ICYMI -- "In Case You Missed It" -- is a regular Friday feature recapping the news of the week.
Welcome to all you New York Times Green blog refugees! We've been waiting for you ever since the paper of record unceremoniously dumped its blog (soon after dismantling its environmental reporting desk). Enjoy, and as always, let us know what you think!
New Reports and Notable Rankings
• For almost as long as GreenBiz.com has existed, we've asked the question: Are insurance companies preparing for the additional risks and expenditures that climate change will bring? The answer has been reliably "no." And a new report from Ceres provides the details behind that no: "Of 184 companies surveyed, only 23 had such strategies, and 13 of those that did were foreign-owned," according to Wendy Koch in USA Today. Koch also notes that "[t]he report comes as weather-related disasters cost an estimated $100 billion in damages last year".
• This just in: this morning, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) released its second annual Retail Sustainability Report, detailing the sustainability initiatives that RILA's 200-plus member companies have adopted. The report lays out six trends in retail sustainability, including:
- Sustainability teams are growing
- Sustainability investment payback requirements are two to three years.
- Breadth of sustainability activities are increasing.
- Tracking of sustainability metrics will grow in prevalence.
- Most retailers measure energy, fuel, material usage, and waste generation
- Three key stakeholders are applying pressure.
- There are identifiable attributes of top performing companies.
• A new report from BSR finds that 35 companies now publicly discuss the value of ecosystem services, and are taking more seriously the issue of measuring the benefits provided by and impacts they have on the environments in which they work. Writing in BSR's blog, Sissel Waage identifies four trends from the report:
- A business case for action on ecosystem services is emerging within some industries.
- Corporate applications of ecosystem services concepts span the gamut of business decision types -- from governance to strategy to operations.
- Moving from ecosystem services concepts to action remains a challenge, due to relatively little publicly available information on corporate testing of effective approaches and tools.
- Many corporate managers' preliminary conclusions about ecosystem services assessments are that they generate insights, particularly around business dependencies that may be at risk within a changing climate.
• Can you put a dollar amount on the low-carbon economy? If you're Ethical Markets, the answer is yes, and that dollar amount is the exceedingly specific $4,125,290,128,273 -- that's $4.13 trillion dollars in private investments in the cleaner, greener technologies since 2007. This week Ethical Markets released its latest Green Transition Scoreboard, which outlines an inflection point in the shift to low-carbon technologies: Renewable energy, green construction, energy efficiency, cleantech and investments in green R&D. This year's report continues a steady, rapid progression in the green transition: In 2010, the scoreboard showed $1.6 trillion, in 2011 it climbed to $2.005 trillion, and in 2012 it reached $3.3 trillion. That is rapid, promising progress.
Case in point: This week, Deutsche Bank announced that its research shows that the global solar market has already achieved grid parity in India and Italy with the global solar industry being able to generate renewable energy at the same cost as coal and other carbon-powered fuel sources by 2014.
Commitments, Goals & Achievements
• In 2008, FedEx set what seemed at the time to be a radically ambitious goal: To reduce the emissions of its entire fleet by 20 percent over 2005 levels before 2020. It turns out that wasn't nearly radical enough: Not only did FedEx just announce that it had surpassed its goal eight years early, but that it will now aim for 30 percent improvement by 2020.
Next page: Walmart's footprint shrinkage, the world's greenest drugstore, and more