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Cottage Grove Plant Contamination[edit]

3M states that the PFC contamination of the Mississippi River and surrounding area near the company's Cottage Grove plant will be "cleaned though a combination of groundwater pumpout wells and soil sediment excavation."[1] The plan for the restoration of the area includes a complete analysis of the entire company property and surrounding lands. [2] The Perfluorochemicals have been released into the environment surrounding the facility starting in the 1940's and lasting until 2002. [3] The chemicals produced are the result of the companies non-stick cookware, stain resistant fabrics, and other similar products. [4] The on-site water treatment facility that handles the plant's post-production water is not capable of removing the PFCs, which were pumped into the nearby Mississippi River. [5] Perfluorochemicals do not break down or degrade in the environment."[6]

3M rates as number 70 out of the United State's 100 top air polluters on the PERI Toxic 100 table, producing 4.75 million pounds of air pollutants every year. [7] The Cottage Grove site represents 3M's third highest pollutant producing facility, releasing 244,715 lbs. of pollution into the air yearly.[8]

Environmental record[edit]

Among oil corporations, Sunoco and BP are listed as the most environmentally responsible in the latest version of the Sierra Club's Updated Environmentalist's Guide to Gasoline[9]. Sunoco is also the only oil company to sign the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) principal and as part of this agreement, Sunoco has made all of its environmental activities -- both successes and failures -- publicly available.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified Sunoco as the 55th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 1.7 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air.[10] Major pollutants indicated by the study include nickel compounds, naphthalene, aniline, and benzene. [11]

Environmental Record[edit]

Data centers are notorious for requiring large quantities of power to maintain a cool temperatures for the technology they house. Microsoft is certainly no exception with its large data centers and many campuses, but the company has begun to take strides to combat these problems and become more environmentally friendly.[12] Microsoft's newest building on its campus in Hyderabad, India was built from the ground up to be an environmentally friendly structure. The building is oriented in such a way that it is hidden from direct sunlight 70 percent of the time, and the walls of the building that receive the most sunlight are made of solid masonry, which decreases heat penetration allowing for lower energy demands for climate control. [13] The building also employs the use of double-glazed windows and sunshades which both aide in reduction of energy usage. [14] A reservoir is also being built with the building to collect up to 36,000 cubic meters of rainwater, which will provide irrigation to the 48-acre campus, resulting in less demand on the local water supply. [15] The reservoir will also supply water-cooled air conditioners, which are more energy efficient. [16] Each office is also equiped with sensors to shut the lights off if the room is unoccupied for longer than 10 minutes. [17]

Microsoft has also phased out the use of polyvinyl chloride plastic in its packaging material, due to environmental concerns. [18] Polyvinyl chloride, also referred to as PVC or vinyl, can release toxins into the environment during production and if it is burned after production. These toxins are synthetic chemicals that can be linked to cancer, and issues with the reproductive and immune systems. [19] In six months time, Microsoft was able to eliminate approximately 361,000 pounds of polyvinyl packaging by transitioning to a packaging utilizing polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET). [20] The company continues to research further eco-friendly packaging made of corn starch, sugar, and vegetable oil. [21]

Microsoft is also striving to be an example in the use of renewable energy sources in its silicon valley campus, where the company has installed over 2,000 solar panels spanning 30,000 square feet on top of its buildings. [22] These panels supply 480 kilowatts of power, generating approximately 15 percent of the total energy needed by the campus and cutting the greenhouse gasses that would otherwise be produced to supply that power . [23]

Microsoft also employs a free mass transit system for its 35,000 employees in the Seattle area and shuttles its workers with hybrid cars on its main campus. [24] Microsoft also uses an irrigation system in its campuses that upcoming weather changes, saving 11 million gallons of water every year. [25] The company has received a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program for environmental design. [26]

Environmental Record[edit]


On May 8th, 2008 eBay announced the opening of its newest building on the companies North Campus in San Jose, which is the first structure in the city to be built from the ground up to LEED Gold Standards. [27] The building, the first the company has built new in its 13 year existence, utilizes a solar panel array comprised of 3,248 solar panels, spanning 60,000 square feet, and providing 650 kilowatts of power to eBay's campus. [28][29] All told the array can supply the company with 15-18 percent of it's total energy requirements, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that would be produced to create that energy by other means. [30] SolarCity, the company responsible for designing the array, estimates that the solar panels installed on eBay's campus will prevent 37 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment as a result of replaced power production over the next three decades. [31] Creating an equivalent impact to remove the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would require planting 322 acres of trees. [32] The design of the building also incorporates other elements to reduce its impact on the environment. The building is equipped with a lighting system that detects natural ambient light sources and automatically dims artifical lighting to save 39 percent of the power usually required to light an office building. [33] eBay's newest building also reduces demand on local water supplies by incorporating an eco-friendly irrigation system, low-flow shower heads, and low-flow faucets. [34] Even during construction, more than 75 percent of the waste from construction was recycled. [35] eBay also runs busses between San Francisco and the San Jose campus to reduce the number of commuting employees. [36]

Eco-minded individuals can see this as a step in the right direction following a poor overall economic rating of eBay by the Climate Counts Group, where eBay received five points out of 100 total in the environmental scorecard.[37]

Environmental Record[edit]

UPS, as the worlds largest package delivery company with 94,500 vehicles in operation, faces extraordinary environmental challenges.[38] To help offset the emissions footprint that is created by their delivery trucks, UPS placed the largest order to date of alternative commercial vehicles from Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) on May 14th, 2008.[39] The order is comprised of 200 hybrid electric vehicles and 300 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. [40] The 200 hybrid electric vehicles will begin operation in 2009, joining the 50 hybrids the company already has in service. The hybrids alone are expected to reduce the companies fuel consumption by 176,000 gallons yearly and lesson carbon dioxide emissions by 1,786 metric tons annually, the same as removing 100 standard UPS delivery vehicles from the streets every year. The 300 compressed natural gas vehicles, which reduce emissions by 20 percent when compared to the cleanest burning diesel engines, will join 800 similar vehicles already in operation by UPS later this year. This order for alternative-fuel vehicles will expand UPS's GreenFleet by 30 percent to 2,218 low-carbon vehicles, which is the largest in the United States. [41] From 2000 to the present day, UPS's alternative fuel vehicles have traveled over 126 million miles. [42]

UPS already operates more than 20,000 low-emission vehicles, with more being added continually as less eco-friendly vehicles are replaced. [43]

UPS received a 'starting' rating of 39 points out of 100 total on the environmental scorecard by the Climate Counts Group for their efforts to lesson the companies impact on the environment. [44] UPS has also been awarded the Clean Air Excellence Award by the United States Environmental Protection Agency because of the alternative fuel program they have developed. [45]


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  9. ^ Pick Your Poison: An Updated Environmentalist's Guide to Gasoline - January/February 2007 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club
  10. ^ Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 (Study released May 11, 2006) retrieved 17 Aug 2007
  11. ^ Toxics Release Inventory courtesy
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  38. ^,2305,1140,00.html
  39. ^“green-fleet”.htm
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  42. ^,2305,1140,00.html
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