Environmental Costs Outweigh Corporate Profits

The 2015 State of Green Business report was just released, detailing the environmental performance of large companies around the world. The report, produced by GreenBiz and TruCost, illustrates the true costs of pollution, ecosystem depletion, and health impacts of unsustainable natural capital consumption by corporations and the alarming rate at which they are growing. According to the report, environmental costs, like greenhouse gas emissions and water abstraction (removing freshwater from the natural water cycle, and thus preventing its future use), would render most businesses unprofitable if they were responsible for paying for the impacts. The report found that environmental costs tallied up to $1 trillion (or 6.2% of GDP) for companies in the US, and $3 trillion worldwide. The authors state, “Over the past five years, the proportion of company profit at risk consistently exceeds 100 percent of their profit… This means that, on average, companies would be unprofitable if they had to pay the actual costs associated with the commodities they consume and pollution they generate.” It’s not all bad news, however. The report finds that the level of sustainable investment has been growing considerably in recent years. According the 2014 Trends Report published last November by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, cited in GreenBiz’s report, sustainable assets totaling $6.57 trillion represented almost 18% of the $36.8 trillion in total assets under management, a 76% increase over 2012. Social investors, joined by non-profits and growing consumer […]

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Obama: Taking on Fracking?

The Obama Administration has taken its first federal action to regulate fracking.  Unfortunately, the new rule won’t do much to address the growing problems that fracking causes. The Bureau of Land Management issued the rules on Friday, March 20th.  The new rules only apply to fracking on federal lands, and would institute the following: New well-construction requirements to ensure the […]

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Green America Raises Concerns Around Natural Gas Export Facility

Today, Green America filed the following comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in regards to a proposed natural gas export facility in Oregon, Jordan Cove.  Like the many other gas export facilities proposed around the US, Jordan Cove will contribute to increased climate change and fracking, and will endanger the local community. Natural gas is not a bridge fuel (its growth impedes the growth of true clean energy), and when we frack for natural gas and then export it abroad, we are damaging our communities and risking our future for energy that Americans are not even using. February 12, 2015 Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, Commissioner Philip D. Moeller, Commissioner Tony Clark, Commissioner Norman C. Bay, Commissioner Colette D. Honorable Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 888 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20426 Re: Jordan Cove Liquefaction and Pacific Connector Pipeline Projects (Docket Nos. CP13-483-000 and CP13-492-000) Dear Commissioners: Green America is a national non-profit organization with 180,000 individual members and 3,500 business members nationwide, and several thousand individual members and over 100 businesses in Oregon.  Our green business network is the largest network of certified green business in the United States.  Green America is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, which represents over 150,000 businesses nationwide. On behalf of our members, we are expressing concerns about the possible environmental impacts of the proposed Jordon Cove Liquefaction and Pacific Connector Pipeline Projects. We are also concerned that FERC’s […]

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Amazon Announces Wind Deal, Still has a Long Way to Go

Today, Internet retail giant Amazon announced the first steps in moving to 100% wind power for the servers that power Amazon Web Services (AWS), its hosting subsidiary. In response to activists (including tens of thousands of Green America members) calling out the company’s failure to create sustainability goals or green their energy sources, Amazon Web Services, Inc. announced a power […]

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Amazon Takes a Step Forward on Climate?

Amazon has added a line to the sustainability page of the Amazon Web Services site stating: In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint. It’s always good news when a large company recognizes that it needs to shift […]

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President Obama clears the air on Keystone XL

  For many months, it’s been hard to determine the President’s exact position on the Keystone XL pipeline.  The President has frequently said that he is relying on the State Department’s review of the pipeline in order for the Secretary of State to decide whether to approve or reject it, and that review has been delayed several times. However, with the House of Representatives’ vote today in favor of the Keystone XL, the President made his clearest statement yet on the pipeline, and it was breath of fresh air.  According to the Washington Post: In a news conference Friday in Burma, the president rejected two of the most frequent arguments the project’s proponents have made on its behalf, saying he had “to constantly push back against this idea that somehow the Keystone pipeline is either this massive jobs bill for the United States or is somehow lowering gas prices.” “It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the Gulf where it will be sold to everyone else,” he said. “It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.” These are two of the most potent critiques of the pipeline, and are completely based in fact.  Analysis from Cornell Global Labor Institute demonstrates that the Keystone XL will only produce 35 permanent jobs.  No one disputes that oil produced by the Keystone XL is destined for boats that will take if […]

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