ICYMI: Why small buildings are key to big energy savings

ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It") is a regular GreenBiz feature highlighting some of the biggest stories in corporate sustainability from the past week.

Dear readers: Although it finally feels like school's out and summer's on -- and at the same time I feel a strong urge to flee my computer for long stretches of the day -- the news continues unabated, as always. In addition to some huge stories that we covered over the past week -- Plan B, AFIRM and M2M, among many others -- there is always more than we can possibly cover. Which, just like sitting out on the lawn and trying to get work done amid the best weather of the year, is a good problem to have.

Let's begin with some big commitments and success stories from the past week:

Notable Achievements and Goals

• Ford makes big cuts in per-car emissions, aims for more: Ford has reduced the amount of GHGs per vehicle by 37 percent since 2000, and has set a goal of lowering them by 30 percent more by 2025.

• Some of the world's biggest clothing manufacturers and retailers released the second version of the Joint Roadmap toward Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. Despite laboring under an unwieldy moniker, ZDHC is led by the likes of Adidas, H&M, Levi-Strauss, Nike and others and aims to replace hazardous chemicals in the clothing manufacturing process by 2020.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says protecting NYC from storms carries a $20 billion price tag, as it builds flood walls, levees and bulkheads to protect against rising seas and damage from storms such as 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

• We covered in great detail the release of the Best Global Green Brands rankings earlier this week, but the Canadian version came out this week as well, as Maclean's released its Top 50 Socially Responsible Firms this week. There's a good deal of overlap on the lists, with Ford, IBM, Pepsico, H&M, Philips Electronics, Starbucks, Cisco and many others appearing on both rankings.

• In what marks a major milestone for both aviation and biofuels, United Airlines has committed to buy 15 million gallons of biofuels for flights out of its LAX hub. The cost will be competitive with traditional jet fuel, and United's investment will allow its supplier to scale up production to potentially serve other airlines flying out of Los Angeles.

Next page: Groundbreaking reports and research

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