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News Archives

February 26, 2016

South Africa reforms public procurement to save R25bn

posted by Anna Scott
in Procurement, Public sector

South Africa’s finance minister has set out reforms to public purchasing processes that it is hoped will save the government R25bn out of an annual procurement spend of R500bn.

Pravin Gordhan announced in Wednesday’s budget for 2016-17 that it will become mandatory for all government procurement of goods and services to be undertaken through centrally negotiated contracts.

The government is holding talks with its top 100 suppliers to reduce prices and renegotiating contracts for banking services, ICT infrastructure, health technology and learner support materials, he added.

In addition, the procurement process must now be managed through the eTender portal, and no tenders can be submitted on paper. The automated process is expected to reduce corruption by lowering the risk of human intervention to override established protocols, Gordhan claimed.

Read more at CIPS Supply Management News.

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category : Topics

February 25, 2016

Two innovators helping to improve recycling in China

TheCityFix
Thursday 25 February 2016

From air pollution to intense traffic congestion, China faces an array of environmental and resource challenges, many of which are a result of its urbanization and development over the past few decades.

In Beijing—as across most of the country—concerns over unsafe drinking water have spurred many residents to turn to bottled water and other bottled beverages to ensure safety and quality, driving up the number of discarded plastic bottles. Without a municipal recycling system in place, migrant workers are often involved with recycling plastic bottles, selling them in bulk to recycling yards.

However, a few innovators have recognized the economic opportunity in this field and have recently stepped in to help improve recycling in China’s cities.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

February 25, 2016

Strengthened Integration Needed for Effective Action on Air Pollution, Sustainable Consumption, Green Economy

Nairobi, 24 February 2016 - Governments and regional organizations met at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters this week to strengthen the integrated approach to addressing top environmental priorities, such as air quality, sustainable use of resources and transitioning to green economy.

Outcomes of this meeting will determine the second United Nations Environment Assembly's (UNEA's) approach to integration as it gathers in Nairobi, in May, to decide on key environmental issues embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting came on the heels of the Open Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP, held in Nairobi last week, which has set the stage for key UNEA decisions, including addressing the environmental aspects of global humanitarian crises and human health risks.

In his opening remarks, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "To implement the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreements, and ensure we meet our ambitious goals, humanity must work together on a scale unprecedented in history. Tackling each goal separately, working within our own silos, will ultimately lead to trade-offs that will hamper implementation."

UNEP has pioneered the integrated approach to environmental action with several long running, successful initiatives, which have delivered across the three dimensions of sustainable development: the social, the economical and the environmental.

Read more at UNEP News Centre.

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category : Topics

February 24, 2016

Consumers have huge environmental impact

NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The world's workshop -- China -- surpassed the United States as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth in 2007. But if you consider that nearly all of the products that China produces, from iPhones to tee-shirts, are exported to the rest of the world, the picture looks very different.

"If you look at China's per capita consumption-based (environmental) footprint, it is small," says Diana Ivanova, a PhD candidate at Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Industrial Ecology Programme. "They produce a lot of products but they export them. It's different if you put the responsibility for those impacts on the consumer, as opposed to the producer."

That's exactly what Ivanova and her colleagues did when they looked at the environmental impact from a consumer perspective in 43 different countries and 5 rest-of-the-world regions. Their analysis, recently published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, showed that consumers are responsible for more than 60 per cent of the globe's greenhouse gas emissions, and up to 80 per cent of the world's water use.

Read more at EurekAlert!

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category : Topics

February 22, 2016

Indonesia could collaborate with RSPO, official study finds

By Jonathan Vit, Mongabay
Monday 22 February 2016

The Indonesian government’s sustainable palm oil certification program announced the findings of a joint study with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil on Wednesday that details how the two systems might collaborate in the country’s problem-fraught oil palm industry.

The study, which took two years to complete, marks a significant step in developing a working relationship between the agriculture ministry and external sustainability schemes like the RSPO, an industry-led association whose members agree to adhere to more stringent standards than those dictated by Indonesian law.

“Findings from the joint study showed how ISPO and RSPO could complement each other and offer robust solutions for all stakeholders beyond what each could accomplish alone,” said Tiur Rumondang, head of the RSPO’s Indonesia office.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

February 19, 2016

European Commission passes new thresholds for public procurement

The European Commission has amended the thresholds for when EU procurement law applies for the next two years. If an organisation spends less than the threshold, then EU law does not apply. If they spend more, they must take into account the directive in full. The thresholds came into effect on 1 January 2016 and will remain in place until the end of 2017. The procurement directive is expected to be transposed into the national law of each EU member state by 18 April 2016.

The revised threshold for supply and service contracts awarded by central government authorities is €135,000, a €1,000 increase. For other bodies, such as sub-central contracting authorities, it is €209,000. The threshold of €750,000 for light touch regime contracts remains in place. The works contract threshold stands at €5,225,000, up from €5,186,000.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre.

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category : Topics

February 19, 2016

LEDs starting to light India

India Climate Dialogue
Friday 19 February 2016

Just about a year ago, the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The aim was to replace all 770 million incandescent bulbs used in homes and 35 million streetlights with LEDs over three years.

This, it was hoped, would result in a reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 105 billion KWh and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 80 million tonnes every year. The annual saving in electricity bills of consumers, it was estimated, would be Rs 40,000 crore, considering an average tariff of Rs 4 per kWh.

The initiative is very much on track.

By December 2015, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public energy services company under the administration of Ministry of Power, announced that it had crossed the 40 million mark of distributing LED bulbs in India within a span of 25 days.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

February 17, 2016

How many companies does it take to change a lightbulb?

Alison Moodie
Wednesday 17 February 2016 11.00 GMT

Commercial and residential buildings accounted for 41% of all energy produced in the US in 2014, with nearly half of the country’s carbon emissions coming from business and industrial structures. Designing buildings to use energy efficiently – like installing lights that provide the same brightness using less energy, or insulating rooms well to reduce the need for heating and cooling – could save businesses a significant amount of money and reduce their carbon footprint.

In 2011, the US Department of Energy (DOE) launched its Better Buildings Challenge, an initiative to encourage companies to reduce their energy usage by at least 20% within 10 years. The initiative involves nearly 300 organizations, including commercial businesses, universities and municipalities, who collectively have saved 2% on average in energy use annually since 2011.

The latest push by the DOE is a web series, launched today, which highlights what businesses can do to cut wasteful energy. Titled “Better Buildings Challenge Swap”, the series pits two companies against each other, with corresponding team members visiting one another’s properties to pinpoint inefficient energy use and prescribe remedies. In the first few episodes, hotel chain Hilton goes head-to-head with Whole Foods in a three-day swap filmed in December in San Francisco. The DOE says it may produce more episodes if the series attracts interest from more companies.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

February 17, 2016

Sustainable development impossible in Asia-Pacific without better data

By Shamshad Akhtar
Wednesday 17 February 2016

2016 marks the start of the aspirational and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The first priority for all national governments in strategizing for implementation of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and their 169 associated targets, is to address the strengths and weaknesses of data sources, to swiftly determine how best to address the gaps, as well as the complexities of measurement.

Rapid development of the capacities of national statistical institutions will be critical because, fifteen years from now, by the end of the 2030 Agenda, there will be nearly half a billion more people living in our region, all of whom should have reliable access to energy, food, water, education and employment.

Data are the lifeblood of decision-making. Without them, designing, monitoring and evaluating policies for sustainable development becomes almost impossible. The breadth and depth of the new development agenda entails complex decisions about the future of our planet, our communities and our economies.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

February 16, 2016

An Unloved Light Bulb Shows Signs of Burning Out

By Christina Nunez
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 16, 2016

Many consumers spent the last two decades swapping out their old incandescent light bulbs for CFLs in the name of greater efficiency. The spiral tubes used less energy, saved money, lasted longer—and people hated them.

Now CFLs, or compact fluorescent lamps, are slowly disappearing from stores. Home retailer IKEA stopped selling them in all its locations last year, and now manufacturer GE has penned a cheeky Dear John letter to the technology, saying it will stop making the bulbs in the United States.

“I can see clearly now that LED is my future,” the letter says, referring to the light-emitting diodes that have gained sales as their prices drop. The latest U.S. numbers show CFL shipments down 28 percent from last year, while LEDs are up a whopping 237 percent, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. And under new U.S. standards proposed Friday, current CFLs won't even be efficient enough to make the cut.

While the prognosis isn’t good, the obituary for CFLs can’t be written just yet.

Read more at National Geographic.

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category : Topics

February 15, 2016

Five ways companies can turn trash into cash

JLL Real Views
Monday 15 February 2016

Recycling bins have long been a familiar sight in many offices, encouraging employees to do their bit with used paper and lunch packaging.

Now, some companies are making recycling work for them, turning their ‘trash into cash’ while achieving zero waste buildings.

For example, in Kawasaki, Japan, part of the Keihin Industrial Area, multiple corporations engaged in heavy industry like JFE Group and Nippon Oil Corporation and high technology such as Fujitsu, NEC Corporation, Toshiba, Dell Japan and Sigma Corporation, now divert 586,000 tons of waste from landfills annually – more than the total of municipal waste generated.

Likewise, US-based companies like Dell and Kraft are able to recycle or reuse 95 per cent of the materials used in their global manufacturing operations.

And yet, there’s a common perception that setting up zero-waste programs and infrastructure is expensive. This is not the case, says Ana Wyssmann, JLL’s Solid Waste Program Manager, who participated in a recent Greenbuild International Conference panel discussion on the subject.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

February 12, 2016

Trending: WRAP, Veolia Working to Optimize Recycling in UK, France

by Hannah Furlong

While waste reduction charity WRAP calls on stakeholders to do their part to help improve recycling consistency and efficiency in England, three companies in France have partnered on a circular economy initiative for small household appliances.

Today, WRAP announced the start of the second phase of its cross-industry project to improve household waste and recycling collections in England. The organization will further investigate the scenarios, models and approaches to improving recycling consistency identified in the project’s first phase, as well as publish the findings in a report this summer.

“We are looking to develop a vision for England that will offer local authorities a way to recycle greater volumes of higher quality materials whilst reducing costs, delivering good services to residents and supporting growth in the recycling sector. It won’t be a one size fits all solution and we want to work with local authorities, to demonstrate the business case for change,” Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP, said. “This is not just about what local authorities do though, all parts of the value chain have a role to play in achieving greater consistency and improving recycling.”

Resources Minister Rory Stewart added, “I urge the whole waste sector to work together with us over the coming years to deliver greater consistency in the way we recycle.”

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 11, 2016

RSPO launches new, stricter palm oil label

By Vaidehi Shah
Thursday 11 February 2016

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has launched a new label called RSPO Next, which allows palm oil growers to brand their products as exceeding the association’s minimum standards on environmental and social responsibility.

The industry group, which has since 2010 certified palm oil which is grown in accordance with its rules on sustainable palm oil cultivation, said on Tuesday in a statement that the new label is a voluntary add-on to its existing criteria, and companies can decide on their own timelines for compliance to the standard.

About 20 per cent of the world’s total palm oil supply is certified under the existing certification, known as the RSPO trademark.

Many palm oil giants such as Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources and Cargill have in recent years gone beyond the basic standards to make zero-deforestation commitments, and to halt development on carbon-rich peatland, among other things.

However, these practices are not currently required to obtain the RSPO stamp and hence, the existing RSPO label does not reflect these additional efforts by companiesto break the link between palm oil and deforestation.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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February 5, 2016

Study: Companies Prioritizing Supply Chain Sustainability, But the Real Work Remains Ahead

by Yves Leclerc , David South

Our recent research suggests that sustainability is gaining some traction in business, yet few organizations have taken meaningful steps toward developing a green supply chain. Furthermore, North American companies lag their European counterparts.

While the concept of “sustainability” is the subject of much discussion in boardrooms, many organizations still struggle with determining what sustainability means for their businesses and supply chains — and more significantly, with committing the resources necessary to make meaningful change.

West Monroe Partners and the Supply and Value Chain Center at Loyola University Chicago wanted to gain insight into how companies are addressing sustainability in their supply chains and adapting to changing consumer preferences. So we recently surveyed more than 50 executives of companies ranging in size from $100 million to over $120 billion across an array of industries. This study follows on our previous year’s research, which examined whether consumers would be willing to pay more or wait longer to have products delivered sustainably.

The bottom line: Just over half (51 percent) of U.S. supply chain and sustainability leaders said they consider developing a sustainable supply chain a current strategic priority, and an additional 36 percent plan to address it in the short, mid or long term. The leading motivators for pursuing sustainability initiatives are brand improvement, followed by innovation in products and processes. Factors such as cost-reduction opportunities, competition, and lobbying have had less influence.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

February 4, 2016

Green shops make more money

By Vaidehi Shah
Thursday 4 February 2016

Retail shop owners who include sustainable features such as natural light, greenery, and ample ventilation into their stores can expect happier staff and customers, and also higher profits, a new report by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) has found.

Launched on Monday, the industry body’s report, titled, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Retail: The Impact of Green Buildings on People and Profit, discovered that while many retailers know that sustainable shop design and management can improve their business performance, they are slow to implement changes in their stores.

The report aimed to help retailers cash in on this missed opportunity by giving them a toolkit which they can use to quantify the value of sustainability on people’s well-being and ultimately, sales.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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February 4, 2016

GPP 2020 tutorial videos outline how to calculate energy and CO2 savings

A series of videos have been produced to guide users through the GPP 2020 carbon and energy calculators, a collection of excel tools which help procurers and decision-makers to measure the energy and carbon emissions saved by opting for a low-carbon tender rather than a standard tender. By providing this information, procurers and decision-makers can make smarter procurement choices.

Calculators are available for four product groups: Energy Contracting, Office ICT, Street Lighting, and Vehicles Calculators. Each video shows the tool being used to calculate savings in real-time, with a clear voice over explaining the process. The tool works by calculating an estimated saving against a standard tender for each product, thereby providing a clear idea of the impact of including low-carbon criteria in the tender.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Resource Centre.

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category : Topics

February 3, 2016

Time to crack down on car pollution - the silent killer with powerful friends

Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor
3rd February 2016

Air pollution from vehicles is killing tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone, write Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, an outrage set into stark focus by VW's 'test cheating'. The EU's response? To relax tests and allow cars to be more polluting - with the full support of the UK government.

Faced with a public health crisis, responsible for nearly half a million premature deaths in Europe each year, we would expect an emergency response.

We would not expect those responsible for creating such a deadly crisis to be allowed to continue getting away with it.

And it would certainly be reasonable to expect those with the power to kerb such a catastrophe take all necessary action to deal with it, rather than colluding with the perpetrators.

Read more at the Ecologist.

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February 2, 2016

Vote to Allocate Part of €1M Global Change Award to Your Favorite Circular Textile Innovation

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the US alone generates an estimated 24 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW), which ends up in landfills each year — the equivalent of about 70 pounds of textiles per person. Larger apparel brands such as H&M and The North Face are working to help minimize textile waste through take-back programs, campaigns and collections made from recycled fabrics, while enterprising startups and even the European Union are creating circular processes and economic models.

Add to the list the solutions presented by the five winners of the first-ever Global Change Award — a €1 million challenge for early-stage innovation in the fashion industry. Introduced in August by the non-profit H&M Conscious Foundation, the goal of the Award is to catalyze bold, pioneering ideas to help protect the planet by closing the loop for fashion.

The first five winning ideas range from creating new textiles out of citrus juice by-products and an online marketplace for recycling of textile leftovers to using microbes to recycle waste polyester. Now, the global public is asked to allocate the €1 million grant between the winners in an online vote this week.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 2, 2016

Useful waste is win-win solution for energy and food

February 2, 2016, by Paul Brown

LONDON, 2 February, 2016 – The future is increasingly bright for renewable energy, with the US aiming to cut the price of solar photovoltaics by 75% between 2010 and 2020. Denmark plans to obtain 50% of its energy from wind just five years from now.

But one form of renewable energy – and one which attracts few headlines – manages to create two useful products at the same time, and is making a growing contribution to combatting climate change.

The medieval alchemists who sought to turn base metal into gold would have thrilled at chemistry that let them turn waste into both fuel and fertiliser. Their twenty-first century successors have discovered the secret of doing exactly that.

Unwanted food, animal waste, municipal rubbish, crop and forestry residues, sewage and dozens of other left-overs of civilisation can and are now being turned into methane to generate electricity, provide district heating and to fuel road vehicles.

Read more at Climate News Network.

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February 1, 2016

Funding problems hit plan to clean Rio's polluted waterways ahead of Olympics

Oliver Balch
Monday 1 February 2016 12.12 GMT

With the Olympic Games just months away, Rio de Janeiro has a problem: rubbish. Hundreds of tonnes of unprocessed waste flow into the Guanabara Bay every year. The problem isn’t new but the prospect of Olympic swimmers and sailors taking to Rio’s contaminated waters have put the issue in the spotlight.

Previous promises from Rio officials to “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways” through investment in sanitation have not delivered results. Could the Dutch environment ministry have better luck? In an ambitious and diplomatically unorthodox move it has pulled together some of the country’s leading waste experts, including businesses and NGOs, to propose a variety of innovative solutions under the name Clean Urban Delta Initiative [pdf].

“Guanabara Bay is so polluted that we need all hands on deck to solve this sooner rather than later,” says Yvon Wolthuis, a sustainability expert and co-developer of the Clean Urban Delta Initiative. “Plus, there’s so much happening in an urban bay environment like Rio that you can’t just rely on one governance model or technology to fix it.”

The initiative has backing from the World Bank and the Dutch Development Bank and aims to showcase Dutch water management expertise. It lays out 20 separate proposals to deal with Guanabara Bay’s water pollution and solid waste challenges.

Read more at The Guardian.

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