Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2013 12:43 PM
Walgreens opened the first net zero energy retail store in Evanston, Ill., yesterday, harnessing power from two wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels and a geothermal system burrowed 550 feet into the ground. The store will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes from the power grid—the definition of net zero.
"Currently, we have facilities that utilize wind turbines, solar installations and geothermal technologies,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “This is the first time we are bringing all three of these technologies and many more together in one place. Our purpose as a company is to help people get, stay and live well, and that includes making our planet more livable by conserving resources and reducing pollution."
Engineering estimates put this store’s energy usage at 200,000 kilowatt hours per year, while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours per year, versus the average Chicago Walgreens store’s energy footprint of 425,000 kilowatt-hours.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 04:13 PM
Brands are—forgive the pun—warming to solar power. Retail brands, in particular, according to the latest report from the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association, which names Walmart, Costco, Kohl's, Apple and IKEA as its top five "solar champions" in the U.S., as ranked by installed capacity.
Their respective retail footprints are using stores' huge rooftop spaces to expand into solar. Walmart, as the biggest U.S. retailer, leads the pack in the race for commercial solar power, "converting more sun into energy than 38 U.S. states," as Bloomberg puts it. The retail giant has partnered with SolarCity to install solar power at 60 stores in California, part of a company-wide goal to equip 130 stores, or 75% of its stores in the state, with the renewable form of energy.
Apple, which recently hired former EPA head Lisa Jackson as its first VP of environment initiatives to spur its goal of 100 percent renewable energy, is building utility-scale solar projects next to its data centers in partnership with SunPower. The sustainability moves advance the companies' environmental, and financial, goals—naturally.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 18, 2013 07:17 PM
The world’s largest food company, Nestlé, pledges to achieve zero waste in all of its 150 European factories by 2020—meaning that no factory waste will go to landfill or be incinerated without energy being recovered from the process.
The company had already met its zero waste goal in 39 of its 468 factories worldwide by the end of 2012, including in all of its plants in the UK and Switzerland, putting it on top of Oxfam’s Behind the Brands sustainability scorecard in February, and also receiving the NGO’s ‘most improved’ honor last month, along with Unilever.
"The decision to achieve zero waste illustrates Nestlé's commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé EVP and Zone Director for Europe. "By relentlessly eliminating all sources of waste, or by recycling or recovering energy from unavoidable residues, I am convinced we can achieve the same for all our European operations."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 8, 2013 08:02 PM
Athletes expend a whole lot of energy all over the world. In a world that is desperate for ways to find new sources of sustainable energy, it seems like a no-brainer to try and capture some of that expenditure of energy and use it for good, such as the more than 350 UK gyms that are built to generate their own energy for lighting or the bike energy that helped power the laptops of Occupy Wall Street.
The Paris Marathon has now gotten into the act. More than 40,000 runners made their way through the City of Lights Sunday and every last one of them bounced across an 82-foot stretch of flexible tiles made of recycled truck tires on the Champs-Élysées that used high technology to store the energy generated by all that foot power into a few batteries. The tile maker, Pavegen Systems Ltd., says that “each footstep generates as much as 8 watts of kinetic energy, which is fed back to batteries that can charge display screens and electronic signs along the route,” according to RenewEconomy.com.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 28, 2013 05:29 PM
The stagnation of the U.S. market for all-electric vehicles has automakers thinking more creatively about how to address American consumers' desire for maximum fuel economy without attempting fruitlessly to guilt them into buying EVs.
The evidence of this trend has been abundant this week during the media previews at the New York International Auto Show, and news that the Obama administration is planning to get tougher on car emission standards, with "sweeping rules" expected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiring cleaner gasoline and cars.
"I think green has gone mainstream" as automakers employ fuel-efficient technologies across their lineups, not just in electrified vehicles, Consumer Reports director of auto testing Jake Fisher told WWJ-TV in Detroit. "It doesn't matter what you get, you can get green in your car, whether or not it's a sports car or an SUV."
That's why, for example, Dodge is able to claim that the new 8-speed transmission in its 2014 Durango SUV qualifies as a "green" advance: It helps boost fuel economy of the nameplate by close to 10 percent, Reid Bigland, Dodge brand CEO, told the TV station.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 16, 2012 02:12 PM
It's understandable that the record-breaking sum that BP will be paying out — $4.5 billion in fines and other payments — as a result of the Department of Justice settlement over the 2012 Deepwater Horizon accident, oil spill and response raised eyebrows. While two employees are being charged wth manslaughter, the company also pled guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the cataclysmic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, and admitted to criminal conduct and deliberately misreporting the impact of the spill.
It's a record-breaking sum, but as a reader noted on our story, it's "a drop in the barrel" for the oil and gas giant. Even the fact that the DOJ investigation is ongoing, and BP will be subject to additional including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources and fines under the Clean Water Act, with potential fines of up to $21 billion, the brand is more than prepared to absorb the financial hit.
The bigger question is how much, if at all, things have changed in the corporate culture that led to the accident, and led to harsh criticism over its handling of the accident. As Tom Zara, Interbrand's global Corporate Citizenship practice leader, comments, the DOJ penalty is directed at the "ethical bone structure" that led to the disaster, and the loss of 11 lives. "Notoriety of criminality isn’t the death knell of a brand, but corruption of culture will kill the brand."
The Justice Department press release detailing BP's guilty plea doesn't mince words on that front:Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 15, 2012 10:07 AM
The Associated Press is reporting that "BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico" that killed 11 workers in 2010. Bloomberg also reports: "The company will plead guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to Congress. Two of the company’s employees face manslaughter charges over deaths in the explosion of the oil well, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the deal which has not been made public. The amount wasn’t disclosed." The BBC is putting the figure at between $3 billion and $5 billion, and hears that up to four BP staff may be arrested.
Update: The settlement for the DOJ's Deepwater Horizon oil spill fraud case levies $4.5 billion in penalties against the company, including $1.26 billion for 14 criminal charges, and eliminates any further criminal and Securities and Exchange Commission (but not civil) charges against the company. As part of the deal, BP "has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of Misconduct or Neglect of Ships Officers relating to the loss of 11 lives; one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress." It's also agreeing to pay $525 million in civil penalties through 2015 to settle claims by the SEC over the company's reporting on the oil flow rate into the Gulf of Mexico in the days following the accident. The deal is still subject to US federal court approval.
The Justice Department press release confirms that BP's two highest-ranking supervisors are being charged with manslaughter while a former senior executive is being charged with obstruction of Congress:Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 29, 2012 10:06 AM
A snapshot of how Hurricane Sandy is impacting the U.S. today, as states shut down transit systems and schools, and many businesses are closed or letting employees work from home as the northeast is in lockdown mode: