Archive for the ‘Express 149’ Category

A Clean Break with the Past

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

A Clean Break with the Past

While the world seemingly spirals towards
financial meltdown again and more children than ever are starving in Africa,
how can we possibly ignore all that and talk about such peripheral issues as
climate change and sustainability? With very good reason. We believe the answer
lies in making our countries and our companies – even the financial sector
-  more sustainable, more accountable,
more responsible and more ethical. By coming clean! Turning away from our old
habits towards a clean energy and low carbon future.   Ray Anderson of Interface has said it and
done it. And New York Mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg is investing in a
future “beyond coal”. We can spread the word and learn some lessons
even from old PR gurus like Bernays and the young Forum of the Future. Some
good business news is hitting the headlines this issue – Philips, BMW, Toyota
and Fujitsu. Problems continue to plague Japan – but could there be a nuclear
free future there? Deforestation in Indonesia rears its ugly head again. China
is having more than its share of extreme weather, but plans for an even bigger
future for solar. News from New Zealand and Australia on climate change and
business, and carbon prices and ratings. There are big events to come in Hong
Kong and Singapore. ASrIA and World Resources Institute have things to say
about the business of sustainability. Things are hotting up and we need to take
notice and take action, says Schellnhuber and Glikson. What’s new? Next issue
we release the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list. – Ken Hickson

Profile: Ray Anderson

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Profile: Ray Anderson

The “greenest chief executive in
America”, the founder and chairman of Interface Ray Anderson, was awarded
an Honorary Doctorate from Georgia Tech, where he graduated in 1956, for his
work to secure a greener world for future generations and his championing of
the business case for sustainability.  He
set his company on the Mission Zero journey in 1994, becoming one of the best
climate-friendly businesses in the world, while maintaining the company’s
global position as the leading carpet tile marker. He’s certainly on the 100
Global Sustain Ability Leaders list.

InterfaceFLOR has always been about the future.
When Ray Anderson staked his career on the idea of modular carpet tile in the
’70s, it was a square idea in a broadloom world but even he didn’t realize how
dramatically we would shape the future of the industry.

Over the years we’ve evolved our approach to
design and developed innovative manufacturing processes to reduce waste and
eliminate toxins from our products and facilities. And we’ve pioneered new ways
to reuse valuable resources. We see the infinite design possibilities of carpet
tile and they’re inherently tied to our Mission Zero™ promise – to completely
eliminate any negative impact we may have on the environment by 2020.

InterfaceFLOR Founder and Chairman Ray
Anderson Awarded Honorary Doctorate From Georgia Tech

PR Newswire Atlanta (5 August 2011):

At the 240th Commencement celebration at
Georgia Tech today, Ray Anderson, Founder and Chairman of Interface, Inc., was
awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his work to secure a greener world for future
generations and his championing of the business case for sustainability.  Anderson, a 1956 alumnus who was described at
the ceremony as “the greenest chief executive in America,” joins the
prestigious ranks of past honorary doctorate degree recipients such as former
President and Nobel Prize winner Jimmy Carter, astronaut John Young, civil
rights leader Ivan Allen Jr., micro-chip inventor Jack Kilby, and former U.S.
Senator Elizabeth Dole.

Due to illness, Anderson was unable to attend
the proceedings but was represented by Mary Anne Lanier from The Interface
Environmental Foundation, who read from Anderson’s acceptance remarks: “To
be acknowledged with this award from my alma mater is a special honor. I hope
that in accepting this we place another spotlight on our company’s efforts to
eliminate negative impact on the environment. We refer to this as Mission
Zero.  And we hope it inspires the future
business leaders in the audience of 900 graduates to carry this message with
them into the companies they will work for tomorrow and well into the

Among other prior awards, Anderson received
the inaugural Millennium Award from Global Green and won recognition from
Forbes magazine and Ernst & Young, which named him Entrepreneur of the Year
in 1996. He also has been honored by Southface Energy Institute, SAM-SPG
(Switzerland), the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Wildlife
Federation, the Design Futures Council, the Children’s Health and Environmental
Coalition, Harvard Business School Alumni (Atlanta Chapter), the International
Interior Design Association, the Southern Institute for Business &
Professional Ethics, the Possible Woman Foundation International, the World
Business Academy and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents.  He holds eleven honorary doctorates.

A 1956 Industrial Engineering graduate of
Georgia Tech, Anderson has been a loyal and devoted supporter of his alma mater
for more than five decades.  In
partnership with Interface, Anderson established the Anderson-Interface Chair
in Natural Systems at Georgia Tech. The current chair holder, Associate
Professor Valerie Thomas, conducts research in sustainability.  Anderson is a College of Engineering
Distinguished Alumnus, a recipient of the Dean Griffin Community Service Award
and a member of the College of Engineering Hall of Fame and the Industrial and
Systems Engineering Hall of Fame.

About InterfaceFLOR

InterfaceFLOR, LLC and InterfaceFLOR Canada,
Inc, are subsidiaries of Interface, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of
commercial carpet tile. For 38 years, the company has consistently led the
industry through innovation and now leads the industry in environmental
sustainability. InterfaceFLOR is setting the pace for development of modular
carpet using materials and processes that take less from the environment, and
is well along the path to “Mission Zero®,” the company’s promise to
eliminate any negative impact it has on the environment by the year 2020.
InterfaceFLOR’s worldwide carpet manufacturing facilities maintain third party
registration to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard, and the
company obtained the first-ever Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the
commercial floor covering industry in North America. The company is recognized
globally for its commitment to build environmental considerations into its
business decisions. For additional information:


Transcript from a speech delivered by Ray Anderson
at a TED event:

Believe it or not, I come offering a solution
to a very important part of this larger problem, with the requisite focus on
climate. And the solution I offer is to the biggest culprit in this massive
mistreatment of the earth by humankind, and the resulting decline of the
biosphere. That culprit is business and industry. Which happens to be where I
have spent the last 52 years since my graduation from Georgia Tech in 1956. As
an industrial engineer, cum aspiring and then successful entrepreneur. After
founding my company Interface from scratch in 1973, 36 years ago, to produce
carpet tiles in America for the business and institution markets, and
shepherding it through start-up and survival to prosperity and global dominance
in its field, I read Paul Hawkins’ book, The Ecology of Commerce, the summer of
1994. In his book Paul charges business and industry as, one, the major culprit
in causing the decline of the biosphere, and, two, the only institution that is
large enough and pervasive enough, and powerful enough, to really lead
humankind out of this mess. And by the way he convicted me as a plunderer of
the earth.

And I then challenged the people of
Interface, my company, to lead our company and the entire industrial world to
sustainability. Which we defined as eventually opperating our petroleum
intensive company in such a way as to take from the earth only what can be
renewed by the earth naturally and rapidly, not another fresh drop of oil, and
to do no harm to the biosphere. Take nothing. Do no harm. I simply said,
“If Hawkins is right and business and industry must lead, who will lead
business and industry? Unless somebody leads, nobody will.” It’s
axiomatic. Why not us? And thanks to the people of Interface, I have become a
recovering plunderer.

I once told a Fortune Magazine writer that
someday people like me would go to jail. And that became the headline of a
Fortune article. They went on to describe me as America’s greenest CEO. From
plunderer to recovering plunderer, to America’s greenest CEO, in five years.
That frankly was a pretty sad commentary on American CEOs in 1999. Asked later
in the Canadian documentary, The Corporation, what I meant by the “go to
jail” remark, I offered that theft is a crime. And theft of or children’s
future would someday be a crime. But I realized for that to be true, for theft
of our children’s future to be a crime, there must be a clear demonstrable
alternative to the take-make-waste industrial system that so dominates our
civilization, and is the major culprit, stealing our children’s future, by
digging up the earth and converting it to products that quickly become waste in
a landfill or an incinerator. In short, digging up the earth and converting it
to pollution.

According to Paul and Anne Ehrlich and a well
known environmental impact equation, impact — a bad thing — is the product of
population, affluence and technology. That is, impact is generated by people,
what they consume in their affluence, and how it is produced. And though the
equation is largely subjective, you can perhaps quantify people, and perhaps
quantify affluence, but technology is abusive in too many ways to quantify. So
the equation is conceptual. Still it works to help us understand the problem.

So we set out at Interface, in 1994, to
create an example, to transform the way we made carpet. A petroleum intensive
product for materials as well as energy. And to transform our technologies so
they diminished environmental impact, rather than multiplied it. Paul and Anne
Ehrlich’s environmental impact equation: I is equal to P times A times T.
Population, affluence and technology. I wanted Interface to rewrite that
equation so that it read I equals P times A divided by T. Now, the
mathematically minded will see immediately that T in the numerator increases
impact — a bad thing. But T in the denominator decreases impact. So I ask,
“What would move T, technology, from the numerator, call it T1, where it
increases impact, to the denominator, call it T2, where it reduces impact?

I thought about the characteristics of first
industrial revolution, T1, as we practiced it at Interface, and it had the
following characteristics. Extractive: taking raw materials from the earth.
Linear: take, make, waste. Powered by fossil fuel derived energy. Wasteful:
abusive and focused on labor productivity. More carpet per man hour. Thinking
it through, I realized that all those attributes must be changed to move T to
the denominator. In the new industrial revolution extractive must be replaced
by renewable, linear by cyclical, fossil fuel energy by renewable energy,
sunlight. Wasteful by waste-free. And abusive by benign. And labor productivity
by resource productivity. And I reasoned that if we could make those
transformative changes, and get rid of T1 altogether, we could reduce our
impact to zero, including our impact on the climate. And that became the
Interface plan in 1995. And has been the plan ever since.

We have measured our progress very
rigorously. So I can tell you how far we have come in the ensuing 12 years. Net
greenhouse gas emissions down 82 percent in absolute tonnage. (Applause) Over
the same span of time sales have increased by two thirds and profits have
doubled. So an 82 percent absolute reduction translates into a 90 percent
reduction in greenhouse gas intensity relative to sales. This is the magnitude
of the reduction the entire global technosphere must realize by 2050 to avoid
catastrophic climate disruption. So the scientists are telling us. Fossil fuel
usage is down 60 percent per unit of production, due to efficiencies in
renewables. The cheapest, most secure barrel of oil there is is the one not
used through efficiencies. Water usage is down 75 percent in our world-wide
carpet tile business. Down 40 percent in our broadloom carpet business, which
we acquired in 1993 right here in California, City of Industry, where water is
so precious. Renewable or recyclable materials are 25 percent of the total, and
growing rapidly. Renewable energy is 27 percent of our total, going for 100
percent. We have diverted 148 million pounds — that’s 74,000 tons — of used
carpet, from landfills. Closing the loop on material flows through reverse
logistics and post-consumer recycling technologies that did not exist when we
started 14 years ago.

Those new cyclical technologies have
contributed mightily to the fact that we have produced and sold 85 million
square yards of climate-neutral carpet since 2004. Meaning no net contribution
to global climate disruption in producing the carpet throughout the supply
chain, from mine and well head clear to end-of-life reclamation. Independent
third-party certified. We call it Cool Carpet. And it has been a powerful
marketplace differentiator, increasing sales and profits. Three years ago we
launched carpet tile for the home, under the brand Flor, misspelled F-L-O-R.
You can point and click today at and have Cool Carpet delivered to
your front door in five days. It is practical, and pretty too.

We reckon that we are a bit over halfway to
our goal — zero impact, zero footprint. We’ve set 2020 as our target year for
zero, for reaching the top, the summit of Mount Sustainability. We call this
Mission Zero. And this is perhaps the most important facet. We have found
Mission Zero to be incredibly good for business. A better business model. A
better way to bigger profits. Here is the business case for sustainability.
From real life experience, costs are down, not up, reflecting some 400 million
dollars of avoided costs in pursuit of zero waste. The first face of Mount
Sustainability. This has paid all the costs for the transformation of

And this dispels a myth too, this false
choice between the environment and the economy. Our products are the best
they’ve ever been, inspired by design for sustainability, an unexpected
wellspring of innovation. Our people are galvanized around this shared higher
purpose. You can not beat it for attracting the best people and bringing them
together. And the goodwill of the marketplace is astonishing. No amount of
advertising, no clever marketing campaign at any price, could have produced or
created this much goodwill. Costs, products, people, marketplaces. What else is
there? It is a better business model.

And here is our 14-year record of sales and
profits. There is a dip there, from 2001 to 2003: a dip when our sales, over a
three year period, were down 17 percent. But the marketplace was down 36
percent. We literally gained market share. We might not have survived that
recession but for the advantages of sustainability. If every business were
pursuing Interface plans would that solve all our problems? I don’t think so. I
remain troubled by the revised Ehrlich equation, I equals P times A divided by
T2. That A is a capital A, suggesting that affluence is an end in itself. But
what if we reframed Ehrlich further? And what if we made A a lowercase ‘a,’
suggesting that it is a means to an end, and that end is happiness. More
happiness with less stuff.

You know that would reframe civilization
itself — (Applause) and our whole system of economics, if not for our species
then perhaps for the one that succeeds us. The sustainable species, living on a
finite earth. Ethically, happily and ecologically in balance with nature and
all her natural systems for a thousand generations, or 10,000 generations. That
is to say, into the indefinite future. But does the earth have to wait for our
extinction as a species? Well maybe so. But I don’t think so.

At Interface we really intend to bring this
prototypical sustainable, zero-footprint industrial company fully into
existence by 2020. We can see our way now. Clear to the top of that mountain.
And now the challenge is in execution. And as my good friend and adviser Amory
Lovins says, “If something exists, it must be possible.” (Laughter)
If we can actually do it, it must be possible. If we, a petro-intensive company
can do it, anybody can. And if anybody can, it follows that everybody can.

Hawking fulfilled business and industry,
leading humankind away from the abyss. Because with continued unchecked decline
of the biosphere, a very dear person is at risk here. Frankly, an unacceptable
risk. Who is that person? Not you. Not I. But let me introduce you to the one
who is most at risk here. And I myself met this person in the early days of
this mountain climb. On a Tuesday morning in March of 1996 I was talking to
people, as I did at every opportunity back then. Bringing them along and often
not knowing whether I was connecting. But about five days later back in
Atlanta, I received an email from Glenn Thomas, one of my people in the
California meeting. He was sending me an original poem that he had composed
after our Tuesday morning together. And when I read it it was one of the most
uplifting moments of my life. Because it told me, by God, one person got it.
Here is what Glenn wrote. And here is that person, most at risk. Please meet
“Tomorrow’s Child.”

“Without a name, an unseen face, and
knowing not your time or place,

Tomorrow’s child, though yet unborn, I met
you first last Tuesday morn.

A wise friend introduced us two. And through
his sobering point of view

I saw a day that you would see, a day for you
but not for me.

Knowing you has changed my thinking. For I
never had an inkling

that perhaps the things I do might someday,
somehow threaten you

Tomorrow’s child, my daughter, son,

I’m afraid I’ve just begun to think of you
and of your good,

though always having known I should.

Begin, I will.

The way the cost of what I squander, what is

if ever I forget that you will someday come
and live here too.”

Well, every day of my life since,
“Tomorrow’s Child” has spoken to me with one simple but profound
message, which I presume to share with you. We are, each and every one, a part
of the web of life. The continuum of humanity, sure. But in a larger sense, the
web of life itself. And we have a choice to make during our brief brief visit
to this beautiful blue and green living planet. To hurt it or to help it. For
you, it’s your call.

Thank you.

Read more:


In 1994 InterfaceFLOR begins designing
products utilizing a “Less is More” philosophy, and reduces average
consumption of fiber by 10% per square yard in just 12 months.

InterfaceFLOR introduces the concept of
“letting tile be tile” with modular carpet products designed to be
installed quarter-turn or parquet method.

Ray Anderson experiences his
“epiphany” after reading The Ecology of Commerce- delivers his first
environmental speech; the beginning of Interface’s journey to sustainability.

ReEntry®, one of the industry’s most
aggressive, responsible and successful carpet reclamation programs, is


What Are the Best Books on Corporate

By Marc Gunther in (11 May

Judging by the number of books about business
and the environment piling up on my shelves, the corporate sustainability
movement is alive and well.

One of the best is Business Lessons from a
Radical Industrialist by Ray Anderson, the founder and chairman of the
commercial carpet company Interface.

I’ve been provided with two signed copies of
the paperback edition to give away. I’m expecting a signed copy of Howard
Schultz’s book, which I’m also going to give to a blog reader. More on that, in
a moment.

But first, a few thoughts about Ray and his
book. Ray is a terrific guy who has had a great influence on business people
across America, by tirelessly promoting the idea that a truly sustainable
approach to business is good for business. (See my 2009 interview, Ray
Anderson, Radical Industrialist.) “Take nothing from the earth that cannot
be replaced by the earth” is how he puts it.

Fifteen years after setting that goal for
Interface, the company has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 94 percent, cut
fossil fuel consumption by 60 percent, cut waste by 80 percent, increased
sales, doubled earnings and re-invented the way carpets are made, sold and

Says environmental activist Bill McKibben:
“Ray Anderson is a hero.”

A soft-spoken, genial Georgian, Ray, who is
in his late 70s, can’t get out to promote the paperback edition because, as he
writes in a new foreword: “I have spent the last year dealing with cancer,
thankfully holding my own — barely.”

He can’t help but draw analogies between his
own experience with disease and environmental pollution. Neither his father,
who was one of seven siblings, nor his mother, who was also one of seven, nor
any of their brothers and sisters had cancer. But he and and his two brothers
have had the disease. Could it be something in the environment? Hard to say.

But Ray writes:

Irresponsible business — the diggers, the
drillers, the processors of poison, all of whom ought to know better — they
and their abusive industries — are a cancer on society.

… It is high time we all started on the
right treatment of this disease before it takes us all down.

Strong words, to be sure, but coming from a
CEO and businessman with his own inspiring story, they resonate. Senior Writer Marc Gunther is a
longtime journalist and speaker whose focus is business and sustainability.
Marc maintains a blog at You can follow him on Twitter


Ray Anderson is founder and chairman of
Interface Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet for
commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial
broadloom and commercial fabrics. He is “known in environmental circles
for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and
sustainability.”1 Since 1995, he has reduced Interface’s waste by a third,
and plans to make the company sustainable by 2020.

He defines sustainability as “taking
nothing from the earth that is not rapidly and naturally renewable, and doing
no harm to the biosphere.”2

For instance, under his leadership, Interface
seeks to reduce and then eliminate “petroleum from its manufacturing
processes.”4 He is pioneering recycling efforts with nylon and polyester
which “is recyclable, leading to more closed loop technologies for the
future.”3 However, Anderson wasn’t always a friend of the environment. He
had his epiphany in 1994 when he read The Ecology of Commerce, by Paul Hawken,
who argues that [the] industrial system is destroying the planet and only
industry leaders are powerful enough to stop it.

Anderson is featured in the documentaries The
Corporation and The 11th Hour as well as an interview in The Day After Peace,
in an episode of David Suzuki’s CBC Television series “The Nature of
Things” (“Biomimicry.” Parts 1 and 2) and in the episode of
Ethical Markets TV Series “Redefining Success.” He is also a Senior
Fellow of the Design Futures Council.[1]

Ray Anderson is the author of Mid-Course
Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The Interface Model. Inspired by
Daniel Quinn’s novel Ishmael, Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce, and many
others, Ray Anderson has successfully composed a piece that covers his personal
journey towards sustainability in his work. His 2009 book is “Confessions
of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose: Doing Business by
Respecting the Earth” ISBN 9780312543495.


Nuclear Safety & Climate Change Linked?

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Nuclear Safety & Climate Change Linked?

On the 66th anniversary of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, Yoko Ono speaks up with her idea for her disaster-scarred country
Japan – abandon nuclear energy for renewables and tap the geothermal energy
beneath the unstable ground of the volcanic island nation. While American writer Anthony Orlando says climate change and nuclear safety are
inextricably linked. “A warmer climate leads to more severe storms, which
increases the chances of a Japan-style nuclear meltdown. Either we need to get
out of the nuclear energy business or reduce our greenhouse gas emissions — or


Straits Times (6 August 2011):

Yoko Ono says Japan should look at Iceland

Tokyo – Yoko Ono has an idea for her
disaster-scarred country Japan – abandon nuclear energy for renewables and tap
the geothermal energy beneath the unstable ground of the volcanic island

The artist and widow of John Lennon is in
Japan for the first time since the March 11 quake and tsunami sparked a nuclear
crisis, and as the country remembers the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and

With her new exhibition, The Road Of Hope,
she says she wants to stress that Japan, having rebuilt itself after World War
II and the atomic bombings, can also emerge stronger from the quake and
Fukushima radiation disaster.

‘Japan suffered the Hiroshima and Nagasaki
situations, and now this,’ she told AFP in an interview. ‘Right now it’s
horrible and of course we have to abolish it,’ she said of Japan’s atomic
energy programme. ‘This is not just something that happened to Japan, it
happened to the world. We’re all in it together, not just Japan.’

Like a growing number of Japanese, Ono
favours a shift toward renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal
power, which she said she became familiar with in another tectonically unstable
country, Iceland. One of Ono’s projects is the Imagine Peace Tower near
Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, a memorial to Lennon, who was gunned down outside
their New York apartment in 1980.

The stone monument – which has the words
‘Imagine Peace’ carved into it in 24 languages – sends a column of light far
into the sky using electricity from Iceland’s geothermal energy grid. Iceland
produces over 80 per cent of its energy from geothermal and hydro-power, and it
uses the hot steam from the earth for 90 per cent of indoor and water heating.
The country aims to be fossil-fuel free by 2050. – AFP



By Anthony Orlando in Sun Sentinel (5 August

It can’t happen here.

The Japanese tsunami was a freak occurrence.
Once in a thousand years. It can’t happen to our nuclear power plants.

But freak occurrences are happening more
often nowadays.

It all started with heat. Last year tied the
record for the hottest surface temperature. It’s hardly a coincidence that 2010
also set the record for the most precipitation over land. Hot air warms the
oceans, evaporates the water, carries the water in clouds and empties over land
in the form of rain or snow. It was all in your middle school textbook.

Some of that precipitation was frustrating,
like the unusually ferocious snowstorms that pummeled the East Coast. Some was
downright dangerous, like the tropical cyclones that are increasing in

Or the Atlantic hurricanes whose season is
lasting longer and whose geographic range is expanding. Or the strongest
non-coastal storm on record in the United States, which dealt 67 tornadoes to
Minnesota in October 2010.

Or the summer monsoon in China that lasted
longer than ever before, killing 1,911 people, leaving behind $18 billion in
damage and setting off landslides that killed another 2,137 people. Or the
floods in Pakistan that killed 1,985 people and did $9.5 billion in damage. Or
the Queensland flood in Australia, which killed 35 people and did $30 billion
in damage. Or the heaviest rains that Colombia has seen in 42 years, killing
528 people, racking up $1 billion in damage, and leaving 2.2 million people
homeless. Or the heaviest daily rainfalls in Nashville, Tenn., history,
flooding the city, killing 30 and leaving $2.4 billion of damage.

That was then. This is now, when we open the
newspapers to read that 11,000 residents of Minot, N.D., evacuated just before
water spilled over the levees. Last month, it was the tornadoes that erupted
across the country, generating more damage (estimated at $4 billion to $7
billion) than any spring weather disaster in U.S. history.

There’s no escaping the facts: Weather is
becoming more extreme, more costly, and more deadly.

But surely our nuclear reactors are safe. We
protect them from severe weather. It can’t happen here.

Not according to a recent AP investigation, which
found example after example of regulators loosening regulations instead of
enforcing them. Inside our power plants are brittle vessels, leaky valves,
cracked tubing, and corroded piping — and they’re increasing.

Another AP investigation found that three out
of every four nuclear sites have leaked radioactive tritium, sometimes into the
groundwater. The government responded that they’re not sure how to detect or
stop the leaks.

In the coming months, you’re going to hear
presidential candidates talk about climate change. You probably won’t hear them
say much about nuclear safety. But the two are inextricably linked. A warmer
climate leads to more severe storms, which increases the chances of a
Japan-style nuclear meltdown.

Either we need to get out of the nuclear
energy business or reduce our greenhouse gas emissions — or both.

But don’t worry. It can’t happen here. Can

Anthony W. Orlando runs a blog at


Drought, floods, typhoon. Solar boom next?

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Drought, floods, typhoon. Solar boom next?

Several regions of China are in the grip of extreme
weather conditions. We’ve also seen disastrous storms in South Korea and the
Philippines. Now China announces it will introduce a national feed-in tariff
for solar energy. This clean energy commitment will help solar costs to
continue to fall. Along with energy efficiency measures taking hold and
economic growth slowing, then solar – along with hydro, offshore and onshore
wind – could be accounting for nearly all of the new-build energy plants by the
end of the decade.

Straits Times (6 August 2011):

China hit by floods and drought, with typhoon

Beijing: Several regions of China are in the
grip of extreme weather conditions, according to reports yesterday.

Floodwaters from a river in the south-western
province of Sichuan forced thousands to evacuate while residents in nearby
Hunan province face severe shortages of water for drinking and crops, state
media said.

The authorities, in the meantime, are bracing
themselves for one of the most powerful typhoons in recent years to hit the
country’s east coast.

Typhoon Muifa, packing winds of up to 162kmh,
is expected to make landfall at the weekend.

The National Meteorological Centre said the
typhoon is forecast to land in Zhejiang or Jiangsu province, both of which
neighbour Shanghai, this evening or tomorrow.

Heavy rain has already battered an area in
Sichuan province where at least 2,381 homes collapsed after Zhouhe river near
Dazhou city in Sichuan overflowed.

More than 13,000 people were evacuated, the
official Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua said injuries are limited but that
roads and power have been cut off in the region, which frequently suffers from

In a separate article, the news agency said
400,000 rural residents in the city of Huaihua in central Hunan province, about
500km away from Dazhou, are suffering from a lingering drought.

The drought has destroyed 140,000ha of
cropland, dried up 1,200 wells and will seriously impair the autumn grain
output, it said, citing the regional authorities.

The local authorities have induced artificial
rain and allocated special funds to combat the disaster, in addition to
dispatching water trucks and relief supplies to the drought-plagued areas, said
a spokesman with the Huaihua Municipal Flood Control and Drought Relief

A lingering drought has also left thousands
of people and livestock short of drinking water in Zhaotong, Yunnan province,
according to the local authorities.

China frequently suffers from episodes of
extreme weather conditions.

More than 100 people were killed after months
of drought and weeks of heavy rain in June caused flooding and landslides in
the southern and central parts of the country.



China’s great big solar boost

Giles Parkinson, Climate Spectator (5 August

Hidden away in a government gazette this week
was an announcement that China would introduce a national feed-in tariff for
solar energy. It took a day or two for the significance to dawn on the market,
but it is now being viewed by analysts in an industry full of landmark
developments as possibly the biggest of them all.

China has, in recent years, come to dominate
the global market for solar panels, but it has so far installed little in its
country – just 0.8 gigawatts in a grid that has grown to nearly 1,000GW. It has
preferred to use the world market – which has grown to more than 40GW of
installed solar capacity – as its test tube, and to refine its products.

And, it has also been conscious of the
problems of its wind industry, which grew so quickly that many turbines were
either of sub-standard quality or could not be connected to the grid, and it
has learned carefully from those failures. Now, it seems, it is prepared to hit
the “Go” button.

China does have more than 100 million homes
that use solar hot water, but unlike other countries, China’s solar market is
expected to be dominated by utility-scale projects rather than rooftop panels,
as most people live in units and apartments. And rather than jumping in with
huge projects as their first investment, as is occurring in Australia, the
Chinese have been keen to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Over the past few years, China has been
testing various solar tariffs on a regional or on a strictly targeted basis –
offering incentives for a series of utility-scale solar projects that have
started at modest size and have gradually been scaled up – 1MW, 5MW, 10MW and
then 20MW – before now being rolled out on a national scale.

The structure of the tariff is also
fascinating. At 1.15 renmimbi/kwh ($A0.16) for projects approved before July 1
and falling to 1 RMB for projects approved since then, the tariff is the lowest
national tariff in the world. Clearly, China does not think it needs much to
kick start the domestic solar industry. There are several reasons for this.

The cost of solar has dropped so rapidly in
the past two years that solar is now thought to be already competitive with
wind in many regions in China, some of which have excellent solar radiation,
particularly in the western desert regions. These regions can produce solar
energy at double the efficiency of other regions. China also needs a smaller
tariff than other countries because of lower labour costs and supply chain
advantages (they make the stuff there).

And it is also close to parity with
coal-fired power for local industrial users who, unlike other countries, pay a
significantly higher tariff than individual consumers. According to one report,
LDK Solar, China’s most integrated solar energy company, expects the levelised
cost of energy of its solar modules to fall below average grid levels in China
to around $US0.07/kwh in 2012. It’s a massive irony, and an amazing opportunity
for the solar industry that the (coal-fired) electricity used by companies such
as LDK and Jinko Solar to make their modules is already more expensive than the
energy produced from those modules.

is expected to translate into a dramatic lift in production that will rival
that of wind – where China went from a standing start in 2005 to the number one
installer in 2010, with 17.5GW. In 2008, only 40MW of solar was installed in
China. In 2011 that is expected to reach 1GW, double in 2012, and by 2015 the
installation rate is expected to ramp up to 10GW a year. Given its
competitiveness with wind, some analysts expect it to match and overtake the
annual wind installation rate of 15GW, which is by far the largest in the

“They have wanted to do a controlled ramp
up,” says Tim Buckley, an investment manager with clean energy fund Arkx, which
invests in China solar companies. “They have got huge aspirations, I think the
growth will mirror wind. With wind they went too early, but with solar they now
have the best technology in the world.”

Analysts say the China decision effectively
underwrites the growth of the market. IMS Research upgraded its forecast for
China in 2012 by 1GW after the tariff announcement. Germany, which has been
growing at 7-8GW a year, is about to reach congestion point and is expected to
fall to around 3-4GW. Other European countries such as Italy, France and the
Czech Republic are also tapering off as tariffs are wound back. The US market,
underpinned by government loan guarantees, has been one of the few bright

Analysts believe the surge in domestic demand
in China also means that costs will continue to fall. Module prices are coming
down rapidly – falling by 20 per cent for each doubling in demand, and GCL, a
Hong Kong listed Chinese company that has suddenly emerged as the world’s
biggest supplier of poly-silicon, and is expected to deliver it at a price of
$40 a kilo in 2012, around half of the price in 2010 and one tenth of the price
in 2008.

“The economics of the varying power
generation alternatives have been changing rapidly, however, and solar power is
close to rivalling industrial as well as wind power grid pricing,” the website
Seeking Alpha wrote in an analysis. “China’s annual wind market alone is double
Germany’s record solar market in 2010. Thus it would not be unreasonable to
assume China’s solar demand could reach similar levels once the cost economies

Buckley believes that the economics of solar
projects in China will become irresistible in the next three to five years.
Analysts estimate that at the current tariff, project developers can bank on an
internal rate of return of up to 10 per cent over 15-25 years. With long-term
power purchase agreements, that’s enough to attract 80 per cent debt funding
for projects. “And once you get to grid parity, solar technology development
does not just stop,” Buckley said. “Solar plants with an operating margin of 80
per cent. Parity dramatically changes the dynamics of energy pricing and it
will drive average energy prices down over time. It potentially pushes coal
from being the lowest cost baseload supplier of energy to being the marginal
supply because of its high raw material costs.”

Having started small, the scale of some of
the projects being contemplated in China is enormous. The US firm First Solar,
which makes thin-film solar panels rather than silicon-based panels, is
planning one project of 2GW in inner Mongolia. It will likely be the size of

Still, even at a rate of 15GW a year, solar
would remain a fraction of the 100GW that China plans to add each year to its
national grid to meet soaring demand. But, if solar’s costs continue to fall,
energy efficiency measures take hold, and economic growth slows, then solar –
along with hydro, offshore wind and onshore wind – could be accounting for
nearly all of the new-build energy plants by the end of the decade. The most
obvious victim is coal. That, in turn, could have significant implications for
major coal exporters such as Australia.


Where are the Asia Pacific Leaders in Emission Reductions?

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Where are the Asia Pacific Leaders in Emission Reductions?

A carbon price would not force any big change
in the largest source of greenhouse gases – the electricity generation sector -
until after 2020, expert modelling shows. Most change will be due to the
existing 20% renewable energy target, with the carbon price slicing a further
11% from power sector emissions. Meanwhile, critics of the carbon price mechanism
– those who say Australia is taking action before other economies and therefore
exposing businesses to competitive disadvantage – are clearly mistaken, as
shown in a Carbon Ratings report by Connection Research.

Media reports in June – before the Government
announced its carbon price mechanism – paid little attention to a report on Carbon
Ratings for the top 100 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange
(ASX). This report in the Sydney Morning Herald also failed to mention that Asia
Pacific major trading partners were actually also doing much more than
Australia to reduce emissions:

A $20 CARBON tax would have shaved just 2.3
per cent from the net profits of Australia’s top 100 companies last year, a
report has found.

BHP, Rio, Qantas, Bluescope Steel and
Wesfarmers would face the biggest liabilities, it said.

The tax hit would have been 5 per cent in
2009, when profits were cut by the global financial crisis, and would have
averaged 2.95 per cent over the past four years, the report by Connection
Research for major Australian investors found.

Its chief executive, William Ehmcke, said the
report showed ”most ASX 100 companies would be able to comfortably absorb the
cost of the tax, even if they were not eligible for free permits”.

With many high-emitting electricity
generators not among the 100 listed companies, they account for 24 per cent of
Australian emissions – and of that the mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
emit about one third.

Also in the top emitters are Bluescope Steel
and OneSteel, likely to gain extra assistance in the final carbon package.

Reported in June in the Sydney Morning Herald
by Lenore Taylor

Critics of the Carbon Price Mechanism say
Australia is taking action before other economies and therefore is exposing
businesses to competitive disadvantage. Such claims are not supported by facts,
especially for carbon reduction targets, as shown by a comparison with Australia’s
major trading partners in the Asia Pacific region.

The report shows a map which sets out the
commitments made by Australia’s major trading partners – New Zealand, China,
India, South Korea and Japan – which have all made much higher commitments to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions than Australia.

See the full Carbon Rating report by
Connection Research at

A decade until carbon tax pays off

Another report by Lenore Taylor on the carbon
price, this time in in Farm Weekly (5 June 2011):

A carbon price would not force any big change
in the largest source of greenhouse gases – the electricity generation sector -
until after 2020, expert modelling shows.

Until 2020 most change in electricity
generation would be due to the existing 20 per cent renewable energy target,
with the carbon price slicing a further 11 per cent from power sector emissions
through a small shift away from brown coal-fired power and reduced consumer

But the modelling, done for the federal
Treasury by MMA and ROAM Consulting and released yesterday, did not include the
government’s announced policy to pay for the early retirement of one or two
brown-coal generators, which could lead to much bigger emissions cuts in the

And it does show significant cuts to
electricity emissions between 2020 and 2050, as the carbon price rises and
clean coal, gas and geothermal power become the dominant sources of Australia’s

By 2050, electricity generation accounts for
almost half of total emissions reductions.

Both modellers found that some regions
producing coal-fired power, particularly the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland in
Victoria, would not shrink economically as power production changed, because
they were well positioned to shift to the new sources of generation.

NSW, hardest hit by the carbon price with job
losses and reduced economic output according to separate modelling conducted
for the state government, is shown in the federal government modelling to
steadily increase its generation capacity.

According to the ROAM results, the state’s
generation capacity would double by 2050, with wind, new coal generation with
carbon capture and storage, and gas-fired power gradually taking over from the
black-coal plants.

Regarding Latrobe Valley and Gippsland, the
MMA analysis said, ”the level of generation with brown coal falls with a
carbon pricing regime. However … [the] region has close proximity to a major
natural gas resource and parts of eastern Victoria have access to good wind,
biomass and potentially geothermal resources.

”This leads to increased investment in
generation exploiting these resources, particularly natural gas resources. The
exploitation of these resources under carbon pricing means that the overall
level of electricity generation may not fall.”

And ROAM Consulting predicted electricity
generation in the Latrobe Valley might increase, as old brown-coal plants close
but gas, renewable and new carbon capture and storage plants are built.

Just like the Treasury modelling it informed,
both MMA and ROAM base their calculations on a $20 carbon price, not the $23
price the multi-party climate change committee eventually agreed upon.

Another model by the CSIRO, of what would
happen to road transport emissions, modelled a very different policy to the one
eventually announced.

According to the government procurement
system AusTender, MMA was paid $32,907 for its work and ROAM $145,200.

Both models showed a higher carbon price
would have driven a much faster transformation of the electricity sector.

The Coalition has attacked the assumptions
used in the Treasury modelling, which found household electricity prices would
rise 10 per cent owing to the carbon price, and has called for it to be scrapped
and redone.

However, the Climate Change Minister, Greg
Combet, maintained it was ”detailed and rigorous”.


“Add 4 degrees & You’re Dead. More or less.”

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

“Add 4 degrees & You’re Dead. More or less.”

Speaking on the ABC in Australia, Professor
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chief climate science advisor of the German
Government, made a point even the least-informed should be able to understand: “Our
body temperature is about 37 degrees. If you increase it by two degrees, 39, you
have fever. If you add four degrees, it is 41 – you are dead, more or
less.” More from Earth and paleo-climate scientist Andrew Glikson.


By Andrew Glikson in The Conversation (27
July 2011):

The Faustian bargain – while we debate the
numbers, the planet suffers

Earth and paleo-climate scientist at
Australian National University

Our weather systems are changing as the world

Speaking on the ABC, Professor Hans Joachim
Schellnhuber, chief climate science advisor of the German Government, made a
point even the least-informed should be able to understand.

“Our body temperature is about 37 degrees. If
you increase it by two degrees, 39, you have fever. If you add four degrees, it
is 41 – you are dead, more or less.”

When in the early 80s “economic rationalism”
assumed an overarching value in western societies, a rhetoric question arose:
what is the price of the Earth?

The question is no longer rhetoric. The
spectacle of people haggling over dollars vis-à-vis the future of the Earth’s
atmosphere-ocean system is a Faustian bargain not dreamt by science fiction
writers. It hardly conceals the increasing extraction of every available carbon
source from the ground, including coal, oil, oil shale, tar sand, gas and coal
seam gas.

Global emission reduction targets, ranging
from 40% relative to 1990 by Germany, to 5% relative to 2000 in Australia,
would still allow mean global temperatures to rise by three or four degrees
Celsius later in the century.

This will drive a major shift in climate
zones, disrupt river flow, raise sea levels on the scale of meters and lead to
heat waves, fires and storms.

Climate science focuses on the non-linear
nature of climate change where, once critical temperature thresholds are crossed,
warming is amplified by feedbacks from melting ice, opening water surfaces,
release of methane from permafrost and from polar sediments, leading to tipping

According to NASA’s projections, “Goals to
limit human-made warming to two degrees Celsius and CO₂
to 450 parts per million are not sufficient – they are prescriptions for

“Rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions is
required for humanity to succeed in preserving a planet resembling the one on
which civilization developed.”

The disruption of the carbon and oxygen
cycles, which act as the “lungs of the biosphere” is raising CO₂
and other greenhouse gases to levels close to that of 16 million years ago and
is increasing at a rate unprecedented in geological history (with the exception
of global volcanic and asteroid impact events which led to mass extinction of

This extreme rate retards the ability of
species to adapt to fast changing environments, threatening a mass extinction
of species, not least in the oceans.

A fundamental change in the global climate
regime ensues in a permanent state of El-Niño, such as existed before three
million years ago. At that stage the decline of polar-sourced cold currents
resulted in a stable equatorial warm pool and the demise of the La-Niña phase.
An intensification of the hydrological cycle leads to extreme weather events,
increasing around the world.

An acceleration in the rate of sea level rise
is projected by an increase in the melt rate of Greenland and Antarctic ice

According to lead IPCC authors, the “climate
change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is
largely irreversible for 1000 years after emissions stop.”

A dumbing down of the political and media
discussion to the dollar price of carbon reflects years of cover-up on the
scientific measurements and direct observations of climate change around the

An irrelevant discourse ensues between those
willing to undertake symbolic action and those who deny the science altogether.

Had the science been afforded a correct
publicity in the Australian media, the current political and economic fury
would be seen in their true perspective and the real meaning of a world three
to four degrees warmer would be understood.

According to Schellnhuber, “We are simply
talking about the very life support system of this planet.”

What is required is what has never been done
before in human history – a plan for the future.

The window of opportunity to turn the climate
trend around will close unless a coordinated global effort is made to reduce
emissions and a technological breakthrough is made to draw down atmospheric CO₂.

Andrew Glikson, a Earth and paleoclimate scientist, is a Visiting Fellow at the
School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, where
he is reviewing the effects of climate on prehistoric human evolution. He is
also an Honorary Professor at the Center for Excellence in Geothermal Research,
The University of Queensland, and is affiliated with the Climate Change
Institute and the Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University.
He graduated at the University of Western Australia in 1968, conducted
geological surveys in central and western Australia and became a Principal
Research Scientist with the Australian Geological Survey Organization (now
Geoscience Australia).


Invest Long Term for Sustainability, Climate & Behavioural Change

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Invest Long Term for Sustainability, Climate & Behavioural Change

“Many Japanese companies have a long-term
approach. Fujitsu’s sustainability policy is out to 2100,” the Company’s Global
Sustainability head Alison Rowe told delegates at the Climate Change &
Business Conference in Wellington last week. This makes it easier to deal with
issues such as climate change that have such a long time horizon to realise
benefits of investment and changed behaviour. And electric vehicles could be a
great solution for households here looking for an economical second car for around-town
driving, as New Zealand has the second highest rate of car ownership per
capita, behind the United States.

Climate Change and Business Conference, Wellington
(2 August 2011):

In business offices around Japan, executives
are not wearing ties. The historically conservative country has adopted a “no
ties” trend as a means to be more comfortable in the workplace and therefore
reduce the need for air conditioning, and the electricity required to drive it.

The behaviour change has come in response to
the continued intermittent power outages following the March earthquake and
nuclear generator accident. But, as Alison Rowe, Global Executive Head Sustainability
at Fujitsu, says, this is a very Japanese response. “Japanese believe in the
community and will voluntarily do what is necessary to address a community
concern or goal,” said Ms Rowe.

Speaking this morning at the 7th
Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business Conference, Ms Rowe
outlined Japan’s policy response to climate change and the impact this has on

Japan has taken leading action on climate
change, committing to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020 and indicating an
intention to start an emissions trading scheme. This commitment remains, despite
the major nuclear accident and the resulting economic and energy supply impact acknowledging
a major review of energy policy is underway.

Ms Rowe said business has welcomed the moves
by the government, viewing the climate change initiatives as guidelines to a
voluntary response. “In Japan, you don’t have to develop a new business case
for sustainability, per se, as sustainability is an inbuilt part of business
operations, values and the community,” said Ms. Rowe. “Initiatives to reduce
emissions and improve efficiency are part of our day to day operations.”

Japan tends to have a very long term planning
horizon which takes into account some of the more difficult issues like climate
change. “Many Japanese companies, including Fujitsu, have a long-term approach.

Fujitsu’s sustainability policy is out to
2100,” explained Ms Rowe. “This makes it easier to deal with issues such as
climate change that have such a long time horizon to realise benefits of
investment and changed behaviour”.

Ms Rowe was speaking at the Climate Change
& Business Conference which continues in Wellington today. The event hosts
more than 300 delegates with approximately 70 business and policy experts presenting
on implications of climate change and best practice response.


Wellington (2 August 2011):

Electric vehicles could be a great solution
for New Zealand households looking for an economical second car for around-town

New Zealand has the second highest rate of
car ownership per capita, behind the United States. And at 52%, New Zealand has
one of the highest rates of households owning 2 cars or more.

These unexpected statistics were revealed by
Elizabeth Yeaman, Manager of Transport Partnerships at New Zealand’s Energy
Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of a discussion on
transport at the 7th Australia-New Zealand Climate Change & Business

In discussing the uptake of electric
vehicles, Ms Yeaman commented “Electric vehicles are used most for around-town
commuting rather than long family outings, so the fact that New Zealand has one
of the highest levels of car ownership and number of 2-car families would
indicate there is plenty of room for use of electric vehicles.”

Also speaking at the session was Kristian
Handberg, Project Manager of Low Emissions Vehicles for the Victorian
Department of Transport in Australia. Mr Handberg gave details of Victoria’s
electric vehicle trial which, although at an early stage, has been successful.
“People love using their electric vehicles,” said Mr Handberg. “Initial
concerns about restricted range have dissipated once users try the car and
become accustomed to how it works and recharges.”

The Victorian government launched its
Electric Vehicle Trial in 2010 to help Victoria better understand the process,
timelines and barriers for transitioning to electric vehicle technologies. The
trial, which finishes in 2014, is seeking a total of 180 households to take an
electric vehicle for three months each. “The early results have been
encouraging” said Mr Handberg, “with positive feedback on driving the vehicles,
the ease of use and the acceptance of the range limitations.”

Wellington City is also running an electric
vehicle program. In September 2010, Wellington became the first New Zealand
city to trial production electric cars with the launch of a fleet of eight
battery-powered Mistubishi electric vehicles. The cars are being used by the
City Council, Meridian Energy, The Wellington Company and New Zealand Post. The
four-seater, battery-powered Mistubishi iMiEV has a range of up to 155km and
zero drive-time emissions.

“We love our electric vehicles,” says Chris
Cameron, Principal Advisor on climate change for Wellington City Council. “They
are fun to drive, quick off the mark and make you feel incredibly good knowing
there are zero emissions.”

Ms. Yeaman and Mr Handberg were speaking at
the Climate Change & Business Conference which continues in Wellington
today. The event hosts more than 300 delegates with approximately 70 business and
policy experts presenting on implications of climate change and best practice


Sustainable Finance & the Business of Low Carbon Economic Growth

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Sustainable Finance & the Business of Low Carbon Economic Growth

Business leaders from a variety of industries
have joined with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch a new initiative
to identify breakthrough sustainability solutions for businesses. The Next
Practice Collaborative will focus on business and finance models for low-carbon
economic growth in major markets like the US, China, Mexico, India and Brazil.
And sustainable finance will be at the top of the agenda for policy makers,
asset owners, fund managers, advisers and corporations from across the value
chain when they meet in Hong Kong for the Association for Sustainable and Responsible
Investment in Asia (ASrIA) 10th Anniversary Conference on 28-29 September 2011.

HONG KONG, 25 July 2011 — Sustainable
finance will be at the top of the agenda for policy makers, asset owners, fund
managers, advisers and corporations from across the value chain when they meet
in Hong Kong to explore common ground and mark a significant industry milestone
at the ASrIA 10th Anniversary Conference on 28-29 September 2011, at the Grand
Hyatt Hong Kong Hotel.

International leaders and experts from the
Asia Pacific region will examine the progress, share perspectives on key
challenges facing the industry to shape Asia’s next decade. ASrIA is at the
forefront of sustainable growth, providing industry leadership, in-depth
studies and valuable resources to sovereign wealth funds, regulators, asset
managers, corporates, service providers and policy groups.

“As the global centre of gravity shifts
towards Asia, this unique opportunity will examine how Asian financial markets
are approaching sustainability and highlight best practice and innovation in
both the developed and emerging economies,” says ASrIA chair Alexandra Tracy.
“Participants from across the financial eco-system will debate key issues to
explore the opportunities and challenges for scaling up sustainable finance in
Asia Pacific region. We hope ASrIA’s 10th Anniversary Conference will chart the
path for the next ten years of responsible investment and sustainability

“Investing in a socially and environmentally
sustainable way has emerged as a winning value proposition in Asia — it’s
prudent risk management and leaves lasting benefits for communities and
investors,” says Sérgio Pimenta, East Asia and Pacific Director at IFC,
the member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development in
emerging markets. “We are a key sponsor of ASrIA’s 10th Anniversary
Conference because we need to discuss how to scale-up sustainable investments
dramatically. Our future depends on it.”

Delegates will identify and address issues
that are common to and unique within markets across this diverse region, such
as China, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine, Singapore,
Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and Vietnam. Respected industry leaders
will tackle climate change, shareholder engagement and disclosure,
environmental, social, minority rights and discuss the current status of the
sustainable finance industry in industrialised, maturing and emerging markets
across Asia. Attendees include senior executives and decision makers comprising
representatives from listed equities, debts, alternative assets and impact
investing, regulators, capital markets, SRI pioneers, corporates, civil society
and NGOs.

IFC is a major sponsor and other sponsors
include SAM (founding ASrIA member), Dow Jones Indexes,  Bloomberg LP, Sindicatum Carbon Capital and
NewForests enabling participants to seek industry agreement on key priorities
for the next decade when setting goals for sustainable finance in the region
and beyond. Details about sustainable finance are available at,
providing the latest information, online resources and the 10th Anniversary
Conference registration.



Rodrigo Amandi of Sustainable Asset
Management (SAM) “The conference allows for discussion of balancing the
economy, society and environment, and the advancement of international best
practice in sustainable finance in Asia. I am confident that in the next
decade, Asia’s financial markets will become increasingly aware of the
opportunities from sustainable investment and financing.”

“We are delighted to be a sponsor of ASRIA’s
10th Anniversary Conference,” said David Brand, Managing Director of New
Forests, Pty Ltd.  “The conference
will showcase best practice in sustainable and responsible investment and
demonstrate that the Asian economy is not only a great growth opportunity, but
a place where economic, social and environmental issues will need to be
integrated.  These opportunities are not
solely in the debt and listed equity markets, but also in alternative assets
such as natural resources and infrastructure.”


“I believe it is important to understand how
our institutional investor peers work with their investment managers to
incentivise inclusion of corporate governance issues in asset allocation and
portfolio construction for the future sustainability and growth of Asia’s
investment industry, especially investments for the pension plans/funds.  I look forward to working with ASrIA to
advance the industry’s development,” said Ka Shi Lau, Vice-Chair of the Hong
Kong Trustees’ Association.


“There seems to be an emerging consensus that
ESG issues need to be at the heart and centre of the plan, as India embarks on
the growth journey for the next decade,” says Sumantra Sen, Founder and
Principal Researcher at Responsible Investment Research Association (RIRA). “It
may be great opportunity for the domestic institutions, policy makers and other
key stakeholders to participate in ASrIA’s
‘Across the Value Chain’ conference in September this year to learn and
share some of the best practices with peers in the region.”

“As the market regulator, we want to
strengthen ESG reporting among listed companies for their own benefit, and also
for the benefit of investors,” says Mark Dickens, Head of Listing Division,
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

“At ASrIA’s 10th Anniversary Conference I
look forward to sharing our experiences in responsible investing with my
institutional investor peers in Asia,” says David Russell, Co-Head of
Responsible Investment at Universities Superannuation Scheme. “USS helped
establish the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change a decade ago. We
hope to provide insights into effective investor collaborations and believe
climate and environmental concerns remain critical – no more so than in Asia.”

“This is an exciting time to invest in
Pakistan,” says Haroon Askari, Deputy Managing Director & Chief Operating
Officer of the Karachi Stock Exchange. “As we move towards becoming a
demutualised publicly-traded company, KSE is looking for insights into not only
how to manage that transition but also to explore ways to encourage Pakistani
companies to disclose more environmental, social and corporate governance
information to investors and other stakeholders. By gathering stock exchange
representatives, the ASrIA 10th Anniversary Conference will be of tremendous
value to share practical experiences.”

About ASrIA

Launched in 2001, The Association for
Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) is a not for profit,
membership association taking a leadership role in promoting corporate
responsibility and sustainable finance practice in the Asia Pacific region.
Members are drawn from the Asian and international financial services industry
with an interest in sustainable investment. ASrIA’s goal is to build market
capacity for SRI by fostering the creation of SRI products and services and
providing training and support services, including conferences, seminars,
workshops, research projects and publications to raise the standards of SRI
practice and build momentum for SRI in Asia and beyond.

Source: and


Business Leaders Join to Identify Breakthrough
Sustainability Solutions

News from (29 July

Business leaders from a variety of industries
have joined with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to launch a new initiative
to identify breakthrough sustainability solutions for businesses.

The Next Practice Collaborative will focus on
business and finance models for low-carbon economic growth in major markets
like the US, China, Mexico, India and Brazil.

Founding members of the collaborative are
Alcoa, AkzoNobel, CEMEX, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, Staples and United
Technologies Corporation.

“The Next Practice partnership is about
re-imagining the bar for corporate leadership,” says Manish Bapna, interim
president, WRI. “While it has been encouraging to see more and more
companies improving their environmental performance and reaping the business
benefits, leading businesses understand that it is time for real innovation and
new thinking, not just incremental improvement.”

CK Prahalad, the late business thought leader
and WRI board member coined the term “next practices,” to describe
business strategies that generate innovation, competitive advantage, and
industry transformation by seizing opportunities in tomorrow’s markets. Next
Practice is founded on that vision.

CEMEX, for example, wants to pioneer new
financing models in rapidly urbanizing areas in Latin America and other
developing countries that create sustainable housing at the lowest cost of
acquisition and total ownership, through energy-efficient design and materials

“By developing environmentally sound
homes that are inexpensive and accessible to low-income families, we can make a
breakthrough in the sustainable solutions marketplace,” says Luis Farias,
Sr. Vice President of Energy and Sustainability at CEMEX.

Companies will draw on insights from a group
of advisors to refine and advance these next practice project ideas. This group
includes individuals such as ,Carter F. Bales chairman, NewWorld Capital Group
LLC; David Blood, co-founder and senior partner, Generation Investment
Management; Stefan Heck, Director, McKinsey & Company; Rebecca Henderson,
Senator John Heinz professor of Environmental Management, Harvard Business
School; Charles O. Holliday, Jr., former CEO of DuPont and Chairman, Bank of
America; and Jigar Shah, CEO, Carbon War Room.

For WRI, Next Practice represents the next
stage in the organization’s long history of working with the private sector to
develop and advance innovations for practical, cost-effective business
strategies for a sustainable future.


Indonesia Leads the World with the Fastest Rate of Deforestation

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149


Environmentalists have praised Fuji Xerox for
cutting ties with a big paper manufacturer accused of wrongfully logging
Indonesian rainforests.  The Australian arm
of the Japanese company announced this week it will no longer be doing business
with Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL), which owns one of the
world’s largest paper mills. And according to a study by Forest Watch Indonesia
(FWI), a non-governmental organisation, Indonesia has the fastest rate of
deforestation in the world, losing 15 million hectares of forest cover from
2000 to 2009, an area equivalent to half the size of Malaysia.

The Australian (4 August 2011):

Environmentalists have praised Fuji Xerox for
cutting ties with a big paper manufacturer accused of wrongfully logging
Indonesian rainforests.

Fuji Xerox Australia announced today it will
no longer be doing business with Asia Pacific Resources International (APRIL),
which owns one of the world’s largest paper mills.

Fuji Xerox managing director Nick Kugenthiran
said fresh allegations of APRIL unsustainably clearing forest land in Sumatra
was the final straw after months of doubts.

ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program on
Tuesday aired allegations APRIL is building plantations at an highly
destructive rate, with question marks over the acquisition of permits.

“Over the past eighteen months we have
been concerned with the lack of progress with regard to APRIL’s logging
practices in Indonesia,” he said in a statement.

“Our concerns were grave enough for us
to take steps in June 2011 to review our relationship with APRIL.

“Due to these concerns and further
issues brought to our attention, we have made the decision to cease all
procurement with APRIL.”

Comment was being sought from the company.

Greenpeace and the forestry union also
welcomed the announcement, and urged other retailers, such as Officeworks -
which buys APRIL products – to follow its lead.

“Other Australian companies and
retailers need to take a good hard look at where their pulp and paper products
come from,” Greenpeace’s Reece Turner said.

Both the federal government and its consumer
watchdog has been asked to investigate the illegal logging claims, to which
APRIL has yet to respond.


Straits Times (29 July 2011):

South-east Asia’s forests under threat:

Deforestation rate is world’s fastest;
Kalimantan worst affected

JAKARTA: Indonesia has the fastest rate of
deforestation in the world, losing 15 million ha of forest cover from 2000 to
2009, according to a study by Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), a non-governmental

That area would be equivalent to half the
size of Malaysia.

‘In 2000, Indonesia had 103 million ha of
forest, but only 88 million ha were left in 2009. Therefore, the speed of
deforestation during those years was 1.5 million ha per year,’ FWI executive
director Wirendro Sumargo was quoted as saying on Wednesday by the Jakarta
Post. ‘That is the fastest tropical deforestation rate in the world,’ he added.

The worst area affected, FWI found, was in
Kalimantan, which accounted for slightly more than a third of the total area
lost. Mr Sumargo said that 5.5 million ha of the 15 million ha destroyed were
in that region. ‘The worst condition was in Central Kalimantan, which lost 2
million ha,’ he said.

The study was conducted by analysing Forestry
Ministry data in 2000 and then comparing it to data from satellite photos in
2009. Deforestation was mainly caused by oil palm plantations and pulp
companies, according to the study.

‘The root was our corrupt political and
economic system. Government policy is often inconsistent and less strict, and
it is very easy for many parties to cause deforestation,’ Mr Sumargo said.

A previous study conducted by FWI showed that
from 1985 to 1997, Indonesia lost 21.6 million ha of forest, with the speed of
deforestation at 1.8 million ha a year. The figures tally with a recent United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study which showed Indonesia,
from 2000 to 2005, lost 1.87 million ha every year.

The FAO said Jakarta has had some success
tackling the problem through better conservation awareness and government
policy but warned against complacency.

Norway and Indonesia signed an agreement in
May last year under which Jakarta promised to impose a moratorium on clearing
its forests. In return, Norway vowed to pay US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion), based
on Indonesia’s performance in achieving long-term goals to slow deforestation.
A long list of exemptions, which included extensions of existing permits,
disappointed environmentalists.


Toyota Best Global Green Brand & BMW Wakes Up with Electric Dream Cars

Posted by admin on August 7, 2011
Posted under Express 149

Toyota Best Global Green Brand & BMW Wakes Up with Electric Dream Cars

A new Interbrand study says Toyota is “a
leading example of making the environment a core management priority, while
also engaging in a meaningful way with audiences around the world.” 3M and
Siemens finished 2nd and 3rd in the Best Global Green
Brands survey published this week. And when BMW sets up a new division to make and
market electric and hybrid cars, it ranks as one of the most sensational
automotive events in recent history. Every member of the board of directors of
the Bavarian manufacturer was present, underlining the importance of this new
family of i-concept cars.

Toyota the world’s greenest brand –

By Paul Lienert, Correspondent, Inside Line (29July

•A new
Interbrand study says Toyota is “a leading example of making the
environment a core management priority, while also engaging in a meaningful way
with audiences around the world.”

•Global brands 3M and Siemens finished 2nd and

•Results of the Best Global Green Brands
survey were published this week.

LONDON — A new study by Interbrand has
acclaimed Toyota as the world’s greenest brand, ahead of multinational
industrial giants 3M and Siemens.

Results of the first-ever Best Global Green
Brands survey were published this week by the international brand consultancy,
which just last September said Toyota’s massive recalls had caused it to drop
from 8th to 11th place in Interbrand’s better known Best Global Brands study.
At the time, Interbrand said Toyota had lost 16 percent of its brand value.

Earlier this year, a different survey, the
annual BrandZ Top 100 study released in May by media giant WPP’s research
subsidiary Millward Brown, said Toyota had overtaken BMW as the world’s top
automotive brand. That study valued the Toyota brand at $24.1 billion and said,
“Toyota has successfully proven that having a brand that consumers trust
and are loyal to can help companies survive crises.”

Interbrand’s new Best Global Green Brands
survey, in contrast, was designed to measure environmental performance, based
on public records, coupled with public perception of a brand’s environmental

Based in part on interviews with more than
10,000 consumers in such global markets as the U.S., U.K., France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Brazil and India, the study gave Toyota a Green Performance Score
of 64.19 points.

Citing the automaker’s pioneering development
and commercialization of hybrid vehicles, spearheaded by the Prius Interbrand
singled out Toyota as “a leading example of making the environment a core
management priority, while also engaging in a meaningful way with audiences
around the world.”

Interbrand added that “the strongest
green brands consistently differentiate themselves and engage in green
activities that consumers find relevant, as well as implement profitable green
practices across their organization, from setting and executing environmental
programs to effectively measuring and reporting their performance to the

Inside Line says: Despite wrestling with a
plethora of daunting issues, ranging from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami to the
global recall of millions of vehicles, the Toyota brand continues to show
remarkable resilience.


BMW’s electric dream

Bavarian company plugs into the future with
new line of cars

By Shreejit Changaroth for Straits Times in Frankfurt
(6 August 2011):

The all-electric i-3 Concept and the
petrol-electric hybrid i-8 Concept (ABOVE) are just the first

When BMW sets up a new division to make and
market electric and hybrid cars, it ranks as one of the most sensational
automotive events in recent history. Perhaps even more so than Toyota’s
creation of Lexus and Mercedes’ foray into micro-mini Smarts.

At the Bavarian manufacturer’s premiere of
the i-Series here, every member of the board of directors was present,
underlining the importance of this new family of cars.

Two cars were shown: an all-electric i-3
Concept and a petrol-electric hybrid i-8 Concept.

Two years ago, BMW showcased various aspects
of its electric car project, known at that time as the Mega City Vehicle (MCV).
The complete running prototype is now called the i-3 – an amalgam of
technologies developed for the MCV.

The i-3 Concept is a compact and stylish
five-door hatchback designed as an urban runabout. In order to keep overall
weight as low as possible, the chassis is basically a carbon composite
monocoque passenger cell bonded to an aluminium frame that carries the

i-3 is a pure electric vehicle and designed
from scratch. Located in the rear is a 170hp electric motor driving the rear
wheels. Coincidentally, the 250Nm of torque produced by the motor means the i-3
has identical power and torque figures as the latest BMW 118i. And like the
118i, the i-3 also accelerates from rest to 100kmh in under eight seconds.

Electrical energy for the i-3′s motor is
provided by batteries that are laid out in the floor, under the seats. BMW says
this configuration is ideal in terms of space efficiency and crash safety.

Although some styling features, like the
expansive glass over the doors, may not make it to production, the i-3′s
overall size and shape, as well as its chassis and drivetrain, will remain
largely unchanged when the car arrives in showrooms some time in 2013.

The i-8 Concept is based on the BMW Vision
EfficientDynamics concept car. Fascinating to look at, the i-8 hybrid also
promises astonishing performance figures: 0-100kmh in under five seconds and a
fuel economy of between 5 and 7 litres/100km.

There are two power plants in the i-8.
Driving the front wheels is essentially the same drivetrain used in the i-3. A
mid-mounted internal combustion engine drives the rear wheels. With just three
cylinders and a total displacement of 1.5 litres, the petrol engine does not
sound like a lot. In reality, however, the turbocharged unit is quite a fine
piece of work, putting out a maximum of 220bhp.

Each power plant can run independently or in
tandem, when a total of 348bhp and 550Nm of torque can be unleashed to propel
the i-8.

These concept cars are just the first two
models of BMW’s bold i-Series. Between the i-3 and i-8, there could well be
more electric or hybrid products bearing the blue-and-white emblem in the near

Undoubtedly, BMW will gauge the response to
the first two cars before deciding which direction its i-Series will take in