A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

Archive for February, 2011

Rents and Occupancy Higher for Green Office Buildings

February 28, 2011 | No Comments →

The real estate sector can play a significant role in a low-carbon economy. Not only do investments into more sustainable business practices and technologies benefit the environment and society, in general; they also create long-term value and competitiveness. In fact, a new report from RICS concluded that even in difficult economic times, green office buildings can offer investors considerable financial benefits, including higher rents and lower risk premiums.

The new report, titled Sustainability and the Dynamics of Green Building, summarizes data collected from North American buildings certified by the EOA’s Energy Star Program. The research shows that: (more…)

Proposed New Air Pollution Rules Will Create Significant US Job Growth

February 25, 2011 | Comments (5)

A new report evaluates job impacts under these two Clean Air Act rules currently being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • the Clean Air Transport Rule, focused on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from 31 targeted states in the East and Midwest and
  • the Utility MACT rule which, for the first time, will set limits on hazardous air pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead and hydrochloric acid.

The research concluded that the job impacts are positive,  underscoring the significant economic benefits of updating the nation’s power plants.

The report, New Jobs-Cleaner Air: Employment Effects under Planned Changes to EPA’s Air Pollution Rules, prepared for Ceres by Dr. James Heintz of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, finds that these new air pollution rules will provide economic benefits and jobs across much of the United States, concentrated especially in the next five years.

More specifically, the report concludes that: (more…)

Study: More Than Two-thirds of Companies Plan to Increase Sustainability Commitments in 2011

February 23, 2011 | Comment (1)

Companies are emerging from the recession tentatively, at best, and yet intriguing new research found that most businesses remain quite committed to their sustainability goals.

In fact, the new study, conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), found that 69 percent of the more than 3,100 corporate leaders surveyed actually plan to increase their investment in and management of sustainability this year.

Just over one-quarter (26 percent) plan no change, and only 2 percent intend to cut back on their commitment.

What’s more, the second annual Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study also discovered that what the authors are calling a “two-speed landscape” is emerging. These days, there’s a growing gap between sustainability “embracers”—those who place sustainability high on their agenda—and nonembracers or “cautious adopters,” who have yet to focus on more than energy cost savings, material efficiency, and risk mitigation.

When comparing embracers to nonembracers, the report concludes that: (more…)

Climate Change Could Cost Investors Trillions of Dollars Over Next 20 Years

February 21, 2011 | Comment (1)

New research from global consultancy Mercer carries a stern warning.

According to the report, Climate Change Scenarios – Implications for Strategic Asset Allocation, continued delay in climate change policy action and lack of international coordination could cost institutional investors trillions of dollars over the coming decades.

Already, we have seen how climate-related natural disasters (drought in Russia, floods in Australia, etc.) can have a devastating impact on regional economies. This new study takes a broader approach and analyzes the potential financial impacts of climate change on investors’ portfolios, identified through a series of four climate change scenarios playing out over the next twenty years. For example, the research found that by 2030:

The Coca-Cola Company Releases Seventh Sustainability Report

February 18, 2011 | No Comments →

The Coca-Cola Company published its seventh system-wide sustainability report last week, and it contains a total of 25 sustainability goals distributed across seven core focus areas: Beverage Benefits, Active Healthy Living, Community, Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection, Sustainable Packaging, Water Stewardship and Workplace.

The 51-page sustainability review includes these notable performance highlights:
With regard to Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection, the Coca-Cola Company has

  • Improved energy use efficiency 13 percent since 2004 and reduced absolute emissions from manufacturing operations in developed countries by 8 percent since 2004.
  • Advanced energy efficiency of cooling equipment with the installation of some 3.1 million intelligent energy management devices to date, reducing energy consumption by monitoring energy use on refrigeration units.
  • Installed more than 127,000 HFC-free refrigeration systems, bringing total placement to more than 240,000 units. The company says its goal is to phase out the use of HFCs in all new cold drink equipment as of 2015.

The Coca-Cola Company had also made significant strides with Sustainable Packaging. For instance, the company has (more…)