As the global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric’s business itself helps sustainability. Its sustainability approach relies on three fundamentals – employee engagement, starting from the top where 15% of its executive committee members have their bonuses based on CSR components; the company’s Planet & Society Barometer, which sums up its main sustainability priorities; and, eventually, having the firm’s commitments recognized, especially through inclusion on the world’s ethical stock indexes.
Schneider Electric’s world headquarters was the first building in France to earn triple certification from NF EN 16001, ISO 14001 and HQE Exploitation standards for building operating performance. To respond to the global challenges of energy management, the company’s research, development and innovation program is centered on designing energy efficiency solutions tailored to each market (buildings, residential, industry and data centers), and on improving the way in which customer requirements are met in terms of interoperability, ergonomics, safe operation and respect for the environment. EcoStruxure is a separate Group-wide R&D program that takes a holistic approach across many of the company’s fields of activity to meet customer requirements for solutions that combine optimum energy efficiency with lower investment and operating costs.
Dr. Ashok Gadgil
Dr. Ashok Gadgil’s life and work exemplify sustainable invention. Among the solutions he has pioneered is UV Waterworks, which affordably, effectively and energy efficiently disinfects drinking water, and the Berkeley-Darfur stove, which cuts firewood use by 55% and is benefitting 20,700 households in the Darfur refugee camps. The project will soon claim US$1 million in carbon credits. Dr. Gadgil sits on numerous boards and committees, and has won many honors, including being named a Pew Fellow in Conservation and the Environment. A University of California at Berkeley professor, he is Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
WaterHealth International, Inc. (WHI), the for-profit that markets UV Waterworks, sells water at about 2 cents per 10 liters, serving more than 4 million people daily in India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Ghana. He also developed utility-sponsored programs to bring residential CFLs to poor households, thereby reducing their energy expenditures, improving electricity supply, improving energy efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions. These programs are currently in operation in more than a dozen countries, and have benefitted more than 100 million low-income people in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
Carbon Disclosure Project
CDP’s missions is to transform the global economic system to prevent dangerous climate change and value our natural resources by putting relevant information at the heart of business, investment and policy decisions. In 2012 CDP was proud to be announced the winner of the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize.
An international, not-for-profit organization, CDP provides the only global system for companies and cities to measure and manage vital environmental information and holds the largest collection globally of primary climate change, water and forest-risk data. Working with market forces around the world, including 722 institutional investors with assets of US$87 trillion, CDP motivates companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them. Over 4,100 of the world’s largest companies, including 81% of the top 500 listed companies, disclose their energy and environment strategies, carbon emissions, water use and exposure to forest-risk commodities to investors through CDP.
CDP’s unique insights enable investors, companies and governments to understand the business benefits of case for reducing impacts on the environment and natural resources. On behalf of a vanguard of 92 signatories representing US$10 trillion, the Carbon Action initiative, which is part of CDP’s climate change program, drives companies to identify and implement emissions reductions activities with a return on investment. So far 250 companies report plans to reduce 497m tons.
Working closely with governments around the world, including the UK Government, to inform environmental policy, CDP was a force behind the introduction of the landmark legislation mandating the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions in the financial reports of listed UK companies.
Please visit www.cdp.net to find out more.
Launched in 2007, Orb Energy is India's leading provider of solar electricity and hot-water systems on a direct basis. Orb has established 125 direct-run branches, from which its personnel sell, install and service solar systems. This is a key innovation: to manage a direct branch infrastructure dedicated totally to solar. Since its launch, the company has established financing tie-ups with nearly 20 local banks, and sold and installed nearly 30,000 solar energy systems, benefitting approximately 150,000 customers in rural and semi-urban India. Orb intends to raise up to US$12 million as equity in 2012 to enable it to grow to 500 branches and achieve annual revenue of US$50 million by March 2015.
About 45% of Orb’s sales are solar photovoltaic systems, including DC systems that come with Orb's designed DC LED and CFL lights, as well as a console for a plug-in rechargeable solar flashlight and mobile phone charging, and its AC systems, designed to power color TVs, ceiling fans, refrigerators, etc. Orb also has a solar security and street lighting brand. About 50% of Orb’s sales are solar water heating systems, including 100- to 300-liter residential systems and 1,000- to 5,000-liter commercial systems.
Environmental Defense Fund
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), now in its 45th year, has pioneered the use of market-based tools to solve environmental problems. In 1990, EDF proposed cap and trade to address the problem of acid rain pollution from power plants; its implementation succeeded in cutting sulfur pollution in half, at a cost 75% below what was predicted. Early on, EDF formed partnerships with private industry to solve environmental problems. With McDonalds, EDF helped eliminate its foam "clamshell" sandwich containers. EDF’s partnership with Walmart led to that company's commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 20 million metric tons over five years. Private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, KKR and Texas Pacific Group have formed alliances with EDF, reducing 345,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 1.2 million tons of waste. EDF is the leading environmental NPO engaged in smart grid deployment in the United States.
Opportunities for even greater impact include EDF's Green Returns program, which currently identifies energy efficiency and other opportunities with major private equity firms and could be expanded into mid-market PE firms. EDF's Climate Corps and related program could be scaled up to find efficiencies at hundreds of corporate and public facilities annually.