Saturday, April 30, 2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will keep the nuclear energy plan at a balance with energy being drawn from Solar, hydropower, nuclear, fossil fuel wind etc. and according to IAEA Russian nuclear reactors safest

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will keep the nuclear energy plan at a balance with energy being drawn from Solar, hydropower, nuclear, fossil fuel wind etc. Russia wants to increase the percentage of nuclear power to 25% within 10 to 15 years. Putin claimed that according to International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA ) Russian nuclear reactors are the safest. Russia drafted new safety standards for nuclear energy after the nuclear crisis at Fukushima.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), NCR Corporation and EMD (Merck) got LEED certification for various facilities.

The facilities of the following organizations have earned LEED certification. Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) got the LEED silver certification for its manufacturing and distribution center in Victorville California. The 850000 sq facility of the regional hub for the organization. NCR Corporation got the LEED certification for the manufacturing facility at Columbus Georgia. The Firm reworked on the 25 year old battery manufacturing facility which now manufactures, ATMs, DVD kiosks etc. EMD which is biopharmaceutical company and related to Merck got eh gold certification for R&D facility at Massachusetts.

Boeing, PepsiCo, Kroger, Eastman Kodak, Intertape Polymer Group and 3M are among the ones who have been able to meet the U.S. EPA Energy Star challenge

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started Energy Star Challenge for Industry. The idea is to encourage energy efficiency initiatives among the organizations. About 240 manufacturing sites have participated in the challenge and only 34 manufacturing sites have been able to improve energy efficiency by 10%. This adds up to energy saving of 2 trillion Btu. It also reduced the CO2 emission by 119000 metric tons. Boeing, PepsiCo, Kroger, Eastman Kodak, Intertape Polymer Group and 3M are among the ones who have been able to meet the challenge.

Vale SA based out Rio de Janerio, Brazil will invest $ 1.5 billion in Norte Energia SA, hydroelectric power project in Amazon

Vale SA is the world’s second largest mining company according to the market value. The firm is based out of Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Recently due to government criticism, the company removed its CEO. It has decided to invest about $1.5 billion in a hydroelectric power project in Amazon.  The board of the firma approved the move and it will buy 9 % in the firm Norte Energia  SA. Norte Energia SA will build and operate the Belo Monte dam.

Robert Stavins of Harvard University said in an interview with Bloomberg that U.S government may not also act on climate change till an environmental disaster forces the government to act

Most of the governments do not generally act proactively. They are either reactive or they act when public pressure force them to act. Most probably, the U.S government may not also act till an environmental disaster forces the government to act according to Robert Stavins of Harvard University. President Obama failed to pass legislation, which would have been an effective way to control greenhouse gas emission. The legislation had proposed a pollution allowance system. Instead, the government has been pushing reforms through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which according to Stavins is not an inferior approach. Robert Stavins was said this in an interview with the Bloomberg.

The Nuclear advisor Toshiso Kaosako of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has put down his papers over the Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

The Nuclear advisor Toshiso Kaosako of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has put down his papers over the Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. Toshio is a professor at the University of Tokyo. He was resigned, as he was unhappy the way government was handling the radiation crisis the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power plant. In addition to the action plan, he may have also been unhappy about the way Tokyo Electric was managing the information.

Utah based Raser Technologies geothermal energy producer will file for bankruptcy

Renewable energy players are finding it tough to compete against the conventional energy players. Raser Technologies is Utah based geothermal energy producer. It is filing for bankruptcy. The listed company has $ 107.8 million in debts and $ 41.8 million in assets. The company has one operational plant and another eight plants, which are in construction mode. The company will try to restructure is debts which includes both secured and unsecured debts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

France based oil major Total SA buys San Jose California based SunPower for $1.37 billion.

 
Chinese Solar Panel makers are giving manufacturers round the world sleepless nights. San Jose, California based SunPower Corp. is one of the few organizations which has managed to compete successfully against the Chinese Manufacturers. France based oil major Total SA has decided to buy a controlling stake in SunPower Corp. The deal would cost $1.37 billion for Total SA. It would be a good move for both the organization. SunPower would have access to cash and credit which will give it the wherewithal to compete against the Chinese players.  

Green initiative for Corporate Governance in India

The Government has allowed companies to send notices and documents to their shareholders and members electronically to facilitate paperless communication.

The “Green Initiative for Corporate Governance” announcement by the Corporate Affairs Ministry comes after the Department of Posts discontinued the postal facility under the ‘Certificate of Posting’. It is also in line with the Information Technology Act, 2000, which “permits service of documents, etc, in electronic mode”.

Section 53 of the Companies Act, 1956, allows companies to provide service documents to its members and shareholders under the ‘Certificate of Posting’ as one of the accepted modes of service. Now the new ruling will allow emails as an accepted means of communication to comply with Section 53.

Verizon Communications develops metric for carbon efficiency

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), the U.S. communications provider, announced that its Sustainability Office has developed its first metric to measure carbon efficiency, named ‘carbon intensity metric’, which will help the company to measure the effects of its environmental initiatives.

Chief sustainability officer at Verizon Communications James Gowen said, “We developed this metric because we are a network company, and our core measure is the amount of information we transport on our network. So this ratio is closely aligned with our business and will allow us to assess how we are becoming more energy efficient even as our business expands”.

IGNOU launches post graduate course on Sustainability Science

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, India has launched an online post-graduate diploma programme on sustainability science.

‘Sustainability is anticipation or what is likely to happen, for example, with the monsoon, rainfall and winds,’ secretary, ministry of earth sciences, Shailesh Nayak said after formally launching the programme.

According to the university, graduates from social and natural sciences streams, policy makers, administrators, scientists, educators and the general public are eligible to pursue the programme, which has a minimum duration of one year and a maximum of four years.

‘With the launch, IGNOU has become one of the very few universities in the world and the first in the country to start sustainability science as a new discipline,’ said IGNOU Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai.

AEP (Ohio Power, Columbus Southern Power and Appalachian Power Co.) is aiming to reduce Greenhouse Gas ( GHG) emissions by 10% by 2020

AEP is aiming to reduce Greenhouse Gas ( GHG) emissions by 10%  by 2020 compared to its 2010 levels. AEP runs various power plants such as the Ohio Power, Columbus Southern Power and Appalachian Power Co. . The firm supplies power to 5.3 million homes and is one of the largest consumers of Coal. The way the company wants to reduce GHG emissions is by replacing inefficient units by more efficient units.


Aviva, Nokia and Swisscom have topped Environmental Investment Organization’s (EIO) , ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking

Aviva, Nokia and Swisscom have shown strong performance in the carbon rankings of Europe’s largest 300 companies. Environmental Investment Organization (EIO) has bought out the ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking. The ranking is based on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Aviva has topped the ranking and they have been very active in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Carbon Action.

Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have brought out a guidance on Clean Water Act

There was some ambiguity regarding which water bodies are covered under Clean Water Act. The federal government has acted on this and has provided guidance and definition to explain what is the scope of the act. This will remove the confusion on which, water bodies, waterways and wetlands are covered under the act. The guidance has been defined by Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Verizon designs new the Carbon Efficiency Metric and aims to improve its carbon efficiency by 15% this year

Verizon has a target to improve its carbon efficiency by 15% this year. They have designed the Carbon Efficiency Metric, which they have tested for the past 12 months.  The metric combines carbon emissions across various sources like electricity, buildings, fuels, vehicle and then this is divided by the number of terabytes of data that the organization transports across its network. Previously the company used the CO2 emission against the revenue. Verizon says that the new metric will portray the scenario much more accurately. New services like broadband, video, wireless data etc. transports more data and consumes more electricity.

Royal Wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton (U.K. London) : Green Wedding tips and inspiration

Green tips from the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29th April 2011. One should try to use local and seasonal flowers for the wedding. In case on selects exotic flowers not only does it pinch your purse but also they have to be transported over long distances, hence increasing the carbon footprint of the event. Similarly try to keep locally sourced food in the menu. Using food which have been sourced from certified sources for their sustainability and environmental impact would be good. Organic food can also be used to give a message against chemicals and other harmful substances. One of the other very useful things that most people try to do is encourage guests to donate to charitable organizations instead of expecting expensive gifts from them. Prince William and Kate Middleton set up a charitable gift fund for this purpose. Other things that can be done are, use recycled paper for invitation, use natural fiber wedding dress etc.

Fe-EVI Green Business Survey 2010-11

The Fe-EVI Green Business Survey is an annual survey conducted by Emergent Ventures International in collaboration with the Financial Express. The survey was instituted in 2008-09 to assess climate change awareness and preparedness amongst the Indian business community. Business leaders were asked about their level of understanding of climate change, and their knowledge about the Kyoto Protocol. The survey moved a step further in the second edition by focusing on actions being taken by India Inc. against climate change. It also assessed on how climate change issues are moving from being just a CSR activity to a key element in the central strategy of the companies.
Fe-EVI Green Business Survey 2010-11
This is the third edition of ‘Fe-EVI Green Business Survey’. This year’s survey has taken a giant leap by focusing on the real impact of the actions being taken by Indian business on climate change and sustainability. The ‘Fe-EVI Green Business Survey 2010-11’ is being sent to companies registered in India with revenues above INR 1,000 crore. The survey will compare Indian business with the global industry best practices to produce a list of ‘Top 100 Green Companies of India’. The FE – EVI Green Business Survey 2011 will culminate in an award ceremony and panel discussion, to be held in New Delhi on the occasion of World Environment Day – the 5th of June The ‘Fe-EVI Green Business Survey 2010-11’ report will also be launched on the same day. The event will be attended by company Directors, CXOs, Sustainability Heads and Business Heads of top 500 Indian companies. The platform will also include investors, government agencies, environmental groups and non-profit organizations.
Emergent Ventures International (EVI)
Emergent Ventures International (EVI) is an integrated climate change mitigation company with operations across 15 countries. EVI was founded in 2004, with a vision of developing commercially sustainable ways to mitigate climate change.
A thought leader in the climate change space, EVI is currently working on over 300 diverse projects, some of which are industry firsts. These span our expert service areas of Carbon Advisory, Sustainability & Climate Value Advisory and Clean Energy Generation.
EVI is lead by people who realize that a low carbon economy is inevitable and companies must prepare to compete in this new environment. Playing the role of a strategic climate change partner, EVI helps identify, develop and manage profitable business models that enhance renewable energy, clean technologies and promote sustainable development.
The Financial Express
The Financial Express (Fe) established in 1961, is an insightful business daily that offers comprehensive coverage of economic policy, business developments and market trends. With editions in Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.,the Financial Express has essayed a leadership role in raising issues pertinent to industry and business. The publication takes great pride in playing the role of a facilitator and encouraging debate and discussion amongst its various stakeholder communities in order to drive change.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shareholders ask Coca Cola to phase out BPA. Action against Procter & Gamble and General Mills. Supported by As you Sow, Trillium Asset Management Corporation , several religious institutional investors and Domini Social Investments

Consumers are concerned about the use of bisphenol- A  (BPA) in Coca Cola cans. Last year around 22 % of the shareholders had passed a resolution and had urged the company to disclose its plan to phase out BPA from cans and to actively work towards it. However, the shareholders feel that the company has not given a thought about it. The shareholder activist group ‘As You Sow’ is already planning an action against Procter & Gamble and General Mills.  This year a similar move has got the support from 26% of the shareholders. The move was put up by As you Sow, Trillium Asset Management Corporation , several religious institutional investors and Domini Social Investments .

PUMA (PPR) commits to achieving higher levels of sustainability

After more than ten years of implementation of its environmental and social efforts across its global brands, Paris-based fashion and retail giant PPR - owner of sports and luxury brands including PUMA, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent - has announced an ambitious and multi-tiered new sustainability initiative.
 
By moving beyond the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility model, the group launched PPR HOME and is setting a new standard in sustainability and business practice in the Luxury, Sport & Lifestyle and Retail sectors.
 
PPR HOME is the new direction dedicated to Sustainability inside PPR. Placed under the strategic leadership of Jochen Zeitz, PPR Chief Sustainability Officer, PPR HOME will bring expertise, support and creativity to all PPR brands. An annual €10 million budget, in addition to PPR brands own initiatives, will be dedicated to PPR HOME. It will be indexed to the evolution of the dividend paid by PPR.
 
By forming PPR HOME, the PPR Group is committing to lessen its impact on the environment, taking proactive steps to implement best business practices. PPR HOME will not only focus on working towards reducing and mitigating its social and environmental impacts, but will develop opportunities for the benefit of people and their environments in their spheres of operation.
 
PPR HOME centers on 4 interconnected programs: 
  • Leadership (leading a corporate paradigm shift both externally and internally);
  • Humanity (enhancing the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of communities in PPR's spheres of operation);
  • Ecology (mitigating PPR's footprint via reduction, offsets and investing in the environment); and
  • Creativity (creating sustainable solutions to support global sustainability)

Oil dropped at the U.S economy grew by just 1.8 %, Jobless Claims rise; Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernake said that he is going to keep the interest at the present level so that the economy keeps on growing,

The price of Oil dropped at the U.S economy grew by just 1.8 %. This is lower than the estimates of the economists and the analysts.  Yesterday  the crude oil futures increased as Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernake said that he is going to keep the interest at the present level so that the economy keeps on growing. The interest levels are at the record low level. As the economy data today shows the even jobless claims have risen and hence people feel that the Quantitative easing may not be stopped anytime in the near future.

178 people have died in a single day in tornadoes in the U.S. .Warning were issued in Maryland, Georgia, New York City , Washington, Alabama. Three nuclear power plants where shut down by the Tennessee Valley Authority after there was brief power outage

It is reported that 178 people have died in a single day in tornadoes in the U.S. . This is the deadliest day in U.S history since 3rd April 1974 when 310 people had died in tornadoes. Warning were issued in Maryland, Georgia, New York City and Washington. Emergency was declared in Mississippi and Tennessee. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley brought in the National Guard. Three nuclear power plants where shut down by the Tennessee Valley Authority after there was brief power outage.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC , Alexander Frolov, an environmental official in the Russian government mentioned that Russia cannot be forced to contribute to the U.N. Climate Change fund

Under United Nations $ 30 billion is being collected for climate change projects in developing  and poor nations. Developed Nations are expected to contribute towards this fund. Russia says it cannot be forced to contribute towards this fund by United Nations as it is in the midst of a change and is moving toward market economy. In a letter to  Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC , Alexander Frolov, an environmental official in the Russian government said “Volumes and forms of its contribution into financing climate actions will be defined by the Russian Federation,”

Ofgem the energy regulator in U.K. shortlists of Mitsubishi Corp., Macquarie Capital Group Ltd. , Barclays Infrastructure Funds Management Ltd. ,Balfour Beatty Capital Ltd. , Equitix Ltd.


Four bidders have been shortlisted by Ofgem. Ofgem is the energy regulator in U.K. The winner will be entitled to own and operate transmission line worth $ 1. 7 Billion ( approx). The transmission lines would bring power from the three-offsore wind farms off English and Welsh Coast.  There offshore wind farms have a combined capacity of 1.4 gigawatts. A group consisting of Mitsubishi Corp., Macquarie Capital Group Ltd. and Barclays Infrastructure Funds Management Ltd. has been shortlisted. Another group which has been shortlisted consists of  Balfour Beatty Capital Ltd. and Equitix Ltd.

Anheuser- Busch InBev improved its recycling, energy use, CO2 emissions and water consumption according to the 2010 Global Citizenship Report

Anheuser- Busch InBev improved its Recycling and improved on its last year numbers according to the 2010 Global Citizenship Report. The firm improved on its energy use, CO2 emissions and water consumption.  The recycling rate improved and is currently at 24 percent. In 2010 the company recycled 98.3% of waste and byproducts. The company is on its way to reach the goal of  recycling 99 percent of waste and byproducts by the end of 2012.

Toshiba America business Solution ( TABS ) has a recycling program with Close the Loop and supplies for Habitat for Humanity

Every company is trying to recycle as much as possible. They are putting recycling targets in the sustainability roadmap. Toshiba America business Solution ( TABS ) has achieved a 410 % year –on-year  growth on recycling. They primarily recycle ink cartridges and other printing products. Toshiba America business Solution ( TABS ) is a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation. For the recycling program they have partnered with Close the Loop. Close the Loop collects all the cartridges, toner bottles and other materials and recycles them into eLumber, fences, garden boxes  for communities. They also do work for various non- profits like Habitat for Humanity.

Target, Albertson’s , Fresh & Easy, Publix, Supervalu , Whole Foods, , DuPont, Dow Chemical, Honeywell are a part of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) has a GreenChill program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  ( EPA ) has a GreenChill program.  The objective of the green chill program is to help various organization , manufacturers and people to reduce the effect of refrigeration on Ozone layer and environment. GreenChill also encourages certification. A store, which has certified need to emit 65% less refrigerant, compared to a normal supermarket. Albertson’s , Fresh & Easy, Publix, Supervalu , whole Foods, Target, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Honeywell are a part of this program.

Exelon Corp. the largest operator of Nuclear reactors in U.S is buying Constellation Energy Group Inc.

At a time when Nuclear Power is being hotly debated and consumers are, protesting against it in the backdrop of the nuclear accident in Fukushima Japan, Exelon Corp. the largest operator of nuclear reactors in U.S is buying Constellation Energy Group Inc. With this deal, Exelon Corp will add another five nuclear reactors to its kitty. The nuclear reactors are situated in Maryland and New York. According some information the deal would give a 12. 5 percent premium to the shareholder of Constellation. Exelon was formed after the merger of Peco Energy and Unicom in 2000 and is valued at around $7.14 billion.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FE EVI Green Business Survey

EVI ( Emergent Ventures ) one of the leading environment and sustainability-consulting firms along with Financial Express the leading Business daily has come up with the Green Business Survey. For more details please read the lastest post. 

FedEx launches 'EarthSmart' sustainability programme in EMEA

FedEx Express, the express transportation company and a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., officially launched its sustainability program EarthSmart in Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa (EMEA). The launch coincides with Earth Day that has just been celebrated in more than 175 countries around the globe.

Specifically, EarthSmart covers three areas: business, culture and community. EarthSmart achievements include:

• FedEx Boeing 777F Fleet: The introduction of new Boeing 777s enables more freight to be delivered further offering 18% less emissions and 18% fuel reductions in comparison to MD-11.

• FedEx Electronic Trade Documents (ETD): an automated shipping tool which reduces the need to print and sign multiple copies of trade documents, saves customers time and money and helps them reduce their environmental footprint.

To celebrate FedEx team efforts, FedEx Express will be donating a tree in honor of each employee. The tree donation program, organized in collaboration with Plant-for-the-Planet, will result in at least 16,000 trees being planted across the region. The company is inviting employees to join its philanthropic efforts with the aim of collectively donating 20,000 trees to EMEA.

Certification for Sustianability Professionals

National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) in the US  is now offering workshops for individuals to attain certification as Sustainability Professionals – a certification that will reportedly work hand in hand with new and impending government regulations and company mandates. The Level I workshop for professionals will be held in June 15-16 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Discussion topics will range from Sustainability Considerations to Hidden Costs and Carbon Footprints to Cap along with at least two-dozen additional subjects.

Level II and Level III workshops will be scheduled to dig deeper into current sustainability topics. All participants of the June workshop will be certified and granted Founder Status, as these participants will be instrumental in developing initial Level I and subsequent sustainability courses.

J.D. Power Study: Demand for rechargeable or hybrid cars subdued because consumers are not convinced of the utility

There has always been a concern with people about the utility of Hybrid cars. Even though no one doubts environmental benefit of Hybrid cars however, the demand for Hybrid and Rechargeable Cars will be limited because the people still feel that the prices of hybrid and rechargeable cars are high compared to the benefits. This has also been substantiated by a J.D. Power Study. In addition to the price the driving range for rechargeable or hybrid cars is a concern for most of the customers.   

KB Home improves energy efficiency, reduced GHG emissions and waste to landfill , gets WaterSense Certification

KB Home has a target to achieve energy efficiency improvement of 10% this year. It is about to achieve that this year. It also wants to achieve an increase of 10% the number of new homes where in the job site waste is recycled. Building net – zero energy homes is also on the plans. KB Home decreased the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per home by 4%. It also got WaterSense Certification last year. KB Home reused about 29 million pounds of landfill waste.

Demand Signal Repository ( DSR helps an organization to use retailers data and reduce costs and wastage

Retailers are a rich source of data. They have the real time data on how the products are being sold in the market. How much inventory do they have? Is there a possibility of stock out? Most of the organizations have found it difficult to use the data from retailers. There are many reasons to it.



1) Data resides in various formats across various retailers.



2) The volume of data is large and need good amount of effort to compile and store it in one place.



3) How does one make sense out of the data i.e. draw intelligent conclusions so that one can take business decisions out of it.



4) Integrating the data with planning and execution system.



All these are the reasons why Demand Signal Repository ( DSR ) Vendors have become quite popular. They are playing vital role for many organizations to ensure that by applying right technology and the business processes around Master Data Management DSR program is successful. It help the organization to reduce cost, reduce inventory costs by better inventory management and reduce wastage by reducing inventory obsolescence cost.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Samsung from South Korea will invest $ 7.01 Billion to build green energy Industrial park in the west coast of Saemangeum

Samsung will invest $ 7.01 Billion to build green energy Industrial park. Samsung is South Korea’s largest business organization. The park will house facilities to produce, generators, Solar Batteries and energy storage systems.  The complex will be built in the west coast of Saemangeum. South Korea has a reclamation project in that region.

Green network calculator - an innovation from The Netherlands

DURABILIT BV, a leading supplier of refurbished network hardware has developed a methodology which enables companies to get a clear insight into how much CO2 emissions are reduced when deploying used hardware rather than new. The DURABILIT Greener Network Calculator, was developed in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Ir. Krikke, Supply Chain Management at the Open University, the Netherlands.

Companies want more insight into the carbon footprint of products, but struggle to quantify this. They tend to have a limited scope in making these calculations since they often omit the impact of the complete supply chain. DURABILIT Greener Network Calculator, a CO2 calculator which shows the amount of CO2 kg reduced by buying refurbished switches instead of new and helps to raise awareness.
 
Recent research shows that a closed loop supply chain can reduce emission by 50% compared to a traditional forward supply chain without refurbishment. The effect on the carbon footprint of the total life cycle depends on the type of product. For switches and routers, the total carbon emissions are roughly evenly divided between production and usage phase. Since Green IT currently mainly focuses on reduction of energy usage or the use of alternative energy resources, the relative carbon emissions of the supply chain becomes even higher. However, discussions with decision makers have shown that this awareness seems to be lacking.

The re-use of network equipment not only enables companies to significantly reduce their carbon footprint, but also prolongs the lifespan of the equipment, thereby reducing waste and recycling activities. Even though hardware such as routers and switches are ever-present in our daily lives, their relative invisible role often makes them overlooked.

Carrier Corp conducts Sustainability Education

Carrier Corporation is continuing to advance sustainability education worldwide with the first in its Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series, a collaborative initiative with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).

The lecture, entitled "Zero Carbon Developments: Alternative Approaches in a Resource Rich Environment," was held at the Centre for Excellence in Research & Technology (CERT) in Abu Dhabi on April 13 and was attended by students, senior members of the faculty and professionals from hospitality, government, technology and design industries.

General Motor’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf ( battery-powered ) received the highest safety rating by Arlington the insurance industry backed group

A safety rating was done by the insurance industry backed group Arlington. General Motor’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf received the highest rating. The models received ‘Good’ rating. Front, rear, side and rollover crashes were done on the models. GM’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf have picked up sales in the market. Obama administration has been trying to provide incentives to the battery-powered cars to reduce emissions, and it will reduce the dependency on gasoline.

Kellogg meets its target to reduce waste to landfill according to the Corporate Responsibility Report

Kellogg had a target to reduce waste to landfill by 20% by the year 2015. 2009 was considered as the baseline year. It has already met the target in 2010. It reduced the waste to landfill by 20.3 %. According to the Corporate Responsibility Report about 93% of the waste is recycled or used in other useful way like animal feed and energy production. Last year also the company had exceeded the trgets of waste reduction. The Company has a plant in Taloja in India and the plant reduced its waste by 67%. The various improvements at the plant significantly reduced the downtime and saved the company  saved about $ 1 million.

2011 TIME 100 names Azim Premji in the list of most influential people in the World. Azim Premji Foundation reaches out to more than 2.5 million children

It did not come as a surprise that Azim Premji has been named in 2011 TIME 100 list of most influential people in the World. This year awards and recognitions have been showering on Mr. Premji who is being now recognized for his work in social development in India. All these years he has been known as one of the pioneering person in the Indian IT space. The Azim Premji Foundation today works in various areas like education at the grass root level. It reaches out to more than 2.5 million children. His donation of 42 Billion to the Foundation is so far the largest in modern India.

Procter & Gamble and Burgopak USA work together towards redesigning on product package for example Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Power Razor uses 79% less plastic

Gillette has reworked on its product package design. In the Fusion ProGlide Power Razor the use of plastic has been reduced by 79%. Gillette is working closely with Burgopak USA. In addition to reducing the usage of plastic the new package has other advantages. It reduces the weight of each unit by 17% and also more number of units can be packed in each pallet thereby increases the pallet density. These initiatives a part of the larger goal of sustainability targets by Procter & Gamble of substituting 25% of petroleum based materials with renewable and eco-friendly materials. Procter & Gamble also has a long term target zero waste being sent to landfills.

Carnegie Mellon University has created a Time machine, which has been named as GigaPan. Incorporated in Google’s Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari , Uses HTML 5

Carnegie Mellon University has created a Time machine, which has been named as GigaPan. The GigaPan Time Machine has been created by the university’s robotics department. It can display high resolution gigapixel pictures and videos, users can zoom in and zoom out and can also move the sequence of videos back and forth in time.  For example users can reverse the videos and see how plants have sprouted, flowers bloom, travel through universe and go back in time to see various celestial events. It uses technology of HTML 5 and has been incorporated in Google’s Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari. The HTML 5 standard allows users to play video without Adobe Flash or Quicktime. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

'Internet' a bigger polluter than India

In 2007, the data centres run by companies like Google, Akamai, Yahoo and Apple etc consumed 662 billion kWh energy. In comparison, India consumed 568 billion kWh!! This is from a report published by Greenpeace titled - 'How dirty is your data?'. The report also points out that had the Internet been a country, it would have occupied fifth position in the list of most polluting nations.

IT companies and businessess are using up a massive chunk of enrgy on data centers and the energy is primarily generated from coal. "Server farms are expanding and multiplying rapidly. In our technologically interconnected world, data centres are the factories of the 21st Century," the report says.

The Greenpeace report specifically takes a look at India's "mobile revolution" and the effect it is likely to have on environment. "In India, nearly 40% of three lakh telecom towers exist in rural and semi-urban areas where either the grid-connected electricity is not available or the electricity supply is irregular ... (in such areas) telecom operators are turning to diesel generators to produce adequate electricity to power the network, which adds a new and heavy source of air and carbon pollution ," says the report.

"The consumption of diesel by the telecom sector currently stands at a staggering two billion litres annually, second only to the railways in India," says the report. Among the IT majors, Yahoo! has been deemed greenest while Apple, largely because of its iDataCentre in North Carolina, was found to have the worst 'green rating'. Among India companies, Greenpeace lauds Wipro for demonstrating "greater transparency" on its energy consumption.

After Toyota, Honda to cut output by 50% in India

Just a few days before Toyota India announced a 70% production drop due to supply constraints in Japan. Today, we get to hear that Honda too is treading a similar path and it will cut production by 50% in the wake of supply shortage from Japan. Toyota risks becoming No.3 in car sales worlwide behind GM and VW in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami.

Toyota said last week that supply constraints from Japan had forced it to reduce production by up to 70% between April 25 and June. The move will lead to a production loss of about 7,000 units a month, Toyota said, translating into a revenue deficit of Rs 490 crore for its Indian entity-Toyota Kirloskar Motor. In fact, Toyota has come out with an appeal to its India customers to exercise patience as the waiting period for some its models could become longer.

It is said that most of the Japanese suppliers have already resumed production or are in the process of doing so but reports from Honda suggested that some of their suppliers are yet to be back in shape.

Wayanad ( Kerala , India ) , Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarhole forest reserve a tryst with Mother Nature

I visited Wayanad in Kerala last weekend ( long weekend due to Good Friday ) . It was nice refreshing trip with a tryst with Mother Nature. While going on the way from Bangalore to  Wayanad we took the route through Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. We were fortunate enough to see few elephants munching leaves. As the Bus passed cruised the afternoon clouds casted the sky and we had to pass through heavy showers. The sylvan forest look resplendent after the rains. Wayanad also houses the Nagarhole forest reserve. On our way back from Wayanad we took this route.

Henkel's 20 years sustainability reporting

Henkel, the German-based maker of brands for laundry and home care products, cosmetics, toiletries and adhesives, has reported its sustainability performance, where it has exceeded its targets. This is nothing remarkable, given that most companies have been doing the same, and sustain2green has been reporting quite a few such sustainability reports from the likes of Unilever, P&G etc. 

However what stands out in the case of Henkel, is that this was the 20th annual report on sustainability published by the company. The company has been reporting its sustainability performance for the last 20 years !!

Now here is a company which envisioned the critical challenges that the world would face, given the fast pace of growth and commercialization. A true visionary .. which saw what was coming in the 1990s. 

Under President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13514 various government agencies NASA , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ( USACE ), the Tennessee Valley Authority ( TVA ) have release the environmental report for the first time

President Barack Obama had signed the Executive Order 13514 in the year 2009. According to the order government agencies like NASA, U.S. Army etc. need to publish reports declaring how they have fared against various environmental parameters.  This was done primarily to convey to the people that government would lead by example. Under this order various government agencies like, NASA , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ( USACE ), the Tennessee Valley Authority ( TVA ) have release the environmental  report for the first time. The reports carry details about on how the buildings, establishments and operations of the agencies score on the environmental KPIs. NASA’s sustainability report shows that it has exceeded the renewable energy target by 5%.  

Tokyo Electric Power Co. ( Tepco ) President does not get assurance to restart the nuclear power plant. People within 20 km are being evacuated for precaution

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco  ) President Masataka Shimizu has been trying to meet Governor of Fukushima Prefecture for quite some time and he had been refused an appointment in the past. However on 22nd April 2011 he met with the Governor and tendered the company’s apologies for the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Tepco has been trying hard with various strategies to contain the radiation with limited success so far. The severity of radiation leak has been raised to 7 which is the highest in the scale. However during the meeting no assurances were given to the company that it can restart the nuclear power plant without adequate safety guarantees. As a precautionary measure people with the 20km zone of the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant have been asked to leave.

Lionel Weeks who is the Vice President of Facilities at LifeBridge Health shares his view on engaging employees, partners, vendors and executives in driving sustainability

Sustainability has to be managed through sustainable ways. The sustainability drive achieves more mileage and visibility if employees are a part of the drive.  An organization can also make it more effective if one involves partners and vendors along with employees and executives. That’s what  LifeBridge health has discovered. Lionel  Weeks who is the Vice President of Facilities at LifeBridge shares his views in this video ( YouTube ).  

Hennes & Mauritz ( H&M) used 15000 tons of organic cotton in 2010 that is three times the target

Hennes & Mauritz ( H&M)is one of the largest users of cotton from organic sources. For the year 2010, it had a target to use 4500 tons of organic cotton. That would be about 50% more than they had used in 2009. However, they exceeded the targets and the use of organic cotton saw a three times increase from what they had planned for. In the year 2010, they ended up using 15000 tons of organic cotton. By the year 2020, the firm wants all the cotton to come of sustainable sources, which include organic cotton, Better Cotton Certified or even recycled cotton.

Meyer Burger Technology AG , has made an offer of $520 million to buy Roth and Rau AG. Consolidation in the Solar Panels industry

The Solar panel industry is seeing consolidation. This is primarily the manufactures want to achieve a critical volume to achieve economies of scale. The margins are also dropping in the sector due to increased competition from Chinese manufactures. Meyer Burger Technology AG , has made an offer of $520 million to buy Roth and Rau AG. After the offer the share price of Roth and Rau AG has inched up to 23.545 euros and is trading more than the offer price of 22 euros. Analysts say that it is primarily due to speculation the offer price might be increased.

Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co. will supply wind turbines to wind farms based in Ohio and Rhode Island

Tim Rosenzweig Chief Executive Officer of Goldwind USA Inc. has disclosed that Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co. has got the orders for wind turbines. The firm will be supplying five 1.5-megawatt turbines. The customers are two wind farms in U.S. . While one of them is out of Ohio, the other is based out of Rhode Island.
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