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2012 trends of US green business development

29 January 2012
2012 trends of US green business development

By Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group.

(January 29, 2012)

Here are some key points (in note form) that I have taken away from the American Sustainable Business Council report which I recently read, and which proposes some notable market trends in 2012 based on the annual green business development previously announced:

  • Carbon intensity: Instead of declining, US carbon intensity increased last year. With further economic recovery in 2012, carbon emissions will remain on the rise, thus augmenting the pressure on America’s promises of carbon reduction to the world.

Note: Please see the Low Carbon Economy Index claimed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in November, 2011, and results from the 2012 COP on climate change in Durban. Also, the continuous decline in the price of silicon.

  • Carbon disclosure

Note: See the CDP Leadership Index and the recently announced Value Chain Standard.

  • Investment in clean technology: Through 2011, there was a huge strike on the investment in the wind technology. However, the amount of investment as a whole will keep growing in 2012.

Note: It is harder to finance wind technology. Nevertheless, with the maturity of clean technology, capital will flow into relevant fields.

  • Patents on clean technology: More great leaps in innovation.

Note: Patents with regard to solar power technology will increase, batteries will be improved and smart IT will move towards maturity.

  • Corporates report: The disclosure of information on business environment, the society, and the economy is slowing down. However, investors will urge corporations to reveal more with their interest on the rise.

Note: Copenhagen Exchange ask all OTC companies to either report the problems on the environment of materials and the society, or provide explanations on why the problems are irrelevant. The US Government, the major purchaser in the world, is also shedding lights on making a green supply chain.

  • Efficiency: Due to decrease in investment, there is much more energy waste.

Note: According to President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, $2 billion will be spent on improving the efficiency of the Fed’s buildings. Another $2 billion, which comes from the private sector, will also be used to make buildings more eco-friendly.

  • Electronic wastes: Although partly reduced, the number as a whole remains high.
  • Vehicles: Carbon emissions produced by cars surges even though the number of cars is growing at a low rate.

Note: Especially relevant to delivery companies such as FedEX and UPS.

  • Green IT: Corporations’ interest in green certification keeps rising.
  • Green offices: The slowdown of the registration of the US green building standards brings about potential problems.

Note: Citigroup along with other financial institutions invest in efficiency improving programmes through a device similar to the one used by energy service companies. Johnson announced salient profits made in the fourth quarter last year in the building conservation field.

  • Applications of clean power: It is rapidly growing, yet still merely accounts for less than 5% of the US power consumption. The portion is quite small.

Note: The 1603 financial program expired by the end of 2011, but still continues to provide results.

  • Organic agriculture: The growth rate does not account for much.
  • Wrapping intensity: Lacking in rooms for improvements since the light wrapper reached its cap.  

Note: Application of recycled materials to the wrapping field. Coca-Cola and Pepsi use agricultural materials as a substitute for fuel materials, as well as Wal-Mart’s sustainable wrapper accumulator. Also, IT products do not really bring down the use of paper.

  • Emissions of toxic pollutants: After years of decline, the emissions are once again increasing. 

Note: Toxic Materials used by manufacturers skyrocketed to 80% after several years of reduction. With the revival of manufacturing however, the trend is going to be difficult to reverse.

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