IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network



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February 20, 2017

WWF: Sustainability Standards Unlock New Market Opportunities, Accelerate SDGs

February 20, 2017
by Libby MacCarthy

Changing consumer attitudes and the reality of climate change have shifted the conversation about the business case for sustainability. For more and more companies, embedding sustainable business practices into operations, business models and missions is no longer optional — it is now imperative in order to remain competitive.

New case studies and data are emerging all the time further validating this point, and a new report published by WWF and ISEAL is the latest example of how forward-thinking businesses can unlock new market opportunities by implementing intelligent and credible sustainability standards across their operations.

Entitled SDGs Mean Business: How Credible Standards Can Help Companies Deliver the 2030 Agenda illustrates how such standards can deliver direct benefits to companies and small-scale producers, while also accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Poverty, inequality, water scarcity, climate change and the loss of biodiversity are significant risks for businesses and aligning with the SDGs represents an opportunity,” said Richard Holland, director, Global Conservation Division at WWF International. “While leading companies have already made far-reaching commitments to help address climate change, deforestation and decent work, the majority of business sectors are not yet delivering on their responsibility towards the Agenda 2030.”

Sustainability standards translate the broad concept of sustainability into specific, concrete measures for companies and their suppliers. With broad uptake, they can move whole sectors toward improved social, environmental and economic performance. They are also an important mechanism to help companies reach their targets by scaling-up sustainable practices, and can be used at every point in the value chain — enabling producers, harvesters and processors to achieve a recognized level of sustainability, and traders, manufacturers and retailers to address the impacts of their supply chains. This can make a major contribution to the SDGs.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

February 20, 2017

Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference turns spotlight on e-Government Procurement

Colombo, February 20, 2017— Today, Sri Lanka welcomed the Heads of Public Procurement Agencies or Authorities of eight South Asian countries to the Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference. The conference was inaugurated by H.E President Maithripala Sirisena.

The theme of the conference, “E-GP in South Asia – Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges,” throws the spotlight on how E-Government Procurement can support countries in boosting the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of their public procurement systems.

While South Asian countries find themselves at different stages in the introduction and operationalizing of E-GP systems, it is seen as a tool that not only enables strategic public procurement, but can provide a wealth of data that feeds back into the steady improvement and increasing effectiveness of E-GP services.

Addressing the gathering, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka said: “At the World Bank, we are committed to procurement reforms with a view to improving market efficiency and better service delivery.” She added, “It is well understood, and illustratable with examples from many parts of the world, that weak procurement systems steer investments away from development and hence minimize the impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity.”

The Colombo conference is the fourth in a series of South Asia Region Public Procurement Conferences. The first installment was in Kathmandu, Nepal in April 2011, the second in Islamabad, Pakistan in March 2014, and the most recent in Dhaka, Bangladesh in November 2015.

Read more at The World Bank.

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category : Topics

February 17, 2017

How a German Startup Is Making the ‘Magic of Light’ Affordable in Developing Countries

February 17, 2017
by Tom Idle

Beatrice Akyoo doesn’t need to spend as much money lighting her home, and her children have more time for homework without inhaling the nasty fumes from kerosene lamps. She also earns extra income by charging her neighbours’ mobile phones.

“I am proud to own my personal electricity source,” she says. “At night, my family now has clean and bright lights - and we can even power a refrigerator."

It may not sound like much to those in the West, but some two billion people around the world don’t have a reliable electricity source to meet their daily energy needs. In the 90 percent of households in rural Tanzania, Kenya or Rwanda that don’t have electricity, they use kerosene lamps, batteries or - if they’re very wealthy - a generator.

“All of these options are fairly bad news,” Thomas Duveau, head of business development at Berlin-based solar energy company Mobisol, said in a recent interview.

The answer for Ankyoo – as you may now guess – is solar power. With ample capacity in Europe, scaling it in Africa is a no-brainer: As Duveau points out, “There’s certainly a lot more sun in Tanzania than in Germany.”

Mobisol harnesses two realities: Affordability is a challenge (“very few people have $500 lying around their house in Tanzania”); and there is an existing, developed technology on the ground – using SMS on mobiles phones to wire money.

The company offers households in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya a small leasing model where recipients can pay for a solar system in installments with their mobile phone over three years. This gives low-income people in developing countries a clean alternative to fossil fuels – and after the three years, they own the electricity source.

The sun-harvesting system – which Mobisol designs, procures, distributes and services – is high-tech, long-life and a better value proposition for users than their previous energy sources. Powering three kerosene lights for four hours, as is typical in a Tanzanian household, would use about half a litre of kerosene and cost 50¢ a day.

“For exactly the same price, we bring in a solar system,” Duveau explains. “So we put a panel on your roof, bring a battery, bring you LED lights – which are much brighter, and much nicer – we bring a machine that recharges mobile phones, we bring a radio and a TV.”

Mobisol solar systems vary from 80 to 200 watt-peak (Wp), depending on the recipient’s needs. They provide enough electricity to power household appliances, as well as small businesses, giving the entrepreneurial the opportunity to create an income. In fact, around a third of Mobisol customers earn incremental income with the system. The largest model has the capacity to power a fridge, so some customers sell beverages or farm produce. Many charge phones, like Akyoo, or sell their surplus energy to their community.

The business is scaling up the use of renewable energy systems across the region: Since being founded in 2010, Mobisol has installed over 70,000 solar home systems on households and businesses in East Africa, giving roughly 350,000 people access to clean, affordable and reliable solar energy.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

February 16, 2017

Green Public Procurement Webinar series available on Youtube

16 February 2017

The GPP capacity-building project GreenS has made a series of recent webinars publicly available on its YouTube channel. The webinars will be of considerable value for public procurers at various levels including those at an early stage in developing GPP.

The GreenS project aims to expand the implementation of Sustainable Energy Action Plans at the local and regional level, and has produced a library of GPP and SEAP training materials in several languages.

Topics covered by the webinars include: how to prepare a good GPP training package; introducing GPP; legal aspects of GPP; calculating CO2 and energy savings; using GPP strategically in your organisation; and market engagement practices to ensure GPP success.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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category : Topics

February 12, 2017

Microfibers are polluting our food chain. This laundry bag can stop that

Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sunday 12 February 2017 15.00 GMT

For the past three years, Alexander Nolte and Oliver Spies, surfing buddies and co-owners of Langbrett, a German retailer with four stores that sells surf gear and outdoor apparel, have been haunted by news reports connecting many of the products they sell to an emerging but serious environmental threat: microfiber pollution. Synthetic textiles, such as fleece jackets, send tiny plastic fibers into wastewater after washing. These bits eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and our oceans, where they pose health threats to plants and animals. The two men knew they had to act.

“We said, ‘either we have to stop selling fleece [apparel] or we have to think of a solution’,” explains Nolte. “So we went out to our beer garden and said ‘what can we do?’”

The beer-filled brainstorming session eventually led to Guppy Friend, a mesh laundry bag, that goes into the washing machine. The bag captures shedding fibers as clothes are tossed and spun, preventing the fibers from escaping. It’s roomy enough for a couple of fleece jackets or other apparel made of synthetic fabric. In two weeks, Langbrett, in partnership with outdoor clothing company Patagonia, will start shipping the Guppy Friend to the backers of their Kickstarter campaign. Patagonia will then begin selling the bag to customers.

The Guppy Friend is the first device designed and marketed specifically to prevent microfiber pollution. Microfibers are tiny, so they can easily move through sewage treatment plants. Natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, biodegrade over time. But synthetic fibers are problematic because they do not biodegrade, and tend to bind with molecules of harmful chemical pollutants found in wastewater, such as pesticides or flame retardants. Plus, fibers from apparel are often coated with chemicals to achieve performance attributes such as water resistance. Studies have shown health problems among plankton and other small organisms that eat microfibers, which then make their way up the food chain. Researchers have found high numbers of fibers inside fish and shellfish sold at markets.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

February 10, 2017

Corporate Procurement Officers Say Sustainability Now Key Criteria For Purchases

By Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace

10 February 2017 | More and more companies are incorporating sustainability criteria into their procurement activities, according to new research released February 7.

The 2017 Sustainable Procurement Barometer, published jointly by Paris-based sustainability consultancy EcoVadis, and the Hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) business school, is the first Barometer report since 2013, and it shows a sharp increase in sustainability awareness. The findings echo those of the Forest Trends Supply Change project, which shows steadily increasing corporate action to halt deforestation.

The new Barometer report is built on a survey of 120 procurement officers, primarily in the manufacturing and retail sectors. Ninety-seven percent of the respondents listed sustainability it as one of their top five priorities, up from 93% in 2013. Sustainability, however, has yet to make the top three overall, which are: cost savings, compliance and risk reduction.

This increase in intent is also reflected in Supply Change, which tracks corporate commitments to reduce deforestation related to the “big four” commodities responsible for most deforestation – namely, soy, palm, cattle and timber & pulp, . It’s seen the number of commitments increase from 307 in early 2015 to 579 in June of last year to 764 now. A new analysis of findings, due in March, is expected to show a dramatic increase in transparency around the implementation of those pledges.

Read more at the article from the Ecosystem Marketplace.

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category : Topics

February 9, 2017

Trending: Food Industry Aims to Cut Waste with Two New Food Labeling Schemes

February 9, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Food waste and plastic packaging pose significant sustainability challenges for the food industry, but two new labeling initiatives in the US and abroad endeavor to change that.

“Best by” and “sell by” labels intended to inform consumers about food quality and safety have never been touted for their clarity. The terminology often confuses consumers, leading them to throw out food items prematurely.

In an effort to reduce food waste, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) will be introducing a new regulation this year requiring brands to use the term “Best if Used By.”

A 2013 study co-authored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic found that approximately $165 billion worth of food is wasted each year, simply because consumers do not fully understand the meaning of the dates that are printed on food packaging.

“We’ve all been there. We’ve taken milk out of the refrigerator, ready to pour it onto our bowl of cereal, when we notice yesterday’s date appears on the milk jug. The milk gets poured down the drain, and there goes our breakfast,” said Jill Carte, category manager of Food Safety at DayMark Safety Systems, a manufacturer of grab-and-go food labelling systems and other labelling systems for the food service industry.

“Much of the problem stems from the old ‘best by’ and ‘sell by’ date-marking system. The study reports that 90 percent of consumers assume that a date printed on a food package represents the date that the item expires — which is not always the situation,” she added.

According to Carte, the ‘best by’ and ‘sell by’ date often represents the food item’s peak freshness — not its edibility.

The change in terminology is not only expected to help reduce food waste, but it could help consumers save big at the supermarket. Carte estimates that families could save approximately $1,000 annually, allowing food to be consumed, marketed or donated past the freshness date, which will also provide a boost for the food industry as a whole.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

February 9, 2017

UK grocer first in Europe to use new trucks fuelled by food waste

by Umberto Bacchi
Thursday, 9 February 2017 18:20 GMT

ROME, Feb 9 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A British supermarket has become the first retailer in Europe to use a new type of tank that keeps trucks motoring on fuel made from food waste for 500 miles, almost twice the current average.

The longer driving range - capacity had held back earlier green fuel options - could entice more business to turn to low-emission lorries and thereby help fight global warming.

"We will be able to make deliveries to our stores without having to refuel away from base," Justin Laney of the John Lewis Partnership, which runs the Waitrose grocery chain, said in a statement on Thursday.

Gas provider CNG Fuels said the upmarket grocery chain had added 10 trucks to its fleet, all powered by renewable biomethane gas, which emits 70 percent less carbon dioxide than diesel.

Transport accounts for about a quarter of Europe's planet-warming emissions, which the European Union has pledged to cut by 40 percent before 2030 under the 2015 Paris climate deal.

Biomethane gas is made from food waste, which is also a source of greenhouse gases.

The lorries, manufactured by Swedish truck maker Scania, can run on the green fuel for 500 miles, 200 miles more than the average, thanks to a carbon fibre tank that is lighter and holds more gas, the companies said in a joint statement.

Biomethane trucks' low range was previously an issue for many European hauliers and CNG Fuels CEO Philip Fjeld says they are now more likely to switch from diesel to natural gas.

Read more at Thomas Reuters Foundation News.

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category : Topics

February 9, 2017

French toolkit helps procurers to purchase sustainable catering

9 February 2017

A new toolkit to help public procurers purchase better catering services has been launched by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry (MAAF). The toolkit aims to increase demand for locally supplied, high-quality and environmentally friendly foods.

Titled Localim, the toolkit provides buyers with methodological support in their purchasing practices, as well as extensive information on products, channels, suppliers, product purchasing arrangements and regulatory frameworks. Through using the toolkit, it is foreseen that procurers will be able to significantly improve their purchasing practices.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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category : Topics

February 8, 2017

Three Tackles E-Waste, Tech Gap with Reconnected Recycling Scheme

February 8, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Communications provider Three UK is attempting tackle the ever-growing e-waste problem while connecting disadvantaged citizens to the digital world with a new recycling initiative aimed at redistributing unused mobile phones across the UK.

Three’s Reconnected scheme encourages the public to donate their old or unused mobile phones to people at risk, including the homeless, individuals who have left the military and victims of domestic abuse.

The company has partnered with recycling firm GSUK to review the quality and condition of the phones being delivered, and any handsets that fail to meet testing standards will be recycled. Three has also teamed up with the charity Good Things Foundation, an organization that helps people develop digital skills.

“Reconnected is a simple but very effective way to help those in need to get online. Initially, we rolled the scheme out internally and the feedback from our employees has been fantastic,” said Vicki Blenkarn, Three’s director of engagement.

“We are therefore so excited to launch Reconnected with the public to get even more people involved. Whether it’s keeping touch with family or checking updates on job websites such as LinkedIn, phones have become part of our lives. Handing over an unused phone is a small gesture that can make a huge difference.”

Individuals that receive the re-distributed handsets will receive 90 days of free access to the Three network, after which they can keep the handsets and choose a contract that best suits them.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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