Eco-Friendly, Profit-Friendly Efficiency

August 6, 2011
People Walk Along Park-Like Roof of David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh

American companies face numerous competitive challenges today. While many are unique from those of decades past, one constant remains -- the success of our businesses and economy as a whole is dependent on our ability to innovate and compete. To do this, we need to develop new products, new services, and new ideas. We also need to re-think how we do business, that is, we need to emphasize creativity and efficiency. The McKinsey Global Institute reports that to match the GDP growth of the past 20 years and the rising living standards of past generations, the United States needs to boost productivity growth from 1.7 to 2.3 percent a year. That's a daunting figure. To achieve it, American companies need to examine all aspects of their operations, one of the most important being how they use energy and other natural resources. For example, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has had great success working with businesses -- from farmers to Fortune 500 companies -- to improve their bottom lines by adopting environmentally friendly, eco-efficient practices to improve their operations. The central point is that eco-friendly and money-saving are not mutually exclusive terms -- in fact, often simple changes in a company's operations can accomplish both.

Beginning in the 1990s, EDF and McDonald's worked together to switch from foam-plastic sandwich boxes to paper-based sandwich wraps, eliminating some 300 million pounds of packaging waste over ten years. McDonald's also saved $6 million per year. In 2000, EDF began a collaboration with FedEx to develop a cleaner, more efficient delivery truck. FedEx now operates one of the largest hybrid fleets in the industry, with more than 1,800 alternative energy vehicles worldwide, including the first all-electric parcel delivery trucks in the United States. As a result, FedEx saved over 66 million gallons of fuel over the last 10 years. And recently, EDF began working with Walmart to meet its goal of running entirely on renewable energy, creating zero waste, and selling a greater share of sustainable products.

EDF is not alone in helping green American businesses. Indeed, many groups are engaged in similar efforts and achieving positive results that merit our recognition. For instance, The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy recently announced a collaboration to develop new approaches to world challenges while demonstrating that environmental conservation is also good for Dow's business model. Organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council -- a group of builders and environmentalists -- are working to green and make more efficient companies' infrastructure by designing buildings that will consume less energy, mitigate their environment impact, and cost less throughout their lifespan. The Council's "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" or LEED rating system is setting a high standard for green buildings in the United States and is rapidly spreading to other countries. Businesses are saving money through LEED certified building designs and consumers throughout the world are demanding green buildings, creating an opportunity for American companies to show leadership and build value in a growing market.

We at the State Department have partnered with the World Environment Center and multinationals such as Walmart to help small and medium sized enterprises around the world improve their environmental performance, reduce costs, and improve efficiency and competitiveness. Thirty-five small and medium sized businesses from Guatemala and El Salvador participated in the project to improve their environmental performance and have achieved a combined total savings of over $621,400 from an initial investment of $293,500. That's a very attractive return on investment, in addition to the environmental benefits.

Smart investors also recognize this opportunity. The private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (KKR) launched their Green Portfolio Program in 2008 to improve both the financial and environmental performance of their portfolio companies. The Green Portfolio Program focuses on areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste, water, and forest resources. The first eight of KKR's portfolio companies to enroll in the program have thus far reported savings of over $160 million in operating costs; 345,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions; 8,500 tons of paper; and 1.2 million tons of waste. Because of these savings, KKR's companies are better able to compete domestically and abroad.

Here in our nation's capital, the State Department is working with foreign embassies and international organizations, such as the World Bank, through the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum. In this venue, the diplomatic community exchanges best practices to improve their facilities and environmental sustainability. Foreign embassies are encouraged to install more efficient appliances, lighting, and plumbing fixtures, helping them to reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a better environment for the local community, all while saving money -- a huge plus during these times of tight budgets. On the commercial side, it also enables embassies to showcase the latest and greatest green technologies and services, functioning as a marketing platform for each nation's green industries.

The State Department, through the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI), is moving forward with ambitious plans to make its global operations more resource efficient and eco-friendly. We're reducing energy consumption by consolidating our information technology platforms, lowering fuel costs by increasing the number of alternative fuel vehicles in our fleet, and improving the overall performance of our buildings by deploying efficient building design, practices, and equipment. In March of this year, the State Department stimulated the building of new wind and solar farms by entering into an Energy Savings Agreement with Constellation Energy, whereby 45 percent of the energy delivered to the Department's capital region facilities will be new-source renewable energy. This agreement is not only cost neutral, but greatly enhances the Department's ability to reduce its green house gas footprint and promote the U.S. renewable energy sector. It also complements the President's goal of 80 percent clean energy for the nation by 2035. With more improvements underway, the Department expects to track significant cost savings while reducing its environmental footprint.

Eco-friendly, profit-friendly efficiency is a win-win solution. This is a perfect opportunity for business, environmental groups, governments, and international institutions to work hand-in-hand to adopt new models for their organizations and infuse efficiencies that afford cost savings and a smaller eco-footprint.



Gurmehar S.
August 8, 2011

Gurmehar in India writes:

Its really appreciable that leading companies like FedEx & Walmart are living green. Every nation should provide subsidies to firms who adopts eco-friendly technologies. Action is what matters more than discussions. This planet wouldn't remain safe unless every individual realise that - every gram of Carbon they emit is a poison.

August 8, 2011

W.W. writes:

We need to go nationally social for the next 20 years to establish Peace prosperity and security
It is time to invest in self employment and individual and stop what today is considered Investment banking or all those corporation which needs to be scorporate.

Today the whole American nation is worthed as much as greece or portugal for the mistake made on investment

Default and armageddon has not been avoided and 1 euro equals 1000 dollars.

China is actually with nothing

Julian E.
August 8, 2011

Julian in Nigeria writes:

I would really love to see America retain its glory and fame, that am use to knowing them with.

Janakie B.
New Zealand
August 8, 2011

Janakie in New Zealand writes:

Fantastic idea if it works!

Dickman G.
Sri Lanka
August 8, 2011

Dickman in Sri Lanka writes:


New Mexico, USA
August 8, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Under Secretary Robert Hormats,

Everyone talks about us like they have the corner on economic moral superiority telling the USA how to be, well you can see what I mean by this news item, and I'll offer my thoughts on the matter as I have in the past with an updated conclusion or two;

News Item;

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” read the commentary, which was published in Chinese newspapers.

Beijing, which did not release any other official statement on the downgrade, called on Washington to make substantial cuts to its “gigantic military expenditure” and its “bloated social welfare” programs.




Right, so folks in this government are wondering about how to generate revenue, and their failure of imagination and political gridlock has screwed up our credit rating and we have China here all concerned apparently...

You know what I think Mr. Under Secretary? I think we need to send China a bill large enough to shut them up for the rest of this century right about now, and I can repeat myself till hell freezes over or my government gets a grip, whichever comes first, but I'm on record of assessing the Ten trillion dollars in accounts recievable we can bill them for their support for North Korea, in all that it has cost us over the years dealing with that little problem since '53.

You want to level the playing field with those doing buisiness with us? Well then a good long term relationship starts with a proper accounting and an understanding of the balance between national interests, and international risk managment.

I don't care whgat China does with the bill sir, they can take a pound of flesh out of 'lil Kim's backside in reciprocity for all I care and that would be my advice to them when presenting it, because the security threat China has created in supporting him is flat unnacceptable to global economic and physical security of the region, in which we share vital interests.

Lest anyone think this would be the thinking of an "isolationist" by saying credit rating wouldn't have been downgraded had we billed them, how downgraded woulds everyone's be if 'lil Kim starts a war?

This is just basic logic at work sir, nothing complicated about it. That ten trillion will look like chump change to china one way or another, whether you assess the region's demise in the aftermath, or it's potential for growth and opportunity if that threat and other security challenges were not to exist.

We seek a diplomatic solution to all these things, well ok I can appreciate that...I'm just giving folks an alternative to sanctions and the continued passive/agressive behavior of folks that seek to do business with us.

If you want a policy of "behavior change" to work sir, you're going to need to employ a different kind of stimulous package to get positive results for the American people.

If this isn't completely self evident to my government by this time, it sure is to the general public and we're wondering if anyone out there has the guts and is willing to do what it takes to put this nation back in the black.

A "bloated military" sir? Well let's bill China for what its cost us to have one in the region for starters...for as a diplomat even you should understand just how hypocritical the Chinese are being in making such statements.

Do you have any idea what our return on investing all that money spent would have been worth here at home by have our investment in S. Korea's ecomonic well being to draw comparison from, and I'm not including our investment made or our return on that...simply our military expenditures, interest on that, and what our return investing that in our own economy would have been worth had China not created a security risk we had to counter with to keep the peace.

Ten trillion is just a baseline estimate of that...with no frills added, and no penalties attached.

So let's get busy leveling the playing field for the American people shall we?



United States
August 9, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

If our government really wanted a level playing field for trade, they would have one by now.

Of course, they would have you working at Chinese-level wages, rather than protecting our industrial base with tariffs.

From the loss of factories, jobs, and decline in middle class wages, it should be clear that Americans getting exactly what this government wants us to have - third world poverty.

Why else would this government be flushing the dollar down the drain with bogus baleouts, useless wars, massive gifts of money to foreign nations, and loan guarantees in the trillions of dollars?

So they bailout GM in order for GM to build factories in China and Brazil instead of Michigan? Is that a plan or what?

Let's send Kenya another million dollars to study dung beetles as a food source or spend $10 million to teach fish how to swim?

Then when the dollar collapses, you can blame the Tea Party.

August 9, 2011

W.W. writes:

As we must stop Assad we must stop Criminal Financial corrupted society expreesed by people belonging to insane international organization as such as Bilderbergs club of rome Trilateral commission.
We must stop Mobster inside this organization which criminally operate around the globe intently creating poverty to generate slavery in a sort of weird colonization.
There are many ways to get out from this and the right road is the one token by president Obama Berlusconi Sarkozy Merkel and above all the King Of U.K.
We must all work to end this hidden regime this Hidden Mob which work against their own nation in order tomake one more dime from an Unexisting multi trillionaire stock market were Hoax are supposingly working?
What they have Created is an Imaginary world where who does not move nothing heavier then a pen is worthed more then a colored cotton picker in a Cotton field.

As per last event in London which seems like a sort of French revolution we must work on prices and end what today is called investment banking.We all must work against those fundation as the rockefeller one or NGOs or those corporate offices that everyday commit crimes .
We need to expropriate them of their found and assets in order to restablish right prices calculated and based on workers possibility of spending.

To do this is time that the U.S. gov Reform FIRST Justice department and Secondly reform Taxes.
In this way as Berlusconi is doing for example we can legally get AL CAPONE.

Bilderbergs got Busted

August 10, 2011

W.W. writes:

is the market controlling politics and governors or is politics and governors controlling the market?

are lobbyist controlling people or are the people controlling the lobbyist?

Is a worker vote worthed as much as lobbyist vote or in a democratic system vote as differnt weight?

Way out : cutting profit for the lobbyist and their corporate companies with a consequent arrest for manipulative frauding lobbyist that intently operate on people debts and their poverty generating an insane vision of hegemony and people control.

goods price reduction : by cutting profit to those compinies the globe will have a massive price reduction on real market with a consequent savings for governament.

Moving production facilities on market consumption site

Can we all work for democracy then and cut on lobbies and lobbyst by expropriating lobbyiest personal found and assets?

Can we work for the people to equalize their vote power with the lobbyist one ?

Can we end this criminal corrupted financial system made up from lobbyist belonging to group as bilderberg and the others?

Can we work to restore democracy and end this oligharchic system that is actually governing and leading the globe by generating debts for others?

Is this an utopy ...

you all know the names of those organizations ...they can operate when they are not an issue for pubblic security peace and prosperity as in London for example
when lobbyist hegemony start to be an issue then is a priority for a Democratic country as the US to Arrest em expropriate their ownings and restore a false unreal democracy manipulated by them....

August 10, 2011

W.W. writes:

Upcoming crisis US/CHINA

must leave Us investment on china now by producing on market site
Must leave oil investment - bio technology
must leave gold investment - technology
must leave on lobbyist investment - invest on self employment and individual to restore global democracy

Many analysts are predicting a power shift in the financial arena quite soon, since according to International Monetary Fund projections, China could leapfrog the United States to become the world's largest economy by 2016.
­Many have thought this likely for quite a while, and the latest news regarding the US debt-ceiling debate and the US’s credit rating being downgraded is leading even more people to believe that this is going to happen even sooner than expected.
China’s economy has actually grown by 45 per cent since 2007, while the GDP of the United States has grown by less than one per cent since then. The latest International Monetary Fund predictions show that China’s economy will actually overtake the US economy by 2016. And that will be the first time in more than a century that the US economy is not the biggest in the world.
A lot of people say that China’s economy focuses on exports, but they really have managed to diversify their economy. China is obviously seen as the manufacturing hub of the world, which has been able to create millions jobs for its low-skilled workers. But they have also been focusing a lot on technology, which has created millions of jobs for high-skilled workers as well.
The Chinese have been focused on retaining jobs domestically, and making sure that foreign investors are not able to compete with certain domestic industries, which is something that most countries cannot figure out. It is also important to know that China’s economy is still very much state led. And with the government controlling most of the financial sector, China’s banks have been relatively well shielded during the financial crisis.

In the long run, Asian countries are better equipped to deal with the financial crisis. Many investors who follow the path of risk aversion and are therefore moving away from US treasury bonds have started investing more in Asian markets like India and China, RT’s Priya Sridhar says.
Many people in Asia see the situation as an opportunity for a shift in the financial arena and for more of the international community to get onboard and move away from a dollar as a reserve currency.

August 10, 2011

W.W. writes:

The World Bank and IMF have been promoting their new "poverty reduction" strategy, through which "nationally-owned participatory poverty reduction strategies should provide the basis of all their concessional lending and for debt relief."

Here is what the new strategy means:

IMF and World Bank still demand privatization of public services and natural resources? YES
IMF and World Bank still demand budget cuts, firing of civil servants? YES
Indefinite delays in debt relief? YES
Increase in IMF and World Bank control of Third World economies on behalf of corporations? YES
Poverty advocates tied up in technical arguments about the PRSP, while business goes on as usual? YES
Respect for, and empowerment of, the people affected?

Ashim C.
August 10, 2011

Ashim in India writes:

It is great to learn that new and innovative building technology is being talked about. One would like to share that one such established green technology is AAC ( Aerated Autoclaved Technology ). AAC is both a green and a cost effective solution to acute housing shortages in developing countries like India and such other countries as are dependent of coal based thermal power generation and are burdened with problem of industrial waste in this case fly-ash utilisation. One is sure that there would be similar other products and technologies. At a time when technology export of US is said to be declining, it is necessary that US industry and agencies like USAID, Trade Representatives Office identify this kind of technology and get into understanding with developing countries for a win win situation for all.

New Mexico, USA
August 10, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:


While I find your assessment of a future US/China crisis has merit. There's a lot more to "leveling the playing field" than one can articulate in a single post, or sending a bill to China to achieve a proper and level headed accounting to achive that.

First if you want an "eco-friendly" environment to do business in, you just can't have folks threatening nuclear war when they have political hangovers like 'lil Kim in North Korea has had in frequent spasms of political stupidity.

A nation that seeks to do business with America can't take a passive aggressive posture in support of those that would threaten regional and global security at great expense to those who are forced to spend bookoo bucks to keep the peace in the region.

Are we going to continue to do business with someone who provides an arsonist the gasoline to burn down the neighborhood?

China's policy is insane thinking they can get away with that on the peninsula, or in Sudan, or anywhere else they may ship arms to genocidal dictators for access to natural resources.

A bill sent for ten trillion can be collected upon have no doubt about that.

It's more than just a proper accounting and method to resolve accounts receivable they owe us, but a wake up call to them that what they are doing is flat unacceptable.

It will work if presented properly, for China is a lot more vulnerable to such persuasion that the experts might think in their narrow focus on how currency flows in the marketplace.

Depending on who's counting China holds between 1 and 3 trillion dollars of US debt, which goes "by by" the instant that ten trillion dollar bill is presented to them.

Which in turn means our overall debt is that much lower (somewhere around 12-13 trillion)

So the balance remaining being a hefty point of leverage for "behavior change" in every aspect without China being able to do anything but pay it, or suffer the consequences of refusing to pay it and loosing its ability to do business with us.

As I suggested to Palgye if that took us in or bilateral relations "to the year zero, before Nixon ever visited that wouldn't be a zero sum game" Nor a method of isolation (or isolationist in intent) but a method of humanitarian realization.

We do take issue with China's human rights record as well as the problems their policies have created in giving dictators the tools of genocide to make war on civilian populations.

Our realization as well as China's that such policies must not continue if business between us is to continue.

As far as that's concerned China can't afford to lose 100% market share in America.

We can buy elsewhere, but they can't replace such an economic loss by exporting to other countries...and not only will that tank their economy, but in the end will put so many Chinese out of work that they would rise up and topple the their Communist system of government.

China could threaten to wage war, but that would be shooting themselves in their other foot and making one hell of a fatal mistake with America and its allies in the region.

The bottom line is they have every reason to rationally negotiate time payments and a method to work part of the debt off by being partners with us in removing the threats to security they have created over the yeas globally.

We won't be seeing Mr. Hu give Bashir the "red carpet treatment" again nor "lil Kim.

If we are going to use diplomatic tools to create a better world for everyone's kids and grandkids on a WMD-free planet someday, then America needs to pull out all the stops and use every available tool and asset available right now, not later.

With the stock market going into a tailspin this bill might give folks reason to recalculate the strength of America's economic outlook in more stable terms, as we foreclose on "our banker".

Folks want to create jobs here at home, invest in clean energy, technology, and our infrastructure, and everyone says we need more revenue to get our house in order.

I suggest we start billing nations who intend to cause us problems rather than keep putting that burden on the American taxpayer and industry.

Instead of Santioning Iran and Syria for instance, we send a bill and take those frozen assets for ourselves, while robbing them blind every which way for their terrorist ways every chance we get until they either collapse as governments or their people have done so succesfully to their benefit "in larger freedom".

There are many facets to a humanitarian intervention, and this is just one way to achieve that through diplomacy in conjunction with the US Treasury dept.

How the American government sees this as a sound methodology to create change we can live with; depends on whether we do this in self defense and in defense of those subject to the whims of ethical infants seeking hegemonic dreams of empire at the expense of others who just want to live in peace.


August 11, 2011

W.W. writes:

Dear Eric, audience, world leaders,

it is just an analysis came from daily event intently provoked from a criminal society and counter back from a peaceful society.

today there are just 10 people in the whole planet who really know what is actually happened , is happening and it will happen and this is because it has been planned.

today i can fill my car with a corn and make it run with it for a month, how the oil industry will react to it?

I personally wrote a crisis with China not about a war with China.

August 12, 2011

W.W. writes:

@eric just came out...they are setting prices you know cutting the new bilderberg cake:

tell marchionne to go back to H. where he belong

A fundamental part of President Obama’s strategy to energize our economy is making smart investments in research and technology that create jobs for America’s workers. Today,the President will be visiting an advanced battery manufacturing plant in Holland, MI to highlight the key role that innovative technologies will play in the future of the U.S. auto manufacturing industry, helping automakers achieve historic fuel efficiency standards, spurring economic growth, and creating high-quality domestic jobs in cutting edge industries across America.

Back in 2009, the President announced $2.4 billion in Recovery Act grants towards the development of batteries and advanced vehicle technology. Johnson Controls received a $300 million grant to build domestic manufacturing capacity for advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, which enabled them to open their first domestic lithium-ion plant in Holland and hire about 150 people to work on the project.

Late last month, the President announced an aggressive new fuel-efficiency standard that will require cars and light trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The standards include some specific incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies that represent game changing performance improvements – including electric vehicles and “off cycle” technologies like start-stop technology, where the engine actually shuts off when the driver stops at a red light to avoid wasting fuel while idling.

The start-stop functionality relies on batteries like the ones Johnson Controls is manufacturing now in Holland, and will soon be manufacturing at another one of their existing battery plants outside of Toledo, Ohio which is being retrofitted to handle increased demand. Johnson Controls estimates the conversion will create 50 jobs.

Because the Administration was able to create a single, national program that runs through 2025, companies like Johnson Controls have the certainty that investments in new, game-changing technologies will pay off, enabling them to create good-paying jobs across the United States, a fact that was highlighted in a report released this week by the United Auto Workers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Wildlife Federation. The report lists the top 15 states employing the highest number of autoworkers in clean, efficient technologies: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama, California, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona.

And as Johnson Controls continues to grow, we’ll see a ripple effect of economic activity in other cities and states through their vast network of suppliers. Just a few years ago, the U.S. had only two factories manufacturing these advanced vehicle batteries and we produced only 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries. Now, because of the critical investments we’ve made, our nation will soon have the ability to produce enough advanced batteries to support 500,000 plug-in and hybrid vehiclesper year. All told, we’ll produce 40 percent of the world’s advanced batteries.

We’ll also see ripple effects as American families save $1.7 trillion at the pump and reduce oil consumption by 12 billion barrels as a result of the fuel efficiency standards this Administration has put in place through 2025. Similar first-of-their-kind fuel-efficiency standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles will save American businesses approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program.

Equally significant, these new fuel efficiency standards will protect public health by cutting air pollutants such as air toxics, smog, and soot. New vehicles built withthese technologies, including alternatives to oil for powering our cars and trucks, will reduce carbon dioxide pollution by over 6 billion metric tons – equivalent to the emissions from the United States last year, or what the Amazon rainforest absorbs in three years.

This is why the President is investing in clean energy. It’s why he brought together the world’s largest auto companies who agreed to nearly double the distance their cars can go on a gallon of gas. Because it’s going to save consumers thousands of dollars at the pump, it’s going to cut our dependence on foreign oil and it’s going to promote innovation and jobs – it’s going to mean more groundbreakings and more job postings for companies like Johnson Controls all over the country


Latest Stories