On December 21, Bloomberg Business published Harvard Review’s most important stories affecting the greening of business in 2010. Here is a rough summary of the review.
US Politicians Fail to Pass Climate Legislation
The US Senate’s failure to pass climate change legislation impedes global efforts to address climate change and undermines the competitiveness of American companies. The Republicans midterm election victory in the House of Representatives have definitively killed any hope of US climate legislation for at least two years. While the American legislature dithers, governments in the rest of the world are helping businesses to make the transition to a low carbon economy.
China has assumed a leadership role in renewable energy. China is now the world’s largest solar producer and they now control almost half of the $45 billion global market for wind turbines. While China’s support for its renewables companies may violate the WTO accord, there can be no doubt that China is investing massively in the low carbon economy through technology and innovation driven development that focuses on energy saving, environmental protection, and the low-carbon economy.
Declining Resource Availability
Climate change is impacting on countries around the world and this is directly effecting the availability of resources. Russia had the worst drought in 1,000 years and Pakistan was inundated by flooding. These weather events directly affect resource availability. The drought in Russia destroyed 40% of its wheat crop, pulling 1/6 of the world’s trade in the crop off the global market, driving up wheat prices. The floods in Pakistan helped double the price of cotton. There is also evidence that rare earth metals, so vital to green technologies, may soon be in short supply.
The Growth of Electric Vehicles
A number of electric vehicles are now available in America and around the world. The Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt are amongst a plethora of electric vehicles that entered into the marketplace in 2010. An increasing number of companies are greening their fleets. This year GE announced that it would purchase 25,000 Electric vehicles including the Chevy Volt.
The Growth of Renewable Energy
The market for renewables is growing fast, in countries like Portugal almost half (45%) of the countries electricity comes from renewables. HSBC says the market for clean tech and climate change solutions will top $2.2 trillion by 2020.
The Growth of Sustainable Supply Chains
Despite the recession, there were numerous green supply chain announcements in 2010. These announcements include Wal-Mart which said it would eliminate 20 million metric tons of GHG emissions from its supply chain. We also saw major supply chain announcements from companies like IBM, Pepsi, Tropicana, P&G, and Kaiser Permanente.
Corporate Waste Reduction
Many corporations are working hard on waste reduction. GM announced that 62 of its plants now send zero waste to landfill, and UK retailer Marks & Spencer reached a 92% diversion rate on the way to its zero goals. Sony set a goal of zero environmental impact across its operations by 2050.
Sustainable Corporate Goals
Many large corporations are setting aggressive targets. Panasonic said it wanted its GHG emissions to peak by 2018 and it would greatly increase sales of eco-products. Unilever has announced that it would double sales by 2020 while halving its environmental impact the company has also announced other big goals.
The Greening of Small Business
Small companies are also seeing the value of going green. The fact that California’s Bowman Design only has 10 employees and just 2,000 square feet of office space in Southern California has not prevented it from reducing the companies GHG emissions by 65% and saving $9,000 savings annually.
THE GREEN MARKET’s Top 25 Environmental Stories of 2010
Top 10 Predictions for Sustainable Business and the Green Economy in 2011
Best Green Tech Innovations of 2010
10 Best Eco-Inventions of 2010
Odd Yet Effective Green Inventions
Time’s Top 5 Green Energy Inventions of 2010
Video: Planet 100’s Top 5 Green Inventions
Greenpeace’s Best Green Electronics
Greenpeace’s Ranking of Electronic Companies
Best Green Automotive Innovations of 2010
Best Green and Sustainable Business Twitter Feeds
Top 20 Green and Sustainable Business Facebook Groups
Newsweek’s 10 Greenest Companies in 2010
Time’s Top 5 Green Energy Inventions of 2010
Sierra’s Top 5 Insider Reader Stories from 2010
Environmental Leader’s Most Read Stories of 2010
Portfolio 21’s Top 10 Green Investments for 2011
Video of the Top 10 Green Reads of the Decade