The Green Edge

EP Editorial Staff | May 12, 2010


Improved Water-Disclosure Practices Needed ASAP

Gulp! Scarcity concerns could have an impact on your operation’s bottom line. According to at least one report, many companies in water-intensive industries (such as manufacturing) need to improve their water-management techniques and provide more information for investors about the companies’ water-related risks. Issued by the Ceres investor coalition, the financial services firm UBS and financial-data provider Bloomberg, “Murky Waters: Corporate Reporting on Water Risk” evaluated and scored water-disclosure practices of 100 publicly traded companies in eight key sectors exposed to water-related risks.

“We chose sectors where water security concerns are likely to have a material impact on business, whether through regulatory, legal or reputational constraints that in some cases can go so far as to threaten a firm’s very ‘license to operate,'” says Julie Hudson, global head of SRI and Sustainability Research at UBS Investment Bank. “It is clear that any threat to water security could have a significant impact on the bottom line of such companies.”

Many companies, the report suggests, are not including material water risks and performance data in their financial filings, nor are they providing local-level water data—particularly in the context of facilities in water-stressed regions. The study also found that none of the 100 companies provide comprehensive water data on their supply chains (an important issue, since much of a corporation’s water footprint is in the supply chain).

What does all this mean? It’s simple. With better analysis of their water situations, companies can take practical steps to anticipate potential shortages.

Ceres notes that the alcoholic beverage company Diageo—which had one of the highest scores on the evaluation—identified 11 of its 52 plants as being in water-stressed areas. As a result, the company targeted a 50% reduction in non-ingredient water consumption at the plants in question and sought ways to reduce consumption at its other facilities by 30%.

Ceres also reports that Unilever’s business in India is now harvesting rainwater and recycling processing water at its sites. Such practices, along with new technology, have helped cut those sites’ groundwater consumption levels in half.

Energy-Saving Screw Blowers

Atlas Copco notes that its new ZS screw blowers are, on average, 30% more energy-efficient than conventional lobe blowers. According to the company, industries that will benefit the most from this new technology are municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, where air blowers typically represent up to 70% of the total electricity costs. With its introduction of this new screw technology, Atlas Copco now offers a complete product line of compressors and blowers for all applications and processes below
4 bar(e)/58 psig.

Atlas Copco
Rock Hill, SC

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Benchmarking Tool On Sustainability

Working with the Aberdeen Group, Rockwell Automation is offering a new sustainable manufacturing assessment tool to end users. It utilizes data collected and analyzed from more than 200 manufacturing organizations participating in Aberdeen’s primary research in sustainable production. By completing a short online survey, participants receive a complimentary personalized analysis that will show them how their organization compares to industry peers and help them quickly identify key capabilities and technologies used by top performers.

Rockwell Automation
Milwaukee, WI

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Compact Central Inverter For Photovoltaic Plants

ABB’s central inverter, the PVS800, feeds solar power into medium- or low-voltage grids via transformers and switchgear (also available from ABB). Extremely compact, these new products come in power ratings of between 100 and 500 kW, and can be used in industrial-scale photovoltaic power plants and for medium-sized power plants on the roofs of commercial or industrial buildings.

Houston, TX

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