In This Chapter
^ Making environmental progress in manufacturing ^ Trading carbon between businesses ^ Improving buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ^ Celebrating corporate successes ^ Getting help from bankers, insurers, and lawyers ^ Growing green with farming and forestry
KM/hen it comes to fighting climate change, one thing you may hear busi-▼ ▼ nesses tell you is that they can't afford to reduce greenhouse gases and switch to sustainable energy. If people expect companies to spend a fortune on reducing greenhouse gases, business reps say, those businesses will be hobbled in today's competitive marketplace.
In fact, many businesses are already on the greenhouse gas-reduction bandwagon. General Electric is the largest company in the United States. Its CEO, Jeff Immelt, has said that he'll double General Electric's investments in energy and environmental technologies to exploit what he sees as a huge global market for products that help other companies — and countries such as China and India — reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. BP, the former British Petroleum (which now goes only by its initials), talks openly today of going "Beyond Petroleum." It used to be an oil company, but it now sees itself as being in the energy business, developing new sustainable alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen and bio-fuels, and working to reduce GHG emissions in other ways. Both companies are concerned, responsible, corporate citizens; also, they understand that when it comes to climate change, corporate responsibility is good for both the planet and the bottom line. They know, too, that if they don't take the lead, the government may — something we talk about in Chapter 10.
Companies can improve how they manufacture products, using modern energy-efficient equipment and recycling. But more than just manufacturers and oil companies can get in on the game. Companies can also get involved in the creation of new green services, or they can get involved in the carbon market. They can change how they construct buildings or turn wood into paper. And you can help them by demanding new, greener products that don't produce as much greenhouse gas, and by rewarding those companies that put sound greenhouse gas-fighting practices in place. You're their customer — and the customer is always right.
Most manufacturing requires a great deal of energy, usually from fossil fuels that create a lot of carbon dioxide emissions. In many cases, much of this energy is actually wasted, thanks to old and inefficient equipment and weak regulations governing its use. The actual manufacturing process creates even more greenhouse gases.
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