Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

US Companies Agree to Pay US$1 Million for Pipeline Spills

The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Mid-America Pipeline Company LLC (MAPCO) and Enterprise Products Operating LLC (Enterprise) “have agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than [US]$1 million to the United States to settle violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to three natural gasoline pipeline spills in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska” in March 2007, April 2010 and August 2011. The companies are required to take greater measures to control spills by inspecting the pipelines from the ground and air and by “reach[ing] out to local agencies, contractors and and excavators to make sure they are fully aware of pipeline locations and depths”. MAPCO and Enterprise must also spend US$200,000 to prevent external threats to their pipelines, including “to relocate, cover, lower or replace pipeline segments; install new remote shutoff valves; install new physical protections such as fences or concrete barriers” and install preventative systems to protect waters that could be affected by a spill.

DoJ’s media release (29 May 2012)
(Source: DoJ)

Company Converts Forklift Fleets From Battery-Operated to Fuel-Cell Powered

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has announced that it will convert its battery-operated forklift fleets at three facilities in California, North Carolina and Louisiana to hydrogen fuel-cell powered ones. According to P&G vice president of global family care product supply and global product supply sustainability Stefano Zenezini, “[t]he fuel cells enable the truck to sustain its power over an entire shift, require less routine maintenance and are much faster to refuel. It takes about two minutes to replenish a forklift with high-pressure hydrogen gas”. Over 200 forklifts across the three sites will be converted, with two additional sites being “in the advanced study phase for conversion”.

P&G’s media release (23 May 2012)
(Source: P&G)

Climate Partnership Wins Award

The Climate Group has announced that the HSBC Climate Partnership, a five-year program it jointly launched with HSBC, the Earthwatch Institute, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the WWF, has won the Charity Partnership: Financial and Professional category at the 2012 Business Charity Awards. The Climate Group chief executive officer Mark Kenber stated that “HSBC’s research has been particularly invaluable in highlighting the potential size of the global market for low carbon goods and helping us demonstrate the undoubted benefits to those who seize the opportunity to lead the transition to a prosperous low carbon world”.

Further information from the Business Charity Awards
The Climate Group’s media release (17 May 2012)
(Source: The Climate Group; Business Charity Awards)

FedEx Announces Significant Progress Toward Fuel Efficiency

Market Watch reports that FedEx Express, a unit of FedEx Corporation, has announced that it has made significant progress towards achieving its 2020 target to make its vehicles more fuel efficient, revealing that its “vehicle fleet is now 16.6% more fuel efficient through FY2011 than it was in 2005″. FedEx Corporation staff vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability Mitch Jackson reportedly said that “[a]lthough we are less than halfway to the end date we set for ourselves, we have achieved 80% of our vehicle fuel efficiency goal as of the conclusion of fiscal year 2011, compared to our original baseline set in 2005″ and added that FedEx Corporation was considering raising the 2020 target. FedEx Express has reportedly been able to make such progress due to the purchase of several all-electric trucks, vehicles with the right-sized engines, composite-body trucks with an appropriately-sized engine, “[t]esting of FedEx Ground hybrid hydraulic parcel delivery vehicles that can reduce fuel usage by 40%” and “[t]esting of six standard delivery vehicles retrofitted with all-electric drivetrains”.

Market Watch: FedEx Closes in on Vehicle Fleet Fuel Efficiency Goal Years Ahead of Schedule (16 May 2012)
(Source: Market Watch)

Apple’s Data Centre to Run on 100% Renewable Energy

Clean Technica reports that Apple has announced that its data centre in Maiden, North Carolina, will “run entirely on renewable energy” by the end of 2012. However, according to Clean Technica this may also involve the purchasing of carbon offsets. Apple has reportedly confirmed that its fuel cells will run on renewable biogas, and has “state[d] that all of its renewable energy sources are regionally if not locally sourced”.

Further information from Apple
Clean Technica: It’s Official: 100% Renewable Energy for Massive Apple Data Center
(Source: Clean Technica; Apple)