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

Banks Lacking Sustainable Values Face Destabilizing Risk

If the 2008 financial crisis laid bare nearsightedness in global financial markets, then the way to prevent future shocks is to give participants “wider and better quality lenses,” according to a new report published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

The report, titled Financial Stability and Systemic Risk: Lenses and Clocks, applies the principles of sustainable finance and responsible investment to post-2008 debates about the stability of the global financial system. The authors emphasize the importance of grounding market behavior with an understanding of modern risks to financial markets -- everything from inadequate capital requirements to climate change.

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In 50 Years, Wal-Mart Turns a Shop into an Empire

In 50 Years, Wal-Mart Turns a Store into an Empire

Wal-Mart turned 50 years old this month. Founder Sam Walton’s first shop in Rogers, Arkansas, has grown into a 10,185-store chain spanning 27 countries. Many suppliers rely on Wal-Mart, now the fourth-largest company in the world, for large portions of their revenue. For example, the company provides Procter & Gamble, the world's biggest maker of consumer goods, about 15 percent of sales. Wal-Mart isn't similarly beholden to any one of its many suppliers.

The company’s sustainability initiative, which began in 2005, focuses this global influence on efforts to reduce waste and shrink the environmental impacts within its supply chain.

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'Keystone Kops' Bungling Led to Costliest U.S. Pipeline Spill

Michigan Oil Spill

The following is an excerpt from “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard of,” a seven-month investigation by InsideClimate News, a non-profit news organization focused on climate change and energy issues. To see a slideshow about the 2010 Enbridge oil spill, click here.

An acrid stench had already enveloped John LaForge's five-bedroom house when he opened the door just after 6 a.m. on July 26, 2010. By the time the building contractor hurried the few feet to the refuge of his Dodge Ram pickup, his throat was stinging and his head was throbbing.

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Companies and Investors Should See More of Each Other

Company executives and institutional asset managers are increasingly working sustainability into their strategy and operations. Similarly, institutional asset managers are doing the same in constructing their portfolios. Yet both groups are doing this relatively independently of each other. These two groups should and will be seeing more of each other as sustainability matures.

As it stands, engagement between executives and institutional investors is limited to stylized interactions, such as quarterly calls, investor visits, and annual meetings. These interactions involve a small number of people representing each side of the conversation -- executives on the company side, and portfolio managers and analysts on the investor side. Substantive discussions about the long term almost never happen. They should.

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‘Get Over It’: Climate Change Is Happening

Heat Wave and Drought in the U.S.

What is anyone to make of American public figures who even in 2012 dismiss the risks posed by manmade climate change?

After a week of record heat and wildfires, Terry Moran of ABC News posed a question to guests on July 8, on the Sunday political talk show, “This Week With George Stephanopoulos”: Why should climate change be any more controversial than, say, neuroscience or brain surgery? Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, answered that climate change has much broader applicability than brain surgery and therefore draws a greater crowd of critics. E.J. Dionne, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, expressed incredulity about “why my conservative friends are so resistant in taking out an insurance policy… Because if we go wrong on this, we’re making an awfully big mistake.”

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Coast Guard Admiral Finds Alaska Changed After 37 Years

Alaskan Glacier

Count the Coast Guard commandant among those who've come away from trips to Alaska with an appreciation for the evidence of climate change. Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. visited the state in August 2010, and was struck by the change in the landscape.

"I served in Alaska 37 years ago with my first assignment at the Coast Guard," Papp said July 13 at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. He recalled a trip to a northern community in July 1976, which required a helicopter because of thick ice. On his more recent visit to the same area, the landscape was much different. "I could see no ice anywhere," he said.

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How to Paint a Golf Course Green

Golf Course in Columbus, Ohio

Did you know that 2,500 square feet of golf course turf "releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe?”

I didn’t either, until I received a press release last week about “golf’s positive environmental impact here in the U.S,” from Buffalo Communications, a unit of Billy Casper Golf LLC. And it made me wonder: Is that enough oxygen for four family members to each inhale once, or enough to sustain themselves indefinitely? I grew up playing golf in a family of four. It’s no wonder we never had shortness of breath.

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Ford Expects Up to 25% of Electric Sales by 2020

2013 Ford Fusion with EcoBoost

Improving fuel economy in every segment of its business is the biggest thing Ford Motor Co. can do to be sustainable and profitable, said John Viera, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters.

Ford hopes to meet this need, in one way, with its EcoBoost technology, which uses turbocharging and direct fuel injection to boost the power of gasoline engines, improving the vehicle’s efficiency by 10-20 percent. The company estimates that about 90 percent of its 2013 Ford Escape will be fitted with EcoBoost engines. Viera tells Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Clean Energy and Carbon Brief that by 2020, 10-25 percent of its fleet will be electric – with three quarters of that traditional hybrids.

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Unilever Wants Short, Soapy Showers and Long-Term Investors

Unilever Plc. Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman

In the 1890s, William Lever remarked that his new product, Sunlight Soap, might “make cleanliness commonplace” and improve health throughout soot-covered Victorian England. Today, Paul Polman, head of the company Lever created, has even grander aspirations for Unilever, the maker of Dove soaps, Lipton tea and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.

Polman, in his fourth year as chief executive officer, wants to improve the hygiene habits of more than a billion people by 2020 by encouraging handwashing and providing safe, affordable drinking water in developing countries. Those goals are part of a sustainability strategy than says can double Unilever’s sales while halving its environmental footprint.

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Can the U.S. Economy Be Sustained for Another 236 Years?

Carbon Counter Display Goes Dark

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour,” Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

The original Declaration of Independence, badly faded from poor 19th-century preservation techniques, is on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Each passing Fourth of July provides evidence that this document is better preserved than the land whose inhabitants it grants freedom and rights.

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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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