Maybe Forcing Companies To Stop Polluting Won't Actually Raise Their Costs

A hardening thought is forming around the idea that forcing companies to cut back on emissions will lead to increases in energy prices. Perhaps that thought needs to soften.

The World Wildlife Fund is going to Washington to show off the results of a voluntary emissions reduction program. They have 21 companies participating in the Climate Savers program, including corporate titans like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola (COKE) and I.B.M (IBM). They’ve found that companies that reduce emissions through energy reduction are saving money.

They will have reduced emissions by 50 million tonnes between 1999 and 2010. From what these companies have discovered, money can be saved by becoming more efficient and less wasteful. A rather shocking idea, we know, but apparently it’s true for a few companies.

  • At Catalyst, for example, the reductions are equivalent to eliminating more than a million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually. Between 2002 and 2005, the company cut its fossil fuel use by 46 per cent, or about 690,000 barrels of oil, and avoided $13 million in cost. According to W.W.F., the company also expects to have saved more than $5 million by reducing its electricity use by 2 per cent in 2006.
  • Lafarge, a large cement manufacturer and a big energy user, will announce that it beat its voluntary target of reducing emissions by 10 per cent in industrialized countries between 1990 and 2010, with a 12.5 per cent reduction between by 2008. It is also getting closer to its goal to cutting its net carbon dioxide emissions worldwide by 20 per cent. By 2008, it had cut them by 18.4 per cent.

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