• Finally, a report about reports: The Conference Board released a report this week exploring how companies report on sustainability across the world. The good news is that the number of Chinese companies publishing sustainability reports grew by one-third in the past year, and that shareholders are pushing for even more companies to do so in the coming years.
Odds and sods
• Metrus Energy and CalCEF this week announced the launch of a $150 billion fund to finance energy efficiency in small- to medium-sized properties. Metrus is one of several companies to focus on innovative financing for energy efficiency, with CalCEF working to raise $10 million from investors to spur the fund's launch. Lauren Hepler in the Silicon Valley Business Journal explains that, "businesses accepted [into the fund] will split initial energy cost-savings with the investors paying up-front costs for design and installation of energy-saving technology."
• Get ready for the next "Greenest Olympics Ever": Hot on the heels of London 2012, we've got Sochi 2014 taking place in Russia in just one year. In addition to a robust sustainability page, the Sochi games this week signed Dow on as the Official Carbon Partner of Sochi 2014. Dow will be contributing expertise, technologies and products to minimize the carbon impacts of the Games.
• The greenest small businesses: Green America announced this week the three winners of its quarterly "People & Planet Award," recognizing the greenest small businesses. This time around, Green America gave props to Preserve, recyclers of #5 plastics and makers of new plastic-based products (covered extensively here, here and here); CompostNow, a home-pickup service for compostable waste; and Hummingbird Wholesale, an Oregon-based wholesaler of organic, local and regional foodstuffs.
Your random moment of good news
Out here in California, looming water shortages are the biggest current impacts we're feeling from climate change so far — this past winter has been the driest in recorded history, even as other parts of the U.S. get regularly pounded with record-breaking amounts of precipitation. So I take this as more-or-less-unreservedly good news: Lockheed Martin, "better known for building jet fighters and lethal missiles," as Reuters points out, believes it has found a way to use carbon nanotubes to cut the energy needed for desalination by 99 percent — and therefore the costs to run desalination plants.
Thanks for reading! As always, send us all your tips and feedback, and watch your back out there today (especially if your name is Julius Caesar ...).
Olympics photo via Dow