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The University of Chicago (ECO)nomics Research Consortium presents (ECO) Volume 0.1 | Spring Quarter 2012
From the Director: lad you decided to pick up a our first copy of (ECO), brought to you by the University of Chicago (ECO)nomics Research Consortium (UCERC). UCERC is a registered student organization at the University of Chicago, and is managed entirely by undergraduate stu dents in the College. I founded the research club in March 2012 after seeing a growing interest in environmental economics on campus. My vision was to form a student research consortium that tackled issues at the intersection of business, economics, policy , and the environment. After discussing my idea with several classmates who shared this interest, we decided to move forward things would work out. We were stunned and thrilled with the response. Our emails received over 60 responses of interest, including those from professors and industry professionals catching our team off - guard and scrambling for organization. Before long, though, we began having weekly meetings with a structur ed club of board members, project directors, and research analysts. The meetings also helped introduce another idea of mine P2P.edu , a peer - to - peer education program that allowed students to teach fellow club members about their own niche knowledge in environmental economics. The fall program included presentations on fisheries economics, aquaponics systems, and LEED certification a another great program for the fall! This volume of (ECO) eat stepping stone into the coming academic year, when we will publish our inaugural issue, and officially begin our work in expanding interest in the various fields of environmental analysis to the rest of the student body. We hope you enjoy the research Sincerely, David Wang Founder and Co - Director (ECO) The University of Chicago (ECO)nomics Research Consortium Spring Quarter 2012 David Wang Executive Director Edward Warden Deputy Director Clement Miao Director of Finance Ben Yu Director of Public Relations and Marketing Ratna Gogenini Director of Programming Cover photo: Coral Reef http://www.earthrangers.com
Contents Economic Impacts of Coral Reef Degradation 4 Research Group: Oceans and Climate Change Authors : Tony Song (Project Director), Valeria Contreras, Trevor Coyle, Alba Garcia, Ruchi Mahadeschwar, Katherine Rittenhouse, Varsha Sundar The Past and Future of Waste Disposal R esearch Group: Technology and Urban Development Authors : Piotr Wilk (Project Director), Matthew Cason, Alice Gregson, Victor Ma, Julia Quigley, Russell Ruch Practice Research Group: Mark ets Authors : Clement Miao (Project Director), Anthony Gokianluy, Ivy Zhao We would like to give a special thanks to the professionals on our Board of Advisors who have helped UCERC get off to a great start by contri buting their time and expertise: Dr. Sabina Shaikh Lecturer in the Program on Global Environment and Public Policy Studies and Director of the Environment, Agriculture, and Food Working Group at the University of Chicago Jamie Bender Assistant Director for Programs at the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago Jennifer Roche Communications Director of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty Galen Williams Chief Executive Office of Skyygreens Inc. Dr. Theodore Steck, M.D. Professor Emeritus of the De partment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and former Chair of the Undergraduate Environmental Studies Program at the University of Chicago Tammy Dillard - Steels Executive Director at Urban Sustain Economic Impacts of Coral Reef Degradation
Authors: T ony Song (Project Director), Valeria Contreras, Trevor Coyle, Alba Garcia, Ruchi Mahadeschwar, Katherine Rittenhouse, Varsha Sundar The Impact of Climate Change on Coral Reefs and Oceans Climate change plays a major role in the long term future of coral reefs. The two major consequences of global warming are ocean acidification and rising ocean temperature, both of which lead to the destruction of coral reefs. The former hinders the growth of coral reefs, whereas the latter results in the death of existin g coral reefs. The rising ocean temperature is the more important issue of the two as it threatens to eliminate coral reefs much quicker than ocean acidification. Both issues are resolved by reducing CO emissions. Ocean acidification occurs due to the ri sing levels to atmospheric CO . The ocean takes up approximately a third of the CO emitted by human activities into the atmosphere. When the CO dissolves in the ocean, it undergoes a chemical process that alters the pH level of the ocean. The most import ant of these reactions are the following chemical reactions: CO + H O H CO H CO H + HCO HCO H + CO The following equation summarizes the end result of the last three: CO + CO + H O 2 HCO The CO , which is also known as the carbonate ion, acts as a base to buffer the creation of extra H ions produced by the increase in CO . What this means is that when the amount of CO dissolved in the oceans increases, the concentration of carbonate ions decreases. This
decrease in the con centration of carbonate ions poses a threat to coral, which depends on the carbonate ion to createCaCO (Calcium carbonate). The physical structure of coral reefs is composed primarily of calcium carbonate, and thus the carbonate ion is essential for the g rowth of coral reefs. Reef accretion (reef growth) occurs when the production rate of calcium carbonate exceeds the rate of reef destruction; studies suggest that at most reefs today reef accretion barely balances the rate of reef erosion, thus an increase in CO level that threatens to reduce the rate of calcification even further could eventually result in a net erosion of coral reefs. The problem renders itself less significant considering that polar waters absorb the majority of CO additional, and cora poses a significant threat to coral reefs over the span of a few hundred years, but the more immediate issue deals with rising ocean temperatures. Coral bleaching is another pr essing problem for coral reefs, which occurs in reaction to rising ocean temperatures. An algae called zooxanthellae forms a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship with coral polyps, and this algae is what gives the coral its characteristic color. The algae p hotosynthesizes during the day and provides the polyps with photosynthate, and the coral in turn provides the zooxanthellae with the chemicals essential to its growth. If the rate of photosynthesis is too high for the coral, the coral goes through a proces s of expelling excess zooxanthellae called coral bleaching. This process is healthy under normal conditions, but when the coral undergoes unusual stress it expels an excessive amount of zooxanthellae. This reaction halts the growth of coral and will result in mass destruction of a coral colony if the process of bleaching is prolonged. The primary stress that triggers this bleaching is an increase in ocean temperatures. Studies show that an increase in local ocean temperature of about 1 - 2 degrees Celsius abo ve the normal temperature range during the summer over a period of five to ten
weeks will cause bleaching. So far, ocean temperatures have increased by about 0.1C over the past century due to human activities. Although this number may seem small, this cons iders average warming up to a depth of 2300 feet, and the ocean takes hundreds of years to respond conservative and that the climate sensitivity of the oceans of much higher. Finally, a higher frequency of warm weather anomalies such as the el Niño, the frequency of which is expected to increase with warming could kill off coral by warming ocean temperatures for a temporary but prolonged period of time. Rising ocean temperatures will pose a major threat to coral reefs in the future. Thus, the cost of saving coral reefs should include the costs of preventing excessive CO emissions into the atmosphere. The Economic Impact of Coral Reefs on Coastal Communities Th e key economic beneficial impacts of coral reefs on the economy are increased fishery yields, increased tourism - related income, protection from coastal erosion, and provision of diverse nutrition for coastal communities. When coral reef systems are degraded, critical habitats are lost for reef - dwelling fish and other coastal creatures. Studies have shown that declines in quality of coral communities are directly linked to declines in reef - dwelling fish life. Thus, the gene ral welfare and health of coral fishermen that target coral reef commu nities for their catch. The final impact of this loss is seen in lower food supplies for communities dependent on this catch. The Cairns region, in
Queensland, Australia, would lose 90per cent of the $17.9bn reef - related activity boosting the local economy from such fishing activity. Degraded coral reefs attract less tourism as well. Tourists are predominantly attracted to - based e from tourism, degradation of reef systems takes a heavy toll on the regional economies. As coral reef degradation increases for a given reef, these surrounding affected nations suffer far worse in comparison than nations with more diversified economies t hat do not mainly depend on tourism for income. Wave energy, or the energy generated by the transport of ocean surface waves, is also buffered and somewhat deflected by coastal coral reefs. Buffering of the coastal wave energy reduces coastal erosion. Coas tal erosion is generally seen by environmentalists and scientists as a negative factor for coastal communities and reefs, as erosion drives reef degradation, and ultimately less tourism - related income for tourism - based economies. At the same time, when cor al reef bleaching simultaneously occurs, wave energy has an even greater negative effect on the health of the corals. This is because bleaching leads to weaker corals that break up more easily in the face of strong wave energy. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature ( IUCN) estimates that the effects of coral bleaching alone will amount to over $104 billion in losses by 2052 which is nearly 0.23% of the annual global GDP. So clearly, reef communities must be protected from the increased ble aching and erosion caused by climate change. Coral reefs are also a key source of pharmaceutical compounds. As coral reefs degrade and die, pharmaceuticals can no longer extract medical resources from coral reefs for important drug treatments (for illnesse s, such as heart disease and cancer).
The negative impacts to fishery yields, tourism, erosion, and pharmaceutical compound extraction as a result of coral reef degradation all lead to strong economic impacts for the coastal regions and the global market. The discrepancy in the gains and negative impacts taking place in coral reefs takes place rather often. For example, a new development will be beneficial to factories in the surrounding area, though the pollution resulting from such a development will led to suffering for the corals fishers and divers. A recent study estimates the potential global economic cost of severe bleaching over the next 50 years at US$104.8 billion (Cesar 3). As of 2012, at least 19 percent of the world's coral reefs are already gone, including some 50 percent of those in the Caribbean. An additional 15 percent could be dead within 20 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Old Dominion University professor Kent Carpenter, director of a worldwide c ensus of marine species, warned that if global warming continues unchecked, all corals could be extinct within 100 years. Clearly, coral reefs are depleting at an alarming rate, and this must be stopped through implementing effective policy and economic st rategy. Many of the fishing practices used with coral reefs now directly destroy part of the reef, making it more vulnerable to degradation and eventual death. Muro - ami netting, for example, involves pounding reefs with weighted bags to startle fish out o f crevices. Blast fishing uses dynamite or other heavy explosives to likewise startle fishes out of their hiding places. These two practices indiscriminately kill other species and can stress and eventually destroy coral beds. They are destroying, that is to say, a reliable and great source of income.
Economic Valuation of Coral Reefs The aforementioned negative economic impacts can lead to tangible economic losses. In developing countries, over 100 million people depend directly on coral reefs for their survival. Studies have shown that total annual economic benefits from coral reefs range from approximately $100,000 to $600,000 per square km of coral reef. The largest portions of these annual economic benefits are a result of tourism, and the second largest from shoreline stabilization services. According to the World Meteorological Organization, coral reefs provide $ 30 billio n in annual global goods and services. Coral reefs, even though they make up less than one percent of the ocean floor, support around 25 percent of all marine creatures. This is the result of them having some of the greatest concentrations of minute phytoplankton, and therefore of marine life feeding on them. As such, coral reefs provide habitats for a large variety of organisms, from oysters to sharks, which rely on coral reefs as a source of food and shelter. The abundance of life that coral reefs can produce makes them very important fishery and nursery areas. For example, since so many different fish lay their eggs in or around coral reefs, as well as provide a relatively safe home for the juveniles, reefs are vital in restocking fisheries. Besides this bonanza of life, reefs are also responsible for providing a buffer zone between the beach and the ocean, and thus protect the l and from erosion. It is no exaggeration to say that coral reefs give food, jobs, income, and protection to billions of people. Reefs are, however, very severely affected not just by pollution but also by unsustainable fishing practices. The United States agency NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) augments this valuation even higher, and claims that the collective economic services provided by coral reefs (i.e. jobs, food, and tourism) are worth as much as $375 billion per year. Briti sh
consultant Oxford Economics puts the present value of the reef at $51.4 billion approaching $ 2500 for every Australian alive today but warns that nearly four - fifths of its worth would be destroyed if the coral was totally and permanently bleached. T otal and permanent bleaching of the reef would cost $37.7bn, or 73 per cent of its assessed value to the economy, presently devastated, with up to half of the million or so people who visit the reef annually likely to stay away. Conclusion Coral reefs are clearly a massive part of many coastal communities. Their influence affects the local and regional areas in multiple ways, including tourism, by - catch and fishing, a nd general environmental well - being. Their benefit can be quantified in valuations that estimate the economic worth of coral reefs per square inch. However, even if the intrinsic and net worth of coral reefs can be calculated, their environmental worth is immeasurable. Our research shows a direct correlation between coral reef degradation and the decline in economies of coastal communities, and it is up to policy and human efforts to save our reefs, and in turn save this nontrivial portion of the global eco nomy.
Works Cited Coral Reef Watch .NOAA, n.d. Web. 26 May 2012.
Coral Reefs: Methodological Issue World Fish Center. Online. Internet. < http://www.worldfishcenter.org/Pubs/coral_reef/pdf/section2 - 1.pdf> 1 June 2012. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Online. Internet.
waste disposal, along with road and transportation infrastructure. In developing countries, ther e is an urgent need to close open dumpsites and implement sanitary landfills, but due to the cost, the process requires regulation and enforcement by agencies. (World Bank) In the United States, approximately 250 million tons of household waste was generat ed in 2010. (EPA) Individually, 4.43 pounds of solid waste is generated per person per day. Recycling and composting rates have increased from less than 10% of solid waste in 1980 to 34% in 2010. While recycling and composting facilities process 85.1 milli on tons of trash a year, about 54% ends up in landfills. Landfills, however, are filling up, and the cost of transportation and burying trash has increased. Even in the American West, landfills are inching closer toward backyards and water tables, and they are not exactly desirable. Worldwide, municipal solid wastes constitute about 14 - 20 percent of all wastes generated, while other waste types include construction and demolition wastes, manufacturing, and mining and quarrying. (GDRC) The effects of waste d isposal on human health are numerous and multifaceted. Waste disposal affects human health both directly and indirectly. There have been a number of reports in These anomalies include, in particular, neural tube defects and anomalies of the great arteries and veins. A separate study into the effects of proximity to land fill sites in relation to newborns showed an increased risk in low birth rates. There have also been further accounts of health effects amongst adult individuals who have reported symptoms of fatigue, sleepiness and headaches in areas close to landfill sit es where there have been reported incidents of odor and leakage of noxious chemicals. Landfill sites also pose serious problems as they encourage and augment the vector population. Vectors, such as rats and mosquitoes, carry a plethora of diseases
which ar e harmful to human health. These include dengue fever, scrub typhus, tetanus, respiratory and skin diseases. The presence of landfill sites also has serious repercussions in terms of polluting the surrounding environment. Multiple studies have shown the wa y in which landfills contaminate both groundwater and water sources used by humans. This not only has serious consequences for the human population dependent on these resources but also poses potential threats to wildlife which inhabit nearby areas. Furthe rmore, landfill sites can also cause grave damage to surrounding land and soil. For example, research into the effects of the incineration of waste electronic products in Ghana has discovered detrimental consequences. This method of waste disposal causes h armful chemicals from the ash of waste electrical products to drift into both soil and water sources. Incineration has been around since the 1970s, but chemical byproducts have always been a part of the process. It is controversial due to the pollutants it releases. Incineration involves combustion to reduce the volume of solid waste, resulting in conversion to heat, gas, steam, ash, and electricity. Waste in landfills degrades slowly by bacterial action, resulting in methane production. Bacteria converts o rganic materials into organic acids and then from acids into methane and carbon dioxide. Gaseous emissions are minimized or collected and extracted to be used as fuel. To function effectively, a landfill must be compacted and covered with a clay or plastic lining to contain wind - blown litter and vermin. Even with source reduction, recycling, composting, and resource recovery, there are always some wastes that must be disposed, including ashes from incineration and non - compostable trash. Like landfill sites , incinerator plants also provide a breeding ground for vectors, which as previously discussed, augment the spread of infectious disease. Moreover, these plants present further problems in terms of air pollution as the gases emitted are carcinogenic. Altho ugh these
dangers do pose a serious threat to the human population of the surrounding area, those most at risk are the workers who work within the plants. The rates of respiratory disease, cancer, vector borne diseases and skin diseases are highest amongst this subgroup. These health problems are a huge cause for concern as one third of death and disease is a direct result of environmental causes within the least developed countries. (WHO) In efforts to fix the shortcomings of current waste disposal methods , new technologies have been discovered over the recent years. At the forefront of waste disposal technology, plasma gasification is an advanced gasification method designed to eradicate waste without the need for landfills or significant carbon emissions. It is a multi - step process that utilizes an external heat source to vaporize and break down all forms of waste into more basic elements. This is a non - incendiary process that operates in an oxygen - starved environment, in contrast to traditional incinerati on or lower - temperature gasification methods. While specific implementation methods vary, the basic process of plasma gasification remains the same. The goal of plasma gasification is to break down waste into simpler molecules. First, the waste is generall y treated to prepare it for gasification. This generally involves breaking down and drying the waste for processing. (Mountouris, Voutsas, & Tassios, 2006) In order to do this, plasma arc torches are typically used to generate these high temperatures, up to 15,000°C, due to their ease of independent control. (Lemmens, et al., 2007) The use of plasma makes the presence of oxygen u nnecessary. Oxygen is often undesirable in gasification and incendiary processes due to the catalyzing of oxygen - based compounds that contributes to pollution. (Minutillo, Perna, & Di Bona, 2009) The plasma torches work generat ing a plasma jet arc between two electrodes. As the waste passes through this arc, it is vaporized and broken down. (Minutillo, Perna, & Di Bona, 2009)
Once the waste has passed through the plasma furnace stage, two products r emain from the reaction: synthesis gas and slag. (Lemmens, et al., 2007) The synthesis gas, often called syngas, is formed from the gasification of organic waste products. It is capable of combustion and can be used in generate s to generate power. Slag is formed from the inorganic products of the gasification reaction. It contains glasses and metals and has numerous commercial purposes. (Lemmens, et al., 2007) Slag from the plasma gasification proces s can be reused for other purposes. It can be used for concrete production among other things. Syngas must be processed and cleaned before it is used. Once the gas is processed to remove acidic gases, metals, and moisture, it can be fed into an appropriate generate. When mixed with air, the syngas becomes combustible and can drive traditional steam - based power generators. (Mountouris, Voutsas, & Tassios, 2006) This method of energy recovery is much more efficient with higher lev els of output compared to energy recovery from incineration or other methods. (Minutillo, Perna, & Di Bona, 2009) The compounds expunged from the syngas are reinserted in the plasma gasification process and reduced to slag. Thi s seals these often harmful or polluting compounds and prevents them from being released into the environment. (Lemmens, et al., 2007) There are numerous advantages to plasma gasification in comparison to existing methods. The primary and obvious benefit is the complete destruction of waste materials. The high temperature environment of the plasma furnace completely breaks down the waste, leaving nothing for landfills. The two by - products syngas and slag have their own uses. Thi s particular property of plasma gasification also makes it very useful for the disposal of more troublesome waste. Sewage sludge is completely broken down by this process, which makes it a more environmentally - friendly alternative to current incineration p rocesses or simply dumping
the sewage. (Mountouris, Voutsas, & Tassios, 2008) This benefit extends to all forms of organic waste, which includes most municipal waste, and some hazardous wastes. One of the disadvantages of this process is the formation of soot. Soot, in general, is any carbon - based by - product in a high - temperature process. The soot builds up in the chamber and is left as residue after the process, being incorporated into neither the syngas nor the slag. (Mountouris, Voutsas, & Tassios, 2006) Also, plasma gasification requires high levels of energy input. These energy levels are much higher than those involved in incineration or simple landfills, which could be prohibitive, especially i n terms of environmental sustainability. (Minutillo, Perna, & Di Bona, 2009) Due to the somewhat extensive facilities needed, plasma gasification plants require large upfront investment costs. Once the facility is built, initia l profit can be made from whatever entity is paying for the waste disposal, as in existing disposal methods. However, once the production of syngas begins, the plasma gasification plant can directly begin to offset its own costs. The energy produced from s yngas can either be used to power the process, thereby decreasing the energy costs of running the plant, or be sold to off - site power plants. (Kalinci, Hepbasli, & Dincer, 2011) Plasma gasification is but one alternative to tr aditional methods of waste management. landfills. These can be separated into two groups; methods that process organic, and those that process inorganic, matter . Both types of waste pose their own sets of management issues. (Innovations)
Organic solid waste can be converted into energy by way of microbially mediated transformations. In anaerobic digestion, the metabolic processes of microbes break down organic wa ste, resulting in a product that can be used to make compost and fertilizer. This is not a newly invented process; indeed, it can occur naturally to waste laid up in landfills. However, anaerobic digestion also yields the environmentally harmful by - product s of methane and carbon - dioxide. Notably, methane is about 20 times more potent, and therefore more harmful, of a greenhouse gas than CO2. Under controlled conditions, though, methane can be captured and used as a fuel source. (Khalid) In addition to this production of fuel, the advantages of this method are numerous. For one, it serves to solve an ecological problem, the over - abundance of solid organic waste, by removing it from the environment. Furthermore, it does so without the use of fossil fuels as a key input. Its products, methane and hydrogen, are also considered comparatively cleaner burning than other fossil fuels available today. (Khalid) As compared to traditional waste disposal, anaerobic digestion is a delicate and relatively complex process. Certain parameters need to be tightly controlled and balanced in order to maintain a suitable environment for successful operation. These include pH, temperature, salts, and alkalinity. Further, the level of biodegradable matter in the influent waste must be strictly managed in order to optimize digester performance. One major disadvantage of using anaerobic digestion as a waste disposal method is that its use is restricted to organic materials; non - organic materials still need to be extracted (or separate d at the source) to be recycled or otherwise disposed of. Organic material which is contaminated by heavy metals can hurt digester performance. There are also issues with the exhaust gas which is a result of the process of anaerobic digestion. The presence of sulfur in waste results in the production of hydrogen sulfide
(H 2 S) during digestion, which is extremely corrosive and requires cleaning or the presence of more robust (and therefore more expensive) generators. Further, because of the delicate and comp same way that landfilling might be. It is necessary to employ skilled workers with the required expertise to manage the facility, and this can add to the startup and r unning costs. Although anaerobic digestion can be a useful source of renewable energy, it is not economically viable unless all benefits of the process, including savings on synthetic fertilizers and sale of fertilizer and compost to other parties, are ful ly exploited. Markets for compost derived from large - scale waste disposal are still being developed in many areas. (Stuart) Anaerobic digestion and plasma gasification are able to transform organic waste into a useful fuel. Inorganic matter is not as easil y metamorphosed. In response to the unique set of challenges presented by the overabundance of such waste in landfills, regulations in addition to new methods of removal, are taking hold. For instance, the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is influencing waste regulation across the globe. EPR focuses on products before they are waste. The strategy aims to make producers responsible, not only for their production stage, but also for the whole life - cycle of a product. It is based on the assum ption that producers have the capacity to redesign products to avoid or reduce their environmental impacts. Some companies are finding that this impetus to adapt for the environment has cost - saving benefits as well. (Milanez) EPR can be based on voluntary initiatives or government regulation. Policy instruments that have been particularly effective have included minimum recycled content and energy efficiency standards, disposal bans and restrictions, advance disposal fees, virgin materials taxes, and envir onmental labeling. All have the goal of reducing a huge source of material for landfills.
This applies to not just products themselves, but also packaging. Companies like Unilever have accepted this reality, and are making efforts to redesign the way their products are packed, shipped, and then recycled. These efforts have produced not only a more environmentally friendly product cycle, but also a more economically efficient one. (Cutting) Producer Responsibility or Take - back laws have often succeeded in th e past, but there are concerns about EPR programs for electronics, which can be difficult and expensive to safely recycle. Some have argued that Extended Producer Responsibility laws could increase the cost of electronics since producers would have to cove r their recycling costs. Transporting electronics to a recycling facility can be expensive if the product contains hazardous materials and does not have a scrap value. CRT televisions, for example, contain four to six pounds of lead per screen. Groups agai nst EPR claim that the mandate would slow down technical innovation and impede technological progress. A major impediment to implementing current EPR legislation is the lack of agreed - upon guidelines for the recycling of electronics. Since most EPR laws or mandates are fairly new, their benefits and outcomes are generally still ambiguous. (Scarlett) In sum, there are many problems with the current methods of waste disposal such as landfills and incinerators. These problems include negative health and envir onmental effects. Some potential solutions to these problems are new methods of waste disposal like plasma gasification, anaerobic digestion, and extended producer responsibility. However, none of these new methods are flawless, and each comes with its own problems of implementation. For example, plasma gasification is energy intensive, anaerobic digestion can release unwanted exhaust gases, and EPR may hinder the invention of new electronics. None of these methods present an efficient way of getting rid of inorganic waste other than limiting its creation. Therefore, these new methods are far from ideal. However, with continued research and
improvement, they can collectively or individually be the future solutions of the waste disposal problem on earth. Of c ourse, there are many other potential new waste disposal technologies out there, and maybe one of them will be the eventual solution. Or maybe the eventual solution has not been discovered yet. One thing is certain: the current methods of waste disposal wi ll not be able to sustain the growing population of the Earth at a healthy living standard. Therefore, more emphasis needs to be put on improving new technologies for the future starting today.
Works Cited Anaerobic digestion project page. 2009. Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council of Perth, Western Australia. Accessed 16 May 2012.
an integrated plasma gasification combined cycle (IPGCC) power plant. Energy Conversion and Management , 50(11), 2837 - 2842. Mountouris, A., Voutsas, E., & Tassios, D. (2006, August). Solid waste plasma gasification: Equilibrium model development a nd exergy analysis. Energy Conversion and Management , 47(13 - 14), 1723 - 1737. Mountouris, A., Voutsas, E., & Tassios, D. (2008, August). Plasma gasification of sewage sludge: Process d evelopment and energy optimization. Energy Conversation and Management , 49(8), 2264 - 2271. "Municipal Solid Waste." EPA . Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 27 May 2012.
The History and Implications of Walmart Authors : Clement Miao (Project Director), Anthony Gokianluy, Ivy Zhao sustainability, can have a major effect on profits and customer loyalty in the market; this relationship can be analyzed in terms of tradeoffs and long - term/short - term goals. For instance, a firm can spend some of its profits for a supplier with more sustainable products but increase its reputation and customer loyalty. In the long - term, however, profits may increase as more or produce. A firm typically implements a CER policy in line with the growing movement for accountability in company waste and in factory production. NGOs and advocacy organizations such as Greenpeace conduct smear campaigns on companies that fail to prop erly dispose of their industrial waste or use unsustainable methods to obtain/produce their products. These awareness campaigns have implications on company operations and public perceptions in the areas of: 1. Brand recognition 2. Customer and consumer loyalty 3. Revenue, Profits, and Funds 4. Company Leadership and Management A. Brand Recognition:
This is an extremely important aspect of company sales and marketing. If a brand is associated with unsustainable practices, it may decrease the sales of all products associated with the brand. However, with the right advertising and the proper implementation of company sustainability practices, brand recognition could be strengthened and expanded to capture - B. Customer and Consumer loyalty: Loyalty is essential to companies that wish to continue or increase sales. While competitive pricing can contribute positively to this loyalty, sustainable practices can entice although at a more expensive cost). Companies must find a balance between spending to improve their sustainability record and remaining competitive in the corporate market. Companies should conduct a cost - benefit analysis and always consider the target mar ket. In many developing countries, there may C. Revenue, Profits, and Funds: The goal of a firm is to make money, and they can do this by selling products or thr ough investments. CER policy is important to consider when thinking about potential investors or new markets. Investors and buyers may consider the ethical principles of a company, which is reflected in its CER policy. Thus, the goals of a CER sustainabil ity policy are to enable companies to capture a share of the market that does care about the environment and company actions. D. Leadership
Different managements have various ways of implementing CER sustainability policies, which can affect the consisten cy of a company in meeting their objectives or in setting timetables. For instance, there were speculations and criticisms that current Walmart CEO Mike Duke was not as committed to sustainability as the previous CEO Lee Scott was. CEO Scott was responsibl companies looking into CER sustainability implement a clear plan of action into the future that is consistent with all business leaders. y efforts discrimination and environmental damage. President Michael Duke posted three broad goals that Walmart and its subsidiaries worldwide would try to complete to d o its fair share in corporate sustainability: 1) to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, 2) to create zero waste, and 3) to sell products that sustain people and the environment (Responsibility Report 2011, Message from Mike Duke ). These efforts included using efficient and renewabl e energy, such as the change towards LED lighting systems, solar energy panels, and hydrogen fueled battery cells. These were part of an effort to reduce greenhouse emissions from its ground stores. Walmart were one of the first retailers in 2011 to incorp orate a refrigeration system called secondary loop ( 2012 Sustainable Facilities ). The second ( Investigation of Secondary Loop Refrigeration for Supermarkets prepared by Southern California Edison and Foster - Miller, Inc). In addition, the installation of secondary loop refrigeration is much lower than as expected in the 1990s due to simplified piping, a new design
in the circulating pump that reduces the horsepower required, and fewer components in the design ( Secondary Loop Sy stems for the Supermarket Industry , 2007, pps. 6 - 8). Aside from its ease of maintenance, consultants and studies have concluded that the secondary loop system is environmentally friendly and efficient, reducing leakage by 90 percent (Secondary Loop Systems for the Supermarket Industry, 2007, pps. 9). Emission reduction also occurred in its trucking fleet. In United Kingdom, Walmart won the ECR UK Award for Sustainable Distribution for the extensive use of double - decker trailers, which increased capacity per run in 2010 ( 2010 Awards and Recognition ). Furthermore, Walmart is reduced its plastic bag and other waste significantly. In fact, only less than 20 percent of operational waste in the US has gone to landfills, while in UK zero waste goes to landfil ls (Global Responsibility Report 2012, 4). Walmart also tried to sell healthier food, yet makes sure approximately 73 percent of the total pounds of wild fish and farmed seafood are sustainably harvested ( Smart Planet ). Walmart has been parting with NGOs to help meet its sustainability goals, such as the Environmental Defense Fund. In the last Global Responsibility Report 2012, - largest green power producer in the United - Global Respon sibility Report 2012 , 2, 5). Furthermore, Walmart has posted a remarkable breakthrough in its Environmental Health & Safety department in which recycling income (income generated from contracts to increase sustainab ility) has exceeded service costs excluding hazardous waste in 2011 (Global Responsibility 2012, 28). This could help push other big and small retailers into better considering the benefits of sustainability in spite of reluctance because of greater initia l costs to factor.
appliances are. Justification is the hike in prices in relati on to being Energy Star rated (SmartPlanet). There are still improvements that need to be made in areas such as China and Brazil, who are plagued with inadequate infrastructure to facilitate greater sustainable productivity. Walmart hopes that business tra ining will help people and other businesses increase their share in environmental efforts (Global Responsibility Report 2012, 2). III. Walmart CER commitment Walmart has emphasized its commitment to CER and to environmental sustainability. As a leader in t he retail industry, it tries to find a balance between profitability and CER sustainability. Mike Duke, president and CEO, Wal - sustainability commitments, Though Walmart was already aware of the importance of a CER policy, the management in mid - 2005 laid out a clearer sustainability pla n. In this plan, Walmart should: 100 percent by renewable energy energy, waste, and products. These goals are very significant because of how Walmart could be perceived by advocacy groups and customers, who expect to see the sustainability policy implemented in every stage of production. Underlying the broad goals is the need f or
cooperation and collaboration with third - party companies that can provide renewable energy and efficient waste management. Similarly, Walmart would need to find suppliers that sell them materials and products that would be environmentally friendly. Walm have progressed toward these goals, we have seen that the greatest strengths in our business are our associates, suppliers, customers and nongovernmental and governmenta company decides to enact a specific CER sustainability goal, it would need the support from partners in all sectors of society. Not only that, there will also have to be an emphasis on clear, specific objectives with accompanying timeli nes and benchmarks. This report will seek to outline the CER sustainability policy of Walmart and its degree of success or application based on the findings of external surveyor parties. Walmart has tailored its sustainability programs to target some of the biggest challenges facing the world: Poverty and hunger, global population growth, and resource management crease efficiency and before they can be accomplished; it is possible that the goals have to be considered by the management in steps and executed piece - meal. Su stainability 360 the company around the world. The views and suggestions of 100,000 suppliers, 2 million
associates, and hundr eds of millions of customers are considered as part of the improvement plan. They invest resources into ensuring that their production process matches the needs and expectations for the years to come. from associate job descriptions to our interactions with suppliers and guides our decisions based on improving the Susta inable Value Networks Walmart utilized Sustainable Value Networks (SVNs) to integrate sustainable practices into all business operations and functions. Walmart pledges to suppliers, academia, government, and NGOs to develop sol utions to benefit our business, as well Positive changes of innovation and insight, resulting in numerous positive changes to ou r business operations and on the environment. We have become more energy efficient, reduced waste and increased the network will have to be appraised. IV. Appearance vs. Reality: A Case Study of Walmart 2012
Food & Water Watch and the Institute for Local Self - Reliance are independent organizations that assess policy innovations. When deciding the success of a policy, they consider its impact and effect o n the people the program or policy was meant to benefit. benefitted its public image, the campaign itself has strayed far from its objectives. Little has been done to improve the environment, even as Walmart increases its production and product sales. According to their findings, Walmart has been very successful in its advertisement program to increase awareness on its sustainability efforts since launching its sustainability p rogram in 2005. However, the effectiveness of its initiatives on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste reduction, and product improvements are questionable there are allegations that Walmart has slacked and failed to implement many of its object ives promptly or effectively. een shunted to the side and has not A. Low - Quality Products It is possible that to cut the costs of implementing a CER policy, Walmart drove down the quality and durability of consumer goods. They may also have sourced the goods from suppliers that produce sustainable but poor quality products. Because of this lack of quality, clothing, appliances, electronics, and other products wear out faster and contribute to the rise of landfills.
B. Renewable Energy Failures Walmart has been criticized for failing to make the investment in renewable energy initiatives. Althoug h Walmart has reported operating profits of $26.6 billion last year, it excused itself from having to expend more funds on alternative energies: it has sometimes been difficult to find and fund low - carbon technologies that meet out ROI [return - on - investmen t] requirements ( 2012 Global Responsibility Report) electricity usage from renewable power purchases and solar power projects. c onverted to renewable power. This fact begs the question: Is Walmart really committed to sustainability? C. More Greenhouse Gases Despite its goal to further reduce waste and emissions, Walmart company operations now have been rising steadily as the company expands. This emissions rate is expected to increase even more. omised to improve energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions at its 2005 base of stores and distribution centers by 20% by the end of 2012. So far, however, it has cut emissions by less than 13%. Meanwhile, the energy used by new stores built since 2005 is -
While Walmart has publicly expressed support for addressing urgent environmental issues like climate change, its campaign donations reveal a ve ry different agenda. As a major cooperation, its policies should be aligned with the candidates or politicians that they support. In this area as well, the advocacy and research groups feel that Walmart is inconsistent, favor of candidates who consistently vote against the environment, including many leading climate change deniers. disappointed: art has given to members of Congress Environmental Scorecard indicate they vote against the environment most of the time. More than 40% of its donations went to lawmaker s who vote against the environment at least 80% of the time. V. Conclusion Walmart has presented a clear plan of action to help the environment since 2005, but it needs to be more consistent . Despite the costs, the retail leader should consider the expansion of its CER policy as the company itself. Furthermore, it should educate its stockholders on the importance of environmental awareness and the possible benefits of a CER plan. While develo ping and implementing a CER policy is expensive, companies should find a way to balance profits with its commitment to sustainability. Walmart should keep in mind the implications of their operations expansion on the customers or consumers and in terms of CER. Investments to improve or implement the programs in the CER policy should be done diligently Food & Water Watch
and Institute for Local Self - Reliance . It is also important to note that while these institutions are essential for holding major corporations accountable for their actions, analysis should be conducted on their methods and whether they are biased to give an opinion against certain firms.