World Wildlife Fund

12 Major Companies Sign Pact to Purchase More Renewable Power

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Most businesses will tell you that their reason-to-be is to meet their customers’ needs. So when a group of major corporations that use a great deal of energy get together to sign a pact asking their utilities to provide more renewable energy, one would expect utilities to take notice.

That is the rationale behind the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, which focuses on buyers’ unmet demand for more renewable energy. The principles were jointly created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resource Institute (WRI) to help companies navigate the” increasing complexity and transaction costs” associated with large scale purchases of renewable power.

The twelve companies that signed the agreement are Bloomberg, Facebook, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Novelis, Procter and Gamble, REI, Sprint, and Walmart. All of these companies are driving towards carbon neutral operation.

It might be the cart leading the horse, but as Suzanne Apple of WWF says, “These companies are leading the market in creating demand for renewable energy. The Buyers’ Principles provide sound guidance to the market providers. Some of America’s largest companies are embracing renewable energy, and their collective demand requires the market to keep pace.”

The agreement includes a combined renewable energy target of 8.4 million megawatt hours (MWh) per year through 2020. The Buyers’ Principles contain six criteria that should significantly help companies meet these ambitious purchasing goals. These are:

  • Greater choice in procurement options,
  • More access to cost competitive options,
  • Longer- and variable-term contracts,
  • Access to new projects that reduce emissions beyond business as usual,
  • Streamlined third-party financing,
  • Increased purchasing options with utilities.

#Toast to Water Gives You a Chance to Join in the Celebration

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Last week marked the 21st anniversary of World Water Day. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly in 1993, to celebrate and raise awareness of issues surrounding water. This year’s celebration took place in Tokyo, focusing on the theme of “Water and Energy.” The two-day event featured numerous workshop and talks by experts from all over the world.

Other events included a meeting of the US Water Partnership, a public-private partnership featuring a broad range of Federal agencies, household-name corporations, universities and NGO’s focusing on water issues, particularly in the developing world. Among their signature initiatives are efforts to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across Africa, improved water security in South Asia, a Great Rivers Partnership providing integrated sustainable solutions for entire river basins, and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which focuses on ways to respond to the impacts of a rapidly changing climate on water resources.

The US State Department hosted a Water Technology Event in Washington, showcasing exemplary water technologies.

AsiaWater 2014, Asia’s #1 water and wastewater industry event, also took place last week in Kuala Lampur.

All in all, whether you are watching the waves crashing onto the beach, or watching the snow as it begins to melt, it was—and is—a great time to take a minute and appreciate the incredible role that water plays in all of our lives. Considering the fact that some 60% of our bodies consist of it or that we cannot live without it should be reason enough.

This year for the first time, there is an opportunity to do just that, using social media to participate in the Toast to Water campaign. This kickstarting engagement action has spurred thousands of people to send in selfies or short videos illustrating some way in which water is important to them or just raising a glass in a toast.

For example, Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the famous ocean crusader Jacques Cousteau, can be seen making her toast to water, here. General Colin Powell also got in on the action, along with Colorado Rockies slugger Michael Cuddyer, and Congressman Mike Honda. Many others, by those less famous, toast to water, for providing a home for their fish, for helping to brew their coffee, and for providing fresh produce. Twitter hashtag #toasttowater has dozens of photos and hundreds of tweets by people toasting to water. Check it out. You just might see someone you know.

Domtar's Loop of Responsibility Spans Across the Paper Life Cycle

(3Bl Media/Justmeans) - I spoke with Paige Goff last week, VP of Sustainability and Business Communications at Domtar, the paper company. The company has been aggressively pursuing sustainability in every aspect of their operations, going so far as to brand themselves, “the sustainable paper company.”

They established themselves as leaders in this regard years ago, by becoming the first paper company to achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for their source fibers. Now, in their attempt to stay ahead of the pack, they are rolling out their EarthChoice sustainability platform.

Paige Goff: We wanted to come up with something to really simplify our sustainability platform, which is how we came up with our EarthChoice platform. Within that, we have the life cycle loop, that we break down into proof points within four different buckets.

The first bucket is where your paper comes from. That draws from a lot of our certifications, like FSC-Certified fibers and our partnerships with the Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund. We want our customers to know that when they buy paper from Domtar, they are buying from a very sustainable source.

Justmeans: You have made a real commitment in this area.

PG: Yes. A full 100% of our fibers come from certified sources.

JM: Have you looked at what Woody Harrelson is doing with wheat-based papers?

PG: We are agnostic on the concept at this point, but we are looking into it.

JM: So what is the next bucket?

PG: The next bucket is how our paper is made. We’re talking about transparency within the industry. Everything has an impact, though it's not always apparent. We have what we call the Paper Trail that shows the impact of everything you can buy from us. It provides an apples-to-apples comparison, that looks at not just the industry average, but calls out what we are doing well and what we need to improve on. We consider it the most transparent impact calculator in the industry.

JM: The reporting and transparency are great. But what kinds of sustainable measures are you taking in your production process?

PG: Our utilization of greenhouse gas neutral, sustainable biomass as a substitute for fossil fuels is above the industry average. All of our mills have programs underway to divert materials from landfills and find beneficial uses for our byproducts. We are conducting comprehensive energy assessments of all of our mills that inform our overall energy strategy. We are developing new techniques for better understanding the true cost of water utilization. We are making strategic investments in improving the fidelity of our production and environmental data so we can empower our front line managers to undertake scenario planning and make more data-driven decisions. And, of course, we continue to lead the drive for increasing the utilization of fiber certified to the FSC standard.

JM: These are all good things in the production arena. I'm guessing usage must come next.

Small River Hydro Turning the Lights On in Nepal

People living in remote Himalayan villages could potentially be among the last to enjoy the benefits of electricity. The terrain is steep and harsh, and sunshine is fleeting in the deep valleys where most settlements are found. The locations are often extremely difficult to reach. Schools are small and children in Nepal wishing to go past grade 7 must travel to larger cities like Katmandu, from which they seldom return. Resources are scarce, but one thing they have in abundance is plenty of fast-moving water, snow-melt runoff from the greatest mountains in the world.

The non-profit Himalaya Currents, in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), seeing the opportunity, partnered with New Energy Corporation, makers of hydro-kinetic turbines, Advantage Products, and US Synthetic , makers of synthetic diamonds, to develop a clean energy system capable of providing continuous, clean, renewable energy to the villagers. If you're wondering where the diamonds come in, keep reading.

Working together, they installed a 5 kW EnCurrent hydro-kinetic electric power system, submerged in a flume a nearby river, close to the village of Ringmo, high in Nepal's Dolpa region.

Chinese Solar Company Makes Big Commitments to Fight Climate Change

china-flag-and-beijingYingli Green Energy has become the first Chinese company and the first photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer to join Climate Savers, a program created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to encourage corporations to make major contributions to addressing climate change.

Thousands Descend on Doha for Global Climate Conference

dohaThe UN Climate Change Conference kicked off today at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar. Informally dubbed COP18/CMP8, the conference will last two weeks and attempt to assess progress in climate-change policy while creating a platform for the parties involved to adopt resolutions.

Novo Nordisk Wins Best Sustainability Performance at 2012 Social Innovation Awards

horns-reef-2_parkThe Danish healthcare firm continues its march to sustainability, collecting another honor along the way

In Stunning Reversal, Senate Republicans Agree to End Big Oil Subsidies After Watching Polar Bear Film

800px-ursus_maritimus_steve_amstrup"I'm calling on all Americans, Democrats and Republicans, to take a stand to defend the Arctic from future oil and gas drilling. If we're going to subsidize any energy, it must be clean, renewable and respect the environment." -- Senator Mitch McConnell

Saving Species, Saving Us: Biodiversity Investments Are Critical to Global Green Economy

lacanja_burnA new study warns of ecosystem collapse in the coming years. Investing in biodiversity must be made a priority

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