Clarification: Unilever says that, contrary to remarks made by its executive and reported in an earlier version of this article, the company does not have a timeline for doubling its sales.
Two billion people around the world use Unilever products every day, company officials are quick to say. They know that to increase their reach further, they'll need to satisfy a rapidly growing global middle class, without overtaxing the resources available to them.Read more »
The first obstacle to launching a news website about sustainability is the word "sustainability." It's the embodiment of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's observation that news stories in this arena lack appeal: "If it isn't boring, it isn't green." In fact, if you rearrange the 14 letters in "sustainability," they declare: "Banality: It is us."
There must be a better word, right? When I first met Michael Tackett, managing editor for government in Bloomberg's Washington Bureau, he asked me: "What does a sustainability editor do?" I responded with what seems like the right answer, "He drowns the word sustainability in a bathtub."Read more »
For most investors, "sustainability" isn't about doing the right thing. The conversation has evolved. It's about doing the smart thing. This demands an answer to the fundamental question: Does it pay to invest in sustainability?
Early results are in.Read more »
Public interest in climate change policy has dropped off since its 2009 peak, when nations failed to reach a comprehensive, binding legal agreement during negotiations in Copenhagen. The climate itself never got the memo.
That's why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday unveiled a new international coalition of countries that aims to curb “short-lived” climate pollutants such as black carbon, refrigerants and methane. These chemicals stay in the atmosphere for much less time than carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change, which can hang in the air for decades or centuries.Read more »
Wind farms have a problem: the wind. Turbines churn out power when conditions permit and idle when they don’t. This intermittency creates no end of headaches for grid operators trying to balance electricity supply and demand. They often require coal power as a backup, which undermines carbon-free wind.
AES Energy Storage President Chris Shelton says that battery storage can make wind power more--not less--reliable than the fossil fuel incumbents. The AES Corp. unit last September opened its first energy storage project, a 32-megawatt system that will be linked to a 98-megawatt West Virginia wind farm. Their sealed lithium-ion batteries, originally designed for buses, fill rows of 53-foot long shipping containers.Read more »
Good morning, and welcome back to the Griddle, a menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposes $40 billion in cuts to fossil fuel credits. Sounds like a lot. The reductions would take place over the next decade, so it's really about $4 billion a year, or about 1 percent of oil & gas revenues. The subsidies are so convoluted, it's difficult to tell exactly how much the fossil fuel industries currently receive. The Environmental Law Institute found U.S. taxpayers chipped in more than $10 billion a year from 2002 to 2008. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis in November showed world governments gave six times the subsidies to gasoline, coal and natural gas that they gave to wind, solar and biofuels. That came to $409 billion in fossil fuel subsidies to many of the world's most profitable companies. The generosity isn't likely to change in a divided U.S. Congress, in an election year.
And now the news:Read more »
A pioneer of the sustainable business movement, Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, was sentenced today to 16 years in prison in connection with asbestos-related deaths at his former company, Eternit AG.
A court in Turin, Italy, ruled today that Schmidheiny and lead Eternit shareholder Jean-Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier were partially responsible for hundreds of deaths and illnesses caused by asbestos in Eternit factories. They were also sentenced to pay damages, which reportedly could reach past 250 million euros ($330 million), to be determined in a separate civil proceeding to victims’ relatives and to a number of local authorities.Read more »
Desert and drought-prone nations increasingly rely on water from other countries and don’t even know it. That's the conclusion of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that maps the world's water flow.
The problem revolves around a phenomenon that to the uninitiated might sound like a Facebook app or Web game: virtual water. It’s the phrase resource economists are using to describe the amount of water that goes into making a product bound for shipment abroad.Read more »
Few things are as uniquely unsustainable as southern Louisiana. Astrology last month briefly joined the list of forces blamed for the Gulf of Mexico swallowing the equivalent of a football field of Louisiana land every hour -- about 1,900 square miles since the 1930s.
The Louisiana Applied Coastal & Environmental Sciences Division (LACES) issued a study at the end of January recommending that policymakers plan for an estimated one-meter rise in sea level this century. The report's summary for coastal managers curiously stated that "Sea-level rise is caused by a variety of dynamic interactions, and is influenced by atmospheric, geologic, oceanic, and astrological changes, whether natural or anthropogenic."Read more »
Good morning, and welcome back to the Griddle, a menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. Sports apparel-maker Puma issued an "environmental profit and loss statement," last week, which it describes as "The first ever attempt to measure, value and report the environmental externalities caused by a major corporation and its entire supply chain." The bottom line: if Puma treated the environment like a business service provider, the company would owe the Earth 8 million euros ($10.6 million) for its core operations last year and another 137 million euros for the impact of its suppliers. Executive Chairman Jochen Zeitz described it as a "wake-up call" for Puma, and for all companies. The question is: will investors and other companies hear it?
And now the news:Read more »