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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Methane Leaks Prompt Calls for Regulation

gas

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” touted by industry as the technological saving grace to our nation’s energy woes, has caused much concern to the environmental community during recent years. Amidst claims that burning natural gas is a less carbon-intensive source of electricity and heat, frackers have had to defend their business against assertions that their activities cause earthquakes, air and water […]

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Update – US Banks Still Investing Heavily in Coal

Coal

Banktrack.org released an updated review of various financial institutions’ holdings in dirty coal energy. Green America promoted a scorecard earlier this year outlining the banks that were the strongest supporters of coal extraction and electricity production. The lowest marks went to Wells Fargo (D+), Bank of America (D-), Citi (F) and Chase (F). Of course, each of these banks has […]

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CEVBs at the Congressional Renewable Energy Expo

This July, Green America attended the Congressional Renewable Energy Expo on Capitol Hill to tell policy makers and clean energy industry leaders all about the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014. The bill, which has been introduced to the House of Representatives by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), seeks to provide new financing for clean energy projects including wind, solar, and geothermal, as well as home and commercial energy efficiency technologies. The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) stopped by our booth to ask us a few questions about CEVBs. Watch their interview below, read more about the bill here, and contact your Representative and urge him or her to support clean energy in the US.

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New Tool for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Fossil Free

  The Fossil Free Index tracks the stock market’s performance, minus the oil, gas, and coal industries.  Given the link between burning fossil fuels and global climate change, financial professionals are increasingly searching for investment opportunities that exclude oil, gas, and coal companies. Fossil-Free Indexes LLC (FFI), an environmental, social, and governance index and research company released its first broad […]

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Clean Energy Victory Bonds introduced as legislation!

The campaign for Clean Energy Victory Bonds has made an exciting leap forward! Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) and 10 cosponsors introduced HR 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, to the House of Representatives.  The bill is supported by Green America and already has over 40 institutional endorsers  and thousands of individual supporters as well. Clean Energy Victory Bonds (CEVBs) are proposed U.S. Treasury bonds modeled after Victory Bonds sold during the First and Second World Wars.  During World War II, 85 million Americans purchased Victory Bonds that generated $185 billion (over $2 trillion in today’s dollars) for the war effort.  Today, in the search for new clean energy sources, America faces the same sense of urgency to find a national solution.  Through the same patriotism demonstrated during WWII, CEVBs would allow Americans to invest billions of dollars in clean energy.  All Americans could participate in this investment towards the future of clean energy, energy independence, and job creation as the bonds could be available for as little as $25. CEVBs would extend the US Government’s support for clean energy programs that have created hundreds of thousands, or even millions of jobs, and dramatically increased clean energy installations nationwide.   Unfortunately, these government programs are expiring or already expired. For example, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which has been a major driver of wind power in the US, is about to expire this year. CEVBs would allow for the […]

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