Monday, June 05, 2006

U.S. corporations turning green

(Source Article: Is Corporate America going green? - Reuters)

A once dismissive Corporate America now appears to be taking the call to environmental sustainability seriously. Just a few years back, global warming was largely shrugged off as speculative, but now a group of major companies are striving for a greener image.

General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the world, and DuPont are putting effort into greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions at their facilities and to produce more energy-efficient products for consumers.

Sales of GE eco-friendly products (e.g., anything from washing machines to jet engines) reached over $US 10 billion last year, and GE intends to double that by 2010, as well as increase its research spending on eco-friendly product development by $1.5 billion.

As noted in a CIFD post from last month (see The “Wal-Mart Effect” on Healthcare), Wal-Mart itself is also taking seriously the call to environmental sustainability – and has already made several eco-friendly implementations into its operations, and plans on increasing such implementations, including opening a “new store prototype” within four years that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30%. (see Wal-Mart's Sustainability Strategy)

American corporations aren’t the only ones taking the environment seriously these days; solar-powered water heaters are fast becoming a widely used source of renewable energy in energy-hungry China: At least 30 million Chinese households now have one. These solar panels are so cheap (costing anywhere from $US 190 to about 2,000 dollars, depending on model) and so efficient (they can effectively heat water in winter with temps around 20 below, and with heavily polluted and cloud-covered skies) that they quickly pay for themselves – and the environment benefits, to boot. (see Energy-hungry China and solar-heaters - Reuters)

As state governments in the US begin to feel the pinch from the rise in oil costs, perhaps China is serving as a model to the whole world on the need to implement more renewable energy sources (see States feel sting from energy costs - Reuters)

Environmental sustainability is becoming increasingly critical to the viability and effectiveness of development and growth in the world of finance -- are such measures taken now "too-little, too-late" ?

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