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Compliance & Standards Briefing: Demand Response, Aviation Biofuel, Ratings

Ceres and Tellus Institute are working to create a single standard for rating company sustainability performance. They have started a coalition, the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings, whose other founders include leading investors and businesses like TIAA-CREF, the Calvert Group and Bloomberg. The initiative will be modeled on the Global Reporting Initiative, another Ceres/Tellus-launched program, which has become the global standard used by 2,000 companies worldwide for corporate reporting on environmental, social and economic performance. The organizations say that ratings play a pivotal role in determining the costs of and access to capital, for everything from stocks to bonds. But they say there has been a proliferation of sustainability ratings providers with inconsistent and often opaque approaches. They aim for the GISR system to be embedded in the listing requirements of stock markets, in disclosure requirements of securities regulation, in the contractual relationships between asset owners and managers, and in government procurement programs worth hundreds of billions of dollars. GISR will achieve its mission in two phases over the coming year, the organizations say.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released a “comprehensively updated” LEED Demand Response Pilot Credit. To satisfy the credit, projects must demonstrate their ability to shift energy consumption during peak events by 10 percent of peak load demand, and must participate in existing utility-sponsored demand response programs that meet credit guidelines. Additional points are available for projects that use partially or fully automated demand response programs in their buildings. Experts from the Demand Response Research Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), Schneider Electric and Skipping Stone contributed to the credit’s development. USGBC is currently finalizing plans for the implementation of a concentrated market test of the credit. Documentation of the Demand Response Pilot Credit requirements and related information is now available here.

The Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) will launch an online benchmarking system on June 21. The system, called the Equivalence Process (EP), has been planned for two years, CSR Asia reports. It aims to iron out variations in social and environmental compliance standards as well as for audit process and methodology. The Equivalence Process allows companies to benchmark their systems, tools and processes against the agreed best practices in the GSCP reference tools. Member companies including Chiquita, Royal Ahold, Tesco, Woolworths and Migros have been testing the beta version and several offered positive feedback.

A draft of WindMade, the first global consumer label for companies using wind energy, was launched this week. The proposed standard requires participating companies to source a minimum of 25 per cent of their electricity demand from wind power. Organizations helping to develop the standard include the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), LEGO, Climate Friendly, Gold Standard, and Vestas Wind Systems, Walmart, 3Degrees, Better Place and Dong Energy. Following the public consultation (15 June-15 August), the final standard for companies is expected to be presented in September, after which companies can apply for WindMade membership and undergo the certification process. Work on a standard for products is scheduled to begin later this year.

ASTM International has given preliminary approval to airlines to use a blend of traditional fuel and biofuel, Bloomberg reports. The BIO SPK fuel standard will allow fuel from organic waste or non-food materials, such as algae or wood chips, to comprise up to 50 percent of the total fuel used in passenger flights. Final approval of the standard is expected no earlier than July 1.

The Indian government has adopted the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011, which has considerable similarity with the European Union’s WEEE and RoHS legislation, Electronics Weekly reports. The rules apply to all companies in the electronics supply chain, from producers to dismantlers, and come into effect May 1, 2012.

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