Environmental Forum readers, here is the latest version of our ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Notes compiled each week by Adam Berkowitz. If you have any questions or comments about Nelson’s ESG notes, please leave them for Adam below or visit our website.
IKEA’s big solar push in the U.S.
IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, announced in a press release plans to install solar energy panels on five more of its United States locations, all of them in the Midwestern U.S. Pending governmental permits, installation can begin this winter, with completion expected in summer 2012. Implementation of these projects will extend the IKEA solar presence to nearly 85% of its U.S. locations.
Collectively, the five stores will total 4.8 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, approximately 20,400 panels, and an annual output of 5.62 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity—the equivalent to reducing 4,273 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)—equal to eliminating the annual emissions of 760 cars or providing electricity for 484 homes yearly.
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA will own and operate each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings, as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA).
U.S. takes the lead on clean energy
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the global economy invested a record $251 billion in clean energy last year, with the U.S. streaking ahead of China in “green” spending and boosting confidence among climate action advocates. New figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed the U.S. spent $54 billion on clean energy, retaking the No. 1 spot it lost to China in 2009 and defying assumptions that the world’s largest economy is flagging on greenhouse gas reductions. Australia also hit a record, spending $4.7 billion on clean energy in 2011, a jump of 11 per cent on the previous year, mostly from increases in rooftop solar.
Montana Supreme Court lays down the law on political spending
In a 5-2 decision, the Montana Supreme Court overturned a District Court ruling, and reinstated the state’s century-old prohibition against political expenditures by corporations to support or oppose candidates for public office. In the Western Tradition Partnership case (PDF*), the Montana Supreme Court also decided that while corporations can form political action committees (PACs) and hire lobbyists, they must file disclosures on how they raised money and spent it on elections.
The Court argued that the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court did not invalidate Montana’s political spending law. The Court also determined that Western Tradition Partnership acts “as a conduit of funds for persons and entities including corporations who want to spend money anonymously to influence Montana elections.”
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