The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

For Carlsberg, Good Things Come with Smaller Packaging


Bloomberg New Energy Finance -- Carlsberg AS, the world’s fourth biggest brewer, is focusing on making its packaging more sustainable this year and beyond, according to Morten Nielsen, its director of corporate social responsibility.

The company identified that about 45 percent of its CO2 emissions is attributed to packaging, with primary packaging – bottles and cans – having the biggest impact. “We’ve put together a strategy to address this issue and reduce the negative impact,” said Nielsen. As a first step, the brewery has introduced a life-cycle analysis tool to further assess the impact of its packaging.

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2013 Offers Best Opening for Broad Climate Action

Bloomberg BNA — Global political leaders have the best opportunity yet in 2013 to adopt bold solutions that globally address climate change, a leading British economist said April 2.

Lord Nicholas Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and lead author of a 2006 report on the economic impacts of climate change, said

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Energy Efficient Homes Reduce Risk of Mortgage Default

Energy Efficient Homes Could Save Billions, Change Mortgage

Bloomberg BNA -- An energy efficient home can make the difference between foreclosure and maintaining mortgage payments, according to a new report.

The March 19 anaysis, Home Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Risks, produced by the Chapel Hill Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina and the Washington, D.C.-based energy conservation advocate Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), is the first academic study to investigate the connection between energy efficiency and the ability to repay a mortgage. The risk of mortgage default is one-third lower for energy-efficient, Energy-Star rated homes, according to a March 19 statement accompanying the report.

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This week’s Dumb Question went to Christoph Huetten, senior vice president and chief accounting officer for SAP, which is based in Walldorf, Germany. Huetten last week helped the software maker roll out its first annual report that integrates financial results into one document (or "integrated report") with non-financial performance metrics, such as carbon pollution, women in management or employee retention.

DQ: Can I ask you a dumb question? If sustainability is so important to business, and not just p.r., then why is it so rare for financial executives to tout sustainability goals and sustainability executives to tout financial goals? 

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Drought Season's Early Start Presages Another Bleak Year --  conditions in more than half of the United States have slipped into a pattern that climatologists say is uncomfortably similar to the most severe droughts in recent U.S. history, including the 1930s Dust Bowl and the widespread 1950s drought.

The 2013 drought season is already off to a worse start than in 2012 or 2011—a trend that scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say is a good indicator, based on historical records, that the entire year will be drier than last year, even if spring and summer rainfall and temperatures remain the same. If rainfall decreases and temperatures rise, as climatologists are predicting will happen this year, the drought could be even more severe.

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Cocoa Beans Farmer

Stop what you’re doing for a second and think about chocolate. Mmmm. Chocolate bars, chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, 70 percent-cocoa dark chocolate bars (for the antioxidant hawks). What a delight. What a luxury.

It’s also labor-intensive to cultivate, and is harvested mostly by 1.5 million cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, the countries that grow just more than half of the world’s cocoa beans. Farming there or in other producing nations, including Indonesia, Ecuador and Cameroon, has led to child trafficking, conflict-financing and all-around awful working conditions, according to a 2009 Oxfam International report. Women, who make up a disproportionate number of low-paying jobs, face lower wages than men, harassment, lack of property rights and lack of access to credit, according to an investigation from the group released in February. "Many cocoa producers have never tasted chocolate," wrote the authors of the 2009 report.

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Insurance Industry Weathers Historic 2012 Disaster Losses

High Losses From Disasters in 2012 Failed To Shake Insurance

Bloomberg BNA -- Natural catastrophes and human-induced disasters caused $186 billion in economic losses in 2012 and $77 billion in insured losses, making it the third-costliest year on record for insurers, according to a March 27 report by the reinsurance firm Swiss Re.

Nine of the 10 most expensive events, in terms of insured losses, occurred in the United States in 2012, with Hurricane Sandy ranking as the most expensive event, according to Natural Catastrophes and Man-Made Disasters in 2012: A Year of Extreme Weather Events in the U.S.

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Supreme Court Asked to Overturn Decision Upholding EPA

Bloomberg BNA -- Virginia and the Pacific Legal Foundation asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appellate court decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 finding that greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Additionally, the Utility Air Regulatory Group, a power company trade group, asked the Supreme Court to overturn a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision upholding EPA's greenhouse gas permitting program for large stationary sources of emissions.

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Beekeepers Sue EPA Over Pesticide Approvals

Beekeepers, Environmental Groups Sue EPA Over Pesticide Approval

Bloomberg BNA -- A coalition of beekeepers, environmental groups, and consumer groups filed a lawsuit March 21 against the Environmental Protection Agency for approving the registration of pesticides that the groups claim harm honey bees and other pollinators.

The coalition wants EPA to immediately suspend the registrations of the insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The pesticides have been “repeatedly identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder,” the groups said.

Clothianidin and its parent compound, thiamethoxam, are in a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, and have been shown to harm the survival, growth, and health of honey bees and other pollinators and have harmful effects on other animals, including threatened and endangered species, according to the lawsuit. More than two million pounds of the pesticides are used annually on more than 100 million acres in the United States, according to the lawsuit.

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Nike Partners with Swiss Company to Boost Sustainability

Bloomberg BNA -- Nike is partnering with a Swiss company to increase the sustainability of textiles used in its products, which are made in nearly 800 factories worldwide.

Nike will provide its suppliers with screening tools made by the company, called bluesign technologies, that will allow them to select more sustainable dyes, detergents, and chemicals for use in the textile manufacturing process. The partnership was announced March 18.

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor

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