Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category


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Antonio López de Ávila, Director, Executive Master in Tourism Management
Air Pollution, this topic is on newspapers almost everyday in the last weeks: “Air companies are also responsible for climate changing”. Is it new? Not at all.
The 3 days closing of the USA air space after September 11th, showed how aircraft emmissions have an important role in climate changing. From midday September 11 to midday September 14, the days had become warmer and the nights cooler, with the overall range greater by about two degrees Fahrenheit (see The Contrail Effect).
But, not flying is a valid answer? or more taxes? Of course, not.
I think aerospace companies (like Airbus and Boeing) should invest more in I+D related to environment (less emmissions, less noise, etc.) and do people know about its efforts as the car manufacturers have being doing since the 80s.
Innovation, not restrictions, I think that’s the right answer. What do you think? Are more taxes the right answer?
See more related…
Is global dimming masking the full impact of global warming?
Plane Pollution
Transport – Aviation


Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
M&S.gifMarks & Spencer has just announced “Plan A”, a business-wide £200m “eco-plan” which will have an impact on every part of M&S’ operations over the next five years. The 100-point plan means that by 2012 M&S will:
• become carbon neutral
• send no waste to landfill
• extend sustainable sourcing
• set new standards in ethical trading
• help customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle

There are strong arguments which in the best of cases put into debate some of their initiatives, as an example that of ethical food. The Economist looks further into this issue and brings a well developed and challenging position in regards to voting with your trolley; at the same time, third parties offer a counter version of the subject, which the New York Times has carefuly brought together.
Whatever the assessment made, and the conversation is still an ongoing one, it is clear that M&S bet in regards to corporate responsibility and sustainability is a strong one, one through which their customers will differentiate them from the rest. Some remarks made by Stuart Rose, CEO of M&S are the following:
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“We will become carbon neutral, only using offsetting as a last resort; we will ensure that none of our clothing or packaging needs to be thrown away; much of our polyester clothing will be made from recycled plastic bottles instead of oil and every year we will sell over 20 million garments made from Fairtrade cotton.
“We will clearly label the food we import by air; UK, regional and local food sourcing will be a priority and we will trial the use of food waste to power our stores. We will do this without passing on the extra cost to our customers.”
“We will also help our suppliers and customers to change their behaviour. Because we are own-brand our influence extends to over 2,000 factories, 10,000 farms and 250,000 workers, as well as millions of customers visiting over 500 stores in the UK.”
“This is a deliberately ambitious and, in some areas, difficult plan. We don’t have all the answers but we are determined to work with our suppliers, partners and Government to make this happen. Doing anything less is not an option.”
Marks & Spencer is making a clear move towards what on their own words, their customers are asking them to do. It is not only the right thing to do, but the only way to do business.
“If every retailer in Britain followed Marks & Spencer’s lead it would be a major step forward in meeting the challenge of creating a sustainable society.” Blake Lee-Harwood, Campaign Director, Greenpeace UK

Read more…


Reducción coste-eficiente de emisiones en la UE

Written on January 15, 2007 by Max Oliva in Environment

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Dr. Javier Carrillo Hermosilla, Executive Director of the Centre for Eco-Intelligent Management
El País publicó ayer domingo un artículo titulado “La UE penalizará a los países que incumplan la aplicación de las energías renovables”, en el que se destacan las esperanzas puestas en las diferentes normativas venideras con respecto a la mitigación de las emisiones europeas de GHG. En el citado artículo estas esperanzas se argumentan de algún modo por oposición a la supuesta ineficiencia mostrada por el Protocolo de Kyoto en la consecución de los objetivos globales fijados hasta el momento, y en los más exigentes que la UE acaba de imponerse para el año 2020.
Merece la pena hacer una breve reflexión sobre los diferentes instrumentos de política medioambiental al alcance los policy makers y sobre su eficiencia relativa.
Los gobiernos disponen de muy diferentes mecanismos para enfrentar las presiones medioambientales que genera la actividad productiva y consumidora de la sociedad actual. La complejidad de la mayor parte de estas presiones y la naturaleza interdependiente de sus causas y efectos, junto a nuestra limitada comprensión de las mismas, hace necesaria una cuidadosa combinación de políticas para alcanzar los objetivos medioambientales del modo más eficiente posible. Como complicación adicional, la elección de estos instrumentos se enfrenta en ocasiones a unos excesivos costes administrativos asociados con su uso, a barreras políticas contra su puesta en marcha, a posibles efectos regresivos, o a impactos negativos sobre la competitividad de ciertos sectores.
Una tipología básica de los instrumentos de política ambiental podría ser la siguiente:
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En comparación con el creciente número de instrumentos utilizados en las políticas ambientales de las naciones, son pocas las evaluaciones realizadas que permitan obtener conclusiones válidas sobre los resultados de estos esfuerzos. A la escasa tradición existente en la evaluación de la eficiencia de las políticas gubernamentales en todos los ámbitos, se añade en el medioambiental la dificultad que provoca la dispersión de estas responsabilidades entre diferentes autoridades y, sobre todo, la complejidad de distinguir la contribución específica de cualquiera de estos instrumentos a la consecución de sus objetivos.
El plan europeo recientemente anunciado se apoya en medidas de tipo normativo (command & control) para el impulso de las energías renovables, la reducción del consumo aumentando la eficiencia energética, y la promoción de nuevas tecnologías limpias. La implantación práctica de esta nueva legislación europea en los Estados miembros será el resultado de la trasposición, más o menos fluida, de una serie de directivas en los diferentes ámbitos de actuación propuestos por la Comisión.
Sin discutir su evidente conveniencia, estas medidas normativas se deben entender como complementarias, y no como alternativas, a los compromisos de la UE en el marco del Protocolo de Kyoto. Es ampliamente aceptado en la literatura científica sobre políticas de mitigación de GHG que el establecimiento de un sistema de comercio de permisos de emisión (junto al de impuestos al carbono) es el instrumento que permite el cumplimiento más coste-eficiente de unos determinados objetivos de reducción. Dicho de otro modo, cualquier instrumento alternativo al comercio de emisiones impondría costes mayores e innecesarios a las empresas de los países comprometidos en unos determinados objetivos de reducción de emisiones, frente a las empresas y economías de los países que eluden esos compromisos, sobre todo si estos últimos son numerosos.


Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
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Dell, The Conservation Fund and have just announced a joint, global carbon-neutral initiative to offset the carbon dioxide produced when customers power their computer systems. Called “Plant a Tree for Me,” the program allows customers to make a donation that will be used by the two nonprofits, The Conservation Fund and, to plant trees in sustainably managed forests.
Through the program, a customer donation of $2 for a notebook and $6 for a desktop computer will offset carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to powering the average computer for three years. Dell will remit 100 percent of the donations received from the “Plant a Tree for Me” program to The Conservation Fund and to be used to plant trees.
The “Plant a Tree for Me” program is available now to Dell customers making new computer purchases. It will be available in February to U.S. consumers and in April to global consumers for any brand of computer.
After being pointed our by activists in regards to their environmental footprint, it is an interesting example to see how Dell is aligning CSR to their strategy, bringing together initiatives such as their Energy-Saving product strategy or their free recycling of products. Will this have an impact on your computer purchasing decision? Whatever the answer it might be, the negative impact would certainly affect your decision, plus, it certainly offers a differentiating factor which easily enables the customer to reduce his/her CO2 footprint with the click of a button.
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Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
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Time’s Person of the Year is YOU. The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. And we didn’t just watch, we also worked. Its also time to take part on conversations that matter and to engage in actions that make a difference.
The World Economic Forum, which will take place January 24-28th, will use new web applications which will extend the discussions at the Annual Meeting 2007 to a much wider audience. The debates and discussions at Davos will be open to the general public via traditional broadcast channels, but also via webcasts, podcasts and for the first time, vodcasts.
The Forum will webcast over 50 of the 220 sessions. 31 of the sessions will be webcast live and a further 20 will be available for download once the session is over. All webcasts will be available also as pod- and vodcasts for download from Google video. All webcasts and vodcasts can be accessed here.
If you can physically join the event don’t miss the chance. If you were not invited, do join the conversations, it will definitely be worth your while.
…Still’s never been a time when both private citizens and public officials had the potential to shape a world of peace and prosperity. Could we screw it up if we let AIDS eat us alive? Yes. Could we go back to an ice age if we don’t do something about global warming? Absolutely.
…we’re building something we never had to build before so, don’t be discouraged and don’t use your political disappointments as an excuse to avoid personal commitment. Bill Clinton

Need to capture the essence of the annual meeting?
Plan your schedule in accordance to the Programme.
Join the Davos Conversation.


Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
The Union of Concerned Scientists has just released a report which offers the latest in the ExxonMobil disinformation tactics in regards to global warming, comparing it to that which the tobacco industry took decades ago. According to the report, ExxonMobil has funneled nearly $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to a network of 43 advocacy organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science.
“ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Strategy & Policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.”
Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to “Manufacture Uncertainty” on Climate Change details how the oil company, like the tobacco industry in previous decades, has:
• raised doubts about even the most indisputable scientific evidence
• funded an array of front organizations to create the appearance of a broad platform for a tight-knit group of vocal climate change contrarians who misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific findings
• attempted to portray its opposition to action as a positive quest for “sound science” rather than business self-interest
• used its access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming
A company’s reputation takes decades to build and can easily be destroyed. Is this the case of ExxonMobil? How strong repercussions will these misinformation tactics have in the company, in regards to their employees, consumers, shareholders, congress and society in general?
Read the ExxonMobil Report.
Take action by the USC.


2007 will be the warmest year ever

Written on January 5, 2007 by Max Oliva in Corporate Responsibility, Environment

Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
It could not all be good news with the new born year. While GDP has had an unprecedented growth, so has the global warming phenomenon.
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According to experts, a combined phenomenon of El Niño, global warming and others will just bring the highest temperatures ever. They say there is a 60% chance that the average surface temperature will match or exceed the current record from 1998.
The Stern Review on the economics of climate change states that all countries will be affected by climate change, but it is the poorest countries that will suffer earliest and most. Or is it not? According to the Financial Times, Australia is experiencing the effects of global warming more deeply than other parts of the world.
Have a look at Climate Change in depth.


Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
2006 was a year full of highlights in corporate responsibility and sustainability. Going from a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to international awareness on global warming, it certainly was a year which proved the tipping point in these conversations. Here are some of the most important things that happened in 2006:
Drummer Boy Small.jpgMuhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank win the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
UN Principles for Responsible Investment Launched
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
An Inconvenient Truth: Al Gore
The Clinton Global Initiative and more than US$7 billion in Global Aid
IFC’s Lighting the Bottom of the Pyramid
Five big stories on Global Health
Carbon Neutral is “Word of the year”
The 2007 perspective looks even more promising, lets build on this conversation…


Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
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The Acumen Fund is trying to create an “entrepreneurial bench” of top talent with strong financial and operational skills as well as the moral imagination to build appropriate enterprises with local stakeholders. Through the Acumen Fund Fellows Program, they have identified and developed in their own words “some of the world’s next generation of leaders”.
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They have just announced a call for extraordinary individuals to build the Acumen Fund Fellows class of 2008, a program which provides them with a unique opportunity to use their skills to effect real social change with our portfolio organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India and Pakistan, and to build lasting relationships with other like-minded individuals. Fellows will spend one year working with their team and with local entrepreneurs, gaining intensive experience in price performance, logistics, distribution systems, scaling and innovative technology. Fellows will learn and apply these skills while enjoying an unusual level of responsibility both at Acumen Fund and within our portfolio organizations.
Ideal fellows include those who have already decided on a career in venture philanthropy, those who are seeking a career at the highest levels in the corporate world but want to better understand and have an impact on problems of global poverty, and budding social entrepreneurs who want to learn about managing organizations in the most demanding settings.
The application’s deadline is January 31, 2007, having the selection phase by mid-April and the program beginning in September. You can find more information and application guidelines at Acumen Fund.
Apply now.
Learn more about the Fellows Program.
Acumen Fund and Social Entrepreneurship in Action.


Arusha, Tanzania, June 4-7, 2007
TED’s first global conference is taking place with amazing people who are doing something valuable for Africa’s future. Their voices will inspire. And their ideas will spread.
“Over the past few years a growing number of people in the TED community have become passionate about Africa, a continent that appears to be at an important tipping point. Its problems and challenges are well known. Less well known is that across the continent, change is afoot. Instead of relying only on development aid, Africans across the continent are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Ingenious solutions are being applied to tackle some of the toughest health and infrastructure problems. Businesses are being launched that are capable of transforming the lives of millions. New communication technologies are allowing ideas and information to spread, enabling markets — and governments — to be more efficient. And the numbers suggest that incomes are starting to nudge up in some countries and real growth is on the way. A new Africa beckons.”
Some of the speakers already confirmed include:
Jacqueline Novogratz: After 20 years’ involvement in Africa, she founded the Acumen Fund, a leader of the “new philanthropy” movement which, instead of offering charity, supports entrepreneurs who are building businesses in areas such as healthcare, low-cost housing and water distribution.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin: Economist and leading researcher on African agricultural markets.
Danniel Annerose: CEO of and founder of Manobi, developer of prize-winning cellphone-based services that, for example, give farmers market intelligence and allow them to achieve better prices for their crops.
Jane Goodall: Famous for her pioneering work with chimpanzees in Tanzania, she has become a globally recognized conservationist and a United Nations “Messenger of Peace.”
Patty Stonesifer: CEO of the Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization. The Foundation funds multiple projects in Africa with a major focus on tackling AIDS, malaria and other public health issues.
See the full list of speakeres.
You can Register here.
What is TED?
What are TEDTALKS?.

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