From: World Resources Institute
Published November 2, 2004 03:52 PM

New World Resources Institute Report Documents Profitable Corporate Actions to Slow Global Warming

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The World Resources Institute (WRI) highlighted corporate actions to slow global warming at today's Consolidated Edison's Environmental Excellence Forum.


Nine diverse northeast-based U.S. corporations — Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Citigroup, Consolidated Edison of New York, Eastman Kodak Company, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Northeast Utilities Service Company, Pfizer, and Staples — teamed up with WRI in 2003 to form the Climate Northeast initiative (www.climatenortheast.org). Climate Northeast focuses on climate change management strategies for energy use, emissions tracking, and innovations such as green power purchasing. Today's event marked the release of WRI's findings — featuring case studies from each of the companies — in a report entitled A Climate of Innovation: Northeast Business Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gases.


"Companies can position themselves to be successful in a carbon-constrained world and capture new markets for products and services," noted WRI and all nine corporate partners in the foreword to the report. They added that business has a role to play in bringing about technological solutions to climate change because its resources and focus on innovation can drive a clean energy future and deploy new technologies on a global scale.


"Forward-thinking companies can be proactive on climate change in a manner consistent with growing their bottom lines," said Jonathan Lash, WRI president. "These business leaders recognize that taking action on environmental issues is more than being a good corporate citizen; it is also good business."


According to the authors of the report — Andrew Aulisi, Jennifer Layke and Samantha Putt del Pino — examples of the efficiency and financial returns seen by these nine companies include:



  • Citigroup invested $2.5 million to upgrade centralize its lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at 270 retail branches in the New York City-Connecticut- New Jersey metropolitan area. With a half- million dollars in efficiency rebates, it was able to pay back this investment in a single year. Electricity and natural gas use were cut by 15 percent and the number of service calls to these branches was reduced by 30 percent.



  • Staples decreased its energy use by 12.3 percent since 2001. In 2003, Staples took the money it saved from this $6.5 million energy-efficiency gain and used it to buy renewable energy — and at no additional cost Staples was able to green 10 percent of its energy use.



  • General Electric continues to diversify into renewable power technologies. In addition to its higher- efficiency appliances and turbines, the company has made major investments in solar power and wind power — and is bringing world-class design and manufacturing skill to these smaller-scale technologies.


    "We are undertaking these projects because they make business sense" said Randolph Price, vice president for environment, health and safety, Consolidated Edison Company of New York. "We hope our experiences will be useful for other businesses interested in getting started with greenhouse-gas management programs."


    The new report says that global warming is a long-term global challenge that can be addressed by starting today with practical, cost-effective actions. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are emitted into the air from every sector of economic activity, and each year these emissions continue to rise. Energy use in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions represents 25 percent of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions.


    These emissions contribute to a pattern of global warming that could change weather patterns, raise sea levels and cause salt contamination of water supplies in coastal areas, among other impacts. Policymakers are moving forward under the leadership of New York Governor George Pataki to develop a greenhouse gas registry and emissions-trading program in the northeast region.


    The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org/wri) is an environmental research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people's lives. For over a decade, WRI's Sustainable Enterprise Program has harnessed the power of business to create profitable solutions to environment and development challenges. Contact: Paul Mackie, WRI Media Officer, +(1-202) 729- 7684, pmackie@wri.org, www.wri.org Kalee Kreider, 202-822-5200, cell 202-246- 5295, kalee@fenton.com Journalists may access and download the report in the WRI Newsroom, http://newsroom.wri.org


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