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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : Winter 2004

Newslines
Actions and initiatives worth noting

2004
Solar and Hydrogen Projects Receive Grants

The University of Delaware and Delaware State University announced that BP and the BP Foundation have awarded them $3.75 million in renewable energy research and products. The research will focus on developing higher efficiency solar cells at lower costs and a range of research on hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The partnership with the University of Delaware includes a BP Solar donation of equipment valued at $1.5 million and a $1.35 million grant to the Institute of Energy Conversion (IEC) in support of its solar energy research program. The University of Delaware will conduct research on hydrogen policy initiatives and fuel cell catalysts, while Delaware State University will undertake research on hydrogen storage materials.

The University of Delaware is one of two U.S. Department of Energy centers of excellence in the area of solar energy. As such, it has a critical mass of equipment, experience and people who have been there for many years. The work on hydrogen fuel cell technology between BP and the two universities will build on recent initiatives announced by the Department of Energy, major U.S. automobile manufacturers and BP.

BP Foundation is a global entity funded by gifts from BP p.l.c. These agreements with the University of Delaware and Delaware State University are the latest in a series of partnerships with universities in the United Kingdom, the United States and China, representing a total commitment of more than $100 million.

Evaluating the Risks, Opportunities of Global Warming

An investor guide released by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) outlines specific strategies for addressing the financial risks and investment opportunities posed by global warming. The guide identifies actions that pension plans, fund managers and companies can take to address climate risk, and also recommends that investors support government action to reduce investor and business uncertainty on global warming.

The Investor Guide to Climate Risk was commissioned by CERES, a coalition of investment funds and environmental groups, and authored by Doug Cogan of the Investor Responsibility Research Center, an investor advisory firm. It was commissioned on behalf of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a new alliance of institutional investors dedicated to promoting better understanding of the risks of climate change among institutional investors. CERES serves as the INCR Secretariat. The guide is intended to help investors implement the recommendations of the Investor Call for Action on Climate Risk signed by investor leaders including public pension, labor pension fund and foundation endowment trustees representing over $800 billion in assets. (A list of signers is available on the INCR Web site at www.incr.com.)

The guide identifies three core actions to address climate risk: assessing the risks, disclosing the risks and investing in solutions, such as cleaner, more energy efficient technologies to achieve absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Ten key steps are aimed at three main groups: plan sponsors for pension plans and endowments and their investment consultants; fund managers for “buy side” investment managers and “sell side” brokers and securities analysts; and corporations for boards of directors, CEOs and top executives.

The Investor Guide to Climate Risk has been released as a Web-based document at www.ceres.org and on the INCR Web site at www.incr.com. It includes links to nearly 50 resources for investors, fund managers and companies seeking to evaluate and mitigate the risks posed by global warming and coming regulations.

Partnership Protects Southeastern Ecosystems

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and International Paper have signed the first-ever Aquatic Resources Conservation and Management Partnership Agreement, a landmark environmental partnership expected to significantly improve freshwater ecosystems across the Southeastern United States. The 10-year agreement covers 5.5 million acres of International Paper forestlands in nine Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Under the agreement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists will provide technical assistance as the company conducts extensive ecological surveys and conservation projects to help recover imperiled aquatic species and restore their habitat.

The cooperative conservation actions called for in the agreement include:
* identifying areas on International Paper forestland to survey for presence of imperiled aquatic species where they might occur, but have not yet been detected;
* implementing and measuring the effectiveness of Best Management Practices to protect water quality during forest operations;
* supporting propagation programs for imperiled aquatic species;
* re-introducing imperiled aquatic species within International Paper forestlands where there is suitable habitat;
* and publicly promoting awareness of the needs of these species.

Shaw Announces First Waste Carpet-to-Energy Project

Shaw Industries and Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., have developed a process for converting carpet and wood manufacturing waste into steam energy and, as a result, will lower plant emissions, greatly reducing the amount of post-manufacturing carpet waste in landfills, and save Shaw’s Dalton, GA plant up to $2.5 million per year.

Siemens will design, build and service a conversion facility adjacent to Shaw’s carpet manufacturing plant in Dalton. The facility, scheduled to be fully operable by the end of 2005, will convert by-products of Shaw’s manufacturing process—carpet selvage, seam waste and wood flour—into gas which will fuel a boiler to produce more than 50,000 pounds of steam per hour. Shaw will then use the steam in its manufacturing operations in Dalton.

Bill Barron, Shaw vice president of manufacturing, says the project will convert per year approximately 16,000 tons of post-manufacturing and post-consumer carpet waste, and 6,000 tons of wood flour. Customers of Shaw should benefit from the waste conversion process since the disposal of post-consumer carpet waste also poses a challenge for building owners and operators. More than 25 million tons of post-consumer carpet is deposited in landfills each year, comprising two percent of all landfill waste.

In addition, the conversion of carpet and wood waste into energy will result in significantly cleaner emissions, when compared to consumption of coal and fuel oil which Shaw currently uses to power its manufacturing operations. Moreover, by replacing the use of coal and fuel oil with carpet and wood waste, Shaw will save millions of dollars per year in steam production costs.

Campaign Aims to Boost Green Power Markets

n an effort to promote and help develop U.S. green power markets in the residential and commercial sectors, Environmental Resources Trust (ERT) has launched the first phase of its new buyGREEN.net public education campaign. Featuring a 60-second radio public service announcement and a new Web site, the campaign aims to educate Americans about the powerful potential of clean, renewable energy to supply energy needs, and the choices consumers can make right now for green power.

The PSA, entitled “Imagine the Wind,” has been distributed to over 300 radio stations in Maryland, Washington, DC, North Carolina, Illinois and the Detroit area. To learn more about the campaign and listen to the radio announcement, visit www.buygreen.net.

Mexico Adopts Global Warming Standards

Mexico launched in August a new partnership that makes it the first country to adopt internationally-accepted standards to measure and report business greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for establishing a voluntary national program. The partnership, called the Mexico GHG Pilot Program, was launched with the signing of an agreement between Mexico’s Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The two-year partnership will develop a voluntary reporting platform for Mexican businesses, following the internationally accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by WRI and WBCSD. It hopes to assist businesses in Mexico to prepare GHG inventories, identify GHG reduction opportunities, and participate in programs to reduce emissions, while at the same time benefiting corporate bottom lines, reducing local air pollutants and mitigating global climate change.

Mexico ranks as the 14th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and is second only to Brazil in South America. In 2000, according to WRI’s Climate Analyses Indicators Tool, GHG emissions in Mexico equaled 1.4 tons per person, compared with 6.6 tons per U.S. citizen and 1.3 tons per Brazilian.

The Mexico GHG Pilot Program will be coordinated by SEMARNAT with technical support from WRI and WBCSD. During the first phase of the program, running through December 2004, the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard will be adopted to design a customized accounting framework for the program, taking into account local conditions and needs, including training of Mexican experts. Implementation will begin in January 2005 and end by November 30, 2006.
Georgia's First Green Hotels

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Lonice Barrett and Department of Industry Trade & Tourism Deputy Commissioner of Tourism Janis Cannon announced in June that six hotels have been environmentally certified through the Georgia Green Hotels Program. This program, established by the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD) of DNR, certifies hotels as “green” based on the standard established by Green Seal, an independent, non-profit environmental standard-setting and certification organization. The five hotels that have been certified as charter members of the Georgia Green Hotel Program are: Emory Conference Center Hotel, Fieldstone Resort, Holiday Inn Beach Resort at Jekyll Island, Len Foote Hike Inn and the Whitaker-Huntingdon Inn.

Using funds from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, P2AD contracted with Green Seal to identify and certify hotels and motels in five target areas of Georgia where much of the official government travel takes place or tourism is a primary industry. Those areas are Atlanta, the Georgia coast, the North Georgia mountains, Macon, and middle Georgia. With certification complete for the first group of hotels, P2AD will promote the program to other properties with a goal of expanding the number of certified hotels across the state. P2AD will also work with various organizations across the state to promote Georgia Green Hotels to travelers.

For information on the Georgia Green Hotels Program, contact 404-651-5120.


GEMI Releases Transparency Tool

The Global Environ-mental Management Initiative (GEMI) released a new tool in a series showing how environmental, health and safety (EHS) excellence can enhance the business performance of companies. Transparency: A Path to Public Trust has been designed to provide approaches that a company may consider as it addresses transparency-related challenges and opportunities. It consists of a six-step process designed to assist in the identification of transparency-related opportunities and risks, determining the business case for action, and engaging an organization in developing and implementing an effective transparency strategy.

This new GEMI tool is intended for a broad audience, including: investors, customers, employees, neighbors, interested NGOs and stakeholders. For more information and a free copy of the tool, visit GEMI’s Web site at www.gemi.org.


Germany is Home to World's Largest Solar Park

n September, Shell Solar, GEOSOL and WestFonds officially opened in Leipzig, Germany, what may be the world’s largest grid-connected PV power plant, comprising 33,500 modules, with an output of five megawatts. The power generated from the solar park will be fed into the grid and will be sufficient to meet the electricity demand of about 1,800 households. The solar power station will save some 3,700 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

The project was initiated and developed by GEOSOL, while Shell Solar is the system supplier and the prime construction contractor. WestFonds has, with its acquisition of the solar park and the launch of the closed-end funds WestFonds Solar 1, demonstrated an increasing interest to invest in the renewable energy sector.

The PV power plant is situated on a former lignite-mine ash deposit in Espenhain near Leipzig, once one of the most polluted areas of Germany. The power will be fed into the grid that is operated by enviaM Mitteldeutsche Energie AG.


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