Submitted by: Business for Social Responsibility
Posted: Oct 09, 2012 – 08:00 AM EST
BSR’s new report assesses the total sustainability impacts of commercial transportation fuels as well as the market outlook for a complete range of fuel types. The report will help large-scale fuel purchasers make viable decisions that lessen impacts to the environment and society and enhance economic growth and development.
The report—the first in BSR’s Future of Fuels initiative—synthesizes information that is currently available and offers new research that, for the first time, provides a comprehensive view of the sustainability impacts generated through the life cycle of six fuel types: gas/diesel, natural gas, biofuel, hydrogen, electric power (battery-powered vehicles), as well as the “fuel” represented by greater efficiency.
With world energy consumption set to rise by nearly 40 percent by 2030, the sources and structures of our transportation fuel systems will radically change—in potentially contradictory ways: Even though the production of renewable and hyper-efficient energy is on the rise, the rapid growth in developing economies is driving a quest to uncover the cheapest energy wherever it is found—often without full consideration of sustainability impacts.
“Our research addresses a general dearth of analysis on the total life-cycle impacts and trade-offs of both current and emerging fuel sources, which we need in order to make better decisions about our fuel mix now and in the future,” said Eric Olson, BSR’s Senior Vice President. “And while there are no simple answers and no silver bullets to this challenge, the stakes warrant greater investment in managing the total sustainability of fuels.”
The range of sustainability impacts associated with different fuel options is vast:
BSR’s report outlines key findings related to the sustainability impacts of fuels, the market outlook of fuels, and solutions that will promote long-term sustainability.
Key findings related to the sustainability impacts of fuels:
Key findings related to the market outlook of fuels:
Key findings related to sustainability solutions:
“These findings require that we face some hard truths,” said Olson. “Actions aimed at enhancing the sustainability of fuels will need to address issues associated with oil and gas, which comprise the most significant and ongoing transportation resources. And companies need to think differently—looking at their entire portfolio of fuel investments. This paper provides the most accurate survey possible to establish a shared sense of our challenges and opportunities for progress.”
BSR will publish two more Future of Fuels papers expanding on the findings in the first brief:
For this research, BSR consulted leading companies and purchasers of fuel, including Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase, Nike, Shell, Suncor, UPS, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Walmart; as well as NGOs, academic, and research institutions such as Forest Ethics, the International Labor Organization, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Nature Conservancy, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the World Resources Institute.
The full report is available at www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/report-view/the-sustainability-impacts-of-fuel. BSR is collecting feedback on this paper over the next few weeks. For details, see page 4 of the report or email email@example.com.
Members of the media should contact Eva Dienel.
BSR works with its global network of nearly 300 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.