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WWF, businesses deal on emissions

December 11, 2009

The debate over lowering greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes depicted as a fight between environmental groups concerned over the health of the planet and businesses concerned about economic growth and bottom-line erosion.

Occasionally, though, there is a meeting of like minds between the two.

The WWF has a program in which it partners with companies to target emissions reductions. The Climate Savers program is an agreement between the WWF and its partner companies to lay out targets and set out projects to meet those goals.

“We want to show that doing business and reducing emissions go hand in hand,” said Matthew Banks, a senior program officer at the WWF and an economist.

The program, started in 1999, is aimed at getting companies to reduce their carbon footprint. Twenty-three companies have signed on, including Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Nike and JohnsonDiversey. The companies negotiate targets and projects to reach those targets with the WWF and independent experts. Each contract is tailored to the company’s specific circumstances¬† and progress is verified by an outside experts like ecofys.

Hewlett-Packard,  for instance, has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million tonnes below 2005 levels by 2010.  Japanese transportation company Sagawa aims to reduce its gross CO2 emissions by 6 percent by 2012 compared with 2002.

The WWF is trying to get companies to stretch those targets.

“These are first steps,” said WWF representative Corinne Brunois. emissions

The overarching goal is to achieve a 50 million tonne reduction in CO2 emissions by the beginning of 2010.

“That’s like taking 12 million-14 million cars off the road,” said the WWF’s Banks.

Some of the companies involved also say that moving to cleaner technologies will be better for the economy.

“Call it clean. Call it green. Or simply call it jobs,” Tetra Pak CEO Dennis Jonsson is quoted on the WWF’s Climate Savers website.

Not everyone agrees, though. After the Environment Protection Agency ruled on Monday that greenhouse gases endanger human health, a move that will allow it to regulate planet-warming gases even without legislation in Congress, some business groups and leaders reacted with alarm.

“This action poses a threat to every American family and business if it leads to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Such regulation would be intrusive, inefficient, and excessively costly. It could chill job growth and delay business expansion,” Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, told Reuters after the EPA’s announcement.

What is certain is that the debate regarding clean energy and technologies is heating up. It won’t end in Copenhagen, but change may be in the cards.

“It is difficult to have gains without pain,” said Pedro Chidichimo, JohnsonDiversey EMA president, “and here I think there are some industries that need to be fully redesigned in order to comply with the regulations going forward.”

2 comments so far

Why is there even any argument when it comes to cutting greenhouse gases? The business/manufacturing sectors of the world need to know that this should not be an issue of “we’re trying”, it should be an issue of “you’re going to”. They are all too concerned about what it’s going to do to the income statement, and their bottom line. Business people don’t care about the possibly irreversible damage we’re doing to the environment and to these species who become endangered more and more because of these greenhouse gases emmitted by manufacturing and the use of fosil fuels, they’re too busy gluttoneously consuming food, buying clothes they don’t need. Meanwhile, the four year old girl from Bangladesh, that made those clothes, is starving and illiterate because she has to work so that her family can survive, all on $2.00 a week salary. The animals that are endangered are caught up in this, and all they are doing is what they do, being amazing creatures that have positive symbiosis on their environment, and why, because that’s what they’ve been doing since they evolved to do that, and it’s not their fault that the consumerist nations must destroy the habitat that they’ve obviously been stewarding since before we even stopped flinging our feces to come down out of the trees and walking upright. We are the ushers of the anti-homeostasis way of life, and they simply cannot survive in the environments that we are destroying. Every animal has it’s place in the world, it’s unspoken job to do that HELPS the environment, which is deep inside their primordal DNA, when we destroy it’s source of food or the habitat in which it needs to survive and reproduce, we should feel bad and should take the necessary measures to fix it, but the business world does not see it that way. If they were in the animal’s “shoes” they would feel differently, but instaed they don’t, they’d rather just make a pair of shoes out of the animal, and use cheap, foreign child labor to do so, and sell them for 500 times what it cost to make them.

- Posted by Samantha Minton

Shame on the governments who allow this to happen, staging these negotiations that should be non-negotiable, frightfully worried about stepping on the toes of their campaign contributors. They are as much to blame as the businesses who dump their waste in our drinking waters, and allow their manufacturing run-off to poison the fish in the oceans. The same governments who have turned a blind eye to the banking industry, allowing it to conduct predatory lending, inside trading, and ponzi schemes, and then rewarding them with taxpayers money to keep them in business and allow them their multi-milliion dollar bonuses, are the same governments who promote over-consumerism, which only fuels demand for these products that we really don’t need, and encourages conspicuous consumption in people who don’t really have the means. They want you to keep up with the Jones, and to keep buying things because the more money these companies make, the more money that they make.

- Posted by Samantha Minton