CDP to push water disclosure

Posted November 26, 2009 by asablog
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Seeking to replicate its success in increasing voluntary reporting by companies on carbon emissions, the CDP develops a mechanism for corporate reporting on water use.

See here for full details

“Outstanding” response to PepsiCo acceptance of the human right to water

Posted November 12, 2009 by asablog
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Dan Bena 2009

Dan Bena, is currently the Director of Sustainability, Health, Safety, and Environment for the international division of PepsiCo. He is also the opening keynote speaker at next month’s Corporate Water Footprinting conference in San Francisco. PepsiCo is one of the first, and probably the largest, companies to make an explicit commitment to the human right to water. In this pre-conference, 60-second interview he gives some details of the strategy and its place within a more comprehensive sustainability strategy.

GPC: Why has PepsiCo made a commitment to respect a “human right to water”?

DB: We worked with an NGO to commit to support water as a basic human right in the context of the UN/WHO document on the topic.  We believe intuitively that water is a human right, so we agreed on the elements of our commitment, and thought it was important to make this public.  By making it public, we hoped to raise awareness, and also bring other companies along to build momentum.  The elements of our recognition of water as a fundamental human right include safety, sufficiency, acceptability, physical accessibility, and affordability.

GPC:What operational issues does this create?

DB: I wouldn’t call them “issues” because they really aren’t.  They are merely challenges which are understandable at the start of any such journey, and challenges which can be overcome.  We believe that we have been satisfying many of the elements, to varying degree, all along in our daily operations.  The challenge is formalizing the process, and making it systemic.  This is where the journey will lead.  We are better at some elements than others, and need to make sure that we excel in all elements, to assure that our commitment is real.

GPC: What has been the response to this from your peers and from the NGO community? 

DB: In a word, outstanding.  When we presented this on a panel in Stockholm during World Water Week in August, the reaction was uniformly positive…from peers, NGOs, and other stakeholders.  They applaud this public recognition for a company of PepsiCo’s size and reach, since it brings immediate attention and awareness to the global issues, and to the potential global solutions.  Everyone is quick to point out, though, that this is clearly a first step, and we will need to report our progress transparently all along the journey.         

GPC: What are the main barriers to effective water stewardship across such a large organisation?

DB: Three main challenges: 

(1) Going beyond the proverbial “low hanging fruit.”  Usually, when you begin a water conservation program, there are easy wins.  Things that can be done economically, which result in significant water savings.  Once those are implemented, however, to continuously improve might require more innovative approaches, capital expenditure, or technology development. 

(2) Nothing exists in a vacuum…so another challenge is balancing the overall eco-footprint of our facilities.  We must be mindful that by saving water, we might, in fact be using more energy (and therefore more emissions). 

(3) Engaging our global supply chain in our water stewardship journey.  Our supply chain is huge, diverse, and complex, but also represents tremendous opportunity for not only water stewardship but also overall environmental stewardship.

GPC: What do you hope to hear from your fellow presenters and delegates at the conference?

DB: I would like to hear that we are all aligned on the objectives–ultimately doing our part to help mitigate the global water crises, and doing it together–collaboratively.

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The human right to water

Posted October 27, 2009 by asablog
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 Last year was our first Corporate Water Footprint conference. The event, held in San Francisco, attracted vociferous and theatrical protest as well as local main stream media interest

The conference was criticised for not involving more NGO voices with most criticism coming from Food and Water Watch and the Council of Canadians. This year both of these groups have been invited to speak at the conference. We are delighted that Anil Naidoo from the Council of Canadians Blue Planet Project and Mark Schlosberg from Food and Water Watch will speak in the session on the human right to water.

The background to PepsiCo’s commitment to the human right to water

Posted October 27, 2009 by asablog
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Though announced in April this is still an interesting read for those involved in water issues, corporate governance, shareholder activism. Dan Bena from PepsiCo International will discuss this at Corporate Water Footprinting in December in San Francisco.

Full details here

Frances Spivy-Weber added to CWF agenda

Posted October 21, 2009 by asablog
Categories: ASA Series, corporate water footprinting

We are very pleased to announce that Frances Spivy-Weber of the California State Water Resources Control Board will join the list of impressive speakers at the Corporate Water Footprinting conference in San Francisco, Dec 2-3.

Ms Weber will join the dicussion chaired by Barry Epstein on the current developments in regional, national and global water policy and how these are likley to impact on corporate water strategies.

The first water offset product

Posted October 1, 2009 by asablog
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Bonneville Environmental Foundation has launched what is the first water offset product. Rob Harmon from BEF will be speaking about this innovation at our Corporate Water Footprinting event in San Francisco in December – press release below

BEF Water Restoration CertificatesTM Help Americans Take Responsibility For Their Water Use

PORTLAND, Ore. /Businesswire/ – In an effort to bring life back into U.S. rivers and streams that are critically dewatered, the nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) announced the creation of the first and only national voluntary water restoration marketplace via BEF Water Restoration CertificatesTM (WRCs). 
“Americans use twice as much water as Europeans and almost forty times more than people in developing countries,” said Margie Gardner, CEO of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. “At least 36 U.S. states anticipate water shortages by 2013. Clearly we need to think more deeply about how we use water. BEF invented Water Restoration Certificates so businesses and households could learn more and take direct action to help solve our water scarcity issues.”
 

Through WRCs, BEF offers businesses and individuals an opportunity to take responsibility for their water consumption by restoring to nature an amount of water equal to what they use. Each WRC represents one thousand gallons of water restored to critically dewatered streams.

“Water rights are managed in the Western U.S. with a ‘use it or lose it’ system that forces water use even when it’s wasteful. When businesses and consumers buy BEF WRCs they create a revenue source that provides economic incentive to leave unneeded water in rivers and streams,” explained Rob Harmon, Chief Innovation Officer at BEF, who led the development of the new program. 

Charter customers that have invested in BEF WRCs to balance their water use include the Bullitt Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and WhiteWave Foods Company.

“I’m excited to see a product that so elegantly addresses one of Earth’s most pressing problems – our looming fresh water crisis,” said Denis Hayes, President and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation and National Executive Director of the first Earth Day in 1970. “The BEF Water Restoration Certificate is a simple and immediate way for businesses and consumers to help bring water and life back to streams that are currently dry.”

BEF has launched www.BEFwater.org, which features a host of resources, including tips on how to reduce water use, calculate water consumption and purchase WRCs to rebalance water use. Businesses can download white papers and learn more at www.BEFwater.org/business.

“At WhiteWave, we take great pride in working with a nonprofit like BEF that has vision and leadership in both the renewable energy and emerging water market categories and shares our commitment to making it easier for businesses and consumers to make environmentally responsible choices,” says Ellen W. Feeney, VP Responsible Livelihood, WhiteWave Foods Company. “The BEF water calculator and Water Restoration Certificates are simple, cost-effective tools that we can all use to to make more sustainable choices about our water use and create real environmental benefits.”

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has certified the standards and criteria for all BEF WRC projects to ensure that water is returned at a time and place that will produce real environmental benefits, providing increased water flow to critically dewatered ecosystems so they can better support fish and wildlife. Also, BEF has partnered with water trust organizations at each location who work with local irrigators and monitor flow restoration.  To ensure that water returned to the environment is never counted twice, WRCs are individually numbered and tracked by Markit Environmental Registry, a leading global provider of registries for ecosystems markets.

Joanna Silver, Vice President, Markit Environmental Registry said “The new WRC is a first of its kind. We are very excited to be at the forefront of this new environmental market with an innovative organization like BEF and to play a part in creating a robust and credible product. Only with quality infrastructure can environmental markets be scalable and easily implemented regionally, nationally and globally.”

The BEF WRC market is having initial success:

  • For years, Prickly Pear Creek in Montana did not flow throughout the irrigation season, running dry in the late summer season. This summer BEF and the Montana Water Trust expect to restore the creek to continuous year-round flow, supporting approximately two river miles of additional habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • In Oregon, where BEF works with the Deschutes River Conservancy, water flow in the Middle Deschutes River is almost four times what it has been historically, fostering a healthier ecosystem for people, plants and wildlife and prompting local fly fishing guides familiar with the area to report improved fish populations.
  • Evan’s Creek, which is also in Oregon and where BEF works with The Freshwater Trust, is enjoying a 50 percent improvement in summer stream flow, prompting a return of wildlife to the area with beavers actively pooling up the small stream and steelhead trout and Coho salmon using the stream as rearing habitat. 

EPA Finalizes the Nation’s First Greenhouse Gas Reporting System/Monitoring to begin in 2010

Posted September 23, 2009 by adriennebaker
Categories: Uncategorized

WASHINGTON – On January 1, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will, for the first time, require large emitters of heat-trapping emissions to begin collecting greenhouse gas (GHG) data under a new reporting system. This new program will cover approximately 85 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions and apply to roughly 10,000 facilities.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “For the first time, we begin collecting data from the largest facilities in this country, ones that account for approximately 85 percent of the total U.S. emissions. The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.” Read more.

Greenbiz story on last week’s Sustainability Stakeholder Engagement conference in NYC

Posted September 22, 2009 by adriennebaker
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Stakeholder engagement is a critical, yet often overlooked or under-prioritized aspect of many organizations’ sustainability efforts. The Sustainability Stakeholder Engagement (SSE) conference offered insights and practical ways to build effective relations with stakeholders, from customers, employees and investors, to suppliers, NGOs and communities. Read more.

The first food product with a water footprint label

Posted September 15, 2009 by asablog
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H2O_ilman_lukua

Raisio CEO Matti Rihko  is speaking at our Corporate Water Footprinting conference in December. In this 60-second interview he outlines the details of what is thought to be the first water-footprint label on a food product.

What prompted you undertake the water footprint and label product?

As a pioneer in plant-based, ecological food, and as one of Europe’s most innovative grain companies, Raisio Group is in an extremely good position to answer the new challenges facing the food industry.

During the past years we in Raisio have thought about the motives that are becoming increasingly important to consumers and how to take these factors into consideration when meeting consumer demand. Such key factors include ecology and ethics. Raisio is strongly investing in developing products that comply with consumer needs. Climate change and increasing consumers’ environmental awareness made us realise that it is the time to offer information about our products’ greenhouse gas emissions that the company already had. 

 We have received very positive feedback on adding the CO2 label on consumer products. This feedback encouraged us to expand the labelling and further convinced us that we are on the right track. The H2O label was the natural follow-up step to the CO2 label as we had the information and skills needed to calculate the product’s water footprint.

What did you hope to achieve my determining and publicising the footprint?

We believe that carbon footprint labels will become standard on consumer products. The label will form an integral part of product data in a package to complement the price and nutrition information.

 When launching the CO2 label Raisio wanted to see how consumers react and to get feedback. It was also a kind of risk to add CO2 label to an icon brand that Elovena is in Finland because the single figure looks high without any comparison.

The CO2 label that Raisio introduced has been very well received. Raisio’s actions come as an answer to the quickly strengthening changes in living habits. We firmly believe that people are moving from words to action in order to curb climate change, and the CO2 and H2O labels give them important information in this respect.

Where is the greatest uncertainty in the usage quantity you derived?

Most of the water consumption of Elovena oat flakes, that are H2O labelled, consists of the water that oats use during the growth period and originates from rain water, as a part of the natural water cycle. Since the oat grown in Finland is not irrigated, it does not compete for clean, drinkable water. We wanted to include green water to be able to calculate the total water consumption.

We have asked for feedback to be able to discuss about the water footprint in order to further develop the calculation and labelling. We believe that the water footprint, as a concept, will gain global significance, but it will take years before the related consumer product labelling becomes more common. If consumers find that the H2O label gives them additional information they need for consumption choices, Raisio will enlarge the labelling to other products as well.

What has been the response to the labels from consumers and the industry?

We have received very positive feedback on the labels from experts, consumer organisations and other such sources. The labels have aroused a lot of interest in Finland, and they have also been widely noticed abroad. Footprint labelling is a very young concept in the food industry but awakened consumers awareness about climate change will make footprint label as a standard.

The food industry is more and more aware about environmental impacts caused by food production. Changing consumer demand is encouraging food processors to develop products that are also environmentally friendly.

Interview with Motorola’s Sustainability Director

Posted September 8, 2009 by adriennebaker
Categories: Corporate Climate Regulation

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Bill Olson, Director Office of Sustainability and Stewardship, Motorola will be presenting at the upcoming Corporate Climate Regulation event this October 27-28 in Chicago.

60-Second Interview

What are the latest updates to Motorola’s GHG management strategy?

We have launched a strategy to reduce the climate impact of our operations, products and supply chain.
For our operations, we have set absolute and normalized goals to:

• Reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 15 percent per million dollars of sales by 2010, compared with 2005
• Reduce our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent by 2010, compared with 2000 to meet our Chicago Climate Exchange commitment

We will achieve these reductions by:

• Improving energy management at our operations
• Using more renewable energy

For our products, we are assessing the lifecycle climate impacts of our products to help us understand relative impacts across product lines and within each product category, which will help us focus our efforts where the biggest impacts can be made. We are also making our products more energy efficient and developing alternative energy sources to power our products, and constantly seeking opportunities to develop products that will contribute to the low carbon economy. An example of a product that was designed with climate change in mind is the Moto W233 Renew http://www.motorola.com/renew, which has best-in-class talk time, the most energy efficient charger on the market, and earned CarbonFree® Product Certification, the first on the market, after an extensive product life-cycle assessment.

In terms of supply chain, our long-term goal is to measure and reduce the climate impact of our supply chain. We are working with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, an industry collaboration, to develop a method to measure supplier emissions.

Will you be reviewing your GHG management in preparation for mandatory cap-and-trade?

Because Motorola does not generate a high level of GHG emissions, we don’t currently anticipate being covered by the proposed mandatory cap-and-trade scheme. If that should change, we are confident that our experience as a founding member of the voluntary, but legally binding Chicago Climate Exchange cap-and-trade system will serve us well should we be covered. Independent of regulation, we will continue to drive our voluntary efforts to help contribute to reducing our climate change impacts and to developing products that contribute to a low carbon economy.

What are you most interested in hearing about at Corporate Climate Regulation?

We are interested in hearing about how the Information and Communications Technology sector and other sectors are developing products that will contribute to a low carbon economy in light of the future regulatory environment.