Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bayer Invests Over a Billion in Climate Change

Reprinted from my post at Green Options-sustainablog on November 26, 2007...

Bayer - the multinational chemical giant that also makes your aspirin - has announced it will spend $1.46 billion dollars in the next three years on a new climate program aimed at cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming.

This is the first I've heard of Bayer taking a leadership role in reducing emissions, but apparently I've been asleep at the wheel. The German company has done quite a bit to cut emissions since 1990 and they say they've already reduced their CO2 output by 36 percent. Rather than using carbon offsets or credits, a big chunk of that reduction has come from energy efficiency.

Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, said in a news release:

"We are well aware that we are an emitter of greenhouse gases. That was why in the past we focused our attention on lowering CO2 emissions."

And they certainly have a lot of emissions to cut: A huge chemical company like Bayer has a lot of pollution to account for but also a lot of opportunity to seize. Some of the CO2-cutting plans for the next several years include:

  • Examining 100 production facilities around the globe (that account for 85 percent of all emissions) using a method called Bayer Climate Check that looks at efficiency and other ways to cut CO2.
  • Develop a concept called EcoCommercial Building to create zero-emission buildings. This will launch in 2008 with the construction of an office building in India.
  • By switching to cleaner, more efficient company cars, Bayer aims to cut vehicle emissions by 20 percent between now and 2012.
  • The Bayer CropScience division is using biotechnology to explore making plants more resistant to droughts and heat.

Can we rest easy knowing Bayer's attacking global warming? Maybe not, but it is encouraging - and a good model for U.S. companies - to see how huge businesses are making real strides in efficiency and climate change solutions.


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