IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network



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June 12, 2024

How sustainable public procurement advances New European Bauhaus

Within the Big Buyers Working Together (BBWT) project, a Community of Practice (CoP) focused on the New European Bauhaus (NEB) is the first European initiative to explore meaningful links between the NEB and sustainable public procurement. This CoP, led by ICLEI Europe, kicked off recently with a webinar that explored cases of how sustainable public procurement can help advance the NEB principles.

Eytan Levi of Roofscapes explained how a tender of the City of Paris (France) enabled his organisation to transform pitched and slanted roofs in the city into green and accessible spaces. In the context of climate change, green roofs are especially important as they can help cool the city. At the same time they provide green spaces for the inhabitants of the building and have a positive impact on biodiversity.

In the second case study, the Mayor of Beclean (Romania) Nicolae Moldovan highlighted the prize-winning Legacy Recreation Center in his city. The project is aimed at the inclusion of people with social needs, allowing them to find a diversity of recreational, social and leisure activities in one place. The centre includes a library, a yoga centre, fitness, bowling, a sports hall, two swimming pools.

The BBWT project supports collaboration between public buyers with strong purchasing power and promotes the wider use of strategic public procurement for innovative and sustainable solutions. It is comprised of 10 CoPs coordinated by ICLEI Europe alongside Eurocities and BME on behalf of the European Commission. Each CoP is devoted to the purchase of a specific product, work or service where European collaboration is needed with the aim of developing more strategic and innovative procurement approaches.

In addition to the NEB, ICLEI leads three additional CoP’s in BBWT, namely Social Procurement, Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles and Sustainable Solar. More information about these communities can be found on the Public Buyers Community Platform. In addition, The European Commission recently produced a deep dive on the work of the Sustainable Solar CoP including a news article on the key challenges of the group in the context of the current EU-wide shift towards renewable energy, a factsheet that provides more info on the mission, key strategies and objectives of the group, and an introductory video.

Learn more at ICLEI Europe website.

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June 4, 2024

Circular Built Environment Working Group: exploring social dimensions and measuring circularity in the buildings and construction sector

The Circular Built Environment working group advocates for the uptake of circularity standards and practices through the buildings and construction sector at a national level, alongside key partners such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) at a buildings level, who had recently announced the development of the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) for Buildings Framework. While the working group is leading the development of a Circularity Assessment Framework tailored for the national level. These efforts are key to continue developing a strong narrative on circularity in the construction sector as well as advancing on tools to measure and monitor circularity in public construction projects.

In 2024, Habitat for Humanity International will spearhead the Circular Built Environment working group's exploration of the social aspects of circularity. This initiative aims to gather and disseminate insights concerning circular practices within the affordable housing sector, including gender inequalities and jobs. Moreover, the working group invites other organizations to contribute to and shape this endeavor, with opportunities to explore additional sub-themes.

To become a part of the working group, please contact the GlobalABC. If you are interested in participating in the piloting phase of the Circularity Assessment Framework and the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) for Buildings Framework please click here.

Circularity Assessment Framework The Circularity Assessment Framework - funded by Finland, led by UNEP and developed by UNOPS - assesses the state of circularity of the built environment and enabling environments at the national level and was launched at the Buildings and Climate Global Forum. Launched with a call to action for countries to join in the piloting of the assessment framework, the Circularity Assessment Framework is under development with the support of 50 international advisors and the piloting country teams. Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) for buildings launched WBCSD announced the development of the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) for buildings framework in the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in March and launched the tool in the WCEF 2024 in April. The Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) for buildings framework assesses circularity at the building level. WBCSD is currently looking for stakeholders to engage in workshops and the pilot phase to answer as much as possible to the needs of the built environment value chain when it comes to measurement for material, energy & water flow, and design.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center.

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May 27, 2024

New project: Regional Pathways on Sustainable Public Procurement for Sustainable Food Systems

With a substantial demand for food from the public sector, sustainable public food procurement (PFP) initiatives possess the potential to significantly influence both food consumption and production patterns, delivering numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits to positively transform food systems and contribute to sustainable and healthy diets. Depending on policy and regulatory frameworks, PFP initiatives play a crucial role in determining the type of food purchased (food security and nutrition), the source of procurement (livelihoods, decent jobs, income), and the production methods employed (environmental sustainability). Notably, school feeding programs, serving as one of the largest and most widespread social safety nets globally with 418 million children benefiting.

This is why a new project led by FAO and UNEP has been launched to bolster the efforts of the One Planet Sustainable Public Procurement and Sustainable Food Systems Programmes. The project will involve crafting a regional pathway on Sustainable Public Procurement for Sustainable Food Systems, paving the way for in-country technical support for the implementation of recommended actions. The project aims to identify prioritized principles for adopting sustainable public procurement practices that integrate social and environmental considerations holistically into public food procurement objectives, processes, and assessments.

To achieve this objective, a comprehensive stocktaking assessment will be conducted, examining sustainable public food procurement policies and practices at a regional level. This assessment will specifically address the integration of environmental considerations, including climate, pollution, and biodiversity goals, alongside with socio-economic considerations, into public food procurement objectives, processes, and assessments . Subsequently, a consultation will be implemented with regional experts and key actors (whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach) to validate and socialize the findings. These results will serve as a foundation for identifying prioritized recommendations for action, leveraging global-level expertise and networks. Results will mark an initial phase in the progression towards advancing commitments for action from all involved parties and providing technical support for the implementation of these recommendations at the national level.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center.

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May 20, 2024

Decarbonizing buildings, leveraging the power of sustainable public procurement

During the Buildings and Climate Global Forum, held on the 7th and 8th of March 2024 in Paris , the One Planet Network organized the session “Decarbonizing buildings, leveraging the power of sustainable public procurement” in a joint collaboration with the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, UNEP and the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion & Ministry of Energy Transition of France; and in partnership with UNOPS, UNIDO, OECD, C40, Stora Enso, Skanska, EPA Ghana, French state Property Directorate (DIE), German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building, Climate Group, Ministry of the Environment of Finland, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands.

The session convened diverse actors in a panel discussion including the public sector as well as the private sector and international organizations, with the aim to highlight the key role both the public and the private sectors play in creating the conditions for demand to successfully drive the decarbonization of the built environment through public procurement policies and practices, including a discussion of specific challenges, conditions to inspire innovation and create market readiness, and the social impact as well as the capacity-building needs.

Furthermore, the session focused on showcasing existing multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships, such as the OPN flagship initiative “Mainstreaming circularity in the construction sector leveraging the power of sustainable public procurement”, UNIDO/IDDI Green Public Procurement pledge and the C40 Accelerators, that provide effective commitments to support and implement sustainable, low-carbon public procurement at scale through concrete objectives, tools and pathways, knowledge sharing and cooperation, and identify recommendations for amplifying their capacity to mobilize, foster new collaborations and raise the level of ambition.

Lear more at One Planet Network news center.

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May 13, 2024

The destruction of returned and unsold textiles in Europe’s circular economy

EU policymakers recently decided to introduce a direct ban on the destruction of textiles and footwear, with some exemptions for small, micro and medium-sized companies.

In this briefing, the EEA takes stock of what is currently known about the volumes and destruction of returned and unsold textiles in Europe. The growth of online shopping, flexible return practices, changed consumer preferences and fast-fashion business strategies in Europe have resulted in increased shares of returned and unsold textiles.

Over the past years, fast fashion and luxury brands have been reported as destroying returned or unsold clothing, shoes and other textiles. Textile product destruction is a very good example of a ‘take-make-waste’ approach.
It analyses how European countries include circular economy and waste actions in their reporting on climate change mitigation policies and measures and how the introduction of additional measures can help accelerate future reductions of GHG emissions.

The briefing finds that waste management and the circular economy have considerable potential for mitigating climate change. Therefore, countries would benefit from including policies and measures in these areas in their climate policy mix.

Learn more at European Environment Agency website.

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May 7, 2024

New Circular Built Environment framework and key recommendations unveiled at Buildings and Climate Global Forum

The Buildings and Climate Global Forum, co-organised by France and the United Nations Environment Programme, with the support of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, took place on 7-8 March 2024 in Paris and gathered for the first time ministers and high-level representatives of key organisations, to initiate a new impetus in international collaboration for building decarbonisation and resilience after the Conference of the Parties (COP) 28.

During this event, the Circular Built Environment group - led by the Ministry of the Environment Finland and RMIT University and operating under the Materials hub managed by GlobalABC, One Planet Network and Life Cycle Initiative - organised with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development a thematic session on the 'Circular economy in the built environment - A solution to the triple planetary crisis' on the 7th of March, with support from UNEP, Holcim, WorldGBC, UNOPS, UNIDO, and RMIT University.

The session raised awareness of the importance of circularity in the built environment and addressed challenges related to policy and market development encouraging the audience to focus on moving away from the linear model and instead committing to a circular economy model of the buildings and construction sector.

Three circular economy related recommendations of the Ten Whole Life Cycle recommendations for the Buildings breakthrough were launched in the session. The 10 consensus driven recommendations were developed by the Materials Hub and its two parallel working groups Circular Built Environment and Whole Life Policy Coalition that is led by the UKs Department of Energy Security through extensive stakeholder engagement including over 100 academic, policy and industry professionals from over 42 countries. To find our more please visit: https://globalabc.org/news/10-whole-life-cycle-recommendations-buildings-breakthrough

The Circularity assessment framework assessing the state of circularity of the built environment at the national level was also launched in the session. The Circularity assessment framework is funded by Finland, led by UNEP and developed by UNOPS. The piloting of the framework will start in Bangladesh this month by UN-Habitat. WBCSD also announced the launch of the Buildings CTI tool that assesses circularity at the buildings level in the session. To find out more about these two assessment frameworks please visit: https://globalabc.org/resources/calls-for-proposals/call-pilots-circularity-frameworks

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April 29, 2024

Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction

The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction (Buildings-GSR), a report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), provides an annual snapshot of the progress of the buildings and construction sector on a global scale. The Buildings-GSR reviews the status of policies, finance, technologies and solutions to monitor whether the sector is aligned with the Paris Agreement goals. It also provides stakeholders with evidence to persuade policymakers and the overall buildings and construction community to take action.

As outlined in this edition, the buildings and construction sector contributes significantly to global climate change, accounting for about 21 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, buildings were responsible for 34 per cent of global energy demand and 37 per cent of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The 2022 update of the Global Buildings Climate Tracker (GBCT) paints a concerning picture: the gap between the current state and the desired decarbonization path is significant. To align with the 2030 milestone, an annual increase of ten decarbonization points is now required, a substantial jump from the six points anticipated per year starting in 2015.

This year, the deep dive chapters are the following: adaptation and resilient construction methods; innovations in business cases, as well as nature-based solutions and biophilic design.

Find more resources on the UNEP website.

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April 22, 2024

Beyond an age of waste: Turning rubbish into a resource

Generation of unsustainable waste continues to increase at great cost and risk to society, yet a circular economy approach that transforms waste into a valuable resource could resolve this crisis and unlock economic potential, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme.

The ‘Global Waste Management Outlook 2024’, released on 28 February 2024 at the 6th UN Environment Assembly, projects a two-thirds increase in municipal solid waste by 2050. This alarming growth – representing an increase of over 60% on current numbers - poses significant challenges for economies and the environment, requiring urgent action to prevent further damage.

From 2020 to 2050, municipal solid waste generation is projected to rise from 2.1 billion tonnes to 3.8 billion tonnes, marking a 56% increase. In 2020, 38% of municipal solid waste (810 million tonnes) was improperly disposed of, either dumped in the environment or openly burned. Without changes, by 2050, the amount of improperly disposed waste could almost double to 1.6 billion tonnes annually, contributing to adverse climate change, marine plastic pollution, and health effects.

Failure to address this issue will come at a steep price, with the report estimating that the annual cost of waste management could reach a staggering USD 640.3 billion by 2050, primarily due to the indirect costs associated with pollution, health impacts, and climate change. In 2020, direct waste management costs are estimated to USD 252.3 billion. Uncontrolled waste and poor disposal practices incur an annual full net cost of USD 361 billion due to pollution, health issues, and climate change. Maintaining these practices would escalate the annual full net cost to USD 640.3 billion.

Addressing waste as a resource opportunity and a vital circular economy feature is essential to reversing waste cost and damage; the report highlights that such action can reverse astronomical waste management costs to a potential net gain of USD 108.5 billion per year by minimizing waste ensuring and resources are reused and recycled.

Presenting a compelling alternative to the current unsustainable trajectory, reports call for urgent action on several fronts.

Rapid reduction of waste generation and mitigate environmental and economic damage.
Strong leadership and partnership across society, including by governments and businesses, to set clear directions and invest in solutions.
A collective shift towards a circular economy to decouple waste generation from economic growth and create a more sustainable future.

Read the report at UNEP Website.
See Zero Waste ideas and solutions on the One Planet Network’s Zero Waste platform.

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April 17, 2024

Driving Sustainability in China's Textile Industry: A Collaborative Approach to Ecolabeling and Sustainable Procurement

The "Sustainability in the Textile Value Chain Promoting Ecolabel and Sustainable Public Procurement in China" project is a small-scale initiative spanning one and a half years, from 2024 to 2026. It's supported by UNEP and is contributing to the broader objectives of the project "Greening Supply and Demand: Advancing Eco-Labels and Sustainable Public Procurement for Climate and Biodiversity Protection (EcoAdvance)" jointly implemented by GIZ, United Nations Environment Programme, Öko-Institut funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The primary goal is to foster more sustainable consumption and production patterns by leveraging ecolabelling and sustainable public procurement policies.

In this initiative, the expected outputs to be achieved:

Ÿ Facilitating the sustainable transition for textile industry with specific focus on climate change and biodiversity impact, through the development of textile product technical specifications. The technical specifications will be developed under the CEC LOGO certification and will be based on China Environmental Labeling standards . The criteria will be based on a life cycle approach (from cradle-to-grave), look at human health, climate change, biodiversity, pollution impacts and will include social aspects along the value chain.

Ÿ Promote sustainable procurement (business to business) along the value chain for textile products in China by using the developed sustainability criteria;

Ÿ Promote sustainable public procurement for textile products in China by using the developed sustainability criteria.

The initiative will entail various activities, including literature review and standard research, developing technical specifications for the textile product category, promoting the application of these specifications, and facilitating knowledge sharing. China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC) will collaborate with key stakeholders such as associations, companies, laboratories, testing institutions, and research institutes within the textile industry.

“Greening Supply and demand: Advancing Eco-Labels and Sustainable Public Procurement for climate and biodiversity protection (EcoAdvance)” aims to advance more sustainable patterns of consumption and production through employing the policy tools of ecolabelling and sustainable public procurement. The project is implemented in 5 Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico) and has also a global outreach component to foster worldwide knowledge exchange.

China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC) is an organization affiliated to Environmental Development Center (EDC) of Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China (MEE). It is a state-owned, legal entity of independent third-party certification body leading in environmental protection, energy saving and low carbon areas. Internationally, CEC was awarded the Clean Development Mechanism Designated Operational Entity by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, holds the secretariat of the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) since 2018, a board member of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) and is closely cooperating with ecolabel programs in 13 countries and regions, is the Co-lead of the One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement Programme since 2019 on behalf of EDC.

Learn more at UNEP One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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April 15, 2024

Sustainable Procurement of Building Materials: A Progressive Approach to Chemicals of Concern

This guidance is primarily aimed at public procurers involved in a range of contracting agreements related to building materials and products. This includes the purchase of building materials for construction works, but may also extend to material extraction, manufacturing, building, retrofit, refurbishment, design, interior fit out, and end-of-life demolition or deconstruction processes.
There are a variety of roles within the procurement cycle that the guidance can support, from commissioning, category management, tender preparation and evaluation, to contract management.

Learn more at UNEP One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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April 9, 2024

Advancing the Sustainable Consumption and Production Agenda at the 6th UN Environment Assembly

Report on the 10YFP Board and SCP Partners Meeting held on 24th February 2024 at UNEP HQ, Nairobi-As the world gathered at UNEP HQ in Nairobi for the 6th UN Environment Assembly taking place from 26 February to 1 March 2024), One Planet network took the opportunity to bring together partners with our Board to advance the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) agenda with dialogue, exchange, and inspiring engagement.
The day began with the 10YFP Board meeting, which discussed global efforts towards advancing sustainability goals and efforts to fostering strategic partnerships for equitable development.
Afterwards, One Planet network convened a day of engaging topical thematic sessions which welcomed experts and leaders in SCP to share powerful insights and ideas. Engaging our in-person attendees taking part in UNEA6 as well as an active online global audience, our sessions offered inspiring and pointed conclusions which encourage furthering the SCP agenda during UNEA6 and beyond.

Learn more from the UNEP One Planet Network Website.

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April 1, 2024

Public buyers take concrete steps toward sustainable & circular transformations at Procura+ Conference 2024

The Procura+ Conference 2024 convened over 220 government officials, industry leaders and procurement practitioners in Lisbon (Portugal) for its 11th edition. The conference theme “Step Changes for Big Impact'' demonstrated how public buyers across Europe are taking steps to leverage public procurement as a driver of sustainable and circular transformations. The Norwegian Central Procurement Body, the city of Malmö, and the city of Lisbon were also revealed as the winners of the Procura+ Awards during the conference.

Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon (Portugal), and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö (Sweden), underscored the importance of sustainable, innovative and circular public procurement for their cities.

"In Lisbon, we are turning the idea of sustainability into reality. And we are doing so by leading by example. We're doing it by making an impact on people's lives. We are making sustainable procurement within our municipality a reality. And I am honored to be able to say that we are very close to achieving 100% sustainable procurement in the Lisbon City Council. This is a great achievement ", says the Mayor of Lisbon. "The Procura+ Awards is also the recognition of the commitment of all workers and managers who, on a daily basis, strive to do more and better, towards a new paradigm of public procurement", adds Carlos Moedas.

Mayor of Malmö and first Vice President of ICLEI Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh highlighted how important conferences such as Procura+ are for the further development of sustainable public procurement. “ICLEI has been organising these Conferences for 25 years, showcasing great steps, successes and experiences. Now it is time to take another big step forward. Climate neutrality is not enough. Our sustainable solutions cannot deepen social inequities. We need a fair and inclusive transformation, that requires us to work with all perspectives. This is why in the city of Malmö all purchases must take social, environmental and economic responsibility into account. Public procurement can be a driving force to reshape the market and our societies”.

Janez Potocnik, Co-chair of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel and former EU Commissioner for Environment (2009 - 2014), emphasised the need to harness the strategic power of public procurement in terms of the global availability of key resources, both from the perspective of policymakers and public authorities. “The current economy championed by industrialised nations is wasteful and unjust. We must shift away from the prevailing resource wasteful economic approach based on maximising the output of sectors, simplistically defined by GDP, towards an economy that is efficiently meeting human needs and optimise human wellbeing. The current logic is both ethically and ecologically unsustainable, which is why the Global Resources Outlook aimed to set the record straight. The economy was invented to serve humans and not the opposite, which is why the economy must serve citizen’s wellbeing.”

Key highlights from the conference, hosted by the City of Lisbon in collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, included sessions, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Circular Flanders, Rijkswaterstaat, TCO Development and the Institute of Brilliant Failures, on professionalising public procurement and learning through experience. The conference also offered case studies such as the City of Lisbon’s Sustainable Procurement Management System and the CO2 Performance Ladder and among others. Meanwhile, interactive workshops focused on urban development, innovation, circular economy, just transitions and the transformation of the food system. As, Paul Iske, Chief Failures Officer at the Institute for Brilliant Failures noted “Sustainable procurement is the way to create a sustainable society. Change doesn’t happen in a straightforward way. There are many holes, mountains and interesting experiences. Enjoy the ride, even when you don’t succeed at first.”

The Conference highlighted some key procurement successes with reveal of the 2024 Procura+ Award winners. The Awards were given in three categories: The winner for Sustainable Procurement of the Year was the Norwegian Central Procurement Body for developing a framework agreement on the reuse and recycling of used ICT equipment, that also included social requirements for work-life inclusion. In the category Innovation Procurement of the Year the Award went to the City of Malmö for developing procurement criteria for several tenders based on universal design principles to make physical infrastructure, goods and services accessible to people of all ages, sizes and abilities. Finally, the City of Lisbon won the category Procurement Initiative of the Year, for Developing a Sustainable Procurement Management System, to establish a systematic framework ensuring that all public procurement processes within the Municipality are developed within responsible, transparent, fair, and ecological principles.

Mark Hidson, Global Director of ICLEI’s Sustainable Procurement Centre closed the Conference: “Lisbon were fantastic hosts for an extraordinary gathering of procurers from across the world. The Procura+ 2024 Conference was about renewing inspiration, strengthening networks, and a shared commitment to catalysing step changes for big impact in procurement practices. The momentum generated during the conference sets the stage for continued collaboration in the transition to a more sustainable, just and resilient way forward.”

Find more information on the conference at ICLEI Procura+ conference website.
Learn more about the Procura+ Award Winners and their achievements at ICLEI Procura+ Awards website.

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March 28, 2024

Call For Proposals:Promoting Ecolabels and Sustainable Public Procurement In the Building and Construction Sector

The Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet network (OPN) and the EcoAdvance project, in partnership with the Sustainable Public Procurement Programme of the One Planet network are launching a call for proposals. Its main objective is to increase the use of ecolabels (ISO 14024) and promote sustainable public procurement (SPP) as tools to improve climate mitigation, biodiversity, and resource protection in the building and construction sector.

Through this call for proposals, the Consumer Information Programme and the EcoAdvance project, in partnership with the Sustainable public procurement programme, will support initiatives from developing countries or emerging economies (except the five target countries in Latin America) working in the building and construction sector to:

-apply good practices related to the use of Ecolabels in SPP,
-develop ambitious ecolabels criteria (linked to climate change, biodiversity protection, and resource conservation),
-improve policy and legal frameworks,
-enhance knowledge management and increase engagement of stakeholders.

This initiative is receiving financial support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and has been launched at the Buildings and Climate Global Forum thanks to the support of the French Government.

Deadline for submission of proposals: 12 April 2024

Notification of selection: May 2024

Start of activities: July/August 2024

Learn more at UNEP one planetnetwork website.

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March 26, 2024

Food systems finally reached the multilateral agenda, but will they also make it to UNEA-6?

Throughout 2022 and 2023, food systems transformation was finally recognized as a key lever to achieve the Paris Agreement on Climate, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), and the Sustainable Development Goals. Policymakers seem to have started to react to the alarm bells. Food systems reached several multilateral and global agendas, with three Rio Conventions - UNCCD, UNCBD, and the UNFCC - including their first ever “Food Day” into their official programs. More importantly, food systems started to feature in their outcome agreements. The KMGBF included a series of targets that commit countries to transforming certain elements of our food systems. At COP28, the first ever Global Stocktake of the UNFCCC Paris Climate Agreement included references to food systems, while the Adaptation section even featured a range of food systems actions. In addition, over 150 countries committed to implementing the Emirates Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action that was put forward by the COP28 Presidency.

Meanwhile, it is not clear whether these breakthroughs will be reflected at the 6th session of the UN Environment Assembly, the highest decision-making body on the environment, which focuses on addressing the interconnected planetary crises and promoting effective, inclusive, and sustainable multilateral actions against climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. While the topics of several of the draft resolutions that will be negotiated at UNEA-6 are highly related to food and agriculture – including water policies, land degradation, nature-based solutions, pesticides, and circular economy – the current draft decision texts lack any prominent mention of food systems. This means that countries and could miss a critical opportunity to embrace the urgent need to transform our food systems as a key integrated approach for overcoming the triple planetary crisis. The draft UNEA-6 outcome documents and country-led resolutions currently lack any prominent mention of food systems transformation.

To bring food systems back to the table at UNEA-6, the SFS Programme has developed guidance for UN Member States with concrete text proposals for four key draft resolutions that can help place food systems transformation where it needs to be if we are to succeed with Agenda 2030.

Read the guidance for advancing food systems in UNEA-6 resolutions at One Planet Network knowledge center.

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March 21, 2024

Digital Trade for Development

Joint report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), The World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This report explores the opportunities and challenges for developing economies arising from digital trade and discusses the role of international cooperation in tackling these opportunities and challenges.

The report considers policy actions in the areas of digital infrastructure, skills, international support for capacity development, and the regulatory and policy environment.

Specific policy issues include the WTO e-commerce moratorium, regulation of cross-border data flows, competition policies and consumer protection.

Learn more at UNCTAD publication site.

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March 6, 2024

Unlocking USD 6.7 million for dairy value chain

GO4SDGs developed a finance-ecosystems project for SMEs to assess and facilitate the uptake of resource-efficient and cleaner production (RECP) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in two value chains (dairy and tea) in Kenya.

The project brought together diverse partners to create an ecosystem to evaluate and implement commercially viable RECP interventions that could be replicated in similar ecosystems across Africa. This includes two prominent value chains in the agri-food sector, Meru Diary Cooperative Union (MDCU) and Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings Limited (KTDA), the Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC), a finance expert (Fintech Frontiers Kenya Ltd), along with two financial institutions, Absa Bank Kenya Plc, and the African Guarantee Fund.

RECP Opportunity Assessment:
During the pilot, extensive assessments were conducted by KNCPC, focusing on two milk cooling plants and the milk processing plant within MDCU, looking at three areas: water use and wastewater management, raw materials use and solid waste management, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. KNCPC also analysed the potential for industrial symbiosis and assessed environmental compliance levels, offering recommendations for improvement within MDCU and its associated SMEs. MDCU committed to self-financing the low-capital RECP upgrade interventions, which included measures to reduce water consumption, enhance energy efficiency, optimize milk processing, and reduce waste. With tailor-made credit models developed by the finance expert, MDCU commenced negotiations with Absa Bank Kenya Plc for a commercial facility to support the larger capital RECP upgrade recommendations.

Unlocking Value for Money:
Through a USD 67,500 investment in RECP assessments and customized financing expertise into the pilot project by GO4SDGs, MDCU was able to secure USD 6.7 million in commercial financing for RECP upgrades that will foster efficient water management, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and environmental compliance.

Beyond financial gains, the investment also generated positive environmental and social impacts. It is important to note that the assessment only covered a fraction of MDCU's operations, emphasizing the vast potential for RECP financing opportunities within the entire value chain, including the 33 remaining milk cooling plants and the 160 SMEs supplying goods and services to the processor.

This pilot project showcases the potential for transformative change through strategic partnerships and innovative financing models, seizing opportunities to realize the full potential of value for money.

Learn more at greenpolicyplatform.

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March 1, 2024

Central Asia championing sustainable consumption and production

Central Asian governments are making significant strides in integrating sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices into their policies. This commitment is evident through various initiatives and policy dialogues on sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling, sustainable finance, sustainable tourism certification, and sustainable lifestyles. Countries like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are leading the way in these efforts.

Kazakhstan paving the way for an eco-labelling roadmap:

Kazakhstan plans to introduce environmental requirements into the procurement of government agencies and quasi-state companies. These requirements include the purchasing of goods that use recycled raw materials, saving natural resources in the production of goods, a high degree of waste recycling measures, and environmental labeling of products. The initiative brings together the Ministries of Finance, Ecology, and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the support of the Kazakhstani Association of Regional Environmental Initiatives (ECOJER).and technical support by UNEP-GO4SDGs and One Planet Network (10YFP)

The roadmap for eco-labelling in sustainable public procurement includes three key aspects:

i) improving national legislation and determining the competencies of authorized bodies,
ii) enhancing the institutional framework for environmental labelling, and
iii) promoting eco-labels

Kyrgyzstan Champions Green Finance:
Kyrgyzstan is making progress in implementing the National Roadmap on Sustainable Finance, which includes a specific chapter on facilitating access to green finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This initiative serves as a best practice for boosting the capacity of SMEs and promoting environmental responsibility.

Sustainable Tourism in Central Asia

Central Asia is also making progress in advancing sustainable tourism and environmental certification. GO4SDGs, in partnership with the Ministries of Environment and Tourism of Central Asia and the Caucasus, One Planet Network (10YFP), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and private sector companies such as Booking.com, Airbnb, we are building capacity for development of sustainable tourism standards in the region through trainings, workshop and awareness creating webinars.

Additionally, the work in Central Asia is targeted to reframe tourism to address plastic pollution and food waste. The activities we are undertaking specifically focus on strengthening the role of women in decision-making, advancing anti-single-use plastic legislation, promoting accession to the UNEP-led Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI), fostering south-south cooperation and partnerships, and advancing opportunities for green jobs in sustainable tourism.

Learn more at Green Policy Platform.

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February 16, 2024

Discover how public procurement can enable the just transition

The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will showcase how Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP) can help enable the just transition. By using tenders to promote sustainable, fair and transparent supply chains, decent working conditions, employment opportiunties for people with a distance to the labor market, social inclusion, accessibility, and compliance with social and labor rights, public buyers can contribute to achieving social policy goals.

During the Procura+ Conference, The parallel session “Buy Social – Discovering the enabler for a just transition” (13 March 14.15:30 CET) will explore the enabling factors for SRPP, identify the impacts SRPP has already made, and discuss future aims and objectives. The session will be led by Philipp Tepper, Procura+ Network Manager at ICLEI Europe and feature a keynote speech of Andrea Sundstrand, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law at the Stockholm University.

Further contributions will be made by ICLEI’s Sustainable Energy Team, Rijkswaterstaat, Greater London Authority, AEIDL, and the City of Oslo, highlighting that social criteria can be applied throughout the public procurement process and in a wide variety of sectors. This is also visible in the case study collection Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work: 71 Good Practice Cases, written by AEIDL and ICLEI Europe, on behalf of the European Commission.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here.

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February 16, 2024

Innovation procurement tackles complex societal challenges

Public procurers seek to work together with the market to find high quality, sustainable solutions to current challenges. But if the right solution is not yet on the market? Traditional approaches to procurement do not always have sufficient answers to address the complex societal challenges facing our societies. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will highlight how innovation procurement can help public authorities embrace innovative practices and solutions.

The parallel session “Mastering the Art of Innovation Procurement” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will delve into the benefits, challenges and opportunities of innovation procurement and explore how the pressing issues facing local governments can be addressed while handling - or better yet, optimising - the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

The session will demonstrate how innovation procurement can address societal challenges, showcase real-world examples of successful innovation procurements and exchange insights on challenges, emerging trends and support for implementation, giving participants an opportunity to explore how SME support and govtech can be effectively harnessed through innovation procurement, learn how to introduce innovation procurement in their organisations and gain more insights into implementing innovation-friendly procurement procedures.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here

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February 16, 2024

Public procurement contributes to sustainable urban development

To fulfil sustainable development requirements by 2040, around €86 trillion in infrastructure investment is required. Adopting a "business-as-usual" approach for this investment locks in patterns of development that do not take into account sustainability, the significant source of carbon emissions and the need to adapt to a changing climate. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will explore how public procurement can reduce the carbon emissions in infrastructure and urban development.

The parallel session “Transforming infrastructure and urban development districts through procurement” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will present examples of successful sustainable infrastructure and urban development and discuss cutting-edge procurement practices that integrate design, innovation, sustainable materials, and circular economy principles into infrastructure projects. It will feature speakers from the City of Lisbon, IISD, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the city of Høje-Taastrup and SKAO.

The session will explore different procurement strategies (e.g. planning and decision making, market engagement, and criteria and clauses in tenders) cities and organisations have used, provide insights into the transformative impact that procurement decisions can have on infrastructure and buildings that are resilient, circular and sustainable, and highlight the CO2 Performance Ladder.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here

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February 16, 2024

Public Procurement helps advance the circular transition

Public procurement is a key tool to turn waste into value. By adopting circular procurement practices, cities can not only minimise waste and environmental impact, but also stimulate innovation, create economic opportunities, and contribute to the development of sustainable, resilient communities. The Procura+ Conference in Lisbon (13-14 March 2024) will highlight how public procurement is crucial in advancing the circular transition.

The session “How to mainstream circular procurement within your organisation” (13 March, 14-15:30 CET) will start the beginning; to procure more circular goods and services, an organisation first needs to know how to do circular procurement. Key to that is nuilding capacity and circular knowledge, as well as aligning circular procurement objectives with the organisational, political and strategic ambitions that can help mainstream the approach.

Participants at the session will learn how they can build circular procurement knowledge within your organisation, how to embed circular procurement in your organisation’s strategy and ambitions, hear from other practitioners in the field that have championed circular procurement within their organisations, and find out how the CityLoops project implemented circular procurement to close the loops in Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) and bio-waste.

The Procura+ Conference aims to provide a diversity of perspectives on how green, social, innovation and circular public procurement is implemented throughout Europe. The inspiring sessions and speakers will showcase how public procurement is contributing to a more sustainable, circular and resilient society. To secure your place, register here.

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February 6, 2024

UNEP is excited to announce the launch of the One Plastics Initiative Newsletter*!

UNEP is excited to announce the launch of the One Plastics Initiative Newsletter*! It will inform you of timely updates on the latest science and data, publications, compelling stories, engaging videos, upcoming events, collaborative partnership opportunities, and more regarding the One Plastics Initiative’s global, regional, and national efforts.

*The One Plastics Initiative consolidates all UNEP’s plastic-related projects, activities, actions, and results into a unified programme, aiming to lead and implement a system-wide transformation towards a circular economy of plastics.

Click here to learn more about the Initiative.

More details at UNEP website.

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January 30, 2024

2024 Procura+ Conference–Driving Sustainable Consumption and Production

The One Planet Network are pleased to be partnering with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Procura Network, a European public authority network that connects and supports public authorities in implementing sustainable and innovative procurement practices, on their 2024 Procura Conference.

With registration now open, this insightful event in the sustainable procurement landscape will serve as an opportunity for cities and public authorities to better understand how public procurement can be used to implement step changes that can make a big impact.

Scheduled for the 13th and 14th of March in the vibrant capital of Portugal, Lisbon. This conference will enable cities and public authorities to delve into the transformative power of public procurement, the One Planet Network Secretariat will be in attendance and members from across the network are encouraged to take part.

SDG 12 - Sustainable Consumption & Production Highlights:
The conference program features several compelling highlights related to SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Following keynote speeches from the Mayors of Lisbon and Malmö on the pivotal role of procurement in addressing pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges, the opening plenary titled "Step Changes for Big Impact - Maximising the Impact of Procurement," sets the tone for the conference. The diverse panel of speakers, including Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon, and Janez Potocnik of the International Resource Panel, promises insightful perspectives on transformative procurement.

The ‘Market Lounges’ showcase breakthrough approaches and case studies and will foster up-close discussions on implementing step changes for big impact. One of the parallel sessions, "Transforming infrastructure and urban development districts through procurement," sheds light on how procurement decisions can drive sustainable outcomes.

The session on "Mastering the Art of Innovation Procurement" delves into innovative practices and solutions, addressing the evolving technological landscape. If you are interested in how innovative procurement can contribute to solving complex societal challenges then join us for the session on "How to mainstream circular procurement within your organization" and learn from the practical insights on incorporating circular procurement principles in support of sustainable goals including consumption and production.

Lastly, the closing plenary, "Next Steps for Big Impact," reflects on the challenges faced by procurement teams and discusses strategies for moving forward and will serve to inspire further action towards sustainable goals. The comprehensive conference program offers a rich array of discussions and case studies many of which will bear particular relevance to the work of our network and SDG 12.

Learning and Networking Opportunities:
During the two days, participants will gain valuable insights into how public procurement can contribute to the transformation of our societies. The conference focuses on step changes for significant impact, covering topics such as the just transition, the circular economy, and the transformation of energy systems.

Networking is highly encouraged during Agora sessions and site visits. The Procura Awards ceremony and dinner will take place on the evening of March 13th. The awards ceremony - of which the One Planet Network’s Director Jorge Laguna-Celis will be a judge - will celebrate successful sustainable, circular and innovative public procurements that serve to inspire procurements to lead to significant improvements of public goods, services, processes and infrastructure.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center.

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January 22, 2024

What should COP28 deliver? An enhanced implementation strategy that includes food systems actions

Since COP26, there has been much talk of a ‘shift to implementation’, however with little progress so far. The transformation towards more sustainable food systems requires Parties to agree on a strategy for immediate full-scale and coordinated implementation of the actions, policies and measures to meet current targets, and enable the more ambitious targets needed to close the ambition gap, including the integration of actions across the entire food system into climate targets, and build the climate resilience of people and nature.

In this context, the SFS Programme has issued a set of key messages on what should be the outcomes of expected at COP28 from a food systems perspective.

The IPCC is clear that without addressing emissions from food systems - in addition to rapid decarbonization of all other sectors - it will not be possible to keep 1.5°C within reach. Therefore, governments need to take a food systems approach when tackling climate change, and elevate food on the COP28 agenda through two key outcomes:

-Broadening the scope of the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Implementation of Climate Action on Agriculture and Food Security (SSJW)

-Agreement that actions to transform food systems holistically should be included into National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), National Determined Contributions (NDCs), and Long-term Strategies (LTS) before COP30, operationalizing the interventions put forth by the Emirates Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center.

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January 15, 2024

Advanced text for the upcoming Global Framework on Chemicals - For a Planet Free of Harm from Chemicals and Waste

The advanced text for the upcoming Global Framework on Chemicals - For a Planet Free of Harm from Chemicals and Waste has been released: the primary aim of the Framework is to foster the development of chemical and waste management capacities globally while catalyzing a transformative transition to sustainable chemistry across various sectors, including textiles. It includes targets relevant for the textile sector, such as by 2030, companies aim to minimize chemical adverse effects (Target A.3), provide transparent information on chemicals in products across the value chain (Target B.2), and invest in innovations for sustainable chemistry and resource efficiency (Target D1).

You can find the text here.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center.

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January 8, 2024

Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action

The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action is an international initiative within the fashion sector initiated by UN Climate Change, requiring committed companies to outline greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans for a 2030 goal and provide updates every three years. The 2023 Aggregate Report of the Transition Plans indicates progress among Fashion Charter signatories: the report signals the collective greenhouse gas emissions of 21 submitting signatories are projected to decrease by approximately 47% from 2023 to 2030. Yet data suggests a need to accelerate efforts, with lack of direct ownership of assets, capacity from suppliers and technological feasibility identifiedas main barriers to transition.

You can find the entire report here.

Learn more at One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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January 2, 2024

China and ICLEI’s Renewed Leadership for A Strengthened One Planet Sustainable Public Procurement Programme, The Netherlands continues support as a strategic and funding partner

Sustainable public procurement continues to gain recognition as a catalyst for driving market transformation and the transition towards a circular economy. The public sector can indeed play a pivotal role in promoting sustainability and circularity, lead by example and stimulate market innovation utilizing its purchasing power which, according to the Sustainable Public Procurement 2022 Global Review report, can account for up to 30% of GDP.

The 10YFP Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2023-2030) acknowledged by the UN General Assembly (A/RES/77/162) recognizes the importance of sustainable public procurement including its recognition specified in SDG target 12.7. The Global Strategy will help countries to achieve the target through a strengthened Sustainable Public Procurement Programme by helping governments, public authorities and other relevant stakeholders, at all levels, to collaborate and use their planning and purchasing power through strategic, reliable and practical resources to adopt, implement and monitor the impacts of sustainable public procurement in relevant sectors based on national policies and priorities. The inclusion of target 12.7 under SDG 12 highlights the importance of sustainable public procurement in global efforts to achieve sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Acknowledging the transformative power of public procurement, China, represented by the Environmental Development Centre of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) have recently renewed their leadership commitment to the One Planet Sustainable Public Procurement Programme. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands (Rijkswaterstaat) continues to be a crucial strategic and funding partner.

Together, the renewed leadership will continue driving the Programme’s strategy and implementation in close cooperation with its core partners, including Member States, UN agencies, scientific and technical institutions and others, providing the resources needed to mobilize and coordinate key networks and stakeholders as well as to build synergies and cooperation at all levels, further positioning sustainable public procurement as a key enabler to achieve the global sustainable development agenda through advocacy and enhanced visibility.

Learn more at oneplanetnetwork news center.

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December 18, 2023

IGPN Launch: Pilot Testing of Measurement methodology for Green Purchasing Networks

On December 13, the pilot testing of measurement methodology for Green Purchasing Networks was launched at the 2023 Annual Meeting to verify the applicability and feasibility when measuring the implementation level by using the GPN measurement methodology, which is milestone for the IGPN initiative of Green Purchasing Network measurement methodology development.

The IGPN initiative of Green Purchasing Network (GPN) measurement methodology development was launched at IGPN 2023 Knowledge Sharing webinar, intends to formulate a kind of measurement methodology by summarize the GPN model, and fulfill the IGPN mission implementation by promoting GPN practice through this measurable, reportable, and replicated methodology. This initiative is initially funded and implemented by China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC)-IGPN Secretariat. The duration of this initiative is 2 years from 2023 to 2024.

So far, after 3 batches comments collection, the has been formulated by the Secretariat, together with the suggestions and comments provided by IGPN members including GPN Japan, GPN Malysia (GPN BERHAD), GPN Thailand (Thailand Environment Institute), GPN Singapore (Singapore Environment Council), GPN China (China Environmental United Certification Center), Green Council and experts from the United States EPA.

The pilot testing scope will be:
-Any interest participant organization which belongs to the concept of Green Purchasing Network
-Green Purchasing Network members of the International Green Purchasing Network.
The Pilot testing timeline:
-From December 13, 2023 to June 30, 2024.

Want to learn more or interest on the pilot on GPN Measurement Methodology?
Please contact the IGPN Secretariat via igpn.secretariat@igpn.org for the <Measurement methodology for Green Purchasing Networks (Version 3.0)> and <GPN Measurement Methodology Pilot Testing Questionnaire> on the pilot testing.

International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN)
IGPN promotes green purchasing around the globe by coordinating those who take the initiative in implementing green purchasing towards sustainable consumption and production. IGPN was launched in 2005 with its mission: promote globally the development of environmentally friendly products and services and green purchasing activities; share information and know-how on green purchasing and environmentally friendly products and services internationally; harmonize the efforts of green purchasing and the development of environmentally friendly products and services from a global viewpoint. IGPN works with its members, Green Purchasing Networks from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China etc., and regions such as China Hong Kong SAR and Chinese Taipei, partners with the Global Lead City Network led by ICLEI on sustainable procurement and the Green Ecolabelling Network, collaborates with the UNEP One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement Programme support the implementation of SDG12.

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December 14, 2023

Register now for the 2024 Procura+ Conference!

Registration for the 2024 Procura+ Conference is now open. Secure your place by filling in this form!

The Conference, taking place on 13 & 14 March in Lisbon (Portugal), is a great opportunity for cities and public authorities to gain a better understanding of how public procurement can be used to implement step changes that can make a big impact. The conference will be opened with keynote speeches by Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö, Vice-President ICLEI, Chair of the Procura+ Network. They will highlight the key role of procurement in addressing the major environmental, social and economic challenges faced by cities today.

I am proud and honored to welcome all participants of the PROCURA + Conference in Lisbon. Our city is one of the most dynamic and innovative capitals of Europe, and offers a unique environment for discussing, experimenting, and reinventing our approach to sustainability and procurement practices. I am sure Lisbon will provide inspiration and the right conditions for a successful event", says Mayor Moedas.

With the opening, organisers ICLEI Europe and the City of Lisbon aim to set the stage for a conference that will emphasise how public procurement can contribute to the transformation of our societies in light of the major challenges of today, as well as to broader policy objectives, such as the just transition, the circular economy, and the transformation of our energy systems.

During the two days, participants will also gain a better understanding of how training and upskilling can contribute to the further implementation of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), and how public buyers can learn from their mistakes. Furthermore, on both days there will be market lounges showcasing breakthrough approaches and case studies on how step changes for big impact have been made with strategies, policies and, most importantly, implementing procurement on the ground.

Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor, City of Malmö, Sweden, First Vice President and Chair of the Procura+ Network is expecting two inspiring days, noting that “The Procura+ Network and Conferences have been at the forefront of advancing the sustainable, circular and innovation procurement agenda for over 25 years. The 11th Procura+ conference will showcase how cities and public authorities are making step changes in procurement to achieve a transformation to a sustainable, circular and resilient society. I look forward to seeing all participants, contributors and visionaries in Lisbon".

Of course the conference will also offer plenty of opportunities to learn from each other. Networking is highly encouraged during the Agora sessions, the site visits, and the Procura+ Awards ceremony with official dinner in the evening of 13 March.

More information about the programme, registration and overarching aim of the event can be found on the Conference website.

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December 4, 2023

Latin America and the Caribbean Implement Regional Approach for Eco-Labeling

November 17, 2023 - On the sidelines of the Global Conference of the One Planet Network's Consumer Information Programme, held in Bogotá from November 14-15, representatives of the Environmental Alliance of America convened to advance the establishment of a legal and institutional framework for a common and reliable environmental labeling platform.
The aim is to overcome challenges such as lack of access to reliable information, low levels of interregional trade in sustainable products, and tackling the proliferation of self-declared labels without credible validation.

"It has never been more urgent to connect with consumers through reliable information," emphasized Juan Bello, Regional Director and Representative of the UNEP Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Our collective action against the triple planetary crisis - climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution - also hinges significantly on shifting consumer behaviors.”
Echoing these challenges, the XXIII Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in October of this year, endorsed the efforts of the Environmental Alliance of America through Decision 2. Luis Rodríguez from the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and President of the Alliance emphasized, "The Alliance is uniquely positioned to offer a common and reliable environmental labeling platform. It will provide clear and truthful information to producers and consumers, based on internationally recognized management and certification systems."

Highlighting a practical application, Carolina Rivera Garzón from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, pointed out the importance of integrating the regional eco-label in Sustainable Public Procurement. “Accounting for 20 to 40% of GDP in public spending, these procurements can drive sustainable practices at all levels of government and industry. Moreover, this regional approach to ecolabelling has the potential to significantly influence citizens, thereby boosting the supply and demand for sustainable products.”
Jorge Laguna, Head of the One Planet Network, UNEP, praised the eco-label as a strategic move towards circular economy practices. "It empowers consumers to make informed and responsible choices, paving the way for a sustainably prosperous future in the region," he concluded.

Learn more at UNEP One Planet Network news center.

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November 27, 2023


To effectively address the global issue of food loss and waste, we must first understand its causes and extent throughout the supply chain. The 2021 UNEP Food Waste Index Report revealed the alarming extent of food loss and waste, calling for urgent action. The report highlighted the staggering statistics, indicating that approximately 17% of all food available to consumers goes to waste. This translates to nearly one billion metric tons of food annually. The report also pinpointed key areas within the supply chain where significant losses occur, such as post-harvest handling, transportation, and consumer behaviour. Reducing food losses and waste not only has the potential to contribute to food security but also plays a substantial role in climate change mitigation and protection of our biodiversity. In response, the Global Opportunities for Sustainable Development Goals (GO4SDGs) initiative, in partnership with 10YFP and WRAP, established Regional Food Waste Working Groups in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and West Asia. The working groups are strengthening capacities of member states for measuring food waste and developing strategies to reduce it, responding to SDG12.3. These working groups are also generating peer-to-peer learning, by sharing best practices, promoting knowledge and tools to scale up action and access to finance. By bringing together stakeholders from different sectors, including government agencies, food industry representatives, research institutions, and civil society organizations, these working groups create a platform for collaboration and coordination at the regional level in tackling food waste. “We are happy to celebrate the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction and to share ACTION!! GO4SDGs, in cooperation with 10YFP and WRAP, are increasing capacities at the national and reginal levels to measure and reduce food waste, through national strategies and various inspiring stories and partnerships with government, private sector and/or civil society, as is the case of Recipe for Change. This is contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which calls for halving food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains by 2030” says Adriana Zacarias, Head of GO4SDGS initiative and Deputy Head of 10YFP. The efforts of regional working groups have proven to be effective in addressing region-specific challenges and finding localized solutions. So far, the regional working groups have brought together 250 participants from 25 countries from Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and West Asia.

In West Asia, the group gave rise to the Recipe of Change campaign to reduce food waste, bringing together nine Top Chefs from the region, engaging consumers and the hotel industry. The Hilton Hotels and Winnow (an artificial intelligence company) have joined forces in tracking and reducing food waste in the Green Ramadan Campaign. The campaign was a success, achieving Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash a 61% reduction in food waste in three hotels. This translated into over 8,600 saved meals, almost 4.8 tonnes of waste prevented, and over 14 tonnes of CO2e emissions averted.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 member states have successfully developed National Food Waste Measurement Plans, laying the groundwork of comprehensive National Food Waste Reduction Strategies. In partnership with FAO, IDB and WWF, over 100 representatives from 9 LAC countries are converging in a series of workshops, going from capacity-building to the development of National Food Waste Reduction Strategies; and fundraising. This community of practice brings knowledge and inspiration from 31 national and regional institutions, to make significant strides towards the ambitious goal of halving food waste.

The Asia Pacific working group has over 50 members from nine countries and have shared innovative approaches and best practices on public-private partnerships and consumer behaviour change initiatives. This group has amplified some inspiring practices such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Food Waste Management Program which has been running experiments with household waste by weight and food waste separation in 4 pilot districts with 1100 households. This is showing the efficacy of ‘nudges’ and incentives for food waste reduction.

In Africa, the working group gathers experts from seven countries, and has also shared inspiring initiatives in the region. One such initiative is the peer education program at Moshi Cooperative University in Tanzania, which aims at educating students about food waste through practical demonstrations and a culture of sharing in learning institutions. This initiative aims at engaging 5,000 students from 15 education institutions to embrace food sharing and sustainability practices. This could lead to a 10% reduction in plate food waste and a 15% increase in food access for people in need. GO4SDGs is supporting the scale up and replications of this initiative in other East African countries.

The Regional Food Waste Working Groups are increasing capacity and taking concrete steps to advance the SD 12.3. Together, we are building a more sustainable and nourished world.

For more details at UNEP One Planet Network News Center.

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November 20, 2023

Status update: The Industrial Deep Decarbonisation Initiative’s Green Public Procurement Pledge

UNIDO – At the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM14), Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom gave status updates on public and stakeholder consultations relating to the Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative’s (IDDI) Green Public Procurement Pledge (GPP Pledge).

At its most ambitious level, the GPP Pledge commits governments to start requiring that steel, cement and concrete used in all public construction projects are low-emission – and that ‘signature projects’ use near-zero emission materials.

The GPP Pledge has four levels of commitment:
Ÿ Level One: Starting no later than 2025, require disclosure of the embodied carbon in cement/concrete and steel procured for public construction projects.
Ÿ Level Two (in addition to Level 1): Starting no later than 2030, conduct whole project life cycle assessments for all public construction projects, and, by 2050, achieve net zero emissions in all public construction projects.
Ÿ Level Three (in addition to Levels 1 and 2): Starting no later than 2030, require procurement of low emission cement/concrete and steel in public construction projects, applying the highest ambition possible under national circumstances.
Ÿ Level Four (in addition to Levels 1, 2 and 3): Starting in 2030, require procurement of a share of cement and/or crude steel from near zero emission material production for signature projects. Signatories, which can be national or subnational governments, are being asked to commit to the highest level of ambition possible for their national circumstances, following public and stakeholder consultations.

Canada, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom provided the following updates.

The Government of Canada has held GPP Pledge discussions with internal government stakeholders, including environmental policymakers, procurement policymakers, technical experts and procurement practitioners. It has also consulted industry and supplier stakeholder groups, such as steel, cement and concrete producers, product manufacturers and technical experts. GPP Levels 1 to 3 are now enshrined as policy commitments. Level 4 is being considered.

The Government of Germany identified green public procurement as a goal in its coalition agreement. Germany strongly supports IDDI and is currently conducting a consultation process on the GPP Pledge. Simultaneously, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is carrying out a stakeholder process on the definitions, measurements methods and demand signals for green steel and cement. The process is actively engaging industry, science and civil society to develop a set of reliable rules that will help us implement the needed measures to incentivize demand for the new materials.

At the CEM14 event on strengthening global demand for green steel, cement and concrete, hosted by IDDI with the First Movers Coalition and Climate Group, Parliamentary State Secretary Stefan Wenzel highlighted the importance of demand creation. He said: “Strengthening the demand for green materials such as steel and cement is one of the major levers for decarbonizing our industries. To succeed in this ambitious undertaking, we need a set of clear and reliable principles to align our efforts. IDDI is doing great work towards achieving this goal. We are very much looking forward to exchanging ideas and visions as well as best practices and current experiences with colleagues, businesses and experts from the most relevant initiatives in this area.”

The Government of the United States of America supports the overall goals of the CEM IDDI and will continue to demonstrate leadership to accelerate the adoption of green procurement practices with the IDDI Secretariat and other member countries.

The US government continues to adopt green procurement practices within country. It launched a Federal Buy Clean Initiative in 2022 to prioritize lower-carbon construction materials in Federal procurement and federally funded infrastructure projects. Buy Clean promotes purchasing lower-embodied carbon steel, concrete, asphalt and flat glass, accounting for whole life-cycle emissions as reported through Environmental Product Declarations.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (2021) and Inflation Reduction Act (2022) catalysed Buy Clean, allocating over USD$4.5 billion to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation to identify and procure substantially lower embodied carbon construction materials and support the development and standardization of Environmental Product Declarations. These laws also provide over USD$6 billion to the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate decarbonization of the highest emitting industrial manufacturing sectors.

A White House-led Buy Clean Task Force strengthens collaboration across agencies, accounting for 90 per cent of all federally financed and purchased construction materials. A Federal-State Buy Clean Partnership enhances Buy Clean policy harmonization with 13 states. The First Movers Coalition, supported by the U.S. Department of State, accelerates demand signals for breakthrough decarbonization investments through public-private partnerships.
The Government of the United Kingdom included all four levels of the GPP Pledge in a wider public consultation on decarbonization. The consultation closed on 22 June 2023. It included industry and business representatives (including trade associations, product importers and exporters, small and medium-sized enterprises, supply chain businesses, software houses and customs agents, international partners and multinational groups). Financial reporting and enterprise resource planning system providers, academia, think tanks, cross-sector groups, non-governmental organisations and private citizens were also consulted.

Governments aim to make official GPP Pledge commitments at COP28 in Dubai in December.

By 2025, IDDI hopes to have enabled a minimum of ten governments to have committed to the GPP Pledge.

Ciyong Zou, Deputy to the Director General and Managing Director, Directorate of Technical Cooperation and Sustainable Industrial Development, UNIDO, said:“UNIDO welcomes the leadership demonstrated by IDDI member governments Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as by private sector buyers that have made ambitious commitments to purchase lower emissions steel, cement and concrete by 2030. By demonstrating their commitment to industrial decarbonization, they are inspiring other nations and organizations to follow suit, creating a global ripple effect that will be driving positive change across borders.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Clean Energy Ministerial established IDDI in 2021. It is a global coalition of governments and private sector organizations led by India and the United Kingdom. Canada, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Brazil are members.

Learn more at UNIDO IDDI pledge website.

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November 13, 2023

2024 Procura+ Conference: what’s in it for cities?

The 2024 Procura+ Conference, taking place on 13 & 14 March in Lisbon, is a great opportunity for cities and public authorities to gain a better understanding of how public procurement can be used to implement step changes that can make a big impact. The conference will be opened with keynote speeches by Carlos Moedas, Mayor of Lisbon and Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmo, Vice-President ICLEI, Chair of the Procura+ Network. They will highlight the key role of procurement in addressing the major environmental, social and economic challenges faced by cities today.

The opening, also featuring Janez Potocnik, Co-Chair of theUNEP International Resource Panel, will set the stage for a conference that will emphasise how public procurement can contribute to the transformation of our societies in light of these challenges, as well as to broader policy objectives, such as the just transition, the circular economy, and the transformation of our energy systems.

During the two days, participants will also gain a better understanding of how training and upskilling can contribute to the further implementation of Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), and how public buyers can learn from their mistakes. Furthermore, on both days there will be market lounges showcasing breakthrough approaches and case studies on how step changes for big impact have been made with strategies, policies and most important implementing procurement on the ground.

Of course the conference will also offer plenty of opportunities to learn from each other. Networking is highly encouraged during the Agora sessions, the site visits, and the Procura+ Awards ceremony with official dinner in the evening of 13 October.

The programme can be found on the official Procura+ Conference website. The programme is subject to change, and more speakers will be confirmed in the coming days. Soon the registration form will also be made available.

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November 8, 2023

Greening Government Initiative

US EPA-The Greening Government Initiative (GGI) is an international community of practice for officials engaged in increasing the environmental sustainability of national government operations. Through GGI, countries share information and best practices, showcase innovation and success, and develop collaborative relationships to advance their greening work.

Why Is the Greening Government Initiative Important?
As efforts to address climate change and other environmental sustainability issues intensify, government officials are developing and implementing new approaches to greening government. In many countries, the government is the largest real estate holder, fleet owner, electricity consumer, and purchaser of goods and services. Government efforts therefore not only have direct emissions impacts, but also send demand signals that can spur economy-wide actions, drive zero-carbon technologies and markets, lower decarbonization costs, and demonstrate leadership by example in a wide range of sectors.

What Does the Greening Government Initiative Do?
GGI hosts quarterly two-hour virtual meetings on relevant themes for all member countries. Through these meetings, countries share ongoing efforts, present projects, discuss potential ways to work together, and help each other recognize and address challenges involved in greening national government operations. Members may also benefit from exchange programs, thematic sub working groups within GGI, and other initiatives to support their greening efforts.

Learn more at the GGI website.

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October 30, 2023

Launch of a new toolbox - Consumer Information tools recommended to countries to support their NDCs

In collaboration with UN Environment Programme, One Planet network - 10YFP, UNDP, and UN Climate Change, a Digital Toolbox for Building Circularity into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) has just been launched at the Middle East & North Africa Climate Week. The first of its kind, this practical toolbox has been designed with the aim of assisting countries to assess, integrate and implement #circulareconomy in their NDCs. Featuring a step-by-step methodology, the digital toolbox enables easy access to resources, tools and case studies to help identify, prioritize, implement and track circular economy interventions to raise NDC ambition.

The toolkit highlights consumer information tools and climate change guidelines that can support GHG emissions reductions in tourism, buildings, and food. Tools include certifications, voluntary standards, product declarations, ratings, marketing claims, foot printing, life cycle assessments, and product campaigns with recommendations for business and policy makers.

Access the toolkit here.

Learn more at One Planet network News Center.

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October 24, 2023

Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future

The report, Building Materials and the Climate: Constructing a New Future, published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture (Yale CEA), under the GlobalABC, offers solutions to decarbonize the buildings and construction sector and reduce the waste it generates.

This report highlights the urgent need to develop new models for cooperation on the decarbonisation of building materials, if the world is to reach its goals for net zero emissions from the built environment sector by the mid-century. It focuses on three urgent pathways that must be facilitated by supporting stakeholders across the lifecycle of the built environment sector in order to decarbonise: i) AVOID extraction and production of raw materials by galvanising a circular economy; ii) SHIFT to regenerative material practices wherever possible by using ethically produced low carbon earth- and bio-based building materials whenever possible; and iii) IMPROVE methods to radically decarbonise conventional materials.

Learn more at the UNEP website.

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October 16, 2023

SCP Outreach accelerates the implementation of green/ sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling at a Regional Knowledge Exchange event

Bangkok, 29 August 2023 – The "SCP Outreach in Asia - The Next Five" project brought together over 12 stakeholders in Thailand for the 2023 Regional Knowledge Exchange event held from 29 to 30 August 2023 at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit. Supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the annual event aims to foster cross-learning between Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka through the sharing of experiences and best practices in implementing Green/Sustainable Public Procurement and Type-I ecolabels. The event also charted the cooperation among experts, government agencies, civil society, and private sector stakeholders in enhancing policy frameworks for sustainable consumption and production.

More details at One Planet Network News Center.

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October 7, 2023

Zero Draft of International Plastic Pollution Agreement Released Ahead of INC-3

Ahead of the third session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC-3) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, the INC Chair, as requested at INC-2, has prepared with the support of the INC Secretariat, and published a ‘Zero draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment’ (UNEP/PP/INC.3/4). The text is guided by the views expressed at the committee’s first and second sessions and reflects the objective and mandate of United Nations Environment Assembly resolution 5/14.
Member States will be invited to start negotiations on the basis of the Zero Draft text at INC-3, which will take place from 13 to 19 November at UNEP’s Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
The zero draft is initially available in an advanced version in English, with five additional languages to be published by 2 October 2023.
The secretariat will also prepare a synthesis report of the submissions received on elements not discussed at the second session, such as principles and scope of the instrument, to be released in October.

More details at UNEP INC-3 website.

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September 19, 2023


The Call for Contributions deadline for the 11th Procura+ Conference has been extended to 6 October 2023! The conference, which takes place 13-14 March 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal, is an ideal opportunity to showcase work on sustainable, innovation and circular procurement to over 250 attendees from across Europe and the world.
The world, cities and public authorities are facing major environmental, economic and social challenges that require a substantial transformation across all aspects of society. Procurement has to play a key role in this transformation. Now more than ever we need to hear from organisations that are making step changes to achieve big impact in sustainable, innovation and circular procurement! It is also a great opportunity to showcase the interdisciplinary nature of procurement e.g. making food and energy systems more sustainable and advancing the just and circular transition.

The call is open to local, regional and national governments; public authorities; businesses, suppliers: policy makers; legal experts; scientific and research organisations; international and European institutions and agencies. Contributions on sustainable, circular and innovation procurement could include:

• Good practice examples of implementation, strategies and lessons learnt
• How procurement addresses societal challenges
• The latest projects, initiatives, research, guidance and tools
• Public and private sector working together
• Sustainable and innovative product or service solutions

Organisations can submit a contribution by completing this form by 6 October.

For any questions send an email to: conference@procuraplus.org.
For more information on the conference, visit the ICLEI conference website: https://conference.procuraplus.org/

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September 18, 2023

A Net-Zero Carbon Concrete Industry for Aotearoa New Zealand: Roadmap to 2050

Concrete New Zealand (ConcreteNZ) published A Net-Zero Carbon Concrete Industry for Aotearoa New Zealand: Roadmap to 2050 .
The roadmap outlines the New Zealand cement and concrete industry’s commitment to achieve net-zero concrete production by 2050. The roadmap sets targets for a 44% reduction in direct and electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, aligning with global standards.
The roadmap also showcases the industry’s efforts and innovations to reduce emissions and enhance the sustainability of concrete, and it aims to support the New Zealand government’s climate change goals and contribute to the global net zero movement.

Learn more at Global Alliance for Building and Construction resources.

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September 13, 2023

Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Discussed at the G20 Tourism Ministers Working Group

To address plastic pollution, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative provides a common vision for a circular economy of plastics in tourism. On 19 June, the Sustainable Tourism Programme brought its rich repository of resources on Circular Economy & Tourism to the G20 Tourism Working Group under India’s presidency.

UNWTO and UNEP hosted the side event "Towards a circular economy of plastics in tourism – the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative", in association with the Ministry of Tourism of India to provide delegates and participants with practical guidance to address plastic pollution in tourism operations. Participants included country representatives (India, Indonesia), accommodation (ITC Hotels, Leela Palaces Hotels & Resorts, The Indian Hotels Company Limited) and aviation (International Air Transport Association, IATA).

The Central Nodal Agency for Sustainable Tourism of India, a technical agency of the Ministry of Tourism, became a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, together with the Government of Punjab and the Responsible Tourism Society of India.
The discussions were in alignment with the Goa Roadmap for Tourism as a Vehicle for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As tourism bounces back close to pre-pandemic levels, it is essential to ensure that recovery is sustainable, inclusive, and resilient.

Under the G20 Ministerial Declaration “Greening the tourism sector for a sustainable, responsible and resilient sector”, Global Tourism Plastics Initiative as well as the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism were recognized as voluntary global initiatives to accelerate the sustainable transformation of the tourism sector.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organizations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:
-Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items;
-Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives;
-(Engage the value chain to) move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
-Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used;
-Collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics;
-Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.

Learn more at one planet network news center.

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September 5, 2023

Procurement for People and Planet–Sustainable Procurement Information Brochure

On August 31, GEN’s Chair and Secretariat were involved at the B2O Summit, participating as speakers in the Sustainable Summit. During this event, GEN proudly launched its new Sustainable Procurement Information Brochure.

Inside, you’ll find a wealth of insights and resources for businesses and governments:
-Sustainable Procurement Solutions
-What is Sustainable Public Procurement?
-Why We Need Sustainable Public Procurement?
-How to Make Better Purchases
-What Is an Ecolabel?
-Inspiring Case Studies
-Fighting the Good Fight Against Greenwashing
-Who is Global Ecolabelling Network and How Do They Support Better Public Procurement
-Examples of Best Practices
-Next Steps

This brochure is your comprehensive guide to sustainable procurement and ecolabelling. Join us in the fight for a greener, more responsible world!

More details at GEN news webpage.

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September 1, 2023

10YFP Progress Report - HLPF 2023 Session

This is the progress report on the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP). This report has been prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme, acting as the Secretariat of the 10YFP. It builds upon an annual reporting mechanism for Member States and stakeholders. The report fulfills the purpose of updating Member States and stakeholders on the progress made in 2022 regarding the implementation of the 10YFP. The progress is based on the official reporting of Member States on SDG 12.1. Furthermore, the report introduces the Global Strategy on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for the years 2023 to 2030. It also highlights updates in the initial implementation of the Strategy during 2023.

1. Sustainable Consumption and Production can act as a vehicle to address the triple planetary crisis and support a sustainable recovery;
2. The Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption & Production provides a coordinated, cross-cutting and targeted response to the challenge of shifting patterns of sustainable consumption & production globally and must be embraced;
3. Circular economy principles are increasingly being adopted by countries as a central vehicle to achieve sustainable consumption and production, but levels are too low and further implementation must rapidly accelerate;
4. We must intensify multilateral and multi-stakeholder collaboration to accelerate coordinated action for sustainable consumption and production in the context of the implementation of the SDGs;
5. An inclusive approach focusing on gender equality and uplifting vulnerable communities is key to achieving sustainable consumption and production systems;
6. To accelerate the shift towards SCP we must focus our attention on high impact, industry sectors and ensure they are significantly reducing their negative climate, biodiversity, and pollution footprints;
7. Realizing collective climate, biodiversity and pollution goals requires sustainable consumption and production & circular economy to be embedded within multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEA’s);
8. Harnessing the potential of emerging and tools is key for accelerating the transition to a digital technologies circular economy;
9. It is essential that we ensure that people everywhere have relevant information on sustainable lifestyles that exist in harmony with nature;
10. Policies that can effectively drive behavioural change towards sustainable outcomes need to be prioritized as a matter of urgency.

More detail at One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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August 30, 2023

Circular Economy Showcase-Reuse Pilots in Office Buildings

How can food service businesses implement a reusable system to reduce single-use plastics in office buildings or small community settings? This final webinar from Sustainability Victoria (SV)'s Reuse Pilots Fund will showcase the reuse systems implemented by Huskee, Cercle and Investa Asset Management. Come away with some tips on fast-tracking sustainability in your organisation.

Why Reuse Pilots?

To help stop plastic pollution, the Victorian Government has banned single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, and cotton bud sticks from February 2023. Sustainability Victoria (SV) is running a business engagement program to support businesses in transitioning away from single-use items. The Reuse Pilots Fund supported 16 pilots across the state by providing over $600,000 of funding to collect data that will inform other businesses on the feasibility of reuse systems in different hospitality settings.

Find out more by reading the Reuse Pilot case studies.

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August 24, 2023

Strengthening evidence-based SCP policies as a vehicle for economic and social transformation

Worldwide consumption and production—a driving force of the global economy—have been based on a linear economic model of “extraction, use and waste”; which continues to increase the demand for finite natural resources and create environmental impacts, leading us to the triple planetary crisis of “climate, nature and pollution”. Economic and social progress over the last century has been accompanied by environmental degradation that is endangering the very systems on which our future development—indeed, our very survival—depends.

Therefore, a new type of “economic transformation” is critical for sustainable development— eradicating poverty, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development.

Asia and the Pacific is becoming the largest market in the world with strong economic growth, driven by infrastructure development, increasing domestic private consumption and intraregional trade. The GDP of the Asia- Pacific region is currently $31 trillion by 2025, making it the largest economic region in the world(World Bank). However, this growth remains largely based on unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, exacerbating inequality and environmental degradation, and intensifying existing risks and vulnerabilities in a changing climate. The region plays a central role in global value chains, therefore improving resource efficiency rates, and mainstreaming opportunities for circular economy practices are critical.

Asia-Pacific countries have increasingly adopted policy measures designed to fulfil their climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. These policies range from air-quality regulations to renewable-energy subsidies, from vehicle emission standards to carbon-pricing mechanisms. Hence, analysing value chains for environmental impact hotspots is decisive to achieving pledges. Countries can identify hotspot sectors and value chains to tackle those generating more environmental damage while promoting competitive advantages in the integration of solutions for decarbonisation through multi-stakeholder collaboration and financing mechanisms.

However, based on an analysis from UNEP’s Policy and Programme Division, the uptake of SCP and their means of implementation is still not sufficient, as reflected in Common Country Analysis and UN Development Cooperation Frameworks. Therefore, it is important that UN Country Teams and Resident Coordinator Offices in Asia-Pacific and across regions have the capacity to promote SCP and circular economy policies through scientific evidence.

Hence, this regional workshop aims to enhance knowledge of SCP approaches and their contributions to the economic and social transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Asia Pacific. The workshop will facilitate knowledge exchange (South-South Cooperation) on SCP and circularity and green economy. This effort is jointly led by the One Planet Network and GO4SDGs, in collaboration with PAGE and the International Resource Panel.

Lear more at the One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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August 18, 2023

Strengthening Institutional and Technical Capacities for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Senegal

From 2018 - 2021, a dynamic cooperation project took place in Senegal, supported by the UN Development Account and coordinated between the One Planet Network and representatives from the Government of Senegal. The objective was to strengthen institutional and technical capacities for SCP in Senegal through a number of activities.

“Facing a triple global crisis – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, – (...) [our] world needs unprecedented joint efforts to accelerate, at all levels, shifts towards sustainable consumption and production patterns.” This eye-opening statement is drawn up by the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in the recently published Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production 2023-2030. Organised around four central pillars, this Global Strategy emphasises the importance of inter-institutional dialogue and cooperation of a wide range of actors SCP. Various projects illustrate the purpose of this Strategy, such as the series of projects Strengthening institutional and technical capacities for SCP, carried out simultaneously from 2018 to 2021 in Argentina, Bhutan and Senegal. Organised around a common structure, these projects aim to bring together various public and private, institutional and non-institutional actors to work hand in hand on the design, adoption and enforcement of national SCP implementation strategies. Three areas of expertise of the One Planet network (OPN) have been harnessed and highlighted in these projects, but for the purpose of this article we will only focus on Senegal and its choice to work on Sustainable Public Procurement.

Thus, the project in Senegal consisted of three activities. Under the first activity, key ministries — Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport, etc. — were trained in SCP through various meetings held by the One Planet network. These sessions were instrumental in demonstrating to such a diverse group of actors, how SCP is relevant to their own agendas. This first activity allowed these actors, who were not necessarily working together at first, to come together around a set of common principles in order to reinvigorate the institutional backing for SCP in the country. Students of the Higher School of Applied Economics (ESEA) of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar also had the chance to be trained on SCP, providing an important link to the next generation of policy makers.

The second activity was dedicated to the design, adoption and implementation of a national strategy for SCP, based on the results of the first activity and taking into account an analysis of data on the environmental and socio-economic performance of Senegal set out in the SCP-HAT report. The aim was to analyse Senegal’s strengths and constraints in terms of SCP in order to identify key points to focus on when designing the national SCP strategy. This activity consisted of multiple inter-ministerial consultations with the participation of OPN experts, demonstrating once again the willingness of these institutional actors to collaborate in order to design and adopt a national strategy for SCP that is both consistent with national priorities – sustainable energy, circular economy, SPP, etc., – but also consensus based.

Hence, the third activity revolved around one of these national priorities, which is a particular area of the SCP and an OPN area of expertise, Sustainable Public Procurement. Senegal’s choice to focus on SPP is far from trivial. Indeed, it is motivated by the Senegalese authorities’ desire to promote SPP in procurement processes, to integrate socio-economic and environmental sustainability considerations and to focus on vulnerable groups in public procurement. A working group composed of public and private actors was created for this purpose. Thus, SPP experts, members of the One Planet network,FAO, AFB, CEC, Ecoeff lab, as well as Senegalese Ministries and members of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority met several times to work on the implementation of a Senegalese SPP action plan. Various workshops and meetings were also conducted during this activity, underlining the important role of the OPN and its SPP experts on the theoretical level. On a practical level, it is also important to highlight the role of the OPN in supporting institutional actors in the design and implementation of this SPP action plan. This last activity also resulted in the conception of a development programme on SPP to enable the dissemination of knowledge gained during this project to other African countries such as Tunisia or Ghana through SPP training modules and workshops for key state actors.

As outlined in the Global Strategy, there is a need to work closely with governments, public authorities, and other actors to promote SCP and SPP. As illustrated by the example of the Senegal project Strengthening institutional and technical capacities for SCP, this collaboration between key state actors is crucial to help developing countries integrate and implement sustainable consumption and production patterns based on their national policies and priorities. As is the case here, SCP can serve as a bridge between different actors with different agendas, enabling them to collaborate around a common goal. It is therefore essential to enable all states, as was the case for Senegal, to receive tailor-made support from the OPN for national implementation of SCP. Therefore, this project is a great example of successful collaboration between state actors and the OPN, paving the way for future projects to be implemented under the Global Strategy on SCP.

Learn more at One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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August 11, 2023

Sustainable Tourism in Central Asia

With the support of UNEP, a Kyrgyz village has inaugurated its first waste collection facility, a crucial step towards achieving sustainable development and tourism. The new facility was established through the pilot project "Sustainable Tourism and Management of Plastic and Food Waste" within the GO4SDGs 2022-23 programme.

Following up on this progress, GO4SDGs hosted a two-day regional webinar to discuss the challenges and solutions to plastic pollution and food waste in tourism areas, as well as to introduce integrated environmental certification as a tool for sustainable tourism.

More in details at UNEP website.

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August 11, 2023

Green Marketing Challenge

Are you interested in gaining the skills to detect greenwashing and assess which green claims are more likely to empower sustainable consumption decisions? Enter the Green Marketing Challenge! It is based on the ten principles of the “Guidelines for Providing Product Sustainability Information” , and developed by UNEP and UNSSC in partnership with the Consumer Information Programme.

More in details at UNSSC webisite.

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July 25, 2023

Solutions from the One Planet network to curb plastic pollution

This compendium of solutions to curb plastic pollution was developed in collaboration with the stakeholders of the One Planet network (Consumer Information, Lifestyles and Education, Public Procurement and Tourism programmes). The examples provide some concrete illustrations in line with the recommendations from the UNEP spotlight report "Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy", and in particular around:

- Reliable sustainability information within existing standards, labels, and claims
- Triggers for behaviour change, including nudging strategies and awareness campaigns
- Creation of markets for sustainable solutions and concrete pathways for governments to lead by example using sustainable procurement practices
- Implementation of circular economy of plastics in the tourism sector, including through direct engagement of businesses towards reduction of plastics pollution.

Additionally, the present compendium builds on findings from previous reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Marine Plastics Project and brings forward solutions to address plastic pollution as assessed in the 2021 report From Pollution to Solution - A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution and demonstrates of how a multi-stakeholder network can mobilize action to agilely deliver concrete outputs and a practical way to implement requests by Member States.

The challenges around plastic pollution result from unsustainable consumption and production patterns and inadequate waste management, compounded by increased demand for single use plastics induced, among others, by the coronavirus global pandemic (COVID-19).1 The 2022 New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Progress Report demonstrates that in 2021 the use of plastic packaging increased by 2,5%, bringing us back to the levels of 2018.

In this context, it becomes clear that only a systemic change in the ways we produce and consume can reverse the current trends. Circular economy approaches can support driving this systemic change. The Plastic Waste Amendments to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes recommends actions that governments, business and individuals can take to facilitate upstream and systemic solutions to address plastic pollution.

A coordinated multistakeholder action is needed, particularly by addressing use and consumption of plastic packaging - a major source of marine litter.

Learn more at One Planet Network Knowledge Center.

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July 14, 2023

Netherlands unveils new regulations for plastic go packaging

From July this year, customers ordering food or drinks to-go will be required to pay extra for plastic packaging.

In a bid to tackle the mounting plastic waste problem, the Netherlands is set to introduce new regulations governing plastic go packaging from July. These measures aim to reduce the use of single-use plastics and encourage sustainable alternatives.

The upcoming rules will affect businesses and consumers nationwide, with penalties for non-compliance.

Here’s what you need to know:

Scope of the new regulations
The new rules cover a wide range of plastic go packaging, including containers, cups used for food and drinks, disposable cutlery and plates. From July onwards, businesses will be required to use environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as biodegradable or compostable materials, for their packaging.

The regulations apply to all establishments offering takeaway food and drinks, including restaurants, cafes and food stalls.

Penalties for non-compliance
To ensure adherence to the new rules, authorities will enforce penalties for businesses found in violation. Fines can range from moderate sums to significant amounts, depending on the severity and frequency of non-compliance.

This measure aims to incentivise businesses to make the necessary changes and shift towards more sustainable packaging solutions. The authorities will conduct regular inspections to monitor compliance and take appropriate action against those not meeting the requirements.

Embracing sustainable alternatives
The introduction of these regulations highlights the Dutch government’s commitment to combatting plastic pollution and promoting a circular economy. By mandating the use of eco-friendly packaging, the Netherlands aims to reduce plastic waste, promote recycling and minimise the environmental impact of single-use plastics.

The regulations align with the European Union’s broader strategy to tackle plastic pollution and achieve a more sustainable future.

With the new rules set to take effect in July, businesses and consumers in the Netherlands must prepare for the changes ahead. It is crucial for businesses to explore and adopt sustainable alternatives to plastic go packaging, ensuring compliance with the regulations.

By taking collective action, the Netherlands moves closer to a greener, more environmentally-conscious society.

From Packaging Gateway, 13 June 2023 By: Mohamed Dabo.

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June 30, 2023

Report-Turning off the Tap: How the world can end plastic pollution and create a circular economy

The report proposes a systems change to address the causes of plastic pollution, combining reducing problematic and unnecessary plastic use with a market transformation towards circularity in plastics. This can be achieved by accelerating three key shifts-reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify – and actions to deal with the legacy of plastic pollution.

Reuse refers to the transformation of the ‘throwaway economy’ to a ‘reuse society’ where reusing plastic products makes more economic sense than throwing them away. The report highlights the importance of accelerating the recycling market for plastic recycling by ensuring that recycling becomes a more profitable venture.

Reorient and diversify refers to shifting the market towards sustainable plastic alternatives, which will require a shift in consumer demand, regulatory frameworks and costs.

The report highlights that these solutions are available now and that a systems change, underpinned by the necessary regulatory instruments, will result in a range of economic benefits and reduce damage to human health, the environment and the climate.

Learn more at UNEP resources.

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June 20, 2023

IGPN Initiative Launch: Green Purchasing Network Measurement Methodology Development

The GPN measurement methodology development initiative was launched to advocate green purchasing practice promote the sustainable consumption and production transition by using the IGPN's unique GPN model ubiquitously through a measurable, reportable, and replicated measurement methodology.

On June 15, the initiative of Green Purchasing Network (GPN) measurement methodology development was launched by the International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN).

This initiative is initially funded by China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC)-IGPN Secretariat, it helps to identify the impact for International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) with its characteristic of linking the environmentally friendly products and services with the green purchasing toward the sustainable consumption and production, motivate and inspire more network on the topic of green purchasing, provide efforts to support the sustainable procurement implementation and practice; provide opportunity to learn from peers with shared insights and recommendation by informing the correct directions for continuously improvements.

The duration of this initiative is 2 years from 2023 to 2024 and it is initially implemented in IGPN members. the planned output will include:
-A measurement methodology with feasible access of GPN definition, qualitive and quantity monitoring indicators;
-An excel calculator guide the pilot testing of the methodology;
-A pilot testing report of the methodology which brough performance overview of each Green Purchasing Network with recommendations.

So far, IGPN members-Green Purchasing Network Malysia (GPN BERHAD), Thailand Green Purchasing Network (Thailand Environment Institute) joined the work group led by IGPN Secretariat (CEC), to develop the methodology, identify the framework and indicator, conduct survey and pilot testing. Meanwhile, a Draft GPN Measurement Methodology with the Compilation Illustration has been formulated to solicit comments and suggestions by July 31st 2023.

Want to learn more on the initiative on GPN Measurement Methodology?
You or your organization are promoting environmentally friendly products or services and green purchasing, and you are interested in GPN measurement methodology? Why not join the International Green Purchasing Network?

Please contact the IGPN Secretariat via igpn.secretariat@igpn.org for more information!

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June 5, 2023

Let's #BeatPlasticPollution this World Environment Day!

World Environment Day on 5 June is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters.
It's time to accelerate this action.
It's time to #BeatPlasticPollution.

Learn more at UNEP World Environment Day Campaign.

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May 30, 2023

Project Launch: Greening supply and demand: Advancing Eco-Labels and Sustainable Public Procurement for climate and biodiversity protection (Eco-Advance)

The project Eco Advance, funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), aims to increase the use of sustainable public procurement (SPP) and Type-1 Ecolabels as tools to improve climate mitigation, biodiversity, and resource protection, through ambitious ecolabels, improved policy and legal frameworks, increased engagement of the private sector, as well as regional and global exchange. The duration of this project is 4 years from 2022 to 2026 and the project is implemented in 5 Latin American countries (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico). This project will have a global exchange component including support to the Consumer Information Programme of the One Planet network. By supporting Type-1 ecolabels, the project helps to create incentives for cleaner production focusing on high impact sectors (building and construction, electronics, textiles) by addressing a major barrier to changing consumption and production patterns: the complexity of conveying the environmental impacts of products and services to consumers and public authorities.
Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

UNEP joined forces with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Öko Institut.
-GIZ will be the consortium lead for this project and responsible for programme management, and activities related to sustainable public procurement, strengthening of policy framework and engagement with companies.
-UNEP will have a leading role in activities supporting ecolabelling schemes at the regional level. UNEP will also lead on activities to increase the outreach of the knowledge products created through the project by facilitating exchange with other regions, where work on SPP and ecolabeling is taking place.
-Öko Institut will provide strategic, technical, and methodological advice to GIZ, UNEP and national partners.

Unsustainable consumption and production patterns are at the heart of the triple planetary crisis: climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. In recent years, rising incomes and urbanisation in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, as well as in other regions of the world, have led to an increased demand for goods and services, which is linked to consumption-driven increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resource depletion and biodiversity loss.

With an average purchasing power equivalent to 15-20% of national budgets (OECD 2020), public procurement can incentivise a shift away from unsustainable production and consumption patterns, when coupled with robust eco-labelling schemes for products and services that comply with stringent sustainability criteria.

This project will offer partners a well-established platform for sharing results and achievements while also ensuring local partners access to a strong global network of support for the future. It will also contribute to raise the visibility of ecolabels in national and regional development agendas.

Learn at one planet network website.

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May 22, 2023

Can regenerative wool make fashion more sustainable?

While building their fledgling fashion brand, environmentally minded Edzard van der Wyck and Michael Wessely confronted a deluge of sustainability claims about different textiles.

"We looked at all types of fibres from cashmere to pineapple skin," says Wessely. But they often found barriers in the way materials were produced. Bamboo, for example, while biodegradable, often goes through intensive chemical manufacturing processes. Pineapple production typically uses large amounts of agrochemicals and is usually grown in monoculture.

They were looking for a fabric with sustainability credentials that stood up to scrutiny, not just in carbon emissions but also in its impact on biodiversity, pollution, recyclability and the communities producing it. They initially suspected the ideal fabric might be found on the more innovative end of the spectrum, exploring materials that were relatively new to fashion.

But in 2018, Van der Wyck and Wessely turned their attention to a much, much older material. They met regenerative sheep farmers who "wanted to bring about radical change" to their industry, Wessely says. Impressed with farmers' convictions and the technical and environmental benefits they claimed their produce offered, they landed on their raw material of choice: regenerative wool. "The real answer came in the form of an ancient material, albeit sourced and treated in a pioneering way," says Wessely.

The regenerative approach seeks to replicate what happens in the wild, where animals roam as they graze to find new sources of food and avoid predators, allowing grasslands to heal

A year later, they established Sheep Inc, which claims to be the world's first "carbon negative" fashion brand. The London-based brand factors farming (including methane, sheep farming's main source of emissions), manufacturing, packaging and transport into its analysis, according to a report from independent certifiers, Carbon Footprint. However, this figure doesn't include home energy emissions from the team's remote working nor other digital emissions, although these would likely be low compared to emissions from farming wool.

Sheep Inc's methods to keep its environmental impact low include using solar-powered knitting machines, sorting clothes in a solar-powered warehouse and a plastic-free supply chain. Customers can also return items to Sheep Inc for mending and repair.

Experts in sustainable fashion have praised the company's efforts. "This is a brand after my own heart: championing regenerative natural fibres, renewable energy, responsible production with a fully traceable supply chain," says independent sustainable fashion consultant Lucianne Tonti. "They are proof of the concept that it is possible to make beautiful clothes with a positive environmental impact."

The fashion industry is responsible for between 8 and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than aviation and shipping combined.

Some 70% of fashion's emissions come from its supply chains, concentrated in raw material production, processing and preparation. This was why carefully selecting raw material suppliers was so crucial to Sheep Inc's process, says Wessely.

Wool is viewed as somewhat of a wonder-fabric in the fashion industry because it is hardier than most fibres, requires less washing, and is recyclable, Tonti says. "It's strong, elastic and has a waxy coating so it doesn't stain easily, and it's odour resistant." It is also flame-retardant, has anti-bacterial properties, and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, she says. When wool returns to soil or water, it biodegrades, unlike petroleum-based fabrics such as polyester. (Read more about fashion's colossal waste problem).

This makes it a strong contender for sustainable clothing that lasts consumers decades. But conventional wool production remains far from climate-friendly; sheep emit methane, which is 28-36 times more potent than CO2 over a 100-year period. Conventional wool farming often uses set stock grazing, where animals sit in the same paddocks for long periods which can lead to desertification, biodiversity loss and soil erosion.

In places like South America, New Zealand and Australia, it is more common for sheep to roam but chemical fertilisers are commonplace and without adaptive management practices, conventional sheep farming can lead to the same overgrazing issues as set stock grazing including water pollution, soil erosion and desertification.

Learn more at BBC Future Planet, 14 April 2023, By: Parisa Hashempour.

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May 15, 2023

Report-Changing Behaviour to Help More People Waste Less Food

Many organisations and others who interact with householders have a role to play in helping people reduce the amount of food they waste – by helping to raise awareness and then helping address the barriers to reducing food waste, whether they are related to the product offering or a result of behaviours, skills and knowledge.

Champions 12.3 has collated this guide to help key actors in the food system to focus on how they can help consumers reduce food waste through behaviour change. In June 2021, the World Resources Institute (WRI) hosted a behaviour change webinar, followed by a workshop that convened leading experts behind some of the most prominent efforts to reduce consumer food waste to share their knowledge and best practices. The output from the workshop has informed the content of this guide (as indicated by “What the experts say” sections throughout), which also incorporates illustrative examples of consumer food waste interventions from around the world.

This document aims to guide actors towards actions they can take to help consumers change behaviours that may lead to food waste arising in households. In doing so, the guide takes into account the fact that multiple actors can influence how consumers deal with food waste. It also deliberately allows the reader to refer to the section that is most relevant to them and the actions they can take to help people reduce food waste. It is designed to allow the reader to dip into relevant sections as well as provide a comprehensive overview of the approaches and interventions that have been shown to reduce food waste.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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May 8, 2023

ASEAN Launches the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption

The ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP) has launched the ASEAN Toolkit on Sustainable Consumption which comprises of tools and teaching materials aiming to enhance the understanding of government officials, consumer associations, and businesses, on the concept and policy implications of sustainable consumption.

Promoting Sustainable Consumption is in line with the ASEAN Economic Blueprint (AEC) 2025, which recognizes the need to build higher consumer confidence including through the promotion of sustainable consumption. This strategic measure has been further elaborated under Goal 3 of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection (ASAPCP) 2025 which aims at ensuring higher consumer confidence in the ASEAN Economic Community and cross-border commercial transactions.

The materials are divided into four modules with the following topics:

Ÿ Concepts and Principles and Principles of Sustainable Consumption;
Ÿ Best regional and international practices and approaches to policies that promote sustainable consumption;
Ÿ Tools and instruments used in influencing consumer behavior; and
Ÿ Use of appropriate instruments and tools in selected sectors
Ÿ The materials are also supplemented with advocacy materials such as PowerPoint slides, infographics, and an Audio-Visual Presentation.

Prior to the development of the Toolkit, the ACCP conducted Capacity Building Workshops and Observational Site Visits to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan on March 2019. The Workshop discussed the gaps and challenges in promoting sustainable consumption and provided the opportunity for AMS to discuss the development of their respective national initiatives to promote sustainable consumption.

In addition, a Regional Forum took place on August 2019 in Manila, the Philippines to discuss ways forward to formulate and implement sustainable consumption policy in ASEAN. In addition to ACCP members, the participants include international experts from countries with advanced sustainable consumption initiatives such as Japan and South Africa. It also includes NGOs, and academicians who are prominent advocates of the sustainable consumption movement. The recommendations and deliberations at the Forum provided the foundation for the development of the Sustainable Consumption Toolkit.

The development of the Toolkit was led by the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and funded by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) through the project ‘Promotion of Sustainable Consumption in ASEAN’.

Please visit the aseanconsumer.org website to download the Toolkit and the set of advocacy materials.

For more information on ASEAN’s work on consumer protection, please visit the ACCP website: www.aseanconsumer.org.

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April 28, 2023

Report-Solutions from the One Planet network to curb plastic pollution

The present report was developed in collaboration with the stakeholders of the One Planet network (Consumer Information, Lifestyles and Education, Public Procurement and Tourism programmes), a global community of practitioners, policymakers, and experts, including governments, businesses, civil society, academia, and international organisations, joining forces around implementation of Sustainable Development Goal12 (SDG12).

The report provides an overview of solutions and recommendations developed by the One Planet network around:

Reliable sustainability information within existing standards, labels, and claims
Triggers for behaviour change, including nudging strategies and awareness campaigns
Creation of markets for sustainable solutions and concrete pathways for governments to lead by example using sustainable procurement practices
Implementation of circular economy of plastics in the tourism sector, including through direct engagement of businesses towards reduction of plastics pollution.
Additionally, the present report builds on findings from previous reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Marine Plastics Project and brings forward solutions to address plastic pollution as assessed in the 2021 report From Pollution to Solution - A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution and demonstrates of how a multi-stakeholder network can mobilize action to agilely deliver concrete outputs and a practical way to implement requests by Member States.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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April 24, 2023

[FASHION] A sustainable fashion week. Too good to be true?

What do you do if you’re a designer who is trying to be more sustainable but you want to show at fashion week? For Emilie Helmstedt, a Danish designer who took part in last week’s Copenhagen fashion week, the solution for the footwear styled with her dresses came from her team who brought in their old Nike and Adidas trainers. Covering them with ribbons, beads and paint, Helmstedt decided it was better than using new versions, as she has done in the past. It also chimed with the rest of the collection – her finale look which was made from scraps of material accumulated in her studio.

Copenhagen fashion week started in 2006 with relatively low-level fanfare. Then, three years ago, Danish organisers set out a series of sustainability requirements for designers to meet in order to be allowed to show in 2023 which would set them apart from the main fashion weeks – New York, Milan, Paris and London – on the global calendar

Based on the United Nations sustainable development goals, the organisers decided on 18 requirements that would apply to the event itself, as well as to all designers who wanted to participate.

“I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do differently. It was about time to set specific requirements rather than just give guidelines,” says Cecilie Thorsmark, the chief executive officer of Copenhagen fashion week (CPHFW) who outlined these requirements, which include a rule that 50% of a collection must be made using textiles from new generation materials such as alternatives to animal-derived raw materials like leather. Deadstock, recycled or upcycled materials are also encouraged.

Most brands have dropped fur from collections but, here, fur is banned outright and any unsold stock from previous collections cannot be destroyed – the most prevalent technique, burning and slashing items, was employed by brands including Burberry in the past. Instead, brands are to sell to discount outlets such as TK Maxx or enter them into the circular economy. Brands must also ensure, by exercising due diligence and working with suppliers, that chains are free from child labour and factories provide safe and fair working conditions.

Thorsmark, who previously worked for the Global Fashion Agenda, an industry group focused on sustainability, says she took the job in 2018 to challenge both the role and purpose of fashion week.

Implementing the requirements was a risk. CPHFW didn’t want to lose the bigger commercial names such as Ganni that attract international press and buyers. Thirty brands were approached with 28 qualifying three years later. Applications were first reviewed by a show committee made up of industry experts, then reviewed and verified by Ramboll, an external consultancy company.

One brand dropped out of the process halfway through while another was rejected after failing to meet all 18 obligations (Thorsmark wouldn’t reveal which brand it was).

On paper, it’s encouraging news from what is often considered the fifth fashion week. But despite the changes many remain sceptical.

Ciara Barry, policy and campaigns manager at the non-profit Fashion Revolution, is currently mandating for living wage legislation across the fashion sector. She says it is concerning that the requirements don’t even mention fair pay. “There is an inherent hypocrisy with a glamorous fashion show displaying collections which are made in poverty. All players in the fashion industry should call for systemic change – and fashion weeks have a role to play in. this.”

Barry says the omission also highlights the challenges that independent brands face from larger fast-fashion brands. “The nature of fashion’s supply chains make it incredibly difficult for individual brands to ensure living wages on their own,” says Barry. “They all share factories and suppliers.”

Then there are the double standards around offsetting carbon emissions. In order to meet the zero waste requirement, brands sent digital QR codes in place of embossed paper invitations. Single-use plastic was banned, show sets were minimal and all props had to be reused. Meanwhile, members of the press and fashion buyers flew in from around the world to look at even more new clothing that was being produced.

On the ground, the designers themselves were mainly optimistic about the changes. Henrik Vibskov, who has been showing for more than two decades, felt the requirements finally acknowledged the steps he has been trying to implement since 2016. “Everything has a life after its first use,” he said as he described his basement filled with archive pieces. His latest set featuring paper tomato trees is next going to be exhibited in Berlin.

For (di)vision’s co-founders, the siblings Simon and Nanna Wick “creating from what already is” has been their ethos since they founded their streetwear inspired brand in 2018. To them, working with almost exclusively deadstock and upcycling materials is “a no brainer.”

They also source their fabrics from suppliers in Italy, often using “waste material” from giant retailers or design houses. Wick says he managed to trace the fabric used for a faux-fur vest back to a collection from Stella McCartney, while a shirt featuring red wine stains was made from an old table cloth.

It seemed a trickier area to navigate for the more commercially successful Scandi brands such as Stine Goya, Ganni and Rotate. Known for their signature sparkly dresses and accessories, sequins which have devastating environmental consequences continued to appear multiple times. Rotate claims its versions are sustainable as they are recycled. Ganni say it uses 100% recycled polyester sequins on a 100% recycled polyester backing. A spokesperson for Stine Goya said that it uses some recycled polyester versions and its team are looking for more sustainable options.

Charlotte Eskildsen, co-founder of the Danish label The Garment, thinks it’s about phrasing – and that the word sustainable itself is problematic. She prefers the word “responsible”. “Fashion is never going to be sustainable and we know that we are contributing to an industry that is polluting way more than it should,” adds (di)vision’s Wick.

While Oslo and Helsinki fashion weeks have already implemented Copenhagen’s framework, with New York’s fashion week kicking off many were hopeful that the noise generated by CPHFW could spark wider change, or at least conversation. Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, says London fashion week won’t be following suit. “The event hosts a mixture of established and emerging brands and as result of this setting a one-size-fits-all sustainability standard is not feasible without alienating the smaller businesses.” Instead the BFC says it encourages brands to commit to voluntary initiatives such as joining the UN’s Climate Challenge.

Fiona Gooch, a senior policy adviser at the fair trade organisation Transform Trade, says both an EU regulator and a fashion watchdog as proposed in UK parliament is a better option. “The actions of large brands cause poverty wages and unsafe conditions and undermine smaller fashion brands who regularly use the same suppliers.”

Barry adds: “The Copenhagen fashion week requirements are absolutely better than nothing, but all fashion shows should move forward by introducing sustainability standards that advance further – they could really drive meaningful change in doing so.”

Learn more at The Guardian, 11 February 2023 By: Chloe Mac Donnell.

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April 17, 2023

Carbon Mark / I-X Launch

Launched as part of I-X, Imperial College London’s new interdisciplinary AI initiative in London, Carbon Mark aims to develop and incorporate into the world’s portfolio of mitigation resources, a new and significant means of reducing emissions in a world which – in spite of global climate legislation and progress on green energy – has produced more emissions in the last twenty years than in the twenty years before.

Recent advances in AI and Machine Learning has enabled Imperial College London – the project’s lead academic partner – to unprecedentedly, begin to create a mechanism capable of calculating carbon footprints on a product-by-product basis with unprecedented accuracy, and making those calculations freely available to be used globally, so that the world’s combined ‘purchasing power’ can be leveraged to make substantial carbon emission cuts.

By making the calculations freely available for anyone to incorporate in the products, services and applications which they provide, the market economy itself can be utilised to accelerate emission reductions at scale. Incorporated into e-commerce marketplaces and search engines, it could be used by the 1.8 billion people who currently shop online to buy ‘greener’ goods. Public procurement, which spends over $9.5 trillion on goods and services annually, could make highly accurate purchasing decisions regarding emissions, not price alone. The financial sector could accurately see the climate risks associated with their portfolios. As the system evolves in complexity, it could even help governments innovatively implement robustly informed carbon taxation policies. The uses are manifold.

Furthermore, once the mechanism is proven to successfully calculate carbon emissions, the same model could be extended to calculate how ecological products are in terms of, for example, water usage, toxins, packaging and plastic pollution.

The goal now is to build on Imperial College’s breakthrough by bringing together a consortium of internationally prestigious organisations and governing bodies which – by contributing their outstanding expertise and pooling resources – will help bring a global footprinting mechanism to fruition.

“Collectively we can harness this new technology to deliver a unique and potent way to combat climate change which is, of course, the overwhelming long-term threat to our natural world, its rich biodiversity and the global economy.” (Martin Smith, Carbon Mark Founder)

The mechanism can spark a new wave of sustainabilIty-based innovation and technology with substantial opportunities for those companies and organisations who recognise its potential. As the full life-cycle emissions of goods and services are made visible consumers will be able to judge, with unprecedented accuracy, the sustainability of the things they buy, while businesses will have a new means of competing for their market share – not just predominantly by price, but by improving the carbon emissions of the products and services they provide.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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April 10, 2023

10YFP Information note on the global strategy for sustainable consumption and production submitted to BRS Secretariat

Recently, an information document has been submitted for the meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions due to take place in May this year. These MEAs share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes. The purpose of the information document, submitted by the 10YFP Secretariat is to inform Parties to the Conventions of the approved Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production with a view to enhancing cooperation with these conventions. It serves as input to the agenda items on International coordination and cooperation of the COP-16 to the Basel Convention, COP-11 of the Rotterdam Convention and COP-11 of the Stockholm Convention.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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March 29, 2023

Cities use public procurement to advance circular transition

The recently published Circular Cities Declaration (CCD) Report 2022 highlights the great steps cities across Europe are taking to support the transition to a circular economy. Among the identified trends is the increased use of public procurement as a lever to reduce their environmental footprint and enable the take-off of circular solutions and services.
In Europe, public buyers spend 14% of the EU’s GDP, which means that there is a great potential for public authorities to have positive circular, social and environmental impact with their purchases of goods, works and services. The CCD report shows that cities increasingly recognise this potential. With 18 documented actions in the report public procurement is, behind circular infrastructure, the second most represented policy lever, used across many different sectors.
A good example are Haarlem’s (The Netherlands) ambitious circular procurement objectives. The city aims for 50% of its purchases to be circular by 2025, and has a target of 100% by 2030. These targets don’t stand on their own; in its circular economy action plan Haarlem Circulair 2040, the city has identified circular procurement as a key tool for implementing the circular economy and has made its circular objectives but are a central feature of its strategic procurement policy. The policy was derived partly from the Roadmap for Circular Procurement and Commissioning, acknowledging that commissioning plays a major role in achieving circular procurement goals.
Other examples in the report show how cities have been adopting and developing circular economy strategies, setting goals for local purchasing, circularity and socially responsible public procurement for tenders. These strategies are often aligned with international or national frameworks, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and allow interventions in many different sectors. Torres Vedras (Portugal) has for example implemented circular practices in its purchasing of school meals, while Helsinki (Finland) used circular principles for finding the best technical solution to renovate one of its main streets. Copenhagen (Denmark) is working on textile public procurement to stimulate demand for the output from the city’s own textile recycling efforts.
All these examples show that circular public procurement is about more than just reducing the social and environmental impacts of purchases. It also allows local governments to further stimulate the design, provision and management of more circular goods and services. To further pursue these possibilities, the adoption of supporting regulation at national and European levels, along with the provision of guidance, to local governments is necessary.
To read more about the circular (public procurement) activities of Europe’s cities, download the CCD report here .Throughout 2022, CCD signatories have been submitting individual reports sharing their key activities and interventions in the field of circular economy, and the challenges they have experienced. In total 40 reports were submitted, covering activities from 2021 and 2022. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability , with support from Ellen MacArthur Foundation, led a comprehensive analysis of these submissions, with the CCD report as a result. The two organisations note that this is the widest ever assessment of circular economy practices across European cities.
Learn more at ICLEI sustainable procurement platform.

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March 22, 2023

Cities invite market to drive zero-emission and circular construction

ICLEI Members are among the growing list of bodies that have signed two new key documents, both of which contain ambitions and commitments to leverage public procurement to make construction zero-emissions and circular. Organisations are invited to join the growing list of signatories of these two documents, namely the: Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Zero Emission Construction Sites and the Joint Declaration of Intent of the Working Group on Circular Construction.

“Construction contributes massively to cities’ carbon emissions, and is a field where local governments spend a lot of public money,” explains Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director, Sustainable Economy and Procurement, ICLEI Europe. “Leveraging cities’ purchasing power thus has enormous potential both to push the industry to be greener, and to make large gains in emissions reductions to help Europe reach its climate goals.”

The Joint Statement of Demand contains a number of ambitions to move to fossil fuel free construction machinery by 2025 and to gradually increase the use of emission free machinery to at least 50% by 2030. This statement, which has been signed by ICLEI Members Copenhagen (Denmark), Oslo (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Vantaa (Finland), is a clear signal to the market that there is a demand for emission free construction machinery, should it be made available by manufacturers. Signatories of the JSoD commit to:
Ÿ Require fossil-free construction machinery in own public projects from 2025, with at least 20% emission-free machinery, where available.
Ÿ Require fossil-free construction machinery in own public projects from 2030, with at least 50% emission-free machinery, where available.

For its part, the Joint Declaration of Intent demonstrates an unmet need in the field of road construction, in particular asphalt pavements. It aims to provide Public Buyers and the market with a recommended direction for investments in road construction, with a view to tendering approaches and to addressing ongoing challenges that require further analysis, such as identifying risks and potential for broader use of circular asphalt. ICLEI Members Haarlem (the Netherlands), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Lisbon (Portugal), Vienna (Austria), Zürich (Switzerland), and Nantes Métropole (France) are among the public authorities who have signed this Declaration.

The aim of the Joint Statement and Joint Declaration is to make future demand predictable and help other public buyers across Europe use procurement to effectively support innovation, while ensuring sustainability and high quality.

These documents were composed and agreed upon by the members of Working Groups on Zero Emission Construction Sites and on Circular Construction, respectively. Both Working Groups are convened by the Big Buyers for Climate and Environment Initiative, coordinated by ICLEI Europe and Eurocities on behalf of the European Commission. The Big Buyers Initiative establishes such Working Groups of public purchasers to focus on unmet public procurement needs, in order to drive market demand for innovative and sustainable products and services in Europe.

To sign and learn more about the Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Zero Emission Construction Sites, click here.

To sign and learn more about the Joint Statement of Demand of the Working Group on Circular Construction, click here.

Lear more from ICLEI Europe website.

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March 14, 2023

[SCP] Why India's new climate mission is focused on sustainable lifestyles

With a population of 1.4 billion, India is well positioned to drive meaningful climate action.
The Indian government's 'LiFE Mission' aims to harness the power of sustainable lifestyle changes.
Consumers can play a more significant role in driving sustainable production methods.

The Oxford Languages Word of the Year for 2022 has already been selected, but if a straw poll were held now among development and policy experts, a term unfamiliar to most of us at the beginning of the year – polycrisis – would likely surge ahead. It's a descriptive shorthand for the unhappy list of “cascading and interlinked crises” the United Nations Secretary-General warns are putting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in need of urgent rescue.

Among the mutually reinforcing crises we face, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution threatens the greatest core potential for destruction, both now and in the foreseeable future. The past two decades have witnessed an incredible stream of record-breaking temperatures, with nine of the warmest years on record coming in the past decade alone. Catastrophic floods, record heat waves, and crop-destroying droughts have forced us to face the stark reality that the devastating impacts of climate change are no longer a distant prediction.

India's 'LiFE' climate action programme
Yet, it is said, every crisis brings opportunity. If there is a silver lining, it is in the growing recognition that these crises are existentially urgent and can’t be solved independently of each other, accelerating systems thinking and investment in innovation. A part of this sea-change, the global LiFE, or Lifestyle for Environment Mission, launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, together with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in October 2022, brings a fresh and much-needed perspective, that aligns the development and climate agendas.

The LiFE Mission, first proposed by Prime Minister Modi at COP26 in Glasgow, gives special focus to the impact individual behaviour and consumption habits can have on the planet, and encourages the adoption of environmentally sustainable lifestyles. As Prime Minister Modi explained, “the need of the hour is human-centric, collective efforts and robust actions that further sustainable development.”

“The LiFE Mission … gives special focus to the impact individual behaviour and consumption habits can have on the planet, and encourages the adoption of environmentally sustainable lifestyles.” — Shombi Sharp, Resident Coordinator, India, United Nations.

While LiFE seeks to mitigate both supply and demand-side factors, it sets off from the premise that the latter half of the equation has lagged in recent years with most attention paid to public policies and corporate regulation. Thus, transformational change requires renewed demand-side focus for a maximized global response. The goal, in short, is to scale climate change mitigation solutions based on behavioural and lifestyle changes that shift demand for goods and services towards those with significantly reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and polluting footprints.

In practical terms, this means encouraging actions such as: saving energy at home; cycling, using electric vehicles, or even better, taking public transport instead of driving; avoiding unnecessary flights; eating more plant-based foods and wasting less; and leveraging our position as customers and employees to demand climate-friendly choices. The list of potential actions is as limitless as the complexity of our modern lives.

Individual actions can have a positive effect
Many of the goals of LIFE can be achieved by deploying the “nudge” concept from behavioural economics: gentle persuasion signals which encourage positive behaviour. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) endorses proven nudge techniques such as discouraging food waste by offering smaller plates in cafeterias, encouraging recycling by making bin lids eye-catching, and promoting cycling and walking through urban design.

The potential of demand-side mitigation is enormous, and largely unrealized. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Reportindicates that demand-side strategies could potentially reduce GHG emissions by 40-70% by 2050.

On the supply-side, demand, animated by the behaviour shifts of LiFE, can help create a virtuous cycle. Demand from individuals practising sustainability will send signals to the supply-side of the economy, the part that involves manufacturing technologies and energy generation, towards more climate and environmentally friendly designs, products and processes. At the same time, policy interventions can help incentivize a shift towards a circular economy, one where supply chains reuse materials and limit the extraction of new resources.

LiFE also recognises that an evaluation of climate action and our relationship with the planet through traditional, economic cost-benefit calculations such as GDP fail to capture how mitigation measures such as sustainable lifestyles interact with human well-being. For example, urban design solutions that encourage walking and cycling can have marginal benefits to health, well-being and social cohesion that are difficult or impossible to capture in terms of simple market costs. Instead, LiFE calls for the development of people-centric metrics, that recognize the social benefits of a nation’s stock of natural, human, and physical capital, and how these interact with the cost of human action or inaction.

And while LIFE is a global vision, India is an excellent place to start. With over 1.4 billion people, the largest youth generation in history, and the fastest growing major economy, the momentum generated by India alone can be enormous. India is also seeking to employ an array of bilateral and multilateral partnerships to build awareness and momentum towards a global ecosystem for sustainable lifestyles. As part of its G20 Presidency launched in December 2022 under the mantra of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, India has made integrating the LiFE Mission into the powerful group’s agenda a priority.

The LIFE Mission also recognises that accountability is relative to contribution. Emissions across the poorest half of the world’s population combined still fall short of even 1% of the wealthiest. Those who consume the least, often the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, will not be asked to consume less, but rather supported to participate in the green economy.

The same applies across countries. LiFE resonates with the just green transition the G77 and India have rightfully called for – highlighting enhanced obligations those in developed countries bear, to support climate adaptation and mitigation for those most affected, yet least responsible.

The energy crisis, and the coping responses of some high-income countries which have quickly turned back to coal and other fossil fuels, has been a reality check on the green transition. It is important to remember that for the Global South, while strengthening the link between sustainability and development is a priority, it remains far from given.

Socio-economic development and meeting basic human needs, driven by affordable and secure energy remains the ultimate priority, and for many developing countries, the mix available still includes significant amounts of coal and other fossil fuels. Development itself is non-negotiable. The energy crisis, which has forced many high-income countries to face the same trade-off between climate concerns and keeping the lights on, could be a catalyst for enhanced international solidarity and meaningful climate action.

And while we are all in this together and responsibilities are shared, it is only fair and common sense to call on developed countries, having gained their immense wealth via the vast majority of historical carbon emissions, to continue to make the most significant steps in helping ensure that the green energy transition is just and green, not “just” green.

As a founding UN Member State which bridges the worlds of the G20 and G77, and much in between and beyond, the good news is there has never been a better time for India’s growing leadership on climate action, at home and on the international stage. From the enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution targets announced under COP27 and massive bets on investment in renewables by Indian businesses, to core support for the International Solar Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and multiple South-South cooperation platforms, India brings a unique blend of scale, expertise, networks and legitimacy to the table.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously noted, “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” LiFE Mission now seeks to help each one of us live up to that truth in our daily lives.

Learn more at World Economic Forum website.

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March 7, 2023

WRAP Introduces their Extending Clothing Life Protocol

With the aim of helping clothes designers and manufacturers in creating longer lasting clothing, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) has developed The Extending Clothing Life Protocol which corresponds to a set of guides and principles that serve as a template of good practice in increasing clothing life.

Find out at WRAP website.

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February 28, 2023

Baseline Report on Climate Action in Tourism

In 2021, the Global Survey on Climate Action in Tourism took on board the inputs of more than 1000 stakeholders including businesses, destinations, and other organisations. The objective? To better understand the ongoing climate action efforts of the tourism sector, including efforts at mitigation and adaptation, and the challenges and tradeoffs of each. This report synthesizes the inputs to pull out some clear lessons and recommendations moving forward.
Find out at One Planet Network knowledge center.

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February 24, 2023

LiFE - Lifestyle for the Environment

On the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP26), the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi introduced the mission of “LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment)” to engage individuals in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

This initiative encourages a lifestyle that focuses on mindful and deliberate utilization of resources and aims to change the prent ‘use and dispose of’ consumption habits. The idea behind is to encourage individuals to adopt simple changes in their daily life that can contribute to climate change.

The One Planet Network is proud to plug into this ambitious initiative, having a strategic focus on the linkages between our consumption patterns and huge global challenges such as climate change. The OPN stands ready to support these efforts through the amplification of hundreds of ready to go tools and solutions which the network has spent years bringing together.

Find about more about the LiFE Initiative.

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February 20, 2023

Product Lifetime Extension Infographics focused on the Electronics and Fashion Sector

These infographics summarizes insights of the implementation of Product Lifetime Extension (PLE) extracted from real-life initiatives. These infographics developed by Working Group 3 (WG3) of the One Planet network. The overall aim of the WG3 is to push progress towards product lifetime extension policies and practices worldwide, and to raise awareness and engage consumers on product lifetime extension.

Strengthening the implementation of Product lifetime extension as a formal business practice is an urgent action to move forward to a more sustainable consumer and production patterns. Specially, extending the lifetime of electronics and textiles products contributes to decreasing the use of natural resources and waste generation which is a fundamental factor to accelerate the transition of businesses towards circular economy.

UNEP and Akatu Institute have worked together on the development of 4 infographics that contribute to clarify concepts and definitions by providing concrete examples on PLE policies and practices. The infographics address PLE general concepts, highlight its relevance and provide insights on the role of at a consumer, business and government level.

The infographics are also focused on the application of PLE practices within the textiles and electronics which are two strategic sectors that can highly contribute to boost and strength a green-circular economy model. The infographics address real-life initiatives that have implement PLE strategies which seek to contribute to the shift of consumption patterns towards sustainability.

More in details at one planet network website.

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February 8, 2023

GTPI welcomes 21 new signatories

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is honored to disclose the list of 21 new signatories, bringing the total of signatories to 142.

7 new signatories from India's tourism industry joined the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative thanks to the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and UNEP's country office mobilizing the tourism businesses in India to commit to actions for integrating sustainability in the tourism sector. The national level CEO round table on sustainable tourism was held on 25th November 2022, and within this framework, three large hotel chains (Leela Palaces, CGH Earth Experience Hotels and ITC hotels), two tour operators (SITA, Travel Corporation India and Far Horizon Tours), Travel Agents Association of India and DTORR, a consultancy company working with tourism businesses signed the ambitious commitments for managing plastic pollution in the tourism sector.

In addition, 3 accommodation providers (Pariwana Hostels, Madama Hostel & Bistrot and La Posada del Viajero SAC) joined the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative thanks to the efforts of the Hostelworld Group, a booking platform for hostels that joined GTPI back in 2020 and has been promoting GTPI and its solutions among its partners since then.

Several supporting organizations have also joined the movement. Among them, a UK-based not-for-profit organization Common Seas, that just launched an online tool PlasTICK to measure the weight of plastics in operations of accommodation properties. The platforms’ approach is aligned with the GTPI measurement methodology and aims at supporting GTPI’s reporting process.

The breakdown per geographic region is quite diverse: 8 signatories have their headquarters in Europe, 3 are based in Latin America and Caribbean, 1 in Africa, 1 in Oceania and 8 in Asia-Pacific, among which 16 are businesses and 5 supporting organizations.

More details at one planet network website.

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February 1, 2023

GTPI issued the Plastics Measurement Methodology for Accommodation Providers

Beyond its harmful impact on marine ecosystems, the damage caused by plastic pollution extends to the travel and tourism sectors, causing estimated damage of 13 billion dollars each year. Plastics are cheap, lightweight, durable and adaptable: a perfect storm for the environment as they are present ubiquitously across objects in our daily life and in packaging we indirectly consume. The pervasive presence of plastic makes it especially difficult to track, reduce and eliminate.

To align and enhance the travel and tourism sector’s efforts in fighting plastic pollution and transition to a circular economy for plastics, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) gathers ambitious commitments from tourism industry stakeholders around the elimination of unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging and items, and the introduction of reusable alternatives and increase of recalled content and recycling rates.

In addition, GTPI signatories commit to “report annually and publicly on progress towards meeting these commitments, as well as on estimates of annual weights of plastics use”.

With a view to supporting the GTPI signatories to achieve this commitment, as well as other accommodation providers who are not signatories, a plastic measurement methodology was developed within the framework of a partnership agreement between UNEP and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, with the financial support of the French Government, and in collaboration with UNWTO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The new methodology sets out a common framework for:
·Defining the different types of plastics to be included in the measurement;
·The metrics to be used;
·How to define organisational boundaries and scope;
·Extrapolating to fill data gaps.

The guidance is intended to be used by hotel operators or owners at the company level, but can also be applied at the single property level. Moreover, the creation of a common benchmark is the strength of the new methodology, which will allow for consistent year-on-year comparisons, both internally and externally.

Technical assistance was provided by Greenview within the framework of its collaboration with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and with contributions from GTPI signatories and Advisory Group members, as well as members of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

Discover the methodology and the calculation tools at One Planet Network knowledge center.

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January 28, 2023

WRAP Introduces their Extending Clothing Life Protocol

With the aim at helping clothes designers and manufacturers in creating longer lasting clothing, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) has developed The Extending Clothing Life Protocol which corresponds to a set of guides and principles that serve as a template of good practice in increasing clothing life.

The Protocol seeks to support companies interested in develop and supply clothes designed and manufactured for a longer lifetime. To facilitate the access and understanding of the Protocol, WRAP(Waste & Resources Action Programme) developed a guide that explains in a simple and interactive manner how to implement the Protocol.

Through the Protocol, companies can learn about techniques and best practices to increase clothing life while ensuring best levels of performance for your products and practical regimes for quality testing.

The Protocol Guidelines and Interactive Guide to the Protocol can be accesed through the links provided.

More details at one planet network website.

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January 17, 2023

Sustainable Food Programme nominated for a Food Planet Prize

The One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme has been shortlisted as one of the 50 nominees to the Curt Bergfors Food Planet Prize, the largest monetary award in the global food arena. It rewards innovative solutions that can help us shift to sustainable food systems within a ten-year timeframe. The Prize is the Curt Bergfors Foundation’s primary tool to encourage agents of change and promote game-changing initiatives. In 2020, five change-making initiatives shared four US 1$ million prizes. For 2021 and onwards, the Curt Bergfors Foundation decided to double the award sum and give US $2 million to 2 winners. This means that the world's biggest environmental award is all about food. The SFS Programme is honored by this nomination and grateful for the generous collaboration and support from its members throughout these past years.

Read more about this prestigious prize at food planet prize.

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January 13, 2023

New One Planet Network Initiative on Harnessing Digital Technologies for a Circular Economy

Research predicts that over 60% of global GDP will pass through digital channels and 2 billion people will be consuming online by the end of 2023. While there are incredible opportunities to unleash major structural economic, environmental, and social transformations, there is a troubling downside: unprecedented environmental and social risks. With this in mind, the One Planet Network has launched a new initiative to harness digital technologies for a circular economy.

Capitalizing on existing knowledge and expertise, the initiative will partner with digital technology, circular economy and consumption experts with thematic and sectoral expertise across the One Planet Network, and beyond.

Stay tuned at one planet network website.

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January 6, 2023

Sustainable Public Procurement: 2022 Global Review (Parts I and II)

This report provides important insight into the current state of sustainable procurement (SP) across national governments, private enterprise and intergovernmental organizations worldwide. It is published in the framework of the 10YFP Sustainable Public Procurement Programme, which is committed to conducting a regular review of the state of SPP implementation as part of its work plan. Building on the findings of the previous editions published in 2013 and 2017, this report aims to track global progress in sustainable procurement over the last five years, deepening our collective understanding of the current barriers, needs, opportunities and innovations in this important area. Findings are based on a cross-cutting analysis of data collected in 2021 on the SP activities of 314 organizations and 45 national governments, as well as insights from interviews with SP experts and a review of existing literature on the topic.
The research is complemented by the supplement titled “Factsheets on Sustainable Public Procurement in National Governments”, which includes 45 country factsheets detailing the SPP policy frameworks, priorities and implementation activities in place in each country. The supplement will be released shortly and be made available in the Knowledge Hub.
Both the 2022 SPP Global Review and Factsheets were made possible thanks to a grant allocated by the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute.

More in detail at one planet network website.
Download the report at one planet network knowledge center.

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December 28, 2022

Survey Report-How Environmentally Friendly Product and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change released

The International Green Purchasing Network released Survey Report-How Environmentally Friendly Product and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change, engaged primarily to track the stock in view of years progresses on what green purchasing had contributed to achieve climate target, help to identify the barriers and challenges in implementation, encourage to formulate feasible problem-solving approaches, synergize the development of sustainable consumption and production response to climate change accordingly.

The report laid out a new outlook of environment-friendly products and green purchasing in response to climate change; presented facts to show how environment-friendly products and green purchasing has and is contributing over time and its relationship to the climate change priority; found out a casual model to explain in public sector how successful the green procurement helps to achievement national zero carbon emission target. The Report collects the policies and practices of countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines etc., and regions from China Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on green procurement to address climate change. It also introduced the experience and practices of Britain and the United States in this field. These experience and practices have played an active role in applying environment-friendly products and green procurement to meet carbon reduction target of each country, which could be learned by other countries.

The findings of this survey report showed that environment-friendly products and green procurement are effective approach to promote the synergy of SCP and mitigation of climate change. However,this requires the integration of green procurement policy and climate change policy in all countries in the world in order to achieve synergy. Moreover, efforts are needed to unite relevant countries and regions developing a cooperation platform to form reproducible and workable experience; and expedite sharing and dissemination of such experience to ensure more countries and organizations taking part in global movement of green procurement.

The intended audience for this report will be procurement officers, purchasers, sustainability coordinators, and others concerned organizations with green purchasing initiative.

The report was funded and organized by China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), which hosted International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) Secretariat since 2018. The International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership, launched by Japan Green Purchasing Network in 2005 with the mission: 1) promote globally the development of environmentally friendly products and services and green purchasing activities; 2) share information and know-how on green purchasing and environmentally friendly products and services internationally; and 3) harmonize the efforts of green purchasing and the development of environmentally friendly products and services from a global viewpoint.

The report is available here Download file.

If any further enquiry on this report, please contact with igpn.secretariat@igpn.org.

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December 21, 2022

International Green Purchasing Network Annual Meeting Held to Active Collaborations

the IGPN met annually to recap progresses and share members’ insights in green purchasing practices

2022 annual meeting of the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN was held visually on December 16th. Participants and invited guests from national Green Purchasing Networks, IGPN Council and IGPN Advisory Board which are from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, China Hong Kong, and UNEP, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, TCO Development attended this meeting. The meeting was hosted by the IGPN Secretariat, China Environmental United Certification Center–CEC.
Mr. Chen Yanping, Chair of IGPN, presented his speech in the opening remarks, “Sustainable production and consumption are increasingly becoming a key component of balancing human development and healthy planet. In 2022, the IGPN carried out the specific survey activity of how environmentally friendly products and green purchasing to tackle climate change, which laid an active role in the global action on climate change. We expect to continuously improve members activity, expand the membership scale, focus on project research, gradually forming regional best practices and promote the regional green purchasing development”. Mr. Mark Hidson, vice chair of IGPN, gave his welcome remarks, “Global sustainable procurement is moving from awareness raising toward implementation, along with the improvement of sustainable public procurement systems, standards and norms, pre-procurement training will play a greater role in guiding consumer behavior change and promoting sustainable procurement practices, and it is hoped that IGPN and its members pioneer to play a leading role in this field”.
During the meeting, Ms. Gina Torregroza, project coordinator of UNEP One Planet Network Secretariat, introduced the latest Global Strategy of Sustainable Consumption and Production (2023-2030). Mr. Farid Yaker, programme officer of the Economy Division of UNEP and IGPN advisory board member, presented Key results and updates in the application of performance evaluation tools in global sustainable public procurement. Ms. Marieke Weerdesteijn, program manager of Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, explained the role of Circular and Fair ICT Pact in accelerating the shift to sustainability through the power of procurement. Meanwhile representatives of Green Procurement Networks from different countries and regions recapped their progress, achievements and experience of their green purchasing networks. Participants reviewed the 2022annual work of IGPN secretariat, discussed the priorities and highlights of future development of IGPN.
Since CEC holds the IGPN Secretariat in 2018, it consistently works on the IGPN operational codes and members’ collaboration activities. Stated by Mr. LIU Zunwen, CEC general manager, in the summary speech, “Next year the Secretariat will commit to its mission of IGPN, pay more attention to deepening cooperation, technical models, and optimization activities to promote the expansion of membership scale, strive to promote the practice of sustainable procurement at the national and regional levels.”


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December 19, 2022

Driving SCP in Thailand and Cambodia by addressing food systems challenges

WWF is kicking off a new project on SCP in the agri-food sector as part of Future Food Together, a WWF-led multi-country initiative dedicated to furthering the global Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) agenda. With a focus on the Global South, Future Food Together has established five projects across two continents – Asia and South America. The new project will focus on Cambodia and Thailand, addressing a range of food system challenges specific to the national context by promoting SCP practices.

More in details at WWF website.

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December 5, 2022

The Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption & Production 2023-2030 has been approved!

This strategy was officially launched during the 10YFP Board Meeting which took place in Paris, France on October 18-19, 2022. The strategy lays out an ambitious vision for multilateral cooperation around Sustainable Consumption and Production moving forward, in order to make progress towards SDG 12 and foster a global movement for transformative change in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Further position sustainable consumption and production as an essential requirement and delivery mechanism to achieve global commitments for sustainable development, climate, biodiversity and pollution.
Enable transformative changes through multistakeholder partnerships, tools and solutions across high-impact systems and sectors
Empower countries, in particular developing countries, and stakeholders for mainstreaming and implementing sustainable consumption and production, leveraging on the UN Development System
Fostering a global movement and commitments for action

In December 2021, the UN General Assembly extended the mandate of the 10YFP to 2030, and encouraged its implementation. Stakeholders began discussing what the next phase of transformative cooperation on SCP could look like, and how it could be put into action...
The UNGA decision recognized that unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are key drivers of natural resource depletion, climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and malnutrition, and recommitted to making fundamental changes in the way that societies produce and consume goods and services. In addition, the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly took note of the decision of the Board of the 10-Year Framework to continue developing a new global strategy on sustainable consumption and production.As such, the drafting of this strategy is underway, prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme serving as the 10YFP/One Planet Network Secretariat at the request of its Board. The strategy is being developed in the context of the Boards' efforts to develop an ambitious vision for multilateral and multistakeholder cooperation on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) beyond 2022.The strategy will connect the dots and bring communities together, as well as address the challenge of unsustainable consumption and production in all its dimensions, mobilizing all actors – governments, the business sector, civil society, and citizens.

More details at UNEP One Planet Network.

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November 25, 2022

Podcast tells story of public food procurement in Ecuador

The Project Feeding Urbanization aims at identifying the key urban food systems challenges in selected small and intermediary cities. This video shows a great introduction, and collaborators went even deeper with a podcast interview with the project coordinator, which you can listen to below.
Check out the podcast at One Planet Network News.

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November 10, 2022

Public food procurement for sustainable food systems and healthy diets

This publication aims to contribute to the improved understanding, dissemination, and use of public food procurement as a development tool, particularly the case of school meals programmes. It also provides case studies with local, regional, and national experiences from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America.

More in details at the website of One Planet Network.

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November 1, 2022

NOW ONLINE | New Playbook on Inclusive Public Procurement

The Inclusive Public Procurement Playbook was launched at UNDP Business Call to Action’s (BCtA) 12th Annual Forum as a guide to seven strategies that can promote supplier diversity while guaranteeing important public procurement principles.

September 21st, 2022, Istanbul – In the context of the current interlocked crises, the BCtA 12th Annual Forum convened partners on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly on ‘The Power of Collaboration’ to present an integrated solution that effectively engages governments and businesses for systemic change.

Partners agreed that public procurement is an essential component of democratic governance, poverty reduction and sustainable development, which can be used to propel changes in public service delivery, create fiscal space and jobs, and stimulate private sector growth. “Through sustainable public procurement (SPP) principles and practices, the annual multi-trillion-dollar public procurement budgets can be leveraged to support sustainable development”, said Moderator Carsten Hansen, Chief of Procurement Services Unit at UNDP. A well-performing public procurement system increases citizens’ confidence in government and private sector competitiveness, especially by levelling the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Inclusive Public Procurement (IPP) is a new way of looking at public procurement under which the government meets its needs for goods and services through the private sector by engaging Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and Inclusive Businesses (IBs) in the public procurement process. As an approach to Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), IPP is designed to maximize equitable economic, social, and environmental benefits with the primary aim of promoting supplier diversity through economic inclusion in the supply chain of SMEs, IBs and other socially disadvantaged groups. Understanding the important role that Inclusive Businesses play in supporting governments to better reach underserved populations with essential services and goods, this discussion will focus on the uptake of SMEs operating inclusive business models in public procurement processes.

During the session Inclusive Public Procurement: Enhancing SME-based innovation uptake in public procurement processes, Luciana Aguiar, Programme Manager at UNDP Business Call to Action, presented the Inclusive Public Procurement Playbook as a guide to seven strategies that can promote supplier diversity while guaranteeing important public procurement principles. “The Inclusive Public Procurement Playbook seeks to define the standards, procedures, strategies, and best practices for both private and public sector actors. For the public sector, the playbook guides public procurement actors on enhancing SME-based inclusive business solutions. For the private sector, the Playbook guides SMEs, social enterprises, and inclusive businesses on how to successfully navigate public procurement processes”, said Luciana Aguiar.

At a glance, this Playbook presents the case for change towards inclusive public procurement and defines the standards, procedures, strategies and best practices for public procurement stakeholders to enhance supplier diversity while guaranteeing important public procurement principles. Moreover, the Playbook aims to guide SMEs, social enterprises and inclusive businesses on how to navigate public procurement processes; as well as to support public procurement stakeholders on how to enhance SME-based inclusive business solutions to serve vulnerable communities.

More in details at UNDP businesscalltoaction website.

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October 27, 2022

Webinar: Getting started with sustainable IT- actions for procurement

Do you need help getting started with your sustainable procurement strategy? Join this webinar to learn more about the IT sustainability challenges and the corresponding solutions throughout the life cycle of IT products, and how you can drive positive changes through strategic and sustainable procurement.

This webinar is a cooperation between TCO Development and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), with huge support from sustainable and circular IT expert Michael Buchanan from Australia.

On the agenda:

-Introduction of the existing sustainability risks and solutions connected to IT products within their life cycle.
-Why design and manufacturing phases are critically important to make IT products more sustainable.
-Why managing your used IT products responsibly is extremely crucial for IT sustainability and slowing down the growth of e-waste.
-How procurement practice can help your organization reduce risk in IT procurement till the end of life.

Date: November 17.
Time: 09.30-10.30 Bangkok, 10.30-11.30 Singapore, 11.30-12.30 Tokyo, 13.30-14.30 Sydney

Sigh up at here.

More information on the TCO website.

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October 21, 2022

[CITIES] Tokyo wants to build a future-proof city. Here’s how

Tokyo has some seriously ambitious extension plans.

Japan’s capital is set to become bigger, better and incorporate a mini city, the Tokyo Metropolitan government (TMG) says in a new report.

Tokyo eSG, as its name suggests, will be built around the principles of environmental and social governance and incorporate the latest green technologies.

“The world’s first ESG city” is due for completion by 2050 and billed to become a municipal model for the global community.

Back to the future

Today’s urban planners need to adopt a forward-thinking approach in the face of urgent global challenges such as climate change and the threat of future pandemics, the project report says.

But the TMG’s vision of creating a sustainable and future-proof city that leads by example is nothing new in Tokyo’s history, it adds.

In the 18th century, Japan’s capital, then known as “Edo”, was the world’s biggest city, with a thriving circular economy. And in 1923 it had to be completely rebuilt after being devastated by the Great Kanto earthquake.

“Tokyo expanded through creating reclaimed land into the sea and that is a strong advantage for us… No one lives on the land we plan to use, so we can start from zero,” the city’s deputy governor Manabu Misaka told Bloomberg.

The Tokyo eSG project will see an unused stretch of land in Tokyo Bay extended to around 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres).

This unpopulated area was used during the 2020 Olympics to host canoeing and rowing events and, recently, for waste disposal.

A sustainable vision

Cities currently support half the world’s population and they account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN.

So, what’s being done to make Tokyo a clean and sustainable city of the future?

To establish what it calls a “sharing economy”, the TMG says it is rethinking ideas around ownership and consumption, as well the use of materials and waste-management.

It is hoped the project will attract ESG-focused venture capital and start-ups from around the world looking to test new technologies that can help build a circular economy. To this end, the TMG has set up a green finance scheme that provides subsidies to foreign asset managers and fintech companies with a sustainability focus.

All of the city’s energy needs will eventually be met by renewable energy, including hydrogen, wind power and floating solar farms, managed by smart grids, according to the report.

The Tokyo eSG plans also envisage zero-emission buildings and public transport systems.

“The challenge is to build a city that will be strong against the crises we face, whether it’s infectious diseases, climate change or energy supply,” Miyasaka told Bloomberg.

Providing an economic boost

While the project aims to tackle the most pressing challenges facing the world’s major cities, it is also about increasing the country’s global competitiveness.

Japan ranked 28th among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries for digital competitiveness in the 2021 IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking.

The report acknowledges that the country has much work to do: “Japan lags far behind in the digital shift occurring in the rest of the world. It has also fallen behind in the area of economic growth. Based on these circumstances, there is a pressing need to fundamentally reform existing systems and approaches”, it says.

The TMG is focusing on building up its 5G network in the city, in line with government plans to triple coverage across the country in the next two years. This will be essential to the swift development of a future-proof municipal infrastructure, as well as garner the interest of businesses and talent.

Building the cities of tomorrow

As well as “creating ripple effects throughout Japan”, the city’s governor believes Tokyo eSG could achieve significant international impact: “Technology is moving away from being used in the purely digital world, to physical spaces. Cities will battle to become places to develop such new technologies, and the project could become a template for other urban centres,” he told Bloomberg.

The future of cities is a major focus of the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils. The 1,000-strong membership of thought leaders - from academia, government, international organizations, business and civil society - seeks to identify how urban areas can be re-designed to work better for residents and the planet.

WEForum, 21 September 2022,By: Stefan Ellerbeck.

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October 14, 2022

[SCP] Consumers Are the Key to Taking Green Mainstream

Everywhere we look, we see companies making commitments to climate and sustainability goals. But while the bold net-zero pledges that CEOs, investors, and boards are making have received a positive response, it’s clear that companies still have a long way to go to inspire the consumer action needed to help reach our global climate ambitions.

What will it take to make consumers choose environmental sustainability, whether through their behaviors or their purchases? What are C-suite executives (CXOs) missing?

We believe the answers lie with consumers themselves. Our research has confirmed that consumers do care about climate and sustainability and want to do their part. (See the sidebar “About Our Research.”)

But some consumers are confused about what they, as individuals, can do to make a difference; only 20% think that they can personally have an impact. More significantly, approximately 70% are disillusioned—wary of corporate claims about progress toward sustainability and suspicious that those corporate commitments are a ruse masking the true intent: merely to burnish reputations and attract customers. High-profile allegations of corporate greenwashing only bolster the disillusionment.

While up to 80% of consumers say they think about sustainability in their day-to-day purchases, only 1% to 7% report that they are paying a premium for sustainable products and services. Leaders often interpret this extremely broad “say-do” gap as a signal that consumers are not yet ready to follow through on their own convictions about sustainability. We believe, however, that measuring only those two extremes conveys an incomplete picture of the true range of actual consumer behaviors.

We examined every stage of consumer behavior in our research and identified two other important groups of consumers who are on the threshold of embracing sustainable products and services. The key question for CXOs is, How do we encourage more of those consumers to cross that threshold and make sustainable choices?

Breaking Down the “Say-Do” Gap
Between the consumers who are paying a premium for sustainable products and services and those who merely express concern about sustainability there are many other consumers: those who are taking action by buying sustainable products and services (albeit not at a premium) and those who are adopting sustainable behaviors (such as minimizing their water and electricity use, washing their clothes in cold water, restricting solo travel in automobiles, or using refillable packaging).

More good news: there are ways to reach and motivate these “in between” consumers by aligning sustainable offerings with their core needs. CEOs, chief marketing officers, and chief sustainability officers also need to understand the factors that currently deter consumers from more fully embracing sustainable choices and the factors that will motivate them toward sustainability. Then, CXOs need to learn to speak the language that will best resonate with consumers.

There’s marked variation across the product and service categories we examined. Some categories are more advanced on the consumer maturity curve, offering significant opportunity for companies to step up.

For instance, in home care products, nearly 60% of consumers say they are already following sustainable behaviors such as recycling products, bottles, and packaging (36%); using reusable cloths for cleaning (35%); and buying refillable cleaning and home care products (29%).

In the cars category, 39% of consumers report they are adopting sustainable behaviors such as avoiding driving or driving only when necessary (38%) or carpooling with others (14%).

The imperatives differ across categories, so the agendas for reaching consumers will differ as well.

Our survey also revealed trends by country, with some surprises. We’ve seen that the greatest concern about sustainability comes from consumers in China (92%) for categories such as home care, cars, grocery retail, apparel, and skin care products and those in Brazil (89%) for select categories including home care, cars, and PCs and tablets. Concern is relatively high among consumers in India (84%) for cars. Among higher-income markets, Italy shows the highest level of concern (87%), particularly in electricity providers, home care, luxury, and PCs and tablets.

Possibly, the trends in emerging markets reflect localized and firsthand exposure to the harmful effects of nonsustainable behaviors. In certain markets, consumers may feel these effects more acutely, resulting in a heightened awareness of the need to act. In China, for instance, consumers witness firsthand the smog and pollution that result from nonsustainable practices. (Another possible reason for China’s progress on this front: government leaders may be emphasizing sustainable development.) Consumers in Brazil may have a greater understanding of and commitment to sustainability because they have a front-row seat to the unfortunate destruction of the rainforests. In some other nations, the true impact on environmental degradation may simply not be so obvious. Yet.

And the heightened concern doesn’t translate into action across markets. Consumers in China and Italy are generally embracing sustainability. But while consumers in Brazil and India are concerned, they tend to fall behind on adopting sustainable behaviors or buying sustainable products and services across most categories.
Driving Green into the Mainstream

Companies and CXOs will not fully maximize the potential of sustainable products and services if they focus only on increasing the percentage of consumers who are willing to pay more for sustainability—a segment that currently comprises just 1% to 7% of consumers. That segment is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Companies can move more consumers toward sustainable products and services by thinking about the different imperatives of the other three consumer segments. Those consumers—the ones who are concerned about sustainability, adopting sustainable behaviors, and acting by purchasing sustainable products and services—are high-potential silent stakeholders in sustainability. For example, we see that sustainable products and services have higher net promoter scores (NPS) relative to nonsustainable alternatives. Having the right value proposition can not only encourage people to act and buy sustainably but also develop strong relationships and loyalty between consumers and brands.

By understanding the core needs of consumers, companies can significantly increase sustainable outcomes. Sometimes this will mean innovating to remove real barriers, and sometimes it will mean using communication to address perceived barriers.

The three imperatives for expanding the uptake of sustainable lifestyles are:

-Make claims locally relevant.
-Broaden the dialogue.
-Break the tradeoffs.

Make claims locally relevant. Among consumers who are paying more for sustainability or acting by making sustainable purchases, participation can be expanded if companies emphasize the legitimate, fact-based sustainability claims that resonate best given consumer perceptions—and thus spur consumers to greater action. (Remember, consumers are wary of claims that might be perceived as greenwashing.) CXOs need to speak the language of consumers rather than the language of their internal business team, regulators, or investors.

This language can differ in each country, so CXOs should use nuanced claims and language across markets. For instance, product claims that relate to protecting forests and biodiversity will resonate greatly for consumers in Brazil. Packaging is an issue of particular concern to Japanese consumers; they are likely to favor products that are recyclable, reusable, and made of compostable packaging or packaging that is free of plastics.

Broaden the dialogue. We found that, at most, 16% of consumers value sustainability for its own sake as a top driver of choice; this relatively small share of consumers said that sustainability was one of the top-three needs in their last purchase.

However, a significantly larger share of consumers (20% to 43% in the categories we tested) could be persuaded to make sustainable choices if the products or services also deliver other related and highly relevant needs.

In the beverages category, for instance, only 7% of consumers cite sustainability as one of the top three attributes they consider when making a purchase. But a larger share of consumers—as much as 43%—have top-three needs that don’t include sustainability specifically but are related to sustainability. These consumers seek beverages that are healthy, high quality, guilt free, and socially responsible—and all these associations are positively correlated with sustainable products. By broadening the dialogue to emphasize these related attributes in product design and marketing initiatives, companies can attract consumers to sustainable products even when consumers are not deliberately seeking them.

Break the tradeoffs. Consumers who express concern about climate and sustainability and those who are adopting sustainable behaviors can be reached through strategies designed to break the tradeoffs—the reasons why consumers hesitate to more fully embrace sustainability.

Sometimes these tradeoffs reflect real shortcomings. Companies’ sustainable offerings might not include appealing or acceptable products and services. Companies may offer less variety in the category of sustainable snacks, for instance, or a paper straw may be of poor quality relative to a plastic straw and therefore less convenient to use.

Alternatively, the tradeoffs may be misperceptions on the part of consumers. Many consumers think sustainable alternatives to products and services simply don’t exist, even when they are plentiful on the market. And consumers who are aware that sustainable products and services exist may assume that they are a lot more expensive than they actually are.

These may not be the only misperceptions posing barriers. Consumers may not understand the various ways to be sustainable—they might not know, for instance, that washing dishes by hand uses more water than a dishwasher.

Revisiting our example of beverages, we see that consumers believe sustainable beverages aren’t appropriate for celebrations, aren’t extraordinary, and aren’t a good value for the money. Companies will need to first understand the specific tradeoff that consumers are making and then plan solutions accordingly. For instance, advertising sustainable beverages as “fun” and “extraordinary” could enhance the image of the products as appropriate for celebrations. However, improving the actual innovation pipeline may be what it takes to make “good value” sustainable-beverage options available to consumers.

For many consumers who are concerned about climate and sustainability but are reluctant to act, cost is a primary issue. In fact, this is a key tradeoff. It’s also a great example of a negative perception that may not be justified. Our research proves that consumers who do not actually buy sustainable products tend to perceive a much higher “green premium” than the actual premium paid by consumers who do buy green products.

Therefore, consumers who are on the fence about making sustainable purchases for reasons of price need to see clearer price communication.

BCG, 13 September 2022, By: Kanika Sanghi, Aparna Bharadwaj, Lauren Taylor, Léa Turquier, and Indira Zaveri.

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September 30, 2022

Jury unveils 2022 Procura+ Award finalists

The finalists for the 2022 Procura+ Awards have been unveiled. The Awards, supported by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, reward successful, sustainable, circular and innovative public procurement projects. These year awards will be given out in four categories: Circular Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year, Procurement initative of the Year, and Sustainable Procurement of the Year.
Two nordic cities are finalists in the Circular Procurement category. Malmö (Sweden) has replicated its approach from the Circular PP project, aimed at non-furniture for its city hall, for the procurement of road and navigation signs. The municipality aims to reuse the signs as much as possible with recycling being the last resort option. Tampere (Finland) is renovating one of its main streets using new public circular economy criteria it developed as part of a multidisciplinary cooperation with stakeholders from different sectors. Tampere and Malmö are joined by Quimper (France) which aimed to reuse on-site as materials as possible during the renovation of its railway station.

Lisbon (Portugal) is a finalist in the category Innovation Procurement of the Year, for its development of a Procurement Planning Platform. The Platform will serve as the backbone for a strategic sourcing approach aimed at sustainability and innovation. Lisbon is competing here with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Its IWR2021 project applied an innovative approach to the procurement of ICT hardware, set a new standard in the field, and challenged the market to become more sustainable.

Ghent (Belgium) and Copenhagen (Denmark) are recognised in the category Procurement Initiative of the Year. The Belgian city, together with the Flemish Energy Company (VEB), set up a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) for the delivery of locally produced solar power. The PPA protects the city against volatility in electricity prizes. The Danish capital, aiming to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2022, implements criteria in all its civil works tenders to promote fossil- and emission-free non-road mobile machinery.

Utrecht (The Netherlands) applied far-reaching social and sustainable criteria in its food procurement to ensure sustainable, circular, high quality food products for its citizens, reduce packaging and residual flows, and minimise food waste. For this, it was chosen as a finalist in the Sustainable Procurement of the Year category. It is joined here by the Irish Prison Service, which conducted a tender for the removal and recycling or repurposing of discarded mattresses across all 12 of its prisons. The tender requirements also included that the contractor should employ former offenders.

The winners will be announced at 12 October during a live awards ceremony at the Procura+ Seminar in Brussels (Belgium). The jury selecting the winners and finalists consists of

-Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Adviser at the Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD
-Katharina Knapton-Vierlich, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission
-Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre
-Sarah O'Carroll, Cities Lead, Institutions, Governments & Cities, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

More information on the finalists and their work can be found on the Procura+ website.

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September 21, 2022

UN General Assembly Adopts Landmark Resolution Recognizing Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Environment as Human Right

The 193-member body called upon States, international organizations, business enterprises and other relevant stakeholders to adopt policies, enhance international cooperation, strengthen capacity-building and continue to share good practices in order to scale up efforts to ensure a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all.

More in details at here.

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September 16, 2022

OECD Survey: Localising the Blue Economy. Towards a Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Circular approach to the blue economy in cities and regions

This survey has been developed as part of the project Cities and Regions for a Blue Economy of the OECD Water Governance Programme within the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE). The project advocates for a localised approach to the blue economy in which local and national governments and stakeholders share the task of implementing a Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable and Circular (RISC-proof) blue economy, through good governance at the right scale. It involves both coastal and inland cities and regions in which a significant share of economic activity depends on oceans, seas, deltas, rivers and lakes.

Learn more at here.

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September 5, 2022

[SCP] Reparability scores: helping consumers choose more sustainable products

“Many consumers are frustrated when products break down much earlier than expected and especially when they find out that it is not possible to repair them or it would be too expensive” explains Isabel Lopez-Neira.

She adds, “Consumers may have to buy a new product when they had no intention to, which can be a financial burden”.

As a policy officer in the European Consumer Organisation’s sustainability team, she advocates for EU policies that would ensure long-lasting and easy-to-repair products. The team’s vision is a green and just society where the sustainable choice is the easy, obvious option for consumers.

According to a special Eurobarometer survey, 77% of European citizens would rather fix a product than substitute it and 64% would like to keep using their digital devices for at least 5 years.

Therefore, it is not that surprising that almost 8 out of 10 Europeans think manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices or replace their individual parts.

For many citizens, repair is important not only for saving money. Isabel says that she is happy to see that “consumers are more and more interested in buying sustainable products to minimise their impact on the environment”.

This is great news because “overproduction strains natural resources and generates a lot of waste” she reminds. “Manufacturing products comes with high emissions and resource consumption.”

“We can decrease our environmental footprint by using products longer. In this regard, reparability is key to extending the lifetime of products”, Isabel concludes.

Short lifetimes, limited reparability, lack of information
If we want to extend the lifetime of products, we need to overcome several challenges.

Speaking about where we would need to get to, Isabel lists that “first, products should be designed to last longer without failure”. Second, “When products break down, repair should be easier and more affordable”. And third, “Consumers should have trustworthy and comparable information to identify the most durable and repairable products on the market.”

We still have a long way to go. “The problem starts in the first place with a lack of more sustainable products in the EU”, Isabel says. “What makes it even more complicated is that sustainable products are barely identifiable. Confusing information and a great variety of industry claims make it difficult for consumers to find the more sustainable products”.

Reparability scores to help consumers
Reparability scores could help consumers to compare the reparability of different products and make informed choices between them. Putting reparability scores on products is a huge project. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre provides a key contribution to the joint efforts of governments, industry and civil society. It develops the methodology on which scores are based.

JRC reaches out to stakeholders in the context of various policy-related studies. Isabel highlights that they “work regularly with the JRC in the Ecodesign Consultation Forum on ecodesign measures. Recently, the JRC has been leading the development of the methodology for a repair score for smartphones and tablets.”

She considers it “very important to have the JRC's technical expertise in the development of reparability scores or ecodesign measures”.

To establish the methodology for smartphones and tablets, scientists of the Commission defined:

· Priority parts (e.g. battery, microphone or speakers);
· Selected key design and service-related parameters, like the availability of spare parts, repair information and disassembly depth that determine reparability; and
· Defined criteria to assign a score to each parameter and a weighting system to combine these scores and come to an overall final score.

External partners tested the new methodology, applying it to smartphones and tablets to check how well it captures differences in reparability between different models on the market.

Isabel stresses that in the application of the methodology, “the score should always be clearly displayed for consumers offline and online. Market surveillance authorities must also have enough resources to verify that the repair score is accurate.”

“If reparability scores were applied widely, they would create the conditions for companies to compete on more repairable products by design,” adds Isabel.

Ensuring that consumers can repair their products
“Beyond information tools such as a repair score, we need ambitious minimum design requirements for reparability”, Isabel underlines. “Given that price is the main barrier for consumers when deciding whether to repair or replace, it is crucial to tackle this factor. One way is through more repairable products by design, which should be more affordable and faster to repair.”

The European Commission, following up on its circular economy action plan, is putting forward proposals to empower consumers, establish minimum requirements for reparability, encourage longer use, incentivise and enable repair.

In March, the Commission proposed the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation and the Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition Directive, while a proposal for a Directive on Sustainable consumption of goods – promoting repair and reuse is under preparation.

Continue to work for a green future
The JRC is involved in many areas to support key European legislations for a green, circular and climate-neutral Europe, including the development of reparability scoring methods.

“We expect to collaborate further with the JRC on ecodesign and product policy”, Isabel says. With the newly proposed Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, we expect reliability and reparability requirements to be introduced more systematically for all products. The JRC would be an important player in the development of such requirements for more products.”

Learn more at EU Science Hub, 26 July 2022, By: Joint Research Centre.

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September 1, 2022

Decision sets in motion increased efforts to balance the benefits and trade-offs of plastics used in agriculture

FAO’s main technical advisory committee on agriculture has acknowledged the need for improved inter-sectoral collaboration and governance to address plastic use in agrifood systems. The Committee recommended that FAO address existing knowledge gaps in close consultation with Members and stakeholders to develop a Voluntary Code of Conduct on the sustainable use of plastics in agriculture.

More details at FAO website.

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August 25, 2022

UPCOMING: 2022 Global Review of Sustainable Public Procurement

The 2022 Global Review provides an important window into the current state of SP worldwide. Building on the two earlier Global Reviews from 2013 and 2017, this edition will explore progress in SP adoption, implementation and monitoring and evaluation over the last four years, highlighting important developments and emerging trends.

More expansive than prior Global Review publications, this edition considers SP developments in national governments, the private sector and intergovernmental organisations and offers best practice recommendations effective across geographic and organisational settings.

It also looks at global efforts in SP promotion and mainstreaming, reporting on activities and initiatives from intergovernmental organisations, multi-lateral development banks, non-profits and networks, as well as higher education institutions.

The 2022 Global Review is due to be published soon, accompanied by Factsheets on the progress of sustainable public procurement across 45 countries containing detailed information about what policies, activities, programmes and monitoring systems national governments have in place to promote and implement sustainable public procurement.

More details at UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement newsletter.

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August 15, 2022

Everyone at the Table: Transforming food systems by connecting science, policy and society

A high-level expert group was established by the European Commission in Feb 2021 to explore the needs, gaps and options to strengthen the international science- policy interface for food systems transformation.The recommendations of the expert group are meant to both inspire and inform stakeholders on how to strengthen international science-policy interfaces for improved food systems governance.

More in details at European Commision website.

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August 8, 2022

COP15: Key outcomes for nature loss and climate change from UN talks in Nairobi

This article from Carbon Brief details the recent negotiations in Nairobi convened by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Despite delivering a few clear wins, the author argues that much is left to be decided on several hotly contested issues, and NGOs are warning that the ambition and political will must be stepped up.

More details in Carbon Brief.

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August 1, 2022

SDG 12.7.1- Global Monitoring of SPP

As custodian of SDG 12.7.1 indicator, UNEP collects contributions and data from national governments on the results of their SPP policy implementation.

This biennial exercise measures progress toward the achievement of SDG Target 12.7 (“Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities”), while also providing national governments with an opportunity to monitor their SPP efforts.
The second data collection exercise for this indicator will commence in July and run through the end of October. 95 countries have already nominated focal points and alternates to coordinate data collection activities within their respective governments. The list of focal points is available here. If your country would like to participate in this data collection exercise and does not appear on the list, please contact Farid Yaker at farid.yaker@un.org.

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July 27, 2022

Webinar series on financing the circular economy

UNEP FI, UNEP, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB invest, the eco.business Development Facility and its Sustainability Academy, GO4SDGs, Circular Economy Coalition are organizing a series of webinars exploring how financial institutions can accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The events will be held in Spanish, with simultaneous translation into English and Portuguese from June to October 2022.

· 9 June: Financing the Circular Economy | Watch the recording;
· 3 August: The Circular Economy as the key element in the race to Net Zero | Registration Form;
· 24 August: Financing the Circular Economy applied to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
· 21 September: Setting targets linked to the Circular Economy
· 17 October: Determining taxonomies and metrics applicable to the Circular Economy

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July 7, 2022

E-learning course on Due Diligence for Garment and Footwear supply chains

The OECD has launched this course which is free and is composed of two modules: the OECD Sectorial Guidance module will introduce the sector and present the key characteristics and background to RBC and development of the OECD Garment and Footwear Guidance. The second module on the OECD Due Diligence Framework, will present the due diligence process step by step and help participants consider key issues such as purchasing practices and stakeholder engagement.

More in details at OECD website.

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June 28, 2022

[TOURISM] Palau's world-first 'good traveller' incentive

Despite being home to fewer than 20,000 residents, the Republic of Palau is making an outsized impact to preserve the planet. Not only did the country – made up of 300-plus islands in the West Pacific – adopt the world's first anti-nuclear constitution in 1979, but it also implemented the Palau Pledge in December 2017, which requires international visitors to sign a pledge stamp in their passports that promises the children of Palau that they will "tread lightly" and "preserve and protect" the islands.

Now, as the archipelago opens up to tourism again after two long years of lockdown, a new programme called Ol'au Palau is offering a world-first initiative of "gamifying" responsible tourism, whereby travellers will be offered exclusive experiences based on how they treat the environment and culture, not by how much they spend.

The programme, managed via a custom app that's launching in the coming months, offers points to those who treat the island nation gently and respectfully by making sustainable decisions like using reef-safe sunscreen, visiting culturally important sites (such as the Belau National Museum and Bai, the oldest in Micronesia) and eating sustainably sourced local food.

Guests can then redeem their points to unlock cultural and nature-based experiences that are normally reserved for Palauans and their close friends, such as taking an unmarked hike, swimming at a secret cave, sharing a meal with locals and elders or casting a reel in a secluded fishing spot. It also promises new experiences that may have once been rare for tourists to partake in, including a first birth ceremony, which is an important cultural event.

The idea for the Palau Pledge came about in 2015, by which time tourism had reached 150,000 visitors annually – more than seven times the country's population – many of whom didn't understand the fragile ecosystem or how important sustainability was to residents. While Palauan culture values hospitality and treating visitors with respect, locals could see how under-educated visitors were eroding their environment.

To combat this, Palau needed a way to educate travellers and have them earn the privilege of being a trusted friend, said resident Laura Clarke, who co-founded the Palau Legacy Project in 2020 with Palauan Jennifer Koskelin-Gibbons to spearhead these preservation initiatives. With Clarke's background in marketing and advertising, and Koskelin-Gibbons' work in national preservation efforts, O'lau Palau was born.

In the local language, Palauan, ‘Ol’au Palau’ is a way of calling out to friend to invite them into your space. "So if you're on a beach, for example, and someone calls out 'Ol'au', it means, 'Hey, come over here, come be with us, share our food, come to this thing.' Visitors have a chance to earn that privilege of being a friend by doing certain behaviours," said Clarke.

Why should I go now?
As an economy that relies heavily on tourism, Palau was severely impacted by Covid lockdowns. The country opened back up in April 2022 to fully vaccinated travellers, and residents are eager to re-introduce the world to its remote white-sand beaches and wildlife-rich dive spots, which have earned it the nickname "the underwater Serengeti". A battleground in World War 2, Palau also has both Japanese ship and plane wrecks that draw history-buff divers. In addition, the country recently established the world's first National Marine Sanctuary, banning any type of extraction (including commercial fishing) in 500,000 sq km of ocean, making it an ideal spot to catch a glimpse of one of 135 species of sharks and rays that now thrive here.

"This year has been good. The corals are flourishing and the reefs are beautiful," said Scott Arni, who captains the Palau Aggressor II ship and has led dive expeditions in Palau for 10 years. "The diving has been amazing with loads of sharks and great manta ray encounters at German Channel [a human-made channel within Palau's south-west barrier reef]."

O'lau Palau rewards can be tailored to what the visitor is interested in, whether that's diving, hiking or engaging with the local community. Clarke recommends a 10-day to two-week trip to really get the most out of the programme, especially since travel time to the remote archipelago ­– located 890km east of the Philippines and 1,330km south-west of Guam – can eat into your stay. "You want the first five days to start collecting your points, and you want a good amount of time, like five or six days, to redeem them," she advised.

Travel with no trace
Unsurprisingly, sustainability is core to many businesses here, and Palau's commitment to responsible travel makes it easy to find companies that adhere to green practices at any budget. Plus, staying and dining at these places earns points in the Ola'u Palau programme.

For those looking for luxury, Koskelin-Gibbons recommends the oceanside Palau Royal Resort on Malakal Island. Her pick for travellers on a budget is the family-run VIP Hotel, located in the heart of the country's commercial centre, Koror. Both are part of the Palau Business Pledge (a sub-programme of the Palau Pledge), which means they actively work to minimise their environmental impact while educating guests to do the same through signage and education on the importance of the environment.

Eating local fish and produce is one of the easiest ways to sustainably support the economy. Recently named the country's "national soup", demok, made from taro leaf, coconut broth and land crab, delights both locals and visitors alike. "Not only is it healthy, it's amazingly hearty and lovely after a long day out on the water," said Koskelin-Gibbons. "The family-run Penthouse Hotel Restaurant can make it in a minute and sources the ingredients from their own family members."

Similarly, seafood restaurant Drop Off on Malakal Island displays daily photos of the fisherman who caught your meal (look for shots of the owner, he's a sport-fisherman who brings in the Sunday catch).

To explore the island above and below, Clarke recommends the 100% Palauan-owned Sam's Tours. Not only do they hire local guides for their kayak, hiking and dive excursions, but they also incorporate sustainable practices within their tours (like eschewing single-use plastics and serving locally made lunches), enforce environmental rules and operate with a zero-trace policy.

Know before you go
In addition to vaccination, Palau currently requires visitors to submit a negative PCR or antigen test a few days prior to departure, and to be tested again following their arrival. Palau was one of the last countries to be affected by Covid, with its first case only emerging in August 2021. It is especially vital that visitors remember that there's not a "new normal" here yet, and that the small community is still rightfully wary of exposure.

Nearly 5,000 residents (25% of the population) have contracted the disease, and six residents have died. In such a small community, the impacts are widely felt.

"We are still mourning the loss of those who have died whom we know and care about. Especially in a small community, where everyone knows everyone," said Koskelin-Gibbons. "So please wear your mask and sanitise. It will show you respect the community and are doing your part."

Learn more in details from BBC, 18 May 2022, By: Lindsey Galloway.

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June 12, 2022

[MONEY] Vocal for local: Indians turn environment lovers, prioritise spending on sustainable products

Indians want to leave an impact on the planet by prioritizing spending on sustainable products and contributing to local businesses, as per the American Express Trendex report. 87% of Indian respondents always or often purchasing sustainable products and 97% interested in spending money on items that will have a positive impact on local businesses and communities, which is highest amongst all the other surveyed countries.

High spends on low carbon
The survey further reveals 98% of Indian respondents want to spend money on items that will help build low-carbon communities around the world. 97% think all products should be required to be environmentally friendly while 96% think about the impact on the planet when making purchase decisions.

Encouragingly, 92% of Indian adults surveyed are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products with growing awareness on the benefits of sustainable products. For 43% of Indian adults surveyed, increased product availability and a better understanding of the product benefits are key motivators to purchase sustainable products in the future while for 37%, it is a better price point.

What we want
Giving back to the environment - 98% Indians surveyed wish companies would make it easier for them to reduce their carbon footprint whereas 97% of surveyed Indians will be more loyal to a company/brand that works to address environmental issues.

Preferring sustainable products -92% of Indian adults surveyed are willing to pay a premium for sustainable and 94% of those Indian adults that would pay a premium say they would pay at least 10% more for sustainable products while 29% are ready to pay 50% more for sustainable products and 23% of them even higher than 50%.

In terms of categories, 96% of Indians surveyed, one of their goals in 2022 is to make more sustainable choices when purchasing clothes, tech products, eating food and while traveling and 86% of them have already started shopping at second hand or consignment retailers rather than purchasing new items to reduce environmental impact. When making decisions about where to dine out, more than half (55%) of Indians surveyed consider the number of plant-based options available at a restaurant.

Endorsing for sustainable products- About 97% of surveyed Indians would like to shop more with a company that takes action to reduce the impacts of climate change and are more likely to trust brands that work to address to environmental issues.

Awareness about sustainable issues - Indian adults surveyed have become more focused on a variety of sustainability topics this past year with air-pollution (96%) and recycling, renewable energy and climate action (95%) gaining the most interest.

GenZ/millennials more sustainability conscious - 57% surveyed GenZ/millennials respondents are more likely to plan on purchasing sustainable products this year to help reduce their environmental impact. 72% GenZ/millennials Indians surveyed are more likely to talk to their children about environmental issues.

The American Express Trendex is a trend index that tracks how consumers, small businesses, and and merchants are feeling about spending, saving, travelling and more. Data is sourced monthly in the United States and biannually globally, including in the UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico, India, and Canada. This study has an overall sample of 7,996 Global Adults.

Lear more at The Economic Times, 5 May 2022.

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June 9, 2022

[FOOD] We Need Sustainable Food Packaging Now. Here’s Why.

Every day, hundreds of millions of single-use containers, cans, trays, and cutlery are thrown away around the world. While packaging is an essential component of the food sector and the only solution we have to facilitate food transportation, food packaging waste is also one of the most harmful aspects of this industry. We outline the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular materials used to wrap groceries and takeaway foods and explore innovative sustainable food packaging that could revolutionise the market and protect the environment.

Why Do We Use So Much Food Packaging?
In ancient history, humans used to consume food from where it was found. There were no grocery shops, takeaway and delivery services, and almost no imports and exports of food on a global scale. But things changed rapidly in the 20th century. Suddenly, countries began shipping produce from one end of the world to the other; supermarkets in the US started selling Southeast Asian tropical fruits; China depended on Brazil for its soybean supplies; and European countries were importing coffee from Africa. The emergence and subsequent surge in international shipping of food staples led to a revolution in the packaging sector.

Since food needed to travel long distances to keep up with global demand, it became crucial to find ways to ensure food remained fresh and undamaged at the time of consumption. Packaging turned out to be the best way to extend food shelf-life as it retarded product deterioration, retained the beneficial effects, and maintained the nutritional values, characteristics, and appearance of foods for longer times.

Materials that have been traditionally used in food packaging include glass, metals (aluminium, foils and laminates, tinplate, and tin-free steel), paper, and paperboards. Plastic, by far the most common material used in food packaging today, is also the newest option. Since the plastic boom in the early 1980s, new varieties of this material have been introduced in both rigid and flexible forms, slowly replacing traditional materials due to their versatility, easy manufacturing process, and cheap price. Of all plastics produced worldwide today, nearly 40% are used for food and drink packaging.

But food retailers are not the only industry that contributed to the rapid acceleration in plastic and packaging production. Consumer habits changed drastically within the restaurant industry too. The first takeaway options were already available in the 1920s, but it was not until after World War II that consumers started appreciating the convenience of drive-throughs and other take-home options. In America, fast food chains such as In-N-Out Burger and McDonald’s were responsible for the industry’s boom and with the expansion of the transportation industry, delivery options also began expanding around the world. This inevitably led to a massive influx of food packaging solutions that allowed consumers to pick up pre-cooked dishes and consume them elsewhere.

Most of the containers that we have today are single-use, non-compostable, and difficult to degrade because of food contamination. Both the restaurant and retail industries are major contributors of food packaging waste. Finding a balance between food protection and environmental consciousness undoubtedly requires huge efforts. Given the increasing consumer (and manufacturer) awareness of the environmental and health impacts of non-degradable packaging, in recent years the packaging industry has been seriously looking at alternative, more environmentally friendly materials as well as ways to reduce packaging where it is not absolutely necessary. Restaurants, in particular, have seen sustainable packaging options widely expanded to include compostable and recyclable packaging. According to Globe News Wire, the biodegradable packaging market will reach a value of USD$126.85 billion by 2026.

Where Does All the Food Packaging Waste Come From?
Single-use packaging is taking a huge toll on our environment. Almost all food containers we see in grocery stores – typically made of glass, metal, plastic, or paperboard – cannot be reused for their original function, such in the case of aluminium cans and most plastic bags. However, food contamination is a big consideration. Though some types of packaging might be suitable to be reused, some experts have raised hygiene concerns in replacing single-use food service ware with reusable items, both within the food retail and the restaurant industries.

Another big hurdle that companies studying sustainable food packaging alternatives are trying to solve is over-packaging. Nowadays, food retailers tend to encase products in multiple layers. More often than not, food items such as fruit and vegetables are placed on a tray, wrapped in paper or plastic, and then placed into a paperboard box. On top of that, consumers might opt for a plastic bag to carry groceries home, adding to the already huge pile of waste generated from a single trip to the supermarket. Additionally, conventional materials are still extremely widespread worldwide despite a multitude of new sustainable alternatives entering the market every year. A 2021 survey found that over 80% of food packaging examined is not suitable for recycling.

Detail-oriented societies such as Japan – where quality, presentation, and customer satisfaction are particularly valued – are among the biggest culprits in terms of unnecessary packaging and waste generation. The United States alone produces an estimated 42 million metric tons of plastic waste each year – more than any other country in the world. Most of it occurs in grocery shops. A Greenpeace UK report found that every year, seven of the country’s top supermarkets are responsible for generating almost 60 billion pieces of plastic packaging – a staggering 2,000 pieces for each household. And in the European Union, the estimated packaging waste per capita in 2019 was 178.1 kilogrammes (392 pounds), with paper and cardboard making up the bulk of it, followed by plastic and glass.

While grocery stores are a major contributor to food packaging waste, the bulk of it is actually made up of waste from meals to go and restaurant delivery services. The takeaway industry is notorious for generating huge amounts of unnecessary waste. Eateries often wrap their food in aluminium or plastic foil or opt for Styrofoam containers, while beverages often come in their own carrier bags. In addition, most takeaway food comes with plastic cutlery, napkins, and straws. All these single-use plastics and packaging make up nearly half of the ocean plastic, a 2021 study found.

Several experts also point out that packaging waste from disposable takeaway containers and cutlery skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, as restaurants stepped up delivery services during the long months of lockdowns imposed around the world. In Hong Kong – a city with a population of nearly 7.5 million people – the pandemic outbreak in 2020 fuelled the use of more than 100 million disposal plastic items per week as food orders surged 55% compared to 2019 figures. In the US, plastic waste increased by 30% during the pandemic. This extensive increase in plastic consumption has resulted in an estimated 8.4 million tonnes of plastic waste generated from 193 countries since the start of the pandemic, 25,900 tonnes of which – equivalent to more than 2,000 double-decker buses – have leaked into the ocean, according to recent research.

What’s more, the issue with food packaging does not stop with waste generation. To produce plastic food packaging and drink bottles, gases need to be fracked from the ground, transported, and processed industrially, contributing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions. A large portion of which is methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

Comparing Conventional Food Packaging Materials
As we have mentioned before, plastic is by far the most popular food packaging material and yet aluminium, glass, and paper are still widely used. But why is there such a big variety and how do these types of packaging compare to each other?

Plastic is not only the most inexpensive and lightweight packaging material on the market, but because of its chemical composition, it can also easily be shaped into different forms and thus accommodate a huge range of food items. While some types of plastic packaging can be reused, styrofoam-like containers – mostly used in restaurants for takeaways and deliveries – are often impossible to recycle because of food contamination. Furthermore, most plastic items are designed for single-use, which makes this material even more problematic.

Furthermore, its production contributes high quantities of pollutants to the environment. For every kilogramme of fossil-based plastic produced, there are between 1.7 and 3.5 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Plastic production utilises 4% of the world’s total fossil fuel supply, further emitting planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Glass guarantees protection and insulation for food items from moisture and gases, keeping the product’s strength, aroma, and flavour unchanged. It is also relatively cheap and easily reusable. However, the fact that it is easily breakable, heavy and bulky, and thus costlier to transport, makes it a less favourable alternative to plastics.

Glass containers used in food packaging are often surface-coated to provide lubrication in the production line and eliminate scratching or surface abrasion and line jams. While the coating increases and preserves the strength of the bottle, fossil fuels that drive this process as well as evaporation from the glass itself release polluting particles and CO2 gases into the atmosphere.

Aluminium is a great impermeable and lightweight packaging material, yet it is more expensive, requires hundreds of years to break down in landfills, and is more challenging to recycle than other alternatives because of the chemical processes it undergoes to be laminated, which make material separation an intricate operation.

Aluminium is commonly used to make cans and bags of crisps as well as takeaway items such as trays, plates, and foil paper, but various nonrenewable resources are required to create the material. Its production is the result of mined bauxite that is smelted into alumina through an extremely energy-intensive process that also requires huge amounts of water. Emissions deriving from aluminium production include greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, dust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and wastewater.

Paper and Paperboard
Despite no longer being the most popular food packaging materials, paper and paperboard are still widespread mainly because of their low cost. However, while there are some great reusable and often biodegradable packaging options, paper containers are nearly impossible to recycle when used to wrap food items. Not only because they lose strength from food condensation, it is also less safe to do so due to food contamination.

Surprisingly, paper requires even more energy to produce than plastic, sometimes up to three times higher. It takes approximately 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity to produce 200kg of paper, the average amount of paper that each of us consumes each year. That is approximately the equivalent of powering one computer continuously for five months. Furthermore, various toxic chemicals like printing inks, bleaching agents, and hydrocarbons are incorporated into the paper during the packaging’s development process. These toxic substances leach into the food chain during paper production, food consumption, and recycling through water discharges.

Innovative Sustainable Food Packaging Alternatives
As we have seen, despite the advantages that make it extremely convenient for food suppliers to use them, some of the most popular food packaging materials are undoubtedly detrimental to the environment. And yet, it is not all bad news.

According to the latest Eco-Friendly Food Packaging Global Market Report, the global sustainable food packaging market is expected to grow from USD$196 billion in 2021 to over USD$210 billion in 2022 and up to USD$280 billion in 2026. Indeed, an increasing number of companies and startups – mostly located in North America – are investing time and resources in the development of alternative packaging materials which are easy to recycle, reuse, compost, or biodegrade and thus have a very minimal environmental footprint.

As is the case in many other sectors, the food industry is undergoing a revolution in terms of finding sustainable solutions to reduce its impact on the environment and meet sustainable consumer demands. Startups and packaging companies have developed incredibly innovative and sustainable solutions to the classic food packaging materials and while they are still used in very small quantities around the world in comparison to glass, plastic, and paper, they have the potential to radically transform the sector.

Some examples include sustainable food packaging made with cornstarch, popcorn, and mushrooms, as well as innovative and biodegradable cutlery, plates, and containers realised with agro-industrial waste such as avocado pits.

From Earth.org, 15 May 2022, By: Martina Igini.

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June 5, 2022

June 5th is World Environment Day 2022

World Environment Day on 5 June is the biggest international day for the environment. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and held annually since 1974, the event has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach, with millions of people from across the world engaging to protect the planet. This year, World Environment Day 2022 is hosted by Sweden. “Only One Earth” is the campaign slogan, with the focus on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature”. With over 150 countries participating, this UN international day engages governments, businesses, civil society, schools, celebrities, cities and communities, raising awareness and celebrating environmental action

2022 A historic milestone
2022 is a historic milestone for the global environmental community. It marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, widely seen as the first international meeting on the environment. The 1972 Stockholm Conference spurred the formation of environment ministries and agencies around the world and kickstarted a host of new global agreements to collectively protect the environment. It was also where the goals of poverty alleviation and environmental protection became linked, paving the way for the Sustainable Development Goals. At the Stockholm Conference the idea of World Environment Day was formalized, with the first one being celebrated in 1974. In early June 2022 the high-level Stockholm 50 international meeting will be held in Sweden, a few days before World Environment Day. The communications around these events are connected and will be mutually reinforcing. There is a circularity in this year’s World Environment Day; 50 years ago the theme of the Stockholm Conference was also “Only One Earth”. The message is as important today as it was then.

2022: Emergency mode
The world is facing three major environmental crises: climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, and pollution and waste, driven by human activity and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. The world’s most vulnerable communities are often the most impacted by the environmental crisis. Of the 7 million people who die annually as a result of air pollution, a disproportionate number are children and the elderly, and most are in the developing world. In 2020, climate shocks forced 30 million people to flee their homes – around three times more than those displaced by war and violence. By 2050 the number of people displaced by the environmental crisis could be as high as 200 million per year. Tackling these crises is critical to saving lives and improving the future of billions of people. Addressing the UN General Assembly in January 2022, António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said: “We must go into emergency mode against the climate crisis. The battle to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive will be won or lost in this decade. And we are far off-track.” He added, “We need an avalanche of action.” This is a messaged backed up by Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director. She said: “2022 is all about shifting into emergency gear for people and planet.” She underscores that we need to recognize “both our impact and dependency on nature gives us the best chance of not just surviving but thriving on this delicate and beautiful planet.”

Act for our common home!
There is #OnlyOneEarth and protecting it is a global challenge and responsibility. We have the solutions, knowledge and technology to limit climate change and avoid ecological collapse but we need to act collectively. We need to rethink the way we live and the way we consume. Climate change does not respect borders and pollution is a global challenge that requires a global response. Ecosystem restoration, a key part of the climate solution, is critical to addressing poverty and enhancing human and ecological resilience. While our individual consumption choices do make a difference, it is collective action that will disrupt the status quo. We need to collectively make immediate and transformative change and advance to a more sustainable and just Earth, where everyone can flourish.

#OnlyOneEarth Campaign
“Only One Earth” was the slogan for the 1972 Stockholm Conference; 50 years on, this truth still holds – this planet is our only home. With nature in emergency mode, the #OnlyOneEarth campaign, which is part of World Environment Day 2022, wants you to celebrate the planet through collective environmental action. #OnlyOneEarth advocates for transformative environmental change on a global scale. The campaign shines a spotlight on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while encouraging everyone, everywhere to live in harmony with nature. The campaign will provide case studies and promote best practices, helping governments, businesses, institutions and individuals to scale up environmental action, supporting the significant, urgent change we need. Along with individual lifestyle actions, the campaign will focus on pushing the levers of power and finance to support real solutions for people and our planet. Humanity must urgently work together to share equitably Earth’s resources and protect and restore the natural world on which our societies and economies depend.

Earth Action Numbers Tactic
From April to June, individuals, businesses and community groups will be encouraged to share on social media and our website how they’re helping to safeguard the planet. Using the hashtag #OnlyOneEarth, they’ll be encouraged quantify exactly what they’ve done, helping to set a tangible example for others. Earth Action Number examples: • 60 bags of collected trash, 3 primary school classes, #OnlyOneEarth • 10,000 commuters moved through the city, 5 electric buses, #OnlyOneEarth • US $3 million worth of pension funds divested from fossil fuels #OnlyOneEarth • 2 electric firefighting trucks #OnlyOneEarth To align with the Stockholm 50 (S 50) communication plan, World Environment Day 2022 will follow a thematic rollout of communications: - APRIL 2022: FINANCE, TECHNOLOGY and BUSINESS ACTION - MAY 2022: CITIES, COMMUNITIES and YOUTH ACTION - JUNE 2022: MULTILATERAL ACTION

Sweden as host
World Environment Day 2022 will be an opportunity to showcase some of Sweden’s pioneering work on the environment over the past 50 years. UNEP will work with Sweden to showcase these innovations through a series of written stories and short videos that will be shared online.

Key Audiences World Environment Day is for everyone. However, 2022 will emphasise youth and civil society as drivers of environmental action, with governments, cities, financial institutions and industries as the duty bearers who can advance and implement progress and sustainability at scale. Individuals can be drivers of change through their support for businesses and governments. The actions of these larger entities can have a transformational impact, potentially locking in sustainable consumption and production behaviours for the decades to come.

Partnerships, collaborators, and coalitions
Collaboration will scale action for World Environment Day 2022. By reaching out to strategic organizations around the world, maximizing collaboration and creating mutual value, World Environment Day 2022 can create powerful and diverse coalitions that cut through regional, demographic and generational barriers. This can help galvanize the push for transformative action by businesses and governments.

For more information on World Environment Day 2022: https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/
For more information on this news: https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/news-and-events/news/june-5th-world-environment-day-2022

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May 27, 2022

Final episode of the Green Renaissance podcast release

Recorded in the months after COP26, the episode asks what the real legacy of Glasgow will be including whether – after all of the high-profile talks, meetings and commitments that were made – we’re now actually better placed to tackle the climate crisis.

Learn more at the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership Website.

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May 19, 2022

Glasgow Declaration Newsletter Available

The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism(https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/programmes/sustainable-tourism/glasgow-declaration) has been subscribed by more 500 signatories since its launch at COP26, conveying a clear and consistent sector-wide message and approach to climate action in tourism. The second edition of the Glasgow Declaration Newsletter is now available, including information on how to contribute to the development of tools and resources such as guidance on measurement tools and climate action plans.

You can find the Newsletter here and subscribe to receive the future editions.

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May 13, 2022

GEN Magazine Edition Available

GEN Magazine Edition 41 is available here.

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May 6, 2022

5 takeaways from the latest IPCC report

Carbon emissions are rising. Countries are off track in delivering their climate pledges. Current commitments aren't enough to keep temperatures below critical thresholds. These are some of the findings from the latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It sounds grim. That's not the only news, though: With this report, we now have a global scientific consensus on the enormous impact nature could have in confronting the climate crisis.
IPCC Report 2022
Here are five takeaways from the IPCC about the critical role nature plays in stabilizing the climate:

1) Nature is the unseen solution
The most significant takeaway from today's IPCC report is how nature can act as a climate solution. The report details 43 cost-effective approaches to limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C (the safetybenchmark for a safe climate set by the Paris Agreement).
First and third on this list are solar and wind energy, respectively. The other top five most effective strategies for mitigating carbon emissions are all natural climate solutions: ecosystem protection, restoration, and the improved management of farmlands.
Our prior research shows that natural climate solutions could provide about a third of the climate mitigation necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. This translates to over 10 billion metric tons of reduced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases per year. Today's IPCC report finds that natural climate solutions could, in fact, deliver between 11 to 14 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases per year.

2) Highly cost-effective yet underfunded
The IPCC finds that nature's contributions to solving climate change are also cost-effective. Delivering natural climate solutions to limit warming to less than 2°C would cost up to $400 billion a year by 2050. That's less than current subsidies for carbon-heavy industries like agriculture and forestry.
The IPCC report 2022 finds that investments in natural climate solutions are up to 29-times less than what's needed to stabilise the climate. That is the largest funding gap of any sector, including electric cars and alternative energy sources. In developing countries, especially along the equator, funding gaps are the largest. Here, opportunities for natural climate solutions are also most significant, given forests' rapid growth rates and high risks of deforestation.

3) IPCC report wants the world to make proactive decisions
The IPCC report finds that the right kind of climate action can create a much better future than we imagine. Though climate change is driven by the world's wealthiest nations, its consequences are felt disproportionately by developing countries, who are far less responsible for it. Through proactive decision-taking, millions of people, especially vulnerable communities, can be protected against climate threats.
Nature-based solutions not only protect at-risk communities from the brunt of climate change, they're powerfully aligned with sustainable development goals. These include eliminating hunger and providing access to clean water. When we take action to mitigate climate change by protecting nature, we're also supporting nature-reliant communities. By doing this, we're making the world a healthier and more just place.
Similarly, actions that tackle climate change by conserving ecosystems can also tackle climate change. For example, Conservation International has found that many of Earth's largest and most critical carbon sinks, such as the Amazon rainforest and Congo Basin, overlap with high-biodiversity hotspots. Protecting lands essential for climate stability also conserves habitats for thousands of mammals, birds and reptiles.

4) It's "both/and" not "either/or"
As per the 2022 IPCC report, confronting the climate crisis requires a complete transformation of our energy sources, economic models and land stewardship. Decades ago, we may have been able to reduce fossil fuel emissions or implement natural climate solutions to stabilise our climate. Now, we only have one rational choice: We must rapidly decarbonise our economies and unlock natural climate solutions. The good news is that this great challenge also presents an opportunity to develop a better world.

5) We can do this
We know from earlier IPCC reports that we're falling behind in our climate commitments. Today's report has a bigger message: Nature provides major tools to put us back on track. The future we fear is not inevitable. Oceans, forests and other ecosystems already absorb and store about half of global carbon emissions. The despair we feel from climate projections must turn into action. Solving climate change is an opportunity to tackle problems we have struggled with for generations.
Along with decarbonizing our economies and pursuing carbon-capture technologies, governments must prioritise nature in their policy decisions. The private sector should urgently implement net-zero commitments with strong nature-based considerations.
The 2020s are critical. Change won't be easy, but we have no other choice. Either we allow our planet to be destroyed, or we fight – clear-eyed – for a better world. We can create a climate-resilient world with sustainable food production, clean air and abundant water resources. This IPCC report makes it very clear: Nature is on our side, we can't do this without her.

From: The World Economic Forum, 5 April 2022, By: Bronson Griscom.

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April 21, 2022

Public authorities leading on #sustainable, #circular and/or innovative public procurements have until 30 April to submit their candidacy for the Procura+ Awards! Apply Now!


You can apply in four categories: Sustainable Procurement of the Year, Innovation Procurement of the Year, Circular Procurement of the Year and Procurement Initiative of the Year.
This years winners and nominees for 2022 will be decided by the following group of experienced procurement experts and policy makers:
· Erika Bozzay, Senior Policy Adviser at the Infrastructure and Public Procurement Division, OECD
· Katharina Knapton-Vierlich, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission
· Mark Hidson, Global Director ICLEI's Sustainable Procurement Centre
· Sarah O'Carroll, Cities Lead: Institutions, Governments & Cities, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Winners of the awards will receive a unique trophy and will have ample opportunities to promote their winning work. Winners will be widely endorsed through a variety of ICLEI publications and communication channels. Furthermore, a case studies will be published and showcased on the Sustainable Procurement Platform and the Innovation Procurement Platform.

Apply here!

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April 20, 2022

IGPN Survey on Environmentally Friendly Product/Service and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change Submission date extended to Apr.30 COB

The International Green Purchasing Network launch survey to share knowledge, intends to provide implementation suggestions by using climate action and sustainable consumption and production in an integrated and coherent approach.

The International Green Purchasing Network launches the Survey on Environmentally friendly products/services and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change, please submit your response until Apr.30th,2022.
The survey aims to share knowledge among IGPN members and partners, provide implementation suggestions by using climate action and sustainable consumption and production in an integrated and coherent approach. The intention is to achieve this through the collection, comparison, analysis, and evaluation of existing practices of environmentally friendly products/services and green purchasing initiatives in addressing the climate change issue.
Climate change presents the most significant global challenge people face at present. As it directly influences the natural resources and ecological system, pursuing climate action and sustainable development in an integrated and coherent approach have steadily emerged into the implementation, in order to enable countries to achieve their objectives efficiently and quickly. So far, regulations and policies tackling climate change, GHG emission control, low carbon green development and carbon tax etc. are issued in about 20 countries and areas. Along with the development of technology, new materials, production methods, automation and energy generation methods, and other products/services are constantly devised and generated, implicating that the approach to tackle climate change has gradually expanded from energy conversion to all aspects for production and consumption and life styles of human beings.
In order to better understand what role green purchasing will play in tackling climate change, applied scenarios are collected and analyzed taking into account the variations in the private, business, market and public sectors.
The scope of the survey includes, but is not limited to, members of the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN; however, any actual practical practice is welcome:
Sector: including producing and manufacturing; energy and transportation; planting and breeding; cooling and heating;
Environmentally friendly products/services: including adoption of new energy sources, new materials, new production methods and automation methods;
Green Purchasing: including policies, measures, methods and existing practices favoring green procurement tools to address climate change.
The expected output will be a research report summarizing all best practices.
The Deadline to reply is extended to Apr.30th, 2022 COB for your participation.
Please download the document for more details and to share your practical approach for addressing climate change.

PDF Version Download file
WORD Version Download file

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April 13, 2022

Aligning finance with sustainable development through national roadmaps

Countries are increasingly taking more strategic approaches to scaling sustainable finance, often in the form of sustainable finance “roadmaps” that help prioritize actions and coordinate activities among stakeholders to transition towards a low-carbon, resilient and inclusive economy.
Since January 2022, the Green Finance Platform, through the Global Environment Facility-funded Aligning the financial system and infrastructure investments with sustainable development - a transformational approach project, is working with six countries – China, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia and Nigeria – to progress their sustainable finance roadmaps. The Green Finance Platform is collaborating with country-level stakeholders and the broader sustainable finance community to translate the roadmaps into engagement and implementation. This includes helping to realign financial systems with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and develop national regulatory actions.
“This year will be marked by climate finance leadership shaped by the Global South, with key meetings taking place in Africa and Indonesia chairing the G20 group” says Camille Andre, Manager of the Green Finance Platform. "The six roadmaps are very timely in calling for ambitious interventions and international coordination to support an orderly and just transition towards a transformational approach to economic and financial policy action”.
Each roadmap has a unique sustainable finance focus, tailored to the country’s financial system priorities and needs.

Learn more at Green finance platform.

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March 14, 2022

EPA Releases Updated Resources to Aid Federal Purchasers in Meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s Sustainability Goals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a new and improved Framework for the Assessment of Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing under its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program, and a webpage highlighting ecolabel criteria that address perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These actions are a key step in implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability and the accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan.
The EPP program helps U.S. federal government purchasers utilize private sector standards and ecolabels to identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services via the Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing (Recommendations). The updated Framework released today provides a streamlined, transparent, and consistent approach to assessing marketplace standards and ecolabels for environmental sustainability and for inclusion into the Recommendations.
These updates to the Framework reflect lessons learned during the last five years of implementation and a desire to address a broader range of purchase categories with a more streamlined set of criteria. In addition, eligibility criteria for standards and ecolabels have been updated to further support their implementation across the federal government.
The Biden-Harris Federal Sustainability Plan outlines an ambitious path to achieve net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050, increase the sustainability of federal supply chains, and avoid the procurement of products containing PFAS, among other key strategies. Additionally, the Plan requires major federal contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adopt science-based emissions reduction targets, and mandates that federal purchasers maximize procurement of sustainable products and services, such as those that meet EPA’s Recommendations. EPA will use the Framework to update and expand the Recommendations to support the Administration’s priorities and Federal Sustainability Plan. The Recommendations currently include more than 40 private sector environmental performance standards and ecolabels in 25 purchase categories.
Additionally, the webpage released today highlighting how EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels address PFAS is an important step toward providing federal purchasers with tools to avoid procurement of products containing PFAS. The release of the webpage is concurrent with work to identify products and purchase categories which are known to be associated with key PFAS uses as well as outreach to ecolabel and standard organizations regarding addressing PFAS. This action complements EPA’s ongoing efforts under the PFAS Strategic Roadmap, EPA’s whole-of-agency approach to safeguard communities from PFAS contamination.

Learn more about EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program at Here.

Learn more about webpage highlighting ecolabel criteria that address perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances at Here.

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March 11, 2022

Sustainable Public Procurement of Plastics Guidance

This public procurement guidance aims to help procurers adopt sustainable practices and criteria for avoiding and reducing plastics within the procurement of goods and services. It forms part of the joint One Planet Network response to the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 6 on ‘Marine plastic litter and microplastics’ and the request to UNEP’s 10-Year Framework of SCP Programmes to develop guidelines for the use and production of plastics and to support governments in promoting the use of information tools and incentives to foster sustainable consumption and production. It is part of the approach to achieve the ambitious 2025 targets to work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.

In 2020 the UN One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) programme committed to underpin­ this high-level guidance with more detailed and practical guidance for procurers on how to address the plastics issue through public procurement

The guide is aimed at procurement practitioners responsible for embedding and implementing policies to reduce the impact of problematic and unnecessary plastic through their procurement activities. This covers the development and imple­mentation of approaches for identifying where single use plastics occur within procurement spend areas and actions around tendering to help reduce the level of plastics and their impacts within public sector procurement.

The guidance may also be of use for policymakers in understanding the role sustainable public procure­ment can play in mitigating single use plastic and contributing towards the delivery of a more circular economy and sustainable consumption and production through the closure of plastic materials loops.

Learn more at here.

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March 8, 2022

U4E has released new publications on Sustainable Procurement

United for Efficiency has released new publications on Sustainable Procurement of air conditioners, refrigeration equipment, and lighting appliances

The first publication includes a step by step approach on how to apply sustainability and current best technical criteria for air conditioners in accordance with best international regulatory, social and environmental practices, and introduce the rationale to be adopted by procurement practitioners when selecting among a set of products.

The second publication provides a voluntary guidance for developing and emerging economy governments that are considering a regulatory or legislative framework requiring new refrigeration equipment to be energy efficient and use refrigerants that have lower global warming potential compared with typical legacy refrigerants.

Finally, the third publication provides a comprehensive, structured framework for implementing a sustainable public procurement programme, with insights on regulatory, financial and technical considerations.

Download for airconditioners.
Download for refrigeration equipment.
Download for lighting appliances.

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March 1, 2022

Sustainable Procurement Guide: Tips to Getting Started in your City

Sustainable procurement is an emerging leverage point to meet those goals by integrating sustainability into city projects and purchasing as cities across Canada are launching new commitments to fight climate change and build thriving, inclusive communities. The purpose of this guide is to enable government officials and community champions to not only better understand what sustainable procurement is, but also to drive sustainable procurement pilot projects and programs in their city. It outlines key sustainable procurement terms, case studies, and a best practice framework to get started. It can be used as a starting point to get the conversation underway in your city. The report was prepared by the Canadian Collaboration for Sustainable Public Procurement.

Learn more at here.

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February 23, 2022

[Report] Public Food Procurement for Sustainable Food Systems and Healthy Diets

FAO's new publication on Public Food Procurement for Sustainable Food Systems and Healthy Diets.
This publication aims to contribute to the improved understanding, dissemination, and use of PFP as a development tool in particular in the case of school meals programmes.
In Volume 1, researchers, policymakers, and development partners can find evidence on how PFP can be used as a development tool and deliver multiple benefits for multiple beneficiaries. It argues that PFP can provide a market for local and smallholder farmers, promote the conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity, and improve the nutrition and health of children and communities.
Volume 2 of this publication presents further analysis of the instruments, enablers and barriers for PFP implementation. It also provides case studies with local, regional and national experiences from Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America.

Download at here.

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February 11, 2022

[Report] A Global Procurement Partnership for Sustainable Development: An International Stocktaking of Developments in Public Procurement: Synthesis Report

Efficient procurement procedures save time and money, opening up much needed fiscal space, yet modern public procurement can also serve as a tool for achieving broader socioeconomic policy change. Government purchasing decisions, including more strategic use of technology, can be used to maximize value for money as defined by a concept of “value” that goes beyond fiscal savings to include broader policy goals such as environmental sustainability, support for small enterprises, or protection of vulnerable groups in society. This report outlines the key challenges and opportunities in moving toward modern procurement systems around the world and makes the case for a global procurement partnership to strengthen development effectiveness through better understanding and implementation of procurement reforms.

Download the report here.

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February 7, 2022

See how international networking can foster more sustainable tech supply chains

Improving the sustainability of information and communication technology (ICT) is critical, not only to face the climate emergency, but also due to the positive knock-on effects of doing so. For example, by considering sustainability across ICT, public buyers can build more sustainable procurement overall.
In a recent interview, Jo Versteven of the Belgian Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (FISD), explains how Sustainable ICT has become an important topic for Belgium’s (procurement) policy agenda, referring to how this has been supported by ICLEI.
The interview makes note of an achievement from June 2021, in which the Belgian Minister for Sustainable Development, Zakia Khattabi, signed the Circular and Fair ICT Pact, an international partnership to accelerate circularity, fairness and sustainability in the ICT sector with a focus on public procurement
Versteven notes that to translate these ambitions into concrete actions, Minister Khattabi asked the FISD to set up two working groups. He recalls that Minister Khattabi called for: “Firstly, a Belgian Buyers Group with about 80 local, regional and federal government buyers/procurers to exchange best practises and tender information on circular and fair ICT procurement. And secondly, a European working group on socially responsible ICT procurement with about 27 European buyers of ICT equipment, together with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The second group was considered to be important because of potential negative side effects of (green) buying in the ICT mining, production and assembly facilities – for example, using child and/or forced labour. Both groups will deliver their reports and recommendations by the end of the year.”
In the interview, Versteven further discusses how the FISD is helping to integrate sustainability in the procurement portfolio of federal public buyers, how Belgium is building on the EU Clean Vehicles Directive to green its car fleets, and the importance of monitoring to better understand the success of sustainable interventions.
For more information, read the full interview in the Green Public Procurement (GPP) newsletter, accessible here.
Learn more at ICLEI Europe News Center.

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February 1, 2022

[HOUSING] Three in five households recycled regularly: NEA survey

SINGAPORE: While three in five households reported that they recycled regularly and that most knew what items could be placed in recycling bins, households were less aware of items that should not be deposited for recycling, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Friday (Jan 14).
In its latest survey on household recycling conducted last year, NEA said that it saw other positive findings, which come as the country aims for a 70 per cent overall recycling rate by 2030 under the Zero Waste Masterplan and the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
Eight out of 10 households were aware that recyclables collected from blue recycling bins and recycling chutes were sorted at central sorting facilities - this was an improvement from 57 per cent in 2018.
About 6 per cent of households had the misconception that recyclables were mixed with general waste and incinerated, down from 12 per cent in 2018.
Most households were aware that common recyclables generated at home, such as shampoo or detergent bottles, beverage cartons, glass bottles and plastic egg cartons could be placed into the blue recycling bins.
However, households were less aware of items that should not be deposited for recycling. For instance, about half of those surveyed thought that soft toys and Styrofoam items could be recycled.
The survey also found that 72 per cent were not aware that households did not need to sort their recyclables before depositing them into the blue recycling bins or recycling chutes.
"To make recycling more convenient for households, Singapore has a single-stream recyclables collection system where households can place four types of recyclables – paper, plastic, glass and metal – into recycling bins and recycling chutes," said NEA.
"This not only saves on the effort for households to segregate recyclables at home, but also reduces the carbon footprint of collecting recyclables, when compared to the multiple truck trips needed for the separate collection of different recyclable streams."
The agency noted that if Singapore does not reduce waste generation, Semakau Landfill is expected to be full by 2035 given the country's current rate of waste disposal.
"Through recycling, we can not only divert waste from Semakau Landfill, but can also turn trash into treasure and close the resource loop as part of a circular economy."
Currently, all HDB blocks have one recycling bin per block or a recycling chute, while landed houses each have a dedicated recycling bin.
At condominiums and private apartments, one recycling bin is also provided for each residential block. These bins, as well as the dedicated recyclables collection trucks, are all coloured blue to differentiate them from the general waste bins and the refuse collection trucks.
This year's recycling campaign will introduce a new recycling mascot named Bloobin - a disgruntled blue recycling bin "frustrated by the years of contamination, and on a mission to educate the public on how to recycle right".
"20 years ago, Bloobin started out as a dreamer full of hope. He believed that when everyone banded together to recycle, we could create a greener Singapore with less waste sent to Semakau Landfill," reads Bloobin's origin story.
"Over the years, however, Bloobin felt that Singapore’s recycling rate showed insufficient improvement. And he became increasingly frustrated, due to constant bin contamination … and it was breaking his heart. People had been treating the blue recycling bins as trash bins and he has finally had enough of the years of abuse and misuse!
"So Bloobin is now on a mission to get everyone to recycle right, which will help increase recycling rates and extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill."
Bloobin stickers at general waste and recycling chutes at public housing developments will serve as a "last-mile reminder" to nudge households to check their items before appropriately disposing of them as general waste or recyclables, said NEA.
To nurture proper recycling habits, interactive educational resources such as an e-activity book for pre-schoolers and e-games for older students will be made available.
An Inter-Institutes of Higher Learning challenge - Ready, Set, Recycle - will be launched to mobilise youth to take action for recycling and develop deeper and more meaningful engagement programmes.
On Friday, NEA said it is collaborating with the community, non-Governmental organisations, corporate and industry partners to encourage the public to recycle more and recycle right, and to explore and implement new methods of making recycling convenient in neighbourhoods and homes.
It will also work with local Public Waste Collectors to distribute a recycling receptacle to each household in 2022 in a bid to nudge households to step up their recycling efforts.
More details will be announced at a later stage, said the agency.
NEA highlighted an ongoing trial of using transparent recycling bins at Hong Kah North Single Member Constituency and East Coast Group Representative Constituency to facilitate an intuitive and informed recycling process amongst the public.
"The establishment of a Producer Responsibility Scheme for regulated e-waste on Jul 1, 2021, resulted as well in the setting up of dedicated e-waste bins around the island and the scheduling of e-waste collection drives at housing estates, making the recycling of such waste more convenient," it said.
Learn more at Channel News Asia, 14 January 2022 By: Ian Cheng.

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January 25, 2022

[FOOD] Fight climate change by eating your leftovers this holiday season

Food waste is filling up landfills globally, but action can be taken.
In my family, there are two traditions when it comes to holiday meals: there must be way more food on the table than everyone can eat, and everyone must take home a plate of food at the end of the meal to make sure all the hard work that went into its preparation wasn’t wasted.
While small holiday gatherings have become the norm in my house in recent years, my mom still prepares big portions. When I asked her why, it boiled down to wanting to make sure there was enough for everyone, not just to enjoy the meal but to enjoy leftovers for as long as they wanted. That seemed perfectly reasonable to me — until I learned what a problem those leftovers are for the planet if they go to waste.
The holidays are a busy time for trash collectors. Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, including things like plastic from old tech and gift wrap. Food waste, which accounts for 30 to 40 percent of waste entering landfills year-round, also rises sharply during the holidays. During Thanksgiving week alone, Americans throw out roughly 200 million pounds of turkey meat, along with 30 million pounds of gravy and 14 million pounds of dinner rolls.
All told, that wasted food takes a serious toll on the planet. When thrown-away food makes its way to landfills and rots, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. That’s on top of the pollution released during the production of lost and wasted food — equivalent to 32.6 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions in the US alone.
Globally, the situation is even worse. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stated in its 2021 Food Waste Index that if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, accounting for a staggering 10 percent of the total. Despite its obvious impact, food waste at the retail and consumer level and loss along the supply chain typically aren’t a focus in global climate change conversations, including the recent UN climate summit in Glasgow. “People don’t see the link at all,” Liz Goodwin, director of food loss and waste at the World Resources Institute, tells The Verge. “It was disappointing that we had COP26, and food was hardly on the agenda.”
That said, change is starting to happen on a smaller scale. States and local governments across the US have taken note of how food waste and climate change intertwine and are enacting pilot programs or new rules to crack down on waste. Composting programs, both municipal and independently run, are making inroads in US cities and states looking to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Chris Wood, co-president of Moonshot Compost, a Houston-based composting company, said there’s a real opportunity in attracting people to composting services. Composting companies work with households, offices, and businesses by collecting their food waste via curbside collection programs or at drop-off locations around the city. For Wood and co-president Joe Villa, an uptick in demand for their composting service came during the pandemic when residents began paying closer attention to how much food they were buying due to them spending more time at home.
Composting services give community members an opportunity to reduce their food waste, but participation in these programs is voluntary. In California, a new law requiring residents to separate all organic material like food and yard waste from their other garbage is set to go into effect on January 1st. City and county trash services will collect the food waste and turn it into compost or renewable biogas. Grocery stores, meanwhile, will be required to donate any edible food they collect to organizations like food banks, AP reported.
California’s law follows a similar one in Vermont, which banned throwing out food with the trash last year, AP said. Eventually, the Golden State could fine $10,000 to cities and counties that don’t comply with the rule.
Streamlining food date labels could also reduce food waste. With no national standards around these labels and manufacturers using numerous phrases to indicate shelf life like best by, expires on, use by, sell by and more, consumers are often left guessing how good a piece of food is to eat by smelling it or eyeballing it. Or, not wanting to take a chance, they may choose to throw away perfectly good food if the label date has passed.
“The absence of having standard, clear labels means that the consumer is forced to trust the date blindly,” Marie Spiker, a researcher and assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health, tells The Verge. “Consumers end up throwing away a lot of food they don’t have to, and the burden is on the consumer to do a lot of research.”
Reducing food waste through sound policy will ultimately help us tackle climate change. If done correctly, such policies could also alleviate food insecurity. Grocery stores giving food that would otherwise be thrown out to food banks could help some of the 54 million Americans who are food insecure get their next meal.
But individual action can also play a huge role in tackling food waste, particularly in the US, where households waste roughly 32 percent of the food they buy on average. Put another way, a family of four throws out about $1,500 worth of food each year.
“One of the most powerful tools we have is just to directly decrease our own waste in our homes,” Spiker said. “It’s also really challenging to do because most of our waste is happening in this very diffuse way.”
When I started thinking about how my family and I prepare meals during the holidays, it became clear that we could be doing more to reduce food waste and that planning goes a long way. While we’re cooking our plates of sides and mac and cheese, one of the things I’ll be thinking about is how to repurpose the leftovers. I’m also asking myself if the portions we’re cooking are realistic and where we can cut back.
In the midst of a holiday season where climate change is an urgent reality, I have an opportunity to be mindful of the waste I create and, by doing so, help those who don’t have the time or resources to think about sustainability. It’s a small step, but if enough other people take similar action, it’ll give the planet a breather at a time when that’s badly needed.

From the Verge, 22 December 2021.

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January 5, 2022

[SCP] Could moving meetings online significantly cut our workplace carbon emissions?

Scrapping in-person meetings and conventions could drastically cut our workplace carbon footprint, new research reveals.
The University of Cornell in the US has discovered that moving a professional conference online would cut emissions by 94 per cent and energy use by 90 per cent. A hybrid model, with no more than half of attendees online, would reduce them by 67 per cent.
“We all go to conferences. We fly, we drive, we check into a hotel, give a talk, meet people – and we’re done,” says senior author of the paper, Fengqi You.
“But we looked at this problem comprehensively and behind the scenes, conventions generate a lot of carbon, consume a lot of energy, print a lot of paper, offer a lot of food – not to mention create municipal solid waste.”
While online conferences still require energy and equipment, an in-person meeting is a lot more complicated. For each individual participant of a conference, 2,994kgs of CO2 equivalents are released. And in 2017 more than 1.5 billion people travelled from 180 countries to attend them.
“There is a lot of interest and attention on climate change, so moving from in-person conferences to hybrid or remote events would be beneficial,” says You.
Before the pandemic, Paul Miller, CEO of the Digital Workplace Group says the whole way of conferencing was “very traditional, very antiquated”.
“The idea of flying in, on an environmental and a human resource basis, if you're going to go to a two-day conference somewhere, that's going to cost you. It could take four days of your time, all the travel, all the taxis, the hotels - it's arduous and straining.
“I think there's going to be a lot more people that are going to be a lot more selective.”
Saving in-person meetings for something special
Not all meetings are better online, Miller explains, but quality over quantity is a philosophy that can be applied throughout your work life. By saving in-person gatherings for something special and doing everything else online, carbon emissions can easily be cut.
“If you're going to do that, you're going to factor in the financial, economic and environmental cost. Make sure it's something that matters,” Miller adds.
Last year, the Digital Workplace Group launched a scheme called the Work Miles Movement. It involves setting a “budget” for the distance people travel to and from work each day to keep emissions from transport down.
Like with financial budgets, you can’t spend money you don’t have - you only make the effort for what actually matters.
And workplace culture has changed a lot since the pandemic began. Instead of flying halfway across the world to attend a 30-minute meeting, we’re now more likely to look at a digital option.
“Think of it almost like reserving them, like you would a really nice outfit. They are something you use for special occasions,” Miller concludes.

Learn more at EuroNews, 20 December 2021.

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December 23, 2021

International Green Purchasing Network Annual Meeting Held to Active Collaborations

the IGPN met annually to recap progresses and share members’ insights in green purchasing practices

2021 annual meeting of the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN was held visually on December 15th. Participants and invited guests from national Green Purchasing Networks, IGPN Council and IGPN Advisory Board which are from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, China, China Hong Kong, and UNEP, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, TCO Development attended this meeting. The meeting was hosted by the IGPN Secretariat, China Environmental United Certification Center–CEC.
Mr. Chen Yanping, Chair of IGPN, presented his speech in the opening remarks, “Sustainable consumption and green procurement are important means to promote sustainable development, as well as to promote global carbon reduction, carbon neutrality, bio-diversity and pollution abatement. Progress made by the IGPN in 2021 are more standardize, proactive and active, we expect to discuss in depth and exchanges views on the fulfillment of next year development”. Mr. Mark Hidson, vice chair of IGPN, gave his welcome remarks, “Global sustainable procurement is moving from awareness raising toward implementation, toward the carbon neutrally target sustainable procurement are highlighted as catalytic tool in more and more countries. Whereas the capacity building needed to facilitate the target, this is right opportunity for the IGPN with its members to carry forward”.
During the meeting, Mr. Farid Yaker, programme officer of the Economy Division of UNEP and IGPN advisory board member, presented the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 12.7.1 2021 data collection process and outcome. Dr. Mervyn Jones, circular economy senior advisor of Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, explained the findings of the UNEP One Planet Network sustainable public procurement plastics report. Meanwhile representatives of Green Procurement Networks from different countries and regions recapped their progress, achievements and experience of their green purchasing networks. Participants reviewed the 2021 annual work of IGPN secretariat, discussed the priorities and highlights of future development of IGPN.
Since CEC holds the IGPN Secretariat in 2018, it consistently works on the IGPN operational codes and members’ collaboration activities. In 2021, was released, “Survey on Environmentally friendly product service and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change” was launched also, greatly supported the awareness of sustainable consumption and production through exchanges and communication on practices, tools and methods. Stated by Ms. ZHANG Xiaodan, CEC general manager and IGPN advisory board member, in the summary speech, “Next year the IGPN will focus on the priorities, continue to strengthen the network development, promote collaborations among members, fulfill the development of IGPN and support the sustainable procurement implementation nationally and regionally”.


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December 13, 2021

Power of the Public Plate podcast

This podcast explores the stories of champions of food procurement. Brought to you by the UN One Planet Network and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, each episode unpacks how public authorities from around the world leverage procurement to positively impact the food value chain, to ultimately contribute to sustainable food systems.

Listen to all the episodes right here.

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December 10, 2021

[SCP] Few willing to change lifestyle to save the planet, climate survey finds

Citizens are alarmed by the climate crisis, but most believe they are already doing more to preserve the planet than anyone else, including their government, and few are willing to make significant lifestyle changes, an international survey has found.
“The widespread awareness of the importance of the climate crisis illustrated in this study has yet to be coupled with a proportionate willingness to act,” the survey of 10 countries including the US, UK, France and Germany, observed.
Emmanuel Rivière, director of international polling at Kantar Public, said the survey, carried out in late September and published to coincide with the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, contained “a double lesson for governments”.
They have, first, “to measure up to people’s expectations,” Rivière said. “But they also have to persuade people not of the reality of the climate crisis – that’s done – but of what the solutions are, and of how we can fairly share responsibility for them.”
The survey found that 62% of people surveyed saw the climate crisis as the main environmental challenge the world was now facing, ahead of air pollution (39%), the impact of waste (38%) and new diseases (36%).
A young person reaches for an inflated globe during a ‘Fridays for Future’ protest in Muenster, north-west Germany.
But when asked to rate their individual action against others’ such as governments, business and the media, people generally saw themselves as much more committed to the environment than others in their local community, or any institution.
About 36% rated themselves “highly committed” to preserving the planet, while only 21% felt the same was true of the media and 19% of local government. A mere 18% felt their local community was equally committed, with national governments (17%) and big corporations (13%) seen as even less engaged.
Respondents were also lukewarm about doing more themselves, citing a wide range of reasons. Most (76%) of those surveyed across the 10 countries said they would accept stricter environmental rules and regulations, but almost half (46%) felt that there was no real need for them to change their personal habits.
Only 51% said they would definitely act to protect the planet, with 14% saying they would definitely not and 35% torn. People in Poland and Singapore (56%) were the most willing to act, and in Germany (44%) and the Netherlands (37%) the least.
The most common reasons given for not being willing to do more for the planet were “I feel proud of what I am currently doing” (74%), “There isn’t agreement among experts on the best solutions” (72%), and “I need more resources and equipment from public authorities” (69%).
Other reasons for not wanting to do more included “I can’t afford to make those efforts” (60%), “I lack information and guidance on what to do” (55%), “I don’t think individual efforts can really have an impact” (39%), “I believe environmental threats are overestimated” (35%) and “I don’t have the headspace to think about it” (33%).
Asked which actions to preserve the planet should be prioritised, moreover, people attributed more importance to measures that were already established habits, required less individual effort, or for which they bore little direct responsibility.
About 57%, for example, said that reducing waste and increasing recycling was “very important”. Other measures seen as priorities were reversing deforestation (54%), protecting endangered animal species (52%), building energy-efficient buildings (47%), and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy (45%).
Respondents viewed measures likely to affect their own lifestyles, however, as significantly less important: reducing people’s energy consumption was seen as a priority by only 32%, while favouring public transport over cars (25%) and radically changing our agricultural model (24%) were similarly unpopular.
Only 23% felt that reducing plane travel and charging more for products that did not respect environmental norms were important to preserve the planet, while banning fossil fuel vehicles (22%) and reducing meat consumption (18%) and international trade (17%) were seen as even lower priorities.
“Citizens are undeniably concerned by the state of the planet, but these findings raise doubts regarding their level of commitment to preserving it,” the study said. “Rather than translating into a greater willingness to change their habits, citizens’ concerns are particularly focused on their negative assessment of governments’ efforts.”
Representative samples of more than 1,000 people were questioned in the US, UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand.
People gave themselves the highest score for commitment everywhere except Sweden, while only in Singapore and New Zealand were national governments seen as highly engaged. The gulf between citizens’ view of their own efforts (44%) and that of their government (16%) was highest in the UK.
Learn more at the Guardian, 07 November 2021.

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December 6, 2021

Is 3D printing really sustainable?

"The AM industry can and needs to do more."

It was an astute and well-timed comment from Stefanie Brickwede in an interview from our recent rail feature that prompted the question which headlines this very article. Brickwede, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Deutsche Bahn, suggested we need to give AM companies a wakeup call “to focus more on ecological sustainability and not just greenwashing.”
Brickwede isn’t the first to use the term “greenwashing”, the idea that a product can be marketed as sustainable without having the credentials to back it up, in reference to the AM sector. The topic has increasingly found its way into conversations amongst those in the industry who want to ensure AM’s green credentials are more than just buzzwords and backed up by real data.

Analysing the data

It’s easy to think of AM as sustainable. You’re adding material where needed, theoretically using less than that of a subtractive method. With the advent of distributed manufacturing, you’re hopefully producing much closer to the point of need, reducing emissions along the way, and through digital warehousing, only producing those parts when you need them. With increased freedom of design, you can reduce weight, potentially saving costs and energy over a part’s lifecycle. But it’s not so clear cut.
“It's like a double- edged sword,” Runze Huang, PhD, CEO & Co-founder at ExLattice, Inc. and author of a number of papers focusing on the energy and emissions saving potential of AM, says. “The unique advantages of AM, such as customisation, distributed production, flexibility, and multi-material applications, are creating complexity and unique challenges in the end-of-life of AM products. It needs to be considered more and addressed better now as we still have time before AM entering the mainstream of manufacturing and causing the sustainability issues 20 years later.”
Speaking on a recent episode of the Additive Insight podcast, AM consultant Phil Reeves echoed Huang’s thoughts and expressed the need to consider the full lifecycle of an AM part.
“You have to look at full lifecycle, end- to-end sustainability and I think we do have some issues,” Reeves explains, “certainly on the polymer side, our polymer chemistry which is maybe not as green as they could be; the actual additive manufacturing processes themselves are not as energy efficient as they could be – they haven’t been designed around energy efficiency. If you look at some of them, you pre-heat a significant amount of material to just below its melting temperature, you hit it with a laser – that’s an incredibly inefficient laser – you lose lots of energy in the room, you end up with a cake of material that you then cool down for 24 hours. That’s not an efficient manufacturing process.”
Reeves suggests the next industry trend will need to be around “efficiency” of machines, supply chains and materials but also cautions that if we want to encourage the use of AM for production, not just prototyping, then the industry will need to keep up with environmental legislation.
Reeves continues: “The worry is that we won’t and at some point, somebody will turn around in the corporate social responsibility group of a large car company and say, ‘that material you’re using in prototyping, we can’t use that anymore, we’re going to be legislated against it,’ so I do think we have to think, as an industry, seriously about sustainability.”
Pierre Forêt, Head of AM at industrial gases and engineering company Linde, agrees that we need to be talking more about efficiency. Linde has developed technologies to retain the quality of metal powder prior to printing and ensure optimum atmospheric conditions within the print chamber. Forêt says the biggest potential drawback to AM is energy usage – both in the type and volume of energy it consumes.
“While no one solution can claim to make additive manufacturing more sustainable than traditional production methods, through a combination of technologies – particularly associated to the use of atmospheric gases – the process can be assured to have more reliable, repeatable quality outcomes,” Forêt says. “Once this is achieved, the advantages of additive manufacturing are, at the very least given the potential to contribute to more sustainable production methods.”

Managing materials

Materials are just one part of the value chain where the sustainability question lingers.
“Material reuse within the process is still problematic,” Alex Kingsbury, AM Industry Fellow & Engagement Lead at RMIT University, offers. “There’s no doubt that the printing process, whether it’s metal or polymer, leads to a degradation of the material and limits its reusability. There are also support structures, a necessary evil in many cases, that are waste products. In this respect, metal is much better than polymer, as the metal recycling supply chain is more flexible than the polymers recycling supply chain. For example, a polymer 3D printed product does not bear the universal recyclability symbol. Even if it does, the polymer recycling supply chain is still highly problematic. Metal at the very least, can be channelled through the scrap metal trade. We are also still yet to really properly reach upstream of 3D printed products and properly assess the raw material sources, for example, the metal powder that you use in your 3D printing process. Where does it come from? What is the carbon footprint of that process? Was it made using a fossil fuel energy source like coal or gas? Or was the electricity source hydropower?”
Last year Materialise introduced a solution to tackle material reusability. Bluesint PA12 makes it possible to print with 100% reused powder, versus an estimated 50% currently capable with polymer laser sintering. Following the launch of its Bluesint PA12 printing service back in June, Materialise proposes that if half of all SLS PA 12 parts were printed using Bluesint, this would reduce CO2 emissions from 3D printing by more than 2,800 tons per year.
“The AM industry can and needs to do more,” Andreas Vandyck, Sustainability Coordinator at Materialise, tells TCT. “A first step is for companies to organise themselves in a sustainable way, by considering the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. But in order to make truly significant contributions, companies need to invest in innovative technologies that help to advance their respective industries."
The company recently conducted a lifecycle analysis with BASF for the production of one million pairs of midsoles. The results showed that for large-series production of identical products, AM had a bigger impact on the depletion of fossil fuels compared to conventional manufacturing. But if you consider smaller series production, the results start to tip in AM’s favour.
The challenges, realities & potential of sustainable 3D printing
Vandyck adds: “Across the board, “climate change”, clearly stands out as the largest contributing factor for the negative impact of AM technologies. If we look at the carbon footprint, the biggest contributors are the energy consumption of the printing process and emissions related to the production of materials. In comparison, the traditional photo-polymerisation process demands the least amount of energy.”
On the metals side, Sebastian Richter, Head of Powder Metals at thyssenkrupp Materials Trading is optimistic and while he agrees greenwashing is an issue, he believes metals are in a better position.
“Manufacturers are now using metal powders to build structures, which means much lower material consumption,” Richter tells TCT. “Additive also allows manufacturers to have design freedom that can lead not only to product and process improvement but also low waste. You can’t achieve this with conventional processes.”
Thyssenkrupp Materials UK is the UK distributor for metal powders from raw materials specialist thyssenkrupp, including sustainably sourced stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and nickel-based alloys. As a provider of services to the AM industry too, Richter suggests we must also take a closer look at AM hardware.
“As metal powders are low waste and recyclable materials, potential challenges in terms of sustainability for the additive manufacturing industry may lie with the 3D printing equipment,” Richter says. “Given this is still a fairly new industry, we will probably observe further optimisations of the 3D printers in order to make them more efficient and more sustainable, for example, by improving the filter technology, which is currently complicated to recycle.”
ExOne, for example, is confident that its metal binder jet technology can be considered green, stating that more than 95% of powder can be reused directly in the process via a simple reconditioning step. The company also says that part consolidation and design benefits afforded via binder jet can on average result in 30-50% weight savings, which, in the case of the automotive industry can deliver significant reductions in energy use.
“We have no doubt that our technology is more sustainable than traditional manufacturing methods, such as machining, which generates tons of toxic waste as coolants are applied to cutting tools shaving away sometimes as much as 95% of the stock material to create a part,” Sarah Webster, Chief Marketing Officer at ExOne, says. “While there are new innovations in green coolants, most of those in use today during machining remain petroleum based and nothing in the binder jetting process comes close to the volume or type of waste generated during traditional subtractive machining processes.”
Webster stresses that green benefits can also be found outside of end-use parts, namely in tooling (the company recently launched its X1 Tooling portfolio off the back of its acquisition of Freshmade 3D) where the ability to print tools directly can also reduce waste.
For those metals that aren’t so easy to recycle, 6K Additive has developed a technology which specifically addresses the metal AM market. It’s UniMelt Plasma technology is said to turn virtually any scrap metal into 3D printable material, that includes new materials too. With up to 3 million pounds of titanium capable of being upcycled per year at its dedicated ISO9001 facility, Frank Roberts, President 6K Additive says you can really see the momentum building.
“It really means something to the industry,” Frank Roberts, President 6K Additive, says. “Every facet of who we're dealing with is really starting to ask these key questions and so it's critical that we keep the momentum, that we develop best practices to make sure that we're upcycling all the material that we can, and if it can't be upcycled and go back into the industry, that there's a good home that it's upcycled and going into another industry as an alloy addition, for example. But this is the time where we need to make sure we keep the momentum and keep the messaging strong and really make sure we focus on proper solutions for where these by- products are going.”

Getting serious

Proof that serious attention is being paid can be seen in the hiring of new personnel dedicated to sustainability. EOS’ Head of Sustainability Björn Hannappel, for example, joined in January 2020 and sees the company’s main purpose as “leading the world into responsible manufacturing with industrial 3D printing.”
“Compared to established manufacturing processes like casting or injection moulding, AM is still a rather young and niche technology and cannot currently benefit from the scale effects of local production of raw materials, such as powder, for example,” Hannappel says. “This is certainly a topic, but an area that is improving and will have a positive effect on the decentralised production of AM parts. Additionally, at present there is not a lot of data available to calculate the positive impact additive manufacturing is having. At EOS, we also believe there is a need for more research in areas such as the closed materials cycle, for example, the recyclability of AM parts.”
DyeMansion has also announced its intent to hire a sustainability lead next year. The AM post-processing specialist is one of the first companies on board Europe's mission to become the first climate-neutral continent and on a recent episode of TCT’s Additive Insight podcast, Co-founder and CEO Felix Ewald shared how it is embedding sustainability into every discussion. While Ewald admits sustainability is a complex issue, he remains optimistic about the “huge potential” the AM industry could have, particularly around rethinking global supply chains and decentralised manufacturing.
“I'm afraid that sometimes in our industry, it's easy to say that 3D printing has a great potential impact in terms of sustainability,” Ewald cautions. “But then we should also take it seriously. And I think that's the big task that we have as an industry, not only talking about it but really [taking] action.”

The next generation

While AM is by no means new, it is still a fairly young industry. Amongst those asked, there is a common belief that the industry can use this to its advantage.
“As an emerging industry, we still have chances to establish the right way at the beginning,” Huang offers. “Of course, we have our own limitations in addressing the sustainability challenges and AM is not a panacea. But I feel the AM industry has potential to be set up as a good example in addressing sustainability challenges as a whole to push traditional manufacturing industries to do more. This will benefit our whole industry for more opportunities and faster growth.”
New people coming into the sector are also keen to encourage the topic of sustainability, as Ewald shares:
“We are still a young company and many people really want to work in start-ups, and in job interviews there is always the question coming up, ‘What we are doing in terms of sustainability?’ It's really a topic that is pushed by our team and our employees and we take it really seriously.”
They’re not the only ones. The Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) just announced its first LCA research project with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, which will compare the lifecycles and environmental impact of an additively manufactured and traditionally manufactured jet engine low pressure turbine (LPT) bracket. The study will include up to 18 different environmental indicators to quantify the environmental impacts of the part and is expected to be published next spring.
While the task at hand becomes increasingly urgent, with AM uniquely equipped to deliver if we can get it right, Vandyck believes that urgency might actually be just what’s needed.
“The climate crisis is an existential threat. It comes with a sense of urgency that forces us to skip incremental steps forward. Instead, it requires us to drastically rethink the way we develop and create products. And when we dare to think from this bigger perspective, we start to truly innovate and create room for new technologies. Such a climate of radical innovation presents opportunities for AM."

Learn more at TCT Mag. By Laura Griffiths 11 November 2021.

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December 1, 2021

[CITIES] Is Beijing becoming more eco-friendly?

Imagine living in a city with plenty of green spaces, solar-powered buildings, and rooftop gardens, and more cyclists than parking spaces. Does it sound like a futuristic dream to you? Well, Beijing has been actively involved in green living practices and building green technology in recent years, which makes us wonder: Is the city becoming more eco-friendly? In short, yes. Read on to find out why.
More people are getting around by bike than by car
More people in Beijing are cycling now than ever before. In fact, the city has made an effort to make cost-efficient transportation more accessible to the public.
Since the beginning of this year, Beijing's total number of bike rides reached 638 million. On average, there are about 2.42 million trips by bicycle happening in the city each day, over 40 percent more compared to 2020. The city has even been promoting this growing trend by building cycling highways stocked with sufficient amenities along the route.
More vehicle charging stations are popping up citywide
While a typical vehicle produces an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, an electric vehicle generates zero. It seems like Beijing has been privvy to this, with a growing number of EV charging stations popping up around the city -- roughly 230,000 as of this year, to be exact.
Not too long ago, Universal Studios Resort event saw 901 EV charging stations added to its parking lot, meaning even big name brands are jumping on the trend.
A Coal Ban went into effect here last year
Beijing has relied heavily on coal for electricity and heating in the past, but this is slowly changing.
The city’s battle against pollution started back in 2014 when the government announced plans to ban coal use within its six main districts by the end of 2020. In fact, the city’s coal consumption has decreased dramatically from about 12.8 million tons in 2015 to 1.8 million tons in 2020.
As a result, Beijing has seen a big drop in heavily polluted days, with last year having over 80 percent less polluted days than in 2013.
More and more green architecture
When we are talking about sustainable cities, green architecture is often a key factor in determining how eco-friendly a city is. Beijing has been pushing for a greener lifestyle for the future.
Initiatives range from building the city’s first carbon-neutral themed park to becoming the first country in history to host a Winter Olympics that uses 100 percent clean energy, all that signaling the city’s efforts to reduce resource use and to lower greenhouse emissions.

Learn more at the Beijinger, 18 November 2021, by Irene Li.

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November 26, 2021

[FOOD] South Africa: Why Supporting Small-Scale Farmers and Eating Locally is Climate Smart #AfricaClimateCrisis

Cape Town — Every day, the food we consume connects us to a vast global network of food manufacturers, farmers, retailers, traders, and many others involved in bringing food from the farm to the table. Yet this global food system is a core part of some of the world's biggest challenges.
The agriculture industry plays a crucial role in an economy - from the food we eat to the fabric we wear. It's also an important source of livelihood for many people.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has been a significant decline in the number of farmers in South Africa, according to a report by the Competition Commission. It says that small-scale and emerging farmers were particularly hard hit by poor yields and low productivity, and struggled to grow their operations. Barriers include access to finance, infrastructure, and routes to market. At the same time, the report said that since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a global trend towards the localisation of farming and shorter supply chains where customers are increasingly buying local because of climate and environmental concerns, food safety, quality, and logistical considerations. Beyond the benefits for consumers, a trend towards local farming inevitably favours small-scale farming.
And for those who remained - particularly small-scale farmers - there are continuing challenges.
For example, during the country's hard lockdown at the start of 2020, small-scale farmers were not regarded as an essential service, thus preventing them from accessing their farms until the government introduced permits. Some farmers were forced to leave part of their harvest to rot in the fields. This contributed to food insecurity, worsened poverty, and unemployment contributing to hunger and crime.
However, some farmers made changes to adjust to the new situation. Many began selling to street vendors, small business owners, and even direct selling in their communities. This confirmed the importance of these informal markets. Even though the number of informal traders increased exponentially due job losses small farmers were still able to sell their goods.
So why buy local?
In recent years, more people in Cape Town, South Africa, have started eating locally sourced food. While it is widely believed that eating locally sourced food is better for your health, there are many other benefits to consuming what's grown or raised in our backyards.
Many believe food grown locally tastes better and lasts longer - and they have the peace of mind of knowing where their food comes from and how it was grown.
Some produce, especially fruits and vegetables, lose nutrients during transportation and storage, making local options usually more nutritious. Because smaller farmers don't have the pressure to bulk supply, they can leave their food on the vine to ripen longer, giving you better quality for your money.
For instance, a farm in Philippi, about 30 minutes from Cape Town, delivers fresh produce to the city's grocery stores and food markets every day. The Philippi Horticultural Area is a key food production hub for the city and here small-scale farmers typically sell their produce within 24 hours of picking it, whereas fruits and vegetables purchased through conglomerates will sit for weeks until there is enough to mass distribute.
Locally grown foods don't have to travel long distances to reach you, so you're actually improving air quality and reducing pollution. You'll also notice that local food producers don't have to vacuum pack and double-seal their goods so they remain fresh for as long as possible, hence less packaging helps reduce the amount of plastic we discard. Supporting local farmers who use sustainable practices also benefits the environment and helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Finally, for others, supporting community economies and fostering relationships is important. Small businesses benefit more from spending money locally rather than patronising large businesses that tend to prioritize profits over employees and customers. By doing this you create and maintain farming jobs in the local community, which allows the economy to thrive by creating a positive spending loop within the community.
Sophumla Ntoyabo, a small-scale organic farmer in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, says interpersonal connection is what makes business special. Having relationships with the local businesses and individuals helps them sell and their produce, resulting in them cutting losses. However, they still struggle to access or penetrate the local markets to their best potential. So to cut losses if markets don't buy, they have adopted a model of not harvesting to sell - rather they now sell harvest that's still on the ground. When a buyer wants it, they harvest it on that particular day.
But Inseason Mobile Market says some farmers lack consistency and variety. And some don't produce vegetables that are not in season, which means infiltrating the big markets is hard. Even though demand is growing, the sector has been hard to break into for some investors. Inseason is dedicated to supporting wellness and making healthy eating accessible to everyone by offering fresh organic vegetables and delicious fruits - hand-picked, and sustainably produced by local farmers.
Why should we care about small farms?
Agriculture is the backbone of Africa's economy and accounts for the majority of livelihoods across the continent. But climate change also puts farmers at risk.
A number of key risks to agriculture include reduced crop productivity associated with heat and drought stress, pest damage, disease damage, and flood impacts on food system infrastructure, leading to serious adverse effects on global food security and livelihoods. However, across Africa, a growing number of smallholder farmers are tapping into digital technologies to access information, services, and products to improve efficiency, boost crop yields and increase incomes.
More than 80% of the world's 600 million farming households are smallholders who own less than two hectares of land, says the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Small-scale farmers have been identified as a sector that will drive economic growth, but the farmers lack financial support to run a profitable farm and the pandemic has worsened many of the existing challenges and inequalities of the global food system.

Learn more at Here.

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November 17, 2021

International Green Purchasing Network is Endorsed in New Edition of UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement Implementation Guidelines

The Sustainable Public Procurement Implementation Guidelines (SPP Guidelines) is newly released by United Nations Environment Programme. In this edition of the SPP Guidelines, it recognizes the positive support from the national, regional and international SPP networks. The International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN is endorsed as an example of regional level to facilitate SPP implementation by promotion of environmentally friendly products and green purchasing.

The SPP Guidelines aim to provide a common vision, language and framework to guide stakeholders on how to effectively pave the way towards SPP implementation. It uses a specific and adaptable approach, referred to as the ‘SPP Approach’, refined on the basis of the experiences and feedback received from countries using this methodology. It incorporates a large number of best practices and case studies mostly gathered in the countries since 2012, highlights of UNEP’s monitoring activities extracted from the 2013 and 2017 Global SPP Reviews or from the first data collection exercise of SDG 12.7.1. The Guidelines can be used as a step-by- step guide on how to set up and strengthen a country’s long-term work on SPP, and is also intended to be a point of reference and inspiration on sustainable procurement in general.

Download the report here.

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November 2, 2021

2021 Procura+ Award finalists unveiled

The jury of the 2021 Procura + Awards has revealed the nine finalists for this year. The initiative, supported by ICLEI Europe along with the EU-funded Procure2Innovate project, recognises excellence in sustainable procurement.
In the category ‘Procurement Initiative of the Year’ the jury has picked the Province of Zeeland (the Netherlands) and the City of Helsinki (Finland). The former is praised for using the SDG’s as the compass of all its purchases, while the Finnish capital is using carbon footprint criteria to promote sustainable public procurement, taking into account the various climate impacts.
The Supreme Audit Office of the City of Prague (Czech Republic) is a finalist in the category ‘Innovation Procurement of the Year’ for including Building Information Modeling (BIM) to build its first permanent seat with the lowest appropriate life-cycle costs. The City is joined by the Santiago de Compostela City Council in Spain, which demonstrated its ability to develop innovative solutions for its citizens, while respecting the complex and specific needs of being a World Heritage City.
In the category ‘Outstanding Innovation Procurement in ICT’ two Spanish authorities are competing for the win. Servicio Murciano de Salud of Murcia (Spain) used a co-creation model to improve communication between doctors and epilepsy patients, bringing together procurers from three different regions. The Barcelona Provincial Council used innovation procurement to improve its telecare services.
Finally, in the category ‘Sustainable Procurement of the Year’, the City of Copenhagen (Denmark) introduced social and environmental considerations into its food procurement, guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Agglomeration of Dinan (France) created a tender for cleaning services, aiming to reduce harm to the environment, support access to employment and to enable companies of different sizes to apply. They are joined by the South Moravian Region (Czech Republic), which identified the need to build a new sanitarium for children with respiratory diseases and challenged the market with the ambition of making it as most aesthetic, user-friendly, and energy-efficient as possible.
The 2021 Procura + Awards will be awarded soon at a special ceremony for the winners.

Find more information click here.

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November 2, 2021

First-ever UN Food Systems Summit makes big promises for big action

On Thursday 23 September, civil society, farmers, youth, Indigenous Peoples, Member States and many others joined the first-ever UN Food Systems Summit. In the months leading up to the Summit, over 100,000 people discussed challenges and solutions to move towards more sustainable food systems. Many of these proposed solutions have been transformed into concrete commitments, which are housed in a dedicated registry around the five Action Areas of the Summit.
In his summary statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke of going beyond the Summit, and outlined some of the coordination mechanisms for doing so. At the global level, working across the UN system and with partners, the Rome-based Agencies — FAO, IFAD, WFP — will jointly lead a coordination hub that collaborates with, and draws upon, wider UN system capacities to support follow-up to the Food Systems Summit. These partners will include non-governmental actors, such as civil society and business.
While such ambitious commitments demonstrate the willpower moving forward, some major stakeholders warn that lack of attention to nature and climate could undermine progress towards SDGs. There is a certain urgency to promoting and facilitating nature-positive production practices to reverse the devastating impacts on biodiversity of current food production.
The One Planet network is eager to find opportunities to collaborate on the follow-up actions to this important Summit.

Learn more at UN News center.

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October 29, 2021

[SCP] Research: How to Position a Luxury Brand as Sustainable

Harvard Business Review, 08 September 2021
By: Gwarlann de Kerviler, Elodie Gentina, Nico Heuvinck

With a growing demand for companies to produce products that meet high ESG standards, luxury goods companies need to find a way to present their products as something other than markers of wealth and social status, all while preserving these cachets. This article argues that they can best square this circle by focusing on authenticity through their commitment to the craftsmanship and art of their employees in their customer engagement. The authors present French luxury goods company Hermès as a case in point.
A 2018 global survey by Accenture Strategy of 30,000 consumers in 35 countries indicated that nearly two-thirds of them (62%) find brands with high ethical values attractive. That’s potentially a problem for companies in the luxury sector, because people often see luxury goods as a wasteful self-indulgence and potentially damaging to the environment, especially if they are highly engineered or decorative.
Traditional approaches to improving a company’s ethical positioning — for instance, by adopting fair labor practices and using recycled or organic materials — may not work well for luxury brands. To begin with, marketers need to be careful to send the right signals on being eco-friendly to avoid customers interpreting sustainability messages as greenwashing. Also, past research suggests that consumers may negatively evaluate luxury brands that engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Other studies argue that consumers may even perceive that eco-friendly luxury products carry less status-increasing social capital than non-sustainable luxury products do. What’s more, focusing on the environment does not give luxury brands much room to differentiate themselves from non-luxury brands, which have long been active in sustainability.
We suggest a more intriguing strategy: focus on authenticity. We build our recommendation from our recent research, conducted among more than 1,900 customers for different high-end product categories (watches, perfumes and design furniture), that gives insights on how and why luxury brands can use authenticity to communicate their ethics.
Let’s begin by looking at how brands can signal authenticity before digging deeper into the results of our studies.

The Two Types of Authenticity
Consumers perceive brand and product authenticity in two ways: it is authentic if it can claim to be the “original real thing” or if it corresponds to a “genuine ideal.” This gives two sets of cues that marketers can use to signal authenticity: indexical and iconic.
Indexical cues of authenticity. Here, marketers signal a product’s authenticity by establishing direct connections with its origins and makers. The fact that a piece of luxury furniture was designed by an Italian artist, produced by local artisans in an Italian village, and made of Italian wood and silk indicate that a it is truly an authentic Italian product. Here, the perception of authenticity is based on objective information (such as certificates of origin or the nationality of the designer).Iconic cues of authenticity. In this form, the product is a reproduction or a re-edited version of a past product — a new product whose design is based on the maker’s subjective perception of the original’s defining characteristics. In other words, if your Italian furniture maker opens a branch in France, with designers and producers inspired by the creative vision of the Italian team, the products of this branch could be perceived as authentic if key elements of the marketing mix evoked the original product — for example, if the shape, color, or materials of the products in France resembled those of the original Italian products.
In our first two studies, with almost 500 consumers in the US, we showed how the two types of cues affected perceptions of whether the product was considered as ethical. Respondents were confronted with a designer chair or high-end perfume that was either described as being the first original edition and came with an official certificate of origin (indexical cue) or described as a second edition by the same brand that paid tribute, was inspired by the first original version, and came with an official brand booklet (iconic cue).
The feedback showed that when a brand communicates a message on its authenticity with indexical cues, consumers perceive the brand as being more ethical than when it relied on iconic cues. This difference cannot be ascribed to the “intensity” of perceived authenticity because we also found that the two messages did not differ in the level of authenticity they evoked: iconic products were seen as just as authentic as indexically cued ones. So, why are products using indexical cues seen as more ethical?

It’s All About Passion
To answer that question, we conducted additional studies for our research, with more than 700 consumers, in the context of high-end perfume once again. We found that respondents perceived products with indexical cues of authenticity (original versions) as made with more effort and care than the products using iconic cues (authentic reproduction). This was because original versions, by definition, are new and different, which means that more creative investment must have gone into them. It was this perception, of putting more efforts and love, we suspected, that contributed to the sense that these products were more ethical than iconically authentic products.
To confirm this hypothesis, we ran another study, again with more than 700 consumers, in which we included strong signals that our iconic product had required as much care through creativity, design, and craftsmanship as its indexical counterpart — by, for example, highlighting the number of years taken developing the iconic product and the number of design ideas submitted and reviewed even for the second series. When these signals were included, ethical perceptions of iconically authentic products turned out to be about the same as for indexically authentic products. Thus, there was a clear link between how much effort and love the manufacturer was seen to put into the product and how likely consumers were to perceive it as ethical.

So What Should Marketers Do?
Giorgio Armani once observed that luxury brands should get back to the value of authenticity. Our findings seem to confirm his insight. A case in point is the luxury brand Hermès, one of a handful that have enhanced people’s ethical perceptions of the brand. They did this by shifting from classic marketing approaches to adopt a strategy focused on authenticity. The key is to have real people making the link between the past and the present, with an artistic eye.
The human touch. Many luxury brands already link to their origins, as their manufacturing is often based close to where they came from. They also retain artisanal manufacturing processes, with products handcrafted by dedicated, expert artist-craftsmen, motivated by an intrinsic desire to create the best product. But Hermès goes further than most. Every year, for example, it organizes a public event, “Hermès Beyond the Walls,” to celebrate the passion of the artisans behind their products, showcasing both their original creations and those inspired by their classics. During the event, Hermès artisans handcraft unique pieces in real time in front of visitors, explaining how they work and answering questions. This makes it very clear that making each product requires many different steps and hours of precision manual. Hermès creative director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, observes that customers who attend the event come away with a deep relationship with the product: “[they feel] the presence of the person who crafted the object.”
Forward-looking continuity. Most luxury goods manufacturers will emphasize tradition — Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe, for example, presents its products as tomorrow’s heirlooms. This communication works better, however, when it focuses on how today’s craftsman are part of a long tradition of craftsmanship. Emphasizing a brand’s closeness to its historic roots — for instance, the fact that it may employ several generations of craftsman from the same families — demonstrate the commitment of both today’s workers and their employers to the traditions of their craft.
But it’s also important not to get caught in the past. The best luxury goods companies understand that they cannot live off or simply re-make their classic products forever; they risk losing connection with the creation and love that went into those products and will come to be seen as exploitative — and in the end maybe less ethical. At Hermès, traditions are kept relevant and linked to passion through frequent collaborations with contemporary creators and designers and even customers. For example, Laurent Goblet, a saddler at Hermès for forty years, worked closely with German dressage champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl in designing the famous Arpège saddle. Hermès also drew on the skills of its traditional glassmakers to produce watches with diamond indexes embedded in sapphire crystal, which appear to hover above the inner workings. This was a pioneering move in watchmaking and involved the application of traditional skills to achieve a modern design.
Dedication to the artistic community. Above and beyond the design and manufacture of its own products, luxury goods firms can show passion and care to raise their ethical profile by supporting the development of a broader community of artists. A good example is provided by the Hermès Corporate Foundation, which offers residencies to artists. This gives them the opportunity to work with Hermès craftworkers and designers to explore social themes from multiple perspectives and create art works using the materials used for Hermès products (such as wood, silk, paper, crystal and leather). For example, Bianca Argimon, a Belgian artist in residence at the Hermès textile holding company in the Lyon region, was interested in printing on silk muslin, a material that is particularly delicate. With support from the Hermès Foundation, she produced a silk print describing the excesses of consumer society, inspired by a famous painting of Hieronymus Bosch.
Hermès received a high ranking on the CSRHUB Consensus ESG Ratings of 89%, which could be linked to the brand capacity to take advantage of important authenticity cues. In addition, we carried an additional ad hoc study in the U.S., in which Mturk respondents were asked to compare Hermès and its main high fashion competitors (including Chanel, Dior, Prada, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton) on measures of ethical commitment. Findings show that most respondents perceived Hermès as a distinctly more ethical brand than its rivals.
The bottom line is this: if luxury retailers are to win a reputation for ethics, they need to do more than just green their products and operations. They need to communicate the passion and commitment of their people to their art. A company’s customers must be made aware of how much care and feeling has been embedded into the lengthy and complex manufacturing process that goes into each and every luxury product or service that the company supplies.

Learn more at Harvard Business Review

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October 20, 2021

Faster, more intense, with more devastating impacts: New IPCC report lays out the scientific basis of the climate emergency

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, which brings together the most recent advances in climate science to outline the current state of climate change. The results are grave, as was explored in a recent ICLEI Talk Of the Cities piece, written by Dana Vigran of ICLEI’s World Secretariat and summarised below.
The opening line of the report’s Summary for Policymakers reads: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.”
The report, which was approved by 195 national governments, shows the rapid human-induced change that is occurring in our climate. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest it has been in 2 million years, sea level rise is at its fastest in 3000 years and arctic sea ice is at its lowest levels in at least 1000 years.
“The IPCC report shows how much human behaviour has impacted our climate, not only putting our future at risk, but also our presence. The current alarming state should bring our ambitions and actions to a higher level, leading true leaders around the world to stand up and change this course. Let us now use all our human capacity to change for the better,” said Martin Horn, Lord Mayor of Freiburg, President of ICLEI Europe and Member of the European Covenant of Mayors Board.
The report also outlines the control that human populations have to limit these effects. Only immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will limit warming to 1.5°C and prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change.
Cities already see climate impacts
We are already seeing the effects of human-induced climate change around the globe. Extreme weather events, from wildfires across Southern Europe to extreme flooding in Western Europe, show the real life consequences of a climate that has already warmed by 1.1°C since the mid-1800s.
The science shows continued warming will affect the climate in multiple ways. It will bring more intense rainfall and flooding in some regions, and increased drought, heat and wild-fires in others. Increased warming will amplify the melting of glaciers and ice sheets while sea level rise also increases.
In cities, these impacts may be amplified. According to the Summary for Policymakers, urbanisation increases heavy precipitation over cities, and coastal cities will continue to see exacerbated flooding both from sea level rise and “extreme rainfall/riverflow events”. Cities and urban centres are also warmer than surrounding areas – often due to lack of natural cooling influences such as water and vegetation, according to the IPCC fact sheet on urban areas.
The role of local and regional governments in holding the line on 1.5°C
“Local and regional governments need to be a part of immediate and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to have any chance of holding the line at 1.5°C and avoiding the most devastating impacts of climate change,” says ICLEI Secretary General Van Begin.
The European Green Deal seeks to ensure that Europe meets this goal, and becomes the first climate neutral continent by 2050. Local governments have a key role to play to ensure that we can meet this goal, as well as the critical calls that have come out of the IPCC report. Cities and regions across Europe are working to implement their own Local Green Deals, making use of the Mannheim Message and Basque Declaration to guide their work.
For more information on Local Green Deals, click here
To read the full article on which this news piece was based, click here

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October 15, 2021

World Ecolabel Day-14 October 2021

A global day to celebrate ecolabel products and services that protect you and the planet.

More than 50 countries around the world celebrate World Ecolabel Day on the second Thursday in October each year. This year, that's 14 October. It’s a day to focus on ecolabel products and services that are proven to be environmentally preferable and performance tested, so you are ensured the best products for your health and the health of the planet.

Consumers, companies, and communities worldwide will celebrate this event by discovering the ecolabels available in their own countries, buying and using third-party certified products and services, and sharing the good news with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

This year as part of the the Global Ecolabelling Network's celebration, we will be launching our new international “Look Closer” ecolabelling campaign. This campaign is designed to educate procurement officials about avoiding greenwashing and to help them insist on products and services with life cycle-based ecolabels. Make sure to bookmark this page and follow us on social media to see interesting information and fun activities leading up the launch of the “Look Closer” video and landing page on 14 October.

Use these hashtags to talk about World Ecolabel Day. Spread the word and be sure to follow your local ecolabel so that you can tweet and post content often!

#WorldEcolabelDay #ChooseEcolabels #CertifiedGreenEcolabel #Type1Ecolabel #Ecolabels #LifeCycleBasedEcolabels

Learn more at:https://www.globalecolabelling.net/world-ecolabel-day-2/world-ecolabel-day/

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October 11, 2021

[LEISURE: FASHION] How Oxwash Raised $7 Million To Transform The Way We Clean Clothes

What happens when you combine a former NASA scientist and British engineering, you ask? In Oxwash’s case, a solid £5.2 million ($7 million) investment—and growing. The company was founded in 2018, when co-founder and ex-NASA scientist Dr Kyle Grant was completing his Synthetic Biology PhD at the University of Oxford. Perpetually frustrated with broken washing machines on campus, he joined forces with by Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton and—armed with a Deliveroo backpack spray-painted blue—the duo began collecting and washing clothes for fellow students. Things quickly snowballed and, as interest grew, it became the UK’s fastest-growing on-demand laundry business. With a difference. The model is fairly simple, you see; customers place an order online, choose a collection and drop off time and location, and Oxwash collects, washes and delivers, all in house. It’s the actual washing process that made it investable.
“We knew being just another laundry app wouldn’t cut it,” says CEO Dr Kyle Grant. “Developing a model that was hyper local, carbon neutral and tech enabled—that reversed the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it—was fundamental.”
Global laundry usage releases a seismic 14,000 tons of microfibers into the oceans each year—meaning a third of all plastic found in the ocean are microfibers from clothes—while water wastage and toxic solvents only add to the problem.
So Oxwash got to work, utilizing technology typically found in space and hospital sterilization, to tackle each problem individually.
“A typical wash cycle uses around 10 litres of water per kg washed,” says Grant. “We can reduce this by saving up to 32litres on a standard 8kg wash through our water filtration and reclamation techniques.”
Oxwash’s proprietary microfiber filtration technology also removes more than 95 percent of fibres shed during washing, preventing plastic pollution from reaching waterways and drinking water.
“By installing filtration technology in our machines, we prevent over 1 million plastic microfibres from entering our water systems per each KG we wash.”
Additionally, Oxwash’s process kills bacteria through a three stage cycle (ozone disinfection, chemical sterilisation and thermal decontamination) so advanced it reduces 99.99999% of infections—100 times better than the NHS standard.
But they don’t stop there.
“Most laundries will use whichever detergent is cheapest and usually has high levels of toxicity, such as PERC,” he says. “We use biodegradable detergents and emulsifiers that are automatically dosed depending on the weight of the wash.”
This prevents up to 25% excess chemistry being used in each wash, much to the appreciation of early and new eco-conscious investors.
By May 2020 Oxwash had raised £2 million ($2.7 million) from a cohort of coveted investors including: FMCG giant Reckitt, TrueSight Ventures, Founders Factory and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
All of whom will undoubtedly be delighted with the company’s rapid growth (15% month-on-month) since the start of the pandemic.
Oxwash now boasts more than 8000 independent customers, alongside corporate clients such as the Marriott Hotel Group, Hurr Collective and the NHS.
And with the global “green cleaning” market set to reach $11.6 billion by 2029, Grant has left no sustainable rock unturned.
“By washing clothes at ambient temperatures and using ozone disinfection to remove microorganisms by oxidation rather than using heat, we can reduce carbon emissions by 45%,” he continues, noting that the company only uses zero emission e-cargo bikes that are able to manoeuvre around traffic, rather than contribute to it.
Compared to traditional laundry collection/delivery services, each bike saves 6,700 KG of CO2 per year.
With the goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all of their laundry and dry cleaning services, Oxwash received another $3 million from purpose-led investors this June. The round was backed by former Pinterest and Beyond Meat backers, Future Positive Capital (NYC/SF); Holly Branson, Chief Purpose & Vision Officer Virgin Group; Sam Branson, Filmmaker, Musician & Philanthropist; Pentland Group (Berghaus and Speedo); Leon Lewis (River Island); the founder of Indeed.com, Paul Forster, and more.
The new capital will be used to expand the team and invest in proprietary technology that will power the business’ logistics and cutting-edge washing facilities (known as lagoons) to further improve services, both for consumers and the environment.
“During the pandemic Oxwash has doubled down on its technology to bring simple, sustainable laundry to everyone,” adds Biz Stone. “I’ve been incredibly impressed by their speed of operational execution and I’m confident they are going to scale rapidly post-pandemic!”

Learn more at:Forbes, 08 September 2021 By: Lela London.

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September 27, 2021

Over 170 Organizations Shift to Renewable Energy

The Green Purchasing Network (GPN) has promoted the shift to renewable energy on the consumer side through the “RE Action - Declaring 100% Renewable Energy”. This initiative targets and supports local governments, educational and medical institutions, and small and medium-sized enterprises to declare conversion to 100% renewable energy. Since its establishment in October 2019, the initiative has attracted many businesses and local governments, and the number of participant organizations has increased from 28 to 176 during the last two years.

All participant organizations are required to set a target to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, and some of them have already achieved their goal. Their target year with an interim goal, if any, are disclosed on the RE Action website (https://saiene.jp/). The website also showcases good practices of implementation of renewable energy by the participant organizations.

Futagawa Manufacturing Co., Ltd., for example, has developed a floating mega solar plant in its hometown because there are 88 reservoirs in the area, and it is hard to find suitable land for mega solar plant. The floating solar panels block the sunlight from radiating into the water and suppress algae growth, which can help preserve the ecosystem of the reservoirs. Using the reservoirs as a power plant can also be of benefit to the local residents through the water usage fees. This unique project can be a model of new business that contribute to both the local environment and communities.

photo: Nishi Ike Floating Solar Power Plant

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September 16, 2021

Connecting to Place, People, and Past: How Products Make Us Feel Grounded

Researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business and Cornell University published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that examines how marketers can cater to consumers’ need to feel grounded by offering products that connect to place, people, and past.
The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Connecting to Place, People, and Past: How Products Make Us Feel Grounded” and is authored by Isabel Eichinger, Martin Schreier, and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer. Consumers are increasingly seeking products that are local, made by individually identified people, traditional, or remind them of their childhood and family growing up. This is evidenced by the ever-increasing popularity of farmers markets, hand-cut soap, artisanal bread, the locavore movement, and the return to familiar grocery brands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally rooted microbreweries, for example, were at the forefront of this renaissance of artisan, indie, and craft production. In 2019, craft beer accounted for 13.6% of total U.S. volume sales, a 4% increase even while overall beer sales dropped by 2%. Similar trends can be found beyond the food and beverage sector. They are surprising given modern society’s aspirations to globalize, automate, and digitize.
Why is this happening now and what drives these shifts in demand? As Eichinger explains, “It is consumers’ need to feel grounded—which we define as a feeling of emotional rootedness. We argue that the dual forces of digitization and globalization have made social and work lives increasingly virtual, fast-paced, and mobile, leaving many consumers feeling like trees with weak roots at risk of being torn from the earth. Marketers can cater to the need to feel grounded by offering products that help consumers connect to place, people, and past.”
A series of studies involving thousands of participants across the U.S. and Europe shows that groundedness increases product attractiveness and consumers’ willingness to pay. Schreier says that “Our research points out how marketers can strategically leverage groundedness for their products, for example by emphasizing local origin or by choosing traditional product designs. Marketers can also improve their targeting by identifying consumers with a higher need for groundedness.” The researchers conducted a survey with a representative U.S. consumer panel. Their idea is that consumers whose everyday work and lives are more affected by major trends like digitization, urbanization and global change will also experience a higher need to feel grounded. Indeed, they found higher levels in need for groundedness with consumers who perform a lot of desktop work at their computer; who have a higher socio-economic status; who more strongly perceive COVID-19 to have put their life in a state of flux; and who indicated living in a big city. These consumers were also more interested in purchasing products that connect them to their place, people, and past.
Feelings of groundedness are not only relevant for business; they are also important for consumer welfare. In particular, the studies show positive psychological downstream effects of groundedness on consumers’ happiness and feelings of strength and stability.
“Participants who felt more grounded from the use of local rather than nonlocal apples in a homemade pie also reported feeling stronger, safer, more stable, and better able to withstand adversity. Consistent with the notion of being securely anchored and having a strong foundation, feeling grounded improves self-perceptions related to resilience,” says van Osselaer.
Feelings of groundedness are worthy of both managers’ and policy makers’ attention. Products are more attractive when they provide consumers with the feeling of groundedness; for example, because they are locally made (connected to place), by producers consumers can relate to (connected to people), and according to traditional methods (connected to the past). Marketers can leverage groundedness by adapting their marketing mix accordingly and strategically target customer segments with a higher need for groundedness. Policy makers should consider groundedness as a driver of consumer well-being, a topic that becomes ever more acute in a time that is fast-paced, digital, and marked by changes that can make consumers feel adrift in the world.
Learn more at Here.

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September 7, 2021

G20 Environment Ministers signal importance of sustainable consumption and production

At the G20 Environment Ministers meeting, the final communiqué referenced the importance of sustainable consumption and production in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation and pollution. They reaffirmed the vision of the G20 to drive forward actions on SCP in order to contribute to the achievement of SDG 12 and other relevant SDGs.
The document also makes reference to the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) as an integral partner to these efforts.

Learn more at here.

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September 3, 2021

SDGs in focus: SDGs 12, 13, 17 and Interlinkages among these Goals and Other SDGs

This 7 July session examined the progress of SDGs 12 and 13 and interlinkages with other SDGs, notably SDG 17. Concrete policies and actions for meaningful progress in sustainable consumption and production and in combating climate change were discussed and the vital and interrelated role of governments, business, communities, civil society and the multilateral system were explored. The Chair of the Board of the 10YFP stressed the importance of the 10YFP and international cooperation as a tool to drive change and scale-up action.

Learn more at UN SDG News.

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August 30, 2021

HLPF Ministerial Declaration references importance of 10YFP

The Ministerial Declaration adopted by Member States on July 15th includes language on mainstreaming environment in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including commitments to progressively improve global resource efficiency and consumption and production, and decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
It furthermore calls for intensified efforts to scale up the 10YFP by 2022 and beyond, indicating Member State commitment to the framework originally adopted at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, and which the One Planet network is implementing.

Learn more at UN doc.

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August 23, 2021

Are climate-friendly cooling chips the future of refrigeration?

Chemicals used in air conditioning, freezers and refrigeration have long hurt the environment by destroying the ozone layer and polluting water sources, but technology is starting to change the way we keep cool.

Phononic, a startup based in Durham North Carolina, is using a material called bismuth telluride to make so-called cooling chips.

On Wednesday this week, it said it has secured $50 million (€42,470,000) from Goldman Sachs Asset Management in funding.

So how do cooling chips work?
When electricity runs through the chip the current takes heat with it leaving one side of the chip to cool and the other to heat up, says Tony Atti, Phononic co-founder and CEO.

The chips can be as small as a fraction of a fingernail or as big as a fist depending on how many coolants are needed. So far they have been used to create compact freezers for vaccine transportation or for ice-cream at convenience stores.

It's about "cooling and heating our modern world responsibly, without toxic refrigerants," states the company.
A more recent and fast growing use is to prevent overheating in 'lidars', laser-based sensors in autonomous cars, and optical transceivers for 5G data transmission.

"The historical refrigerants that had been used for vapor compression systems, they are both toxic and global warming contributors," adds Atti.
While the global warming impact has been reduced in recent years, refrigerants still had issues with toxicity and flammability.

Can they be recycled?
While the bismuth telluride powder itself is toxic, when it is processed into a semiconductor wafer and made into a chip, it is "benign" and can be recycled or disposed as its meets all chip safety and disposal standards.

The cooling chips are manufactured in Phononic's own factory in Durham and for mass production the company is working with Thailand-based Fabrinet. The freezers for vaccines and ice-cream are built in China by contract manufacturers and carry the brands of Phononic's customers or in some cases are co-branded, he said.

The funding will be used to build out high-volume manufacturing and to expand Phononic's markets and product line.

Atti declined to share the latest valuation of Phononic but said it was "north of half a billion dollars". Previous investors include Temasek Holdings and private equity and venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners.

In future, the company suggests that it will have the ability to invent things "previously unimaginable", from cooling mattresses and motorbike helmets to cooling outdoor installations.

Learn more at here.

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August 16, 2021

[SCP] Hong Kong's urban farms sprout gardens in the sky

[The Japan Times, 09 July 2021]-With their heads in the clouds and their hands in the soil, a group of office workers are busy harvesting the fruits of their labor on the roof of a Hong Kong skyscraper.

Invisible to those below, a sprawling garden of radishes, carrots and rhubarb is flourishing at the top of the 150-meter tall Bank of America tower, a stark and colorful contrast to the monotone shades of concrete, steel and glass of the city's financial district.

The farm is among more than 60 that have sprouted across the space-starved city since 2015 — on decommissioned helipads, shopping mall rooftops and public terraces — thanks to initiatives like Rooftop Republic, a local social enterprise that promotes urban farming.

Co-founder Andrew Tsui sees the rooftop farms as a way for people to reconnect with how sustainable food can be produced in what he calls the current "instant-noodle city lifestyle" that sees so much waste.

"What we are looking at is really how to identify underutilized spaces among the city and mobilize the citizens, the people, to learn about food," the 43-year-old said during a blustery site inspection of the skyscraper's garden.

Tsui believes Hong Kongers need to re-establish a relationship with what they eat that has been broken "since we started outsourcing our food and relying so much on industrialized production."

Piles of food waste
According to government statistics, Hong Kong throws out some 3,500 metric tons of food waste a day — the equivalent weight of 250 double-decker buses. Less than a quarter is recycled.

And around 90% of the food eaten by the city's 7.5 million inhabitants is imported, mostly from mainland China.

But while Hong Kong is one of the most densely packed places on earth, there is still considerable space to grow food locally.

Tsui said some 7 million square meters of farmable area is currently cultivated. But more than 6 million square meters on the city's rooftops remain unused.

"So we could have the potential of doubling the supply of land for growing food," he said.

"The challenge for us is to design urban farming as a lifestyle to integrate into our daily life," he added. "And the first step for that, of course, is to be accessible."

To incorporate urban farms into the blueprints for office buildings, Rooftop Republic closely collaborates with architects, developers and property managers.

Major companies are signing up.

As well as the Bank of America garden, financed by property consultancy giant JLL, Singaporean banking giant DBS has partnered with Rooftop Republic to set up an academy that runs workshops for beginners as well as professional courses.

"In Hong Kong, most of the people focus on the commercial value of the properties. But we want to promote the concept of sustainability," said Eric Lau, the group's senior director of property management.

New skills
Urban farmers say the projects also help build community spirit among those who cultivate the crops.

After retiring from the public service, Lai Yee-man said she turned to farming to connect with nature and her neighbors.

The 60-year-old initially learned techniques and tricks from professionals to develop her farming plot in the New Territories region of Hong Kong — a rural area close to the border with mainland China.

But now she is passing on her knowledge to fellow residents working the Sky Garden, a 1,200-square-meter facility on top of a mall.

There residents cultivate edible flowers and fruit trees and can attend lifestyle classes like mindful gardening.

"People attach greater importance to their health now, they will buy organic food," said Lai.

"Here, we teach them not to waste … and to cherish their food," she explained, adding that the majority of what the mall farm grows goes to local food banks.

Tsui recognizes that few young Hong Kongers currently have an interest in learning how to grow food.

But younger people are often concerned about the environment and climate change, so the opportunity to generate enthusiasm is there for the taking.

"If coding is the skill set to learn for the 21st century, growing your own food is a necessary new skill that we all need to learn to ensure a regenerative and green planet," he said.

Learn more at here.

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August 16, 2021

[HOUSING] 5 ways to make buildings climate change resilient

1. Building resilience to heatwaves
Studies show that by 2050, 1.6 billion people living in more than 970 cities will be regularly exposed to extreme high temperatures. Coupled with the ‘urban heat island effect’ which makes cities warmer than the surrounding rural area, this puts urban dwellers at high risk.

But nature provides powerful solutions. Communities can create urban forests and green spaces to reduce heatwaves in cities as trees and other plants cool the surrounding environment by offering shade and releasing water through their leaves.

Structural designs can also help reduce heat inside buildings. In Vietnam, traditional housing designs such as the optimum orientation of buildings, high-rise rooms, and large openings improve ventilation. Trombe walls - heavyweight structures of concrete, stone, or other heavy material that capture solar heat are used in China, Chile, and Egypt. Green roofs and reflective surfaces can also reduce temperatures in and around buildings.

2. Building resilience to drought
Climate change is affecting rainfall patterns across the world. Rainwater harvesting and recharge systems that capture water on the roofs of buildings are commonly used to store water during drought and reduce flood risk during heavy rains. The collected water can be stored in tanks and used inside the building during periods of drought.

Another cost-effective, nature-based way to address droughts and flooding is to plant trees or other vegetation around buildings. The roots of the plants act like sponges to recharge groundwater, and during heavy rainfall, the roots allow water to penetrate the soil and reduce the risk of flooding. In China, the Sponge Cities Project is piloting eco-engineering solutions to absorb and reuse rainwater in over 30 metropolises to reduce flooding risks.

3. Building resilience to coastal flooding and sea-level rise
By 2025, 410 million people in coastal communities could be at risk of coastal flooding and sea-level rise. In Kerala, India, flood-resistant houses are constructed on pillars to allow floodwater to flow underneath. On Malaysia’s coasts, buildings elevated 2 meters above the ground allow waterflow and wetland vegetation to grow underneath, with houses and public areas connected through elevated passages.

One approach proposed in Bangladesh is to build a buoyant multi-purpose building that would rest on pillars with buoyant tanks that raise it during floods. The building would function as a community center and also provide emergency shelter during flooding.

4. Building resilience to cyclones and strong winds
Cyclones and storms are expected to become more frequent and stronger with climate change. They can affect buildings in many ways, such as blowing off roofs and damaging the structures and foundations of the building. To mitigate this damage, communities can build round-shaped houses and consider optimum aerodynamic orientation to reduce the strength of the winds.

Roof design also plays an important role. Strong connections between foundations and the roof are critical to building wind-resilient houses. Roofs with multiple slopes can stand well in strong winds, and installing central shafts reduces wind force and pressure to the roof by sucking in air from outside. Roofs that cover balconies or patios can also be designed to break during strong winds to prevent additional structural damage to the essential parts of the house. This is called frangible architecture or ‘planning for damage’ approach.

5. Building resilience to cold
Adapting to cold and temperate climates requires capturing heat and minimizing heat loss. Insulations in roofs, walls, ceilings, and double-glazed windows help to minimize heat loss and lead to more energy-efficient buildings.

In colder regions, Trombe walls can absorb heat by day and radiate it out by night when it is colder. Water has a high capacity to store heat and can be used in “water walls” – that instead of concrete, contain drums of water to store heat. Buildings should be also be oriented to maximize sun exposure, and external surfaces of walls should be painted dark.

Green roofs that support plant growth on rooftops are used in many cities around the world and have been shown to provide insulation and reduce the energy demand for cooling during summer and heating during winter.

Learn more at [UNEP Website]

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August 4, 2021

[MONEY] Green pensions could be the ‘most powerful weapon’ we have to protect the planet

Switching to a sustainable pension could be 21 times more powerful in the fight against climate change than giving up flying, becoming vegetarian and choosing a renewable energy supplier combined.

According to research from the Make My Money Matter campaign, greening your pension might be the single most effective action an individual can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

For those with an average size pension pot (£30,000 in the UK) transitioning to a sustainable option could save as much as 19 tonnes of carbon a year, the study found. If you have more saved, at least £100,000, a greener pension might cut as much as 64 tonnes of emissions every year - that’s nine years worth of the average UK citizen’s carbon footprint.

"Our pensions are the most powerful weapon we have to help protect the planet" (Richard Curtis Film writer, director and co-founder of the Make My Money Matter campaign).

The Make My Money Matter campaign, co-founded by film writer and director Richard Curtis, believes it is important that where our money is invested complements our other environmental actions, rather than undermining them.

“We have taken real collective steps in our society to become greener in our day-to-day lives. However, I helped create Make My Money Matter after being alerted to the fact that our pensions could be undoing all of our hard work without us even knowing,” says Curtis.

“These findings confirm just how important our money is in the fight against climate change. In fact, our pensions are the most powerful weapon we have to help protect the planet.”

How can greening pensions help cut our carbon footprint?
Although we might like to think that our pension contributions are simply locked away for us to use once we retire, the reality is that this money is being invested. Despite many companies now choosing to divest and individuals being more aware of sustainable options, it’s likely that some of that money is financing the use of fossil fuels.

More than half of adults in the UK now want their pensions to help tackle climate change, according to a recent study by Royal London, but only 15 per cent currently invest it responsibly.

“We need the entire UK pensions industry to go green – making their default funds more sustainable so all savers can have a pension to be proud of,” adds Curtis.

“As individuals, we have a critical role to play in driving this change by showing providers that we want our money invested in a way that does good, not harm and, so that we can retire into a world that isn’t on fire.”

How could a green pension be more effective than other environmental actions?
To work out how much carbon switching to a green option could cut, Make My Money Matter worked out the reported emissions from companies each pension invested in. It looked at both the sectors and countries for the businesses included.

The amount of carbon linked to each £1,000 (€1,160) invested for both a standard pension and a sustainable one was worked out using this data. The emissions saved from switching to a green pension were then compared to those from other environmentally friendly actions such as going vegetarian, giving up flying or using a renewable energy provider.

Alongside the Make My Money Matter Campaign, the study also involved UK insurance company, Aviva and Route2, a data analytics company. Nick Robins, professor in practice for sustainable finance at the London School of Economics says that it is a “very powerful piece of analysis”.

“Shifting investment is an important way of sending signals to companies to accelerate action to support the net-zero transition,” he explains.

“The study points to the need for individuals to build up their capacity to make informed climate choices over all aspects of their lifestyle, not least finance.”

Lear more at [Euronews, 09 July 2021]

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July 20, 2021

IGPN Survey on Environmentally Friendly Product/Service and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change

The International Green Purchasing Network launches the Survey on Environmentally friendly product/service and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change, please submit your response until March 30th,2022!

The survey aims to share knowledge among IGPN members and partners, provide suggestion for the implementation by using climate action and sustainable consumption and production in an integrated and coherent approach, through the collection, comparation and analyzation, evaluation and summarization of the real practical practices of environmentally friendly products/services (and/or) green purchasing in addressing the climate change issue.

Climate change presents the global significant challenge people faced at present. As it directly influences the natural resources and ecological system, pursuing climate action and sustainable development in an integrated and coherent approach have steadily emerged into the implementation, in order to enable countries to achieve their objectives efficiently and quickly. So far, regulations and policies include tackle climate change, GHG emission control, low carbon green development and carbon tax etc. are issued in about 20 countries and areas. Along with the development of technology, new materials, new production methods, automation methods, new energy and other products/services are constantly aroused and generated, it could be foreseen that the approach to tackle the climate change has gradually expanded from energy conversion to all aspects for production and consumption and life style of human beings.

In order to better understand how and what green purchasing will play its role to tackle the climate change, by promoting sustainable consumption and production based on its applied scenario varies in private, business, market and public sectors.

The scope of the survey is Including, but not limited to, members of the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN; technically any actual practical practice will be included:
Sector: including producing and manufacturing; energy and transportation; planting and breeding; cooling and heating
Environmentally friendly products/services: including adopt new energy sources, new materials, new production methods and automation methods;
Green Purchasing: including policies, measures, methods and real practical practices relevant to use green procurement tools to address climate change.

The expected output will be a research report, conducted to summarize the inner characteristics and logic though all kind actual practices collection, comparison, evaluation.

The Deadline to reply is March 30th, 2022, please download the document learn more in detail, share your any actual practical approach addressing the climate change. One or more items preferably could be highly encouraged to provided based on the actual background by each organization.

Download file

For further information, please contact igpn.secretariat@igpn.org.

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July 19, 2021

Launch of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative Newsletter and fourth round of signatories

The new Global Tourism Plastics Initiative newsletter was unveiled at the beginning of June for World Oceans Day.

Signatories will now regularly receive relevant information on the Initiative and will have the opportunity to showcase their contribution in reducing their plastic footprint.

The newsletter is organized around five sections. The first section, called “featured” will be dedicated to interviews conducted with signatories in partnership with Sustainable First. The June Newsletter notably featured interviews with CHAO Hotel, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge and Jade Mountain Resort. These interviews are the occasion for signatories to gain in visibility but also to share best practices and advice so that they learn from one another. These interviews aim to celebrate the diversity of the signatories by featuring in each edition different regions and different types of organization.

The following section of the newsletter will allow to share the “latest news”. The GTPI coordination team is proud to announce that new signatories will officially join the 61 current signatories of the Initiative on the 8th of July. This will be the fourth public announcement of new signatories since the launch of the GTPI in January 2020. If you are interested to be part of the Initiative and become signatory, please consult this page.

If you wish to participate to the fourth public announcement, please follow this link to register to the event.

The newsletter also provides access to “useful materials” such as webinars, toolkits, reports to help the signatories in the implementation of their commitments. Additionally, the “focus on” section complements the repository of tools and resources that has been curated by the GTPI team by highlighting the key messages of one of the reports.

Finally, “building back better” section provides information and recommendations to continue reducing the use of plastics during the pandemic and help implementing the objectives.

Learn more at the One Planet Network.

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July 15, 2021

[SCP] Lego plans to sell bricks from recycled bottles in two years

BBC News, 24 June 2021 By: Tom Espiner

Lego makes about 3,500 different bricks and shapes, but faces the challenge of coming up with a sustainable product that can last years - decades, even.

The goal is to find a product good enough that people don't notice the difference, said Lego's Tim Brooks.

He did not specify how many of its bricks will contain recycled material, adding: "It's too soon to say."

But he added that Lego wants to start using the bottle-made ones "as soon as possible".

Mr Brooks, Lego's vice president of sustainability, said the two types of blocks should fit together and be interchangeable like any Lego product.

The next stage will be to add colours to the prototype bricks, and test them with children and adult fans,.

Lego said it would initially get soft drinks bottles from the US to make its new plastic toy parts. It said plastic recovered from the oceans would not be suitable as it is typically too degraded.

Plastics crisis
Libby Peake, head of resource policy at the thinktank, Green Alliance said the recycled plastic plan is "certainly preferable to using virgin plastic" but she "hopes the supply of single use plastic bottles falls in future as people embrace reuse".

A number of firms are making products from recycled plastic as sustainability becomes more important to customers.

Lego said that many customers, both children and adult, were asking for more sustainability when buying products in general, and had contacted the firm to say so.

But Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Camilla Zerr said that "it's really important that recycling isn't hailed as the default solution to the plastics crisis."

"Manufacturers must ensure toys are made to endure many years of use, so they can be handed down and reused from generation to generation," she adds.

In 2018, Lego set a goal to make all of its core products from sustainable materials by 2030.

As part of these efforts, Mr Brooks said the company had developed prototype bricks made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, with some other chemicals added.

At present, the company makes many of its bricks using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a virgin plastic made from crude oil.

Using PET will also allow the firm to make different shaped Lego pieces.

'Clutch' test
Typically, Lego is durable enough to last for two to three generations of humans playing with it, and that is what the firm is aiming for with its PET blocks, Mr Brooks said.

In trying to make its products more sustainable, Lego decided to carry on making them durable, rather than biodegradable, and is banking on people saving the blocks and not throwing them away, he said.

The biggest challenge with the new blocks is getting the "clutch" right, he said.

That is, children being able to stick them together and pull them apart with their fingers, regardless of the ambient temperature.

Some materials they tested couldn't even be prised apart with pliers, he said.The firm has a temperature test, a butter test, and a test to mimic children putting them in their mouths.

"Cleaning it up and getting it to turn into Hogwarts Castle is a challenge," he said, referring to Harry Potter merchandise. "A super-fun challenge."

Lego makes between 110 and 120 billion plastic pieces per year, and about 80% are currently made from ABS.

About 5% are made from a polymer that comes from sugar cane from which Lego makes its plastic plants.

The firm emits about 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year, and about a third of that is from making its materials.

Using recycled plastic will help to cut those emissions, and the firm also wants to use more renewable energy in its processes, Mr Brooks said.

Learn more at here.

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category : Topics

July 5, 2021

The SDG 12 Hub: A one-stop shop for reporting and monitoring of progress on SDG 12

The SDG 12 Hub is built to support Member States in the achievement of SDG 12, and is the central location for accessing official government reporting against SDG 12 indicators and thus includes all information needed for the official monitoring and reporting on these. The Hub consolidates and visualizes the results of national reporting on SDG 12 indicators, making these publicly available, allowing Member States to browse progress on SDG 12 by country or by individual targets at global and regional level.

Additionally, the Hub provides governments, businesses, civil society and the public with linkages to existing knowledge platforms, databases, networks and communities of practice through which stakeholders can engage, become inspired and share their own progress, knowledge and solutions for sustainable consumption and production.

As part of a broader inter-agency collaboration to streamline methodologies and processes, the UN custodian agencies of SDG 12 have developed The SDG 12 Hub. Through this collaboration the custodian agencies aim to make SDG 12 and SCP accessible and transparent to governments and others, in terms of measuring progress on the SDGs, nationally tracking SCP progress and accessing solutions to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

The official virtual launch event for the SDG 12 Hub is scheduled for July 7th at 1:45-3:00 PM (New York time). The event will focus presenting the SDG 12 Hub as a key effort in making progress on SDG 12 transparent and accessible, promoting its implementation through existing communities of practice, and informing voluntary national reviews, international programming, and national policy processes.

What can you find on the SDG 12 Hub?

For government officials, the SDG 12 Hub is your central location for reporting on SDG 12. It allows you to:
· view progress in your country and others;
· report directly on your indicators through the official reporting systems;
· find methodologies, guidance, and resources to support your reporting and implementation efforts; and
· learn from others through exploring resources on policies, solutions, technical tools and best practices.
For businesses, civil society, the public and others, the SDG 12 Hub offers a window to the national progress on SCP and linkages to platforms and initiatives to inform and support your contributions toward SDG 12. From here, you can:
· explore official Member State reporting on SDG 12 indicators by target,
· explore official Member State reporting on SDG 12 by country,
· access national SCP policies reported under SDG 12.1.1

Lear more at here.

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category : Topics

June 28, 2021

Report of GREEN PURCHASING NETWORK-A Landscape of Practice to Achieve SCP released

The International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) released the report of “GREEN PURCHASING NETWORK-A Landscape of Practice to Achieve SCP”, helps those who take the initiative in implementing green purchasing towards sustainable consumption and production.

This report lays out update of cases of IGPN members’ contribution on green purchasing practices, provides an overview of what the Green Purchasing Network is and how the Green Purchasing Networks function to the Sustainable Consumption and Production transition along with its four applications varying in the market, private, business and public level.

This report identifies where the Green Purchasing Networks are through the progress they made, the challenge they face, the lesson they learnt; analysis the applied approach of green purchasing practice, comes to conclusion with six common characters which lay importance practice from “the front-line practice, diversity embodied, ecolabel served as market mechanism tool, criteria support public implementation, multi-approach in private sector, and circularity and innovation in business sector”. Four recommendations are provided with “synthesis on ecolabel scheme and green purchasing; advocate the accessibility of green products in private sector; proactive the innovation practice in business sector; and deepen the pilot effect of public green procurement”.

This report aims to bring together the IGPN members existing experiences and examples on the synergized between environment friendly products/services and green purchasing, accelerate the knowledge sharing and change to actions on green purchasing accordingly.

“The formulation of this report will be an effective element of IGPN activities, It is hoped that this report could bring about fresh and conducive references to all IGPN members, contribute to the implementation of green procurement in each country and region. With its diversified approaches, efforts will be explored continuously to strengthen the communications and collaborations in the coming future hopefully.” Mr. CHEN Yanping, chair of IGPN Indicated.

The intended audience for this report will be procurement officers, purchasers, sustainability coordinators, and others concerned organizations with green purchasing initiative.

The report is available here, should have any further enquiry on this report, please contact with igpn.secretariat@igpn.org.

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June 21, 2021

[MONEY] Sustainable finance is rife with greenwash. Time for more disclosure

[The Economist, 22 May 2021] Investors are all too familiar with the rise of Tesla. Shares in the electric-vehicle maker are now worth nearly nine times what they were at the start of 2019. But it is not an exception. As political leaders across the world start to send clearer signals about their willingness to tackle climate change, the private sector is getting enthused, too, and a green boom is under way.

Over 40 green firms have seen their share prices triple since the start of 2019. Six have outperformed Tesla. The beneficiaries include all manner of emission-sparing companies, from solar-panel firms to makers of hydrogen fuel cells.

Meanwhile many big companies in other industries have taken to boasting about their green credentials. Renewable-energy shares have paused in recent weeks, in part because investors worry about the prospect of higher interest rates, but other assets have taken off. In Europe the price of carbon has soared to a record high. The prices of metals, such as copper and lithium, that are used in electric cars, are spiking as well.

The boom reflects soaring demand from investors. Everyone from oil majors to day-traders on WallStreetBets is splurging on climate-friendly projects and securities. Meanwhile the asset-management industry is marketing a style of investing that purports to take into account environmental, social and governance (esg) factors. So far this year, inflows into esg funds accounted for about a quarter of the total, up from a tenth in 2018. On average, two new esg funds are launched every day.

Unfortunately the boom has been accompanied by rampant “greenwashing”. This week The Economist crunches the numbers on the world’s 20 biggest esg funds. On average, each of them holds investments in 17 fossil-fuel producers. Six have invested in ExxonMobil, America’s biggest oil firm. Two own stakes in Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer. One fund holds a Chinese coal-mining company. esg investing is hardly a champion of social virtue either. The funds we looked at invest in gambling, booze and tobacco.

Governments are starting to pay attention. Under Donald Trump, American regulators tried to hobble esg investing, which the White House saw as a left-wing conspiracy. By contrast, President Joe Biden’s administration sees it as a potentially useful weapon to fight climate change. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Wall Street’s regulator, worries that esg funds are misleading investors.

What should governments do? One possibility is to follow the European Union’s approach. Its latest Green Deal includes lots of new rules about sustainable finance. Underpinning them is an elaborate state-directed taxonomy which covers some 70 different activities and aims to tell investors what is green and what is not. Inevitably, the effort has run into trouble. Countries have been furiously lobbying the European Commission to ensure that their favoured source of energy is labelled as green. Poland and Romania, among others, want natural gas to be added to the green list, because they are planning to use it to replace coal.

Rather than the eu playing God, investors can decide for themselves what is green. But they need a big improvement in corporate disclosure. The current system of largely voluntary reporting is riddled with problems. Firms disclose reams of irrelevant puffery, while often failing to reveal the few things that matter. Ideally, an asset manager would be able to work out the carbon footprint of their portfolio and how it might change over time. But many firms fail to disclose their emissions rigorously and often the measures made public by individual firms overlap, leading to double-counting when you add them all up.

A better system would force companies to reveal their full carbon footprint, including emissions from the products they sell and the goods and services they buy. It would help if big polluters also revealed how they expect their footprint to change and the amount of capital expenditure that goes toward low-carbon investments. That way an investor could work out how much pollution their portfolio is responsible for today and how it might look tomorrow.

The results of such disclosure may come as a surprise. We estimate that listed firms that are not state-controlled account for only 14-32% of the world’s emissions—so green investing can be only part of the answer. About 5% of these firms account for over 80% of the total emissions. They are mostly oil producers, utilities, cement firms and mining companies. Better disclosure would also show that only a tiny number of firms are investing heavily in renewable energy or breakthrough technologies.

The combined effect would be to expose as bunk the idea that swathes of the corporate world and asset-management industry are planet-saving heroes. And it would help investors put their money into truly green firms, ensuring a better allocation of capital and a faster energy transition.

Learn more at The Economist.

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June 15, 2021

[FOOD] Fish 'not as carbon friendly' as previously thought

BBC News, 24 May 2021, By: Darin Graham

Previous research indicated that seafood has a smaller carbon footprint than other animal proteins, because fishing doesn't require farmland or the care of livestock.

But a new study claims that catching fish using heavy nets that drag across the seabed - known as bottom trawling - emits about the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) globally as the aviation industry.

Seabed sediments that act as huge carbon sinks are churned up during this kind of trawling - and this results in CO2 being released.

"The ocean is full of little creatures that we call the plankton, microscopic algae and microscopic shrimp and so forth," says Dr Sala, explorer-in-residence at National Geographic and leader of the study published in Nature.

Speaking to the BBC World Service's, The Climate Question, he says "most of these creatures, when they die, will sink to the bottom of the ocean. And over thousands and millions of years, those little organisms will accumulate first forming mud".

His paper calculates that on average, about 1Gt (gigaton) of carbon dioxide is created because of bottom-trawling activities. "That's about 2% of the global CO2 emissions," he says.

By comparison, it is estimated that aviation emits about 1.04Gt or 2.5% of global emissions each year.

Bottom trawling is one of the most common methods of fishing in the world and the government says it accounts for half of the UK's annual fish catch.

However, The Climate Question spoke to fishing experts who dispute the results of the paper and are concerned that Dr Sala has overestimated the CO2 emissions resulting from bottom trawling.

The South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association says that it is not yet known how much carbon in the ocean gets into the atmosphere.

Dr Sala believes, however, that this information is not as crucial as it might seem. His argument is that if too much CO2 is absorbed into the water from the seabed, then the oceans will be able to absorb less carbon from the air.

"The ocean absorbs a quarter or more a third of our CO2 emissions every year. So if we increase the CO2 in the water, that will diminish the ability of that part of the ocean to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere, " he says.

Safeguarding the ocean
Protecting parts of the ocean could be one way to stop these emissions, he argues, and many countries have created marine protected areas, or MPAs.

Nearly a quarter of the UK's waters are covered by MPAs, however, the campaign group Oceana, says that most of those areas still allow bottom-trawling.

Minna Epps, the global director of the marine and polar programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says this is because some MPAs allow those kinds of activities to take place.

"There are six different categories which the IUCN sets, basically ranging from the absolute strict, no interference to the lowest category where you are allowed to have bottom-trawling activities within that."

The UK government says it recognises "the important role of marine habitats" and how carbon stored in the seabed supports in the fight against the climate crisis. It says it is committed to reducing the impact of the fishing industry on marine life.

"While trawling can cause carbon to be released from sediments, the processes are complex and the overall impact remains unclear," a spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

Defra says the UK wants to increase the number of MPAs, and is leading calls "for a new global target to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030".

But some in the fishing industry warn against setting up too many marine protected areas - as bottom trawling might just be displaced elsewhere.

"What are the impacts of where the vessels have been moved to? Not only that, it's likely that somebody else will be fishing there, what are the knock on consequences there?" says Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organizations.

"Like the rest of the citizens of the world, we as an industry take climate change very seriously. And obviously we have to play our part in in addressing it," he says.

"We as a planet need to be able to fish for food and bottom trawling has an important role to play."

Learn more at BBC News.

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June 4, 2021

IGPN Webinar of Green Purchasing Network-A Landscape of Practice to Achieve SCP Held to Active Collaborations

[May 25th,2021] The IGPN webinar of Green Purchasing Network-A landscape of practice to achieve sustainable consumption and production was held in May.

More than 20 participants of IGPN members from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippine, China, China Hong Kong, and UNEP, ICLEI- Local Government for Sustainability, TCO Development attended the webinar.

The webinar was hosted by the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN Secretariat, China Environmental United Certification Center-CEC.

Mr. Chen Yanping, Chair of IGPN,presented his speech in opening remarks, “Sustainable consumption and green procurement are important means to promote sustainable development, as well as to promote global carbon reduction and carbon neutral expect to discuss in-depth and reach consensus on the outcomes of the case series output, which bring fresh and meaningful help to members, contribute to the implementation of green procurement in various countries”. Mr. Mark Hidson, vice chair of IGPN, gave his welcome remarks, “this will be the new phase of the IGPN with more collaboration and efforts to promote the green purchasing in the day-to-day work of organizations”.

Key messages and findings of was discussed during the webinar. IGPN Members and representatives who contributed the report shared their precious cases in advocating green purchasing implementation. Meanwhile, the consensus was made that the content of report is comprehensive reflect the application of green purchasing in government, business and private sector, indicates the effective impact of green purchasing to solve the environmental problems locally, nationally, and regionally. During the discussion, Mr. Farid Yaker, programme officer, economy division of UNEP,IGPN advisory board member, made his comments, “it is interesting and valuable, especially implementation of green purchasing expands from public to business and private sector, suggest to consider the monitoring performance of green purchasing in the private sector in the future”.

“Since CEC holds the IGPN Secretariat in 2018, consistently work on institutional development and members collaboration activities”, in the summary speech of Ms. ZHANG Xiaodan, CEC general manager, IGPN advisory board member, “This case collection report is one component of the IGPN Secretariat overall work plan, which will be released with refinement afterward, next will consider the new environmental issues we face, efforts with members to promote the development of IGPN”.


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May 27, 2021

Procurement for carbon neutrality

Procurement plays a key role in Pittsburgh’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050
Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh, USA, issued a new Executive Order that builds upon Pittsburgh’s leadership in fighting climate change by committing the city to become fully carbon-neutral by 2050. Leveraging the city’s procurement is one of the cornerstones for reaching carbon neutrality.
The Order reviews concrete steps the Peduto Administration has taken the past seven years on climate change efforts and lays out the next moves City of Pittsburgh departments and authorities must make to further protect the environment.
The centre piece of the Order is Pittsburgh joining the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability Network, in which communities agree to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GHG avoidance to a net-zero emission level at the latest by 2050.
“Climate change is a global issue but has severe local impacts on Pittsburgh residents, especially upon those in low-income communities who bear the brunt of negative impacts from rising temperatures, tainted air and water, and severe weather,” Mayor Peduto said. “The good news is we are taking serious steps to confront these issues and emerge from this crisis with a stronger economy and a better future for generations of Pittsburgh residents to come.”
One of these steps is leveraging the city’s purchasing power to reduce GHG emissions. The GLCN member has made first achievements towards building a fossil fuel-free fleet, purchasing 100% renewable electricity for major facilities in the City government or adopting a Net Zero Ready Building Ordinance to commit to constructing highly energy-efficient municipal buildings.
Going forward, the Order further requires for example that:
• All City Departments to implement climate impact scoring when crafting budgets and conduct a climate risk assessment for infrastructure investments and municipal operations
• The Department of Public Works to issue a Request for Proposals to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve energy efficiency in all City facilities
• The Department of Mobility to issue a Request for Proposals to transition the City’s streetlights to LED and take into account Equity Indicators throughout the conversion project
• The Departments of Public Works and Mobility and Infrastructure and the Office of Management and Budget or their designees to take necessary steps in collaboration with the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh to leverage public assets to provide additional electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure that can be utilized by residents and visitors
• Taking necessary actions to, whenever possible, replace retiring municipal vehicles with electric or other alternative fuel equivalents and procure renewable sources of fuel, in collaboration with the Equipment Leasing Authority and the Interdepartmental Electric Vehicle Task Force
• Establishing an Energy Planning Delivery Unit to create and publicize guidelines for developers and builders to advance equity-focused greenhouse gas reduction and climate preparedness strategies in their projects.
Mayor Peduto has been one of Pittsburgh’s leading environmental voices across three decades in local government. He is the North American representative to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and in February joined international leaders including Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions Mike Bloomberg to celebrate the United States rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, among other accomplishments.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center

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May 27, 2021

[SCP] Re-thinking nature-based solutions: seeking transformative change through culture and rights: A briefing for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

The term ‘nature-based solutions’ is both widely used and controversial. It remains ill-defined, despite some high-profile efforts to clarify it, and some of its most enthusiastic supporters include industries and governments responsible for much of the historical and ongoing damage to the planet and communities worldwide.

This briefing looks at key areas in which nature-based solutions need more clarity and rigour if they are to play an effective and transformational role in driving financial and technical support where it is needed most to tackle the global environmental crisis, to uphold human rights and to enable a transition to sustainable economies and societies. The briefing also makes a series of recommendations for the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Learn more at forestpeoples newscenter

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May 17, 2021

The key resource for a climate revolution: citizens

Communities or individuals producing, using and selling their own renewable energy could provide up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector by 2050. Research has found that, in the coming years, governments have a unique chance to support ‘prosumerism’ and, in doing so, shepherd in an effective and socially just energy transition.

Learn more at the ICLEI News Center

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May 8, 2021

EU publishes rulebook to classify ‘green’ investments

[Reuters, 21 April 2021] By: Kate Abnett
The European Commission on Wednesday published its long-awaited system to classify "green" investments in sectors from industry to transport, but delayed vexed decisions on whether to label nuclear energy and power plants fuelled by natural gas as green.
By making green investments more visible to investors, Brussels hopes to help steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals. The rules also aim to stamp out "greenwashing", where organisations overstate their environmental credentials.
"Too much money is going into the wrong areas, areas which are damaging the climate. We can harness that money," EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness told Reuters.
"We talk a lot about sustainability and how to achieve targets. In a very granular way we now have, by sector, how that is to be done," she said.
The EU's new rules, known as the "sustainable finance taxonomy", are a list of economic activities and the rules they must meet to be deemed green. Starting next year, they will decide which activities can be labelled as a sustainable investment in the EU. “
The Commission published climate-related criteria for green investments ranging from building renovations to the manufacture of cement, steel and batteries, reflecting draft plans previously reported by Reuters.
The Commission said it will address natural gas in a second set of criteria due later this year. Nuclear power is also being reviewed separately.
The rules on those issues have faced months of fierce lobbying from governments and industry. The EU's expert advisers and typically wealthier western and Nordic EU states say it is not credible to label gas, a fossil fuel, as green. Central and eastern states say it should be promoted to help them quit higher polluting coal.
Some EU advisers and green groups said the sections on forestry, bioenergy and shipping were unacceptably lax. Representatives from five NGOs and consumer groups advising the Commission said they would stop doing so in protest.
"Environmentalists will not come back to the process until the Commission comes back to science," said Luca Bonaccorsi, director of sustainable finance at NGO Transport & Environment.
The rules will apply unless blocked by a majority of EU countries or by the European Parliament - considered unlikely.
To earn a sustainable label, an activity must make substantial contribution to one of six environmental aims and not impede the other five. The rules published on Wednesday cover two of those six aims - fighting climate change and adapting to its impacts.

Lear more at here.

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April 27, 2021

How to finance a nature-positive economy

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) has released the fourth episode of their monthly podcast, the Green Renaissance. This episode explores the role of sustainable finance in creating a nature-positive economy as part of a green recovery.
COVID-19 is the product of a biodiversity crisis, and has shown the devastating and immediate impacts that nature can have on society. How do we redirect finance flows to create a more a nature-positive economy tomorrow?
The next episode, centred around circular economy, will be released at the end of the month.
Learn more at the PAGE news center.

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April 20, 2021

Release of global factsheets exploring how procurement can tackle the climate crisis

The Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement has published a set of factsheets exploring the links between procurement and the climate crisis. These factsheets provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the transport and mobility sectors as well as the construction sector in the context of the global climate emergency.
The factsheets explore some innovative actions cities have taken to address the climate crisis locally through public procurement and to drive sustainable change in these sectors.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center

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April 9, 2021

Alibaba’s Ant Group pledges to be carbon neutral by 2030

In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed that China would reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, which has inspired more Chinese enterprises to contribute to higher emission reduction targets.

On March 12nd, 2021, as Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Group announced that it will aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and that it plans to leverage tech innovations to reduce emissions for example by using blockchain to track progress in carbon reduction, joining the urgent global efforts to tackle climate change and its devastating effects.

Ant Group pioneers its action towards carbon neutrality and detailed a path to achieve the aim, including neutralize carbon emissions associated with direct and indirect energy consumption since 2021 (Scope 1 and Scope 2), regularly disclose progress on its carbon neutrality aim, fully cancel out carbon emissions generated by sources it does not own or control by 2030, covering areas such as supply chain and business travel (Scope 3). In its comprehensive roadmap, Ant Group emphasizes to take concrete actions to reduce GHG emissions rather than purchasing credit to offset. Relevant direct activities include energy-efficiency and emission-reduction renovation of existing office parks; design, construction and operation of new office parks in line with green building standards; incentivizing low carbon office behavior; and promoting green investment. In addition, Ant Group will take innovative measures to improve the energy efficiency of its data centers and develop green procurement mechanism to promote emissions reduction of its supply chain.

To ensure the pledge and path credible and transparent, Ant Group commissioned China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), an independent certification body with CDM/CCER DOE qualification, to provide the scientific demonstration for its target. Meanwhile, Ant Group will cooperate with CEC to launch a carbon neutrality implementation guide for the fintech industry, leading low carbon actions for digital finance companies.

Learn more at One Planetwork Newsroom and CEC News Room

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March 26, 2021

Game-changing solutions in light of the UN Food Systems Summit: multi-stakeholder mechanisms

Consensus has been built around the idea that the world must adopt a ‘food systems approach’ to food policies to re-think food systems governance. Food systems issues and solutions, however, are context-specific, and the complexity of these interconnected issues can deter action.

A new research initiative by the Sustainable Food Systems Programme members is exploring how food systems multi-stakeholder mechanisms, at both the national and sub-national level, can contribute to transitioning to sustainable food systems and act as a catalyser for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center

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March 24, 2021

Turning science into action: new report on the Value-Chain Approach

The One Planet network and International Resource Panel Task Group presented findings from its report on the Value-Chain Approach as a catalyser for science-based policy action on Sustainable Consumption and Production at a UNEA-5 digital side-event.

This report, the product of an 18-month collaboration, explains the ‘Value-Chain Approach’ methodology, highlights strategic intervention points on how to improve natural resource management and shares findings from its application to three critical sectors: food, construction and textiles.

Learn more at: One Planet network website

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March 11, 2021

[SCP] WEF, Partners Launch Initiative to Improve Trade Rules for SCP

IISD, 15 February 2021-A virtual panel session on ‘Greening Trade,’ which convened as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos Agenda, explored the role of trade in delivering a greener, fairer global economy. The WEF and partners launched ‘Climate Trade Zero’ – an initiative to improve trade rules for climate-friendly production and consumption.

Haslinda Amin, Chief International Correspondent, South-East Asia, Bloomberg News, moderated the session. She said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on all countries to use trade to create a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive world, and while international trade accounts for about 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the links between trade and climate change have been “underexplored.”

Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness of France, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, highlighted the role of trade in bringing many people out of poverty and delivering jobs and indispensable goods around the globe. Stressing the need for more ambitious standards to ensure consistency between trade and sustainable development, he outlined the EU’s efforts to address carbon leakage through the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism(CBAM). Riester said trade agreements can push trading partners to do better on sustainable development, biodiversity, deforestation, and climate change.

Jeroen Ouwehand, Global Senior Partner, Clifford Chance, described trade as “a driver of environmental and sustainable productivity and efficiency,” and said the move to net zero must be supported by trade policies. He identified four areas where governments can “bring together” the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Paris Agreement on climate change:

• Elimination of tariffs on environmentally beneficial goods and services;
• Removal of non-tariff barriers to trade in environmentally friendly goods;
• Removal of fossil fuel subsidies; and
• Carbon border adjustments.

Noting that trade is fundamental to “thinking of carbon footprint in a holistic way,” Anna Krutikov, Head, Sustainable Development, Glencore International AG, said any transition strategy must take into account the full spectrum of operational portfolio and commodity impacts. She identified regulations anchored in thinking of scrap as a hazard as a barrier to safe recycling at scale, limiting the ability of the formal sector to grow and enabling proliferation of informal practices that can further marginalize the vulnerable. Krutikov cautioned against “widening the gap of inequality” through irresponsible mining practices, and highlighted the example of the Fair Cobalt Alliance, which recognizes that artisanal mining can play a legitimate role in the supply chain, seeks to improve mining conditions, and advances efforts to eradicate child labor.

On the role of trade in better supporting sustainability, Riester said trade agreements are “good tools” to ensure consistency between climate ambition and trade. He said going forward, the Paris Agreement will be an essential component of bilateral trade agreements between the EU and third countries, and called for including sustainable development provisions in multilateral trade agreements.

On fossil fuel subsidies, Ouwehand pointed to a “significant” potential of redirecting such subsidies to other initiatives in light of limited fiscal space countries operate in as they respond to COVID-19.

On carbon border adjustments, Riester highlighted the need to convince trading partners of the CBAM’s pertinence. Ouwehand acknowledged that while adjustments can lead to protectionism, they can also level the playing field and bring together the WTO and the Paris Agreement.

The ‘Climate Trade Zero’ project will analyze the obstacles businesses face in achieving their net zero commitments and climate goals, and seek to identify policy changes governments can make to lower trade costs for climate-friendly products and services. The objective is to share the views of business to help shape international commitments to be made at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC to “move the needle on climate change.”

Learn more at:http://sdg.iisd.org/news/wef-partners-launch-initiative-to-improve-trade-rules-for-scp/

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March 5, 2021

UN Environment Assembly concludes with an urgent call for action to solve planetary emergencies

Nairobi, 23 February 2021 –Ministers of environment and other leaders from more than 150 nations today concluded a two-day online meeting of the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in which the Assembly warned that the world risks new pandemics if we don’t change how we safeguard nature.

The UN Environment Assembly meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law; decisions and resolutions then taken by Member States at the Assembly also define the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Due to the pandemic, Member States agreed on a two-step approach to UNEA-5: an online session (22-23 February 2021) and an in-person meeting planned for February 2022.

Attended by thousands of online participants, including more than 1,500 delegates from 153 UN Member States and over 60 Ministers of the Environment, the Assembly – which was broadcast live – also agreed on key aspects of UNEP’s work, kicked off the commemoration of UNEP’s 50th anniversary and held leadership dialogues where Member States addressed how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.

"It is increasingly evident that environmental crises are part of the journey ahead. Wildfires, hurricanes, high temperature records, unprecedented winter chills, plagues of locusts, floods and droughts, have become so common place that they do not always make the headlines," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in remarks to the Assembly. "These increasing adverse weather and climatic occurrences sound a warning bell that calls on us to attend to the three planetary crises that threaten our collective future: the climate crisis, the biodiversity and nature crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis."

In a political statement entitled “Looking ahead to the resumed UN Environment Assembly in 2022 – Message from online UNEA-5, Nairobi 22 – 23 February 2021” endorsed at the close of the Assembly, Member States reaffirmed UNEP’s mandate as the leading global environmental authority and called for greater and more inclusive multilateralism to tackle the environmental challenges.

The statement said the Assembly of UNEA-5 wished “to strengthen our support for the United Nations and for multilateral cooperation and remain convinced that collective action is essential to successfully address global challenges.” It went on to warn that “more than ever that human health and wellbeing are dependent upon nature and the solutions it provides, and we are aware that we shall face recurring risks of future pandemics if we maintain our current unsustainable patterns in our interactions with nature.”

Sveinung Rotevatn, President of UNEA-5 and Norway's Minister for Climate and Environment, echoed the warning.

"Everyone gathered at the Environment Assembly today are deeply concerned about how the pandemic causes new and serious health, socio-economic and environmental challenges, and exacerbates existing ones, all over the world," he told a press conference on the closing day of UNEA-5.

"We shall work together to identify actions which can help us address climate change, protect biodiversity, and reduce pollution, at the same time,” he added.

The Assembly agreed to a new Medium-Term Strategy, Programme of Work and budget for UNEP. The new Strategy – which will take UNEP from 2022-2025 – sets out a vision for UNEP’s role in delivering the promises of the 2030 Agenda.

“The strategy is about transforming how UNEP operates and engages with Member States, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and youth groups, so we can go harder, faster, stronger,” said Ms. Inger Andersen, UNEP ‘s Executive Director. “This strategy is about providing science and know-how to governments. The strategy is also about collective, whole-of-society action – moving us outside ministries of environment to drive action.”

At an event commemorating UNEP’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2022, Ms. Andersen acknowledged the importance of the moment to reflect on the past and envision the future.

“Indeed, the strides taken so far towards safeguarding the environment are testament to UNEP’s work,” President Kenyatta noted. “UNEP has had a lasting impact on how we care for the environment, nature and our livelihoods.”

In the run-up to the Assembly, UNEP launched a major report, together with UN Secretary-General António Guterres – Making Peace with Nature – which provides a comprehensive blueprint for solving the triple planetary emergencies of climate change, biodiversity and pollution. A number of events were also held in support of UNEA-5, including a Global Youth Assembly, a Science Policy Business Forum and the launch of a Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

“The last few days have been encouraging. We saw a new global effort on resource-efficient, circular economies. A push on financing emission reductions from forests. Governments, scientists and businesses coming together to look at big data as a tool for change. Youth raising their voices and telling us ‘nothing about us, without us’ and calling for targeted funds to enable their deeper engagement,” Ms. Andersen added.

Learn more at UNEP News Center

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February 25, 2021

Vanuatu Launches Campaign to Support Post-pandemic Sustainable Tourism

In an innovative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought global tourism to a halt in March 2020, Vanuatu’s national tourism destination marketing organization, the Vanuatu Tourism Office, launched campaigns to encourage tourists to return to the country once travel restrictions are lifted. The campaign’s slogans were ‘We’ll Keep it Beautiful for You’ and ‘We’re Saving You a Spot’.
The campaigns were informed by the 2019-2030 Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy by the Vanuatu Department of Tourism, and in November 2019 the same department organized a Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference to kick start implementation of the policy.
The overarching vision of Vanuatu’s Sustainable Tourism Policy is “to protect and celebrate Vanuatu’s unique environment, culture, kastom and people through sustainable and responsible tourism.” The Policy includes five goals: 1) to develop and manage a sustainable and responsible tourism industry; 2) visitors connect with Vanuatu’s environment, culture, and its people; 3) sustainable and responsible tourism products and services developed, supported, and marketed to attract responsible, high-value tourists; 4) tourism that enhances, conserves, and protects the environmental and cultural resources of Vanuatu; and 5) sustainable and responsible tourism brings improved income and well-being for Vanuatu and its people.
Vanuatu is the first country in the South Pacific to base its Sustainable Tourism Policy on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria for sustainable destinations and the first country to receive Sustainable Tourism Training by the GSTC to promote the implementation of the Policy, including training for third party auditors to be used by the Vanuatu Department of Tourism. According to Bob Loughman, Minister for Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Ni Vanuatu Business, the Policy showcases Vanuatu’s commitment to “value, develop, promote and interpret our cultural and environmental assets in a way that protects and conserves them leaving these precious assets for future generations.”
The Sustainable Islands Tourism Conference covered a variety of topics related to the Sustainable Tourism Policy as well as issues relevant to the Department of Tourism and its Conference partners: the Government of New Zealand, GSTC, the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA), Pacific Agribusiness Research in Development Initiative phase 2 (PARDI2), the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), and the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF). Specifically, the conference focused on sustainable destination management, the protection of sustainable tourism assets, and how to promote a fairer distribution of tourism revenue. It also touched upon the idea of “regenerative tourism,” which has become a key guiding foundation of the Vanuatu five-year Sustainable Tourism Strategy to be launched in January 2021.
Highlighting the steady growth of Vanuatu’s economy and its tourism sector in recent years, an AdNews article notes that the Vanuatu Government “hopes that the new campaign will help sustain this momentum once the current situation passes, by keeping Vanuatu’s warm spirit alive and ensuring the destination is front-of-mind when consumers are able to travel again.”
The campaign features locals showing how they are keeping the country beautiful using the hashtag #VanuatuMoments shared by the Vanuatu Tourism Office through its Facebook and Instagram channels.

Learn more at:https://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/policy-briefs/vanuatu-launches-campaign-to-support-post-pandemic-sustainable-tourism/

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February 24, 2021

[CITIES] Sustainable cities for a sustainable Japan

Euronews, 19 January 2021
More than half the world lives in urban areas, but in Japan 92% does. This creates challenges in terms of sustainability, but Japan has found a solution: It's using the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to create new kinds of cities, smart cities.
You don’t need to be a megacity to be a smart city. In Japan, smaller communities are also using ground-breaking technology, like the Internet of Things and big ideas like the sharing economy to become more sustainable.
Two Japanese eco-towns
Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town was built on the site of an old Panasonic factory. This new community is home to about 2000 people. Every house is equipped with solar panels and smart monitoring systems. They enable residents to track their energy consumption both at home and on a community-wide level.
According to residents of the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, seeing the figures for yourself has a big impact, it encourages you to be more careful about your everyday eco-friendly actions.
To reduce C02 levels, residents can also win rewards for good green deeds. They are also encouraged to cycle and share electric vehicles.
Unlike other tech-centric smart city projects, in Fujisawa residents were the first consideration.
Planners laid out a 100-year vision and took into consideration every aspect of life: energy, security, mobility, wellness, community, even emergencies.
Arakawa Takeshi is the General Manager of the CRE Business Development Group for the Panasonic Corporation. He says the city has environmental and energy objectives "linked to CO2 reduction, water savings, renewable energy use and, most importantly, a recovery plan in case of a natural disaster." They have made sure the city is autonomous in electricity and food for three days.
18 organisations worked together to deliver the project.
As the need for a healthy and prosperous life-styles increase in the world, and notably in China, the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town is gaining recognition as a pioneering case study in Japan.
The Yixing smart city project, in Eastern China, drew on the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town's concept of lifestyle-based urban development. It was especially inspired by the town's development and management. The Yixing smart city project was well-received. All the houses up for sale in the first phase were sold out immediately.
Another Japanese eco-city is Kashiwanoha. The town’s powerhouse is revolutionary. Its smart grid facility includes one of Japan’s biggest lithium-ion storage cell systems, as well as solar and emergency gas-powered generators.
The grid is overseen by the town’s Smart Centre and can respond immediately to a power shortage, becoming autonomous for three days.
Its unique energy management system was designed after the town experienced a blackout following Japan’s March 2011 earthquake.
It has also helped reduce peak power consumption by over a quarter.
Dr. Eng. Deguchi Atsushi, Professor and Vice-Dean of the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at The University of Tokyo, told me that Japan is building smart cities based on a Government concept called "Society 5.0". He describes the core idea behind the smart cities concept as being "people-centric" or "human-centric". According to him, Kashiwanoha isn't just "introducing the latest technology", it's ensuring "locals can master it to build a place where everyone can feel happy".
Working together
The Urban Design Center is the place local residents can find out about their smart city and bond as a community. Citizens can participate in workshops related to cities of the future. One resident described the workshop he joined in Kashiwanoha as a "collaboration between the residents and the region."
The centre also serves as a hub for the partnerships between the project’s different stakeholders from the public, private and academic worlds.
For Japan, the key ingredient to the success of the smart communities of tomorrow is collaboration.
Learn more at:https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/11/sustainable-cities-for-a-sustainable-japan

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February 20, 2021

Power of Procurement: Nordic Cities declare joint statement on demand towards fair, circular smartphones

As major consumers of smartphones, the cities of Malmö, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki are challenging the market with a joint statement of demand outlining their vision towards fair and circular smartphones by 2025.
The statement comes as 9 points of actionable ambitions such as
• By 2025, we are tendering with harmonised criteria and clauses that push for fair and safe working conditions and environmental sustainability across the entire supply chain including raw materials extraction, manufacturing and delivery stages as well as at repairing, reuse, recycling and disposal stages of smartphones and its components
• By 2025, we work with resellers and suppliers on the actionable increase of transparency of the supply chain and end-of-life, including locations and conditions of production. This will be possible also in hardware-as-service agreements.
• By 2025, we aim to establish processes, internally and in collaboration with suppliers and resellers, to collect 100% of smartphones at the end of life with a view to find a second-life, reuse or remanufacture all smartphones where possible. The remaining smartphones should be recycled, critical raw materials should be safeguarded and as many materials as possible should be reused and recycled for new devices.
• By 2025, we can apply certification and worker-driven monitoring to contribute to circularity, environmental and social responsibility supported by regular dialogue for continuous improvement.
The joint statement has been developed under the European project Make ICT Fair over a period of six months including several internal and external feedback loops. The Nordic Forum for Market Dialogue on 25th November 2020 was one of the opportunities for discussion and reflection on the statement in collaboration with representatives from suppliers and resellers, as well as relevant third-party organisations. The market engagement event, opened by Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö, has proven to be a highly valuable tool to strengthen cooperation between the relevant stakeholders. The dialogue emphasised that the ambitions of the statement can be achieved only through collaboration.
"As public buyers we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to take social, environmental and economic aspects into consideration in our procurements. As chair of Procura+ Europe, the city of Malmö is pleased to collaborate with other public buyers such as with the City of Oslo, City of Helsinki and Municipality of Copenhagen. Together we share a vision towards fair, circular smartphones by 2025. We hope that with this statement of demand we can find workable solutions to the sustainability challenges we face together with suppliers and resellers." Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö
From now on, the Joint Statement is open to other public authorities who support the ambitions. Pooling demand and sharing ambition between public buyers will create a collective power that will help ensure fair and safe conditions for workers as well as to create a market for circular solutions. The statement is supported by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Electronics Watch and the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. If you are interested in learning more and to support the statement, please contact Josefine Hintz (josefine.hintz@iclei.org).

Learn more at one planet network news center.

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February 8, 2021

New video from UNEP on sustainability and circularity in the textile value chain

Following the recent launch of its report on Sustainability and Circularity in the Textile Value Chain, UNEP has released this short video showcasing the main findings.
More than 300 million employees work along the textile value chain and according to one source the sector accounts for approximately 8% of world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report aims to map the textile value chain to identify key environmental and socio-economic impacts (‘hotspots’) along the value chain stages and takes stock of existing initiatives working to address them. It then identifies priority actions needed to move towards a more sustainable and circular textile value chain.
Read more at One Planetnetwork News center

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January 8, 2021

Online workshop on Sustainable Public Procurement in Kazakhstan

On December 9, 2020 the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) within the framework of the UN Development Account project "Enhancing sustainable public procurement for the regional transition to inclusive green economy in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia" (UNDA SPP project) and the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) held an introductory online workshop on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP). The seminar was held with the organizational and expert support of the Kazakhstan Association of Regional Environmental Initiatives "ECOJER".
Within the framework of the seminar the following issues were presented and discussed: UNEP’s approach to SPP; the current state of public procurement in Kazakhstan and the existing framework for the implementation of SPP principles; UNDA SPP project and PAGE SPP-related activities; examples and lessons learned from other UNDA project countries (Kyrgyzstan, Georgia); and the preparation of an assessment of the status of SPP and the legal review in Kazakhstan in the framework of PAGE.
The seminar was opened by the Vice-Minister of Finance and the Vice-Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who expressed their support for the project and readiness for dialogue on the development of sustainability principles in the public procurement system of Kazakhstan. The concept of SPP and its benefits for the economic, social and environmental spheres were explained by UNEP. But this workshop was also the opportunity to discuss the current state of public procurement in Kazakhstan, the existing framework for the implementation of SPP principles and achievements in the development of SPP.

Learn more at UNEP SPP News

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December 16, 2020

CALL For ACTION Public Procurement for a Responsible Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

The One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement Programme calls upon the global public procurement community to leverage purchasing power to respond and recover responsibly from the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we propose nine concrete actions for the public procurement community: explore the “Call to Action” here.

Humanity is faced with a challenge unprecedented in recent history. Approaching one year since the outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted countless lives worldwide and it leaves a lasting impact on individuals, world economies and society as a whole. What are key tools for responsible response and recovery mechanisms? Public procurement is one of them. Making responsible and strategic decisions on how public money is spent is key to creating economic, societal and environmental value.

In addition, different sectors face distinct challenges, but also unique opportunities to contribute to a responsible recovery, which is why the Sustainable Public Procurement Programme also has collated suggestions for a selection of high-impact sectors,including health care, construction, textiles, plastic and more.

This is a joint effort by the SPP Programmes Co-Leads ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, the Governments of China (Environmental Development Centre of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China) and the Netherlands (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) and the UN Environment Programme as well as 16 Multistakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) members from across the world.

Share the Call to Action with your networks! Explore more and connect with the programme here.

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Learn more at the One Planet Network website.

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December 14, 2020

Sustainable Trade in Resources: Global Material Flows, Circularity and Trade

[16 November 2020, UNEP] Trade is responsible for much larger amounts of material extraction than direct trade flows indicate when accounting for the additional materials, energy, water and land used in the extraction and production of traded goods but left behind as wastes and emissions in the exporting country.
In 2017, the material required for trade was three times the direct trade as more than 35 billion tons of material resources were extracted globally to produce 11 billion tons of directly traded goods. This means that one-third of the total 92 billion tons of material resources extracted in the global economy that year was destined to produce goods for trade.
Such analysis by the International Resource Panel of the materials embodied in trade reveals that resource-intensive processes have shifted from high-income importing countries to low-income exporting countries, with a corresponding shift in associated environmental burdens.
The extraction and processing of resources for export depletes natural assets, while increasing waste, emissions, loss of biodiversity, land degradation and water pollution. Appropriate policies are therefore needed to address the adverse environmental impacts of trade and ensure that trade helps drive the transition towards a fairer, more sustainable and circular economy.
Policy analysis by the United Nations Environment Programme Environment and Trade Hub shows how both multilateral trade rules and regional trade agreements can be used proactively to advance the circular economy and minimize the environmental impacts associated with resource extraction.
Learn more at UNEP News Center

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December 7, 2020

Just in: RCEP free trade deal signed among 15 participating countries

[2020-11-15] The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement was signed among its 15 participating countries Sunday, launching the world's biggest free trade bloc.

Participating countries include the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The RCEP agreement will accelerate the building of the ASEAN economic community and thereby allow ASEAN to become dynamic and strong partners in promoting cooperation for shared prosperity, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the signing ceremony held via video conference.

The 15 participating countries of the RCEP account for around 30 percent of the global population, global gross domestic product and global trade.

The signing came after more than 30 rounds of negotiation, which was launched in November 2012, as well as a number of specific leaders and ministerial meetings between the participating countries.

The ongoing 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits take place from Thursday to Sunday via video conferences.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Vietnam is the ASEAN chair for 2020.

Learn more at Xinhua News Center

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November 19, 2020

SIRIM Eco-Labelling Scheme-A sustainable environment through sustainable procurement

Go green! Save Mother Earth! These are some of the phrases we have heard over the years as Malaysians become more environmentally conscious and, as a result, buy more eco-friendly products.

The transition to a green circular economy is taken seriously by both the people and the government. Malaysia needs an economy that is able to grow and benefit its people without increasing the negative impact on the environment and putting pressure on natural resources. The Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) blueprint is emphasised in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) as one of the focus areas that will help the country achieve green growth and transition towards a more inclusive development trajectory.

The SCP blueprint is implemented through the Government Green Procurement (GGP) project. The 2½-year project focuses on the role of the government as a key catalyst in creating a green market for products and services.

GGP refers to the acquisition of products, services and work in the public sector that takes into account environmental criteria and standards for protecting the environment and natural resources and minimising or mitigating the negative effects of human activities. The 11MP has stated the target for 20% of selected groups of products and services in government procurement to be green procurement by 2020.

The government's long-term action plan is to have 100% procurement of selected product groups by 2030. With the federal, state and local governments involved in GGP, there will be an increase in demand for green products and services and this will spur industries to meet green requirements.

Notably, the SCP blueprint is also in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 12 (UN SDG 12): Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Launched in 2013, the GGP initiative in Malaysia started with five ministries involved in a pilot programme. From only six product categories initially, 40 product and service categories have now been identified and selected in the implementation of GGP.

Manufacturers and providers of other green products and services that are not on the list are encouraged to participate as long as they meet the green criteria.

A product or service that meets local and international environmental standards will be given the MyHIJAU mark. MyHIJAU is Malaysia's official green recognition scheme endorsed by the Ministry of Environment and Water.

Another commitment from the government is the Green Technology Master Plan, which aims to facilitate the National Transformation (Transformasi Nasional 2050 or TN50), an initiative to position Malaysia among the top countries in the world in economic development, citizen well-being and innovation by 2050.

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November 17, 2020

Save the Date! Webinar of Ecolabelling in B2B – the Greening of Public Procurement Held on December 3rd, 2020

December 3rd,2020– the webinar of “Ecolabelling in B2B – the Greening of Public Procurement”. An in-depth look at international green procurement and how ecolabels are integrated into the implementation of sustainable purchasing programs. Experts will illustrate how ecolabels promote GPP, attendees will learn how purchaser collaboratives and forums are strengthening the demand for ecolabelled products and services.

The webinar will be hosted by Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), supported by International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN) and China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), which is one of important webinars along with GEN 2020 AGM activities.

Register at:

See in details:

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November 11, 2020

Mark Carney says banks should link executive pay to Paris climate goals

[The Guardian, 13 October 2020] Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said banks should link executive pay to climate risk management, as part of efforts to align the finance industry with Paris climate goals.

Speaking at the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative roundtable on Tuesday, the former central bank boss said lenders should – at the very least – be transparent over whether or not pay is being tied to climate targets.

He said banks must “have some interim objectives and targets that are disclosed. Ideally a governance process that’s clear in terms of … specific board-level governance and responsibility around managing climate risks and opportunities. Ideally, [there should be] some compensation link to that as well, or at least disclosure about whether it is there or not.”

While a number of major banks have announced net-zero climate pledges in recent months, few have made explicit commitments about how executive remuneration might play a part in keeping lenders accountable.

HSBC and Wall Street giant JP Morgan both revealed climate pledges last week. HSBC committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, linked to the loans and services it provides to clients. It came days after JP Morgan made similar pledges, saying it would push clients towards aligning with the Paris agreement, which is meant to limit temperature rises to 1.5C and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Barclays announced plans to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050 earlier this year and Lloyds committed to halving the amount of carbon emissions it finances through personal and business loans by 2030.

Neither HSBC nor Lloyds were immediately able to confirm whether executive pay was linked to their climate targets when contacted by the Guardian on Tuesday.

JP Morgan said the bank would be announcing its methodology in the spring, and that it has not ruled out linking pay to climate pledges.

NatWest Group confirmed that decisions on pay for its top executives – including chief executive Alison Rose – do take climate targets into consideration. The bank has pledged to fully phase out coal financing by 2030 and is aiming to “at least halve” the climate impact of its lending activity by the end of the decade.

Barclays’ annual report shows that reducing global carbon emission is one of 16 criteria that helps determine around 20% of executive bonus pay.

However, Johan Frijns, director of BankTrack – an organisation that monitors the financial sector – said executive pay was just one way that bankers should be encouraged to avoid a climate catastrophe. “It would be a severe mistake to try to steer bank decision-making on reducing their climate impact solely through getting the right financial incentives or disincentives in place for individual bankers.

“If internal motivation to stop financing climate destruction were that shallow we wouldn’t stand a chance. That said, tying executive pay to, say, delivering a credible phase-out plan from the fossil fuel industry, or achieving a steep decline in financed emissions, may well knock a few heads together,” Frijns said.

Carney is himself a former Goldman Sachs banker, having worked at the Wall Street firm for 13 years before moving into central banking, first as deputy and then governor of the Bank of Canada, before taking the top job at the Bank of England in 2013. He left in March just before the Covid-19 crisis hit the UK.

Carney was one of the world’s best-paid central bankers with remuneration of £882,885 including pension benefits and a housing allowance from the Bank of England during the last financial year.

He recently joined Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management as vice-chair and global head of environmental, social and corporate governance and impact investing.

Learn more at Guardian News Center

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November 5, 2020

World’s biggest plastic producers join call for UN treaty fighting plastic pollution in oceans within a decade

[The Independent, 14 October 2020]Some of the world’s biggest plastic producers, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are joining a drive for a new international treaty to tackle plastic pollution in the sea.

The push comes as a report highlights how discarded plastic equivalent to the weight of about 60,000 blue whales are dumped into oceans each year – more than 11 million tonnes.

The drinks businesses, which last month were slated in research on plastic pollution, backed the call by environmental charities for a UN treaty urging governments to negotiate a global agreement on plastic pollution.

Nearly 30 businesses, also including Danone, H&M, Mars, Nestlé, Tesco, and Unilever have backed the call, which is the first such collective corporate action, and organisers are urging more private companies to join.

A resolution to start negotiations on such a treaty is expected to be tabled at the next session of the UN environmental assembly in February.

According to the UN itself, plastic waste kills up to a million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals, marine turtles and countless fish each year.

Plastic remains in the ecosystem for years, harming thousands of sea creatures every day.

Lost and discarded fishing gear accounts for 10 per cent of all marine litter and continues to kill turtles, seabirds and marine mammals as well as fish.
One study found plastic in every marine turtle examined, 59 per cent of whales, 36 per cent of seals and 40 per cent of seabird species.

The organisations behind the plea to the UN – WWF, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group – issued a report saying a global agreement setting out goals, action plans and binding targets are needed to truly tackle the problem on a global scale.

The document says the global volume of plastic entering the ocean is forecast to triple over the next 20 years.

WWF’s Living Planet report last month revealed that the destruction of nature has led to a 68 per cent average drop in global wildlife populations since 1970, and that nowhere in the ocean is entirely unaffected by humans.

Paula Chin, a sustainable materials specialist at WWF, said: “Nature is in freefall, and plastic pollution continues to be one of the most visible signs of the environmental crisis. This is a global problem that demands a global solution.”

Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “We have seen important steps taken by businesses and governments in addressing plastic pollution over recent years. More than 500 organisations have signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, setting clear targets to achieve a circular economy for plastic in which it never becomes waste or pollution. But voluntary initiatives alone are not enough.”

The Changing Markets Foundation last month accused Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé of “hypocrisy” as its report claimed they had made public pledges to cut plastic use while undermining sustainability reforms through lobbying groups and trade associations. It said many companies had “aggressively opposed” or attempted to delay legislation designed to tackle the plastics crisis.

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October 27, 2020

UN Announces the leaders of Five Action Tracks for Food Systems Summit

The 2021 Food Systems Summit aims to employ a food systems approach to advancing the SDGs and is considered a foundational element of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. Five action tracks are being composed to prepare solutions and strategies ahead of the Summit.

On September 16th, the UN announced the leaders of these five tracks who will coordinate the multi stakeholder efforts ahead of the Summit. The action track on Sustainable Consumption and Production is being chaired by Gunhild Stordalen of the EAT Foundation.

Learn more at IISD SDG News Room

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October 20, 2020

World leaders highlight Sustainable Consumption and Production in 'Pledge for Nature'

Political leaders participating in the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity in September 2020, so far representing 64 countries from all regions and the European Union, have committed to reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.
The pledge highlights the importance of Sustainable Consumption and Productoin in addressing biodiversity loss, and the major role that current unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are playing in driving the environmental crises the world is facing.
The world leaders commit to transitioning to sustainable patterns of production and consumption and sustainable food systems that meet people’s needs while remaining within planetary boundaries, with the pledge listing six specific urgent actions that signatory countries will take over the next ten years as part of the UN Decade of Action to achieve Sustainable Development and to put nature and biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030.

Read more at: One Planet Network News Room

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October 5, 2020

Public Buyers to Get Inspired by A New Good Practice Cases Report on Socially Responsible Public Procurement

The European Commission has just published a report collecting 71 good practice cases on how public buyers have implemented socially responsible public procurement (SRPP), in order to promote employment opportunities, decent work, social inclusion, accessibility, ethical trade, design for all and seeking to achieve wider compliance with social standards. Written by ICLEI and AEIDL, with the support of Public Procurement Analysis, Dialog Makarna and Social Economy Europe, the report ‘Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work: 71 good practice cases’ aims to inspire public buyers around Europe to buy social.

SRPP asks procurers to look beyond the price of the products or services they want to acquire, and also consider how a product/service is produced and sourced. The report compiles cases from 27 countries 22 EU Member States plus 5 non-EU. “We hope all these great examples trigger the interest of many public buyers to become frontrunners and mainstream the use of social considerations in their public procurements. This is a strong signal to show citizens that purchases are supporting social progress,” highlighted Philipp Tepper, ICLEI, coordinator of the report.

The cases address a diverse selection of products and services, encompass all phases of the public procurement process, and include a broad range of public buyers, ranging from local and national governments, to public hospitals. All cases provide named contacts if you would be curious to learn more, directly from the practitioners.

Check the report here. Follow the campaign in Twitter #WeBuySocialEU

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October 5, 2020

FAO Call for papers for Sustainability Journal

FAO now calls for papers of a Special Issue of Sustainability, an international Open Access journal which provides an advanced forum for research findings in areas related to sustainability and sustainable development.

This Special Issue on "Public Food Procurement: A Transformative Instrument for Sustainable Food Systems" will collect articles from academics, researchers, and practitioners exploring innovative approaches and methods in the field of sustainable public food procurement practice and policy, with a particular focus on the use of PFP policies as an instrument to promote environmental sustainability and possible means by which to measure its impacts, areas in which research is currently lacking. The topic of sustainable public food procurement is also one that is particularly relevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic and any post-pandemic recovery. This is one of the key issues which will be addressed in this Special Issue.

We are particularly interested in potential topics including, but not limited to, the following:
* Innovative approaches, methods, and tools that measure the environmental (as well as social and economic) impacts of public sector food procurement.
* Sustainable public food procurement practice and policies (related to schools, universities, healthcare, prisons, and/or public work settings)
* Role of regulatory frameworks and complementary policies in the implementation of sustainable food procurement initiatives (e.g., public procurement legislation, organic policies and legislations, etc.)
* Extent to which sustainable public food procurement practices and policies take into account the SDGs, 2030 Agenda, and bioeconomy- related policy strategies.

Full information on the call can be find in the following link and in the document attached: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/food_procurement
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com.
Manuscripts can be submitted until the 30/09/2021.

All papers will be peer-reviewed and accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on the website.

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September 24, 2020

Call for Submissions of Good Practices for Environmentally Friendly Products/Services and Green Purchasing

The International Green Purchasing Network invites you to share your experience and examples to help identify lessons learned and good practices on the synergized between environment friendly products/services and green purchasing including those implemented through labels or purchasing network in your country or area.

The practices will be collected and analyzed, aiming to identify the gaps, needs and realities, the characters of difference green purchasing stage, comparison on each stage and summarize progress, challenge and way forward. The results of this exercise will be compiled and edited by the IGPN Secretariat and opened on line by the IGPN website or the UNEP One Planet network SPP program website.

To make your contributions as relevant as possible, we would like to invite you to provide any practices which promote the development of environmentally friendly products/service and green purchasing including but not limit to the new criteria, guideline, method, stakeholder meeting, or initiatives in late 1-2 years which focus on:
--Environmentally friendly products/services: ecolabels, green labels or sustainable labels etc.;
--Innovation practice in: business mode; networking operation; green finance etc.;
--Green purchasing in: policy, action plan or implementation etc.

The timeline will be as follows:
--Submissions: 30th November, 2020.
--Compiled for discussion: 31st January, 2021.
--Report and Publish on IGPN website: 31st March,2021

Please use the submission template to share your examples and experiences.

You can upload the completed form below or send it via email to igpn.secretariat@igpn.org.

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September 22, 2020

CEC Held Briefing Environmental Labelling Government Procurement Webinar

China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC) held briefing environmental labelling government procurement webinar on July 17th.

A series of newly issued rules and regulations by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) were given in-depth interpretation during the webinar, including , , and etc. Meanwhile, the practice by adopting china environmental labelling products in the procurement bidding stage of local government procurement also introduced.

More than 100 representatives from manufacturing enterprises attended the webinar.

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September 17, 2020

Webinar for “Prevention of Procurement Fraud and Corruption”

[Green Council] The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners published the “2020 Report to the Nations” which estimated organizations lose 5% of revenue to fraud and average loss per case was US$1.5M. To enhance the knowledge and skills of the members of the Green Council’s Sustainable Procurement Charter in reducing the risks of procurement fraud, we organised a webinar in June. Three procurement professionals from different industries were invited to share their experience and best practices in prevention of procurement fraud and corruption. About 100 participants attended this event.

Learn more at Green Council news room.

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September 11, 2020

Earth Overshoot Day 2020 landed on August 22nd

Earth Overshoot Day, calculated by the Global Footprint Network, marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services each year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2020 this date was August 22nd.

In the words of UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson, “this date serves as a reminder that our relentless consumption of natural resources has exceeded what our planet can regenerate this year. But together, we can #BuildBackBetter - smarter, more inclusive & sustainable than before.”

Learn more at:Overshoot website

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September 11, 2020

SDG 12 is the Goal of the Month August

The UN selected SDG 12 as its goal of the month in August 2020, publishing a deep dive article on this transversal SDG which is at the heart of the One Planet network.

This included discussion of the COVID-19 health crisis on progress towards SDG 12, in particular around challenges regarding the uptick of waste - plastic waste in particular - that is being generated.

The article also looks at SCP from the perspective of technology – including mobile apps and e-waste – as well as food security.

Learn more at: One planet network website

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September 7, 2020

Call for interest to join the International Green Purchasing Network

IGPN launched in 2005 to promote Green Purchasing around the globe with all stakeholders, such as international organizations, businesses, governmental organizations, local authorities and NGOs, who take the initiative in implementing Green Purchasing.

The objectives for IGPN is established are:(a) Promote globally the development of environmentally friendly products and services and Green Purchasing activities;(b) Share information and knowhow on Green Purchasing and environmentally friendly products and services internationally;(c) Harmonize the efforts of Green Purchasing and the development of environmentally friendly products and services from a global viewpoint.

Become a Partner of the International Green Purchasing Network(IGPN)to share, scale-up and replicate your work and showcase your contribution to International Green Purchasing development.

Please note the IGPN now is open to all organizations agreeing with the objectives that are interested in joining an active implementing and a collaborative platform supporting the implementation of objectives.

We ask new applicants to download the document below, fill it in, preferably by computer, and send it to: igpn.secretariat@igpn.org.

IGPN Secretariat

Partnership application form:Download file

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September 7, 2020

Green/Sustainable Public Procurement News Update in Asia Pacific

Public procurement has been recognized as key to the global effort for sustainability, important enough to have a specific target within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG target 12.7: “Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities”
How is looks like in Asia pacific? Four news update related Sustainable/Green public procurement in Asia pacific are as follows:

1. Thailand steps up with new policy to promote environmentally-friendly products and services

[August 6, 2020]-Switch Asia-The recent National Economic and Social Development Plan (NESDP) 2017-2021, which is built on the 9th-11th NESDP and His Majesty's "Sufficiency Economy" philosophy, provides a policy framework for identifying strategic directions concerning Thailand's sustainable social and economic development within a healthy environment. Key strategies in the 12th NESDP stress the following areas:
-Creating a justice society and reducing social inequality;
-Human capacity promotion and development;
-Strengthening Thailand's economic potential sustainability and enhancing Thailand's competitive edge;
-Promoting sustainable consumption and production (SCP);
-Maintaining domestic security and promoting good governance.

The number of green certification schemes for product and services in Thailand established by various organisations has been growing. Some of them are recognised by the government's green procurement programme such as Thai Green Label, Carbon Footprint, Energy saving label, CoolMode, Green Leaf, and Green Hotel. The private sector also has its certification schemes for environmentally-friendly products/material such as SCG Eco-Value, Green for Life, and Green Heart.

Learn more at:Switch Asia website

2. New initiative launched in Indonesia to accelerate shift to Green/ Sustainable Public Procurement

[August 13, 2020]-Switch Asia-Over the past decade, Indonesia has played an active role in mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) both in policies and implementation, accelerating and strengthening its Green/Sustainable Public Procurement (G/SPP) system.

To attain the SCP and G/SPP objectives outlined in the Indonesian National Medium-term Plan and the G/SPP Roadmap, the SWITCH-Asia SCP Facility and GIZ Advance SCP are supporting the Ministry of Environment and Forestry through the project “Enhancing SCP through the implementation of G/SPP and the preparation of a long-term action plan for G/SPP in Indonesia.” A market readiness analysis will be prepared and G/SPP Plans for two pilot sectors, namely, wooden furniture and paper industries, are expected to be developed.

This Project was launched on 24 July 2020 and 25 participants from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the National Procurement Agency (LKPP), the Paper Industry Association, the Furniture Industry Association, SWITCH-Asia Experts, GIZ Advance SCP, and the EU Delegation to Indonesia attended the meeting.

Learn more at:Switch Asia Website

3. Boosting Sustainable and Green Public Procurement

[June26,2020]-Switch Asia- Public agencies around the world have realized that public procurement is not a mere administrative procedure but a powerful instrument that can be leveraged to achieve the sustainability goals of the organization.

This strategic use of public procurement has been recognized as key to the global effort for sustainability, important enough to have a specific target within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG target 12.7: “Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities”.

To address that demand, SWITCH-Asia RPAC has developed the report “Monitoring Implementation and Estimating the Benefits of Sustainable/Green Public Procurement in Northeast and Southeast Asia”. The document has been jointly developed with Ecoinstitut SCCL and presents the approaches of several central governments in the region (i.e. China, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and Thailand) in order to show that setting up monitoring and evaluating systems for GPP and/or SPP is possible and beneficial.

Hopefully this publication will encourage countries in Asia to improve and/or set up such systems to support their national GPP or SPP policies and the global reporting of SGD indicator 12.7.1. "Number of countries implementing sustainable public procurement policies and action plans".

Learn more at: Switch Asia Website

4. China boosting Sustainable Consumption in times of pandemic

[June17,2020]-Switch Asia-As people become more interested in healthy and environmentally sound products, reliable consumer information tools, such as eco-labelling, will accelerate sustainable consumption and production patterns. Drastic lifestyle changes due to the outbreak, such as increased online food delivery and online shopping with more packaging waste, have forced China to explore how to maintain the ongoing efforts for boosting sustainable consumption using these tools.

The China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), as a third-party certification organization, developed and conducted remote inspection, in addition to the instruments they usually employ, to ensure that products meet the criteria for eco-labels appropriately and in a timely manner during the pandemic. Once a product is eco-labelled, it is given priority by Chinese government agencies using green public procurement and therefore contributes to foster this kind of public procurement in China.

This is a great example about how we can use the current COVID-19 scenario to “build back better”. But China's extensive efforts to achieve an ecological transition in the production and consumption sectors are not new and have been increasing over the past decade. In fact, green and low-carbon consumption has been incorporated into the philosophy of China's Ecological Civilization as one of the key pathways to green development.

Learn more at:Switsh Asia Website

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August 18, 2020


With just 10 years to go to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, shifting the global economy to sustainable consumption and production during the decade of action is critical to achieving the SDGs.

Yet, sustainable resource management is on a long-term trend in the wrong direction.

Globally SDG targets 12.2 and 8.4 indicate that ever-increasing amounts of natural resources are used to support our economic activity, while the efficiency with which resources are used remains unchanged. It is thus clear, that the world has not yet seen the effective decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation.

Reversing the negative trend requires transforming how we use and manage natural resources in our socio-economic systems.

A shift to addressing SDG 12 in national economic plans, financial policy instruments and national budgets – rather than in environment portfolios – is crucial, together with measures to ensure a socially equitable transition. This would enable the integration of natural resources and the full costs of their related impacts and negative externalities into economic policies and instruments.

Read the full report to the HLPF here

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July 23, 2020

Circular of IGPN By-Laws for Trail Practice

In order to improve and strengthen the IGPN operation, promote international green purchasing development, upon the approval by the Council Member, IGPN By-Laws is available to be in trail practice for one year from July,2020.

During the process, recommendations could be collected based on actual application results and revised at appropriate time in the future.

IGPN By-Laws (trail version) is available at Download file.

IGPN Secretariat
July 2020

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July 13, 2020

Making sustainable public procurement part of the COVID-19 fiscal response

In the face of deep economic and social crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, some countries and business groups have been calling for a temporary easing of environmental rules.

At a time when governments need to conduct expansionary fiscal policies to limit or avoid economic recessions, Sustainable Public Procurement must take its place in the range of fiscal instruments considered in the green recovery packages. Representatives from the UN Environment Programme have recently written a blog on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, outlining key goals and barriers for implementation as well as priority sectors.

Find out more and read the entire blog piece

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June 17, 2020

2020 One Planet Network Executive Meeting

The 2020 One Planet Executive Meeting took place virtually from May 18th - 20th, bringing together more than 100 participants in order to review progress on the implementation of the ‘One Planet for One Planet’ strategy and advance on requests made to the One Planet network by the 4th UN Environment Assembly.

Each day focused on a key strategic priority for the network: 1) Progress and implications of the UN Decade of Action, and particularly in the context of COVID-19; 2) Strengthening the science-policy-action interface on SCP; and 3) addressing plastic pollution across the network.

Responding to UNEA: Focus on plastics

This month dives deeper into the progress being made on the One Planet network wide Plastics Initiative, as discussed at this years Executive Meeting.

Participants engaged with one another around the use stage of the plastic value chain, which has been identified as a hotspot, both in terms of procurement practices and behaviour change.

The network has decided to target both procurement practices and behaviour change through the development of several products: 1) Mapping plastic labels and claims; 2) Providing guidance on bidding criteria and contract conditions on plastic packaging, and; 3) Mapping communication campaigns on plastic. These products are being applied across the food and tourism sectors.

Read more at:One Planet Network Newsletter

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May 26, 2020



The Plan was developed jointly by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, the People’s Government of Hebei Province and Beijing 2022. It serves as a programmatic document guiding the sustainability work of the Olympic Games Beijing 2022, and is being implemented throughout the entire process of staging and delivering the Games.

The Beijing 2022 Sustainability Plan reflects the Beijing 2022 mission of being “green, open, inclusive and clean”, and the reforms introduced through Olympic Agenda 2020 – the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. It is also aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The IOC welcomes the publication of the Beijing 2022 Sustainability Plan, as it provides a comprehensive framework for the overall sustainability vision of the Olympic Games Beijing 2022,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the Beijing 2022 IOC Coordination Commission. “The Plan also highlights the fact that the Organising Committee Beijing 2022 is working hand-in-hand with the national and regional authorities to achieve their ambitious sustainability objectives.”

The plan promotes the Beijing 2022 Games’ sustainability vision of “Sustainability for the Future”, and identifies three key themes of “positive environmental impact”, “new development for the region” and “better life for the people”. These three themes are supported by 12 actions, 37 key tasks and 119 specific measures, including the environment of the competition zones, regional development, and improvement of well-being for the host communities in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.

A number of measures in the sustainability plan have already been implemented through Beijing 2022’s Sustainability Management System (SMS), which received ISO 20121 certification in November 2019. Good progress has been achieved in environmental, regional and social development.

In terms of environmental conservation, the relevant work following Beijing 2022’s production of the Evaluation Standard for Green Snow Sports Venues has been conducted, including monitoring transplanted trees in the competition zones to conserve native flora, and using renewable and recyclable materials in venue construction. Carbon dioxide refrigerants have been introduced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and a cross-regional electricity trading mechanism has been established to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy in the venues.
As regards regional development, Games preparations have accelerated the completion of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway and Beijing-Chongli Expressway; the development of the ice and snow industry has accelerated the development of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Sports Culture Tourism Belt; and Shougang Park has been transformed, becoming a new landmark of urban regeneration.
Social development has been seen throughout communities, with many residents around the competition zones engaging in new employment structures that have improved their standard of living. Participation in national fitness and community winter sports activities continues on an upward trend, in line with Beijing’s vision of engaging 300 million people in winter sports in China.
For more information, visit the Beijing 2022 website.

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April 17, 2020

First Person: COVID-19 is not a silver lining for the climate, says UN Environment chief

[UNEP News, Apr.5] Greenhouse gas emissions are down and air quality has gone up, as governments react to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, has cautioned against viewing this as a boon for the environment. In this First Person editorial, Ms. Andersen calls instead for a profound, systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.

“The global coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused unimaginable devastation and hardship, has brought our way of life to an almost complete halt. The outbreak will have profound and lasting economic and social consequences in every corner of the globe. In the face of such turmoil, as the Secretary-General has indicated, COVID-19 will require a response like none before – a “war-time” plan in times of human crisis.

And as we inch from a “war-time” response to “building back better”, we need to take on board the environmental signals and what they mean for our future and wellbeing, because COVID-19 is by no means a “silver lining” for the environment.

The pandemic will also result in an increase in the amounts of medical and hazardous waste generated. This is no one’s model of environmental response, least of all an environmentalist’s. And indeed, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography has highlighted that fossil fuel use would have to decline by about 10 percent around the world, and would need to be sustained for a year to show up clearly in carbon dioxide levels.

A healthy planet means fewer diseases
Any positive environmental impact in the wake of this abhorrent pandemic, must therefore be in our changing our production and consumption habits towards cleaner and greener. Because only long-term systemic shifts will change the trajectory of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. So, in the aftermath of the crisis, when economic stimulus packages composed of infrastructure are designed, there is a real opportunity to meet that demand with green packages of renewable energy investments, smart buildings, green and public transport, etc.

With respect to the disease itself, part of the challenge ahead is understanding where such diseases come from, because the health of our planet plays an important role in the spread of zoonotic diseases, i.e. disease originating from pathogens that transfer from animals to humans. As we continue to encroach on fragile ecological ecosystems, we bring humans into ever-greater contact with wildlife. Further, illegal wildlife trade and illegal wet markets are not infrequent causes of such diseases. Around 75 per cent of new and infectious diseases are zoonotic and, in fact, about 1 billion cases of illness and millions of deaths occur every year from these diseases.

The wild must be kept wild
Humanity’s expansion on the terrestrial earth surface means that, today, human activity has altered almost 75 per cent of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet. And yet, nature is critical to our own survival: nature provides us with our oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops, produces our food, feed and fibre, but it is under increasing stress.

As we continue our relentless move into natural habitats, contact between humans and reservoir hosts increases, whether as a result of urbanization, habitat loss and fragmentation, or live animal markets – all of which increases the likelihood of interaction between these vectors and humans. According to IPBES, we have seen 100 million hectares of agricultural expansion in the tropics between 1980 and 2000, roughly equal to the size of France and Germany combined.

The “wild” must be kept “wild.” It is time to restore our forests, stop deforestation, invest in the management of protected areas, and propel markets for deforestation-free products. Where the legal wildlife trade chain exists, we need to do a far better job of improving hygiene conditions. And of course, there is the urgent need to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, the fourth most common crime committed worldwide.

Building a ‘different economy’
The better we manage nature, the better we manage human health. This is why the post-2020 biodiversity framework that countries around the world are expected to agree on this year matters greatly. An important pillar in our post-COVID recovery plan must be to arrive at an ambitious, measurable and inclusive framework, because keeping nature rich, diverse and flourishing is part and parcel of our life’s support system. Even more important when you consider that between 25-50 per cent of pharmaceutical products are derived from genetic resources.

And as the engines of growth begin to rev up again, we need to see how prudent management of nature can be part of this “different economy” that must emerge, one where finance and actions fuel green jobs, green growth and a different way of life, because the health of people and the health of planet are one and the same, and both can thrive in equal measure."

Read more at UNEP News Center

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March 20, 2020

Council agrees to back UK steel industry in procurement policy

[Business News Wales, 20 February 2020] Neath Port Talbot Council has agreed to implement a policy to demonstrate its commitment to the UK steel industry.
The UK Steel Charter Policy outlines the practical actions the Council can consider when procuring steel for construction projects.
The UK Steel Industry launched the Charter back in May 2019 in order to maximize the amount of UK produced steel used in construction and infrastructure projects. It encourages organizations to sign up and commit to a range of procurement steps.
As part of its commitment, the Council has agreed to:
• Pre-procurement planning to identify major projects where steel will be a critical component;
• Advertise major projects to make the market aware of future opportunities;
• Contractual provision in documentation to ensure supply chain information is provided for by the main contractors, including the advertising of supply chain opportunities;
• Ensure specifications include provision as to how steel is specified and procured;
• Address issues in respect of steel dumping and non-compliance with health and safety and social environmental legislation as part of its procurement exercises.
Councilor Rob Jones, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said:
"I am extremely pleased that we are able to implement the policy to strengthen our commitment to the UK steel industry.
“The steelworks in Port Talbot are pivotal to the local economy, being a major employer and key to local businesses which form part of their supply chain.
“We are committed to achieving sustainable procurement which not only achieves value for money, but also promotes positive outcomes for the economy, environment and society.”
The implementation of the policy follows the recent Swansea Bay City Deal announcement of a £58.7m Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme. With a targeted focus on the Port Talbot Harbourside area, one of the key elements of the programme is a National Steel Innovation Centre that will support the steel and metals industry in Port Talbot and Wales, while reducing its carbon footprint.
The policy also supports the Council’s sustainability and carbon footprint reduction drive with the encouragement of shortened and localized supply chains.

Read more at Business News Wales

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March 3, 2020

Microsoft to use procurement to cut emissions

[CIPS Supply Management, 17 January 2020]Microsoft plans to include carbon reduction in its procurement processes in 2021 as part of an “aggressive” sustainability programme.
The firm aims to be carbon negative by 2030 and next year it “will also make carbon reduction an explicit aspect of the procurement processes for the supply chain”.
Microsoft said: “By July of 2021, we will begin to implement new procurement processes and tools to enable and incentivise our suppliers to reduce their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.”
The tech giant will “work with suppliers to implement consistent and accurate reporting and pursue effective steps to make progress against scientifically based targets”.
This is part of a programme to cut its carbon footprint with changes aimed at reducing emissions by over 50% and the removal of more carbon than it produces by 2030.
The firm said by 2050 it will remove from the environment the carbon it has emitted, either directly or by electrical consumption, since it was founded in 1975.
The plan includes a new $1bn climate innovation fund to help achieve the goals by developing negative emission technologies, including afforestation and reforestation, soil carbon sequestration, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture, said Microsoft.
The plan starts with switching to 100% renewable energy through power purchase agreements for all its data centres, buildings, and campuses by 2025, using electric vehicles for the global fleet by 2030, and getting sustainability certificates for the Silicon Valley Campus and Puget Sound Campus Modernization projects.
Microsoft said to achieve its goal it will need to learn and adapt, collaborate with others around the world, and invent technologies to solve current problems.
Meanwhile, Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2030 through transitioning to a green powered fleet, reducing CO2 emissions from its supply chain by 45% per megawatt-hour, and creating sustainability partnerships with suppliers.
Lisa Malmquist Ekstrand, head of sustainability at Vestas, said: “Becoming carbon-neutral in our own operations and reducing CO2 emissions in our supply chain is the next phase of our journey to ensure a more sustainable planet for future generations – which is our purpose as a company and as individuals.”

Read more at CIPS News

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January 20, 2020

The 2020 Procurement and Supply Predictions from the Market

Spend Matters, 08 January-Continuing our series of procurement and supply chain related predictions for 2020, we have gathered a variety of predictions from leading vendors in the procurement and supply chain market, and will add our own sprinkling of endorsement from analyst Magnus Bergfors in a follow up post.
Today let’s hear what Europe-based procurement and supply business management consultants, INVERTO (a BCG Company) have to say:

Sourcing at speed
Procurement has three major levers to deliver the ‘sourcing at speed’ opportunity whilst keeping cost under control. Firstly, we need to continue purposefully seeking innovative solutions and doing things differently. Procurement, as all functions, needs to keep its fingers on the pulse of the market and categories to scope out opportunities, approaches, and relationships to improve speed. Secondly, in terms of our core activities, procurement needs to ensure maximum efficiency and coverage in sourcing activities. Procurement will have to endeavor to become more agile, empowered, and collaborative. Finally, procurement needs to aspire towards new delivery models through partnerships, self- service, automation, and knowledge / insight augmentation

Creating a Zero-based culture
The number of large companies that employ ZBB has been increasing 57% year-on-year since 2014. Some have evolved to apply the principles across their organisation, they may even have zero-based headcount and tools, not just external spend. Zero-based consumption and culture with ZBB at its core will only become more prevalent. Procurement is a natural catalyst to test budget assumptions and, depending on the spend category, to establish them. ZBB is not only about cost assumptions but rather about fundamentally and culturally questioning what is required and whether this suits the company strategy. We expect and recommend that, in the next few years, and as data clarity and skills improve, ZBB will continue the path to become a predominant budgeting approach, applied cyclically across categories and business units, to ensure dynamism and responsible costing are maintained.

Commercial champions
Working capital has, following direct EBITDA levers, often be dubbed as the next value driver. Working capital management and addressability via procurement is no longer a technical business school staple but is rather becoming a more accessible way to realise tangible impact. The past few years have seen the advent of several payment intermediaries in both the consumer and the b2b space. In a similar fashion and as end-to-end platforms, with integrated analytics capabilities including for finance, become ubiquitous working capital improvement and the application of supply chain finance will become more sophisticated and impactful. This enables both suppliers and buyers a better cash flow outcome via payment intermediaries as credit checks, histories and approvals are carried out in real time. This will extend procurement's role as company commercial champions.

Sustained and sustainable Triple Bottom Line impact
Inclusion of sustainable supply base management is the most significant step change that procurement can make to impact the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. Changing customer and employee preferences, in addition to the business and political engagement in global issues such as climate change, mean sustainable procurement is accelerating. In 2020 and the 2020s companies will become yet more serious about their societal and ethical responsibility and procurement will become more directly involved, beyond certifications and figures. Companies that truly engrain and apply this purpose will perform better in both Total Shareholder Value and Total Societal Impact to build sustainable companies and brands versus those that let sustainability pass.

Hyper Supplier Collaboration & Innovation
Procurement is on the spot not to hamper, through death of process, but rather aid and accelerate innovation. We are seeing a continued rise in supplier-led strategies such as category captaining, supplier-managed inventories, and collaborative knowledge exchange and solutions. We view this as the natural progression to long-term supplier partnering. Innovation is not just a new solution as part of RFPs and improvement is not just a rarely monitored commercial continuous improvement clause. In the sharing economy pan-industry partnerships will become more prevalent to keep suppliers close and terms even.

Read more at SPP Newsletter-Spendmatters

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December 2, 2019

China, ICLEI, the Netherlands and UN Environment Programme join hands to lead the globe towards sustainable procurement

Paris (France), November 2019 –
The UN-led initiative “One Planet Network” has a new leadership for its Sustainable Procurement Programme. The initiative is mandated by the UN member states and supports the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 - ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production.https://bit.ly/35c1r4g

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November 8, 2019

IGPN 2019 Annual Meeting Successfully held in Suzhou China

On Oct.23th, IGPN 2019 annual meeting held in Suzhou, China, hosted by IGPN Secretariat China Environmental United Certification Center, Participants from Green purchasing networks, IGPN Council and IGPN Advisory Board which from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, China Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei attended this meeting.

The meeting adopted the resolution on IGPN chairman renewal and nomination of IGPN new chairman. Recommended by the former IGPN Chairman Prof. Hideki Nakahara and agreed unanimously by the council members, Mr. Chen yanping was elected as the new IGPN Chairman. Mr. CHEN expressed he will be pleased to inherit IGPN mission and goal, contribute his professional experiences and knowledge, awareness raise of green purchasing and promote global green purchasing development. IGPN will focus exchanges and communication on practices, tools and methods between developed and developing countries in global green procurement, promote the dissemination of green procurement, accelerate the solution of global environmental issues, and promote the realization of sustainable consumption and production goals.

During the meeting, participants reviewed the 2019 annual work of IGPN secretariat, discussed on future development, the Bylaw and working mechanism of IGPN. Meanwhile, representatives of Green Procurement Networks from different countries and regions shared their progress and achievements in the field of green procurement, as well as with UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement program of their experience in member development and management. At the same time, the IGPN Bernhard and SIRIM signed MOU on cooperation in the field of green purchasing to promote the development of the green purchasing network.

Read more at CEC News

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October 8, 2019

Deputy Director CHENG ChunMing Led a Delegation to Attend the First Co-Lead Meeting of UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement Program

Mr. CHENG ChunMing, Deputy Director of Environmental Development Center of Ministry of Ecology and Environment (EDC), led a delegation to attend the first Co-lead meeting of One Planet Network Sustainable Public Procurement Programme held in UNEP Paris office during September 9-10, 2019.

At the meeting, the Chinese delegation had an in-depth discussion with UNEP, the co-leads of the SPP program ICLEI and the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (RWS) on the strategic development, work plan, communication and project cooperation of the programme. Mr. Cheng suggested that SPP programme should integrate different approaches, focus on meeting the specific targets by 2022, and aim at improving the practice of various countries and regions. Ms. ZHANG Xiaodan, General Manager of China Environmental United Center (CEC) introduced the SPP progress of EDC at both national and regional levels, and discussed with the Co-leads about the philosophy of SPP plan based on UNEP indicator system.

This meeting is of great significance to accelerate SPP program implementation and deepen the friendship among co-leads and One Planet Network. It has laid a sound foundation for further expanding the cooperation in sustainable consumption and increased the international influence of China in this field.

During the meeting, Charles Arden-Clarke, head of the Secretariat of UNEP One Planet Network presented the certificate to SPP programme Co-leads.

Read more at CEC News Center

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August 26, 2019

Land is a Critical Resource, IPCC report says

It is under pressure from humans and climate change, but it is part of the solution

Geneva, 8 August 2019 – Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ) said in its latest report on Thursday.

The IPCC, the world body for assessing the state of scientific knowledge related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options, IPCC saw the Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) approved by the world’s governments on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

It will be a key scientific input into forthcoming climate and environment negotiations, such as the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) in New Delhi, India in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile , in December.

Read more at UN news center

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May 27, 2019

National High Level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption held in Beijing


Beijing, China | 25 April 2019 –The National High Level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption for Policy Makers and Stakeholders held in Beijing, co-organized by SWITCH-Asia II Regional Policy Advocacy Component (PPAC) and China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC) with the support of Delegation of the European Union to China, Environmental Development Center of Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China (MEE). Mr. Ren Yong, Director of Environmental Development Center, MEE and Ms. Dechen Tsering, Director of Asia Pacific Regional Office, UNEP, attended and delivered keynote speech.

Mr. Ren Yong stated in his opening remarks that establishing the policy system leading to the transition to green production, consumption and life style is an important task for ecological civilization in China, and the current stage is the key period for developing China's sustainable consumption model, Which fully acknowledged the importance of this dialogue for China's sustainable consumption policy research and recommendations to the Government. Ms. Dechen Tsering, highly appreciates the concept of ecological civilization and low-carbon development advocated by China government, believes this conference will further stimulate sustainable policy making and good practice.

Ms. Zhang Xiaodan, General Manager of CEC/Chief Advisor of Environmental Development Center of MEE, presented the sustainable consumption policy status and trends, and proposed four policy recommendations including "attaching great importance to and firmly grasping the historical opportunity period on transition to green consumption in China". Dr. Mushtaq Memon, Project Manager of SWITCH-Asia II RPAC, briefed the regional activities promotion SCP towards SDG 12. During the panel discussions, representatives made proposal with discussion focusing on the needs, challenges, key areas, roadmap and trends, systems, good practices and related industry practices to promote sustainable consumption model transformation.

Around 60 representatives from national governmental departments, research institutions, civil society, UN and International Organizations, and private sectors participated.

Read more at CEC News

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April 16, 2019

Procurement Can!

10 April 2019-The European Commission – The Directorate General of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs held the high-level conference “Seizing opportunities in the public procurement of tomorrow”, in cooperation with Romanian Presidency on 4th April 2019 in Bucharest at the Parliament House.

Key messages throughout the event were that public procurement can be a:
• Catalyzer for growth, jobs and innovation, it can provide access to markets for SMEs,
• It can be used to gain the trust of citizens in public authorities and democracy, sustainability, and social cohesion.
• It is a key mechanism to address greenhouse gas emissions, local air and water quality, the use of hazardous substances and raw material usage.

The Chair of the Procura+ Network Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of the City of Malmö, who spoke at the event, put it simply: ’procurement can make a significant contribution to achieving goals and targets and address the public sector’s big challenges: health, ageing population, energy security, mobility, resource scarcity, food security and inclusive societies amongst others.’

However, why is it that still today procurement decisions are made based on the lowest price? To address this potential-action gap, Jammeh, emphasized the importance of change at the system level. Also, it is vital to bring tools for change to a level where procurers, policy makers, budget holders understand that what they do has an impact, that they are involved and play a role in addressing achieving environmental and societal goals.

Read more at Procuraplus news centre

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March 21, 2019

World pledges to protect polluted, degraded planet as it adopts blueprint for more sustainable future

Nairobi, 15 March 2019 –The fourth UNEA has concluded its five-day session. The session laid the groundwork for a radical shift to a more sustainable future. Ministers from more than 170 United Nations Member States delivered a bold blueprint for change, saying the world needed to speed up moves towards a new model of development where innovation will be harnessed to tackle environmental challenges, the use of throwaway plastics will be significantly reduced, and development will no longer cost the earth.

Delegates commit to improving national resource management strategies through integrated full life cycle approaches and analyses to achieve a resource-conserving low carbon economy; Promoting sustainable food systems through resilient agricultural systems; Addressing poverty through sustainable management of natural resources; Facilitate the use and sharing of environmental data. Ministers also agreed to significantly reduce the use of single-use plastic products by 2030.

To address critical knowledge gaps, ministers promised to work towards producing comparable international environmental data while improving national monitoring systems and technologies. They also expressed support for UN Environment’s efforts to develop a global environmental data strategy by 2025.

At the close of the Assembly, delegates adopted a series of non-binding resolutions, covering the logistics of shifting to a business-unusual model of development.

These included a recognition that a more circular global economy, in which goods can be reused or repurposed and kept in circulation for as long as possible, can significantly contribute to sustainable consumption and production.

Other resolutions said Member States could transform their economies through sustainable public procurement and urged countries to support measures to address food waste and develop and share best practices on energy-efficient and safe cold chain solutions.

Resolutions also addressed using incentives, including financial measures, to promote sustainable consumption while encouraging Member States to end incentives for unsustainable consumption and production where appropriate.

A key focus of the meeting was the need to protect oceans and fragile ecosystems. Ministers adopted a number of resolutions on marine plastic litter and microplastics, including a commitment to establish a multi-stakeholder platform within UN Environment to take immediate action towards the long-term elimination of litter and microplastics.

Read more at UN news centre

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March 30, 2017

El Salvador makes history as first nation to impose blanket ban on metal mining

Nina Lakhani in Mexico City
Thursday 30 March 2017 12.49 BST

El Salvador has made history after becoming the first country in the world to ban metal mining.

Lawmakers in the water-parched country passed the ban in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, declaring El Salvador a mining-free territory.

The decision followed a long and bitter struggle to protect the Central American country’s diminishing water sources from polluting mining projects.

Campaigners holding banners with the now famous “No to mining, yes to life” slogan celebrated inside and outside the legislative assembly in the capital, San Salvador.

“The vote is a victory for communities who, for more than a decade, have relentlessly organised to keep mining companies out of their territories. The prohibition ensures the long-term ecological viability of a country already considered one of the most environmentally vulnerable in the world,” said Pedro Cabezas, from International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador.

Wednesday’s vote, which was expected by both sides to be much closer, builds on a rising tide of popular opposition to environmentally destructive projects across Latin America, where partial bans have been implemented in Costa Rica, Argentina and Colombia.

El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America and, while rainfall is plentiful, holding on to the water is a major issue because of unsustainable farming practices and inadequate industrial controls that have led to widespread soil erosion and the almost total destruction of its forests.

Read more at The Guardian.

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March 28, 2017

Only Sweden, Germany and France among EU are pursuing Paris climate goals, says study

Arthur Neslen
Tuesday 28 March 2017 12.58 BST

Sweden, Germany and France are the only European countries pursuing environmental policies in line with promises made at the Paris climate conference, according to a new ranking study.

The UK is in fifth position in the table which assesses policy actions taken by EU states to meet Europe’s pledge of a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2030.

Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy are judged to be propping up the league, due to their support for forestry and carbon accounting dodges that weaken the greenhouse gas reduction effort.

“EU politicians portraying themselves as climate leaders should put their money where their mouth is by closing loopholes in the EU’s key climate law and pushing for more ambition,” said Femke de Jong, the EU policy director for Carbon Market Watch, a campaign group that co-drafted the EU Climate Leadership Board survey.

The ranking was compiled using ministerial statements and official documents submitted to the European commission, and was then cross-checked with country representatives.

It focuses on behind-the-scenes lobby forays mounted by EU countries in negotiations over an “effort sharing regulation” to cover the 60% of European emissions that come from transport, buildings, agriculture and waste management.

These fall outside the bloc’s flagship Emissions Trading System (ETS) which allocates tradable pollution permits to heavy industry.

Several countries have tried to gain wiggle room in the talks by pushing for measures such as a later (and higher) baseline for measuring their CO2 cuts, or greater use of forestry credits to meet the EU’s climate goal.

Read more at The Guardian.

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March 27, 2017

Achieving Paris Climate Goals Could Give Global Economy a $19T Boost

March 27, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

$19 trillion — According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), that’s amount the global economy stands to gain if countries rise to the challenge of meeting the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In a new report released by IRENA for the German government, the energy body highlighted how investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency — crucial measures for keeping global warming below the agreed 2 degrees Celsius limit — has the potential to add approximately .8 percent to global GDP by 2050.

However, current rates of investment are not enough to achieve the desired outcome. The CO2 emission intensity of the global economy would need to be reduced by 85 percent in 35 years. This means reducing energy CO2 emissions by 2.6 percent per year on average, or .6 gigatons per year in absolute terms.

Investment would essentially need to double in order to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy, a sum of around $3.5 million annually. IRENA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) — which co-authored the report — also pointed out that the percentage of renewables as a primary energy source would also need to change substantially, increasing to 65 percent by 2050 from 2015’s 15 percent.

While companies such as DONG Energy and Royal Dutch Shell recognize the benefit and necessity of embracing a low-carbon future, the move is still a hard sell for many. The IRENA report suggests that the transformation of the energy sector to a low-carbon model would mean abandoning $10 trillion of coal, gas and oil assets. With investment in renewables, however, these losses could easily be offset, with an added advantage of creating around six million jobs.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 24, 2017

WWF, AHLA, Rockefeller Foundation Kick Off Pilot to Curb Hotel Food Waste

March 24, 2017
by Libby MacCarthy

Food waste is increasingly garnering attention from governments, businesses and private individuals as its impact on both environmental health, food security as well as bottom lines — companies that invest in reducing food waste can expect a 14:1 ROI — are increasingly researched and understood. Now, a new pilot project initiated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) with support from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and The Rockefeller Foundation hopes to make food waste in the hotel industry a thing of the past.

Food production has the largest environmental footprint of any human activity, yet one-third of the world’s available food either spoils or gets thrown away. Forty-percent of food is wasted through the supply chain in the United States and the majority of that loss comes from homes and food service industries, including the hotel industry. Improved food management strategies across food service operations present industry-transforming potential, which ultimately has led WWF and the AHLA’s Food & Beverage and Sustainability Committees to join forces to develop actionable projects to prevent food waste through better food management.

Hotel brands participating in the projects include Hilton, Hyatt, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Marriott International, as well as Hershey Entertainement & Resorts, Sage Hospitality and Terranea Resort. The pilots were also developed with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise Initiative, which aims to reduce post-harvest food loss and halve the world’s food waste by 2030.

“With its substantial food service volume and broad reach with consumers, the hospitality industry is an ideal catalyst for accelerating change,” said Pete Pearson, Director of Food Waste at WWF. “Imagine every hotel breakfast buffet or conference luncheon eliminating food waste. While businesses should make food donation and landfill diversion a priority, these pilot projects will focus on food waste prevention, which is ultimately better for business and the environment.”

Recent research conducted by WWF shows a strong need for industry-wide training and education on food waste reduction among hotel properties, and a general lack of measurement and track of food waste. Each pilot project within the program has been developed to tackle a critical step along the food waste supply chain. This includes measuring food waste outputs on a regular basis, improving employee training programs, creating menus designed to limit food waste and raising awareness with customers.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 23, 2017

Waste materials are an underused resource in the construction of Europe’s roads

Recycled waste material could play a major role in the construction of roads in Europe, bringing both environmental and economic benefits. A new study proposes a scenario where 50% of the asphalt for Europe’s roads consists of recycled materials, leading to significant reductions in costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the European Waste Framework Directive, there is a need to promote reuse and recycling, which are the preferred options to disposal or incineration of waste. However, there need to be clear pathways for that recycled waste to take. One such pathway is reuse in the construction and renovation of Europe’s road network. Europe’s road network is the key component in its transport infrastructure, and as such it requires constant maintenance; every year 4.7 million kilometres of new road are built.

Waste is already used in road construction. This study suggests that the input of recycled materials in road construction can be increased, with the potential for both economic and environmental benefits. The researchers assessed certain waste materials as substitutes for virgin raw materials that normally form the basis for new roads.

These waste materials, which include glass, asphalt, concrete, wood and plastics, were considered appropriate substitutes because they demonstrate comparable performance to traditional materials and are available in large quantities, with effective systems in place for their collection. In addition, there are no alternative applications with higher value for these waste materials, and they are too expensive to dispose of by traditional methods such as incineration. Part of the analysis also looks at potential sources for the materials, such as construction and demolition waste and end-of-life vehicles.

Read more at "Sciencefor Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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March 23, 2017

Recyclables must be collected separately for circular economy to succeed, says panel

By Janie Matthews | EURACTIV.com
23 March 2017

Separate collection of recyclable materials is the key to a successful circular economy but some member states struggle to put the necessary infrastructure in place, policymakers told a EURACTIV event held on Tuesday (21 March).

Europe is on the fast track to having a circular economy, a vision of the future where no resources are wasted and all materials are recycled.

Materials need to be collected separately in order to minimise waste but not all EU member states are willing, or capable, of making separate collection a priority.

“We want to achieve something ambitious, but we need to keep in mind that member states are at different levels,” said Edward Vernon, Environment Unit Coordinator for Malta, which currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

Separate collection will be one of the issues up for discussion at forthcoming Council meetings, he said, expressing hope that a political agreement on the circular economy package can be reached by the end of 2017.

“We listen to the member states, and we need the majority of them on board,” he told the EURACTIV event, supported by FEFCO, the European Corrugated Packaging Association.

Plastic under the spotlight
But the recycling of plastics have been and will continue to be an obstacle, according to Kestutis Sadauskas, who is director for the Circular Economy and Green Growth at the European Commission.

Davor Škrlec, a Green MEP from Croatia, admitted his country was a “champion in landfilling”, particularly with plastics.

The current goal is for 85% of paper to be recycled by 2030, and Sadauskas says plastics need to catch up and “follow the example of paper”.

Read more at EURACTIV.

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March 23, 2017

Timberland’s New Line Is Made From Trash Collected From The Streets In Haiti

03.10.17 | 5:45 PM

A new backpack started life as 7.5 plastic bottles trashed on streets in Haiti.

The backpack–part of a new line of boots, bags, and t-shirts made by Timberland–looks like it’s made from canvas. But the material is 50% recycled plastic, sourced from a place that both has excess trash and a desperate need for jobs.

“It just so happens that we have this enormous resource that exists, and it just seems to be locked up in some of the toughest parts of the world,” Ian Rosenberger, CEO of Thread, the certified B Corporation that creates the fabric used in the collection, tells Co.Exist.

In Haiti, for the fabric made for Timberland, more than 1,300 people collected plastic bottles, and sold them to 50 Haitian-owned and operated collection centers that Thread partners with.

The process to turn a bottle into fabric is fairly simple: the plastic is mechanically broken down into flakes, put through something that looks like a Play-Doh extruder, and then rolled and manipulated into bales that can be spun into fabric. Plastic bottles are made from oil; so is polyester. When a bottle is recycled into fabric, the end result looks the same as if it had come from fossil fuels (it can also be recycled into other products, such as printer cartridges).

“It is the same as virgin polyester,” says Rosenberger. “But because it comes from these areas, it’s actually helping people as opposed to destroying the environment. It puts us in the position where we can talk about some of the amazing things it’s providing for folks, namely jobs.”

The polyester can also be blended with cotton, as in the case of the Timberland products.

Read more at FAST COMPANY.

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March 23, 2017

Wastewater cleaned thanks to a new adsorbent material made from fruit peels


Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), and from the Center for Electrochemical Research and Technological Development (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Electroquímica, CIDETEQ) and the Center of Engineering and Industrial Development (Centro de Ingeniería y Desarrollo Industrial, CIDESI), both in Mexico, have developed a process that allows to clean waters containing heavy metals and organic compounds considered pollutants, using a new adsorbent material made from the peels of fruits such as oranges and grapefruits.

Said peels are residues which pose a problem for the food industry, given that they take up a great volume and aren't very useful nowadays. 38.2 million tons of said fruit peels are estimated to be produced worldwide each year in the food industry.

The research, in which the UGR participates, has served for designing a new process by which, thanks to an Instant Controlled Pressure Drop treatment, it is possible to modify the structure of said residues, giving them adsorbent properties such as a greater porosity and surface area.

Researcher Luis Alberto Romero Cano, from the Carbon Materials Research Team (Grupo de Investigación en Materiales de Carbón) at the Faculty of Science, UGR, explains that, by a subsequent chemical treatment, they "have managed to add functional groups to the material, thus making it selective in order to remove metals and organic pollutants present in water".

Read more at EurekAlert!

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March 22, 2017

Carbon fibre: the wonder material with a dirty secret

Mark Harris
Wednesday 22 March 2017 05.00 GMT

Carbon fibre is increasingly celebrated as a wonder material for the clean economy. Its unique combination of high strength and low weight has helped drive the wind power revolution and make planes more fuel efficient.

Carbon fibre turbine blades can be longer and more rigid than traditional fibreglass models, making them more resilient at sea and more efficient in less breezy conditions.

Auto makers are also waking up to the material’s potential to make lighter and more efficient vehicles. McLaren recently announced plans to open a factory in Sheffield to manufacture carbon fibre sports cars, and BMW’s i3 is fitted with a carbon fibre passenger unit – the first such mass-produced car.

But carbon fibre has a dirty secret: the hi-tech material is wasteful to produce and difficult to recycle.

Excess waste for landfill
To become the strong, light composite material industries love, carbon fibre is combined with a plastic polymer resin. But the manufacturing process, in which sheets of composite material are often laid up by hand, is wasteful.

By the time they’ve been trimmed to size, almost a third of these carbon fibre sheets end up on factory floors, according to recycling company ELG Carbon Fibre. Where the material does make it into products, most of it will ultimately end up in landfill, the firm says.

A report (pdf) in February from the environmental charity Green Alliance listed carbon fibre as one of several novel materials that could create waste problems in the future unless swift action is taken to make it ready for recycling and reuse.

Read more at The Guardian.

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March 17, 2017

Korea needs to put green growth vision into action

16/03/2017 - Korea has improved access to environmental services and become a world leader in climate change mitigation technology. However, it will need to accelerate its green growth reforms to temper the effects of a decade of vigorous economic expansion that has pushed up energy use, resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD’s third Environmental Performance Review of Korea recommends that the country review its energy and climate policies to ensure they are in line with its international climate commitments and do more to develop large-scale carbon capture and storage to compensate for new coal plants coming online in the years ahead. Energy prices and taxes need to be adjusted to better reflect the environmental costs of energy production and use.

With an energy mix dominated by fossil fuels, Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 39% from 2000 to 2013, the second-highest growth rate of OECD countries over the period. Korea now ranks as the OECD area’s fifth-largest GHG emitter, up from ninth place in 2000, and if current trends continue GHG emissions will have tripled by 2030 from 1990 levels.

‌“Korea has been a champion in framing ambitious green growth policies. It now needs to turn its vision into action by making progress towards its climate goals”, said OECD Environment Director Simon Upton, presenting the Review in Seoul.

“As a technology leader, Korea is well placed to profit from the transition to a low-carbon economy. But that will only happen if it implements low-carbon reforms that reward clean-tech innovation and penalise polluters”, Mr Upton said.

The predominance of heavy industry makes Korea a resource-intensive economy, yet material productivity has improved as material consumption has been decoupled from economic growth. With the 2016 Framework Act on Resource Circulation, Korea is moving towards a “circular economy” which promotes greater recycling and re-use and contributes to raw material and energy supply security.

Read more at the OECD website.

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March 17, 2017

Smarter use of natural resources can inject $2 trillion into global economy by 2050 – UN

17 March 2017 – The United Nations has found that smarter and more efficient use of the world’s natural resources today can yield an “environmental win-win’ by injecting $2 trillion into the global economy by 2050 while also offsetting the costs of ambitious climate change action.

Citing new research from the International Resource Panel in anews release today, Erik Solheim, Head the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), called it “an environmental win-win.”

The global population, which is set to grow by 28 per cent, is predicted to use 71 per cent more resources per capita by 2050. Without urgent steps to increase efficiency, the global use of metals, biomass, minerals – such as sand – and other materials will increase from 85 to 186 billion tonnes per year by 2050.

The report, “Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications,” which was commissioned in 2015 and released in Berlin at the G20 meeting, found that while investment in ambitious climate action would cause a 3.7 per cent fall in per capita gross world product by 2050, more sustainable use of materials and energy would not only cover the cost of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, but also add an extra $2 trillion to the global economy by 2050.

“By making better use of our planet's natural gifts, we will inject more money into the economy to create jobs and improve livelihoods,” Mr. Solheim stressed. “At the same time we will create the necessary funds to finance ambitious climate action,” he added.

The report analyzed four paths that countries could take over the next three decades, ranging from ‘business as usual’ to a scenario where they adopt both ambitious climate policies and improve resource efficiency.

Read more at UN News Centre.

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March 15, 2017

Kenya announces breakthrough ban on plastic bags

March 15, 2017

15 March 2017 – The Government of Kenya announced today a ban on the use, manufacture and import of all plastic bags, to take effect in six months. This announcement comes just three weeks after the UN declared a “war on plastic” through its new Clean Seas initiative, which has already secured commitments to address major plastic pollution from 10 governments.

Some 100 million plastic bags are handed out every year in Kenya by supermarkets alone. Long identified as a major cause of environmental damage and health problems, they kill birds, fish and other animals that mistake them for food, damage agricultural land, pollute tourist sites and provide breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever.

“Kenya is taking decisive action to remove an ugly stain on its outstanding natural beauty,” said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. “Plastic waste also causes immeasurable damage to fragile ecosystems - both on land and at sea - and this decision is a major breakthrough in our global effort to turn the tide on plastic.

“Kenya should be commended for its environmental leadership. It's a great example that I hope will inspire others, and help drive further commitments to the Clean Seas campaign.”

Plastic bags are the number one challenge for urban waste disposal in Kenya, particularly in the poorest communities where access to disposal systems and healthcare is limited.

They also contribute to the 8 million tonnes of plastic that leak into the ocean every year. At current rates by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish, wreaking havoc on marine fisheries, wildlife and tourism.

Kenya today is the 11th country to take action in support of the UN Environment campaign. In Africa, Rwanda and Morocco have already banned plastic bags and other countries are set to announce measures in the coming weeks.

Further afield, Indonesia has committed to slash marine litter by 70%, Canada has added microbeads (tiny particles of plastic) to its list of toxic substances, and New Zealand, the UK and the US have annouced bans on microbeads in cosmetics.

Read more at UNEP Newscentre.

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March 13, 2017

Report Reveals Gap Between Marketers and C-Suite in Driving the Sustainability Agenda

March 13, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword these days — it’s insurance against reputational risk, the key to new market opportunities, a safeguard against climate change and a critical element for staying competitive. And companies that are resistant to adopting a defined sustainability standards will feel the effects.

Mind the Gap: How Marketers Feel About Sustainability, a new report by marketing website The Drum and marketing agency gyro, finds that while the majority of marketers feel a moral imperative to incorporate sustainability practices into business, only 38 percent of the companies they work for have defined strategies.

Over two hundred brands and agencies were surveyed for the report to understand how marketers perceive their organization’s impact on the environment, the barriers they encounter and how they view their roles alongside the C-suite in driving the sustainability agenda. An absence of management urgency, a lack of buy-in from management and cost of initial investments were identified as the three principle barriers faced by forward-thinking marketers. What’s more, 52 percent of marketers that participated in the survey said their companies did not have sustainability strategies.

“Nothing is more humanly relevant than sustainability,” says Christoph Becker, global CEO and CCO of gyro. “Now is the time for business to drive positive and necessary change. Because sustainability isn’t just about business, it is about the future of life itself. As this groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind study proves, a company’s stated approach to sustainability is the primary marker that shows it is living up to its stated ideals.”

Mind the Gap points to several key benefits for businesses that integrate sustainability into their operations. Forty-two percent of marketers believe investment in sustainability will lead to long-term financial gains and 41 percent feeling confident sustainability will put them at a strong competitive advantage in the market over the next five years. Additionally, 52 percent feel that investing sustainability will boost brand perception.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 13, 2017

Wales continues to lead UK in recycling, announces circular economy fund

By George Ogleby | edie.net
13 March 2017

The Circular Economy Capital Investment Fund (CECIF), which kicks off in 2019, will assist businesses in various ways; from increasing recycling for hospitality, tourism and food services sectors, to improving the use of recycled content in products manufactured in Wales.

The news was delivered late last week by Wales Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Lesley Griffiths, who said: “The £6.5m fund underlines our commitment to moving towards a circular economy.

“This will help businesses save money by becoming more resource efficient and resilient, an approach that will deliver numerous environmental benefits including less waste and reduced CO2 emissions.”

Proud achievement
The fund will help Wales towards the milestones of 70% recycling by 2025 and 100% recycling by 2050, as set out in the Welsh government’s waste strategy Towards Zero Waste. Recent studies have found the adoption of a circular economy could save the Welsh economy up to £2bn and has the potential to create up to 30,000 jobs.

Wales already leads the way in the UK on recycling rates, which last year jumped to 60%, exceeding a national 58% recycling target for 2015/2016.

The figures reveal that the country has doubled the amount of waste it has recycled over the past decade, thanks in the main to a close collaborative relationship between the Welsh government and local authorities.

Read more at EURACTIV.

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March 13, 2017

Emissions Blamed for 1,260 Premature Deaths

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, March 13, 2017 (ENS) – Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and two other institutions report that Volkswagen’s emissions in excess of the legal standards have had a deadly effect on public health not just in Germany but across Europe and in the United States.

In September 2015, the German Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest car producer, admitted to having installed “defeat devices” in 11 million diesel cars sold worldwide between 2008 and 2015.

The devices were designed to detect and adapt to laboratory tests, making the cars appear to comply with environmental standards when, in fact, they emitted pollutants called nitric oxides, or NOx, at levels that were on average four times the applicable European test-stand limit.

While Volkswagen has issued recalls of affected vehicles in both the United States and Europe, scientists at MIT, Harvard University and Hasselt University in Belgium have found the excess emissions have already affected public health.

The team previously estimated that the excess emissions generated by the 482,000 affected vehicles sold in the United States will cause approximately 60 premature deaths.

Now the researchers have looked more closely at Volkswagen’s home base, examining the health impact from the 2.6 million affected cars sold in Germany under Volkswagen Group’s brands VW, Audi, Skoda, and Seat.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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March 13, 2017

City strategies to make buildings more energy efficient

By David Hatch, Citiscope
Monday 13 March 2017

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings lacks the glamour of headline-grabbing urban innovations such as drone-based delivery and elevated bicycle highways.

Yet for cities determined to achieve sustainable growth, it’s a must. Buildings account for about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and it’s more like half in many big cities.

Reducing the energy used to heat, cool and light buildings has to be an essential ingredient of any municipality’s broader climate goals.

A pair of reports released last month contain recommendations and case studies aimed at helping city leaders craft policies for the buildings sector.

The first, from the World Resources Institute (WRI), highlights strategies that local governments can employ to maximise efficiency in buildings.

Accelerating Building Efficiency - 8 Actions for Urban Leaders, emphasises that decisions made today on how to construct, design and operate buildings will have lasting consequences owing to the long lifespan of buildings.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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March 10, 2017

How Health Care Is Pushing Sustainability Ahead of Consumer Demand

March 10, 2017
by Gary Cohen

Over the last few years, we’ve seen consumer demand accelerate the push for corporate responsibility in business. Consumers today aren’t just paying lip service to good causes; more are choosing to ‘vote with their dollars,’ seeking out and purchasing products from companies that align with their values.

In today’s highly charged and politicized business environment, companies seen as lacking in social responsibility can sometimes suffer, leading to a loss in sales. A good example can be seen in the experience of Uber, whose CEO has been under fire for several instances of perceived corporate irresponsibility. Consumers are using the power of their purchases — and their opinions — to hold companies accountable and ultimately influence which businesses succeed and those who don’t. From a business perspective, the pressure is on.

Companies from all sectors have responded by showing that their work can help people, profit and planet all thrive together. For example, tech companies such as Intel have significantly reduced energy consumption while increasing the use of clean energy (Intel is the largest purchase of green power in the U.S.). Companies are also transforming their own products to be more sustainable every year while also pushing suppliers to meet sustainability goals. These strategies build on commitments to social and environmental responsibility while signaling a strong case to customers to support them. And these efforts are paying off.

So, what if leaders in the health care industry also operated its facilities and managed care with sustainability in mind?

Well, it already does. Health care has been working behind the scenes to create sustainable, responsible facilities that provide better care that is supportive of local communities and more mission-aligned than ever before. The industry is well-positioned to meet growing patient and staff demand for sustainable hospitals.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 9, 2017

Can supermarkets encourage customers to cut food waste through social media? Analysis of UK campaign shows mixed results

Vast quantities of food are wasted on a global scale each year. Throwing away food also wastes the resources used to produce it and pushes up food prices. In addition, this loss harms the environment — deforestation, for example, has been partly linked with creating agricultural land for growing food that is subsequently wasted. Furthermore, food that is disposed of in landfill emits methane and carbon dioxide. Reducing food waste is, therefore, a crucial part of moving towards a sustainable society. The EU, for example, is committed to reducing food waste as part of its drive towards a circular economy.

Behaviour change research has found that face-to-face influence, where people learn from one another — for instance, showing your neighbours how to compost, can be very powerful. Some researchers have suggested that social media could encourage behaviour change in the same way as face-to-face contact, potentially influencing large numbers of people in a cost-effective manner.

This study explored whether social media could be used to help consumers at a large UK retailer reduce their food waste. The researchers worked closely with the store’s organisation to design three one-off interventions with messages to reduce food waste, using the store’s communication channels.

For the first intervention, a feature article containing expert tips for reducing the most commonly wasted food at home was published in one issue of the store’s magazine. Every month, the magazine is circulated to 1.9 million readers and is available in-store or online. The article included advice on how to store food and use up leftovers in appetising ways.

For the second intervention, two feature articles were published in the store’s e-newsletter, which is distributed to 1.4 million customers. One feature discussed household food waste and how to use leftovers. There was also a link to a social media campaign, which encouraged customers to share ideas for reducing food waste. The second feature advised consumers on how to store food and keep it fresh.

The third intervention posted a campaign on leftovers on the store's Facebook page. Customers were encouraged to interact by sending in their favourite recipes using leftover food and also to go to a separate website which gives advice on how to reduce food waste.

Read more at : "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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March 9, 2017

EPA head Scott Pruitt denies that carbon dioxide causes global warming

Oliver Milman
Thursday 9 March 2017 19.12 GMT

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has dismissed a basic scientific understanding of climate change by denying that carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of global warming.

Pruitt said on Thursday that he did not believe that the release of CO2, a heat-trapping gas, was pushing global temperatures upwards.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” he told CNBC.

“But we don’t know that yet ... We need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis.”

This stance puts Pruitt at odds with his own agency, which states on its website that carbon dioxide is the “primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”. This finding is backed by Nasa, which calls CO2 “the most important long-lived ‘forcing’ of climate change”.

Scientists have understood for more than a century that CO2 traps heat. Atmospheric concentrations of the gas have increased by more than a third since the industrial revolution, driven by the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Read more at The Guardian.

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March 9, 2017

Pure Strategies: Increased Corporate Sustainability Spending Spurred Gains of $5-8B in 2016

March 9, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

New research from sustainability consulting firm Pure Strategies reveals growth in corporate spending in sustainability; more than 80 percent of surveyed companies expect a budget increase from 2016 to 2017 with a third anticipating double-digit growth.

Conducted by research firm Verdantix, Pure Strategies interviewed 153 sustainability leads in global companies with revenue of at least $250 million in the food and beverage, apparel and footwear, life sciences and medical products, electronics and appliances, home care and cleaning, personal care and cosmetics, and general merchandise industries.

The 153 survey respondents reported gaining approximately $800 million from increased sales and $800 million in manufacturing cost savings, with additional earnings in risk reduction, productivity gains and enhanced growth opportunities adding up to billions in value. Companies that report earning the most from sustainability plan to further increase their budgets, pointing to a key link between sustainability program investment and business benefits.

“The business case for sustainability has never been stronger,” noted Tim Greiner, Pure Strategies managing director. “Investment is higher than ever, especially from the top performers. But resources must shift to promoting more productive and regenerative systems, clean energy, safer materials and fair opportunities. These shifts are where change is most needed and where companies can find the greatest business value.”

The survey reveals encouraging signs of progress, including an increase in the number of companies using renewable energy, from 26 percent in 2016 to 46 percent in 2019. Seventy percent of respondents have also indicated that they are embracing safer materials. This area is expected to grow by 15 percent during the period between 2016 and 2019.

The survey and its respondents identified Walmart as the number one retailer driving investment in sustainability, receiving twice as many votes as its competitor Target, the second most cited retailer. In two previous Pure Strategies studies, Walmart was named the top retailer stimulating investment in product sustainability.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 8, 2017

New World Bank Program Explores Concentrated Solar Power Potential in Middle East & North Africa

March 8, 2017

Ouarzazate, March 8, 2017 - More than 100 senior energy officials from 7 MENA countries have gathered in Ouarzazate, Morocco for the first session of the World Bank Middle East & North Africa Concentrated Solar Power Knowledge & Innovation Program (MENA CSP KIP), a new program designed to support officials exploring the potential of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) as a sustainable source for the region’s rising demand for energy.

The World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund announced the launch of the MENA CSP KIP with an inaugural conference at Ouarzazate, the site of the world’s largest CSP plant. The new program will help inform decisions on CSP investment projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region with some of the world’s best solar energy resources. Alongside other clean energy options, CSP offers great potential for meeting global and national goals for clean, secure and affordable energy.

One of the primary advantages of CSP is that it can rely on thermal storage to continue generating power after the sun goes down. This makes CSP as reliable as the fossil fuel-driven plants it can replace. The program kicked off with a workshop on Concentrated Solar Power Markets, System Value & Financing.

The gathering in Ouarzazate —is the first of a series of conferences to be held through 2019. The program was launched in Morocco to draw on the lessons the country has learned with the launch of its ground breaking CSP program. Participants will explore lessons about development, technology and financing from Noor-Ouarzazate I, II and III, along with lessons from other CSP projects launched around the world.

Read more at The World Bank News.

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March 7, 2017

New Research Finds Companies Saved $14 for Every $1 Invested in Reducing Food Waste

Washington, 7 March 2017: One-third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, which has tremendous economic, social and environmental consequences. New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 finds that for every US$1 companies invested to reduce food loss and waste, they saved US$14 in operating costs. The report finds that household savings could be much greater.

In a first-of-its kind analysis, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste. The types of investments companies made include: quantifying and monitoring food loss and waste, training staff on practices to reduce waste, changing food storage and handling processes, changing packaging to extend shelf-life, changing date labels, and other staff and technology investments.

"Too much food, or too little – this is something that everyone on the planet can connect with. Today, over one-third of the food we produce is lost or goes to waste – and while 800 million people go hungry every day, the weight loss industry generates revenue of about $60 billion per year in the U.S. alone," said Peter Bakker.

The 14:1 return on investment comes from not buying food that would have been lost or wasted, increasing the share of food that is sold to customers, introducing new product lines made from food that otherwise would have been lost or wasted, reducing waste management costs and other savings.

Read more at WBCSD News & Insights.

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March 6, 2017

Turning food waste into tires

By: Pam Frost Gorder
Published on March 06, 2017

WOOSTER, Ohio—Tomorrow’s tires could come from the farm as much as the factory.

Researchers at The Ohio State University have discovered that food waste can partially replace the petroleum-based filler that has been used in manufacturing tires for more than a century.

In tests, rubber made with the new fillers exceeds industrial standards for performance, which may ultimately open up new applications for rubber.

As Katrina Cornish explains it, the technology has the potential to solve three problems: It makes the manufacture of rubber products more sustainable, reduces American dependence on foreign oil and keeps waste out of landfills.

Cornish, an Ohio Research Scholar and Endowed Chair in Biomaterials at Ohio State, has spent years cultivating new domestic rubber sources, including a rubber-producing dandelion. Now she has a patent-pending method for turning eggshells and tomato peels into viable—and locally sourced—replacements for carbon black, a petroleum-based filler that American companies often purchase from overseas.

About 30 percent of a typical automobile tire is carbon black; it’s the reason tires appear black. It makes the rubber durable, and its cost varies with petroleum prices.

Read more at The Ohio State University News.

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March 3, 2017

Circularity of Hazardous Chemicals Requires New Legal Framework, NGOs Say

March 3, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Policymakers must limit chemicals entering the material cycle and adapt existing legislation in order to protect human health and the environment from toxic substances in a circular economy, say ClientEarth and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) in a new report.

The NGOs indicate that the current legal framework has failed to ensure information about dangerous chemicals is diffused throughout the whole material cycle and potential subsequent lifecycles.

“The failure places economic operators in a situation where it is more costly to comply with legal requirements protecting human health and the environment when using recycled and recovered materials than with using virgin ones,” the report says.

In its 2015 EU Action Plan, the EU set as a priority the transition to a circular economy, where goods are used, recycled or repurposed. However, applying circular principles to products containing hazardous chemicals will require careful consideration.

“Allowing dangerous chemicals in a circular economy would mean infinite exposure of people and the environment to toxics, and perpetuating the mistakes from the past,” said ClientEarth lawyer Alice Bernard.

Keeping It Clean: How to protect the circular economy from hazardous substances analyzes the benefits and shortcomings of EU chemicals, product and waste legislation, and offers recommendations to improve the legal framework for a better circularity of materials.

Limiting hazardous chemicals from entering the material cycle in the first place is essential, according to the report, and would facilitate the future use of recovered materials for companies and therefore the circular economy. To achieve this, the two NGOs call for implementation of REACH and other legislation restricting the use of hazardous chemicals.

Keeping It Clean also urges policymakers to ensure companies have access to sufficient information on the presence, location and concentration of hazardous chemicals in products and materials recovered from waste. Such a move will help reduce the burden on businesses making products with recovered materials and improve the protection of human health and the environment.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 3, 2017

New Timberland X Thread Collection Made with 'Most Responsible Fabric on the Planet'

March 3, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland has launched the Timberland X Thread collection in partnership with Thread, the Certified B Corporation that transforms plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti into what Thread calls “the most responsible fabric on the planet.” The collection goes beyond environmental sustainability, creating social value and impact in the form of cleaner neighborhoods and meaningful new job opportunities.

“The Timberland X Thread collection is incredible proof that style and sustainability can go hand-in-hand,” said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland. “This collection delivers good with every fiber, not just by recycling plastic bottles that would otherwise end up littering the streets, but also by creating job opportunities and cleaner neighborhoods in Haiti. Consumers can feel good about pulling on their Timberland® X ThreadTM boots or backpack, and know they are making a positive impact in someone else’s life.”

The new products build upon Timberland’s longstanding commitment to be Earthkeepers – to innovate and operate its business in an accountable and responsible manner. With a shared passion for supporting communities in Haiti, Timberland and Thread were natural partners from the start. Both companies are determined to look beyond the environmental value of recycled plastic bottles to focus on responsibility, transparency, and creating social value.

Last month, Thread released its fourth annual impact report – an illustration of its commitment to these same values. To engage more than CSR professionals in the company’s accomplishments in 2016, Thread enhanced this year’s iteration with videos, animated stats, and an interactive supply chain map – users can explore the lifecycle of Ground to Good fabric from profiles of owners of the bottle collection centers in Haiti to yarn spinners and dye houses in North Carolina, to where it is cut, sewn, and assembled into finished Timberland x Thread products at Timberland's partner facilities in Vietnam.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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March 2, 2017

‘Communicating SDGs’ key to achieving global development targets – senior UN official

2 March 2017 – Bringing together a diverse array of partners to communicate the Sustainable Development Goals was a key focus on day two Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development, a ‘playable’ United Nations conference that aims to chart a new way of thinking on addressing some of the world’s most complex development challenges.

“We have to make the world aware of this […] agenda that is definitely going to transform the planet and that is going to ensure that no one is left behind,” Cristina Gallach, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, told the Festival.

“The more we communicate about the SDGs and make people aware of the agenda, the more the governments will be accountable and will ensure that it is implemented,” she added.

The UN Department headed by Ms. Gallach, Department of Public Information, is the organization’s entity tasked with informing the wider world on the SDGs and ensuring that the 17 goals are known and understood.

To that end, 17 ‘icons’ – each with a designated bright colour, short name phrase and single image – have been created to illustrate each Global Goal.

The icons have also been translated in over 50 languages, from Czech to Bahasa Indonesia, and the number is growing.

Read more at the UN News Centre.

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March 1, 2017

European Green Public Procurement NGO network issues GPP guide

1 March 2017

The European GPP NGO Network has published its Green Public Procurement Guide for NGOs, aimed at enabling NGOs to encourage public procurers to embrace GPP principles and processes. The 16-page guide provides GPP ideas in four key GPP sectors: food and catering, road vehicles, energy-consuming products and buildings.

Transferable examples of GPP projects completed by local authorities and other public agencies from across the EU are presented as case studies.
No previous knowledge of the procurement legislative context or prior engagement with GPP is required to use the guide, which also contains useful facts and figures demonstrating the budgetary and environmental benefits to local authorities of implementing GPP principles in their procurement processes.

Practical advice on how NGOs can approach local authorities with low awareness, commitment to or capacity in GPP is provided alongside a resource list and testimonials on how embracing GPP has impacted cities and NGOs.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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February 28, 2017

Paris 2024 Taps Into Technology for the Most Sustainable Olympic Games Ever

February 28, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

The Olympic Games offer an opportunity for the world to come together on peaceful terms and helps generate a sense of comradery among the global community. But it’s not only the athletes and spectators who feel the Games’ impact — the environment does too. An event of such scale can have significant implications for the natural landscape and careful environmental management and sustainability strategies are essential in order to lessen negative impacts.

The Paris 2024 Bid Committee is working to do just that. The Committee has joined stakeholders from across the sporting, business and political spectrum to address the environmental challenges facing the sport industry and share its ambitious strategy for the most sustainable Games ever at Climate Action’s Sustainable Innovation in Sport 2017 conference in Munich, Germany.

The meeting brought together key figures from government, governing bodies, clubs, federations and the private sector to debate and discuss the challenges and opportunities around enhancing sustainability in sport. Representing Paris 2024, Jérôme Lachaze, Head of Sustainability and Marie Barsacq, Director of Legacy, met with international colleagues to talk about Paris 2024’s vision on sustainability, looking at ways to max global partnerships for the Games and to help advance discussions for a more sustainable world of sport.

“Our innovative and ultra-compact Games are connected by the best public transport network, with 95 percent of venues existing or temporary,” said Jérôme Lachaze. “Paris 2024 will be the first Games aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, showing we are doing our share to help protect our planet for future generations.”

Paris 2024 has also released an outline platform and animated film highlighting its commitment to creating a sustainable spectator experience. Developed in collaboration with all of Paris 2024’s official partners and suppliers, the website offers a taste of the spectator experience in 2024 and includes a glimpse of the innovative technology that will be used to ensure Paris 2024 delivers on its promise to be the most sustainable games in history. For example, wristbands will store visitors’ bookings and reservations, and serve as a means of payment on all of Paris’ public transport.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 27, 2017

PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Look to Youth Innovation, Consumers to Make Shift Towards Zero Impact

February 27, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

The use of post-consumer recycled materials as feedstock for new bottles and cans has become common practice for the beverage industry, but there is still more to be done to reduce waste and increase recycling. Industry giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are working towards overcoming these challenges by supporting eco-innovation and government initiatives.

The recipients of PepsiCo’s Zero Impact Fund — an expansion of PepsiCo Recycling’s college and university programs to help bring campus eco-innovations to life — have been announced. Eight colleges and universities will each receive a contribution from PepsiCo to help accomplish their environmental goals:

Centre College (Danville, Ky.)
Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, Kan.)
Millersville University (Millersville, Pa.)
Northern Kentucky University (Newport, Ky.)
University of California Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)
University of California Irvine (Irvine, Calif.)
University of Massachusetts Lowell (Lowell, Mass.)
University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa)

“The Zero Impact Fund showcases great examples of the innovative and sustainable ideas that can come from college campuses,” said Tim Carey, senior director of sustainability at PepsiCo. “We’re excited to see how our Zero Impact Fund recipients will bring their campus eco-innovations to life and are proud to play a role in helping implement original ideas that reduce the impact that college campuses and their business partners have on the environment.”

Launched in August 2016, the Zero Impact Fund encouraged PepsiCo colleges and universities to submit project proposals for the 2016-2017 school year. More than 40 applications were received and one proposal per school was evaluated based on environmental, economic and social impacts, along with desirability, feasibility, longevity and ingenuity.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 27, 2017

Consumption-Based Metrics: The Next Challenge for Zero-Waste Cities

February 27, 2017
by Maxine Perella

Cities are major contributors to – and battlegrounds of – climate change. According to a report from the UN Habitat, cities pump out roughly 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions whilst just occupying just 2 percent of the Earth’s land. Effective waste management and more intelligent use of material resources can not only play a significant role in reducing such emissions, but help urban environments prosper through improved public health impacts and citizen enterprise.

The US’ zero-waste city movement has been steadily growing in recent years – according to Kate Bailey, director of Eco-Cycle Solutions, there are at least 50 US cities with an established zero waste plan or goal. However, measuring their progress can be tricky; the definition of ‘zero waste’ is open to interpretation (for some, it simply means landfill diversion) and the variance in performance indicators makes standardization difficult.

“Comparing diversion rates and program metrics between cities is a big challenge for our industry,” Bailey says. “Our most tried and true metric has always been the recycling rate, but there is growing clamour about its fundamental flaws.”

These flaws include the fact that recycling often doesn’t factor in waste reduction or reuse efforts. “It implies that our ultimate goal is 100 percent recycling, which does not translate to the most efficient use of resources. For example, we know that reducing the obscene amount of food wasted is far better than composting all our leftovers,” Bailey maintains.

Eco-Cycle Solutions is advocating for a new metric to standardize measurement and comparison across the industry – pounds disposed per person per year. “This number is what we ultimately want to drive down to zero,” Bailey says. “By measuring pounds per person disposed, we can capture the ultimate goal of a circular economy by measuring how well we keep materials in productive use, and more easily measure our programs by using data from disposal facilities, rather than tracking down data at countless recycling or reuse facilities, or estimating generation rates.”

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 23, 2017

Indonesia joins UN in a bid to eradicate ocean plastic

23 February 2017 – Indonesia joined today UN Environment's unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microbeads in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic.

Joining the #CleanSeas campaign, Indonesia pledged to cut plastic waste in 25 coastal cities and reduce marine litter by a massive 70 per cent in just eight years.

Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits – before irreversible damage is done to our seas.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said, "It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop."

Throughout the year, the #CleanSeas campaign will be announcing ambitious measures by countries and businesses to eliminate microbeads from personal care products, ban or tax single-use bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items.

Indonesia is among the ten first countries to join the campaign with far-reaching pledges to clean up their seas. Uruguay has committed to tax single-use plastic by the end of this year and Costa Rica will take measures to dramatically reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.

Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 90 per cent of all litter floating in our oceans is made of plastic.

According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Read more at the UN Environment ROAP News Center.

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February 23, 2017

UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

23 February 2017 – UN Environment launched today an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022.

Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, the #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits – before irreversible damage is done to our seas.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said, "It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop."

Throughout the year, the #CleanSeas campaign will be announcing ambitious measures by countries and businesses to eliminate microplastics from personal care products, ban or tax single-use bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items.

Ten countries have already joined the campaign with far-reaching pledges to turn the plastic tide. Indonesia has committed to slash its marine litter by a massive 70 per cent by 2025; Uruguay will tax single-use plastic bags later this year and Costa Rica will take measures to dramatically reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.

Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic.

According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

Read more at the UNEP Newscentre.

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February 22, 2017

Only 14% of plastics are recycled – can tech innovation tackle the rest?

Mary Catherine O'Connor
Wednesday 22 February 2017 15.44 GMT

The world recycles just 14% of the plastic packaging it uses. Even worse: 8m tons of plastic, much of it packaging, ends up in the oceans each year, where sea life and birds die from eating it or getting entangled in it. Some of the plastics will also bind with industrial chemicals that have polluted oceans for decades, raising concerns that toxins can make their way into our food chain.

Recycling the remaining 86% of used plastics could create $80bn-$120bn in revenues, says a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But those revenues will never be fully achieved without designing new ways to breakdown and reuse 30% (by weight) of the plastic packaging that isn’t recycled because the material is contaminated or too small for easy collection, has very low economic value or contains multiple materials that cannot be easily separated. Think of candy wrappers, take-out containers, single-serving coffee capsules and foil-lined boxes for soup and soymilk.

Large companies have developed plant-based alternatives to conventional, petroleum-based plastic so that they can break down without contaminating the soil and water. The market opportunity has attracted small, young companies that focus on developing recycling technology to tackle that troublesome 30% of plastic packaging that is headed to landfills at best, and, at worst, to our rivers, lakes and oceans.

Read more at The Guardian.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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February 6, 2017

Oslo Takes Inclusive Approach to Sustainability with New E-Bike Grant

February 6, 2017
by Libby MacCarthy

Government-led initiatives designed to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution in cities, though well-intentioned, often come under fire from those who stand the most to gain from them — the public. Clean air is a high priority for government and citizens alike, but the burden of measures such as carbon taxes on vehicles that don’t meet certain environmental criteria often penalize citizens who commute and don’t have the resources to expend on the purchase of a less-polluting hybrid or electric vehicle — or inner city rent.

Like many other cities across Europe and the UK — including London, who surpassed its annual pollution limits within the first week of 2017 — Oslo’s air quality has been anything but stellar so far this winter, leading the Norwegian capital to put into place a temporary ban on diesel vehicles in an attempt to quickly reduce pollution levels.

Keen to further shift away from cars, Oslo has created a new incentive program to encourage citizens to embrace cleaner forms of transport. The scheme offers up to $1,2000 to residents to purchase electric cargo bikes — bikes equipped with electric motors that allow them to transport heavier loads via trailers or baskets. All residents, regardless of income, are eligible to apply for the funds.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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February 2, 2017

SPP Regions project encourages regional networks to join

New and established regional procurement networks looking to gain access to useful resources and networking opportunities are invited to join the EU-funded SPP Regions project. By joining the project, procurers will be put in touch with other networks from across Europe, allowing them to learn from others’ experience of implementing sustainable and innovative procurement and to share their own.

All regional networks that include municipalities working together on sustainable public procurement (SPP) and public procurement of innovation (PPI) are encouraged to join. New members will be alongside the seven European regional networks that are already working closely with the project. SPP Regions offers support with developing networks, assistance with sustainable tendering, access to specialist workshops and webinars and mentoring from existing SPP Regions Networks.

Regional networks are extremely helpful in developing a successful sustainable procurement strategy, as they allow public authorities to learn from others’ good practice. They also enable procurers to develop a regional supply base, increase influence through joint market engagement and benefit from economies of scale through joint procurement.

Read more at ICLEI Europe.

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February 1, 2017

New remanufacturing trade body launched to advise EU policy

By George Ogleby | edie.net
1 February, 2017

The European Remanufacturing Council (ERC), a new industry-led body, was launched on Friday (27 January) to represent businesses currently producing £25.5bn (€29.8bn) worth of remanufactured goods that contribute to the circular economy. Euractiv’s media partner edie.net reports.

By raising policy awareness at an EU level, the ERC aims to increase the proportion of goods that achieve extended life through remanufacturing, from the current rate of 2% to 5%.

The Council was borne out of the Horizon 2020-funded European Remanufacturing Network (ERN), operated by UK-based research and consultancy group Oakdene Hollins. The consultancy firm works with public and private actors to embed sustainable products and services into business operations. This includes running the UK delivery of the EU Ecolabel on behalf of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

“Recycling grew from 5% in the 1980’s to 50% – let’s see if we can do the same for remanufacturing. If we can…jobs and growth will be our measure of success,” Oakdene Hollins managing director Davis Fitzsimons said on the ERC’s website.

The ERC will represent small and large firms from all remanufactured product sectors, and will look to highlight the potential for the sector to become an important part of the circular economy. Research suggests that the European remanufacturing sector could be worth €90bn by 2030 if it receives cross-sector policy support and investment from industry.

The Council will publish its annual recommendation on research priorities for national and EU-level innovation funding that will most benefit remanufacturing in Europe. ERC members will have an influence upon the definition of these priorities. Individual companies and European-level trade associations are invited to join the programme.

Read more at EurActiv.com.

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January 31, 2017

Banks, UN set standards on channelling investments for sustainable development

31 January 2017 – Nearly 20 leading global banks and investors, totalling $6.6 trillion in assets, have launched a United Nations-backed global framework aimed at channelling the money they manage towards clean, low carbon and inclusive projects.

The Principles for Positive Impact Finance – a first of its kind set of criteria for investments to be considered sustainable – provide financiers and investors with a global framework applicable across their different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending and asset management.

“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the global action plan to end poverty, combat climate change and protect the environment - is expected to cost $5 to $7 trillion every year through 2030,” said the head of the UN Environment Finance Initiative, Eric Usher, in a press release.

The UN Environment Finance Initiative is a partnership between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global financial sector created in the wake of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, widely known as the Earth Summit, with a mission to promote sustainable finance. Over 200 financial institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UN Environment to understand today’s environmental challenges, why they matter to finance, and how to actively participate in addressing them.

Read more at UN News Centre.

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January 31, 2017

Deforestation-free commodities represent a major investment opportunity: Report

31 January 2017 / Mike Gaworeck

It’s estimated that about 10 percent of global emissions comes from deforestation — meaning we could make considerable progress toward halting climate change simply by keeping what remains of the world’s forests standing.

Agricultural commodities — especially beef, palm oil, soy, and pulp and paper — have become an increasingly important driver of deforestation over the past couple decades, particularly in the tropics.

A December 2015 study found that the production of those four commodities in just seven countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea) led to an average deforestation area of 3.8 million hectares (9.4 million acres) and land use change emissions of 1.6 gigatonnes CO2 equivalent (GtCO2) per year between 2000 and 2011. That’s 40 percent of total tropical deforestation and 44 percent of associated carbon emissions, due to the production of just four commodities in seven countries.

The production of these commodities in the tropical forest regions of Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa is worth roughly $180 billion every year, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020). But transforming the global supply chains for beef, palm oil, soy, and pulp and paper so that they are truly sustainable “is an investment opportunity to the tune of roughly $200 billion a year,” Marco Albani, the director of TFA 2020 and a member of the executive committee at WEF, wrote in a blog post accompanying the release of the report.

This is an opportunity that the financial sector can capitalize on “by scaling up emerging models of deforestation-free finance,” Albani adds.

Since the adoption of the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) in 2014, the number of deforestation-related pledges made by the private sector has continually increased. A progress report on the NYDF released last year by Climate Focus found that the number of companies making commitments to protect forests had jumped to 415, up from 307 the previous year.

Of the deforestation commitments made by companies active in the trade of the four major agricultural commodities, which can cover more than one commodity, the majority address palm oil (59 percent) and wood products like pulp and paper (53 percent). Despite representing a much larger share of global deforestation, the soy and cattle supply chains are the subject of significantly fewer commitments — 21 and 12 percent, respectively.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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January 31, 2017

P&G launches world's first recyclable shampoo bottle made with beach plastic

By Vaidehi Shah
Tuesday 31 January 2017

Consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble (P&G) has announced that it will produce a limited-edition series of recyclable Head and Shoulders shampoo bottles that use plastic waste from beach litter.

The initiative, which according to P&G is the world’s first municipally recyclable shampoo bottle made using up to 25 per cent recycled beach plastic—previous containers made with beach plastic were not recyclable after use—was announced on January 19 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile moves by global manufacturers to use plastic in a more sustainable way, such as Unilever’s recent promise that all its plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025; and sportswear giant Adidas’s 2016 line of sneakers made from ocean waste.

P&G has partnered with United States-based recycling company TerraCycle and French waste and water treatment services firm Suez to develop the bottles, which it says will be available to consumers in Carrefour supermarkets this summer. The company did not share now many bottles it will produce by publication time.

TerraCycle, which is already working with non-profit groups and organisations that carry out beach cleanups, will pay for the beach trash to be delivered to a TerraCycle facility. There, the waste will be sorted to remove non-plastic materials. The remaining plastic is sent on to Suez facilities for processing.

P&G also said that by the end of 2018, more than 90 per cent of the hair product bottles it sells in Europe—more than half a billion bottles per year—will contain as much as 25 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic. This will require a supply of 2,600 tonnes of recycled plastic every year, or as much as eight fully loaded Boeing 747 aircraft.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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January 30, 2017

Trending: AzkoNobel, Startups Sustainably Solving Chemical, Packaging Challenges

January 30, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Finding new post-consumer uses and solutions for products is critical for making the shift towards a more circular economy, but more and more companies are turning their focus to the early stages of product production and development, effectively addressing the sustainability question before it becomes a problem.

Global paints, coatings and specialty chemicals company AkzoNobel is launching Imagine Chemistry, an opportunity to partner with startup firms, students, research groups and career scientists from across the world to jointly exploit their knowledge of chemistry and solve several real-life chemistry-related challenges.

The challenge is part of an integrated approach to further deploy AkzoNobel’s innovation capability in support of its growth ambitions. The company believes that there is tremendous potential even in mature chemistries, and the challenge aims to tap into that as well as uncover new opportunities.

Imagine Chemistry, launched in conjunction with KPMG, aims to address a number of specific societal challenges as well as finding new sustainable opportunities for AkzoNobel businesses. It will focus on finding solutions within the following five areas:

- Revolutionizing plastics recycling
- Wastewater-free chemical sites
- Cellulose-based alternatives to synthetics
- Bio-based and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners
- Bio-based sources of ethylene

In addition, there are “open challenges” for broad ideas in two further areas: highly reactive chemistry and technology, and sustainable alternatives to current technologies. All challenges are business-driven and should go commercial within a three-to-five-year period.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 27, 2017

Auckland replace 12,500 lights with LEDs

27 January 2017

By the end of 2016, the City of Auckland (New Zealand) had replaced 12,500 streetlights with LEDs, achieving a saving of 72 percent on energy consumption. The decision was part of Auckland’s LED replacement programme, which committed the city to replace over 44,000 high pressure sodium streetlights with LEDs by 2018. The city’s decision is being hailed as a particularly good example of sustainable procurement.

Other sectors in which the city is purchasing sustainably includes waste, energy, and buildings. The city also intends to trial e-buses, increase the number of hybrid vehicles in the city fleet, and add additional electric vehicle charging points.

Auckland, who joined the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement (GLCN on SP) in 2015, has been pursuing sustainable procurement for several years. Its achievements include carrying out an ISO 14001 training with city suppliers, and retrofitting municipal buildings, resulting in 82 percent waste to landfill diversion.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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January 26, 2017

Target to Remove Harmful Chemicals from Products, Invest in Green Chemistry

anuary 26, 2017
by Libby MacCarthy

Retail giant Target has announced its commitment to reducing harmful chemicals from its products and investing in green chemistry with the release of a new chemical strategy that covers its entire value chain, operations and products. The goal is to be transparent, proactive and innovative when it comes to managing chemicals and, where necessary, developing alternatives.

The new steps build on the existing Sustainable Product Index released by the company in 2014 and updated in 2015 and 2016. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ Mind the Store campaign has challenged the company and other retailers to develop comprehensive policies to eliminate and substitute chemicals.

The company plans to implement the strategy in stages, with complete adoption by 2022. It is working with its vendors and supply chain partners to provide healthy products and to take the guesswork out of shopping for its customers.

“By working with suppliers to remove toxic chemicals like phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals and flame retardants from products, Target will bring safer products into the shopping carts of millions of consumers. A growing body of scientific evidence has linked even low levels of exposure to these chemicals to chronic diseases on the rise,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign director.

The first phase, which is slated for completion by 2020, will encompass two goals: First, achieve transparency for all ingredients in categories such as fragrance, beauty and personal care, and also offer beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning products that are free of phthalates, propylparaben, butyl-paraben, formaldehyde-donors and NPEs.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 25, 2017

MEPs bolster EU recycling and landfill targets

By James Crisp
25 January 2017

Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee yesterday (24 January) moved to increase draft EU recycling and landfill targets that had been lowered by the European Commission in its re-tabled Circular Economy Package.

Supporters of the circular economy argue that there needs to be a shift towards sustainability, where as little of the planet’s finite resources are wasted as possible as the world population booms

The suite of six bills of rules for waste, packaging, landfill end of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste electronic equipment was put forward by the Commission in December last year.

It had previously withdrawn an earlier version of the package, prepared under the Barroso Commission, as part of its ‘better regulation’ strategy.

Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans promised that the new Circular Economy Package would be “more ambitious” than its 2014 predecessor.

But although it included new legislation to encourage easy-to-recycle design of products, it had lower targets for recycling and landfill than the first version.

MEPs in Brussels voted to restore the lowered targets to the level of the original proposal yesterday.

They backed a 2030 recycling target for municipal waste of 70%, the same as the 2014 package but 5% more than the new proposal. They also called for a new 2030 reuse target of 5%. This sub-target aims to encourage the repair and fixing of products.

The 2030 target for packaging recycling was set at 80%, the same as in 2014, but higher than the 75% backed by the executive.

Read more at EurActiv.com.

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January 25, 2017

EU Plans to Halve Marine Litter, Food Waste by 2030

BRUSSELS, Belgium, January 25, 2017 (ENS) – The amount of marine litter polluting European waters would be halved by 2030 under new waste management proposals agreed Tuesday by the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, usually called the ENVI Committee.

The Committee approved moves to curb sources of marine plastic pollution as part of a package of measures intended to reduce waste that will form the basis for Parliament’s vote later this year on the Circular Economy Package.

In a circular economy, the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimized and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value.

As part of a shift in EU policy towards a circular economy, the European Commission has made four legislative proposals introducing new waste-management targets regarding reuse, recycling and landfilling.

Improving waste management could deliver benefits for the environment, climate, human health and the economy, said the ENVI Committee.

The share of municipal waste to be recycled should be raised to 70 percent by 2030, from 44 percent today, while landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, should be limited to five percent, said ENVI Committee MEPs, as they amended the draft EU Waste Framework Directive legislation.

By 2030, at least 70 percent by weight of municipal waste from households and businesses should be recycled or prepared for reuse, say MEPs. The European Commission proposed 65 percent.

Other amendments also increased the ambition of recycling targets proposed by the European Commission, with 60 percent of plastic packaging to be recycled by 2025 and 80 percent of all packaging waste by 2030.

For packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood, the ENVI Committee MEPs propose an 80 percent target for 2030, with interim 2025 targets for each material.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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January 24, 2017

New Reporting Guidelines Aiming to Shed Further Light on Palm Oil Industry

January 24, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

With rainforest destruction and forced labor still urgent concerns in palm oil cultivation, a diverse group of NGOs and investor organizations, organized by Ceres, today released shared guidance for corporate reporting on company commitments towards responsible palm oil sourcing and production.

Collaboratively developed by over 18 organizations including Oxfam, Rainforest Alliance, CDP and Rainforest Action Network, with input from companies, the guidance document aims to inform corporate reporting and supply chain engagement. The diverse group, which encompasses a range of perspectives on the palm oil challenge, came together to develop the guidance to create consistency and clarity for companies in the palm oil value chain on reporting.

“Numerous companies are putting resources towards sustainable palm oil, yet deforestation, land conflicts, and labor issues persist,” said Noah Klein-Markman, Senior Associate for Sustainable Agriculture at Ceres. “Transparency on supply chain practices is critical for all stakeholders – investors, civil society groups, and businesses - to understand and address the implementation gap.”

Palm oil is the world’s most abundant vegetable oil and a common ingredient in many food and household products. In Indonesia, where nearly half of the world’s palm oil is produced, forests and carbon-rich peatlands are being cleared faster than in any tropical nation, accounting for as much as 79 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas footprint. Much of this impact is caused by the expansion of the palm oil industry. Forced and child labor, as well as land rights violations, are also widespread in the industry.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 24, 2017

Asia firms slump in sustainability rankings

By Ping Manongdo
Tuesday 24 January 2017

Just 12 Asian firms feature in a global ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations, which this year was topped by German electronics giant Siemens.

While this was a repeat of last year’s tally for the region, most Asian companies have fallen in this year’s Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World index, an annual sustainability performance ranking for global listed companies compiled by Canadian investment research firm, Corporate Knights.

Singapore property developer City Developments Limited (CDL) emerged as Asia’s most sustainable company, ranking 30th. It ranked 10th last year.

The only other Asian firms to appear in the top 50 were South Korean. Mining company POSCO ranked 35th, an improvement on 40th spot, which is now occupied by financial services giant Shinhan, itself down from 18th last year.

Two other Singapore companies feature in the ranking, telecommunications rivals Singtel (52nd) and StarHub (69th). StarHub ranked 8th in 2016, and was Asia’s most sustainable firm. Singtel didn’t feature last year.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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January 23, 2017

RE100 Annual Report: Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Transforming Global Energy Economy

January 23, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Corporate sourcing of renewable electricity can be a major driver of the transition to a robust, zero-emissions economy, according to the RE100 Annual Report, released last week to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

Launched in 2014, RE100 is a growing movement of some the world’s most influential companies committed to 100 percent renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

The annual report highlights the speed of the corporate transition to cleaner energy. Many RE100 members have set a goal for achieving 100 percent renewable electricity before 2024, and 11 members already achieved 100 percent renewable electricity prior to 2015 – sending a clear market signal to governments and investors around the world that growing demand for renewable energy must be met sooner rather than later.

Based on the latest available electricity consumption data (2015) from RE100 members, the report also found:

- Member companies (87 and growing) are now creating demand for approximately 107 TWh of renewable power annually, roughly the same amount of electricity as consumed by The Netherlands;

- Members making fastest progress towards their 100 percent renewable electricity targets include Goldman Sachs, which jumped from 14 percent renewable electricity in 2014 to 86 percent in 2015; Elopak, which went from 18 percent to 86 percent renewable during the same year; and H&M, which went from 27 percent to 78 percent;

- Roughly half of the electricity being consumed by members reporting electricity use in the U.S. is from renewables, accounting for the highest amount of renewable electricity being sourced in any country worldwide (6.8 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases (RECs) being the most popular approach that year);

- Almost all of electricity usage reported by members in Europe is from renewables (14.4 TWh in 2015, with an even split between unbundled REC purchases and green tariffs as the most popular approaches that year);

- Nearly a quarter of the electricity usage reported by members in China is from renewables (0.4 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases being the most popular approach that year);

- Roughly a tenth of RE100 electricity use being reported in India is from renewables (0.1 TWh in 2015, with Power Purchasing Agreements [PPAs] being the most popular approach that year, followed by on-site generation);

- Of the 34 RE100 members reporting self-generation onsite at their facilities, wind and solar PV were by far the most popular technologies.

- Within the membership, Telecommunication Services is the closest sector to reaching 100 percent renewable electricity (97 percent in 2015).

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 22, 2017

New concerns over BPA as workers exposed to levels 70 times the average

Olga Oksman
Sunday 22 January 2017 15.00 GMT

Health concerns over Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in plastic packaging and the lining of food cans, are well documented. Previous studies have linked low levels of BPA to a variety of potential health issues, including obesity, diabetes and fertility problems. A 2008 ruling by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) found that low exposure to the chemical is safe because it is generally ingested orally and thus eliminated from the body quickly, although research is ongoing to determine the chemical’s impact on human hormones.

However, a new study – the first of its kind in the US – has looked at the exposure levels of people who come into contact with high doses of BPA, and found that employees who directly handle the plasticizing chemical had urine levels of BPA around 70 times greater than that of the average US adult.

The federal study, carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh), looked at BPA levels in the urine of 78 American manufacturing workers employed at six companies that either manufacture BPA or use it to make other products.

Read more at The Guardian.

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January 20, 2017

Trending: New Breakthrough Technologies Find Solutions for Hard-to-Recycle Products

January 20, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

Ambitions to reduce waste and move away from a linear economic model are driving companies across the globe to create breakthrough technologies and unique solutions to drive forward the circular economy.

On Monday, Patagonia received recognition for its significant contributions to the circular economy at the Annual Meet of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The Accenture Strategy Award for Circular Economy Multinational, which was granted by the World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders in collaboration with Accenture Strategy, acknowledges the work being done by Patagonia to advance the circular economy, driving innovation and growth, while reducing dependence on scarce natural resources.

“We are honored to receive this meaningful, important recognition,” said Ryan Gellert, general manager, Patagonia Europe, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. “While Patagonia is proud to accept this award, we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with a circular economy model. There is still so much work to be done to change global consumption habits and encourage reuse and repair.”

The global apparel market is currently valued at $3 trillion, but the growing trend towards fast fashion has created a very linear economic model that produces enormous waste. In contrast, Patagonia is working to counter this approach with a circular business model that focuses on making the highest quality products and helping its customers keep them in use as long as possible.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 19, 2017

Nordic countries propose post-2020 global chemicals framework

19 January 2017

A group of Nordic countries has published a report, which sets out proposals for a post-2020 global chemicals framework, to replace the UN’s current voluntary programme, the UN Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm).

Saicm, adopted in 2006, aims to achieve sound chemicals management globally by 2020. The programme will then need to be extended or replaced.

Laying out a series of options, the report says that, with a “higher level of ambition”, 2020 could signal the beginning of a comprehensive new international treaty on the lifecycle of all chemicals in present and future circulation.

A binding agreement, it says, could be complemented by international standards, voluntary guidelines or protocols for different substances or groups of chemicals. Basic elements could include a definition of a hazardous substance and principles for managing potentially hazardous materials throughout their lifecycles.

By signing on, governments would commit to strengthening their national chemicals and waste legislation according to the relevant standards, guidelines or protocols.

However, it notes that the adoption of a new global agreement on chemicals could take decades and uses the UN Minamata Convention on mercury as an example, which took 15 years. Consequently, it says, this might happen by 2030−2040.

But, it adds, because an agreement would focus on future commitments tailored to national contexts, “it would be far less detailed and prescriptive than the Minamata Convention.” It also notes that negotiations towards the Paris climate agreement were launched just four years before its conclusion last year.

“A global framework convention for chemicals that resembles the Paris agreement in its structure could similarly be negotiated in a swift timeframe of under five years, given that states feel similar pressure to take action.

Read more at ChemicalWatch.

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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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January 18, 2017

Climate change to shift global pattern of mild weather


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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January 10, 2017

Barack Obama: clean energy is here to stay

January 10, 2017, by Tim Radford

LONDON, 10 January, 2017 – Barack Obama, outgoing president of the United States, has stepped directly into the climate debate. He believes that the US is on the way to a “clean energy” world and he delivers four reasons why he thinks the shift is now irreversible.

In an article for the journal Science, President Obama says that although the understanding of the impact of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, “there is still debate about the proper course for US policy – a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition”.

That is almost his only acknowledgment of President-elect Donald Trump’s declared belief that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese.

Clean energy economy
“But putting near-term politics aside,” he writes, “the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow.”

First of these is that between 2008 and 2015, the US economy grew by 10% while carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector fell by 9.5%, an outcome that “should put to rest the argument that combating climate change requires accepting lower growth or a lower standard of living”.

Renewable energy costs fell dramatically during his years in office: 41% for wind, 54% for rooftop solar photovoltaics and 64% for big solar-power installations. Clean energy now attracts twice as much global capital as fossil fuels.

Read more at Climate News Network.

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January 10, 2017

UrbanWINS releases waste management surveys

10 January 2017

UrbanWINS, an EU-funded project aimed at developing and testing eco-innovative waste prevention and management strategies in eight pilot cities, is inviting stakeholders to take part in two questionnaires that seek to gain a better understanding of the state-of-the art of waste management and prevention actions in place in Austria, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden, as well as the knowledge and possible interests of relevant actors. Local and regional governments, companies and civil society actors are encouraged to complete the surveys.

By taking part in Survey 01, participants are contributing to detect the most relevant local, regional and national innovative waste prevention and management strategies, including policies, regulations and plans (also available in Romanian and Spanish). Survey 02 aims to find out more about the role, interests and commitments of different stakeholders concerning consumption and production patterns, waste prevention, and participatory mechanisms. Through gathering this information, the project intends to involve these stakeholders in future UrbanWINS activities. (This survey is also available in German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish.)

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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January 9, 2017

As Global Demand for Electricity Grows, Geothermal Energy Heats Up

by Bianca Nogrady

January 9, 2017 — At 2:46 p.m. local time on Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by the largest earthquake ever to strike its shores. The 9.1 magnitude quake triggered a devastating tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people. It also took out the back-up emergency generators that cooled the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, causing a series of catastrophic meltdowns.

But amid the chaos, the Yanaizu-Nishiyama geothermal power plant in Fukushima prefecture didn’t miss a beat. Along with two more of the nine geothermal power plants in the region, the 65-megawatt facility continued to generate power, even as many other power plants around them failed because of damaged equipment and transmission lines.

“This is big news for many geothermal people around the world,” says Kasumi Yasukawa, principal research manager at the Institute for Geo-Resources and Environment in Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

In a country as seismically active as Japan, it was a clear signal that geothermal energy was worth investing in.

Geothermal electricity generation might not have the high-tech flashiness of solar, or the romance of wind and wave, but it’s the solid, steady workhorse of the renewable energy race. The never-flagging heat lurking at various depths below the Earth’s surface is tapped to produce steam that is used to drive turbines and generate electricity. This heat can also be used more directly to warm spaces or swimming pools, but sustainable electricity generation is the goal that most have in their sights.

Read more at Ensia.

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January 6, 2017

Ralph Lauren joins fight to ensure fabrics not damaging forests and lives

by Ellen Wulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 6 January 2017 17:09 GMT

NEW YORK, Jan 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Fashion giant Ralph Lauren Corp, whose designs are sashayed on Hollywood's red carpets, has unveiled plans to trace wood pulp used in its clothes to avoid buying from regions destroying forests or violating human rights.

Rising cotton prices have boosted demand for wood-based fabrics such as viscose, rayon and modal, which increasingly involves clearing forests and taking land used by indigenous people, according to Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

Ralph Lauren is the latest in a growing number of fashion companies to pledge to investigate its supply chain to determine if it is using products from the most destructive regions and stop using those sources by the end of 2017, said RAN.

RAN's "Out of Fashion" campaign to publicize the impacts of forest-based fabrics has called on major U.S. brands to adopt stringent, sustainable sourcing systems.

Ralph Lauren said it will publish its new sourcing guidelines as part of a broader initiative to ensure its raw materials are free of human and land rights abuses and are environmentally sustainable.

Read more at Thomson Reuters Foundation News.

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January 5, 2017

Indian Chemical Firm Makes Carbon Capture Breakthrough Turning CO2 into Baking Soda

January 5, 2017
by Libby MacCarthy

Whether it be turning food scraps into cold-pressed juices or transforming PET waste into raw materials or converting beer waste water into batteries — just a few of the latest examples of the circular economy at work — companies are increasingly finding unique ways to transform and repurpose their waste, byproducts and emissions.

Tuticorin Alkali Chemicals & Fertilizers (TACFL), a chemical and fertilizers company based in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has made a global breakthrough in carbon capture technology, one that promises to prevent emissions of 60,000 tons of CO2 annually. It also has the potential to push forward the circular agenda in India, which the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and United Nations Conference for Trade Development (UNCTAD) believe could put India on the path to regenerative and value-creating benefits.

According to the company, the plant is now close to achieving its zero-emissions goal, operating with almost no emissions seeping into air or water thanks to a patented carbon-stripping technology from UK-based Carbon Clean Solutions. The technology employed at the Tuticorin plant converts captured carbon into soda ash, a base chemical used in glass manufacturing, paper production and detergents.

The chemical strips CO2 emissions from boiler chimneys through the form of a fine mist. As the chemical plant’s coal-fired boiler releases flue gas, a spritz of Carbon Clean’s new patented chemical removes the CO2 molecules. To create soda ash, the captured CO2 is mixed with rock salt and ammonia. While Tuticorn appears to be motivated by the financial benefits that the technology offers, Carbon Clean has suggested that it has the potential to capture between 5% to 10% of the world’s coal emissions.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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January 5, 2017

Study: Effectively Marketing Sustainable Goods Could Represent $1T Market Opportunity

January 5, 2017
by Sustainable Brands

A new global consumer study from Unilever reveals fascinating insights regarding consumer interest in and commitment to sustainable products, as well as an over $1 trillion market opportunity for brands that can effectively and transparently market the sustainability of their wares.

The survey asked 20,000 adults across Brazil, India, Turkey, the UK and the US how sustainability concerns affected their shopping decisions and product use – as well as confirming the public’s high expectations of brands when it comes to having a positive social and environmental impact, the study’s findings uncover an unprecedented opportunity for companies that get it right. Among the findings: 21 percent said they would support brands that clearly conveyed the sustainability aspects of their products through their marketing and packaging. With Unilever claiming that the market for sustainable goods currently sits at $2.65 trillion (€2.5 trillion), this creates just over $1 trillion (€966 billion) in opportunities for brands who can effectively communicate their products’ sustainable attributes.

"This research confirms that sustainability isn’t a nice-to-have for businesses. In fact, it has become an imperative," said Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer. “To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability. Instead, they must act quickly to prove their social and environmental credentials, and show consumers they can be trusted with the future of the planet and communities, as well as their own bottom lines.”

While 33 percent of those surveyed said they would purchase a product if they believe it benefits society and the environment, the level of motivation varies widely from country to country: In the UK (where price and brand have tended to outrank sustainability in driving purchase decisions), 53 percent said they felt better about buying sustainable products, far fewer than in Brazil (85 percent), India (88 percent) and Turkey (85 percent); in the US, the figure was 78 percent.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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December 27, 2016

Final GPP News Alert of 2016 is published

27 December 2016

he December edition of the EU GPP News Alert is now available to read online, providing the latest green public procurement (GPP) news from across Europe. This issue takes a close look at the new European network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), established to further support the implementation of GPP in Europe. So far, 28 NGOs from 16 countries have committed to join the network.

Natalie Evans, the Responsible Procurement Manager from the City of London (UK), is this month’s interviewee, outlining how collaborating on responsible procurement in London has been working in practice, and providing insights into the city’s new Responsible Procurement Strategy.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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December 22, 2016

Sweden, World Bank Support Better Solid Waste Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina

SARAJEVO, December 22, 2016 – The World Bank has received a contribution of US$2.0 million from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) to provide Technical Assistance (TA) for improved solid waste management practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Technical Assistance activities will seek to strengthen the country’s institutional capacities to plan, manage and operate this important sector in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner through four components: 1. Solid waste management sector review and reform plan; 2. Institutional strengthening; 3. Public awareness and education campaign; and 4. Assessment of selected priority investments.

“As part of Sweden’s firm commitment to support improvement of environment and sustainable development in BiH, waste management is considered one of the important areas where collaboration should be extended. Sweden has actively supported the waste management sector in BiH since 2010. Our long term engagement in this sector aims at supporting BiH to effectively bridge the transition from the current status of waste management to a more integrated and sustainable sector aligned with EU Directives”, says Marie Bergström, Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden.

Read more at The World Bank.

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December 22, 2016

Report finds social criteria in procurement can prevent abuse of workers

22 December 2016

A new study by Swedwatch, a non-profit organisation reporting on Swedish business relations in developing countries, has found that including social criteria in public procurement can improve working conditions in global supply chains. Many products purchased for EU consumers are produced in developing countries where there is a higher risk of human rights violations occurring. Social criteria can help to mitigate this risk.

Titled Agents for Change, the report focuses on the production of surgical equipment in Pakistan, chicken meat in Thailand, and coffee in Brazil. A comparative study between 2007 and 2015 found that conditions in Pakistani factories had improved as a result of the inclusion of social demands by Swedish councils.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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December 21, 2016

NooTrees: Fighting Deforestation 'One Loo at a Time'

December 21, 2016
by Laura Allen

There are about 3 trillion trees left on earth, or roughly 400 trees per person. Seems like a lot, but what if we told you that since the advent of human civilisation, half of all trees have been cut down, or that 15 billion trees are lost each year? Or how about the fact that the haze that covers Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia does is a direct result of deforestation, where vegetation is cleared via the slash-and-burn method for resources such as palm oil, paper and pulp?

27,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper. But one man is on a mission to change that, “one loo at a time.” David Ward is the founder and GM of NooTrees, a subsidiary of The FJ Benjamin Group in Singapore that uses bamboo instead of wood for its tissue and personal care products. We caught up with him recently to chat about the company, the environment, and how alternative supply chains are increasingly becoming a key priority for businesses.

Unlike wood from trees, bamboo is a much more efficient material for producing paper.

“It takes 30 years to grow a tree, but it only takes three years for bamboo to reach maturity,” he says; bamboo is able to produce 5 to 6 times more raw material than a tree during that time.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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December 20, 2016

30 New EU Life+ Pilot Projects Make Convincing Case for Circular Business Models

December 20, 2016
by Libby MacCarthy

A recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and a number of new initiatives sweeping Europe have highlighted the convincing business case for companies to adopt circular principles into their business models. The latest development on the path to a circular economy? A new project across the UK and the Netherlands called REBus.

An EU Life+-funded partnership project led by WRAP, REBus is testing a methodology that enables organizations to transform their strategies to profitable, resilient and more resource-efficient business models (REBMs). For the last two years, 30 organizations in the UK and Netherlands have been piloting new REBMs with the support and expertise of REBus.

European manufacturing firms already spend more than 40 percent of their total operating costs on raw materials, and growing scarcity and volatility mean prices will continue to rise in the future. By reimagining business models and incorporating more circular practices, companies will be better equipped to deal address changes in resource availability, ultimately averting detrimental effects to their profitability and resiliency.

The pilot projects are wide-ranging, but all share the common goal of creating value for consumers, the environment and the organization itself. Examples include Argos’ UK-wide Gadget Trade-In Service; ProRail’s circular procurement of office furniture for the company’s new office in Utrecht, Netherlands; Globechain’s online reuse platform; and IT4Kids’ community-wide reuse collections.

REBus has published case studies from the 30 pilot projects on its website, and hopes that sharing the successes and lessons learned – along with a €24 billion incentive from the European Commission – will inspire businesses and organizations to embrace the many benefits of circular business models.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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December 20, 2016

Trending: New Research Looking to Turn Fabric Into Fuel, Keep Microfibers Out of Water

December 20, 2016
by Talia Rudee

We’ve seen a rash of textile-recycling schemes emerge of late — in which the textiles in question may become new garments, but for the most part they remain, well, fabrics. But in what may be the first fabric-to-fuel program we’ve heard of, Japan Airlines — which is already working to roll out sustainable aviation biofuel for flights during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo — is now working to turn used clothing into jet fuel, in partnership with Japan Environmental Planning (Jeplan) and Tokyo’s Green Earth Institute. The organizations have teamed up to create a collaborative council that could pilot the alternative energy source by as early as 2020.

In October 2015, Jeplan founder Michihiko Iwamota introduced a technology to create bioethanol from cast-off T-shirts and denim jeans, using fermentation to break down the sugars contained in cotton into alcohols. If all goes well with test flights planned to start in 2020, the company aims to establish the first commercial fuel plant by 2030.

“I totally believed that in the future, there would be a car that runs on garbage,” said Iwamoto, referring to the trash-powered time machine from Back to the Future II. “But years went by, and that didn’t happen. So I thought I’d develop it.”

Although addressing a large energy source, 100 tons of cotton yields only around 10 kiloliters of fuel, or roughly 2,641 gallons (a commercial airliner uses about 1 gallon of fuel every second). As Nikkei Asian Review points out, even if all the cotton consumed in Japan were used in fuel production, this would give only 70,000 kl or so annually — less than 1 percent of Japan’s jet fuel usage. But since the technology can also be applied to other types of waste, including paper, clothing may only be the beginning.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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December 20, 2016

Hospitals Share Successes, Challenges from Pilot Healthcare Plastics Recycling Program

December 20, 2016
by Talia Rudee

On Monday, the Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council (HPRC) announced the completion of a multi-hospital plastics recycling project in Chicago, collaborating with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). Focused on non-infectious plastic packaging and products collected from clinical areas of the hospitals, the project sought to demonstrate a viable business model for recycling healthcare plastics on a regional level.

Key Green Solutions, LLC, a sustainability management software service provider, collected and maintained project metrics, while PLACON provided additional financial support to the project as an interested end user looking to create new products from the recycled materials.

Participating hospitals collected a variety of healthcare plastics, which were then transported to material-recovery facilities for assessments related to composition and quality. Complexity of material types, improper sorting and the presence of non-conforming materials were found as primary barriers to extracting the recycling value from the materials.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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December 16, 2016

Green buildings make you work smarter and sleep sounder, study reveals

Damian Carrington
Friday 16 December 2016 11.04 GMT

People working in green buildings think better in the office and sleep better when they get home, a new study has revealed.

The research indicates that better ventilation, lighting and heat control improves workers’ performance and could boost their productivity by thousands of dollars a year. It also suggests that more subjective aspects, such as beautiful design, may make workers happier and more productive.

An increasing number of green buildings are being constructed by developers as the cost and health benefits become better known, but this the first study to show such buildings can make their occupants brainier.

The research analysed workers in certified green buildings in five US cities and compared them with other workers in the same cities employed in different offices owned by the same companies.

“We saw higher cognitive function scores for workers in green certified buildings, compared to their counterparts in buildings that were still high performing, but which had not achieved green certification,” said Joseph Allen, at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the US.

The workers in the green buildings scored over 25% higher in a standard test which uses a Sims-like computer game to assess the ability to think and plan. “The tool assesses complex decision-making performance, which mimics the real-world decision making that all of us encounter every day in our normal work routine,” said Allen.

The quality of sleep of the workers was also assessed using special watches with sensors that measured the length of sleep, tossing and turning and interruptions. Those in green offices had 6% higher sleep scores, said Allen: “I think this is one of the most provocative findings in the study - it suggests that buildings impact us after the eight hours we are in there for our work day.”

Read more at The Guardian.

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December 15, 2016

IKEA to Invest Over €3B to Ensure Stable Supply of Sustainable Materials

December 15, 2016
by Talia Rudee

As companies and governments around the world are working to meet climate goals set out by the Paris Agreement, the IKEA Group’s 2016 Sustainability Report shows considerable progress towards its People & Planet Positive strategy and continued long-term investments in sustainability.

According to the report, IKEA has allocated over €3 billion for sustainability investments. This includes a new financial frame of €1 billion, to secure a long-term supply of sustainable materials by investing in forestry, as well as in companies active in recycling, renewable energy and biomaterial developments.

Additionally, the investment includes €1.5 billion put toward wind and solar energy projects since 2009 and €600 million allocated for further investments in renewable energy. Ultimately, IKEA aims to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations by 2020; it has already reached 71 percent as of FY16.

The report also describes projects such as IKEA’s More Sustainable Store in Kaarst, Germany, currently under construction and due to open in summer 2017. Making use of abundant natural light and environmentally friendly technologies, it will also feature green areas for play and a dedicated transportation concept.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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December 15, 2016

Green buildings: researchers call for fuller environmental assessment

Over half of a low-energy building’s environmental impact occurred before it was even occupied, a new case study from Italy calculates. The researchers recommend expanding the environmental assessment of buildings from just the operational stage of a building’s life, when it is in use, to include production and transport of materials, construction activities and building maintenance. A wide range of environmental impacts should also be considered, they argue, and not just energy use.

Buildings are the biggest consumer of energy in Europe; in 2010 it was estimated that the building sector, considered as an end-user, accounts for 42% of energy consumption in EU countries — this compares with 32% for transport and 24% for industry. For this reason, the EU has pushed for greater energy efficiency of buildings and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive1 calls for all new buildings to be ‘nearly zero energy’ by the end of 2020. A nearly zero-energy building is defined by this Directive as a building that has very high energy performance, and that the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources. The energy performance of a building is the energy demand associated with the typical use of the building, which includes energy used for heating, cooling, hot-water production, mechanical ventilation and lighting.

This study considers how the environmental performance of buildings could be improved further through assessment procedures which go beyond measuring energy consumption for the typical use of the building, as required by the Directive.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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December 15, 2016

New system to convert food waste into fertiliser for greenhouse use gives potential 95% reduction in CO2 emissions

A new method of processing food waste into fertiliser has been outlined in a recent study. The process uses a digester system with microorganisms to break down organic waste into fertiliser. The resultant fertiliser was used in a low-energy greenhouse to produce a range of food crops. The method is a potential way to utilise food waste and reduce the energy consumption of food production as part of a circular economy.

Globally, food waste accounts for 6–10% of human greenhouse gas emissions. In the EU, an estimated 88 million tonnes of food is wasted annually, which is around 20% of food produced, or 95–115 kilograms of food per person each year. The EU is attempting to reduce the environmental impact of waste through the Circular Economy Strategy, which aims to maintain the value of materials in the economy for as long as possible and to reduce waste by promoting the reuse and recycling of materials; this programme includes food waste as a priority sector.

Anaerobic digestion — the breakdown of organic material using microorganisms in the absence of oxygen — is a good way of allowing resources in food waste to be used rather than disposed of at landfill. This method also reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from composting or landfills. The biogas — gaseous fuel, such as methane – produced from the process can also be used as a substitute for fossil fuels. However, the treatment and handling of digestate — the material remaining after anaerobic digestion — is still a cause of CO2 emissions, or equivalent emissions from methane or nitrous oxide, even when sustainably used as a substitute for mineral fertiliser. Utilising digestate directly in a closed greenhouse system can, therefore, improve the sustainability of this process. However, digestate is toxic to plants and needs to be treated if it is to be used directly on plants as a fertiliser. Greenhouses can also produce high CO2 emissions due to artificial heating, transportation of produce grown for commercial sale and the cooled storage of vegetable crops grown.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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December 10, 2016

Doctors call for ban on diesel engines in London

10 December 2016

A campaign led by medical professionals is calling for all diesel cars to be banned from London.

Doctors Against Diesel claim 9,400 Londoners a year die prematurely from breathing in toxic fumes from diesel engines.

Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have committed to a ban on diesel vehicles by 2025.

Opponents to the campaign have called the proposals "impractical" and warned a blanket ban could "backfire".

Doctors Against Diesel - comprising doctors, nurses and health professionals - are calling for Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, to commit to phasing out diesel vehicles from London.

Mr Khan has already said he wants to get rid of diesel buses by 2018.

A spokesman for the mayor said he has no legal powers to ban cars in London and is calling on the government "to face its responsibility and implement a national diesel scrappage scheme now".

"The mayor has more than doubled air quality funding and is doing everything in his power to tackle London's toxic air and rid the city of the most polluting vehicles, but he cannot do this alone" the spokesman added.

According to the campaign, nearly 40% of all nitrogen oxides emissions and PM10 pollution, which is linked to decreased lung function, within London comes from diesel vehicles.

Read more at BBC News.

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December 8, 2016

African Countries Ban Dirty Diesel Imports from Europe

ABUJA, Nigeria, December 8, 2016 (ENS) – Five more West African countries have agreed to ban the import of Europe’s dirty high-sulfur diesel fuel, a move that will slash vehicle emissions and help an estimated 250 million people breathe cleaner air.

Following Ghana’s announcement in November, the countries of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire agreed on December 1, at a meeting convened by the UN Environmental Programme in Abuja, to introduce strict standards to ensure cleaner, low sulfur diesel fuel and tougher vehicle emissions standards.

A report by the Swiss nonprofit Public Eye in September exposed how European trading companies exploited the weak regulatory standards in West African countries, allowing for the export of fuels with sulfur levels up to 300 times higher than levels permitted in Europe.

The public pressure generated by media coverage of Public Eye’s report, “Dirty Diesel” as well as the campaigns by Public Eye’s partner organizations have led these five countries to announce the reduction of sulphur levels for imported diesel to 50 parts per million, or ppm.

In Togo, by comparison, sulphur levels in diesel can be as high as 10,000 ppm.

In Nigeria, the current limit is 3,000 ppm. As Africa’s largest fuel market, Nigeria’s move could trigger fuel improvements in other West African countries.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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December 8, 2016

Eco-friendly nanomembrane removes oil spills

Researchers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia have developed a simple way to manufacture an eco-friendly and affordable membrane that can efficiently adsorb oils spills from sea or waste water.

The membrane can recover quickly and easily for reuse — it can be applied at least 10 times with the same efficiency, according to a study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Leakage of petroleum pollutants into water can be catastrophic to the environment and aquatic life systems. The methods used to remove these pollutants are complex and very expensive; some require use over a long period and involve many workers, while others have a harmful effect on marine and aquatic organisms.

These methods include using chemical dispersants to penetrate the oil and break it up into small pools, setting the oil ablaze at the spill site, or gathering oil from the water surface by mechanical means.

The method that has proved most efficient, in terms of cost and ease of extracting oil, is the use of cheap and eco-friendly adsorbing materials which turn the oil layer to solid or semi-solid particles that can be easily removed.

Read more at Sci Dev Net.

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December 8, 2016

Four cities announce landmark ban on diesel vehicles

Gregory Scruggs
December 8, 2016

MEXICO CITY — Diesel vehicles on city streets will soon be a thing of the past in Athens, Madrid, Mexico City and Paris. The leaders of those four cities last week announced a sweeping ban, set to take place by 2025, at an international mayors summit on climate change.

The move comes as cities worldwide are taking a harder look at how they can reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions in the transportation sector, and by extension improve their air quality. The four mayors signed a declaration focused on air quality and made clear that their intention was to send a signal to industry.

“Mayors have already stood up to say that the climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo during the announcement Friday at the biennial C40 Mayors Summit. “Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes — particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.”

Hidalgo and other mayors made the announcement as the French capital suffers its worst winter air pollution in a decade, according to broadcaster France24. A combination of vehicle emissions and forest fires have left a stagnant cloud of particulate matter over the city, smudging views of the Eiffel Tower. This week, Hidalgo tweeted an image of a smoggy Paris with the message: “#Paris today. Proof that it’s necessary to reduce the presence of cars in downtown #pollution.”

Read more at Citiscope.

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December 6, 2016

Google, Apple, Facebook race towards 100% renewable energy target

Alison Moodie
Tuesday 6 December 2016 16.53 GMT

Tech giants are jockeying to be the first to hit a 100% renewable energy goal. Google, which has invested in solar and wind energy for a decade, intends to get there by 2017.

Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, and plans to buy enough wind and solar energy to offset all the electricity used by its 13 data centers and offices in 150 cities worldwide, the company said Tuesday.

Apple seems close to reaching its own 100% goal as well. The company said it achieved 93% in 2015. An Apple spokeswoman said the company has yet to set a year for when they would likely cross the finish line.

For Google, hitting the 100% target means for every unit of electricity it consumes – typically from coal or natural gas power plants – it would buy a unit of wind or solar electricity. The company wouldn’t say how much electricity it will need to have purchased by the end of next year to reach its 100% goal, but did say that the amount would exceed the 5.7 terawatt-hours solar and wind energy that it bought in 2015.

“We want to run our business in an environmentally responsible way, and energy consumption is the largest portion,” said Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy and development at Google’s Global Infrastructure Group.

Google is taking a big leap to that 100% goal, having achieved just 37% in 2014. The company has invested in renewable energy ever since it kicked off the construction of a 1.6-megawatt solar energy system in 2006. Since 2010, it’s signed 2.6 gigawatts worth of solar and wind contracts.

The tech giant isn’t alone in setting the 100% target. A global campaign to promote 100% renewable energy use in the business world includes Ikea, Facebook, Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson.

Read more at The Guardian.

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December 5, 2016

West African countries ban Europe's dirty fuel imports

5 December 2016 - Five West African countries have agreed to ban importing Europe's dirty fuels, a move that will dramatically reduce vehicle emissions and help more than 250 million people breath safer, cleaner air.

Together, the countries of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Cote d'Ivoire agreed on 1 December in Abuja, to introduce strict standards to ensure cleaner, low sulfur diesel fuels and vehicles emissions standards, effectively cutting off Europe's West Africa market to export its dirty fuels.

A report by Public Eye in September this year exposed how European trading companies were exploiting the weak regulatory standards in West African countries, allowing for the export of fuels with sulfur levels up to 300 times higher than is permitted in Europe.

Erik Solheim, the head of UN Environment said: "West Africa is sending a strong message that it is no longer accepting dirty fuels from Europe. Their decision to set strict new standards for cleaner, safer fuels and advanced vehicle emission standards shows they are placing the health of their people first.

"Their move is an example for countries around the world to follow. Air pollution is killing millions of people every year and we need to ensure that all countries urgently introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles to help reduce the shocking statistics."

Alongside the introduction of the new standards, the West African group has agreed to upgrade the operations of their national refineries, both public and privately owned, to produce fuels of the same standards by 2020.

UN Environment has been supporting countries in West Africa to develop policies and standards to stop the practice of importing fuel with dangerously high sulphur levels and introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles. Reducing the emissions of the global fleet is essential for reducing urban air pollution and climate emissions. A combination of low sulfur fuels with advanced vehicles standards can reduce harmful emissions of vehicles by as much as 90 per cent.

Read more at UNEP News Centre.

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December 5, 2016

Cigarettes, tampons, toothbrushes: The company that wants to recycle everything

By Vaidehi Shah
Monday 5 December 2016

Recycling cigarette butts, tampons and toothbrushes is likely an already impossible demand for most traditional waste management companies. Add in the expectation that the firm’s work should be ‘sexy’ enough to warrant being made into a reality television show, and many may simply write off the task as too unrealistic to take seriously.

However, this is exactly what one company has achieved. Meet TerraCycle, the New Jersey-based outfit that since 2002 has been driven by a simple mission: Eliminating the idea of waste.

The firm, which started 14 years ago as an organic fertiliser business run out of a dorm room, has since grown into a US$18.8 million outfit which creates solutions to give new life to materials that may otherwise end up as waste.

In the process, TerraCycle, which now has 130 employees and eight global offices, has helped 63 million people recycle their waste, and raised US$15 million for charities around the world. It has also diverted some 3.7 billion pieces of waste from the landfill to date.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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December 2, 2016

Four of world's biggest cities to ban diesel cars from their centres

Fiona Harvey
Friday 2 December 2016 12.47 GMT

Four of the world’s biggest cities are to ban diesel vehicles from their centres within the next decade, as a means of tackling air pollution, with campaigners urging other city leaders to follow suit.

The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City announced plans on Friday to take diesel cars and vans off their roads by 2025.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, led the initiative at the C40 conference of mayors on climate change, taking place in Mexico this week. She said: “Mayors have already stood up to say that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face. Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens.”

“Soot from diesel vehicles is among the big contributors to ill health and global warming,” added Helena Molin Valdés, head of the United Nations’ climate and clean air coalition, noting that more than nine out of 10 people around the globe live where air pollution exceeds World Health Organisation safety limits.

Miguel Ángel Mancera, mayor of Mexico City, said increasing investments in public transport would also help clean the city’s air, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Giorgos Kaminis, mayor of Athens, said his goal was to remove all cars from the city centre. The city authorities will also work with national governments and manufacturers, and promote electric vehicles and cleaner transport.

Read more at The Guardian.

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December 2, 2016

'Findicators' track the path to Finland’s progress on the SDGs

By Tim Hill
Friday 2 December 2016

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, which includes ending poverty and providing clean water and sanitation for all nations among others, is an ambitious vision of a better, more sustainable world.

But the nitty gritty of monitoring the progress of each goal can be a headache for researchers. For every goal, there are a large number of indicators to track; and each indicator requires a lot of effort to identify, capture and measure the relevant data.

For instance, one of the SDGs - Goal 14 - is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. One of the indicators is the proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels.

But different countries use different methods to gather this data. In the Mediterranean, what method do they use? How about in the North-east Atlantic? Some countries have not even started collecting the data.

Inconsistent or missing data was one of the problems researchers in Finland encountered when they started exploring the best way to implement the SDGs in their country.

But they found a way to get around it, which is basically to collate all the available data about the SDGs into one place so that they can see the gaps and overlaps in their information, and what goals need urgent attention.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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December 1, 2016

Big food faces annihilation unless it moves with millennials on health

Alison Moodie
Thursday 1 December 2016 14.29 GMT

A college student in the 1980s may have been content living off instant noodles for dinner. Nowadays, a twentysomething is as likely to pick up a piece of wild salmon with quinoa and a fresh rocket salad from their local grocery store on any given night.

It’s a shift that’s having ripple effects throughout the food industry as manufacturers and retailers scramble to adapt to a younger generation’s appetite for fresher, healthier foods.

But their efforts aren’t creating a more sustainable industry as healthy convenience meals are often just as heavily packaged as processed products.

Sales of fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood, and prepared deli foods have risen from $257bn (£206bn) in 2009 to a forecasted $315bn in 2016, according to a report from London-based market research firm Mintel.

The shift is taking place because consumers are changing so much, and fast, says John Stanton, professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. And it’s not just any consumer – millennials, those born roughly between 1982 and 2004, are driving the growth. They favour fresh, minimally processed food that is easy to prepare, says Stanton.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 28, 2016

An Ethical Footwear Force Awakens with Po-Zu and Its Better Shoes Foundation

November 28, 2016
by Maxine Perella

This week, ethical shoe brand Po-Zu will unveil its Star Wars-themed footwear at the FFANY trade show in New York as part of a major collaboration with the movie franchise. It’s a highly significant launch for Po-Zu, as it will enable the UK-based manufacturer to bring its products to a wider market and raise public awareness over the ‘dark side’ of the shoe trade.

The footwear industry is not known for its ethical or environmental practices. Used shoes are a landfill magnet – one study suggests less than 5 percent of waste from post-consumer shoes is recycled. Material toxicity is also a concern, with leather shoes being particularly problematic: 85 percent of the world’s leather is thought to be tanned using chromium, which is considered one of the world’s worst pollutants.

There are questionable supply chain labour practices too, with many workers exploited for what is often considered a cheap commodity. According to a recent report from NGO Labour Behind the Label, just over 2 percent of the final price of a pair of shoes goes towards the wages of workers who manufactured them, whereas about a quarter of the price remains with the brand company and one-third with the retailer.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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November 26, 2016

Costa Coffee launches in-store cup recycling scheme

Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent
Saturday 26 November 2016 08.01 GMT

The UK’s largest coffee chain Costa Coffee is to launch a recycling scheme in all of its stores to ensure that as many as possible of its own takeaway cups – and those from its competitors – are recycled.

In a move designed to reduce the millions of used disposable cups that end up in landfill, the chain’s customers will be encouraged to leave or return them to a Costa store, where they will be stored on a bespoke rack. Costa’s waste partner, Veolia, will transport them to specialist waste processing plants which have the capacity to recycle takeaway coffee cups – potentially as many as 30m a year from Costa alone.

Following a successful trial in more than 45 stores across London and Manchester, Costa is rolling out the recycling racks in all 2,000-plus stores at the end of January with a clear message that “we recycle any paper takeaway cup, no matter what brand”.

It was revealed earlier this year that only 1 in 400 coffee cups are recycled in the UK because they are made of a difficult-to-recycle mix of paper and plastic. That prompted calls for a charge on takeaway cups by prominent figures including chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 25, 2016

Conservation in palm oil is possible

25 November 2016 / Commentary by Erik Meijaard

Whereas most oil palm concessions are associated with the destruction of orangutan habitat, at least one company, PT KAL in West Kalimantan, stands out for protecting some 150 orangutans in its concession. Important lessons are to be learned from this case.

The oil palm sector is often blamed as one of the biggest threats in tropical conservation. Much of the critique of the sector is justified. Oil palm plantations at industrial and small-holder scale have displaced large areas of tropical forest and their increasingly threatened wildlife. As was shown in a recent study on Borneo, the rate at which this happens is still increasing. So what to do?

There are several possible strategies for reducing the impact of the oil palm sector on nature. The favored strategy over the past few decades for many in the environmental sector has been to reject palm oil, with some organizations calling for a total ban on palm oil. Because of the strong public and political support for oil palm development in major producing countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, such bans have remained largely ineffective in slowing the expansion of the industry.

Other organizations have called for more sustainable practices in the industry, such as those prescribed through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). It remains to be seen whether RSPO certification has resulted in much improved environmental and social practices but the fact that NGOs such as the PanEco Foundation are withdrawing support from RSPO is a concern for the sustainability claims of the platform.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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November 24, 2016

Timber trading platform aims to increase transparency, legality

An online tool now allows timber traders to verify the sustainability of their purchases from important tropical timber countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

More than ever before, global consumers are demanding products made from responsibly sourced timber, and importers are increasingly being asked to account for where their timber and wood products come from under statutes such as the EU Timber Regulation and the Lacey Act in the US. To help buyers and traders stay in step with those trends, the BVRio Environmental Exchange unveiled the Responsible Timber Exchange on Wednesday.

“This is the first vehicle that promotes legality [and] sustainability,” said Pedro Moura Costa, the founder and president of BVRio.

The BVRio Institute, a nonprofit organization founded five years ago to come up with market-based solutions to boost environmental compliance, hosts the Responsible Timber Exchange.

Moura Costa said that in the past couple of years, BVRio had been asked by certified timber companies working in Brazil to help them operate more efficiently and economically.

“The illegal operators have such an advantage,” Moura Costa said, making it difficult for more ethically minded timber producers to compete.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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November 24, 2016

Tesco to phase out microbeads from its products by end of 2016

Adam Vaughan
Thursday 24 November 2016 12.51 GMT

Tesco will have phased out microbeads from all its own brand cosmetics and household cleaning products within a month, it was announced on Thursday.

While UK ministers recently said personal care products containing these tiny pieces of plastic will be banned from sale by the end of 2017, it is not clear yet whether the ban will extend to other types of products that rely on their abrasive properties.

But Tesco said that it was listening to customers’ concerns and in the spring it had instructed suppliers to either cut microbeads from products such as toothpaste entirely, or to use natural alternatives such as ground coconut shell in face scrubs.

The supermarket will also make “do not flush” labels much bigger on the front of its own brand wet wipes, which campaigners and water companies say are clogging up sewers and causing pollution. And the company’s own brand “flushable” wipes will soon be manufactured to break down more easily.

Tesco admitted it had been “behind the game” on issues affecting the oceans and marine life before.

Microbeads are pieces of plastic less than 0.5mm in diameter and have been commonly used in health and beauty products to provide an exfoliating effect. But they have been blamed for harming marine life’s ability to reproduce, and experts say more research is needed on their potential human health impacts.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 24, 2016

Sustainable consumption: An untapped opportunity in Asia

By Clelia Daniel
Thursday 24 November 2016

The concept of sustainable consumption incites us all to consume less and to consume better. Perhaps less obviously, it also encourages the world’s poorest people to increase their consumption. The implication therefore calls the private sector to keep consumption levels to within the carrying capacity of the world, but also to make space for those currently in poverty who will inevitably consume more once out of poverty.

While companies meticulously and in great detail plan how to reduce their own social and environmental footprint, they tend to put much less emphasis on the impact of their products once in the hands of the consumers.

This is understandable as the behavior of their customers it is not under companies’ direct control. However, consumption might have the same or an even greater impact on the environment and society than expected.

Many global brands have rethought their products in a way that promotes sustainable lifestyles, i.e. Patagonia, Interface, Nike, Heineken among many others. Since sustainable consumption is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, we can expect to hear more about it from Asian companies as well.

In the age of transparency, it is important for companies to send a clear message about their purpose, which can no longer be just selling more products and services with negative environmental and social impacts. By 2030, the Asia-Pacific region will account for 48 per cent of global consumption, urging the region to start thinking seriously about its consumption patterns.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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November 22, 2016

Germany wakes up to the issue of waste with reusable coffee cups

The thought of 2.8 billion disposable coffee cups a year being dumped in landfill sites across Germany is enough to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of any consumer.

With 320,000 "to go" coffees delivered over the country's counters every hour, according to the German environmental aid forum, the impact of this growing trend is extensive.

To tackle the issue, the university city of Freiburg has come up with a pioneering scheme aimed at reducing waste.

The "Freiburg Cup", made from dishwasher-proof plastic and obtained from cafes and bakeries for a deposit of one euro, can be reused hundreds of times ‒ or returned.

The cups, which are provided by local councils, are washed in the cafes and bakeries that have signed up to the scheme before being reused or redistributed.

So far 16 outlets have agreed to take part in the "Freiburg Cup" experiment in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, including cafes in the university libraries.

Read more at BBC News.

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November 22, 2016

New funding platform launched for sustainability projects in Asia

By Hannah Koh
Tuesday 22 November 2016

Sustainable projects in the areas of the circular economy, sustainable energy or social impact in Asia now have a new potential source of funding in the Sustainable Finance Collective (SFC) Asia.

This funding platform, launched on Tuesday morning by ING Bank at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development in Singapore, will offer funding to projects that meet the criteria and approval of its two committees: the Funding Panel and the Expert Panel.

Comprised of banks Credit Suisse, FMO, and ING Bank as well as the UNDP-UN Social Impact Fund, the Funding Panel will offer project managers a range of funding options through a single source including debt, equity, and guarantees.

Gerrit Stoelinga, CEO for ING Wholesale Banking Asia, said in a statement that sustainability is key to ING’s purpose of empowering people and businesses.

“We want to encourage businesses to become more sustainable and we hope to see applications for game-changing sustainability projects that will have a positive impact in Asia.”

Projects applying for funding must be about one of the three themes: circular economy, sustainable energy, or social impact. The first two themes should require minimum funding of US$15 million, while grant applications for social impact projects start at US$5 million. Capital will be allocated on a case-by-case basis with no cap to the amount available for funding in total.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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November 21, 2016

Beijing bans highly polluting cars during smog alerts

Monday 21 November 2016 11.45 GMT

Next year, Beijing will ban highly polluting old cars from being driven whenever air-quality alerts are issued in the city or neighbouring regions, according to its environmental protection bureau.

China has adopted various measures over the years to reduce the smog shrouding many of the country’s northern cities in winter, causing hazardous traffic conditions and disrupting daily life.

From 15 February, vehicles that don’t meet the government’s current standard on emissions (those more than 10 years old) will be banned in Beijing’s main urban area whenever orange or red alerts are issued in Beijing or neighbouring Hebei province and Tianjin city.

Vehicles breaking the restrictions will be fined 100 yuan (£11.75) every four hours they are on the road, the bureau added.

Cars at the National 1 or National 2 emissions standards, which the rules are aimed at, only account for 8% of the cars in the city, but they account for more than 30% of smog causing nitrogen oxide emissions, the bureau said.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 20, 2016

COP22: Nations Hold Fast to Paris Climate Accord

MARRAKECH, Morocco, November 20, 2016 (ENS) – Countries fast-tracked the political and practical aims of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement and accelerated global climate action at the 2016 UN climate change conference that concluded in the early hours of Saturday morning in Marrakech.

The 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP 22, hosted by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, saw nearly 500 heads of state or government and ministers attend.

By the end of the two-week climate summit, more than 100 countries, representing over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, had formally joined the Paris Agreement.

On November 15, Marrakech also hosted the first official meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement, its top governing body, following the accord’s early entry into force on November 4, less than a year after it was adopted last December.

The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The November 8 election of climate denier Donald Trump as president of the United States sent shock waves through the gathering, but it did not deter participants from moving forward in a spirit of determination.

The United States, Canada, Germany and Mexico announced ambitious climate strategies out to 2050, reflecting the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement to achieve climate neutrality and a low-emission world in the second half of this century.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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November 18, 2016

New toolkit helps local authorities contribute to SDGs through Fair Trade

18 November 2016

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office launched the toolkit Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Fair Trade at a recent ceremony in Brussels (Belgium), highlighting the key role that local authorities have in contributing to the new global Agenda 2030 for sustainable development through Fair Trade.

The toolkit provides guidance and best practices across different policy areas at local level, such as public procurement, local economic development, international cooperation, awareness raising, and multi-stakeholder engagement. It provides international examples and is meant to serve as a companion for local officials working on the implementation of the SDGs at local level.

Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stated in the foreword: “This publication is timely and welcomed. It serves as a practical tool for cities and towns to learn from the experience of other local authorities in contributing to the 2030 Agenda via Fair Trade.”

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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November 18, 2016

How2Compost Label Aims to Facilitate Proper Packaging Disposal

November 18, 2016
by Libby MacCarthy

With private and municipal composting programs becoming more mainstream, as well as more companies turning to more sustainable packaging designs, composting is now easier than ever. The next step in the crusade to reduce waste? The Sustainable Packing Coalition (SPC)’s launch of the new How2Compost label program.

How2Compost is an on-package label that informs consumers that packaging is certified compostable, offers directions on appropriate composting, and includes the URL how2compost.info for further information.

The How2Compost label was developed by SPC in conjunction with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), the leading compostable packaging certification program. By looking for the How2Compost label, consumers can now more easily identify packaging and products that are certified to compost in industrial composting facilities. Every package featuring How2Compost is either certified compostable by BPI, or contains a certified product so consumers can trust that it has gone through required testing and is third-party verified in accordance with standards related to industrial composting facilities.

How2Compost is an extension of the How2Recycle program. Like the How2Recycle label, the How2Compost label is a next generation labeling system that brings harmonization and precision to recovery claims on packaging and is designed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's guidance over environmental marketing claims. Companies can choose to become a member of How2Compost in order to feature the label on their BPI-certified packaging, to provide additional consumer clarity on the compostability of the various packaging components and related products.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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November 17, 2016

New Platform Helps Companies ‘Trase’ Deforestation in Their Supply Chains

November 17, 2016
by Hannah Furlong

Commodity production drives two-thirds of tropical deforestation worldwide, and tracing those commodities has proven difficult. With this in mind, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Global Canopy Programme (GCP) have launched an interactive online platform called Trase – Transparency for Sustainable Economies – that allows companies, financial institutions, governments and others to explore data on the flows of globally-traded commodities such as palm oil, soya, beef and timber that are driving deforestation and other environmental and social impacts worldwide.

“We see Trase as the start of a data-driven revolution in supply chain transparency,” said Javier Godar, a Senior Research Fellow at SEI and one of the platform’s founders. “The blanket transparency offered by Trase can help catalyse improvements across the board: in production practices, procurement and investment policies and the governance of supply chains by both producer and consumer governments.”

Trase dynamically maps and visualizes the movement of commodities from their municipality of origin to the exporters, importers and ‘consumer’ countries. For now, the platform only covers Brazilian soy, but Trase expects to include all Latin American soy by 2017, followed by beef in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and then other major commodities such as Brazilian timber and Indonesian oil palm. Over the next five years, Trase aims to expand to cover over 70 percent of total production in major forest risk commodities.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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November 17, 2016

Indonesia ships first containers of timber under EU legality scheme

JAKARTA — The first containers of plywood certified as legal under the EU’s anti-illegal-logging action plan were shipped out of the Indonesian capital on Tuesday, a milestone in the fight against blackmarket timber in one of the world’s most heavily forested countries.

Of the 15 nations that have agreed to take part in the scheme, Indonesia is first to succeed in establishing a national system for verifying the legality of its timber — a considerable achievement for a country where unscrupulous loggers pocketed a presumed $60.7-81.4 billion from illicit sales between 2003 and 2014, according to the nation’s antigraft agency. Indonesia lost nearly $9 billion in state revenue from unreported timber sales during the same period.

“This signifies Indonesia’s commitment to combat illegal logging and the illicit timber trade,” said Rufi’ie, a director at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Rufi’ie, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, added that 36 certifications had already been issued under the scheme, known as Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). He said he hoped Indonesia’s compliance with the program would increase the value of its exports.

With the adoption of the scheme, EU timber importers will not have to perform their own due dilligence on certified shipments from the archipelago country, increasing the competitiveness of Indoensian timber vis-a-vis other producers.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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November 17, 2016

RBF goes zero waste for 2016

By Hannah Koh
Thursday 17 November 2016

Say goodbye to business cards, printed programmes, and even meat dishes at this year’s Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Sustainable Development, whose organisers have pledged to make it the first zero-waste, zero-emissions conference in Asia.

Tony Gourlay, chief executive of Global Initiatives, which runs the Responsible Business Forum, said his team wants to “walk the talk” as they engage the business community to do more for the sustainability agenda.

“We also want to get everyone thinking about how much each single plastic cup, plane ride, conference badge actually impacts the earth,” he added.

Running from November 22 to 24 at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the conference is the first United Nations Development Programme business forum in Asia to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, and now wants to be Asia’s first event without waste or emissions.

With help from MBS, no trash will be generated during the three-day event, and 100 per cent of all remaining unavoidable emissions will be offset.

Going paperless, the forum will rely on digital signage at the event and encourage attendees to use the RBF event app, which contains programme information, allows digital scanning of business cards and comes with a voting function for use during sessions.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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November 15, 2016

What factors are influencing electric vehicle purchases in China?

WASHINGTON, D.C., November, 15, 2016 -- Many Chinese cities are suffering from deteriorating environmental quality -- particularly due to air pollution that contributes to fog and haze. Air pollutant levels now far exceed "safe" limits established by the European Union, and one of the main culprits behind it is the rapid increase in automobile ownership and usage.

These rising environmental concerns are driving the development of new energy vehicles (NEVs) -- aka plug-in electric vehicles -- as a way to help mitigate the environmental problems associated with automobile usage. But sales of NEVs are still relatively low. In 2014, the 74,763 NEVs sold accounted for only 0.3 percent of total automobile sales in China that year.

So, a group of researchers from the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at Beijing Institute of Technology, the Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, and the Sustainable Development Research Institute for Economy and Society of Beijing set out to find out what motivates or influences consumer to purchase electric vehicles within seven cities in China. They report their findings this week in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing.

Read more at EurekAlert!

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November 15, 2016

Pilot project aims to produce new workwear from old clothes

15 November 2016

Can used clothing be turned back into its component materials and then used to create more clothing? Dutch waterways, public works and environment authority Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is coming to the end of a unique pilot project that trialled this concept. As part of the project, around 50 lock stewards – who spend their days on the Netherland’s waterways - were issued with caps, polo-shirts, raincoats and fleece jackets made of 100 per cent recyclable polyester materials.

Supplied by innovative manufacturer Dutch aWEARness, the season’s uniforms are handed in following use to be ‘dematerialised’ into their component raw materials. According to the manufacturers, this ‘new from old’ process could be repeated up to eight times. The benefits of this approach are significant: no new raw materials (or perhaps very few) are needed for new workwear, and no waste has to be burned.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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November 14, 2016

UK to investigate human health impact of microplastics

Press Association
Monday 14 November 2016 09.11 GMT

The government is to conduct an investigation into the impact on human health of microplastic particles found in shellfish and other marine animals.

The study by the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, is to be carried out as part of a wider, year-long review of the health effects of pollution.

The move follows the announcement in September that the government is to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries after the Commons environmental audit committee raised concerns about their effect on the marine environment.

In its official response to the committee’s findings, the government acknowledged there was “little evidence” available on the impact to human health of microplastics - defined as particles smaller than five millimetres.

It said that research had however shown high concentrations could cause physical harm to marine worms and microplastics could transfer along a “simple” food chain - such as from a mussel to a crab.

In its report, the committee said someone eating six oysters was likely to have consumed 50 particles of microplastics and that the human health impacts should be a “priority subject for research”.

Committee chairwoman, Mary Creagh, said: “It’s welcome news that the chief medical officer will investigate the impact of microplastics on human health.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 14, 2016

COP22 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference countries, cities and companies meet to scale-up solutions

Marrakech, Morocco, 14 November 2016: The Paris Agreement is now in force, and as of today, for the first time in COP history, the COP22 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) will provide a match-making function between countries and the companies, sectors and platforms on the latest innovative solutions and technologies that can help countries hit their NDC targets.

Taking place in the Blue Zone at Marrakech from 14-16 November, the conference puts innovative technological solutions at the heart of COP22 and of the climate agenda. This can help boost the impact of national commitments – a vital step as the focus of the world moves to implementation.

Today, the LESC will host a Ministerial Roundtable on Innovation led by the United States Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz; Peter Bakker, CEO and President of WBCSD, and 10 Ministers (from across the EU, India, Mexico, Brazil and China).

he successful implementation of the Paris Agreement will depend on the deployment of low-emissions strategies and on innovative solutions. This three-day Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) is aimed at global co-creation and troubleshooting of the latest technological developments.

Effective and innovative mitigation solutions exist, but need scaling up, which is why collaboration between all stakeholders is critical. LESC embodies this collaboration and reinforces this cooperation towards implementation and upgrade of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Read more at the WBCSD News.

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November 10, 2016

Shoppers must use their purchasing power to lead green products revolution

Bruce Watson
Thursday 10 November 2016 23.07 GMT

Whenever the battle against toxic chemicals makes headlines, it’s usually linked to huge, sprawling disasters like Flint’s poisoned water or BPA-laden plastics – the kind of thing that involves large scale poisoning and disease and defies an easy solution. And, on those rare occasions when a happy chemistry story breaks – like the ban on antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, or the reauthorization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which will expand the government’s ability to regulate chemicals – the combination of confusing chemistry and bizarre political maneuvering makes the story almost incomprehensible for anybody who isn’t already an expert.

It’s easy to imagine the battle for greener chemistry as a titanic struggle between goliath industries and sprawling governments, with consumers watching from the sidelines as their lives and health hang in the balance. But this perspective – and most stories about toxic chemicals – ignore a key part of the equation: consumer demand. For all the much-discussed push of government policies and industry innovations, it’s the pull of consumers and the market that ultimately fuels the biggest changes.

The experts at the Guardian’s Green Chemistry Conference in New York in November highlighted the need to help consumers recognize the pull that they exert. On the government side, they’re focusing on policies and infrastructure projects that address voter concerns; on the consumer side, they’re bringing safer, greener products to market, often in the face of resistance from entrenched industries. In both cases, they’re being tugged along by the increasingly vocal desires and demands of voters and consumers.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 10, 2016

Collect Earth: Google and FAO launch new forest tool

By Vaidehi Shah
Thursday 10 November 2016

Technology giant Google and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation on Tuesday unveiled a new digital tool that will allow countries to track land use change and calculate emissions reductions from avoiding deforestation more accurately.

Called Collect Earth and presented at the United Nations climate change conference (COP 22) in Marrakesh, Morocco, the tool is the result of a partnership between Google and FAO inked last year, and will provide access to large collections of free, high-resolution satellite imagery and cloud computing services.

The tool, which offers countries an accessible yet technically advanced way to track land use change, account for carbon, and develop forest and land use policies, is one of a dozen new initiatives to promote the protection and sustainable management of forests launched at COP 22 as part of the UN’s Forest Action Day, a part of the Global Climate Action Agenda.

This is an initiative by France—which hosted last year’s climate conference in Paris—and Morocco to promote deeper partnerships between governments, cities, businesses, investors, and citizens to tackle climate change.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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November 8, 2016

Commission won’t regulate toasters or hairdryers after Hoovergate scandal

By James Crisp | EurActiv.com

The European Commission today (8 November) defended its decision not to consider hairdryers and toasters for green regulation, but admitted that negative headlines about meddling Brussels bureaucrats had influenced the executive’s thinking over Ecodesign rules.

EU rules governing the energy efficiency of vacuum cleaners sparked huge debate over perceived excessive red tape from the Commission.

Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said the ‘Hoovergate’ headlines had stirred up Euroscepticism, after controversies in EU countries such as Germany and the UK.

“They have been very influential,” Timmermans said, after revealing that while hand dryers and kettles would be analysed for potential EU regulation, toasters would not.

“We are very sensitive to what we have seen in the past,” he said. The College of Commissioner had held two fully-fledged debates over which products to regulate he said.

“What we are doing is evidence-based. We want the products with the highest energy yield. That is why kettles are on the list and toasters are not on the list. The only way I can be convinced – I was very sceptical when I joined – is by evidence.”

The list of proposed products to be scrutinised over a three-year period was delayed until after the UK’s Brexit referendum in June.

Read more at EurActiv.com.

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November 8, 2016

Study: Recycling scrap steel offers environmental and competitive benefits

By Nicole Sagener | EurActiv.de | Translated By Samuel Morgan

The market for scrap steel is weakening, but the circular economy may offer a ray of hope. A new study claims that old steel products will become increasingly important to the industry. EurActiv Germany reports.

The steel recycling industry continues to come under pressure, firstly because of China’s dumping practices and secondly because of the drop in iron ore price, which lets new steel be made more cheaply, according to the Federation of German Steel Recycling and Waste Management Companies (BDSV).

In 2015, the price of certain types of scrap fell by up to 40%, making it unattractive financially. As a result, demand decreased by 7.5%.

Europe-wide, it looks bleak for the industry: In eight years, the use of scrap has fallen by nearly a quarter to 90 million tonnes. In the past, Europe could count on Turkey to deal with, but in 2015 it bought 20% less scrap than it did in 2014.

But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. A study produced by the Fraunhofer Research Institute UMSICHT reveals that the steel recycling sector will become increasingly important to the steel industry’s value chain.

Read more at EurActiv.com.

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November 8, 2016

€220M European Commission Investment Spurs 144 New Circular, Low-Carbon Projects

November 8, 2016
by Libby MacCarthy

The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7 million from the EU budget to support Europe's transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6 million, which will be used to finance 144 new projects in 23 member states.

The support comes from the LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action, the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action. €323.5 million will go to projects in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information.

The projects illustrate the Commission's ongoing commitment to its flagship circular economy package. A significant number of awards have already been and will continue to be granted to EU member states to help make the transition to a more circular economy. Examples of recognised projects in 2016 include new, energy-saving, hydrogen-electric garbage trucks in Belgium; technologies for reducing the health risks of sludge in wastewater, pioneered in Italy; and a project to help Greek municipalities, such as Olympia, increase recycling rates.

In the field of climate action, the investment will support climate change adaptation and mitigation, and climate governance, and information projects totalling €75.1 million. Selected projects support the EU's target to reduce GHG emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, contributing to the shift towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. In 2015, such projects included restoration and carbon storage in peatlands in five EU countries (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), demonstration of the production of low-emission cement and concrete products in France, enhancing the climate resilience of vineyards in Germany and implementing adaptation measures in urban areas in Cyprus.

Read more at Sustainable Business.

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November 7, 2016

UN released two million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2015 latest ‘Greening the Blue’ report shows

7 November 2016 – In the latest edition of the United Nations report on the organization’s greenhouse gas emissions, the world body announced that it emitted two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2015 and that a total of 28 UN system entities took systematic approaches to improve their environmental performance, all part of its commitment to become climate neutral by 2020.

“As I prepare to step down as Secretary-General, I am encouraged by how far we have come in ‘walking the talk,’ thanks to the enthusiasm of the staff of the United Nations for Greening the Blue, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his introduction to the report, which was released today.

The UN chief said he was also pleased to see growing staff commitment to climate neutrality and sustainability in the workplace, as well as consistent support for initiatives such as World Environment Day and Earth Hour.

The report includes important updates on the progress of the Climate Neutral UN Strategy, which in 2007 committed all agencies, funds, and programmes to move towards climate neutrality and requires UN bodies to estimate their greenhouse emissions and undertake efforts to reduce and offset their emissions before 2020.

This year, 66 UN entities and 284,482 personnel around the world are included in the report. As of 2008, there has been a 38 per cent increase in the number of agencies reporting their emissions and a 37 per cent increase in the number of staff covered by the inventory.

Read more at UN News Centre.

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November 4, 2016

A historic moment: Cement Leaders celebrate the Paris Agreement entering into force

Members of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) welcome the Paris Agreement entering into force as a key milestone in establishing a stable regulatory framework to enable the business community to scale up the implementation of low-carbon solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Geneva, 4 November 2016: Today, the Paris Agreement adopted on 12 December 2015, will enter into force, thirty days after the date (5 October) on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention (UNFCCC) accounting in total for at least an estimated 55% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

This represents a historic moment. For the first time in UN history, a worldwide ambitious, legally-binding treaty has been ratified by enough Parties to enter into force in less than one year after its official adoption. This demonstrates a clear change in the Parties’ commitment, consistent with the level of urgency for all stakeholders to fight against climate change and its impacts.

The CSI and its members welcome this achievement and congratulate the Parties and all the stakeholders that have contributed to the development, agreement and ratification of the Paris Agreement. This long-term, permanent framework, set up by the agreement, has been expected by the private sector for years.

Read more at WBCSD News.

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November 4, 2016

Paris Agreement enters into force – celebration and reality check

By Patricia Espinosa and Salaheddine Mezouar
Friday 4 November 2016

Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016, as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement – the result of the most complex, comprehensive and critical international climate negotiation ever attempted – came into force today.

The Agreement is undoubtedly a turning point in the history of common human endeavour, capturing the combined political, economic and social will of governments, cities, regions, citizens, business and investors to overcome the existential threat of unchecked climate change.

Its early entry into force is a clear political signal that all the nations of the world are devoted to decisive global action on climate change.

Next week’s UN climate change conference in Marrakech represents a new departure for the international community, and the first meeting of the Paris Agreement’s governing body, known as the CMA, will take place during it on November 15.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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November 3, 2016

Your carbon footprint destroys 30 square metres of Arctic sea ice a year

Damian Carrington
Thursday 3 November 2016 19.00 GMT

The average westerner’s carbon emissions destroy 30 square metres of Arctic sea ice every year, according to new research.

The work indicates that, even with current efforts to cut emissions, the Arctic will lose all its ice in summer within about 20 years.

Plummeting Arctic sea ice cover is one of the most obvious signs of climate change and is increasingly linked to extreme weather events such as storms and floods in Europe and severe cold snaps in the US.

The new study revealed a linear link between emissions of CO2 and the loss of Arctic sea ice, which has shrunk by half in the last 40 years. The link enables people to understand their own contribution to climate change, according to the leader of the work, Prof Dirk Notz, at the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany.

“It allows us, for the first time really, to intuitively grasp how we all individually contribute to global warming,” he said. “The observed numbers are very simple. For each tonne of CO2 that a person emits anywhere on this planet, three square metres of Arctic summer sea ice disappears.”

“So far the global warming debate has always been about very large numbers like billions of tonnes of CO2 or very small numbers like 0.1C of temperature change,” he said. “Our study allows us to understand that it is really our own individual actions, every day, that contribute to ongoing global warming.”

The research, published in the journal Science, analysed the declining extent of Arctic sea ice from 1953 to 2015 and found it tracked the emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel burning and other human activities. The relationship fits well with the underlying physics.

As a result, it is possible to calculate how much Arctic sea ice is lost as a result of an individual’s emissions. The average annual emissions of a citizen of the 35 rich nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is 10 tonnes per year, leading to 30 sq m of ice being lost. Citizens of the US, Canada and Australia have a higher carbon footprint - about 16 tonnes - each causing almost 50 sq m of ice loss per year. In the UK, the average emissions are 7.5 tonnes per year, meaning 22.5 sq m of ice loss.

Read more at The Guardian.

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November 2, 2016

GreenS Steering Committees promote the power of green public procurement

Steering Committees comprised of municipal authority staff and procurement experts have been set up by the GreenS project in seven European countries with the aim of driving uptake of green public procurement (GPP) at local and regional level. The project aims to use GPP to help meet the EU’s goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy use in Europe by 2020.

The newly established Steering Committees in Italy, Cyprus, Spain, Latvia, Sweden, Slovenia and Bulgaria play an important role in institutionalising GPP in these countries, helping with the development and implementation of GPP strategies, including influencing GPP standards. These committees will promote training and consultation for relevant officials, and will discuss barriers and challenges with procurers in each region.

Read more at ICLEI Europe News.

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October 31, 2016

Greenpeace to Samsung: Recover Metals in Recalled Phones

SEOUL, South Korea, October 31, 2016 (ENS) – Samsung Electronics Co., faced with the discovery that the lithium ion batteries in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone could ignite, has recalled 2.5 million of the devices from 10 countries. Greenpeace wants Samsung to retrieve tons of precious metals from the waste phones.

After the Galaxy Note 7’s launch in August, Samsung received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the United States alone, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Initially, Samsung decided to recall all of the Galaxy Note 7 phones sold and offer replacements or refunds.

But by October 10, at least five of the replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones also had caught fire, and Samsung now is asking all users to shut down the phones. As of October 13, Samsung is recalling all Note 7s, including replacement units.

Consumers who have Galaxy Note 7 devices can exchange them for another model of Samsung smartphone, or receive a refund.

But compensation is not what concerns the environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace, which warned today that, “Samsung’s lack of transparency on the disposal of its Galaxy Note 7 leaves tons of precious minerals at risk of being discarded into the environment.”

Read more at Environment News Service.

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October 28, 2016

Walmart Unveils New Sustainable Packaging Priorities to Complement Zero-Waste Goal

October 28, 2016
by Sustainable Brands

Walmart hopes to reignite the passion around sustainable packaging with vendors, store buyers, packaging suppliers and consumers with three new, clear goals: Optimize Design; Source Sustainably; and Support Recycling. The priorities were unveiled along with the company’s new “Sustainable Packaging Playbook” at the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Summit this week.

The goals are in-line with the zero-waste goal that retail giant extended across its entire supply chain “from farming and manufacturing, consumption to end of life” earlier this year. Walmart stated that attention to the materials that go into products helps deliver value, from both a business bottom line and environmental perspective.

“Packaging is an essential part of the products that we sell,” Zach Freeze, Walmart’s Director of Strategic Initiatives–Sustainability said in an interview. “In the playbook, we talk about recyclability and making sure that messaging is clear to the customer. For us, it’s all about clear guidance. We want to provide clear guidance to our suppliers about optimizing design and supporting recycling and we want to make it easier for our customers to recycle packaging.”

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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October 28, 2016

Small oil palm plantations are having big impacts on Peru rainforest

28 October 2016 / Benji Jones

A closer look at a deforestation “hotspot” in central Peru finds oil palm expansion to be the primary driver of forest loss. That’s according to a recent report by Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), which analyzed high-resolution satellite imagery in one of several patches of deforestation spattering the central Peruvian Amazon.

Earlier this year, MAAP identified several deforestation hotspots in Peru, each indicating an area where a high density of forest loss was detected in 2015. And a clear trend was evident: Most hotspots were found in the central Amazon, home to the country’s highest deforestation rates, in addition to myriad endemic plants and animals.

Since unveiling the hotspots in March, MAAP has used satellite imagery to investigate the likely drivers of deforestation in each area. Their earlier analyses pegged cattle ranching as the main reason behind forest clearance. Released last week, MAAP’s latest analysis revealed another driver of forest loss in the region – oil palm development.

High-resolution satellite imagery shows unequivocal signs of oil palm in a hotspot located in northern Huánuco Department, write MAAP researchers. They estimate that 558 hectares of forest were razed in this region to establish small and medium-scale plantations between 2010 and 2014.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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October 28, 2016

GRI launches first global standards on sustainability reporting

By Ping Manongdo
Friday 28 October 2016

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has launched a new set of global standards that offer companies a “common language” for sustainability reporting.

The Amsterdam-headquartered international organisation said the new standards will help companies be more transparent about their impact on the economy, the environment and society.

The new GRI standards - which is built on its previous G4 guidelines and replaces it - allows organisations to handpick reporting topics which are most relevant and substantial to the profitability and sustainability of their business.

In a statement, GRI interim chief executive Eric Hespenheide said that the new standards “make it much easier for companies to report non-financial information, using a well-understood shared language.”

“The Standards are more straightforward, making them accessible to potentially millions of businesses worldwide,” he added.

Under the new framework, businesses and organisations are required to report using three universal standards, namely GRI 101 Foundation, GRI 102 General Disclosures, and GRI 103 Management Approach.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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October 27, 2016

Study shows online consumers want environmentally friendly options

By Kristen Satre Meyer

October 27, 2016 — Reducing the carbon footprint of what we buy isn’t easy, but the opportunity for impact is substantial: In the United States, producing and delivering consumer purchases releases twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as home energy use and personal travel. By gathering and sharing information on carbon emissions associated with their products, companies can make environmentally friendly choices easier for consumers and boost their own reputations as planet-friendly businesses.

Advances in online technology provide effective and inexpensive opportunities to do this, according to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

To explore strategies for sharing carbon footprint information and evaluate the impact of offering consumers carbon offset options, NREL researchers designed a series of experiments focused on four industries — online retailing, ride sharing, video streaming and short-term lodging.

Using crowdsourced online survey services, they reproduced the online interfaces of actual companies to track the decision process of participants offered green choices. Follow-up questions explored participants’ reactions to these options. Their findings demonstrate that providing green choices can lower their overall carbon footprints and improve customer satisfaction.

Read more at Ensia.

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October 27, 2016

Rethinking production and consumption for a zero-waste Singapore

By Hannah Koh
Thursday 27 October 2016

After decades of producing, consuming and disposing, it is time for Singapore to get rid of its throw-away culture and evolve towards more socially and environmentally responsible ways of production and consumption, said participants at a high-level roundtable on the topic.

The “Coming full circle: Strategies for a zero waste Singapore” roundtable drew representatives from civil society, the private sector, as well as government officials from Singapore, Denmark, and the Netherlands who shared their thoughts on the possibilities for a zero-waste Singapore.

Sharing his insights at the roundtable in September 2016, Yuen Sai Kuan, Director (Corporate Affairs) at the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), a unit under the Prime Minister’s Office, Strategy Group, said that Singapore was one of the 81 countries that had recently ratified the Paris climate agreement that will come into force this November.

Singapore has pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and to stabilise its emissions by peaking around the same time.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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October 25, 2016

Dow Pledges $2.8M to Help Advance Solutions to Ocean Plastic Waste

October 25, 2016
by Sustainable Brands

The Dow Chemical Company has announced that it has committed $2.8 million over the next two years to drive solutions that address global marine debris and litter. The company made the announcement on Friday, September 16th, at the inaugural Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Dow is committed to finding viable science-based solutions to keep our oceans clean,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow’s president and chief operating officer. “These efforts are aligned to our 2025 Sustainability Goals and our efforts to advance a circular economy by delivering solutions to close resource loops and increase the rate of recycling and reuse of plastics.”

Dow’s $2.8 million commitment will be focused on two areas. Roughly half of the support will go toward sponsorship of collaborative projects such as the Ocean Conservancy’s research and waste management pilot programs and to support educational programs to promote recycling and prevent littering.

The other half will support ongoing research such as that being done by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation involving the development of new technologies to create a more circular economy while advancing opportunities to turn waste into a valuable end-state. This includes work to create a “new plastics economy” by increasing the recyclability of flexible packaging and driving the development of chemical recycling technologies to convert non-recycled plastics into feedstocks that can be used to make new materials.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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October 25, 2016

Backyard battery recycling is biggest chemical polluter for poorer nations

Damian Carrington
Tuesday 25 October 2016 15.00 BST

The backyard recycling of lead-acid car batteries is the number one source of chemical pollution in the world’s poorer nations and leads to millions of years of healthy life being lost, according to a new report.

The World’s Worst Pollution Problems, published by NGOs Pure Earth and Green Cross Switzerland on Tuesday, reveals the top 10 most polluting industries in low and middle-income countries.

Mining, leather tanning, rubbish dumps and the dye industry are among the most polluting activities harming health and causing early deaths. The NGOs estimate 200 million people are at risk in the 50 nations they analysed.

Old lead acid batteries are increasingly reused as some nations lack lead deposits and the rising number of cars is driving an upsurge in demand. However, in poorer nations the batteries are often opened with axes or hammers and the melting of the recovered lead takes places in homes.

Read more at The Guardian.

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October 25, 2016

Rotterdam’s procurement activities profiled by GLCN

The procurement work of the City of Rotterdam (The Netherlands) has been outlined in a new profile produced by the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement. The profile outlines the Dutch city's efforts to achieve 100 percent sustainable procurement by 2015.

Rotterdam places a strong emphasis on including green criteria and has moved away from the lowest bid method. Sustainability experts are also involved in the procurement process, offering advice on formulating criteria that are effective and appropriate.

Through its procurement activities, the city aims to a achieve a 40 percent energy reduction in community buildings by 2030, installation of rooftop solar panels on seven public buildings and 70 schools, zero emission delivery of goods and services by 2020, and much more. The document looks at how Rotterdam aims to achieve these targets, and explores the city's future challenges.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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October 24, 2016

Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 parts per million in 2015

High greenhouse gas levels mark start of new era of climate reality

Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and surged again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Niño event, according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

CO2 levels had previously reached the 400 ppm barrier for certain months of the year and in certain locations but never before on a global average basis for the entire year. The longest-established greenhouse gas monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, predicts that CO2 concentrations will stay above 400 ppm for the whole of 2016 and not dip below that level for many generations.

The growth spurt in CO2 was fuelled by the El Niño event, which started in 2015 and had a strong impact well into 2016. This triggered droughts in tropical regions and reduced the capacity of “sinks” like forests, vegetation and the oceans to absorb CO2. These sinks currently absorb about half of CO2 emissions but there is a risk that they may become saturated, which would increase the fraction of emitted carbon dioxide which stays in the atmosphere, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

Read more at World Meteorological Organization.

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October 24, 2016

Petrol cars allowed to exceed pollution limits by 50% under draft EU laws

Arthur Neslen
Monday 24 October 2016 06.00 BST

New European cars with petrol engines will be allowed to overshoot a limit on toxic particulates emissions by 50% under a draft EU regulation backed by the UK and most other EU states.

Campaigners say that a simple €25 (£22) filter could drastically cut the pollution, but the Guardian has learned that car-makers have instead mounted a successful push for loopholes and legislative delay.

Bas Eickhout, a Green MEP on the European parliament’s environment committee and dieselgate inquiry panel, promised action to ensure that the lessons of the VW scandal were learned.

“With this ridiculous proposal, the EU’s member states are again trying to dilute EU laws at a terrible cost to human health. We will call on the European commission to come to the European parliament and explain themselves on this issue,” he said.

Particulate matter (PM) is the largest single contributor to the estimated 600,000 premature deaths across Europe from pollution-related heart and lung diseases each year. Children and the elderly are worst affected, and the associated health costs could be as high as €1.6tn a year in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.

Read more at The Guardian.

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October 21, 2016

How open innovation competitions can help solve waste

By Melanie Tan
Friday 21 October 2016

Singapore is positioning itself as a leader in the development of sustainable cities. One of the ways they are doing so is by considering the implementation of the “circular economy” in Singapore. That is, a variety of business models and industrial processes which do not generate waste by intention or design and conserve natural resources as much as possible.

While high level talks by companies and government are necessary in creating change at the policy and industry level, there also is a need to support innovations for waste reduction from the ground up.

This is where open innovation—which refers to collaboration between different stakeholders to create original or different products and services—can help.

It offers opportunities to reduce R&D costs and bring the innovations to market more quickly compared to traditional R&D processes which can take years. One open innovation platform that has gained popularity in recent year is the hackathon. Hackathons are design sprint-like events in which participants collaborate intensively on solving software related challenge statements.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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October 20, 2016

What's next for the Kigali deal to curb potent greenhouse gases?

Thu, Oct 20, 2016

In the early hours of 15 October 2016, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer unanimously adopted the Kigali Amendment, paving the way for the reduction of powerful greenhouse gases - hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The world hailed the move as the single largest step made so far towards keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius, a key commitment of the Paris climate accord.

Below, we explain just how important the Kigali Amendment is, how it may impact the world around us and what it will take to get us there.

Why HFCs?

HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons are commonly used in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols, foams and other products. They were introduced as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances harmful to the ozone layer, which were being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

But what was meant as a solution to the ozone hole problem, soon became a source of another major global threat, as it turned out that HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential thousands of times larger than that of carbon dioxide (CO2).

On a planet where temperature is steadily rising and a rapidly growing middle class can increasingly afford air conditioners and refrigerators, the demand for HFCs is skyrocketing. The consumption of HFCs is estimated to expand by about 10 per cent each year, making it not only one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, but also the fastest growing one.

Limiting the use of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is expected to prevent the emissions of up to 105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100.

This seemingly small difference could actually have an immense positive impact on food production, water availability or survival of coral reefs, as shown by a recent study by European scientists.

Read more at UNEP News Centre.

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October 19, 2016

Europe’s climate policy goals hinge on renewables, solar power

By James Crisp | EurActiv.com

The Paris Agreement on climate change is an international commitment that can only be kept by the European Union if effective, consistent policy drives the shift to a low-carbon economy through action which boosts renewable energy such as solar power.

Ratified by the EU in early October, the agreement is a landmark pact to keep global warming to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The task is enormous. World leaders made promises to curb their emissions in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. But these Intended Nationally Determined Contributions will only cap global warming at 3.7 degrees.

Efforts and ambition will have to be further stepped up by the EU, and other major polluters such as the US and China. The Paris Agreement enters into force on 7 November.

Read more at EurActiv.com.

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October 18, 2016

The new Sustainable Cities Platform launched at Habitat III

The new Sustainable Cities Platform, the online hub showcasing transformative actions by cities and civil society to inspire others was launched yesterday at the Habitat III Conference in Quito. The platform was announced in the Basque Declaration, with the aim to provide specific examples of its 15 pathways leading to more inclusive, resilient and productive cities and towns. The platform is supported by the City of Aalborg, the Basque Government and ICLEI.

The side event at HABITAT III saw a presentation of the Basque Declaration by Ruud Schuthof, Deputy Regional Director of ICLEI Europe, to an audience of over 100 participants. Roberto San Salvador, Director of the Cities Lab of the University of Deusto in the Basque Country, shared how the Basque Country has transformed into a sustainable region, thereby becoming a leading example in Europe.

Read more at ICLEI Europe.

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October 17, 2016

World to Phase Out Potent Climate-Warming Refrigerants

KIGALI, Rwanda, October 17, 2016 (ENS) – Nearly 200 nations have struck a legally binding deal to limit greenhouse gases of high global warming potential used in refrigerators and air conditioners. The accord was reached during talks in the Rwandan capital late Friday, and announced on Saturday.

The agreed amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer phases down hydrofluorocarbon, HFC, compounds by 85 percent between now and 2047.

The result will be reduction of HFC emissions by more than 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through 2050.

It is projected that the amendment will avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of atmospheric warming, creating a big down payment on the Paris climate agreement that will take effect on November 4.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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October 17, 2016

New Procura+ Manual launched

17 October 2016

The 3rd Edition of the Procura+ Manual was launched at the Procura+ Seminar in Rome on 13 and 14 October 2016. This fully updated and revised edition of the Procura+ Manual aims to position sustainable procurement in the current economic, political and legal framework. As with previous editions, it acts as a central point of reference for public authorities and others wishing to understand and implement sustainable procurement.

The manual includes practical advice on how to integrate sustainability into procurement and a model for systematically implementing sustainable procurement – the Procura+ Management Cycle. The manual also explores the possibilities for sustainable and innovation procurement set out within the 2014 Directives, together with how they can be applied in practice.

Key guidance is provided on sustainable procurement approaches for six high-priority product groups – construction, IT equipment, cleaning products, food, vehicles and electricity. Links and references throughout the text showcase good practice examples from around Europe, including many from participants of the Procura+ Network, more detailed information on the product groups covered and a variety of further implementation tools.

Read more at the Procura+ News.

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October 17, 2016

Asia-Pacific Climate Change Practitioners and Policymakers Convene to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change

Bangkok/Colombo, 17 October 2016 – Adaptation experts, policymakers, donors, civil society and private sector representatives from over 50 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in the Sri Lankan capital for three days to discuss ways to strengthen climate resilience in the fast urbanizing region where the majority still depend on climate-vulnerable sectors and ecosystems services for a living.

The President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena opened the 17-19 October “5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum” organized by the UN Environment Asia Pacific Adaptation Network and hosted by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka, with more than 800 participants attending.

Having as its theme “Adapting and Living below 2°C: Bridging the Gaps in Policy & Practice”, the Adaptation Forum focuses on climate change adaptation planning, mobilizing financing for adaptation, promoting climate-resilient and sustainable development as well as role of partnerships.

Asia and the Pacific is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with seven of the ten most vulnerable countries to climate change and natural disasters located in the region. Impacts vary across the region, country to country and even within country – depending largely on the specific geophysical reality, socio and economic circumstances, development trends and prioritization afforded by a nation’s government leaders to its specific situation. With a one meter rise in sea level by 2050, Bangladesh alone would see 20 million people displaced from their homes.

Read more at the News Center of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia Pacific.

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October 15, 2016

British households fail to recycle a 'staggering' 16m plastic bottles a day

Rebecca Smithers
Saturday 15 October 2016 07.01 BST

British households are failing to recycle as many as 16m plastic bottles every day – a “staggering” number and nearly half the total of more than 35m which are used and discarded daily – according to new research.

Based on the data published on Saturday, the Recycle Now campaign group suggests that the number of bottles evading recycling in the UK could reach 29bn by the end of 2020, putting huge pressure on landfill and with dire consequences for marine life.

Every year the average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles, but only recycles 270 of them, meaning nearly half (44%) are not put into recycling facilities, according to Recycle Now, a campaign group funded by the government’s waste advisory group Wrap.

On a national basis, that means an average of 35.8m plastic bottles are used every day, but only 19.8m are recycled each day. So an average of 16m plastic bottles a day are not being recycled and are ending up in landfill – and eventually the world’s oceans, where they will take years to break down.

Read more at The Guardian.

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October 14, 2016

EU Blocks Its Own Climate Change Emissions Cuts

GUILDFORD, Surrey, UK, October 14, 2016 E(NS) – The European Union’s own internal policy processes are blocking the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the 28-member bloc, finds new research by an international team from Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Researchers from Sweden’s Linnaeus University, the University of Surrey and the Buckinghamshire New University in the United Kingdom, interviewed policy officers in three Directorates-General of the European Commission on whether the policy process is on track to achieve climate objectives for the transport sector.

They found that emission reductions are hampered by existing policies that are seen to lack sufficient ambition, the interviews showed.

And there is internal disagreement over who is responsible for policy development.

Scarcity of data is regarded as a problem, especially in knowing whether the EU is on track to meet its targets.

Some policy officers are favoring economic goals over environmental ones, and their own professional backgrounds in industry are creating a bias towards serving the interests of industry lobby groups, the researchers learned.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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October 12, 2016

MSC Continues to Make Waves: Sustainable Wild-Catch Grows to 10% of Global Market

October 12, 2016
by Hannah Furlong

Sustainable fishing practices are having lasting impact on fish stocks and marine ecosystems, in part due to successful voluntary certification schemes such as that of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The organization’s latest Annual Report, released today, highlights growth in MSC-certified fisheries and supply chain.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, MSC-certified fisheries caught more than 9.3 million metric tonnes of seafood, representing almost 10 percent of the total global wild-caught seafood by volume. Compared to the previous year, the volume of MSC-certified catch increased by six percent and the MSC-certified supply chain climbed 16 percent.

Over the same period, the number of processors, restaurants and caterers with MSC Chain of Custody grew from 2,879 to 3,334 companies, operating in 37,121 sites across 82 countries. More than 20,000 products now carry the blue MSC label and can be traced back to fisheries which meet the MSC’s world-class standard for sustainable fishing. DNA test results have proven that MSC products are being accurately traced and labelled.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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October 11, 2016

Ghent’s sustainable procurement activities profiled by Global Lead Cities Network

11 October 2016

A profile of the City of Ghent (Belgium) published by the Global Lead Cities Network on Sustainable Procurement outlines how the city’s Procurement Strategy allows it to use its purchasing power to meet strategic goals. The Procurement Strategy aims to minimise the city's ecological footprint throughout the entire life-cycle of the purchased product or service, encourage sustainable employment of disadvantaged groups, promote sustainable innovations, foster local economic growth, integrate international labour standards and fair trade principals, and strive towards excellence in procurement.

The profile additionally looks at Ghent’s future procurement plans in a range of fields, such as logistics and fleet management, cleaning products, public lighting, and energy efficiency and building renovation.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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October 10, 2016

Scoring palm oil buyers on their sustainability commitments

10 October 2016 / Mike Gaworecki

2015 was supposed to be a big year for the palm oil industry — the year it proposed to reach a “tipping point” and begin predominantly producing and trading palm oil that was not responsible for the destruction of forests, abuses of human rights, and other problems that have plagued the production of one of the fastest-growing agricultural commodities in the world.

Palm oil can be found in everything from cookies, peanut butter, and chocolate to lipstick, laundry detergent, and candles. It accounted for nearly 40 percent of global vegetable oil consumption between 2014 and 2015, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The growth of palm oil production over the past several years has had dire consequences for tropical forests, which have been cleared for oil palm plantations at alarming rates, as well as the people and wildlife that call those forests home. Indonesia and Malaysia, which together produce nearly 90 percent of the world’s palm oil, have suffered a disproportionate amount of these impacts.

Many businesses have pledged to address the contribution their operations make to the destruction of rainforests for palm oil, and 2015 became an important target by consensus. Consumer companies like General Mills, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever; fast food companies like McDonald’s and Starbuck’s; makers of cosmetics and personal care products like Avon; and retailers like Marks & Spencer all made major commitments to use certified sustainable palm oil in their products by 2015. Even some countries, like the Netherlands and Belgium, said they would drop palm oil linked to deforestation and other environmentally damaging practices by 2015.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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October 10, 2016

Global summit to strike deal on phase-out of HFCs

John Vidal
Monday 10 October 2016 16.30 BST

Governments will address the law of unintended consequences when they meet this week to revise a global treaty and try to eliminate the use of a group of greenhouse gases used in fridges, inhalers and air conditioners.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were hailed as the answer to the hole in the ozone layer which appeared over Antarctica in the 1980s because they replaced hundreds of chemical substances widely used in aerosols which depleted the thin layer of ozone which protects the Earth from harmful rays of the sun.

One hundred and ninety-seven countries signed the historic 1987 agreement which phased out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar hydrochlorofluoro carbons (HCFCs) and has seen gradual closure of the two polar ozone holes.

But concern has been mounting at how their substitute is undermining the landmark Paris climate agreement and could hamper attempts to keep global warming below dangerous levels.

Read more at The Guardian.

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October 9, 2016

Aviation industry plans to curb emissions

October 9, 2016, by Paul Brown

LONDON, 9 October, 2016 − The aviation industry has taken the first step towards limiting the ever-growing carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft in an attempt to reduce airline contributions to global warming.

Delegates at the 39th congress of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada, have finalised what they called “an historic agreement”, which begins in 2020 to offset carbon emissions from aircraft and create a sustainable future for international air travel.

Until now, shipping and air transport have both been excluded from the international negotiations that take place annually under the banner of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Neither sector was mentioned at the Paris climate conference last December, when there was worldwide agreement, amid much diplomatic rejoicing, to limit emissions. This was in a bid to hold the temperature increase below 2°C, the limit politicians have agreed would be too dangerous to exceed.

Read more at Climate News Network.

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October 7, 2016

Citizens recycle even in the absence of economic incentives, shows study from Malta

Recycling is an important policy goal in the EU, which has around half the global share of waste and recycling industries and some of the highest recycling rates in the world, as well as ambitious targets for the future.

In most Member States, communication campaigns and economic incentives (e.g. pay-as-you-throw schemes, such as the one in Treviso, Italy, where citizens who sort their waste pay lower waste fees) have been key in motivating citizens to separate their waste, which is a pre-requisite for achieving high recycling rates. In those cases where pay-as-you-throw schemes cannot yet be introduced, voluntary participation is one way to get separate collection started. Waste separation is one of few areas where there is clear evidence of voluntary pro-environmental behaviour. A recently published study evaluated such behaviour in Malta.

In 2007, Malta was generating among the highest quantities of municipal solid waste per capita in the EU and had the lowest recycling rates. Of an approximate 266 000 tonnes of municipal waste generated each year, less than 3 000 tonnes was separated, making improvements to waste separation (and thus recycling) a priority for the government. This study looked at a 2008 recycling scheme implemented by central government, a governmental body responsible for waste management and local councils.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

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October 6, 2016

Paris Climate Pact Once ‘Unthinkable,’ Now ‘Unstoppable’

NEW YORK, New York, October 6, 2016 (ENS) – The Paris Agreement on climate change is set to enter into force on November 4, less than a year after it was adopted by world leaders. With the ratifications deposited Wednesday, enough countries have approved the accord so that it can take effect.

The Agreement was adopted in Paris, France at the UN climate conference in December 2015. In order to enter into force, at least 55 Parties accounting for at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are required, the Agreement enters into force 30 days later.

“What once seemed unthinkable, is now unstoppable,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he accepted the latest instruments of ratification that pushed the agreement over the threshold.

“Strong international support for the Paris Agreement entering into force is a testament to the urgency for action, and reflects the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge,” Ban said.

Ban, who will step down as secretary-general on December 31, has made adoption of the world’s first global climate agreement a priority of his 10 years as UN leader.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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October 5, 2016

SDGs Becoming More Prominent in Sustainability Reporting, But Challenges Remain

One year after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals), United Nations (UN) officials are encouraging more businesses to engage in corporate sustainability reporting and integrate the Goals into their reporting. Also this week, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and consultants Radley Yeldar have released the 2016 edition of “Reporting matters,” which found that nearly a third of WBCSD’s members are already communicating on the SDGs.

The private sector has a significant role to play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but incorporating social and environmental factors into global corporate accounting remains a sizeable challenge, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi at an annual meeting of accountancy experts in Geneva this week. Hosted by UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the meeting runs October 4 to 6.

“Corporate sustainability reporting can be a powerful tool to measure the contribution of business towards the SDGs,” Kituyi said on Tuesday. He also welcomed collaboration between the international development and accounting communities and acknowledged the challenges of going from single-issue financial reporting to reporting with social, environmental and other sustainability factors.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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October 4, 2016

UN chief urges European Parliament to approve process on Paris Agreement ratification

4 October 2016 – Addressing the plenary of the European Parliament, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called its members to approve a speedy ratification by the European Union (EU) of the Paris Agreement on climate change and to help lead the world to a better future.

“I can think of no better way to secure the legacy of Paris than to have the Agreement enter into force in record time, backed by the support of the world’s most powerful economies and its most vulnerable countries,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks to the European body at its headquarters in Strasbourg, France.

“In the name of humanity and for the sake of future generations, I encourage you to support the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement,” he added.

On 30 September, EU environment ministers had agreed to ratify the Agreement through a process that would enable individual countries to send their ratifications directly to the UN. The next step is the approval of the process by the European Parliament.

In his remarks today, the UN chief recalled that one of the two requirements that will allow the Agreement to enter into force first has already been achieved with 55 country ratifications (as of now 63 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement) and that the second one – that 55 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions accounted for – is close to being secured (it currently stands at 52.11 per cent).

Read more at UN News Centre.

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October 4, 2016

New guidance on procuring sustainable mobility available

4 October 2016

The CIVITAS Initiative has released new guidance on public procurement that provides local and regional policymakers and transport practitioners with policy reflections and practical insight from European procurement experts. The report outlines how public authorities should rethink how they meet their mobility needs, and how their procurement strategies can have broader positive (or negative) impacts on sustainable urban mobility patterns.

It describes what cities need to do before procuring vehicles, such as assessing needs and priorities, provides a methodological approach to greening public fleets and sets out how public authorities can go further and be bolder – for example, by procuring together with other cities or beyond local markets. The guidance builds upon existing initiatives and projects and offers some of the most inspiring good practice examples on sustainable mobility procurement in Europe.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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October 3, 2016

Canada will tax carbon emissions to meet Paris climate agreement targets

Associated Press in Toronto
Monday 3 October 2016 22.54 BST

The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Monday that Canada will impose a tax on carbon emissions starting in 2018 as part of its efforts to meet targets set by the Paris climate change accord.

Trudeau made the announcement in parliament as debate started over whether Canada should ratify the Paris accord on climate change. The House of Commons is expected to approve the Paris accord in a vote on Wednesday.

Trudeau said provinces and territories can either put a direct tax on carbon emissions of at least $10 Canadian ($7.60) a ton or adopt a cap-and-trade system. If a province fails to do either by 2018, the federal government will implement a basic carbon tax of $10 a ton, rising by $10 a ton per year until it reaches C$50 a ton by 2022.

“There is no hiding from climate change,” Trudeau told the Commons. “It is real and it is everywhere. We cannot undo the last 10 years of inaction. What we can do is make a real and honest effort – today and every day – to protect the health of our environment, and with it, the health of all Canadians.”

Trudeau argued that pricing carbon pollution will give Canada a “significant advantage” in building a cleaner economy, compel businesses to develop innovative ways to reduce emissions, and create hundreds of thousands of clean technology jobs.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

October 2, 2016

India Joins Paris Climate Agreement, Honoring Gandhi

NEW YORK, New York, October 2, 2016 (ENS) – India today ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change at UN Headquarters in New York, bringing the treaty’s entry into force “tantalizingly” close, said UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson.

“The country is embarking on a sustainable development pathway. Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi calls it ‘development without destruction,’” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson after witnessing India becoming the 62nd country to deposit its ratification during a commemorative event on the International Day of Non-Violence.

India chose the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the country’s independence movement and pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence, to join the climate accord.

“There is no better way to commemorate the great Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy of peace for people and planet,” said Eliasson.

The Agreement was adopted in Paris last December by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It calls on countries to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

The Agreement will take effect 30 days after at least 55 countries, responsible for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification. The world’s top two polluters, China and the United States, have already formally joined the pact.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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