Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

14.3.08

Study Maps ‘Mindset’ Of Hybrid Car Owners: they are inventive and imaginative and also tend to be emotionally sensitive and intellectually curious


Thanks to Susan

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2008/03/12/study-maps-mindset-of-hybrid-car-owners/

March 12, 2008
Study Maps 'Mindset' Of Hybrid Car Owners
study-maps-mindset-5374.jpg

Although many new-vehicle buyers may want to purchase an environmentally friendly vehicle, just 11% are "very willing" to pay more to do so, according to the J.D. Power and Associates, MarketingCharts reports.

Those who purchase hybrid vehicles tend to have much higher levels of education and report much higher household income; they are also about four years older than the average new vehicle buyer (54 vs. 50), the study, "2008 Power Auto Offline Media Report - Spring Edition," found.

Hybrid owners tend to be proud advocates of their vehicles, and they typically provide many more positive recommendations about their ownership experience than do other new vehicle buyers, JD Power said.

Separately, a psychographic profile of hybrid-car owners, developed by Mindset Media, found that people who drive hybrid cars are 78% more likely than the general population to be highly creative - or "Creativity 5s," in its parlance (See chart above).

That is, they are inventive and imaginative and also tend to be emotionally sensitive and intellectually curious:

mindset2.jpg

The "Mindset Profile" of hybrid car drivers, generated from a recent study conducted using the Nielsen Online panel, also found that hybrid drivers are far more likely to be more liberal than the general population - "Dogmatism 1s"

They tend to be more open-minded, more spontaneous, and more assured of their ability to lead others, the Mindset Media found.

According to JD Power, hybrid buyers and potential hybrid buyers tend to read magazines as such as The New Yorker, Sunset and Wired and are likely to watch cable television channels such as CNN and CNN Headline News.

Read the rest at MarketingCharts.

13.3.08

Where will Microsoft's green path lead? it has a list of notable green credentials already under its belt, Windows Server 2008 is garnering praise for its energy efficiency, and the company is even starting to share, for free, its best practices for datacenter management.


Where will Microsoft's green path lead?
Filed under:
Microsoft

Microsoft goes greenFor months now, many of the hardware technology heavyweights -- HP, IBM, Sun, Dell, AMD, Cisco, and Intel, for example -- have gone to great lengths to highlight their green products, plans, and corporate visions. Other green IT benefits not withstanding, this strategy makes sense from a marketing standpoint: By demonstrating and accentuating the greenness of their wares, they're better positioned to sell processors, PCs, servers, and other gear to customers hungry for leaner, greener operations.

Now the software behemoth Microsoft has stepped forward to loudly proclaim its support for the sustainable IT movement. The company's off to a good start: Beyond a list of notable green credentials already under its belt, Microsoft has a newly appointed chief environmental strategist in Rob Bernard, charged with guiding and promoting the evolution of the company's green agenda. The company's newly released server platform Windows Server 2008 is garnering praise for its energy efficiency. The company is even starting to share, for free, its best practices for datacenter management.

By shining a green spotlight on itself, Microsoft is calling attention to the fact that it understands the role that it -- and the software and platform industry as a whole -- has to play in the complex green-tech ecosystem. What remains to be seen is how that seemingly newfound green religion will manifest itself in future product offerings, particularly, in my mind, with respect to the successor to Vista.

Green in Redmond
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used the Cebit stage to not only tout the energy-efficiency features loaded in Windows 2008 Server and other Microsoft products; he
told the world that the company would soon release a set of best practices for datacenter management, drawing on energy-saving strategies the company has adopted in its own operations. The first set of best practices, in fact, is already available for download.

Microsoft's interest in green tech has been evident for a while. Beyond the green features the company claims in Vista and Windows 2008 Server, Microsoft was among the first members of The Green Grid, a consortium of high-tech companies looking to holistically address the challenge of curbing power consumption in the datacenter. It's also a part of the Climate Savers Initiative, which aims to increase energy savings in computers and servers. Moreover, the company reports incorporating green practices in developing its facilities in India and Quincy, Wash. Microsoft also joined forces with the Clinton Foundation last year to develop free software for cities to monitor their carbon emissions.

Even more recently, a new chief environmental strategist, Rob Bernard, came onboard to develop a company-wide green strategy. "We had a lot of well-intentioned and productive work happening around environmental issues, but we recognized that it would be more powerful, and that we'd have the ability to derive impact at scale, if we created a strategy to drive out environmental issues across our product lines, in how we run our business, and in how we think about our partnerships," Bernard told me.

Greener software pastures
Microsoft's commitment is critical to the overall greening of the technology landscape. As companies suffer the burden of high energy bills and power limitations, they're clamoring for higher performance per watt from their machines. While processors, memories, power supplies, and other such hardware components certainly contribute to the amount of energy a machine consumes, software and server platforms play an integral role as well.

For starters, servers and PCs have grown progressively more powerful -- and, thus, more energy-hungry -- over the years to keep up with the demands of swelling software requirements. Yet some critics argue that many of today's apps are unnecessarily fat and inefficient, requiring companies running them to invest in more powerful hardware than might otherwise be necessary.

Additionally, software has a role to play in helping rein in the power consumption of servers and PCs, which is a critical part of an overall green IT strategy.

Win some, lose some
Microsoft developers were evidently mindful of the second point when they coded Windows Server 2008 and Vista.
As noted by Bjarne Dollerup, senior product planner in the Server and Tools Business Marketing and Solutions Group at Microsoft, "both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 take steps to address ... power consumption by implementing updated support for ACPI processor power management (PPM) features, including support for processor performance states and processor idle sleep states on multiprocessor systems."

Additionally, Windows Server 2008 boasts plenty of support for virtualization, a strategy for reducing a company's server count (and energy bill). Improvements to Terminal Services are a boon for thin clients: "More basic terminal hardware and thin clients can be used in placed of complete desktop systems, helping lower costs," according to the company.

However, Microsoft has arguably stumbled on the green IT path with Vista in terms of the fat code and resulting fat systems requirements of the platform. Yes, Redmond made efforts to improve the power-management capabilities of Vista. Still, the fact remains that Vista has markedly higher system requirements than Windows XP -- a painful lesson learned by consumers in 2006 who purchased new PCs with "Windows Vista Capable" stickers, only to find out after Vista was released that said machines could run just the lackluster Home Basic Edition of the OS. (Microsoft is fighting a class-action lawsuit over this issue.)

In other words, most Windows shops facing the likely inevitable move to Vista will have to upgrade their existing PCs to support the OS. Unless these companies are indeed reaping a substantial business benefit from the migration, trading in all those PCs for more powerful, truly Vista-capable ones is a decidedly wasteful exercise.

It will be interesting to see where Microsoft's green path will lead the company, its partners, its customers -- and its products. The fact that the company is working with other vendors through The Green Grid and Climate Savers is advantageous: It means we can expect greater green synergy among Microsoft products and other vendors' wares. There's also positive signs that the company will, indeed, make the next version of desktop Windows slimmer (or even modular?).

What would you like to see Microsoft do to demonstrate its commitment to green IT?

Ted Samson is a senior analyst at InfoWorld and author of the Sustainable IT blog. Subscribe to his free weekly Green Tech newsletter.

Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger: World Must Cut Carbon Emissions to Zero by 2050 or Face Disaster, Studies Find


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Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2008; A01

The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.

Their findings, published in separate journals over the past few weeks, suggest that both industrialized and developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could change precipitation patterns and dry up sources of water worldwide.

Using advanced computer models to factor in deep-sea warming and other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes carbon dioxide (CO2), the scientists, from countries including the United States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.

"The question is, what if we don't want the Earth to warm anymore?" asked Carnegie Institution senior scientist Ken Caldeira, co-author of a paper published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "The answer implies a much more radical change to our energy system than people are thinking about."

Although many nations have been pledging steps to curb emissions for nearly a decade, the world's output of carbon from human activities totals about 10 billion tons a year and has been steadily rising.

For now, at least, a goal of zero emissions appears well beyond the reach of politicians here and abroad. U.S. leaders are just beginning to grapple with setting any mandatory limit on greenhouse gases. The Senate is poised to vote in June on legislation that would reduce U.S. emissions by 70 percent by 2050; the two Democratic senators running for president, Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), back an 80 percent cut. The Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), supports a 60 percent reduction by mid-century.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is shepherding climate legislation through the Senate as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the new findings "make it clear we must act now to address global warming."

"It won't be easy, given the makeup of the Senate, but the science is compelling," she said. "It is hard for me to see how my colleagues can duck this issue and live with themselves."

James L. Connaughton, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, offered a more guarded reaction, saying the idea that "ultimately you need to get to net-zero emissions" is "something we've heard before." When it comes to tackling such a daunting environmental and technological problem, he added: "We've done this kind of thing before. We will do it again. It will just take a sufficient amount of time."

Until now, scientists and policymakers have generally described the problem in terms of halting the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere. The United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change framed the question that way two decades ago, and many experts talk of limiting CO2concentrations to 450 parts per million (ppm).

But Caldeira and Oregon State University professor Andreas Schmittner now argue that it makes more sense to focus on a temperature threshold as a better marker of when the planet will experience severe climate disruptions. The Earth has already warmed by 0.76 degrees Celsius (nearly 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists warn that a temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) could have serious consequences.

Schmittner, lead author of a Feb. 14 article in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, said his modeling indicates that if global emissions continue on a "business as usual" path for the rest of the century, the Earth will warm by 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. If emissions do not drop to zero until 2300, he calculated, the temperature rise at that point would be more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

"This is tremendous," Schmittner said. "I was struck by the fact that the warming continues much longer even after emissions have declined. . . . Our actions right now will have consequences for many, many generations. Not just for a hundred years, but thousands of years."

While natural cycles remove roughly half of human-emitted carbon dioxide from the atmosphere within a hundred years, a significant portion persists for thousands of years. Some of this carbon triggers deep-sea warming, which keeps raising the global average temperature even after emissions halt.

Researchers have predicted for a long time that warming will persist even after the world's carbon emissions start to fall and that countries will have to dramatically curb their carbon output in order to avert severe climate change. Last year's report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said industrialized nations would have to cut emissions 80 to 95 percent by 2050 to limit CO2concentrations to the 450 ppm goal, and the world as a whole would have to reduce emissions by 50 to 80 percent.

European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, in Washington last week for meetings with administration officials, said he and his colleagues are operating on the assumption that developed nations must cut emissions 60 to 80 percent by mid-century, with an overall global reduction of 50 percent. "If that is not enough, common sense is that we would not let the planet be destroyed," he said.

The two new studies outline the challenge in greater detail, and on a longer time scale, than many earlier studies. Schmittner's study, for example, projects how the Earth will warm for the next 2,000 years.

But some climate researchers who back major greenhouse gas reductions said it is unrealistic to expect policymakers to think in terms of such vast time scales.

"People aren't reducing emissions at all, let alone debating whether 88 percent or 99 percent is sufficient," said Gavin A. Schmidt, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "It's like you're starting off on a road trip from New York to California, and before you even start, you're arguing about where you're going to park at the end."

Brian O'Neill of the National Center for Atmospheric Research emphasized that some uncertainties surround the strength of the natural carbon cycle and the dynamics of ocean warming, which in turn would affect the accuracy of Caldeira's modeling. "Neither of these are known precisely," he said.

Although computer models used by scientists to project changes in the climate have become increasingly powerful, scientists acknowledge that no model is a perfect reflection of the complex dynamics involved and how they will evolve with time.

Still, O'Neill said the modeling "helps clarify thinking about long-term policy goals. If we want to reduce warming to a certain level, there's a fixed amount of carbon we can put into the atmosphere. After that, we can't emit any more, at all."

Caldeira and his colleague, H. Damon Matthews, a geography professor at Concordia University in Montreal, emphasized this point in their paper, concluding that "each unit of CO2emissions must be viewed as leading to quantifiable and essentially permanent climate change on centennial timescales."

Steve Gardiner, a philosophy professor at the University of Washington who studies climate change, said the studies highlight that the argument over global warming "is a classic inter-generational debate, where the short-term benefits of emitting carbon accrue mainly to us and where the dangers of them are largely put off until future generations."

When it comes to deciding how drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, O'Neill said, "in the end, this is a value judgment, it's not a scientific question." The idea of shifting to a carbon-free society, he added, "appears to be technically feasible. The question is whether it's politically feasible or economically feasible."

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World Must Cut Carbon Emissions to Zero by 2050 or Face Disaster, Studies Find
Avoiding the dangerous effects of global warming may require the world to cut carbon dioxide emissions to near zero by the middle of this century, according to studies conducted by scientists from the United States, Canada and Germany and published in separate scientific journals over the past few weeks.

Scientists used advanced computer models to account for all aspects of the natural carbon cycle that routinely creates and removes carbon dioxide. Their conclusion was simple and straightforward: Within the next few decades the entire world—developing and industrialized nations alike—must stop using fossil fuels and engaging in other activities that produce excess greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Or else.

Can Mankind Reduce Its Carbon Footprint in Time?
Despite the increased threat to the planet and mankind outlined in the new studies, there is a serious question of whether a goal of near-zero carbon emissions by mid-century can be met. Although the technology needed to achieve it already exists, the question is whether enough political will can be mustered in time to make it happen—even though actions taken now will affect our planet and the lives of its people for thousands of years.

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would reduce U.S. emissions 70 percent by 2050, and all three presidential candidates favor cuts ranging from 60 percent (McCain) to 80 percent (Obama and Clinton) by mid-century.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a champion of climate change legislation, said the new studies "make it clear we must act now to address global warming."

"It won't be easy, given the makeup of the Senate, but the science is compelling," she said in an interview with the Washington Post. "It is hard for me to see how my colleagues can duck this issue and live with themselves."

Europe has been operating on the same theory, that cutting emissions in developed nations 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050 would solve the problem, according to EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

"If that is not enough, common sense is that we would not let the planet be destroyed," he told the Post.

Promises Made, Promises Broken
Let's hope he's right. The sad fact is that many nations have been promising to cut their carbon emissions for about the last 10 years, but worldwide
carbon emissions from human activities keep rising.

The sooner we start to reverse that trend the better, because the new studies make it clear that the warming occurring now will continue to heat up the planet in the future, and the effect will be cumulative if we continue pouring more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Although the natural carbon cycle could remove about half of the human-generated carbon dioxide from the atmosphere within 100 years after emissions stopped, the rest would continue to affect the climate for thousands of years, partly because of deep-sea warming that would continue to raise the global temperature even after carbon emissions were severely reduced or eliminated.

Most scientists agree that a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels would have disastrous consequences. One of the new studies found that continuing on our present course until 2100 would result in a global temperature increase of 7.2 degrees; if carbon emissions were not eliminated until 2300, the global temperature will have increased 15 degrees.

White House Position: Faith or Folly?
Confronted with these new findings, the Bush administration took its usual blasé approach to the problem. According to James L. Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality: "We've done this kind of thing before. We will do it again. It will just take a sufficient amount of time."

But that is exactly the point of these new findings: we don't have a lot of time left. We must take action now.

Also Read:

12.3.08

Wal-Mart Asks Suppliers to Rate Energy Use: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it will start asking suppliers to measure the amount of energy used to make a handful of products, though the retailing titan isn't saying whether it will use the information to pick one supplier over another. Governments increasingly are requesting corporate emissions data as a precursor to demanding actual emissions reductions


Wal-Mart Asks Suppliers to Rate Energy Use
By JEFFREY BALL
September 24, 2007

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it will start asking suppliers to measure the amount of energy used to make a handful of products, though the retailing titan isn't saying whether it will use the information to pick one supplier over another.

The move, to be announced today and reported by the Financial Times last night, is the latest attempt in a push by Wal-Mart that the company says should both help the environment and cut costs. Wal-Mart has said it wants to cut packaging waste at its stores by 25% within three years, double the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet within 10 years and eventually operate entirely on renewable energy. Moves such as the packaging cuts involve changes by suppliers.

Wal-Mart says it will launch the examination of supplier energy-efficiency with 25 to 30 companies that collectively supply seven products: DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda.

Dave Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the retailer hasn't decided whether it will use the information to pick some particularly energy-efficient suppliers over others. "We'll determine that later on," he said.

Governments increasingly are requesting corporate emissions data as a precursor to demanding actual emissions reductions.

Wal-Mart will work in the program with the Carbon Disclosure Project, a group of institutional investors that push companies to disclose their greenhouse-gas emissions on the theory that those emissions are financially relevant. That group, Mr. Tovar said, will translate the energy-consumption information from Wal-Mart suppliers into greenhouse-gas-emission numbers.

Greenhouse-gas emissions are largely a surrogate for energy use, since carbon dioxide, a prevalent greenhouse gas, is produced when fossil fuel is burned in places ranging from delivery trucks to factories.

A sense is growing among U.S. business that the federal government is likely to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions in the next few years. That would give companies like Wal-Mart an additional financial incentive to curb emissions. The likelihood of regulation also could give businesses an incentive to search for lower-emitting suppliers. Details of such potential rules are far from clear. The Bush administration is to hold a meeting in Washington this week of officials from major emitting countries to discuss how to structure an agreement to cut greenhouse-gas emissions after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The U.S. has declined to ratify that climate-change treaty, saying it would unfairly crimp the economy.

Write to Jeffrey Ball at jeffrey.ball@wsj.com

The state of corporate philanthropy: A McKinsey Global Survey


Thanks to Laurie
Survey
The state of corporate philanthropy: A McKinsey Global Survey

Consumers' growing expectations of companies make corporate philanthropy more important than ever. But many respondents to this survey say their companies aren't meeting social goals or stakeholder expectations very effectively. Companies that are doing well are taking a more strategic approach.

February 2008

Table of Contents

Corporate philanthropy can be an effective tool for companies that are trying to meet consumers' rising expectations of the role businesses should play in society, say respondents to a McKinsey global survey.1 The survey also suggests, however, that companies aren't using that tool as well as they could. Executives doubt that their philanthropy programs fully meet their social goals or stakeholders' expectations for them.

About a fifth of the respondents say their corporate philanthropy programs are very or extremely effective at meeting social goals and stakeholder expectations. Their companies take a somewhat different approach than others do: their programs are more likely to address social and political trends relevant to the business and to be influenced by community and business needs. Executives at these companies expect their programs to become more global and say that efforts are already more likely to involve collaboration with other companies. Finally, these companies are much likelier than others to say they are achieving any business goals they have set for their philanthropy programs in addition to social goals.

A small group of respondents say their companies are reaching beyond traditional corporate goals for philanthropy programs—such as enhancing the company's reputation or brand—to pursue more concrete business goals, such as gaining information on potential markets. Their approach to focusing the programs also differs from the approach at other companies.

Notes

1The McKinsey Quarterly conducted the survey in January 2007 and received responses from 721 executives around the world—74 percent of them CEOs or other C-level executives. The data are weighted to reflect the proportional representation of segments in the total population.



Table of Contents

Why give?

Companies and consumers have long seen corporate philanthropy as a way for companies to benefit the communities where they are located—donating funds to local schools, hospitals, and orchestras, for example. In recent years, however, as society's expectations of companies have risen2 and as many companies have begun operating in more far-flung locations, they are expected to address a growing list of needs. Companies that 20 years ago were held accountable only for direct, contractually specified, or regulated consequences of their actions today find themselves held to account for the consequences of their actions in areas as disparate as offshoring, obesity, excessive consumer debt, environmental sustainability, and the governance of resource-rich, low-income nations. Although today's expectations are wide-ranging, three-quarters of the executives who responded to this survey say corporate philanthropy is at least somewhat effective in meeting the expectations.

In addition to social goals, the vast majority of companies—nearly 90 percent—now seek business benefits from their philanthropy programs as well. When respondents were asked what business goals they try to reach through philanthropy, they most often say their goals include enhancing the corporate reputation or brand (Exhibit 1). And some 80 percent of respondents say finding new business opportunities should have at least some role in determining which philanthropic programs to fund, compared with only 14 percent who say finding new business opportunities should have no weight.

It is notable, however, that some 30 percent of the responses to the question asking about business goals indicate that some companies are trying to reach very concrete goals, such as building knowledge about potential new markets and informing areas of innovation. Respondents from companies with these goals are likelier than others to say business concerns should play a role in determining funding for philanthropic programs. Also, their philanthropic programs are much more likely to address at least some of the social and political issues relevant to their businesses; nearly two-thirds say they currently do, compared with just under half of all respondents.


Notes

2See "Assessing the impact of societal issues: A McKinsey Global Survey," November 2007; and "CEOs as public leaders: A McKinsey Survey," January 2007.



Table of Contents

What matters, who matters, and where companies are giving instead

Executives overall say their companies are much likelier to address a broad mix of local issues with their corporate philanthropy programs than to address the social and political issues that they expect will affect shareholder value the most (Exhibit 2). The mix of issues addressed varies across industries and regions, but the overall difference remains.


One explanation may involve the interests of employees. Respondents most often cite this stakeholder group as important in the way their companies think about their roles in society and as the group respondents most often address with corporate philanthropy programs (Exhibit 3). Further, companies may be meeting other business needs with the programs they fund. The business goals most often cited—enhancing the company's reputation or brand, building employee capabilities, and improving employee recruitment and retention—are the ones most related to employees and to local communities (ranked second among the stakeholder groups addressed most often). In addition, interviews conducted as part of our research into philanthropy3 suggest that companies see addressing local community needs as an indirect way to highlight a company's good intentions to groups such as board members, shareholders, and regulators.

Similarly, addressing social and political trends and other business needs is not notably important when companies consider which programs to fund. Respondents are far less likely to cite factors such as alignment with business needs, stakeholder interests, and even the ability to leverage the companies' existing capabilities or assets than they are to say they base choices on employee interests and the personal interests of CEOs and board members (Exhibit 4). It is particularly notable, given the importance of branding as a business goal, that only 22 percent of respondents say that visibility leading to brand strength plays a role in determining the focus of their programs. Respondents at companies whose philanthropy programs include concrete business goals, in contrast, are nearly twice as likely as the full group of respondents to say they consider alignment with business needs when focusing their programs.


Notes

3Interviews were conducted with 21 CEOs from around the world between December 2007 and February 2008. The interviews and this survey are both parts of a research collaboration between McKinsey and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.



Table of Contents

What effective companies do differently

Whatever the business goals of their philanthropy programs, more than 80 percent of respondents say they are at best only somewhat successful at meeting them. Respondents are slightly more positive about how well their philanthropy efforts meet social goals or stakeholder expectations (Exhibit 5). Further, while just over half of the respondents say their stakeholders give their companies the credit they deserve for their philanthropic programs, one out of four don't know the answer to that question.

Still, roughly one-fifth of respondents say their companies are very or extremely effective at meeting social goals, addressing stakeholder interests, or both. These executives are also much likelier to say stakeholders are giving their companies the credit they deserve (some three-quarters say so). Yet these companies aren't addressing a different mix of issues than others, and they, too, are much likelier to address the local community with their philanthropic efforts than the community's importance as a stakeholder would seem to warrant.

Where these companies differ is in how much more they align their philanthropic programs with the social and political trends that are most relevant to their businesses: 71 percent say their companies are addressing some or all of the relevant trends, compared with 54 percent of respondents who rate their programs as less effective. These effective companies are also likelier to consider local community needs (47 percent compared with 38 percent) and alignment with business objectives (31 percent compared with 23 percent) when they decide how to focus their corporate philanthropy programs. And they are much more likely to collaborate with other companies on philanthropic programs and to believe that their programs will become increasingly global (Exhibit 6).



Contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Sheila Bonini, a consultant in McKinsey's Silicon Valley office; and Stéphanie Chênevert, a consultant in the Seattle office.

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11.3.08

Green IT mind shift taking hold, research shows

Green IT mind shift taking hold, research shows
By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
19 Feb 2008 | SearchCIO.com


IT news and analysis for CIOs
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When $13 billion utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. embarked on a quest to replace hundreds of legacy applications with software from SAP AG and Oracle Corp., CIO Patricia Lawicki knew computing power would increase by 50%. Yet Lawicki told her team she "didn't want to draw another kilowatt of energy" into the data center for the project.




More on green IT in 2008
Green IT in the data center: Plenty of talk, not much walk

Ten strategic technologies to watch in 2008




Working with IBM and other vendors, Lawicki's team agreed to be guinea pigs for new energy-saving technologies, including a robotic device that measures energy consumption around the clock. The upshot: Computing capacity indeed increased by 50%, but the data center uses less energy than it did prior to the conversion.

The testimonials are everywhere: Data centers re-engineered to realize double-digit energy savings. Cubicle configurations adjusted to let in more natural light. Networked printers set to sleep mode when not in use. Telecommuters, no longer the pariahs of corporate culture, helping companies reduce their carbon footprint.

No question green IT gets a lot of lip service. Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. put green IT atop its 2008 list of 10 technologies that could disrupt IT or business in the next 18 to 36 months.

But are CIOs starting to walk the endless talk about green IT?

New data from Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., says yes -- with particular emphasis on starting.

According to the Forrester report, as of October, 38% of IT professionals said their companies use environmental criteria in their evaluation and selection of IT equipment. Just six months ago that number was 25%. Cast a look six months prior to that, and the current shift is dramatic: 78% had told Forrester that green IT was not written into their evaluation and selection criteria for IT systems and devices.

Another eye opener in Forrester's October findings?

"To my surprise and delight, doing the right thing showed up very strongly as a prime motivation," said Christopher Mines, lead author of the report. (See sidebar for more from Mines.)

Indeed, Lawicki said, energy conservation is critical to a company's success in California, and environmental responsibility is a core value at the San Francisco utility. "We need to eat our own cooking," she said in a recent interview.

Green, with a dollop of do-gooding on the side

Delight aside, Mines stressed the principal motivation for going green remains, well, green. "It's a cost-saving initiative with green on the side, if you like, for most firms," he said. "As I talk to folks in IT, if there is not a positive, tangible, cost-based ROI, these things tend not to happen."




Sound bytes
Listen to Forrester analyst Christopher Mines discuss primary motivations for going green.



Mines shares why you need to "break bread" with your facilities person and your finance people today.



Bill Yaman of PS'Soft Inc. talks about the relevance of IT asset management to green IT.





Vendors confirmed they are seeing an uptick in requests that include green criteria.

Bob Moore, group marketing manager for industry standard servers at Hewlett-Packard Co., said the Palo Alto, Calif.-based powerhouse is seeing "more urgency" on green IT, across a broad range of IT operations and assets.

"We can quantify some of this. Recycling is big for customers because HP has recycled over 1 billion pounds of electric components," Moore wrote in an email. Data center efficiency is a top priority, given brisk sales of the energy-efficient HP BladeSystem offerings, he said, pointing to an HP project at the Fife Public School District near Tacoma, Wash., where the technology helped reduce power costs by 25%, while doubling processing capacity. HP credits its energy-efficient processors and Thermal Logic technologies with helping to keep energy costs low.

Server virtualization is another oft-cited energy saver in growing use. The Fife school district will consolidate servers by more than 60%, from 55 to 20, Moore said; PG&E whittled 300 servers down to just six.

At the school district, green benefits are also being reaped from a "learning gateway" running on a new HP infrastructure and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Teachers across the district can share educational materials from their desktop, without using a copying machine, the postal service or paper.

Piecemeal, rather than according to plan

Feel-good stories notwithstanding, green IT is still far from ingrained, even at the large, sophisticated IT organizations, the Forrester study found.

Only 15% of firms told Forrester they have an "overall plan" for implementing green IT. But that, too, is subject to change, Mines said. About one-quarter of those surveyed said they are in the process of creating a plan, and another 39% are considering it.

With a plan in place, enforcement becomes an issue, said Bill Yaman, president, North American Operations, at PS'Soft Inc., an IT asset management firm in San Mateo, Calif. Decisions to go green typically are made at the highest level of an organization, Yaman has found.

"What then becomes a challenge for those organizations is ensuring that the buying behavior of everyone in the organization supports that decision," he said. "I could choose to have Dell be my provider of choice based on their green position in IT, but unless I can get the organization to very broadly adopt that, and only be buying that equipment, I actually haven't solved the problem." (See sidebar for more from Yaman.)

Carbon Confusion: To help shoppers make green choices, companies are slapping carbon labels on products. But even if the public can interpret the information, will it help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?


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In Depth March 6, 2008, 5:00PM EST text size: TT
Carbon Confusion
To help shoppers make green choices, companies are slapping carbon labels on products. But even if the public can interpret the information, will it help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Next time you're in a shoe store, pick up a pair of clogs or leather walking shoes from Timberland (TBL). Inside, right by the heel, you'll find a single number that tells you how "green" the shoe is. This number is explained in a card in the shoe box that provides a 0-to-10 carbon rating. A zero means less than 2.5 kilograms of carbon and other greenhouse gases were emitted when the shoe was produced and shipped. And a 10? That's a whopping 100 kg, roughly equal to the carbon released if you drive a car 240 miles.

There's a simple premise behind the new label. Our everyday activities, whether making pancakes or jetting across the sky, are linked to the combustion of fuel, which releases gases that contribute to global warming. Timberland believes climate-conscious shoppers will buy shoes that help them cut their carbon count. And those same customers will feel more loyal to the brand because Timberland respects their wishes.

Sixty different Timberland products sport such numbers. They reflect both the "carbon footprint" of the shoes and other factors, such as the quantities of harmful chemicals used to make them. By 2010, Timberland plans to put the labels on all its shoes and clothing, and others companies are set to follow its lead. The goal, says Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz, is "to arm consumers with as much information as we can."

But will shoppers really be able to interpret such information? And even if the tags catch on, will they make a difference in reducing greenhouse gases?

Experts are divided on these questions. Climate scholars point out that it's almost impossible to distill into a single number the intricacies of carbon chemistry, manufacturing processes, supply chains—and how they all affect global warming. And the very idea of doing so is controversial. Last spring, Britain-based Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer, announced plans to make public how much carbon is released in the production, transport, and consumption of all 70,000 products on its supermarket shelves. The plan immediately drew howls of protests from manufacturers, who thought the burden of measuring emissions would land on their shoulders. Global environmental groups declared labels a distraction from more important corporate efforts to improve energy efficiency. Shoppers, meanwhile, seemed confused by the first such tags that appeared on store shelves, except when they were part of a larger education campaign. "It requires leadership, commitment, and pressure to make something like this happen," says Edgar Blanco, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied carbon labels. "The truth is, no one knows how to educate consumers about this, or how it will work."

The skeptics certainly have a point. Yet many shoppers are eager to understand how their own activities affect the environment. In a survey last summer by AccountAbility, a nonprofit that advises corporations and governments on sustainable business practices, nearly half of 2,734 U.S. and British consumers polled said they wanted to know which products caused the least harm.

A BEWILDERING MAZE

Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy pushed carbon labels into the public spotlight in January, 2007, when he talked about labeling everything sold in its Wal-Mart (WMT)-like stores, from bags of parsley to flat-panel TVs. "Customers tell us they want our help to do more in the fight against climate change," Leahy said in a speech announcing the plan. The idea was that the solitary numbers on the labels would make it easy for shoppers to compare products. In fact, each number represents a bewildering maze of "inputs," such as how much fertilizer must be produced and spread to grow a bunch of parsley, how much gasoline is used to transport it from the farm, and the electricity required to make the plastic packages. Companies have different ideas about how to present this information. Walkers, a unit of PepsiCo (PEP), took an approach similar to Tesco's. Acting on its own, it put a simple label on its 35-gram bags of cheese and onion potato chips that says "75 grams of CO2." Boots, Britain's largest pharmacy chain, took a different tack last summer. Experimenting with labels on its Botanics shampoo, it used signs in its stores to provide the explanation—much as Timberland relies on fact sheets in the shoe box.

Pioneers like Tesco and Boots understand they're in the midst of a Europewide crackdown on greenhouse gas emissions, and that if they don't act on reducing carbon, they could get slammed with punitive regulations. Since 2005 major carbon emitters such as power plants and oil refineries within the European Union have been forced to curtail greenhouse gases. This summer a climate change bill is expected to be signed into law, making Britain the first country in the world to introduce legally binding CO2 reduction targets. The new law, aimed at lowering Britain's emissions 20% by 2010, will extend the cap on carbon to large, non-energy-intensive businesses such as retailers, hotel chains, and banks. Retailer Marks & Spencer, for one, has an ambitious plan to become carbon-neutral and send zero waste to landfills by 2012.

Carbon labels were a logical outgrowth of the crackdown on greenhouse gases, which is also playing out in Washington and many state capitals. Timberland, for example, is pushing other shoemakers to agree on an industry standard. But companies heading down this path might learn from the challenges encountered by the pioneers.

The highest hurdle is simply obtaining an accurate carbon count on different goods, a laborious process that may initially cost $10,000 or more per item. In most countries, each manufacturer figures out for itself how to gather the data that become the number on the label. Britain is trying to hash out a national standard for measuring the greenhouse gas associated with each product and service, working with the Carbon Trust, a government-funded nonprofit. That should bring down the cost of counting carbon over time; the standard should be ready by June.

Even with a standard, counting can involve mind-boggling complexity. Unilever, a top supplier of household products to Tesco, operates 260 factories in 70 countries and works with more than 10,000 subcontractors. With a supply chain like that, even labeling a line of packaged noodles is a chore. Say Unilever decides to shift production of the noodles from Poland to South Wales to save money. Because of fuel consumption and other factors, that change has a big impact on the carbon tally, even though the same recipe is used. Unilever worries that Tesco may ask it to recalculate the carbon footprint for such products each time it moves production, which might be as often as once a week. If asked, "we couldn't do it," says Gavin Neath, Unilever's senior vice-president for global corporate responsibility. "Our supply chain is constantly changing." Tesco admits there are difficulties to work out. Says David North, Tesco's director of government affairs: "We have to bring suppliers with us on this journey. It is early days."

Once the labels are in place, companies find, it's hard to tell if consumers get the point. In a survey PepsiCo's Walkers commissioned from researchers Populus, half of the 1,000 people interviewed said they were more likely to buy a product with a carbon label. But such numbers, while well-intended, may not convey much. "What does it mean to say a bag of chips contains 75 grams of carbon?" asks Steve Howard, CEO of the Climate Group in London. "I have a PhD in environmental physics, and it doesn't mean a thing to me."

There's another complication in labeling products: By focusing consumers' attention on this one issue, the retailer risks undercutting other store programs that are also socially responsible. When Tesco unveiled its carbon program, as an interim step it put little airplane stickers on products that were air-freighted, to alert shoppers that more fuel was burned in transport than for goods shipped by boat or truck. CEO Leahy's announcement prompted protests from governments of developing countries, including Uganda and Kenya, which felt Tesco's plans unfairly punished producers there. "The moment consumers looked at this sticker, they would stigmatize those products," says Abraham Barno, agricultural attaché at Kenya's embassy in Britain. Tesco has promised to work with developing countries to promote their products.

Demonizing imports while favoring locally grown food is, in any case, overly simplistic, argues Hilary Benn, Britain's environment minister. Studies have shown that Britain's local produce has a large carbon footprint because of the country's heavy reliance on fertilizer. Manufacturing that fertilizer takes far more energy than what's consumed on a small African farm. And the disparity persists even when you factor in the jet fuel burned to bring the vegetables to Britain. One study estimated that a consumer boycott of air-freighted African produce would reduce Britain's total emissions by less than 0.1%. "We need to cut our huge carbon footprint, not force Africa to cut its tiny one," says Benn.

Despite the controversy surrounding labeling, and the challenges in counting the carbon, defenders, including PepsiCo, say there are big side benefits. In times of $100-per-barrel oil, most companies want to be more energy-efficient, and calculating a carbon footprint is one of the best ways to find "hot spots" where energy is wasted in the production and distribution network.

Retailers such as Tesco and Boots say they'll continue to experiment with carbon labels and reap whatever rewards they bring. Some are unexpected. Last year, Boots ran a detailed, two-month analysis on the carbon footprint of its shampoos, including the carbon emitted during both production and use of the shampoo. Boots found it could reduce the production footprint by 20% when it bottled the soap in recycled plastic and made a few other packaging and transportation tweaks. But the biggest component in the overall carbon count, Boots discovered, was the amount of hot water people used during their showers. Last summer it posted signs in 250 of its stores. If you really care about your carbon footprint, the message said, use cooler water when you wash your hair.

Investors File 54 Global Warming-Related Shareholder Resolutions


Investors File 54 Global Warming-Related Shareholder Resolutions

wallstreet2.jpgU.S. investors have filed 54 global warming shareholder resolutions with U.S. companies, nearly doubling the number filed two years ago.Companies targeted in the 2008 proxy season include Dynegy in the electric power sector, Massey Energyin the coal sector, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips in oil and gas sectors, U.S. Airways in the airline sector and Standard Pacific in the building sector.

Resolutions were filed by public pension funds, as well as labor, foundation, religious and other institutional investors. Many of the investors are part of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), an alliance of 60 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $5 trillion.

Fourteen of the 54 resolutions were withdrawn by investors after the companies agreed to disclose potential impacts from emerging climate regulations and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Four of the withdrawals involved electric power companies - Allegheny Energy, Alliant Energy, Dominion Resources and Southern - which were all asked to report on their strategies to significantly boost energy efficiency as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Resolutions have also been withdrawn from Continental, El Paso, Harley Davidson, KB Home , Lowes, Ryder, Big Lots, Parkway Propertiesand Kirby Corp.

Last year, 43 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed with US companies, of which 15 led to positive actions by businesses such as ConocoPhillips, Wells Fargo and Hartford Insurance. Shareholders withdrew their resolutions against these companies after they made climate-related commitments, although ConocoPhillips has found itself on Ceres' list again..

See the full list of this year's resolutions here.