Archive for the ‘Express 205’ Category

Towards a More Resource Efficient World

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Towards a More Resource Efficient World

A roadmap for sustainable consumption and production in Asia and the Pacific – the first of its kind across the world – was launched in Jakarta late April on the fringes of the ASEAN Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). It follows hot on the heels of the new global programme, launched in New York on 1 April 2014 to harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world. The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme aims to assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits. Read More


Roadmap for Unprecedented Shift Towards Sustainable

Consumption and Production Launches in Asia and the Pacific

Jakarta/Bangkok, 28 April 2014 – A roadmap to press forward the shift to sustainable consumption and production in Asia and the Pacific – the first of its kind across the world – was launched in Jakarta today on the fringes of the ASEAN Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

The Asia Pacific region is the first in the world to develop such a roadmap, complete with indicators and comprehensive outputs to mainstream SCP in different sectors such tourism, buildings and construction, public procurement, product sustainability information, lifestyles and education for sustainable consumption.

The 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, or “10 YFP”, as it is known, is a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards SCP in both developed and developing countries.

“The 10YFP Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific will provide a clear blueprint for the region in shifting towards more resource efficient and sustainable production and consumption patterns for the coming years,” said Yong-Joo Kim, President of the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute and member of the 10YFP Board.

“The Republic of Korea wishes to support putting in place the roadmap and making an economic case for SCP. As a co-lead of the 10YFP Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme, we also hope to create synergies between the global SPP programme and Asian regional activities under the Roadmap,” he added.

10YFP was established after Heads of State at the 2012 Rio+20 meeting agreed that SCP is a cornerstone of sustainable development and an important contributor to poverty alleviation and the transition to low-carbon and green economies.

UNEP host the Secretariat of the 10 FYP.

The 10YFP Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific was developed through consultations that began November last year and concluded last week. More than 100 Government officials, civil society, academia and businesses along with experts from 25 countries in the region have contributed to the Roadmap. The development of the Roadmap has been technically and financially supported by the European Union via the Regional Policy Support Component of the SWITCH-Asia Programme.

“Indonesia welcomes and celebrates the launching of the roadmap today. This roadmap will embrace and unite the region as a big family in its journey towards Sustainable Development, with support from the UN system and international partners,” said Henry Bastaman, Deputy Minister for Development of Technical Infrastructure and Capacity Building of the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment, and Co-Chair of the UN 10YFP Board.

“At the national level, Indonesia is implementing its 10-Year National Framework Programme on SCP Implementation, launched on 5 June 2013. At the international level, Indonesia is committed to serve co-leadership with Mexico in the UN 10YFP Board, coleadership with Korea in the Asia and the Pacific Region, and leadership in the ASEAN Forum on SCP,” he said.

“At the Rio Summit in 2013 Heads of State recognized that urgent action on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption is fundamental in addressing environmental sustainability and promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable global growth.,” said Kaveh  Zahedi, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “The Asia Pacific region has turned this vision into a clear action agenda to decouple growth from resource use and environmental degradation and benefit the economies, people and countries across this region.”


New York, 1 April 2014 – A new global programme, launched Tuesday, will harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world.

The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme – the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) – will assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits.

“The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development nations spent an average 13 per cent of Gross Domestic Product on public procurement in 2011, while in some developing nations this can hit 20 per cent. This adds up to trillions of dollars globally, demonstrating the scale of the opportunity ahead,” said Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. “Governments can use this potential to lead markets onto a sustainable path by demanding goods and services that conserve natural resources, create decent green jobs, and improve livelihoods around the globe.”

The SPP Programme – co-led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) – will enable this shift by improving knowledge of sustainable procurement’s benefits and supporting implementation through access to experts and tools.

Existing initiatives from around the globe prove that sustainable procurement transforms markets, boosts eco-industries, saves money, conserves natural resources and fosters job creation. For example:

Indian Railways replaced more than one million incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent lamps in 400,000 employees’ homes, saving more than 100,000MWh of energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tonnes each year.

In Brazil, the Foundation for Education Development saved 8,800 cubic metres of water and 1,750 tonnes of waste by using notebooks made from recycled paper in Sao Paulo schools.

In France, a contract for the purchase of toner cartridges was awarded to an organization that, between 2009 and 2011, recovered 11,500 kilogrammes of waste, saved the government 30 per cent in costs and created nine full-time jobs for disabled people.

Many other nations, including the Republic of Korea, have created sustainable public procurement policies that will bring further such benefits in the near future.

In the United States – where the federal government procures more than US$500 billion a year in goods and services – the Federal Government has incorporated sustainability requirements into purchasing regulations. Additionally, an Executive Order stipulates that 95 per cent of all new contracts use products and services that are energy- and water-efficient, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, and contain recycled content.

Chile’s public procurement and contracting bureau set a target of 15 per cent of procurement orders meeting sustainability targets by 2012. This goal was fulfilled a year ahead of schedule: 17.2 per cent of orders included sustainability criteria by the end of 2011. The bureau oversees US$8 billion in transactions, accounting for more than 3.2 per cent of GDP.

In Japan – where a 2010 study found that government bodies spent US$672 billion (17.6 per cent of GDP)- green purchasing laws now require ministries, provisional governments and an increasing number of cities to make 95 per cent of their purchases from designated “green product” categories.

The programme, by working to ensure such purchasing decisions are the norm rather than the exception, aims to play a vital role in transitioning the globe to an inclusive Green Economy.

The launch comes just a few months ahead of the first United Nations Environment Assembly, when the world’s environment ministers will meet to discuss the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, with a special focus on sustainable consumption and production.

“A rapid transformation, which will support the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, is eminently possible,” said Mr. Steiner. “Governments from across the globe signed up to the UNEP-led Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative at Rio+20, and are backing this commitment with action. This demonstrates that the political will is already in place.”

The programme is also supported by the European Commission, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the China Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Republic of Korea, ISEAL Alliance, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


Never too late to learn?

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Never too late to learn?

At the very time when we admit we’re late – with this issue, which should have reached you two weeks ago – we have a timely message. We might well be too late! The world, that is. Nations. Cities. Businesses. To stem the tide. To make any real difference to what climate change is already bringing us. To become sustainable in all ways. Because in our book sustainability and climate change cannot be separated. To deal with one you must adopt the other. We cannot say we were not warned. The smart scientists and climate experts predicted this. Even way back in 1895 – yes 119 years ago – the Nobel prize winning Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius said what would happen if we put so much CO2 into the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect. Is there time to fix it? Probably not. The world might have to just do a lot more to adapt to the inevitable. Learn from our mistakes. As Martin Luther King said many years ago “Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilisations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late…’


On a lighter note – we celebrate our 6th anniversary this month. This newsletter started in March 2008. In those six years we have produced 205 issues – averaging 34 issues a year and 2.84 newsletters every month! We will not attempt to add up the number of articles in that time but you can still access most of them on!  We would like to hear from those readers who have been with us from the beginning. Cheers

Ken Hickson

Profile: Tony Juniper

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Profile: Tony Juniper

Sustainability is not only about climate change. It is also about society and the economy, and how we can share the productive capacity of our Earth between even more people than we have now. This from Tony Juniper who was in Singapore last month to share the thought: “What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?” Also the title of the book by this campaigner and “by popular consent the most effective of Britain’s eco-warriors.” He’s currently a special adviser to the Prince of Wales Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, a senior associate with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL). Read More

From the Editor, Ken Hickson: Tony Juniper has a lot to say on nature and man. And his book “What has nature ever done for us?” – as well as his talks  – is peppered  with insightful gems. We unearthed this interview from late last year which appeared in Forbes magazine and online. To provide this profile and understand the man and what he is on about, it is an ideal introduction:

‘No Nature, No People’

John Converse Townsend, Contributor  Forbes (23 October 2013)

Tony Juniper is a campaigner, writer, and “by popular consent the most effective of Britain’s eco-warriors.” He’s currently a special adviser to the Prince of Wales Charities’ International Sustainability Unit, a senior associate with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL), and editor-in-chief of National Geographic Green Magazine.

We caught up with Juniper to chat about climate change, sustainability, and how nature is actually the basis of economic activity.

You’ve been fighting to create a more sustainable society at local, national, and even international levels for three decades. What people or organizations were on the front line with you then?

The people at the front line of sustainability have been, and still are, a very mixed bunch with pioneers and leaders from all walks of life—from campaign groups, in politics, people working in businesses, in academic organizations, and in different kinds of specialist and scientific bodies. There are very notable members of Royal Families involved, too. I draw a lot of optimism from this, because if we are to succeed with sustainability, we’ll need system-level change, and that will require action, partnerships, and innovation everywhere.

What were the most pressing issues now, and how have they changed?

For a long time, effort was necessarily devoted to gaining some agreement as to the scale of the challenge at hand, while making the case for what with hindsight looks like relatively narrow action to address some of the symptoms of it, such as pollution control laws and protection for some areas of especially important natural habitat. Today, the job at hand still embraces this kind of work, but is now also about making the case for completely new ways of looking at business, and indeed the economic system that determines which ones do well and those who don’t. There are also big questions of culture on the table, for example about what follows ‘consumerism’ as a viable and sustainable way of meeting people’s needs and desires.

What was the inspiration for championing sustainability, your “moment of clarity,” and what are you working on today?

I came to sustainability via conservation biology, and I came to that through a fascination with nature that was with me at a very early age. In that work, and looking at the pressures on the natural systems that sustain life, you soon realize the very same systems sustain humans, too. All our food, our water, the air we breathe, and many other essentials come from nature.

The more nature is under pressure, then the more the basis of human needs is imperiled. Ultimately, it comes down to a simple truth: no nature, no people.

This realization contrasts somewhat with the prevailing view in most of politics, economics, and boardrooms, where it is held that the degradation of nature, while regrettable, is the price we must pay for ‘progress.’ Worse even than this is the view that looking after natural systems is actually a drag on growth and competitiveness. Far better, some say, to deregulate and reduce environmental controls, so as to enable development. These are for me among the gravest misconceptions in history, and very much the driving force behind much of the work I am doing now.

Nature is the basis of economic activity, and showing how that is the case is at the core of my work, including through activities with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, and my writing.

There’s a growing body of research that suggests that when we fail to protect nature we end up with long-term losses, despite potential short-term gains. Why is that not only difficult to understand and accept, but also to act on?

One big reason why we fail to act in the face of overwhelming evidence is because of our human propensity for short-termism. This is a well-known psychological phenomenon and is manifest in politics, economics, and the media. Politicians have short terms of office. Economics works in part on quarterly financial results, while the profile of stories in the media is generally fleeting and very much about events, rather than the trends that shape the long term, such as climate change and ecosystem degradation.

On top of this is the fact of uncertainty. For while we know that there are long-term risks inherent in unsustainable behavior, no one can predict how they will unfold in the real world. Various skeptical voices have focused on this to create doubt as to the need for any action, nevermind decisive moves in the short-term so as protect more distant interests. Despite the blockages toward longer-term thinking, a lot of people are seeing the need for it and finding ways to do it.

It seems like a bigger, more coordinated global push toward sustainability has happened over the last 10 years. It isn’t too late, is it?

I hope not, although for those animals and plants that have already been made extinct by deforestation, pollution, and climate change, it is already too late. How much of nature’s incredible diversity we can hang on to, the extent to which we can limit climate change, conserve resources, and build a new economy—while at the same time as helping everyone to have a good and rewarding life—remains to be seen. The extent to which we will succeed with all this will be in large part determined by choices made in the very near future.

With rising populations and continuing economic growth, the challenge is considerable and working on many different levels at once. It is solvable but requires us to do things very differently. While there is a lot of incremental change going on, the paradigm shifts that will be needed to align the demands of nine billion people with what the Earth can supply have so far eluded us. It can be done, in my opinion, but will need some positive disruptive interventions, including those based on new business models and new technologies.

The world’s climate scientists have explained how to avoid drastic global warming and… well, it’s not easy. But what is working best, and what do you consider to be our best hope for sustainability?

One thing we need to realize is that sustainability is not only about climate change. That is a big part of it, but there is a whole lot more. It is also about society and the economy, and how we can share the productive capacity of our Earth between even more people than we have now. That is a big political issue, and political issues tend to get resolved when voters demand that solutions are provided by the people they elected. This leads me to believe that a very big part of what is needed relates to the rather neglected subject of awareness and how to spread it. The more people know about what is happening, the more likely they might be determined to see solutions to protect them and their children. The fact that sustainability issues are rarely debated properly in the media is a serious cause for concern.


Water is Life – Too much or not enough?

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Water is Life – Too much or not enough?

The message is clear to many in the United Kingdom who have become waterlogged with the worst weather – rainfall events – for 233 years since recording began. Climate change is here to stay. We cannot at this late stage do much about stopping the onslaught of extreme weather, with rising seas, and higher temperatures. So we have to adapt and fast.  Sir Ian Cheshire has this message. Change because there is no alternative. Put up the barriers to stop the water. The Dutch have been doing this well for years. Meanwhile, much of South East Asia and parts of Australia are in drought mode. Read More

Sir Ian Cheshire: London at risk of catastrophic flooding

Kingfisher boss calls on the government to create a national flood plan and stop using floods as a ‘political football’

Jo Confino in Guardian Professional (12 February 2014):

The centre of London is at risk from catastrophic flooding that would make Hurricane Sandy’s impact on New York pale in comparison, one of the UK’s most senior businessmen has warned.

Sir Ian Cheshire, chief executive of multinational DIY company Kingfisher, which owns B&Q, has called for the creation of a national flood plan and said that responsibilities for water management are currently scattered among too many departments at national and local government level.

Cheshire, who led a government taskforce last year on the role of ecosystems, said the UK has to concentrate on adaptation and those still in denial about global warming should wake up and recognise “these events are connected to the fact that climate is fundamentally changing”.

After studying the data last year, Cheshire said he was shocked that the risk to London from a storm surge or a breaching of the Thames Barrier was so little recognised and warned there was a threat of “disaster of epic proportions” in the capital. “If the Thames barrier is breached or fails for some reason, then the topography of London creates a massive problem because a lot of it is low-lying in the centre. If you combine that with the opportunity for water to get in the underground, as it did in New York, you’ve got a huge swath of central London being knocked out.”

The worrying fact is the Thames barrier is recording increasingly higher rates of surge and has been closed more frequently, Cheshire added. While he believes it’s still a “manageable risk”, people need to start thinking about the problem “much more radically”.

“This is sort of sci-fi disaster movie territory … It would be foolish to say there’s a 50% probability this will happen in the next two years but I think when you start seeing 300-year events coming up more frequently, we start to worry about the level of adaptation that we’ve already got.”

Cheshire believes the UK lacks a systemic understanding of how to prevent and manage flooding and pointed to three areas requiring long-term action. The first is to think about whole water catchment areas instead of worrying about where the water ends up. This involves looking upstream to get to grips with the issues such as adapting farming techniques and other soft flood defences.

This means a whole slew of initiatives “rather than just trying to build a bit of concrete at the end to stop water coming in” Cheshire said. He identified the lack of one body with the remit to tackle such initiatives as a major problem. He identified the lack of one body with the remit to tackle such initiatives as a major problem and asked whether water catchment management authorities can be set up with that explicit responsibility to also bring together all parties.

“You can’t just assume this is going to go away. And I think that’s the big message as a sort of wake-up call to say, this requires a national level of effort.”

In a sideways swipe at the political squabbling that has come in the wake of the floods, Cheshire said the government needed to plan for the long term, rather than flood defences becoming a “political football that can be used around budget time. It needs to have a five- to 10-year view of how to manage the problem as opposed to ‘we need to put some concrete in here quickly’ or ‘dredge this particular river’.”

A second major area that needs to be addressed, according to Cheshire, is Britain’s cities have become less resilient to flooding as a result of increased building density and the concreting of gardens, which means water is unable to soak away.

The third area of action is for individuals to start protecting their properties more effectively, through simple measures including the building of walls and ditches.

Kingfisher has itself been affected by the recent deluge with its Aberystwyth store put out of action twice by flooding and many more of its stores being affected in Poland. Cheshire called for businesses to wake up and respond, including understanding what their potential exposure is, given that many still don’t consider flooding to be a risk. He also said there needed to be a fundamental change in the mindset of companies to recognise how they take our environment for granted.

“Most businesses don’t think themselves as having any relationship with the ecosystem, that it’s something very abstract, far away,” he said. “They believe you get water, air and all these other things for free so it doesn’t really matter. So I think making the shift in mindset is important so people understand that they have that dependency and work out where they’re dependent. That is a very big awareness raising exercise.”

Cheshire called on companies to start speaking to their customers about the issue, because there was a risk that once better weather comes, the issue of flooding will fade from people’s minds.

“After these floods, it would be a tragedy if we get into the summer and everyone’s forgotten about it, and then we wake up again this time next year and we’ve done nothing with it,” he said.


True Blue Economy is Sustainable & for Real

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

True Blue Economy is Sustainable & for Real

In the words of the  Australian folk song written by John Williamson, “Hey True Blue, can you bear the load?” speaks to the issues and opportunities taken up by a growing group of Australians, New Zealanders – and a few imports – to establish Blue Australasia. Inspired by Dr Gunter Pauli’s ‘Blue Economy’ and Dr Martin Blake’s “Be Sustainable”, it is part of a new global collaborative venture that will assist organisations – companies, cities and countries – to transform their operations in order to capture real value from following nature, and capitalising on activities that are regenerative in natural, social and economic terms. Read More

Launch of Blue Economy in Australia

Sourcable (26 February 2014):

The future quality of life on our blue planet depends on us re-imagining how we live, make, use and dispose of ‘stuff’.

The Pursuit of Sustainable Happiness

The future quality of life on our blue planet depends on us re-imagining how we live, make, use and dispose of ‘stuff’. -

The ‘stuff’ in question makes up all the elements of our disparate, global lifestyles and practices. How do we manage not only to survive but also continue to prosper while bringing billions of others out of poverty?

What’s more, how do we do that while not just maintaining environmental and ecological quality but dramatically restoring it and delivering the outputs at reduced cost? It will take nothing less than a dramatic re-engineering of our entire global economy and require a massive change in the way we think, design, manufacture, transport and consume (or not). It means figuring out what it takes to live within the global means of one planet and interact with each other, and the natural environment.

Leading sustainability figures Dr Martin Blake, professor David Hood AM and friends took a major step on the journey toward this end when they recently launched Blue Australasia in Brisbane. Blue Australasia is a collaboration of eminent Australians and Top 100 Sustainability Leaders who base their work on the principles of Dr Gunter Pauli’s ‘Blue Economy’. Pauli is the author of the report to the Club of Rome and was the standout keynote speaker at last year’s Green Cities Conference.

Dr Blake is formerly the Head of Sustainability for UK Royal Mail is a founder of the “be sustainable” group of companies based in Singapore and an adjunct professor at both Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland. Hood was the 2012 National President of Engineers Australia and founding chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

The pair combined to create this collaboration to engage Australia in the concept of the ‘Blue Economy’. Inspired by the circular way in which ecosystems work, the purpose of the Blue Economy is to ensure that the economy works in the same way nature does, as a closed-loop, but regenerating, system where nothing is wasted and even waste is upcycled into food for the next organism.

The Blue Economy is a business and societal response to environmental, resource and social challenges. It is not sustainability as you know it. It is about finding ‘disruptive’ new ways for industry and people to work within the natural systems, promoting and using cyclic, systemic, biomimicry-based regenerative processes that massively reduce impacts and consumption.

More importantly, it restores nature while dramatically reducing costs, maintaining profits and securing happiness and well-being.

Conceptually, the Green Economy has focussed on reducing impacts on the environment. The Blue Economy takes a step further and seeks to find multiple levels of synergistic benefits between diverse manufacturing processes to yield massive increases in efficiencies, and to regenerate lost natural and social capital.

Many of the concepts drawn from in the Blue Economy incorporate work done by others, including the concepts of industrial ecology, restorative sustainability, positive development, the circular economy and others.

One of the common themes from these works is a change from the consuming of ‘stuff’ to the use of services and utilities, not goods. As Aristotle remarked more than two thousand years ago, “True wealth is the use of things, not their possession.”

Blue Economy is where the best for health and the environment is cheapest and the necessities for life are free, thanks to a local system of production and consumption that works with what we have locally and readily available.

One of the keys to getting there is re-imagining how we do things by using a practice known as Integrative Design Practice or IDP. IDP unlocks the boundaries on ‘Business as Usual’ and divines multiple, simultaneous, systemic synergies to deliver the sort of ‘Factor 10’ outcomes that will be the minimum economy-wide enhancement required by the Blue Economy.



More from David Baggs:

Many of the concepts drawn on in the Blue Economy incorporate work done by others including the concepts of industrial ecology, first mentioned in the 1940s but described in a modern context by economists Frosch and Gallopoulos, in special issue of Scientific American (1989; ‘Cradle to Cradle’ (Walter Stahl, 1970 but popularised by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, 2002); “The Natural Step’ (Dr Paul Henri Robert, 1989); ‘Waste equals Food’ (Paul Hawken, 1993); Regenerative Design (John T Lyle, 1994); Factor 4 (Ernst Weizsacker, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, 1995); Biomimicry (Janine Benyus, 1997),;Factor 10 (Friedrich Schmidt-Bleek, 1998); Natural Capitalism (Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, 1999); Restorative Sustainability (David Baggs, 2007); Positive Development (Janis Birkland, 2008); the concept of the Circular Economy (Kenneth E. Boulding, 1996 and now the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) and others, all factor into what is now known as the Blue Economy.

One of the common themes from these works is a change from the consuming of ‘stuff’ to the use of services and utilities, not goods. As Aristotle remarked more than two thousand years ago: ‘True wealth is the use of things, not their possession’. Blue Economy is where the best for health and the environment is cheapest and the necessities for life are free, thanks to a local system of production and consumption that works with what we have locally and readily available.

How do we get there? Well another of the keys is re-imagining how we do things by using a practice known as Integrative Design Practice or IDP. IDP unlocks the boundaries on ‘Business as Usual’ and divines multiple, simultaneous, systemic synergies to deliver the sort of ‘Factor 10’ outcomes that will be the minimum economy-wide enhancement required by the Blue Economy.

To support them with their IDP work, Blue Australasia has teamed up with renowned IDP specialist, Brisbane-based company Integreco Pty Ltd for future projects. IDP has been used in Australia on green building projects since the Sydney Olympics ‘Green Games’ in 2000. Now, what looks like a promising Blue Economy IDP project in Australia is now developing in South Western Queensland, setting out to redevelop collaborative models of farming and farm financing, to enable skilled farmers to stay on the land and to do what they do best, even though the hardest times. If successful, it could redefine agriculture in Australia. Watch this space.


Starring Role for Spiderman in Singapore: To Save Energy & the Planet

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Starring Role for Spiderman in Singapore: To Save Energy & the Planet

Spiderman comes to Singapore for Earth Hour (29 March) and sustainability takes centre stage as i Light Marina Bay 2014 (7 to 30 March) promises a spectacular showcase of light and colour along the Marina Bay waterfront. The unique Festival will be powered by energy savings from the ‘Switch Off, Turn Up’ campaign that runs in tandem with the three-week Festival. It ends with a collaborative effort to coincide with WWF’s Earth Hour. SASA is the sustainability consultant for the event and campaign, as well as supporting WWF and Earth Hour.  Read More

Spider-Man and stars to lead WWF’s largest Earth Hour event from Singapore

WWF Reports (24 February 2014):

Singapore – the home of Earth Hour, leads groundbreaking global campaign to empower people across the world to “Use Your Power” and save the planet

WWF-Singapore today announced the director, producers, and cast of the highly anticipated upcoming motion picture The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be coming to Singapore to celebrate this year’s global flagship event for Earth Hour, the world’s largest environmental grassroots movement, to be held at The Float@Marina Bay on Saturday March 29 at 8:30PM, putting the country at the heart of Earth Hour celebrations worldwide.

Spider-Man will join the film’s stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx in the event, helping to switch off the lights across Singapore’s signature Marina Bay skyline.

Spider-Man was recently announced as the first Super Hero ambassador for Earth Hour. Traditionally, the lights out activity has been a symbolic act of one’s commitment to saving the planet and conserving the environment. This year on Saturday March 29, Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay area will be plunged into darkness from 8:30PM to 9:30PM, making this Earth Hour event one of the world’s largest ever.

“Earth Hour is a movement that is driven by the power of the civic society and the ordinary man on the street. This year we are inspiring everybody to use his/her power and become a Super Hero by driving a positive change for the planet,” said Ms Elaine Tan, CEO of WWF-Singapore. “Earth Hour in Singapore will empower everybody to pledge and commit to one or more of the four key initiatives that WWF-Singapore is pushing forward to help make Singapore a sustainable city. With the collective power of each person in Singapore, we can all help drive the positive change and be the ambassadors of sustainability.”

“Spider-Man is the first Super Hero ambassador for Earth Hour and we are thrilled that he will join us for our global celebration in Singapore. Since moving to Singapore, one of the world’s greatest hub cities, Earth Hour has positioned itself in the region with a rapidly growing digital presence that has helped power our movement. Earth Hour Blue, the world’s first crowdfunding platform for the planet, enables an everyday action that can inspire individuals to do something so powerful from the palm of their hand,” said Mr Andy Ridley, CEO and Co-Founder of Earth Hour.

Considering Singapore’s massive carbon footprint and urban consumption patterns, WWF Singapore has launched a huge on-the-ground and online campaign for four key action initiatives and is urging everybody to pledge and commit to turning their air-conditioning up by one degree, switching to LED lighting, using fewer plastic bags and taking shorter showers. Individuals, educational institutions and public and private organisations can, therefore, all pledge their support for WWF-Singapore’s sustainability efforts at the pledging microsite:

WWF-Singapore is targeting to collect about 20,000 pledges and is urging the people of Singapore to do their bit by pledging to make this collective effort a success.

Earth Hour 2014’s “Use Your Power” campaign kicked off earlier in mid-February with the launch of an Instagram competition for students in Singapore, inviting youths to showcase how they could be Super Heroes and use their powers to save the planet.

This year’s Earth Hour 2014 will be graced by Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will showcase world-class dance and percussion performances and several home grown bands. The lights off will also coincide with the culmination of Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) iLight Marina Bay festival, thereby making this year’s Earth Hour celebration in Singapore, a remarkable visual treat.

WWFSingapore is also delighted to announce that WWF International Director General Designate Marco Lambertini will attend the Singapore event.

In addition to the lights off event, WWF-Singapore has also announced its first crowdfunding project on the Earth Hour Blue platform. The project called Stop the Killing! aims to stop animal trafficking in Southeast Asia.

“Southeast Asia is an illegal wildlife trade hotspot, with surging demand for animal parts in the region. With this crowdfunding campaign, we are making a very bold and strong effort of bringing down the numbers of wildlife crimes in the region,” said Ms Elaine Tan. “We are very happy to see organisations coming together and going beyond the hour to pledge their own initiatives to save the planet. This year, Marina Bay Sands has taken the lead locally with their commitment as a business to turn their air conditioning one degree up, conserve freshwater, reduce the use of plastic bags and switch to LED lights. Commitment to actions like these are true to the spirit of Earth Hour, and a genuine reflection of business best practices.”

Earth Hour 2014 in Singapore has been made possible with the support of URA – the Official Venue Partner for The Float@Marina Bay, National Environment Agency (NEA), National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) and Marina Bay Sands, the Associate Partner for Earth Hour 2014.

The Major Sponsor for this year’s Earth Hour campaign in Singapore is Singapore Post, while IKEA and NTUC FairPrice are the Sponsors. The Official Radio Stations are Hot FM91.3, Kiss 92FM and UFM 100.3. Media partners are Clear Channel, SMRT and SMRT Media. Other partners include Energy Floors, The Hoffman Agency, Kevin Ou Photography, Leica, The Singapore Scouts Association and Yahoo! Singapore, the Official Online Partner for Earth Hour 2014.

Earth Hour is the world’s largest environmental campaign, and is run in over 154 countries and 7,000 cities from Singapore.

Supporting Quotes:

•             Kevin Teng, Director of Sustainability, Marina Bay Sands: “Sands Eco 360 is more than just a corporate sustainability programme – it is part of Marina Bay Sands’ DNA and drives the ways in which we operate our business and engage with our community. We will continue to deepen our outreach and spread the message of environmental conservation through working with like-minded people, organisations and the sustainability community including WWF and Earth Hour. Similar to previous years, Marina Bay Sands is lending our support and committing to ‘go beyond the hour’ as well as inspiring our employees, partners and suppliers to do the same. Besides switching off non-essential exterior lights during Earth Hour, we are taking concrete and measurable actions including helping WWF offset the carbon emissions from Earth Hour 2014, which could be as much as up to 14 tonnes. As part of Marina Bay Sands’ ongoing efforts with WWF, we are also pledging to further reduce our own carbon footprint by an additional 14 tonnes per month for the rest of the year. We hope that our long term commitment is able to raise awareness for core environmental issues and encourage others to adopt environmentally-friendly lifestyle habits.”

•             Jason Chen, Director of Place Management, Urban Redevelopment Authority: “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with like-minded partners such as WWF-Singapore. The message of sustainability is central to i Light Marina Bay and coinciding the Festival with Earth Hour amplifies the importance to save energy through individual and collective actions.”

About WWF

WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.


i Light Marina Bay 2014 illuminates with increased collaborations, greater interactivity, and more heART

28 installations to inspire crowds as Asia’s only sustainable light art Festival returns to Marina Bay next month

From URA 20 February 2014

A strong line-up of 28 sustainable light art installations by local and international artists will bring greater variety and interactivity for festival-goers of i Light Marina Bay 2014 next month.

Headlining the Festival are seven installations by invited artists, such as Celebration of Life by local artist Justin Lee, a projection piece on the ArtScience Museum façade that is a playful commentary on the role and value of traditional culture in our contemporary society, 1.26 Singapore created by US-based Janet Echelman, a large floating, fluid sculpture that imagines the force of nature of a tsunami created by the 2010 earthquake in Chile and resulted in the shortening of earth’s day by 1.26 microseconds, and CLOUD by Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett from Canada, an interactive sculpture comprising 5,000 new and recycled light bulbs. The rest of the art installations were selected through an open call last July.

This year, the Festival features a strong local line-up with about half, or 13 of the installations created by local artists. For the first time, the Festival will showcase installations by the Singapore University of Design and Technology (SUTD) and students from the Republic Polytechnic (RP). iSwarm, presented by SUTD, reacts to groups of visitors by detecting human presence and responds with its light pattern in the waters of Marina Bay. A Land of Reverie, a drawing using fluorescent paint and UV lighting created by Sheryl Ng and Nigel Ho from Republic Polytechnic, seeks to inspire visitors to play their part in creating an eco-friendly environment.

Five other local schools, Temasek Junior College, St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School, Victoria School, Dunman High School and Singapore Polytechnic, have also come on board for the first time this year. #WeHeartLight, an installation by Light Collective from the United Kingdom, gathers the students to make simple light boxes that will be assembled together to form the final art work. Done through a series of workshops, the process of constructing this installation emphasises the importance of educating our future generation on sustainability.

Raising awareness of sustainability through art

Organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the three-week Festival raises awareness on environmental sustainability issues through the theme ‘Light+HeART’. From 7 to 30 March, visitors can enjoy a visual feast specially curated by a three-member team from ONG&ONG.

Co-curator Ms Ong Swee Hong said, “Art is not passive; it has its own unique way of highlighting key social issues. Each installation in i Light Marina Bay 2014 acts as an agent of change, encouraging visitors to take action and make a difference in their own ways. With more installations that visitors can interact with, we hope to drive across the important message of having ‘heart’ for our environment, while creating a world-class platform for local emerging talents.”

Sustainability is a common theme for all 28 art works, which are further categorised into four genres:

Interactivity through Collaborations: Through the use of technology, these artworks question how humans behave in the environment and how we interact with light;

Collective is Strength: These artworks show the beauty of strength in unity, through the components of the installation or a group’s interaction with the installations to create symphonies of light;

Questioning Different Dimensions of Nature through our Hearts: Inspired by nature, these artworks relate to elements of nature, allowing visitors to see them in a different ‘light’; and

Sustaining Future Local Talents: i Light Marina Bay continues to be a platform for emerging local artists to showcase their artworks.

A platform for knowledge sharing on sustainable light art

The Festival will gather thought-leaders of sustainable light art and provide a knowledge exchange platform for its contributing participants and festival goers.

Visitors can look forward to a series of dialogues and forums by speakers like sociologist and art researcher Dr Sacha Kagan, TED speaker Professor Toby Cumberbatch, as well as local and international artists participating in the Festival, who will share their perspectives on light and art in today’s world.

In addition to the sustainable art light show, an associated energy saving campaign, called Switch Off, Turn up, will involve properties in Marina Bay and other parts of the city for three weeks. For this year, 52 properties have committed to participate, with the expectation that even more energy will be saved than in the previous 2012 event and campaign.

i Light Marina Bay 2014 will open nightly from 7 to 30 March 2014, 7.30pm to 11pm, around the Marina Bay waterfront. Admission is free.


How Sustainable is International Aviation as Airlines Aim for Zero Emissions

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

How Sustainable is International Aviation as Airlines Aim for Zero Emissions

Change is in the Air after 100 Years of Aviation Emissions

One hundred years of commercial flight is celebrated this year and what incredible progress in that time. But the aviation industry still has a long way to go to reduce its impact on the environment. Jets flying at 35,000 feet contribute a lot of greenhouse gas emissions– proportionately much more than transport fleets on land and sea – plus there the whole energy intensive industry on the ground. So what are aircraft manufacturers and airline operators doing to meet a commitment to a carbon neutral future? Ken Hickson – a plane-watcher from way back – went to the Singapore Airshow last month looking for answers to the question: how sustainable is the international aviation industry? Read More

Express editor Ken Hickson is a bird watcher of a different kind. More a plane spotter really. Someone who has for years been a follower of fashion in the skies – aviation industry, manufacturers, airlines and airports. He has been a close observer of developments in aviation. Aviation safety was a major pre-occupation when he edited an aviation magazine.  As an aviation writer, he authored a book about an aircraft disaster. He’s worked for a number of international airlines in the past, including Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa and United. Now with his sustainability hat on, he considers whether aircraft manufacturers and the airlines are doing enough to reduce their impact on the environment and whether they’re addressing the significant emissions of greenhouse gases they are responsible for. 

Blue Skies Ahead for Greener Flights?

Aviation Industry Starts to Get its Environmental Impact Act Together

By Ken Hickson in ABC Carbon Express (6 March 2014):

High flying jets and aerobatic propeller aircraft noisily burned up the fuel giving thousands of spectators a thrill in the air and on the ground at last month’s Singapore Airshow.

Some of the exhibitors of very expensive hardware for commercial and military purposes were showing they definitely care about the environment by introducing lighter weight materials to cut fuel, cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, switching to bio jet fuels, recycling more and even make better use of aircraft after a life of flying.

Before the showy parts of the event got underway, the Aviation Industry Leadership Conference hosted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the show organisers Experia Events (a Singapore Government owned group), industry experts and knowledgeable observers looked at the Future of Regulation and Growing Global Connectivity.

But the most interesting and important session – for the future of aviation and the planet – was entitled “The Journey to Carbon Neutral Growth”.

Singapore’s Minister for Transport Mr Lui Tuck Yew opened the one day conference and looked forward to “energetic” discussions referring to the 2012 event when the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme impact on aviation provoked “robust” discussions.

If anything the discussion this time was anything but robust or energetic. It was very mild-mannered, with the European Union’s man of the spot Matthew Baldwin, making it clear he was listening and he would take on board what he was hearing and seeing.

With representatives from IATA, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airlines on the panel,  it was an all-to- agreeable affair, on the surface anyway.

It was left to the only lady in the panel to point out that it has taken airlines (and the industry) more than 20 years to seriously address environmental issues and emission reductions effectively.

As Annie Petsonk put it to the gathered industry leaders – as well as in papers she has produced for the Environmental Defense Fund (a US based environmental NGO) – it was about time airlines came up with something real. After all, they had been talking about it for a long time.

She pointed out that the EU’s aviation directive – the only one in the world that sets enforceable limits on carbon pollution from aviation – was only introduced after nearly 15 years of “unproductive” negotiations in ICAO failed to develop any policy to control emissions.

But over the past two or three years, while airlines screamed blue murder and refused to comply with the aviation directive, some countries even threatening to stop flying to Europe, thereby hurting tourism and trade.  Some insisted that they would come up with a better way of dealing with the problem and – to be fair – there have been some definite and positive moves by manufacturers for a start.

So let’s put it in perspective. There are not many industries – and not one that is such a major player in the world – that does gives environmental impact the attention it deserves unless they are forced to. And while the industry itself – from manufacturers to the airlines that fly the aircraft –says it is doing all it can to commit to a future that is less harmful to the planet and its people.

But it is not all being done just because the industry thinks it should – it is under some pressure.

It all came to a head last year when the European Union was going to enforce an emissions charge on all airlines operating into and out of its airspace. There was such a hue and cry – and even talk by countries and airlines in North America and Asia that they would just stop flying in and out of Europe – that better sense prevailed and airlines decided they should collectively agree to a better way.

And to be fair, the big aircraft manufacturers were committed to produce lighter weight, more fuel efficient aircraft, and a number of airlines had tested bio jet fuels, and air traffic controllers, airport authorities and airlines had implemented various energy saving flight management plans.

So altogether airlines were saying:  “We are doing it. We are committed to do more. We have committed to a carbon neutral future”.

As Tony Tyler Director General and CEO of IATA told the conference: “Our goals are to achieve a 1.5% improvement in fuel efficiency annually by 2020; to cap net emissions with carbon neutral growth from 2020 and cut net emissions in half by 2050 as compared to 2005 levels. And we will achieve this through a combination of four elements: better technology, infrastructure, operations, and with a global mechanism for market based measures (MBM)”.

Keep an eye on that last acronym – MBM – because it keeps cropping up.

Annie Petsonk, as International Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) drew attention to the testimony she gave to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate in June 2012. She made the point then – and has repeated since – that aviation emissions from international flights almost doubled from 1990 to 2006.

Emissions from flights into and out of the United States are predicted to grow by about 75% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. Without policy intervention, emissions from aviation globally are expected to quadruple by 2050.

While aviation is not the largest source of greenhouse gases, the sector’s global warming pollution is slated to increase dramatically. Aviation is “one of the fastest growing sources of emissions.”

In a March 2013 article for EDF Annie Petsonk pointed out:

Greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes are no small matter: if the aviation industry were a country, it would be the seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world – and a new report shows us the worst is yet to come.

She drew attention to a report from the  Manchester Metropolitan University which showed international aviation emissions are projected to increase by anywhere from a substantial 50% to a whopping 500%, and that means the aviation industry won’t be able to get anywhere near meeting its own modest commitments to reducing its emissions – unless it adopts a global market-based measure.

Admittedly the aviation industry has voluntarily committed to achieve no net increase in emissions from 2020 onward and to halve its emissions by 2050 from its 2005 levels through efficiency improvements including improved air traffic management, on-board technologies and biofuels.

However, another study which Ms Petsonk refers to, by Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of Centre for Aviation, Transport, and the Environment (CATE) David Lee, Ph.D., shows emissions from the sector are projected to roughly triple, and make it impossible for airlines to meet their own commitments.

“None of the measures, or their combinations, for any growth scenario managed to meet the 2020 carbon-neutral goal, the 2005 stabilization of emissions goal, or the 2005-10% stabilization of emissions goal at 2050,” says Dr Lee.

There is a very big gap therefore between what the aviation industry can reduce through efficiency improvements and its goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020.

So, how can the aviation industry bridge the gap?

The answer, it appears – and this is asserted strongly by Ms Petsonk – comes down to market-based measures (MBM). However, the industry also seems to want to delay developing any serious global market-based approach until it is forced to or until ICAO and the EU can agree that this is the only way to go.

It seems Europe would agree to this – and forego its unilateral emissions tax on airlines. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is quoted as saying:  “we of course want a global, market-based mechanism for reducing aviation emissions”.

Ms Petsonk made it clear at the Singapore event that airlines could show good faith by saving emissions now, in order to draw on those reductions for the future and ought to throw their weight behind the development of a global market-based mechanism in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

So how would a MBM scheme work and would it be enough to satisfy the determined Europeans?

Maybe we should look at what is now happening on a voluntary basis, and according to IATA, at least 32 of its member airlines have introduced an offset programme either integrated into their web-sales engines or to a third party offset provider.

IATA explains: Passengers choose to offset the emissions caused by their flying. The principle is that emissions for each flight are divided amongst the passengers. Each passenger can therefore pay to offset the emissions caused by their share of the flight’s emissions. The airlines then offset their emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects that generate carbon credits.

(See for more information on their recommended offset programmes).

It is over to the airline offering the scheme to also select the most appropriate emissions reduction programmes to invest in. These can be managed by offset providers like Climate Friendly in Australia which manages the Qantas programme.

Market based schemes – even voluntary ones that airlines introduce – have the support of ICAO and IATA. ICAO passed a resolution way back in 2010, which said:

“Voluntary carbon offsetting schemes constitute a practical way to offset CO2 emissions, and invites States to encourage their operators wishing to take early actions to use carbon offsetting, particularly through the use of credits generated from internationally recognized schemes such as the CDM.”

CDM is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), one of the flexibility mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC, 2007) that provides for emissions reduction projects which generate Certified Emission Reduction units which may be traded in emissions trading schemes. There are other recognised offset schemes that are also approved by IATA and other international organisations and NGOs.

But moving from voluntary schemes, where airlines give passengers the chance to pay extra to offset their travel, maybe a long way from where the airlines needs to get to with an industry wide scheme, but Ms Petsonk is convinced that “the aviation industry can affordably meet and beat its goal of halting carbon emissions growth from 2020 if it uses high-quality, low-cost carbon offsets, to a study completed in August 2013 by the  Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

It makes clear that “an offset mechanism that limits credit supply to high-quality carbon units currently available and expected to come on-line in the future, could let airlines meet their emissions target at very modest cost.

“If governments adopt tough criteria ensuring that offsets represent real reductions in net carbon emissions, and if industry moves swiftly to capture those carbon units, the costs to airlines could be quite low – e.g., less than 0.5% of projected total international airline revenue in 2015, and less than a third of the fees airlines collected last year for checked bags, legroom and snacks.”

The EDF/Bloomberg study explained that “a well-designed global offset program, using high-quality offsets that represent real reductions in emissions, could add only a few dollars to a typical international fare”.


From Paris (CDG) to Beijing (PEK): $1.90 – $3.00 or from New York (JFK) to Buenos Aires (EZE): $2.10-$3.20.

So for the industry to develop MBM on a large scale it is worth looking at what some airlines are currently doing. An update from the Air Transport Action Group, Geneva explains how it works:

A passenger’s offset payment is based on the carbon footprint of their flight, the money going to emission-reducing projects.

Some carriers have mandatory charges, others make it entirely voluntary, while a middle-ground is making the payment an opt-out decision.

Silverjet has stated that if the industry was to charge its customers just US $1.8 (90p) for each hour they fly on average, the carbon pollution created by the aviation industry could be neutralised.

British Airways was the first airline to develop an offsetting service and has recently overseen a comprehensive overhaul of its carbon offsetting scheme.

British Airways has also takes part in the UK Government’s carbon trading scheme and reports,  as a result, it has reduced its C02 emissions on domestic flights by 23%.

New Zealand airline Pacific Blue – sister airline to Virgin Blue, which established the first government-certified carbon offset scheme – also launched a programme earlier in the year. All monies collected from the scheme will go towards Government-approved New Zealand projects to reduce carbon emissions.

Jetstar, part of the Qantas Group, suggest passengers are buying into carbon offsetting. Within one week of the launch of the airline’s programme, 10% of passengers paid to offset their carbon emissions.

The world’s first proclaimed carbon neutral airline has also arrived. Silverjet, an all-business airline, includes a mandatory carbon offset payment in its ticket price. Projects supported include one in India where solar panels are replacing kerosene burners.

Other airline offset schemes invest in deforestration programmes, tree planting, energy efficiency measures and new renewable energy projects. In all cases the emissions reduced by the investments are accounted for and audited by a third party.

But just as carbon offset schemes are not a single solution for any industry to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, aviation has to show it is taking steps in all other ways to cut emissions generated through the manufacturer, supply and use of aircraft. The Singapore Airshow gave another opportunity for manufacturers to demonstrate where they are up to through their own efforts :

  • Boeing made the first big move by introducing its light weight, carbon composite, fuel efficient 787 Dreamliner, which – despite of some issues with its lithium electric batteries on board – has shown what’s possible to do and achieve. It is 20% better than anything before (and its competitors) for fuel efficiency and less emissions. It is also 60% quieter. Boeing goes further to say that since the beginning of the jet age (more than 40 years ago ) aircraft today are 70% better in terms of fuel use and emissions and 90% quieter than the first.
  • Airbus has gone one better – or more than one – because its newest airliner, the A350 is 25% more fuel efficient than anything else around using lighter weight composites and thereby reducing emissions in flight. It is also incorporating newer and better lightweight materials in all its aircraft now in production.
  • Bombardier, admittedly a smaller player than the big two international suppliers, it doing its share by introducing lighter weight materials in the manufacture of its commercial aircraft  and investing in technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce air emissions, resource consumption, and waste. For medium-haul applications, the CRJ NextGen family of aircraft is a benchmark for regional jet efficiency in the 60- to 99-seat segment, offering low operating costs, reduced environmental impact and enhanced cabin interiors.

One additional step the industry is taking involves the exploration into jet bio fuels. While this has been happening for a few years now, with a number of airlines trying out various bio fuels, Airbus announced at the Singapore Airshow another initiative, which aims to promote local production of sustainable jet fuels

Airbus and key Malaysian partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to assess local solutions for sustainable bio-mass production in Malaysia.  The aim is to determine the most suitable feedstocks to ensure that any future jet fuel production in the region is based only on sustainable solutions. The first assessment is expected to be completed by December 2014.

Other partners include AMIC (Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre), MiGHT (Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High technology), UPM (Universiti Putra Malaysia), CIRAD (a French research centre working with developing countries to tackle international agricultural and development issues) and BioTech Corp (Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation).

The science advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, chairman of MIGHT, BioTech Corp and AMIC, Prof Emeritus Dato’ Sri Dr. Zakri bin Abdul Hamid, said “The Centre of Excellence will help us to improve the understanding of the nature of aviation biofuel commercialisation in Malaysia, to identify the opportunities and challenges, and to evaluate the possibility of social, economic, market and technology change and its cost, obstacles and challenges.”

“We believe that the research will have positive effects on energy conservation and CO2 emissions reduction in the Malaysian and South-East Asia aviation sector”, said Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Fauzi Hj Ramlan, Vice Chancellor of UPM.

“South-East Asia is a wide and productive region in terms of biomass. The creation of a Centre of Excellence in Malaysia, with local partners is an opportunity to ensure that any selected bio-mass satisfies strict sustainability criteria”, said Frédéric Eychenne, Airbus New Energies Programme Manager. “According to our latest Global Market Forecast, Asia-Pacific will lead in world traffic by 2032.Today’s MoU is part of our engagement to support traffic growth whilst reducing aviation’s footprint on the environment”.

Airbus supports the certification and development of commercial quantities of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation through promoting innovative regional projects world-wide. To date, Airbus has formed partnerships in Europe, America, Australia, Middle-East and China.

Demonstrating that it is doing even more, to show it is staying ahead of its American competitor, Airbus also announced another partnership, this time with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to jointly develop an operations concept for Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) based on Collaborative Decision Making (CDM).

The aim is to explore and introduce measures for increased flight efficiency, improved access to airports and lowered aircraft fuel consumption.

In all there is much being done – and much more to be done – to put into practice measures for the aviation industry to cut its emissions and become – as it says it intends to – a carbon neutral industry by 2020. It won’t be plain sailing – or flying for that matter – but if the can show that it means business and it can show genuine leadership, it will become the first major global industry to achieve such a sustainability target for the benefit of the environment and the global economy.

It has about six years to start undoing the damage associated with its progress over the first one hundred years of commercial aviation.

Source: &




Collaboration is the Catalyst for Sustainability Success

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Collaboration is the Catalyst for Sustainability Success

In the pursuit of sustainability, collaboration is much like a catalyst: the “magic” ingredient that fosters global sustainable development and accelerates our mutual progress, even against some of the toughest challenges we face in water, food and energy. By combining individual strengths in our respective disciplines and focusing on the collective results, we can accelerate and amplify our collective success. This from Neil Hawkins of Dow Chemicals. Read More

Collaboration is the Catalyst for Sustainability Success

By Neil Hawkins of Dow Chemicals and originally published at Ensia (3 December 2013):

By combining individual strengths in our respective disciplines and focusing on the collective results, we can accelerate and amplify our success.

Ninety-five percent of all manufactured products have one thing in common: chemistry. And there’s a bit of “magic” that makes commercial chemistry possible — accelerating chemical reactions to make innovation more economical. That magic is in the use of catalysts, without which we would not have many of the modern materials we rely on today.

In the pursuit of sustainability, collaboration is much like a catalyst: the “magic” ingredient that fosters global sustainable development and accelerates our mutual progress, even against some of the toughest challenges we face in water, food and energy. By combining individual strengths in our respective disciplines and focusing on the collective results, we can accelerate and amplify our collective success. Looking to remarkable examples of courageous ingenuity and collaboration — among the private sector, academia, government and NGOs — can help guide us in our quest for a sustainable planet and society.

To that end, here are six collaborations working as catalysts for change — across sectors and challenges — worthy of reflection and emulation.

Tapping Into Cleaner Energy Resources, Safely and Responsibly

Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs result from collaboration between unlikely bedfellows.

In a landmark alliance, natural gas exploration and production companies, including Chevron and Shell, have teamed up with environmental non-governmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Clean Air Task Force and philanthropic foundations in pursuit of a common goal: to establish standards around hydraulic fracturing — a process used to extract natural gas from shale — and to hold themselves accountable for their performance.

Although individual organizations certainly can and do reduce their own emissions, the effect is accelerated and maximized when parties collaborate in pursuit of the common goal.

Forming the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, this initiative has resulted in the development of 15 performance standards and an independent, third-party certification process designed “to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of our abundant shale resources.” Though there is certainly more work to be done, this collaboration has yielded significant technical advancements in protecting our air, water and environment during natural gas production in the U.S. Although this experiment is in progress, the parties involved should be recognized for the new standards they have catalyzed.

Confronting Climate Change by Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

With the widespread impact of climate change extending well beyond energy production, the collaboration of many is required to tackle greenhouse gas emissions — and thus slow, stop and ultimately reverse climate change.

Although individual organizations certainly can and do reduce their own emissions, the effect is accelerated and maximized when parties collaborate in pursuit of the common goal. In fact, many organizations have come together to set international standards and start making progress in this global effort, including the formation of the GHG Protocol.

Resulting from a decade-long partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the GHG Protocol has become “the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions.” Adopted by corporate users across various industries — from automotive and consumer goods manufacturing to oil and gas producers and service companies — as well as noncorporate users such as governments and NGOs, the GHG Protocol has become an international benchmark for reporting GHG emissions, thus forming a global network and providing a strong basis for assessing the opportunities to address GHG emissions most effectively.

Educating the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow

Changing the world will take a broader focus than just the here and now; the workforce of the future must be equipped with the power of collaboration for the world to truly evolve. Fortunately, Millennials feel a natural longing to make a difference and quite possibly care more deeply about sustainability than any previous generation — thus making this group ripe for change. Yet urban youth have limited opportunities to interact with nature and prepare to make career choices in the emerging field of sustainability.

LEAF program participants pursue environmental career paths at a rate more than five times the national average.

Since 1995, the Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future program — a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy and the Toyota USA Foundation —  has pursued its mission of empowering the next generation of conservation leaders by exposing urban youth to opportunities in the natural world. By partnering with high schools around the U.S., the program seeks to enhance exposure to “urban environmental education” among students and educators through mentorship and internship opportunities, as well as best-practice sharing.

LEAF program participants pursue environmental career paths at a rate more than five times the national average, and 50 percent of participants are involved in environmental volunteering — more than 10 times higher than the national average.

Changing the Way the World Tackles Poverty

Since ancient times, poverty has reached all corners of the globe. And like all other challenges, it will take a strong, powerful collaboration to enact change.

The Acumen Fund, a nonprofit organization, raises funds to invest in start-up enterprises, leaders and ideas that “are changing the way the world tackles poverty” through a bold new free-enterprise approach that is “about dignity, not dependence, and choice, not charity.” Acumen has focused on empowering entrepreneurs and social enterprises to solve hunger, environment, education and water challenges across the globe, with a strong focus on women as engines of change.

Freshwater is an essential element to human health and sanitation, and the lack of readily available freshwater represents a global crisis — one that can only be resolved through the collaboration of governments and industry alike.

According to the organization’s website, Acumen has been able to invest $83 million in breakthrough innovations in the fight against poverty by partnering with leading philanthropists, foundations and corporations around the world, such as the Aman Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google. Dow has also partnered with Acumen on skills-based support through a special collaboration in Africa.

Delivering Safe, Affordable, Clean Water to the World

According to former United Nations special adviser and head of the U.N. Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative, Pavan Sukhdev, “We use nature because it’s valuable, but we lose nature because it’s free.” For thousands of years, freshwater has been a free and abundant resource on which families, communities and corporations depend. However, one in eight people around the world today lack access to safe drinking water. Freshwater is an essential element to human health and sanitation, and the lack of readily available freshwater represents a global crisis — one that can only be resolved through the collaboration of governments and industry alike.

A special initiative of the U.N. Secretary-General, the CEO Water Mandate brings together business leaders — in a powerful collaboration with the U.N., civil society organizations, governments and other stakeholders — to advance the cause of water sustainability. Working toward the same goal, the Global Water Challenge seeks to forge partnerships and beget innovative approaches to water and sanitation among the sectors’ leading organizations, generating “far greater results than any one organization could by itself” and accelerating progress.

Bringing Accountability and Visibility to Sustainable Business

Ultimately, businesses around the globe must also collaborate and hold each other accountable in pursuit of a sustainable world, bringing accountability and visibility into the process and helping ensure corporations are held accountable for their sustainability claims.

In the pursuit of sustainability, we must constantly innovate new ways of working together to make progress.

The mission of the International Integrated Reporting Council is focused on the adoption of “Integrated Reporting,” creating one corporate report with material financial and nonfinancial information for investors. By bringing together “a powerful, international cross section of leaders from the corporate, investment, accounting, securities, regulatory and standard-setting sectors as well as civil society,” the IIRC is building a unified framework that helps investors understand the long-term sustainability of a company. A U.S.-based nonprofit, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, started a similar process in 2011 to define sustainability information for investors. These two collaborations promise to reshape reporting for investor audiences for generations to come.

The Collaborative Future

Today we are witnessing courageous collaborations in unusual areas that showcase not only the growing interdependence of the world but also the opportunities to accelerate and achieve sustainable development.

As we look ahead to our collective future, these examples of collaboration can serve as inspiration for all of us, and we can seek to emulate their success. In the pursuit of sustainability, we must constantly innovate new ways of working together to make progress. Viewing collaboration as the catalyst — the “magic” — that will accelerate progress is a helpful framework and guidepost as we chart a new future for our society, economy and planet.

Dr. Neil Hawkins serves as Vice President of Sustainability and Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) for The Dow Chemical Company. In this global role, he drives strategy and implementation for Dow’s sustainability and EH&S programs, including the enterprise-wide 2015 Sustainability Goals. Since 1988, Hawkins has served at Dow in a broad range of functional, business, and operations roles.

This first appeared in Ensia, a magazine showcasing environmental solutions in action. Powered by the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, we connect people with ideas, information and inspiration they can use to change the world.



Dealing with the Negative side-effects of the Global Transport and Tourism Industries

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Dealing with the Negative side-effects of the Global Transport and Tourist Industries

The environmental and social effects of mass transportation were unexpected. Air pollution, increased obesity, urban sprawl and deaths from road, sea and air transport are all depressing negative side-effects of the 21st century’s transport system. But things don’t have to be this way. The Guide to Sustainable Transport outlines some of the ways in which cars, trains, ships and planes are striving to become more efficient and less damaging to the planet. There’s also The Guide to Sustainable Tourism, another worthwhile contribution from Blue & Green Tomorrow. Read More

Introducing: The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014

By Alex Blackburne (20 February 2014):

The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014

It is time to update our transport system to one that is fit for the 21st century. Please welcome, The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014.

The pace at which transport has evolved since the invention of the wheel is remarkable.

The introduction of Henry Ford’s mass production model for car manufacturing in 1908 set the ball rolling on a way of getting from A to B that was available to almost everyone, at speeds unimagined by previous generations.

Over a century later, and the world seems a much smaller place. But at what cost?

The environmental and social effects of mass transportation were unexpected. Air pollution, increased obesity, urban sprawl and deaths from road, sea and air transport are all depressing negative side-effects of the 21st century’s transport system. But things don’t have to be this way.

In The Guide to Sustainable Transport, we outline some of the ways in which cars, trains, ships and planes are striving to become more efficient and less damaging to the planet.

We talk to transport firms, campaign groups, thought leaders and investors whose collective insight is helping create a new age of sustainable transport.

And we look at the bigger picture; why it really matters that transport becomes less of an ecological burden and more of a societal benefit – just as it was when Ford broke ground 106 years ago.



The Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2014

By Alex Blackburne (15 January 2014):

We begin 2014 with the third annual edition of The Guide to Sustainable Tourism, and a brand new look for Blue & Green Tomorrow’s guides.

With insight and advice from leaders in the travel and tourism space – including the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) and ABTA, the Travel Association – we have compiled a comprehensive guide that details how your wonderful holiday experiences can also balance the needs of people and the planet.

Inside, you’ll hear about trips overseas to places like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Faroe Islands, and how sustainable and responsible tourism is playing a crucial role in communities within each country.

For those who prefer holidaying closer to home, we speak to the Landmark Trust, a charity that works to transform architecturally important and historically significant buildings into attractive holiday lets – the very essence of sustainability – and look at a range of beautiful UK-based properties offered by cottages4you.

Meanwhile, if you prefer bustling urban centres over quiet rural communities, Rachel Dodds of Sustaining Tourism writes about how you can be responsible in the city. We also look at five green European places taking big steps towards a more sustainable future.

The 19th century French writer Gustave Flaubert once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Not only this, but it allows you to see new and exciting cultures, people, communities and places. It would be selfish and wrong to think that your holiday experience should come above even one of those.


Fast Growing Bamboo is Ahead in the Sustainable Products Stakes

Posted by Ken on March 6, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Fast growing Bamboo is Ahead in the Sustainable Products Stakes

We always thought bamboo was the most sustainable of all the plants we can use. And a thorough life cycle assessment aimed at determining the potential environmental benefits and impacts of using alternative natural fibres, put bamboo in front and has the potential to become part of Kimberly-Clark’s sourcing strategy.  The study, involving LCA consulting firm Quantis, environmental nonprofit Canopy and the WWF, provided analysis on scale of land use, impacts on biodiversity and biogenic carbon accounting. Meanwhile, the French facilities management company Sodexo has been ranked, for a seventh consecutive year, as the best for Social, Environmental and Economic Performance in the RobecoSAM ‘Sustainability Yearbook 2014’ as Sector Leader and Gold Class. Read More


Environmental Leader (5 February 2014)


Kimberly-Clark Study Pinpoints Bamboo as Possible Alternative Fibre

Bamboo appears to have less impact than fibre from northern softwood trees, particularly when it comes to land use because it regenerates in three years as opposed to 70 years for the trees, according to a life cycle assessment commissioned by Kimberly-Clark, the company behind Kleenex, Scott and Huggies.

The life cycle assessment is part of a broader research initiative aimed at determining the potential environmental benefits and impacts of using alternative natural fibres. The findings suggest that alternative fibres have the potential to become part of Kimberly-Clark’s sourcing strategy.

The study, reviewed by LCA consulting form Quantis, environmental nonprofit Canopy and the World Wildlife Fund, provided supplemental analysis on issues such as scale of land use, impacts on biodiversity and biogenic carbon accounting.

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology assessed the environmental impacts of several alternative fibres as well as the conventional fibre options of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft fibre derived from primary forests in the Canadian Boreal and recycled fibre from waste paper. The alternative fibres studied were bamboo, wheat straw, giant cane Arundo donax and kenaf.

Specifically, the study compared NBSK fibre with bamboo and recycled paper fibre with wheat straw, kenaf and giant cane. The study found wheat straw, giant cane and kenaf have higher environmental impacts than recycled paper. However, wheat straw benefits from being an agricultural remnant associated with wheat grain production and is comparable to recycled fibre depending on the allocation of inputs for the production of the original fibre, according to the study.

The study did not look at fibres from plantation forests or semi-natural forests because they are not in line with Kimberly-Clark‘s sustainable forest management pledge.

In 2012, Kimberly-Clark announced at the Rio+20 United National Conference on Sustainable Development that it would reduce its use of wood fibre sourced from natural forests by using other fibre types, including the possibility of alternative natural fibres.

Kimberly-Clark’s UK line of Andrex toilet tissue launched a product made with 90 percent recycled fibre and 10 percent bamboo in spring 2012. The product is Forest Stewardship Council-certified for the bamboo and recycled fibre supply chain.



Sustainability ranking

Professional Security (21 February 2014):

Sodexo has been ranked, for a seventh consecutive year, as the best-performing company for Social, Environmental and Economic Performance in the RobecoSAM ‘Sustainability Yearbook 2014’ as Sector Leader and Gold Class. The FM firm Sodexo reports that it has again topped its industry and is the only company in the sector named Gold Class. Sodexo earned the highest overall score in its peer group, 80 percent (compared to a sector average of 48).

Sodexo earned a perfect (100) score for the positive local impact of its business operations around the world. Sodexo also earned the highest score in its industry in the social pillar – particularly impressive in light the large number of employees (nearly 428,000) and the decentralized nature of its business (33,300 client sites in 80 countries).

Damien Verdier, Sodexo Group chief marketing and strategic planning officer, said: “We are very proud to again be leading our business sector for our efforts and achievements to contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the cities, regions and countries where we operate.”

And Elisabeth Carpentier, Sodexo Group chief human resources officer, said: “We are both pleased and humbled that Sodexo continues to be at the forefront of what it means to be a socially responsible and diverse company because we know that human resources are a leading factor driving competition now and in the future.

“By developing policies focused on women and men at all levels of the organisation, companies will become stronger, and quality of life will not be an outcome of their success but a fundamental component of it.”


This yearbook is published by RobecoSAM (, an asset management company focusing on sustainability investing. This year more than 2000 companies were considered for inclusion in the yearbook, using up to 120 financial, environmental, social and economic indicators to evaluate companies in 59 industries.

The RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook is regarded as the world’s most comprehensive publication on corporate sustainability performance, in part due to continually raising the bar for inclusion.