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Sustainability market to ‘transform’ by 2012

Companies are plugging into new green markets. Survey indicates companies will implement ‘transformational’ sustainability programmes by 2012. Company sustainability programmes that are currently developing on an incremental basis can be expected to start transforming businesses by 2012, according to a cross industry survey by research firm Verdantix. Businesses expect fast innovation in sustainability to be required to meet the lightning pace of climate change legislation, consumer demand and rising energy costs.

Financial impacts
Companies surveyed by Verdantix revealed that by 2012 the financial impact of regulations would be a key concern to financial directors compared to 2009 due to the extra carbon costs on flights, energy and the cost of inclusion in cap and trade schemes. The cost concerns of companies included:
 
  Flights within EU airspace will be subject to a 97% cap on emissions (relative to the 2006 baseline) from 2012. This will add to the cost of flying.

• The percentage of EU Emissions Trading scheme CO2 allowances sold at auction will increase year-on-year which adds to the wholesale price of electricity.

• From January 2010, US firms with high emissions need to collect GHG emissions data and report it from January 2011. January 2013 is a likely start date for cap-and-trade in the US.

• UK Carbon Reduction Commitment affects 5,000 private and public sector organizations from April 2010. The first performance league table and payments are due in October 2011.

Product innovation
Low carbon product development will be an important area of innovation by 2012, according to the company research. The success of product take up will depend on carbon legislation deadlines and ease of diffusion in the marketplace.

Other product innovation drivers will include the price of carbon, energy, and competitive dynamics between companies, which is expected to drive demand ahead of regulation.

Companies that started the R&D process in 07/08 to create low carbon products can be expected to trigger demand and substitution from 2012, according to the research.

Verdantix analysis suggests carbon management software will become increasingly important for companies attempting to monitor and reduce their emissions. The company survey identified regulations, risk management and competitive dynamics as key areas that will drive adoption of carbon management software from 2009.
 

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