ConAgra Foods’ green strategy: Award employees for sustainability efforts

Source: GreenBiz.com Last year, ConAgra Foods — the U.S. packaged-foods company behind such well-known brands as Hunt’s Ketchup and Reddi-Wip — saved millions of dollars while dramatically cutting its energy consumption. It accomplished this by not relying on major process changes or heavy investments hailing from top executives. Instead, it turned to its employees. The accomplishments stemmed from an awards program, launched in 1992, developed to encourage employees to proactively look for ways to eliminate waste and reduce water and energy consumption. By allowing different divisions to set their own sustainability goals and awarding employees that met those goals, the Nebraska food giant saved 300 million gallons of water, eliminated 61,000 tons of landfill waste and reduced its carbon emissions by more than 43,000 metric tons. These efforts also saved the company $28 million. Gail Tavill, ConAgra’s vice president of sustainable development, spoke with GreenBiz about how the program works, lessons learned and challenges the program has faced. GreenBiz: How did you reduce water usage by 300 million gallons of water? Tavill: …

Visualizing sustainability’s rewards via MIT’s new interactive tool

Source: GreenBiz.com MIT Sloan Management Review released the results of its latest global survey on sustainability and innovation earlier this month, revealing that a significant number of companies see the value of sustainable business practices — and are reaping the financial rewards. For the first time, the results were released in aninteractive data visualization format. The new tool allows readers to filter the data by industry, company size, company performance and other factors. Presenting the data this way yielded several interesting findings: • The automotive sector gets it: The automotive industry leads the way in making the business case for sustainability. However, when it comes to profitability, automotive is only in the middle of the pack; the consumer products industry is at the top, with 42 percent of consumer products respondents saying that they are profiting from their sustainability activities. • High reputational benefits: Improved brand reputation is the greatest benefit companies enjoy from addressing sustainability issues. This is especially true in the automotive, consumer products and media/entertainment industries. • Customers drive sustainability: Of the “harvesters,” those respondents …

India to pump in Rs 2 lakh cr in 12th Plan to save climate

Source: Economic Times The fight against climate change will take a strategic jump in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) with the government intending to plough in almost Rs 2 lakh crore through the various missions, the working group on climate of the 12th Five-Year Plan has said. The report seeks setting up of a dedicated structure of governance to oversee the different programmes under the 12th Plan with such large funds to be invested. The agriculture mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change alone is to spend upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years to make the primary sector more resilient to inevitable changes in climate change. The report pointed out that the government already spends 2.8% of its GDP on programmes that bring adaptation benefits to people. But the expert group, headed by K Kasturirangan, which wrote the report, has warned that government should not make any further commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without holding the widest possible consultations with ministries concerned and other stakeholders. It …

Puma Earns A, Apple Takes Home D in EIRIS Sustainability Rankings

Source: Environmental Leader German sportswear manufacturer Puma tops EIRIS’ Top 10 Global Sustainability Leaders list while Apple earns a D, in a ranking that sees UK and European companies receive higher marks than their US and Asian counterparts. With the UN’s 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit coming up in June, the research house applied its Sustainability Ratings methodology to measure the sustainability performance of 2,063 global companies from the FTSE Aall World Developed Index. The report, titled “On track for Rio+20? How are global companies responding to sustainability?” identified 10 sustainability leaders and analyzes the performance of 50 of the world’s largest companies (by market cap). A fifth of UK companies scored As, the highest ranking, based on their sustainability performance, followed by 12 percent of mainland European ones. But only 2 percent of US companies and 1 percent of Asian ones make the top grade in EIRIS’ Global Sustainability Ratings. Continue Reading…

F1 team Sauber shifts into “carbon neutral” status

Source: Business Green In a move that will interpreted as an example of either effective green management or shameless greenwash, Formula 1 racing team Sauber has today announced that it has obtained “carbon neutral” status. The Swiss team said that it has signed a deal with UK offset company Carbon Neutral Investments (CNI), which supports a range of emission reduction projects around the world, including wind farms in India, waste heat recovery projects in China, and hydro-electric stations in Brazil. Sauber will purchase credits from these initiatives to cover not only emissions from all its facilities, but also emissions from transportation of freight to race venues and staff travel. It added that it would then also purchase an excess of 30 per cent more carbon offset credits to ensure any emissions that may remain unaccounted for are covered. The move builds on the team’s achievement in gaining ISO 14001 certification for the company’s environmental management system in April. “The certification of our environmental management system less than a month ago …

The Companies Combating Climate Change In The Most Innovative Ways

Source: Fast CoExist Coming to a Bloomberg terminal near you: a ranking of the most innovative U.S. companies on climate change. And some of the contenders may surprise you. Produced by Maplecroft, a U.K.-based research house, the ranking tracks how 360 companies worth more than $1 billion are “mitigating climate change related risks,” managing carbon emissions, and innovating “clean-tech solutions and new products”. Maplecroft uses more than 100 criteria to reach its assessment, with the “innovation” piece making up 50% of the scores.   “We see the index as a sign of responsible business managing and mitigating their CO2 emissions and the impact that climate-related events are having on them,” says Kevin Franklin, a Maplecroft director. “But equally it’s about proactive businesses that are looking to generate new opportunities for revenues. The idea is the rating evaluates that, and then the index sits on the Bloomberg terminal, and ultimately helps drive further investment in businesses that are part of the climate solution.” Continue Reading…

Recent Surveys show greater acceptance of Sustainability

Source: CCES blog Well, the first quarter of 2012 has come to an end, meaning the release of surveys and other studies of sustainability in 2011. The MIT Sloan Management Review Report was recently released. According to their survey, corporate sustainability programs grew markedly in 2011. About 70% of nearly 3,000 executives surveyed said that sustainability was on the management agenda in 2011 and will probably remain so permanently. Two-thirds of those managers surveyed said that sustainability-related strategies are not just “nice” or even adding on to profit, but are necessary to stay competitive. 24% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Embracers”, companies that have incorporated sustainability in the management agenda, have a business case for sustainability within their company, and feel that sustainability is necessary to stay competitive. About 31% of those surveyed meet their criteria of “Harvesters”, companies that have begun a sustainability program and realize the business case, but have not made it a far-reaching or permanent part of the culture. Continue Reading…

Seeing Through the Fog

Source: BCG Perspectives A Practical Guide for Dealing with Carbon In San Francisco in the summer, fog rolls across the bay at certain hours of the afternoon, swiftly enveloping the city in a dense cover. In many ways, U.S. carbon rules are just like that blanket of fog: inevitable but of uncertain timing, all-encompassing, and with a sudden and large impact on life and the environment. Carbon rules will have massive direct economic impacts on most industries, but particularly on emitters such as companies in the power, oil and gas, metals, cement, paper, and mining industries. These impacts will be pervasive for most emitting and nonemitting companies and will have implications for major functions and management processes, as well as for market structures and relative competitive positions. Investors and analysts are increasingly sensitive to carbon issues and are looking to management teams to craft a response, despite the uncertainty over the rules’ nature and timing. Surprisingly, little of the relevant literature has addressed in a pragmatic manner what companies should do …

Greenhouse Gas Protocol Launches in India

Source : WRI Insights The use of standards to account for corporate greenhouse gases is increasingly common in developed countries – but it is emerging in developing countries as well. In India, companies’ focus on value chain inventories and life cycle thinking is in nascent stages. That’s why the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a collaboration of the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is partnering with The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in launching its two new tools, the Product Life Cycle and Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards, in New Delhi next week. These new standards establish a comprehensive, global, standardized framework for businesses and other organizations to measure their value chain and product emissions and to reduce their impacts on the climate. Continue Reading…

Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

Source: The Scientific American Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University’s Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm. The issue came replete with technical solutions that ranged from a hydrogen economy to space-based solar. If I had it to do over, I’d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It’s the social engineering that’s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child’s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave. A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to …

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