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January 18, 2017

WRI Partnership Aims to Foster Supply Chain Transparency, Zero-Deforestation Strategies

January 18, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 20 of the world’s largest commodity producers, traders, manufacturers, consultants and retailers launched a new partnership with research institutions and banks to monitor deforestation and manage sustainability from farm to customer. Globally, 366 companies worth $2.9 trillion have committed to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains, but they need better information to make good on their commitments.

The partnership will focus on building a global decision-support tool to increase transparency and traceability across supply chains.

Led by the World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch team, partners include Bunge, Cargill, Carrefour, Conservation International, Daemeter, GIZ - Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Envol Vert, IOI Group, Mars, Mondelēz International, IDH–The Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC/IDB), FMO–Dutch Development Bank, National Wildlife Federation, Rainforest Alliance, Proforest, The Nature Conservancy, Transitions, Unilever and Walmart. It will also contribute to achieving the zero-deforestation goals of the World Economic Forum-convened Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, the Consumer Goods Forum, Banking Environmental Initiative, and more.

The tool will build on the technology and methods developed by WRI on the Global Forest Watch Commodities platform, which currently allows companies to evaluate supply chain risk through high-resolution maps of tree cover loss, near-real-time deforestation and fire alerts, and analysis of individual mills and farms. The new tool will not only be a source of information, but a fully operational management system.

“We already understand the need to combat deforestation in order to protect natural capital, curb climate change and sustainably feed the world. The political will is there,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of WRI. “Now is the time to use the power of information technology to meet those goals, while also generating sustainable business opportunities. That could really change the world.”

Deforestation presents a major risk to businesses, especially those with large agricultural supply chains, and investors are increasingly aware of risks to their portfolios. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of tropical deforestation as forests are cleared for plantations, pastures and farmland. Deforestation can present legal and reputational risks – not to mention billions in potential financial risks – for companies if they source commodities from protected areas or land with disputed ownership. Companies that effectively protect forests while supporting local communities, however, can benefit from a more secure and sustainable supply of materials while preserving ecosystem functions that underpin productive agriculture.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

January 18, 2017

Climate change to shift global pattern of mild weather

PUBLIC RELEASE: 18-JAN-2017

As scientists work to predict how climate change may affect hurricanes, droughts, floods, blizzards and other severe weather, there's one area that's been overlooked: mild weather. But no more.

NOAA and Princeton University scientists have produced the first global analysis of how climate change may affect the frequency and location of mild weather - days that are perfect for an outdoor wedding, baseball, fishing, boating, hiking or a picnic. Scientists defined "mild" weather as temperatures between 64 and 86 degrees F, with less than a half inch of rain and dew points below 68 degrees F, indicative of low humidity.

Knowing the general pattern for mild weather over the next decades is also economically valuable to a wide range of businesses and industries. Travel, tourism, construction, transportation, agriculture, and outdoor recreation all benefit from factoring weather patterns into their plans.

Tropics to lose milder days

The new research, published in the journal Climatic Change, projects that globally the number of mild days will decrease by 10 or 13 percent by the end of the century because of climate warming from the buildup of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The current global average of 74 mild days a year will drop by four days by 2035 and 10 days by 2081 to 2100. But this global average decrease masks more dramatic decreases in store for some areas and increases in mild days in other regions.

"Extreme weather is difficult to relate to because it may happen only once in your lifetime," said first author Karin van der Wiel, a Princeton postdoctoral researcher at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) located on the university's Forrestal Campus. "We took a different approach here and studied a positive meteorological concept, weather that occurs regularly, and that's easier to relate to."

Scientists predict the largest decreases in mild weather will happen in tropical regions because of rising heat and humidity. The hardest-hit areas are expected to be in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where some regions could see 15 to 50 fewer days of mild weather a year by the end of the century. These are also areas where NOAA and partner research shows economic damages due to climate change. The loss of mild weather days, especially during summer, when they can serve to break up extended heatwaves, also could significantly affect public health.

Read more at EurekAlert!

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category : Topics

January 17, 2017

How Does The Davos Crowd View Green Infrastructure, Sustainable Supply Chains, And Conservation Investment?

Author: Steve Zwick

17 January 2017 | While US President-Elect Donald Trump was tweeting dissatisfaction at his perception of how CNN will probably cover his daughter in an upcoming piece, Chinese President Xi Jinping was kicking off the 47th meeting of the World Economic Forum, which this year has the theme “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”. Xi drew applause from business leaders – many from the United States – as he urged delegates to the annual powwow in Davos, Switzerland to embrace inclusive globalization, fair trade, and coordinated action on climate change.

“Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one’s self in a dark room,” Xi said. “Wind and rain might be kept outside, but so are light and air.”

He spoke of the need to balance economy and ecology.

“It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress – to achieve harmony between man and nature, and harmony between man society,” he said. “The Paris Climate Agreement is a hard-won achievement…all signatories should stick to it rather than walk away.”

He vowed that China would not only meet but exceed its current climate commitments – boosting its economy in the process – and he had the numbers to back it up: the country already has more than three times as many renewable jobs as the US does, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, and it plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($360 billion) in renewable energy through 2020.

The meeting comes one week after the 12th Global Risks Report showed that business leaders see climate change, income inequality, and a breakdown of social cohesion as three of the greatest threats to global prosperity.

Fifteen sessions will focus on climate change, and nine will focus on clean energy, while several discussion papers were released to highlight the need to purge deforestation from corporate supply chains.

Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace.

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category : Topics

January 17, 2017

Chinese discard hundreds of cycles-for-hire in giant piles

Staff and agencies
Tuesday 17 January 2017 10.09 GMT

It has been billed as a hi-tech bike-sharing boom that entrepreneurs hope will make them rich while simultaneously transforming China’s traffic-clogged cities.

But, occasionally, dreams can turn sour.

In the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, more than 500 bicycles for hire have been found dumped in huge piles on the streets, according to reports.

Pictures showed jumbled stacks of vehicles nearly three metres high, with handlebars, baskets and other parts scattered on the ground.

City streets around the country have seen an explosion of the colourful bikes that users can rent on demand with a smartphone app and then park wherever they choose.

The sharing economy is taking off in China, where ride-sharing and Airbnb are increasingly commonplace.

From Shanghai to Sichuan province, bike-sharing schemes are being rolled out in an effort to slash congestion and air pollution by putting a country once known as the “Kingdom of Bicycles” back on two wheels.

Companies such as Ofo and Mobike, with their rival fleets of bumblebee yellow and fluorescent orange bikes, have been locked in a cut-throat battle for customers.

But problems have arisen when clients have abandoned their cycles.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

January 17, 2017

Unilever commits to 100 per cent recyclable plastic by 2025

By Ping Manongdo
Tuesday 17 January 2017

Unilever, the maker of ubiquitous food, personal care and home brands such as Knorr soups, Dove soap and Domex on Saturday committed to ensuring that 100 per cent of the plastic packaging in its products is reusable, recyclable and compostable by 2025.

The company also called for the entire fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry to transition from a “take-make-dispose” consumption model towards a circular economy one, where products and manufacturing processes are designed to enable the easy recovery and reuse of resources after the end of an item’s life cycle. In a circular economy, plastic would be repeatedly recycled instead of ending up as trash or marine pollution.

Paul Polman, chief executive officer, said in a statement: “Our plastic packaging plays a critical role in making our products appealing, safe and enjoyable for our consumers.”

“Yet it is clear that if we want to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material, we need to do much more as an industry to help ensure it is managed responsibly and efficiently post consumer-use,” he added.

Currently, just 14 per cent of plastic packaging used globally makes its way to recycling plants, while 40 per cent – worth $80 to $120 billion per year - ends up in landfills.

Nearly a third of global plastics end up in fragile ocean ecosystems, and if this trend continues, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), an economic research group working with Unilever on transitioning to circular economy on its use of plastics.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

January 16, 2017

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals can unlock trillions in new market value

London, 16 January, 2017: The BSDC’s flagship Better Business, Better World report, recognizes that while the last few decades have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, they have also led to unequal growth, increasing job insecurity, ever more debt and greater environmental risks. This mix has fueled an anti-globalization reaction in many countries, with business and financial interests seen as central to the problem, and is undermining the long-term economic growth that the world needs.

The report positions the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a compelling new strategy to reverse this trend, highlighting their potential to unleash innovation, economic growth, and development at an unprecedented scale. However, this potential will not be realized without radical change in the business and investment community. Real leadership is needed for the private sector to become a trusted partner in working with government and civil society to address the flaws in the current economic model.

The BSDC, which is comprised of 35 CEOs and civil society leaders, has spent the last year exploring the key question: “What will it take for business to be central to building a sustainable market economy-one that can help to deliver the SDGs?” The Better Business, Better World report seeks to answer this question while also highlighting the scale of the economic prize that could be available to business if the SDGs are realized.

Read more at WBCSD.

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category : Topics

January 16, 2017

How DONG Energy Turned Black Into Green

January 16, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Danish energy company DONG Energy now ranks number 11 on the Carbon Clean 200 list – a ranking of 200 companies from around the world that are profiting from sustainable energy. The honour comes on the heels of a 10-year milestone, where ‘green’ energy now outpaces black in DONG’s heat and power portfolio.

Back in 2006, DONG Energy was one of the most coal-intensive utilities in Europe, with only 15 percent of the company’s heat and power coming from renewables.

By 2015, more than half of the heat and power produced by Denmark’s largest energy company (55 percent) is now renewable.

DONG Energy’s momentum has not stopped there – several environmental initiatives are either being implemented now or are in the global pipeline. With three gigawatts of installed offshore wind capacity, the company is a leader in offshore wind farm construction. This capacity corresponds to roughly one quarter of the world’s offshore wind capacity. And with the offshore industry booming, dozens of offshore wind farms are planned for construction in both the US and Northern Europe.

Leading the black-to-green transition
Over the past decade, DONG Energy has also closed down coal-fired power plants and replaced coal and gas with sustainable biomass at other plants. In total, the company has reduced its coal consumption by nearly 75 percent. Going forward, the management expects that more than 80 percent of the company’s investments will be sustainable.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

January 15, 2017

E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years

2017•01•15 BONN
The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows.

Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed — Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam — was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

China alone more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015 to 6.7 million tonnes, up 107%.

The first Regional E-waste Monitor: East and Southeast Asia, was compiled by the United Nations University, through its Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) programme and funded by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.

Using UN University’s estimation methodology, the research shows rising e-waste quantities outpacing population growth.

The average e-waste generation per capita in the region was approximately 10 kg in 2015, with the highest generation found in Hong Kong (21.7 kg), followed by Singapore (19.95 kg) and Taiwan, Province of China (19.13 kg).

There were large differences between nations on the per capita scales, with Cambodia (1.10 kg), Vietnam (1.34 kg) and the Philippines (1.35 kg) the lowest e-waste generators per capita in 2015.

The report uniquely presents a summary of the regional e-waste statuses, and it is arranged to allow direct comparisons where possible that can help further the development of e-waste management systems and policies based on other countries’ experiences.

“For many countries that already lack infrastructure for environmentally sound e-waste management, the increasing volumes are a cause for concern,” says co-author Ruediger Kuehr of UN University. “Increasing the burden on existing waste collection and treatment systems results in flows towards environmentally unsound recycling and disposal.”

Read more at the United Nations University website.

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category : Topics

January 12, 2017

Singapore Environment Council launches tougher eco-label for paper

By Vaidehi Shah
Thursday 12 January 2017

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC), the non-profit organisation behind the country’s most prominent eco-certification scheme, on Tuesday unveiled what it calls “some of the world’s toughest environmental standards” for sustainable pulp and paper products.

The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme’s (SGLS) enhanced pulp and paper criteria, which SEC developed in collaboration with consulting giant Deloitte, features new requirements such as peatland protection and fire management.

Peat, a waterlogged and carbon-rich soil that is found across much of Indonesia, has been at the heart of the debate about the paper sector’s environmental impact for decades.

Companies need to drain peat to plant acacia trees, but dry peat is extremely flammable. Much of the burning that occurs in Indonesia every dry season, which engulfs Southeast Asia in a toxic haze almost every year has been caused by fires on dry peat.

Isabella Loh, chairman, SEC, said in a statement that the Singapore Green Label for pulp and paper products became a “rallying point for consumer action against the haze” in 2015.

The enhanced criteria, which was developed in the aftermath of the haze crisis, is an effort by SEC to address root causes of the haze such as peat and forest fires, and “gives consumers the ability to make reliable choices and take action against companies that cause the haze”, shared Loh.

“The green label also gives consumers the ability to reward companies that do the right thing and have a supply chain that has been audited to be sustainable,” she added.

Firms have tried to address the burning through “peatland management”, which entails maintaining water tables just below the surface in concessions and setting aside conservation areas. But environmentalists stress that all peat should be restored to its fully flooded state to prevent irreversible environmental damage.

SEC’s criteria on peatland management examines issues such as biodiversity protection, water management, and rehabilitation of damaged areas.

However, Andy Tait, senior campaign advisor, Greenpeace, told Eco-Business that “this approach from SEC risks being overly simplistic and achieving little”.

“SEC appears to be badly misinformed about peatland management—the reality is that any drainage of peat to plant pulpwood makes it susceptible to fire,” said Tait. “This is not just about uncontrolled drainage.”

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

January 11, 2017

P&G's New Year's Resolution: Zero Waste to Landfill From All Production Sites by 2020

January 11, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Procter & Gamble announced today additional investments in recycling and beneficial reuse that will eliminate all manufacturing waste from its global network of more than 100 production sites by 2020.

Since P&G began qualifying sites as zero manufacturing waste to landfill, 56 percent of its global production sites have achieved this milestone. Plans are now in place to complete the remaining facilities over the next four years. This means eliminating or beneficially reusing roughly 650,000 metric tons of waste, equivalent to the weight of nearly 350,000 mid-sized cars that would typically go to landfills.

“We are accelerating progress toward our long term vision and pushing ourselves to do more – with less waste,” said Shailesh Jejurikar, executive sponsor for sustainability and President of Global Fabric Care. “Since 2010, we’ve been working toward a vision of sending zero manufacturing and consumer waste to landfills. This announcement marks another step on that journey.”

P&G will achieve its zero waste goals by ensuring all incoming materials are either:

- converted into finished product,
- recycled internally or externally, or
- reused in alternative ways through partnerships.

P&G has been focusing on finding unique alternatives for its waste. For example, in Lima, Ohio, liquid waste from detergents such as Tide and Gain are being converted to biogas and other alternative fuels sources to power vehicles. Non-recyclable plastic laminate materials from our plants in Mandideep and Baddi, India are shredded and pressed into low-cost building panels. Through efforts such as these around the globe, P&G is not only reusing and recycling for its own needs, it is investing in local communities by helping convert its waste into raw materials and feedstock for other companies.

Currently, more than half of P&G’s production sites have achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill status, including a broad range of product families and geographic regions. In 19 countries (Germany, UK, Poland, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Belgium, Ireland, Vietnam, Hungary, Indonesia, Czech, Romania, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Pakistan), all manufacturing facilities have met the zero waste qualification, and the company is approaching 100 percent of sites in other countries including China and India.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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