions; facilitate resource efficiency, reuse and recycling; and promote Green Building design concepts. The jury cited JCI’s “High Performance Green Buildings” initiative, through which it creates buildings designed to conserve energy and water, use natural materials and lighting, treat landscapes with respect and minimize emissions

Energy Star Winners

Recognizing outstanding contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, the 2004 Energy Star Awards were presented to 57 businesses and organizations by the U.S. EPA. Last year alone, Energy Star helped Americans save enough energy to power 20 million homes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 18 million cars—all while saving consumers $9 billion. Additionally, more than 200,000 new homes have earned the Energy Star distinction, and more than 15,000 office buildings, schools, supermarkets and hotels have benchmarked their energy performance as a basis for future progress. All this was accomplished without sacrificing quality, features or personal comfort.

Energy Star was introduced by the U.S. EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency. Today, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the program offers businesses and consumers energy efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 8,000 organizations have become Energy Star partners and are committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.

Awards were granted in four categories: Excellence in Efficient Homes, Excellence in Energy Management, Excellence in Efficient Products and Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Education. For information and a complete list of award-winning companies, visit

Defining Hydrogen Fuel Specs

The Transportation Working Group of the U.S. Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) is collaborating with national and international group initiatives in defining a fuel specification for hydrogen to be used in transportation applications. The group plans to project fuel cell design operating targets/parameters for transportation applications, define tests required to understand the fundamental impact of hydrogen on fuel cell performance and durability, determine “allowable” levels of impurities based on projections from fundamental test results, define validation tests to confirm that projections are correct, and publish results for use by other organizations.

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