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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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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category : Topics

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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