Tyler Byers - Editor
Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
We open this issue with an article on how business can achieve reputational and efficiency gains, leading to savings to the bottom line and increased revenue. But how? The increasingly populist answer is by adopting a ‘Carbon Lens’ to your business operations and supply chain. Indirect or Scope 3 emissions are a major contributor to a company’s carbon emissions and by unlocking this window gives rise to not only identifying hard cost savings, but multiple benefits such as product differentiation, reputation, enhancing customer loyalty, reduced risk, supply chain optimisation and many more.
Managing and mitigating one’s carbon footprint is becoming big business and more commonly private equity fund managers and merchant bankers are looking to maximise earnings through environmental management. In a world where we are becoming increasingly subject to volatility in commodity prices and scarcity of resources, companies are moving from maximising returns on labour and capital to maximising efficiency on management of resources. In other words, doing more with less.
Our next set of articles demonstrates examples of companies, in addition to the “WallMarts” of the global world who are undertaking such initiatives. The first shows how shipping companies are adopting best in green practise by using technology and logistics to streamline their operations in moving goods from A to B. One company undertook a collaborative distribution model by working together with other competing companies to reduce distribution costs. If you didn’t realise, the global freight transportation and distribution system totals nearly three billion metric tons of carbon emissions each year. More than the equivalent of 700 coal fired power plants! Friend or foe, carbon seems to be a common enemy for businesses operating in this space.
Moving back onto land a recent MIT study has found that companies adopting electric vehicles for their delivery trucks can save between 7 and 11 percent in vehicle operating costs. Many of the drivers of the electric vehicles have now indicated that they would prefer not to ever want to drive a diesel truck again. There are examples of business in New Zealand adopting EV’s for courier delivery, perhaps trucking could be next to benefit.
Another example is Nike who just recently has released its 2012 Olympic sportswear catalogue designed to help Olympic athletes perform to their peak. Nike has used recycled plastic bottles to manufacture lightweight polyester to use in basketball and soccer shirts. Its draw card innovation is the Flyknit shoe design – no more fabric, rubber and leather, the Flyknit is a single piece of flexible mesh knot that fits like a sock over the wearers foot. Perhaps some of Usain Bolt’s competitors could get an edge on the uncatchable Jamaican sprinter on the track!
More of often than not, cooperation, sharing of information, processes and new technology between companies can result in a win-win and with growing pressure on suppliers to meet mandatory environmental standards and procurement criteria; it’s really not long before the domino effect takes place. Looking through a ‘Carbon Lens’ is merely another tool in a company’s armoury to focus their business on becoming more efficient and clever in a world with tightening budgets. You don’t have to believe in climate change to even consider looking at your GHG inventory, it’s just doing business in a smarter way.
Our next set of articles explains how vested interests are one of the proposed reasons for the slow progress of countries to start taking action on climate change. “Revealed: How Fossil Fuel Reserves match UN climate Negotiating” explains how the likes of the US, Russia, India, China and Canada are taking anti emission trading scheme negotiation positions. Why? Just follow the money. Because these countries are some of those who have the most amount to lose, as calculations show they are the countries with the largest reserves of coal, oil and gas. Any global deal would force the world to leave most of its oil, coal and gas in the ground. It’s really common sense for big business and countries to start feeling a little nervous about all of this. Infact, moves by the European Union to potentially label the Alberta tar sands oil as highly polluting has upset Canada (who recently reversed their pro-Kyoto stance). Canadian government and business with vested interests in the project labelled the plan as discriminatory and threatened to take this to the World Trade Organisation should it go ahead. There will be a continued amount of mudslinging, protests and lobbying on both sides around big business and politicians before such environmental belly up’s are resolved.
Finally, for those of you at home who may have been one of the 388,000 who switched electricity suppliers in 2011 as part of the successful “What’s My Number” campaign here in New Zealand, how about some demand side initiatives. Energy Star gives 9 tips on how to reduce your energy consumption at home. According to the article using your Playstation or Xbox to play DVD’s uses as much as 24 more times power than a conventional DVD player! Extra food for thought as you devour the popcorn over the latest new release movie.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit then please feel free to forward them.
From the ETSL team.