Posted tagged ‘epa’

Manufacturers remain bullish on sustainability but need more clarity on climate regulation

May 1, 2009

US manufacturers who participated in our Sustainable Manufacturing Summit this week are bullish on sustainability and are continuing to invest in green strategies despite the economic downturn. What’s missing for companies is clarity on the timing and substance of carbon regulation. Certainty over a national cap-and-trade system is necessary for manufacturers to make projections of carbon costs over time and develop long-term sustainability plans.

Attendees gathered at Chicago’s Navy Pier for this second annual event looking at best practices in sustainable manufacturing. Participants were a combination of technical professionals (engineers, facility/energy managers, EHS) and strategic sustainability executives (vice presidents, CEOs, directors) all looking for news they could use. Industry was clearly excited to get together and exchange ideas.  Right now sustainability professionals are  being bombarded with environmental news and some find it a challenge to filter information – and do their jobs.

The session on carbon regulation provided some clarity on Climate Bill and mandatory GHG reporting. Experts estimated a December timing for the Climate Bill (before Copenhagen) and a October/November timing for final GHG reporting rules with companies expected to report 2010 emissions in 2011. Manufacturers were also advised to contact their state energy departments about federal funds flowing for energy efficiency projects included in the stimulus package.

But as with any social or economic revolution, the real change in sustainable manufacturing is coming from the companies that are voluntarily investing in broad sustainability plans during this recession. Sustainability experts from Herman Miller and Shaw Industries talked about the importance of their CEOs’ commitment to sustainability and that they are continuing to broaden their green strategies despite the economy.

Industry is excited about the opportunities for energy efficiency projects and renewables investment coming from climate regulation and new technologies. One manufacturer discussed setting up separate capital funds to pay for energy efficiency projects so that they don’t have to compete with other projects for investment.

Despite the positive outlook for sustainable production, attendees also identified common sustainability hurdles including employee motivation, regulatory uncertainty and budgetary constraints. Ken Alston, CEO of MBDC, suggested the need for a fundamental change in corporate mindset for some companies. “There is a fundamental paradigm shift that has to change from where we are going from being less bad to being more good,” he said. Letitia Webster of the North Face also brought up the need for a more systemic, holistic approach to sustainability planning – which is the basis of our ASA series and our Seattle event.

Overall it was exciting to hear how enthusiastic manufacturers are about continuing to push for new levels of sustainable production and to share best practices. The timing seems right for companies to develop the green strategies that will deliver long-term profitability. “I am bullish on sustainability – I think the time is now,” said Ira Feldman, President and Senior Counsel for Greentrack Strategies. “I want to congratulate the Green Power people for bundling these sustainability events under the Action for a Sustainable America banner.”

EPA holding hearings on mandatory GHG reporting

April 7, 2009

epaThe EPA is holding public hearings in Arlington Virginia today and tomorrow to discuss its proposal for mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The agency is proposing that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a broad discussion draft bill that proposes to reduce GHG emissions 3 percent below percent below 2005 levels by 2012, 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 42 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.The American Clean Energy and Security Act also sets out a renewable energy portfolio standard of 6 percent by 2012.

Both these important regulatory developments and their impact on the manufacturing sector will be discussed at our Sustainable Manufacturing Summit on April 29-30 in Chicago.

Can corporate sustainability strategies get beyond regulation?

April 2, 2009


Last week the EPA proposed mandatory reporting of the gases blamed for global warming from approximately 13,000 facilities nationwide. The regulation would cover companies that either release large amounts of greenhouse gases directly or produce or import fuels and chemicals that when burned create GHG emissions. These facilities account for 85-90% of the country’s GHG emission

This is yet one more proposal that will start to influence corporate strategy and one of the many potential regulations related to climate change and sustainability that is on the cards. The aim of our Action for a Sustainable America series is enable companies to devise strategies that create a corporate environment in which regulation announcements such as these can be taken-in without breaking stride. 

At our Seattle event in June corporate strategies that get beyond regulation and ahead of the competition are discussed in two great panels by the following

  • David Van’t Hof, Senior Policy Advisor on Energy, and Sustainability, State of Oregon
  • Janice Adair, Special Assistant to the Director, Department of Ecology, State of Washington
  • Stan Price, Executive Director, Northwest Energy Efficiency Council
  • K.C. Golden, Policy Advisor, Climate Solutions
  • Tom Crowninshield, Seattle Plant Manager, Lafarge North America
  • Kevin Wilhelm, CEO, Sustainable Business Consulting
  • Terry Mutter, Head of EHS, The Boeing Company

Let us know in advance if there are any specific questions you would like to be addressed