ICYMI: GM takes a stand on carbon, a map of U.S. innovation, & more
ICYMI -- "In Case You Missed It" -- is a regular Friday feature recapping the news of the week.
Heavens to Murgatroyd, dear readers. As usual, the passing of yet another Earth Month has left us with an inundation of actually interesting news that companies, governments and other organizations had put on hold to prevent from getting lost among the throngs of sustainability's fair-weathered friends. We've come to expect it, but still can never fully prepare for it.
I can't possibly hope to convey the richness of this week's bounty in any detail, so let's get started with what will no doubt be a bulleted-list-heavy week of In Case You Missed It.
Notable achievements and significant commitments
• GM joins BICEP: General Motors became the first automaker to sign on to the BICEP climate declaration, urging Congress and peer companies to take action on greenhouse gas emissions.
• Verizon embraces solar: The telecom giant this week announced a goal to invest $100 million as part of a partnership with SunPower and ClearEdge Power to develop solar and fuel cell energy systems at 19 of Verizon's facilities across the U.S.
• P&G continues its zero waste progress: Procter & Gamble says it has achieved zero waste to landfill at 45 of its manufacturing sites, and that in the past five years its zero-waste efforts have created $1 billion in value for the company.
• Sustainability reporting: not ready for prime time: The Environmental Investment Organisation this week released its Global 800 Carbon Rankings, a look at how the 800 largest companies in the world address their GHG emissions, with some bad news: Only 37 percent of those companies accurately report their emissions. The good news, at least for the leaders, is that BASF takes top score in the global list, and Bell Canada Enterprises leads the North American list.
• Integrated reporting also has a ways to go: A new report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute finds that, although 499 of S&P 500 companies report some kind of sustainability information, only 1.4 percent offer any kind of integrated report that connects sustainability to financial performance.
• B Corps are on the rise: One last look down the pike: Worldwatch this week released a study that looks at the rise of benefit corporations, finding that, although none of the 200 certified B Corps are yet publicly traded, they generate about $6 billion in revenues every year and employ about 30,000 people.
• How schools can invest in green: Just yesterday, we published an in-depth look at how higher education helped grow the market for green buildings; earlier this week, the U.S. Green Building Council and Architecture for Humanity released an investment guide for where schools can put their greenbacks to green work.
• Where innovation is happening in the U.S.: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center launched late last week its 2013 Innovation Map, which features more than 100 projects highlighting how companies have turned environmental challenges to their advantage. Some of the projects include Colorado's Gevo, which puts failed ethanol plants to work making a petroleum substitute, and Therma-Hexx's "invisible solar panels."
Odds 'n' Sods
• SDG&E continues pushing the Green Button: San Diego Gas & Electric this week continued to expand its adoption of the Green Button initiative with three new apps to help customers save energy through home energy monitoring. The utility expects to release as many as 20 new Green Button apps this year alone.
• HP shoots for the moon: Hewlett-Packard unveiled new servers this week that more or less achieve the holy grail of data center efficiency: HP's new Moonshot servers use 89 percent less energy, 80 percent less space and costs 77 percent less than traditional servers.
• Nike's sustainable materials challenge: After years and years of pioneering efforts to minimize their own environmental impacts, Nike this week joined with NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department to encourage companies to create new, socially and environmentally positive materials for clothing manufacturers to adopt.
• Grocery delivery isn't all bad: A study from the University of Washington found that getting your groceries delivered by Amazon.com, Safeway or even Google may actually shave off some of the carbon emissions from the food supply chain. As Grist rightly put it: Go (slightly) greener by getting your groceries delivered.