» Who’s pushing a green agenda in Copenhagen? Business, that’s who

Who’s pushing a green agenda in Copenhagen? Business, that’s who

December 16, 2009 by Tom Guay
Posted in: green buildings, solar power, Special Report, Wind Power

business-dealsBrace yourselves for the really big news coming out of the Copenhagen conference. It’ll be your corporate customers that force you to address climate change, not EPA or Congress.

Yes, EPA will regulate the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, mostly coal-fired power plants and large industrial facilities that release more than 25,000 metric tons a year of those global warming bad guys.

But that doesn’t mean smaller companies are off the hook, not at all.

The challenge ahead for small businesses will come from your big corporate customers — from auto makers, food and beverage companies, electronics manufacturers, and giant big-box retailers. They’re counting on you to cut your direct and indirect GHG emissions so they can claim credits for reducing their corporate carbon footprints.

Wal-Mart’s already made waves with its plan to create a Sustainability Index to rate the greeniness of all the products it sells. But other companies are also planning to green their supply chains.

For example, Coca-Cola’s announced this bombshell at the Copenhagen conference: It will reduce its own corporate carbon footprint by requiring Coca-Cola suppliers to reduce their GHG emissions. This means suppliers will have to account for their GHG emissions created during manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of the products they sell to Coca-Cola.

The company was one of many corporations hosting booths in Copenhagen urging conference delegates to come up with an agreement that commits every country, and therefore every company, to reduce their GHG emissions, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The paper reports that the companies went to Copenhagen to call for huge investments in clean, renewable power from solar and wind power to offset the rising costs of coal-fired electricity.

This comes as Coca-Cola’s UK operations and Unilever both warned that failure to put a cap on emissions will put a huge dent in their profits. The U.K’s Telegraph reports that the two companies will avoid this by significantly reducing their GHG emissions.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is doing what it can to reduce its direct GHG emissions.

It plans to stop using GHG refrigerants in its nine million vending machines around the world. The company says it will eliminate 100% of vending-machine GHG emissions by switching to hydrofluorocarbon-free refrigerants by 2015.

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4 Responses to “Who’s pushing a green agenda in Copenhagen? Business, that’s who”

  1. Joe Sadlier Says:

    For those of you who have read my blogs before, this is exactly what I said! I said “This carbon footprint thing is comming!”. If you start working on it, before the government starts to regulate it you might be able to survive. For those companies that want to push it down to their suppliers, they better be ready to pay higher prices for everything from cleaning services to raw material. They will then start to “outsource”.

    This is the “global quandry”, if we in the developed countries, start to push costs up, to save the world from global “whatever they are calling it today” , underdeveloped countries and developing countries will by default be cheaper suppliers to “our” customers.

    They will then require more energy and electricy to supply the new goods, but since coal and oil are the cheapest forms of energy, they will want to use them. They will become bigger polluters than we are today. Case(s) in point China and India.

    So to redirect $$ to developing countries is the best way to insure the worst possible outcome.
    And having a world governing body involved just increases the “yick” factor. More corruption, more inefficiency and less real results. Another gonvernmental point to ponder. Ethanol (from corn) was the (governmental) fix for global warming and oil independance. Billions went into new plants and E85 vehicles, but then corn prices went through the roof. Brazil cut down millions of acres of the rainforest to plant corn, people in many poorer countries couldn’t afford to buy corn (a staple of their food stuffs), and come to find out the ethanol uses more energy to produce (carbon footprint) then it saves. GOOD CALL!

    Why is it that we (the United States) is one of the only countrys that reduced its carbon footprint, and still we are getting bashed for not doing enough? Lets go to Copenhaugen and cut through all the red tape. Here is the United States and all her wealth, where would you like me to leave the keys?

    The whole thing is a shell game. SAVE THE WORLD!! SAVE THE WORLD!! When all they want is our money. Always follow the money trail. See how many people want to sell all that they have and live in grass huts. Just do this with your own money.

    All good companies should try to be good citizens and stewarts of this planet. If a company wants to put up windmills, or solar pannels good for them. But let us not dillude ourself’s, if we can see value in being green in hard dollars or in good will, then pass the costs on to our customers and “full speed ahead”. If it is a boost to effiency or for brand loyality it is a good thing, but if we are doing this just to appease the “greens” were domed.


  2. Matt Says:

    Coke is putting out the impression they are green by forcing suppliers to go green? The best (cheapest) way to limit GHG and associated costs is to have your suppliers limit their GHS. This avenue has the effet of not costing Coke a dime. What a joke. It is genius because they know idiot lemmings will go over the edge. Ditto for Walmart an Unilever.

  3. Craig Says:

    Big business is going along with this because they’re scared they’ll be punished by government if they don’t. They also have their eyes on billions in “green” tax credits and research money. In economics that’s called “rent-seeking.” Shame on governments that offer the bribes and shame on businesses that chase them.

  4. Mike Sutter Says:

    We have been “going green’ for four years by instituting waste reduction through recycling, replacing energy inefficiency lighting with state of the art lighting, reducing overall energy use on our major electrical ‘hogs” and monitoring electrical bills so that we better understand “demand”, for example. We offer green materials in the manufacture of desk tops, cabinetry, store fixtures and components and use nearly 100% environmental adhesives including LEED certifiable ones.
    This is all done voluntarily, but what “Cap and Trade” will give us is nothing more than higher electric bills that we will be unable to pass on to customers. So in all fairness, we are doing our share, yet getting little in return for our efforts and investments. That doesn’t make a lot of business sense from the standpoint of a “return on investment”. Being enviro-friendly can’t be taken to the bank since it still takes cold hard cash.



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