Christopher Greenwald http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:49:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 The Green Gauge: Kimberly-Clark, NCR face pollution charges http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/10/the-green-gauge-kimberly-clark-ncr-face-pollution-charges/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/10/26/the-green-gauge-kimberly-clark-ncr-face-pollution-charges/#comments Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:49:05 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/10/26/the-green-gauge-kimberly-clark-ncr-face-pollution-charges/ A freight train on the Wisconsin Central Railroad lines crosses the Fox River on the south edge of Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area in a view from the town of Mukwonago, Wisconsin June 10, 2008.    REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson

Leading this week’s Green Gauge, a breakdown of companies in the news for behavior affecting the environment, are Kimberly-Clark and NCR who are being sued along with seven others for PCB pollution dating back more than 50 years.

Selections of headlines about publicly-traded companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

bot25 Kimberly-Clark Corp. and NCR Corp.

The long-lasting risks of environmental pollution were revealed recently, as the U.S. Department of Justice filed a major law suit against Kimberly-Clark, NCR, and nine other companies to pay for continued clean-up and environmental restoration work relating to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pollution in Wisconsin’s Fox River and Green Bay from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s.  Although $300 million has already been paid for clean-up efforts at the site, the Department of Justice claims that $550 million of additional clean-up and $400 million of natural resource restoration work is still required.  The lawsuit claims that the companies originally responsible for the pollution have resisted taking full financial responsibility for the  clean-up costs as well as the efforts necessary to repair the long-term damage to natural resources that resulted from the pollution.

bot25 Zijin Mining Group Company Ltd.

Chinese authorities sued Zijin Mining for nearly $3 million following the collapse of a tailings dam near a tin mine controlled by the company.  In addition to the significant environmental damage caused by the resulting pollution, 28 people are dead or missing as a result of the dam’s collapse.  The incident follows another recent pollution incident at one of the company’s gold mines in China in July that killed more than 2,000 fish.

bot25 Bayer AG

Bayer recently settled with a group of 8 Texas rice farmers for $290,000 for damages suffered as a result of the 2006 contamination of rice by genetically modified seeds that had not been approved for cultivation.  The revelations of the contamination led to restrictions on rice imports by Japan and the E.U. as well as a subsequent drop in rice prices.  Bayer has lost all of the recent cases in the U.S. related to the incident in the past year, including a $48 judgment in punitive and compensatory damages by an Arkansas jury in April.  The recent settlement may indicate a potential change in Bayer’s strategy to begin to settle the more than 6,000 claims by rice farmers against Bayer currently in the court system.

bot25 Ecopetrol SA

Columbia declared an environmental emergency for several Caribbean beaches after an oil spill of an Ecopetrol pipeline led to the spill of 20,000 gallons of oil into the sea.  Although the company blamed the spill on criminals and claimed to have stopped the spill last week, the spill caused oil damage and the death of sea life near the popular tourist resort of Santa Marta.  Ecopetrol is currently in the process of purchasing the Ecuador operations of BP together with Talisman Energy for U.S. $1.9 billion.

top25 Autodesk, Inc.

Autodesk, a leading provider of software solutions for product design, and Granata Design Ltd., a provider of data on materials, recently announced a collaboration to provide a software solution that will allow clients to be able to better understand the environmental impacts of product design.  The companies claim that 80 percent of a product’s impact is determined in its design phase, and the collaboration will allow product designers to better understand the environmental impacts of their choices of which materials to include in products.

top25 Hyundai Motor Company and Honda Motor Company

Hyundai and Honda Motors recently tied for first place in terms of automobile CO2 emissions in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Automaker Rankings, which ranked the eight largest automobile manufacturers in the U.S.  Both Honda and Hyundai had an average of 377g of CO2 / mile for their 2008 model years, which was significantly lower than the 429 g / mile average for all 8 manufacturers.  Although Honda has placed first in the overall rankings since the ranking began 5 years ago, Hyundai demonstrated the greatest progress over the past 3 years, jumping from 4th to 1st place in Global Warming performance by reducing the average CO2 emissions / mile by 11 percent.

A link to the study is available here.

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Photo above: A freight train crosses the Fox River on the south edge of Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area in a view from the town of Mukwonago, Wisconsin June 10, 2008. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson

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The Green Gauge: Vedanta, Sterlite ordered to shut smelter http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/10/the-green-gauge-vedanta-sterlite-ordered-to-shut-smelter/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/10/12/the-green-gauge-vedanta-sterlite-ordered-to-shut-smelter/#comments Tue, 12 Oct 2010 19:35:40 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/10/12/the-green-gauge-vedanta-sterlite-ordered-to-shut-smelter/ A bird flies by the Vedanta office building in Mumbai August 16, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

This month, Vedanta Resources and subsidiary Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. made headlines for posing a public health risk to the surrounding community in southern India with pollution from a large copper smelter. They share the top spot in this issue of The Green Gauge, a breakdown of companies recently in the news for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

bot25 Vedanta Resources, Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd.
Vedanta Resources faces a new environmental setback in India after a Madras High Court ordered the closure of a large copper smelter at Tuticorin belonging to Vedanta’s Indian subsidiary, Sterlite Industries. Claiming that “the right to have a living atmosphere congenial to human existence is part of the right to life,” the Madras court argued that toxic emissions from the copper smelter, the 9th largest in the world, posed a public health risk to the surrounding community. The Indian Supreme Court granted permission for the facility to continue to operate while Vedanta appeals the verdict.

bot25 Murphy Oil Corp.
Murphy Oil recently reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department as a result of violations of the Clean Air Act at its refineries in Meraux, Louisiana and Superior, Wisconsin. The settlement, which resulted from high emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and benzene at the facilities, requires Murphy to pay $1.25 million in a civil penalty, $1.5 million for a supplemental environmental project as well as to spend $142 million for upgraded pollution control equipment at the facilities. The total settlement amount of $144.75 million represents 16 percent of the company’s FY 2010 net profit.

bot25 Target Corp.
A California judge has ordered Target to stop disposing of defective goods that should qualify as hazardous waste following a lawsuit filed by several cities and the state of California that could eventually result in significant fines against the company. The lawsuit contends that Target has routinely disposed of items such as pesticides, bleach, and electronics improperly throughout the state, including 5,000 pounds of unsalable hazardous waste that was sent to a local food bank in Los Angeles. Target denies the charges and claims that it has a comprehensive program to ensure that its waste disposal is compliant with California state laws.

bot25 Enbridge
In the wake of a series of environmental problems in its pipeline system in the mid-West including a damaging spill in the Kalamazoo River in July, the Wisconsin Attorney General also announced that the company faces $1 million in fines due to violations of state air pollution laws. The violations, which date as far back as 2001, include failures to maintain proper seals on gaskets and storage tanks at the company’s Superior terminal.

top25 Covanta Holdings

As part of its commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, Covanta Energy is partnering with Project Kaisei to convert plastic waste in the Northern Pacific into fuel. The company has developed a new waste-to-fuel technology that will convert plastic debris into diesel fuel. Covanta hopes to convert 50 tons of plastic debris from the ocean into diesel, and the company believes that the collaboration with Project Kaisai will raise awareness both of the problem of plastic debris in the oceans as well as the possibility for renewable technologies to help address the problem.
More information on Project Kaisai is available here.

top25 Nike

At the Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. sustainability network Ceres announced a collaboration with Nike, the Skoll Foundation and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to promote sustainability goals and practices in publicly traded companies. The initiative will host a series of roundtables between companies and investors in order to drive a more fundamental integration of sustainability goals into companies’ core strategies. The initiatives will be based on The 21st Century Corporation: Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, and will include such goals as making energy efficiency and renewable energy fundamental to corporate operations, eliminating waste and wastewater emissions, and developing incentives for executives to promote sustainability efforts in their business.

A link to the Ceres’ Roadmap is available here.

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The Green Gauge: Shale developers hit speed bumps http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/09/the-green-gauge-shale-developers-hit-speed-bumps/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/09/20/the-green-gauge-shale-developers-hit-speed-bumps/#comments Mon, 20 Sep 2010 18:56:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/09/20/the-green-gauge-shale-developers-hit-speed-bumps/ A pedestrian walks near a no drilling sign in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, September 5, 2010. In the rush to develop America's biggest new source of domestic energy, one community is fighting to protect its rural way of life from the environmental strains that accompany shale gas drilling.  REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

Development of shale gas has attracted myriad fans and enemies in recent months: those who cheer a source of natural gas on the home turf of the U.S. and environmentalists who warn the process to release the gas underground risks contaminating drinking water.

This month, Chesapeake Energy, Denbury Resources and Southwest Energy Co. each made headlines for environmental mishaps, and share the top spot in this issue of The Green Gauge, a breakdown of companies that made headlines Sept. 6 to Sept 19 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

bot25 Chesapeake Energy, Denbury Resources, Southwest Energy Co.

In the wake of the Gulf Oil disaster, environmentalists have become increasingly critical of the process of hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock underground in order to retrieve natural gas.  A recent public hearing by the EPA on hydraulic fracturing in Binghamton, New York drew about 200 protesters, and the NGO Riverkeeper published a study in conjunction with the hearings outlining the risks of the technique for water contamination.

Several companies active in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas have faced notable controversies surrounding the impacts of the practice in recent weeks. Chesapeake Energy, a company that hopes to expand its hydraulic fracturing into New York State, was ordered to ensure the safety of its shale wells in Pennsylvania, after the Department of Environmental Protection found methane concentrations in water that could be traced back to several of the company’s sites.

Denbury Resources recently experienced a spill of over 200 barrels of crude oil and 1,500 barrels of hydraulic drilling fluid at a “fracking” shale well in North Dakota.

And Southwest Energy Production was recently sued by 13 families for contamination of the local water supply as a result of its hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania.

The issue will likely grow increasingly important as shale gas represents a significant source in the projected growth of natural gas production in the Unites States over the next decade.

For a copy of the Riverkeeper report detailing the risks and recent problems associated with hydraulic fracturing click here.

bot25 Enbridge, Inc.

While undergoing a congressional inquiry into its oil spill the damaged the Kalamazoo River in Michigan on July 26, Enbridge Inc. faced several additional environmental problems in its pipeline system that have forced additional shut-downs.

On Sept. 9, the company experienced an embarrassing pipeline oil spill of 6,000 gallons of crude oil in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville.  Although Enbridge contained the oil spill, the incident led to a week-long closure of the company’s pipeline outside of Chicago, which carries one third of U.S. crude imports from Canada.

In addition, the company last week temporarily shut a third pipeline in New York after leaks were discovered.   The company’s 6B pipeline system in which the Kalamazoo River spill occurred remains closed almost two months after the Kalamazoo spill due to concerns about its condition and risk to the environment, particularly near the St. Clair River.

top25 Whole Foods Markets

Whole Foods recently introduced a series of sustainable packaging guidelines for all of its 2,100 body care and supplement products.  The new guidelines require suppliers to limit the use of plastic and to switch to post-consumer recycled materials or to materials that are easily recyclable.  The company has given suppliers one year to adopt the new guidelines, and Whole Foods has already committed to switching to all post-consumer recycled content for its store brand body care products by the end of the 2010.

top25 Unilever

Unilever announced it was making a strategic investment in Solazyme, an American biotechnology company that produces renewable oil and bio-products from microalgae.  The investment comes in the wake of increasing pressure on consumer products companies to find sustainable substitutes to palm oil following a scandal surrounding unsustainable palm oil production by Sinar Mas and a campaign by Greenpeace against Nestle concerning the use of palm oil in Kit-Kat candy bars.   Unilever has made a pledge to source all of its palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015, and the company recently announced that it has signed a deal to segregate sustainable palm oil from one of its leaders suppliers, Unimills, as part of this commitment.

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Photo shows A pedestrian walks near a no drilling sign in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, September 5, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

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The Green Gauge: Black mark on Enbridge http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/08/the-green-gauge-black-mark-on-enbridge/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/08/09/the-green-gauge-black-mark-on-enbridge/#comments Mon, 09 Aug 2010 18:11:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/08/09/the-green-gauge-black-mark-on-enbridge/ Gretchen King holds a protest sign as she joins residents in downtown Marshall to protest the oil spill on the Kalamazoo River July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Enbridge’s stain on the Kalamazoo River in central Michigan pushed this Calgary-based energy delivery company to the headlines as details emerged about 840,000 gallons of crude that spilled from one of their pipelines into a creek on July 26.

Enbridge leads this installment of The Green Gauge, a breakdown of companies that made headlines July 18 to August 9 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

bot25 Enbridge

Enbridge has come under significant criticism following a spill on July 26 of 840,000 barrels of oil along a creek that flows into the Kalamazoo River in Central Michigan.  The spill has led to class action law suits being filed against the company for negligence, as well as complaints by local Congressman Mark Schauer that the spill was not reported in a timely manner to federal authorities. In fact, the first reports of the accident were reported by another company, Consumers Energy.  The spill also prompted protests against the company’s proposed pipeline in British Columbia by Greenpeace, which argues that the pipeline will pose environmental risks to the Pacific Coast and would increase the availability of tar sands crude oil to export markets.  The environmental costs of oil derived from Canada’s tar sands oil industry was recently highlighted in a article by the Economist, which is available here:

bot25 BP

Since the Deepwater Horizon spill unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico starting in April, BP faced another significant pollution incident that has now resulted in a significant lawsuit against the company.  Last week, a $10 billion class action law suit was filed on behalf of 2,000 residents and workers as a result of toxic releases of nitrous oxide and benzene at the company’s large Texas City refinery, the same site of the explosion that killed 15 BP workers in 2005 and which faced $87 million in fines from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration last year.  The incident occurred between April 6 and May 16, and the law suit alleges that the toxic release poses significant long-term health effects on the workers and residents around the BP’s Texas City refinery.

A link to the Galveston Daily New which originally reported the story in early June is available here.

bot25 Petrochina

A significant oil spill has impacted the fishing harbor near Dalian, China, following an explosion at an oil terminal controlled by Petrochina.  Although the Chinese government has estimated the size of the spill to be 1,500 tons of crude oil, an independent investigation of the spill by Greenpeace China has concluded that 60,000-90,000 tons of crude oil spilled into the Nantuo Fishing Harbor, which would make the incident larger than the Exxon Valdez spill.  In addition to disputing official estimations of the extent of the spill, Greenpeace China has also accused Petrochina of engaging local fisherman to clean-up the spill without proper training and equipment to protect them from potential health hazards.

top25 Samsung Electronics

As part of its PlanetFirst™ initiative, by which the company hopes to become one of the world’s most eco-friendly companies by 2013, Samsung announced that it had spent $865 million dollars in 2009 investing in green product lines and reducing its impact on the environment.  The investments helped the company reduce its greenhouse gas intensity by 30 percent, and the company now claims to offer eco-labels for 2,134 different products.  These company-announced achievements contrast with complaints by Greenpeace earlier in the year in its guide to Green Electronics that Samsung had backtracked on its previous commitments to eliminate Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVC vinyl plastic by 2010.

For the company’s press release click here.

For a link to Greenpeace’s guide to Green Electronics click here.

top25 Xcel Energy

Midwestern power producer Xcel Energy last week announced plans to replace two coal-fired power plants in Minnesota with natural gas plants by 2016, which follows an announcement earlier in the year that Xcel will replace coal-fired plants with cleaner burning fuels throughout Colorado by 2017. The company also recently announced continued investments in wind energy, as part of its longer term strategy to generate 20 percent of its energy throughout the Midwest from wind.  With 3,000 Wegawatts of power already generated from wind, representing 8 percent of the company’s total capacity, Xcel Energy already is the largest producer of wind energy in the United States, a distinction which it has enjoyed for six years, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

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Photo shows Gretchen King holding a protest sign as she joins residents in downtown Marshall to protest the oil spill on the Kalamazoo River July 30, 2010. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

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The Green Gauge: Sinar Mas under fire http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/07/19/the-green-gauge-sinar-mas-under-fire/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/07/19/the-green-gauge-sinar-mas-under-fire/#comments Mon, 19 Jul 2010 09:38:33 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/07/19/the-green-gauge-sinar-mas-under-fire/ An aerial view is seen of a cleared forest area under development for palm oil plantations in Kapuas Hulu district of Indonesia's West Kalimantan province

Indonesia’s Sinar Mas came under heavy fire last week from non-government organization Greenpeace as a report named and shamed some of its biggest clients for their role in the destruction of rainforest and peatlands.

Following is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines July 3 to 16 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity, led by Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

bot25 Sinar Mas, Wal-Mart, Tesco, WH Smith, Hewlett Packard, Paperlinx

Greenpeace has named these companies as sourcing products from Sinar Mas’ APP subsidiary, which the NGO has demonstrated in a recent report is responsible for extensive deforestation in Indonesia through the destruction of rainforest and peatlands.  Deforestation is responsible for 20 percent of CO2 emissions globally, and Greenpeace has called on international companies to ban sourcing from Sinar Mas.  In response to the report, HSBC indicated last week that it has divested all of its shares from Sinar Mas.

A copy of the report is available here.

bot25 Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.

Chinese environmental authorities confirmed that nearly 2,000 tons of fish have been poisoned by over 9,000 cubic meters of leaking sewage in the Tingjiang River in Eastern China, which led to a temporary shutdown of one of the largest mines in the country.  Late last week, Chinese authorities also announced that three senior managers at the mine had been taken into custody as a result of the incident.  Shares of the Chinese mining giant have fallen more than 20 percent since the news of the leakage first emerged in early July.

bot25 Massey Energy, Layne Christensen

Both Massey Energy and Layne Christensen were recently subject to successful shareholder resolutions requiring the companies to address environmental concerns at their annual meetings, according to Ceres, a network of investors focused on sustainability issues.  A resolution requiring Massey to set quantitative targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions received 53 percent of the votes of shareholders, while 60 percent of the shareholders of Layne Christensen voted in favor of a resolution requiring the company to report on its environmental, social and governance performance.  According to Ceres, 42 shareholder proposals addressing climate change issues received an average of 24.6 percent of the votes in 2010, up from 21.7 percent on average in 2009.

bot25 Anadarko Petroleum, Mitsui & Co.

While media attention has focused on the massive liabilities of BP in the Gulf Oil disaster, BP has requested Anadarko and Mitsui & Co. to pay $272 million and $111 million respectively for clean-up efforts thus far, corresponding to their 25 percent and 10 percent ownership stakes in the well.  Anadarko has contested the request, arguing that BP is wholly responsible for clean-up efforts given the company’s negligence in failing to prevent the blowout.

bot25 Valero Energy Corp.

Texas-based Premcor Refining Group Inc., a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp., has been fined $4 million for underground storage tank leaks that occurred at Clark gas stations in 26 Ohio counties.  The company will also be required to pay for the cleanup of 55 contaminated gas station sites, in what the Ohio Department of Commerce has characterized as the largest gas storage leak settlement in its history.

top25 Unilever N.V.

Unilever has recently published its paper and board packaging policy, which requires the company to source 75 percent of its paper products from sustainable sources by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020.  Currently the company sources 62 percent of its paper products from sustainable sources, and Unilever is the first global consumer products company to make a commitment to source 100 percent of its paper products from sustainable sources by a specific date.

A copy of the company’s policy is available here.

top25 PG&E

Despite being the 35th-largest utility in the United States, Pacific Gas & Electric has the lowest CO2 emissions / MWh of electricity among the largest 100 U.S. utilities due to its avoidance of coal, according to a recent report published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.  PG&E has also recently been in the news for joining forces with the California Solar Energy Industry Association and the California Wind Association in countering opposition by several Texas oil companies to California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which aims to reduce California’s CO2 emissions by 2020 in line with Kyoto Protocol goals.

A copy of the NRDC report is available here.


Photo shows an aerial view of a cleared forest area under development for palm oil plantations in Kapuas Hulu district of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province July 6, 2010. The area belonged to Indonesian agribusiness firm Sinar Mas, according to a Greenpeace activist who accompanied journalists on a trip to the area. REUTERS/Crack Palinggi

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The Green Gauge: IBM rides a high http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/07/05/the-green-gauge-ibm-rides-a-high/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/07/05/the-green-gauge-ibm-rides-a-high/#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 20:26:57 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/07/05/the-green-gauge-ibm-rides-a-high/ GERMANY/

If there’s any tech company that has been able to constantly transform itself over the past century to actually be sustainable, it’s got to be IBM.

Last week the global IT giant announced its efficiency figures for 2009 and it meant good news for the environment, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Selections of companies were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines June 19 to July 2 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

top25 IBM

In its latest environmental report which was published last week, IBM announced not only that it had exceeded its internal environmental targets by reducing CO2 emissions by 142,000 tons and electricity consumption by 246,000 MwH, but also that the company’s 1900 energy conservation projects had led to a savings of $26.8 million during 2009.  The results are consistent with IBM’s own emphasis upon the positive material impacts of environmental investments in the company’s green IT marketing campaign.

top25 General Electric

General Electric announced it will double its investment for its “ecomagination” products to $10 billion over the next 5 years.  Its environmental line of products, which includes wind turbines, battery technologies, and more energy efficient appliances, has generated $70 billion in sales since its launch in 2005.  Although the unit failed to meet its 2010 target of $25 billion in annual sales by 2010, it nonetheless generated sales growth of 6 percent in 2009, ahead of the overall company’s flat sales growth for the year.  GE has indicated that it sees the greatest opportunities in China and South Korea, where government stimulus packages include significant investments in energy efficiency initiatives.

The company’s ecomagination annual report is available here.


top25 Ingram Micro, Inc.

Ingram Micro announced that it had become the first technology distribution company to be included as a partner company in the EPA’s Climate Leaders program.  The Climate Leaders program works with companies to develop comprehensive strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reporting on progress and sharing best practices.   A full list of the Climate Leaders is available here.

top25 Royal DSM, N.V.

The Dutch chemical company DSM announced last week a breakthrough in enzyme technology which could lead to the doubling of the effectiveness of using yeast to convert biological waste into bioethanol.  The company claims that its new enzyme technology is an important step in developing cost efficient second generation biofuels which do not compete with traditional food supplies, and which UBS has estimated could represent an $80 billion market by 2022.

bot25 Costco Wholesale

Greenpeace has taken a more aggressive stance against Costco, recently hanging a banner from one of the company’s outlets in Vancouver, Canada with replicas of at-risk fish species that the retailer sells.  The action follows Costco’s last-place ranking in a report published by Greenpeace Canada earlier in the month of June which examines the policies of Canadian food retailers for sustainable sourcing of sea food.  Greenpeace claims that Costco is unique among food retailers in Canada for failing to adopt any policy on purchasing seafood from sustainable sources.  A copy of the report is available for download here.

bot25 IOI Berhard

The Malaysian palm oil giant IOI has recently come under additional criticism from the large Swiss grocery chain, Migros, which has launched a formal complaint against the company following investigative reports by the BBC and a recent critical report by Friends of the Earth on the company’s palm oil practices in Western Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Although IOI is a leading member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, the report accuses the company’s practices to be in violation of the Roundtable’s principles as well as Indonesian national law.   A copy of the report is available here.

The Economist summarized many of the controversial issues surrounding palm oil in a recent article here.

bot25 EDF

NGOs Greenpeace and Ecotricity have strongly criticized EDF’s recent “Green Britain Day” event, and claim that the company is misleading the UK public over its environmental performance.  Both NGOs argue that the company is one of Britain’s most significant polluters, importing 300 million tons of coal annually and producing over 1,400 tons of nuclear waste, while EDF defends its nuclear energy program as an effective means of reducing overall CO2 emissions.  The disagreement underscores the currently conflicting views regarding the status of nuclear power as a means of addressing climate change.


Photo shows employees following a speech at the booth of IBM at CeBIT computer fair in Hanover March 3, 2009. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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The Green Gauge: Chevron slides on oil spill news http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/06/22/the-green-gauge-chevron-slides-on-oil-spill-news/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/22/the-green-gauge-chevron-slides-on-oil-spill-news/#comments Tue, 22 Jun 2010 15:23:58 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/22/the-green-gauge-chevron-slides-on-oil-spill-news/ ECUADOR-CHEVRON-TEXACO TRAIL

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico strikes close to home for Chevron as it faces a $27 billion lawsuit brought on by the indigenous people in the Amazon region of Ecuador for water pollution, and a fresh Chevron oil spill in Utah, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines June 5 to June 18 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

bot25 Chevron Corporation

The recent news surrounding the creation of a $20 billion escrow fund to pay for claims in the Gulf of Mexico has led to renewed attention in the past weeks to the $27 billion case against Chevron brought by indigenous people in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

The lawsuit which has stretched on for nearly 17 years seeks reparations for environmental- and health-related damages caused by the dumping of over 18 billion gallons of polluted water in Ecuador by Texaco between 1964 and 1990.  Last week two protesters were arrested during a House Energy Committee meeting after attempting to give a bottle of contaminated water from the Amazon region to Chevron’s Chairman John Watson.

Chevron last week also faced an embarrassing oil spill of 500 barrels of oil from a leaking pipe, which devastated a lake at a local park in Salt Lake City, Utah.

bot25 BP Plc

The loss of $90 billion in market capitalization of BP’s stock since the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon has caused not only significant financial pain, but also considerable reputational damage to the many Responsible Investment funds and indexes that held the stock.  Earlier this month, both the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability 50 Index dropped BP from the list of its constituents.   Several environmental groups in the UK, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are now putting pressure on FTSE to remove BP from the FTSE4Good Index.  The BP incidents underscore the need for close monitoring of environmental and social controversies in evaluating company performance, and it has pointed to the need to re-examine the basis for evaluating sustainability performance, as outlined in a recent article by Simon Propper.

bot25 RWE and E.On

RWE and E.On were the two largest CO2 emitters in 2009, emitting 141 million and 94 tons of CO2 respectively according to a recent report by Carbon Market Data.  Emissions levels for RWE and E.On were 52 million and 18 million tons above free EU allocation levels, meaning that the companies needed to purchase CO2 permits worth €695 million ($854 million) and €253 million ($311 million) respectively at the average 2009 CO2 price of €13.32 ($13.36).  The emissions of the two companies alone exceeded the combined emissions of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.  A copy of the press release of the report is available here.

bot25 Monsanto

The Environmental Protection Agency has requested Monsanto to clean water discharges from a phosphate mine from a creek flowing into the Blackfoot River in Idaho, in a region near Yellowstone National Park.  While Monsanto built the dam to contain selenium and metal emissions after being warned by the EPA in 2007, the current dam has cut off sufficient clean water flow from the area.

top25 Honda Motor, General Electric, Canon

Honda Motor received the highest number of clean energy patents (30) in the first quarter of 2010 and has led all companies with over 500 clean tech patents granted during the period 2002-2009 according to the Clean Energy Patent Index published by the Cleantech Group.  While the auto industry leads the Index due to the high number of fuel cell patents, General Electric is the all time leader of patents for wind power with 119 patents and Canon is the all time leader of patents for solar power with 93 patents granted between 2002-2009.  The results of the Index are available here.

top25 Wartsila

Wartsila has become the first non-oil producing company to join the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership (GGFR). The Finnish company provides a dual-fuel technology that allows companies to convert gas to be used as an energy source for power generation rather than being flared in the oil drilling process.  The GGFR has estimated that gas flaring is responsible for approximately 400 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

top25 Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble has recently launched its “Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard” in order to measure the environmental impacts and to encourage environmental improvements among its suppliers.  The company has also made the scorecard publicly available on its website in order to encourage the development of industry-wide initiatives to benchmark the environmental performance of suppliers.  The scorecard is available here.


Photo shows Ecuadorean workers cleaning up an oil waste pit owned by state petroleum company Petroecuador in Shushufindi, some 410 km (254 mi) east of Quito December 8, 2009. Residents in the country´s Amazon region are suing Chevron, accusing the U.S. company of doing environmental damage while it operated in a consortium with Petroecuadro in the 1970s and 1980s.  REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

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The Green Gauge: Rio Tinto takes a hit http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit-2/#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2010 18:07:35 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit-2/ AUSTRALIA

Global miner Rio Tinto enters the spotlight this week as one of its uranium mines in Australia leaks toxins into a river leading to the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 22 to June 4 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

Here are the recent hits and misses:

bot25 Rio Tinto PLC / Rio Tinto Ltd.

Rio Tinto PLC has recently faced controversies concerning the impacts of two of its subsidiaries on their surrounding communities. Reports have emerged that a uranium mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia, which is owned by Rio Tinto, has been leaking high levels of uranium, sulphate and radium into a river flowing into the world-heritage wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. Rio Tinto-owned Kennecott Minerals has also recently faced protests against a planned nickel and copper mine in Northern Michigan on Lake Superior, which local Indian tribes as well and the National Wildlife Federation have claimed will lead to sulpheric acid pollution as well as the destruction of a site considered sacred by native Americans.

bot25 Areva

Areva recently revealed that it was ending shipments of nuclear waste to Russia. The company had come under increasing pressure as a result of a documentary on the TV station ARTE last October that highlighted the shipments. Greenpeace, which claims to have criticized the shipments since they began 25 years ago, had also recently focused criticism on the company, sending boats to intercept the shipments. Greenpeace argued that the company has failed to prove that all of the nuclear waste sent to Russia for enrichment was eventually returned to France and consequently has been in violation of Russian environmental law and European regulations.

bot25 Syngenta

Citizens Energy Group of Indianapolis is considering joining a class action law suit filed by 16 local water authorities in four mid-Western states filed against Syngenta to pay for the costs associated with cleaning the company’s Atrazine weed killer from local water supplies. The case against the company has gained heightened attention following a study in February by University of Washington researchers that linked exposure to Atrazine in water supplies to an increase in birth defects.

bot25 Coca-Cola

Bowing to increasing pressure from local farmers and the surrounding community, the government of the Guntar district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has reversed a decision to allow the Coca Cola’s Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, to access water from the main water canal of the district. Coca-Cola has come under increasing criticism and protests from local farmers in India for its water use in communities already constrained for adequate clean water resources. The company’s reputation has also been damaged as a result of a March order by state officials in Kerala to pay $47 million to compensate for pollution and groundwater depletion, a charge that the company has denied.

top25 Pepsico

While also under pressure from local communities for its use of local water resources, Pepsico recently announced that it had obtained a positive water balance in India through a variety of conservation initiatives. Pepsico’s CEO Indra Nooyi has indicated that the company would strive to attain a positive water balance in other countries which face water scarcity. NGOs nonetheless have argued that the primary issue remains the water balance in local communities where Pepsico is operating, rather than for the country as a whole.

top25 Sears Holdings

Sears recently announced a program to freely recycle and dispose of old appliances when customers agree to purchase new, energy efficient models. In combining a marketing campaign with the recycling initiative, Sears claims to safely remove dangerous chemicals from old appliances to ensure safe disposal and encourages consumers to purchase energy star certified models offered by the retailed.

top25 Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls, which provides energy efficiency solutions for commercial buildings, recently published the results of its “Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey,” that for the first time included results from managers outside of the United States. The study revealed that among C-level managers globally, energy efficiency was of greatest importance for managers in China and India in making building investment decisions. Underscoring the link between energy efficiency and cost savings, the survey also revealed that managers in India and China expressed the highest levels of belief that energy prices will rise in the future.

A copy of the Study is available here: http://www.johnsoncontrols.com/publish/us/en/news.html

top25 PG&E (NYSE PCG), Southern California Edison (NYSE EIX), Public Service Electric & Gas Co (NYSE PEG), Florida Power & Light (NYSE FPL), and San Diego Gas & Electric (NYSE: SRE) made up the top 5 U.S. utilities with the highest levels of annual solar power capacity according to a recent study by the Solar Electric Power Association. Although the rankings revealed that investments in solar power continues to diversify throughout a wider range of utilities across the U.S., California utilities continue to make up 5 of the top 10 utilities with the highest levels of solar installations nationally.

A copy of the survey is available here: http://www.solarelectricpower.org/



Photo shows the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in far-north Australia in August, 2001. REUTERS/Ho New

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The Green Gauge: Rio Tinto takes a hit http://blogs.reuters.com/blog/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit/#comments Mon, 07 Jun 2010 17:49:32 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/06/07/the-green-gauge-rio-tinto-takes-a-hit/ AUSTRALIA

Global miner Rio Tinto enters the spotlight this week as one of its uranium mines in Australia leaks toxins into a river leading to the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 22 to June 4 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

Here are the recent hits and misses:

bot25 Rio Tinto PLC / Rio Tinto Ltd.

Rio Tinto PLC has recently faced controversies concerning the impacts of two of its subsidiaries on their surrounding communities.  Reports have emerged that a uranium mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia, which is owned by Rio Tinto, has been leaking high levels of uranium, sulphate and radium into a river flowing into the world-heritage wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia.  Rio Tinto-owned Kennecott Minerals has also recently faced protests against a planned  nickel and copper mine in Northern Michigan on Lake Superior, which local Indian tribes as well and the National Wildlife Federation have claimed will lead to sulpheric acid pollution as well as the destruction of a site considered sacred by native Americans.

bot25 Areva

Areva recently revealed that it was ending shipments of nuclear waste to Russia.  The company had come under increasing pressure as a result of a documentary on the TV station ARTE last October that highlighted the shipments.  Greenpeace, which claims to have criticized the shipments since they began 25 years ago, had also recently focused criticism on the company, sending boats to intercept the shipments.  Greenpeace argued that the company has failed to prove that all of the nuclear waste sent to Russia for enrichment was eventually returned to France and consequently has been in violation of Russian environmental law and European regulations.

bot25 Syngenta

Citizens Energy Group of Indianapolis is considering joining a class action law suit filed by 16 local water authorities in four mid-Western states filed against Syngenta to pay for the costs associated with cleaning the company’s  Atrazine weed killer from local water supplies.  The case against the company has gained heightened attention following a study in February by University of Washington researchers that linked exposure to Atrazine in water supplies to an increase in birth defects.

bot25 Coca-Cola

Bowing to increasing pressure from local farmers and the surrounding community, the government of the Guntar district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has reversed a decision to allow the Coca Cola’s Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, to access water from the main water canal of the district.  Coca-Cola has come under increasing criticism and protests from local farmers in India for its water use in communities already constrained for adequate clean water resources.  The company’s reputation has also been damaged as a result of a March order by state officials in Kerala to pay $47 [A1] Million to compensate for pollution and groundwater depletion, a charge that the company has denied.

top25 Pepsico

While also under pressure from local communities for its use of local water resources, Pepsico recently announced that it had obtained a positive water balance in India through a variety of conservation initiatives.  Pepsico’s CEO Indra Nooyi has indicated that the company would strive to attain a positive water balance in other countries which face water scarcity.  NGOs nonetheless have argued that the primary issue remains the water balance in local communities where Pepsico is operating, rather than for the country as a whole.

top25 Sears Holdings

Sears recently announced a program to freely recycle and dispose of old appliances when customers agree to purchase new, energy efficient models.   In combining a marketing campaign with the recycling initiative, Sears claims to safely remove dangerous chemicals from old appliances to ensure safe disposal and encourages consumers to purchase energy star certified models offered by the retailed.

top25 Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls, which provides energy efficiency solutions for commercial buildings, recently published the results of its “Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey,” that for the first time included results from managers outside of the United States.  The study revealed that among C-level managers globally, energy efficiency was of greatest importance for managers in China and India in making building investment decisions.  Underscoring the link between energy efficiency and cost savings, the survey also revealed that managers in India and China expressed the highest levels of belief that energy prices will rise in the future.

A copy of the Study is available here:  http://www.johnsoncontrols.com/publish/us/en/news.html

top25 PG&E (NYSE PCG), Southern California Edison (NYSE EIX), Public Service Electric & Gas Co (NYSE PEG), Florida Power & Light (NYSE FPL), and San Diego Gas & Electric (NYSE: SRE) made up the top 5 U.S. utilities with the highest levels of annual solar power capacity according to a recent study by the Solar Electric Power Association.  Although the rankings revealed that investments in solar power continues to diversify throughout a wider range of utilities across the U.S., California utilities continue to make up 5 of the top 10 utilities with the highest levels of solar installations nationally.

A copy of the survey is available here:  http://www.solarelectricpower.org/


[A1]it is probably higher than this!

__________________________________________

Photo shows the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in far-north Australia in August, 2001. REUTERS/Ho New

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The Green Gauge: Statoil rapped over oil sands http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/05/26/green-business-hits-and-misses-the-news-in-review/ http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/05/26/the-green-gauge-statoil-rapped-over-oil-sands/#comments Wed, 26 May 2010 17:34:59 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/christophergreenwald/2010/05/26/hits-and-misses-in-green-business-news/ Another oil company besides BP is drawing the ire of environmental groups this month. The Norwegian-based Statoil is under fire for development of the oil sands of Alberta Canada, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.

Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 8 to May 21 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.

Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.

Here are the recent hits and misses:

STATOIL/

bot25 Statoil

Statoil, the Norwegian oil company that has been praised for its work in carbon sequestration in the North Sea, has joined Shell and BP as yet another oil company coming under criticism at its shareholder meeting for the company’s involvement in the Canadian oil sands.  Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund had put forth a proposal demanding the company leave the oil sands.

Although the measure was defeated by over 98 percent of the shares, the NGOs claimed success in raising the issue to the awareness of shareholders and the media, and the measure received10 times as many votes from shareholders compared to the previous year. Greenpeace Canada recently outlined the significant projected growth of oil exports from the Canadian tar sands in a new study entitled, “Tar Sands in Your Tank.

bot25 The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

The ICBC has agreed to provide $500 million in funding for the controversial Gibe 3 dam project in Ethiopia. Environmental concerns had delayed the project and prevented the World Bank and the African Development Bank from investing in the project. Environmentalists warn that the dam will destroy the biodiversity around Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, and will lead to the displacement of up to 500,000 individuals in the region.

bot25 Vodafone and BT Group

A recent study published by a coalition of environmental groups in China has linked both Vodafone and BT Group to suppliers who have been implicated in cases of heavy metals pollution. The study calls on the companies to take greater responsibility for their sourcing of components based on environmental factors.

top25 Canfor, Cascades, West Fraser Timber, and Weyerhaeuser were among 20 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada which reached a landmark agreement with a coalition of environmental NGOs to prohibit logging on 29 million hectares of Boreal forest in Canada. The agreement also calls for the coalition to implement sustainable forestry practices in an area twice the size of Germany, leading the Pew Environmental Organization that helped broker the deal to characterize it as the “largest commercial forest conservation plan in history.”

top25 Samsung

Samsung’s new Seek mobile phones offered by Sprint will be shipped in a post-paid box that allows consumers to ship their old phones and accessories to Samsung. Samsung will recycle all phones, batteries and accessories that it receives as part of the program to facilitate safe disposal of old cellular devices.

top25 Alibaba.com

Jack Ma, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the leading Chinese internet retailer Alibaba.com announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that the company would commit to spend 0.3 percent of its revenue to fund conservation and environmental awareness initiatives in China and around the world. Ma, who is on the board of the Nature Conservancy, characterized the initiative as part of the company’s more general commitment to raising environmental awareness among its employees, customers and partners.

_______________________________

Photo shows Greenpeace protesters dressed as Statoil Chief Executive officer Helge Lund (L) and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach holding a Norweigien flag dipped in oil outside the offices of Statoil Canada in Calgary, Alberta, May 17, 2010.  REUTERS/Todd Korol

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