Top Stories

September 17, 2014

Climate Change

Report: Fighting climate change will create economic growth

Tackling climate change can be a boon to prosperity, rather than a brake, according to a new study involving the UN, the OECD group of rich countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and co-authored by Lord Stern, one of the world’s most influential voices on climate economics. “The report sends a clear message to government and private sector leaders: we can improve the economy and tackle climate change at the same time,” said former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon, who chaired the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. The Commission’s report, the New Climate Economy, says the world can still act in time to stave off the worst effects of climate change and enjoy continued economic growth, as long as the global economy can be transformed within the next 15 years. Coming a week before world leaders head to New York for a UN-convened climate summit, the report argues that strong political action is needed to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, while promoting alternatives such as renewable energy, sustainable cities, teaching modern farming techniques and better-designed transport. (Guardian; Bloomberg)

Consumer Behaviour

Coke teams up with Tesco in latest push to improve consumer recycling habits

Plastic has in recent years become one of the top materials households know they should be recycling – but there is often confusion about what is recyclable, despite government targets on recycling. Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), which manufactures and distributes Coca-Cola products in Western Europe, has announced a new partnership with Tesco in the UK to help educate and engage customers. Customers are invited to visit the Recycling Is the Answer website to “pledge, play and recycle”, and offers them coupons or Clubcard points for participating in and sharing the campaign. Coke is also one of the partners involved in Pledge 4 Plastics, a government-backed initiative trying to promote plastic recycling across the UK, in response to ambitious new government-backed recycling targets for the packaging industry, which require rates to double over the five-year period from 2013-2017. (Sustainable Brands)


Unilever to run start-up sustainability ‘hackathon’

Unilever is offering up to £30k of funding for an established start-up technology business with a sustainability solution it is looking to scale. A sustainability ‘hackathon’ event in October will see the consumer good firm make its data available to participating start-ups and entrepreneurs who will be asked to utilise that data in a way that could influence daily habits to encourage people to live more sustainably. Unilever’s ambitions for the hackathon range from reducing the environmental footprint of a daily shower through to tackling the waste from sachets sold in developing and emerging countries such as India. The hackathon forms part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living platform, which has seen them take an active role in helping to shape new environmental legislation. Last week the company launched a social-media campaign via Upworthy, in an attempt to encourage global leaders to adopt a more ambitious approach to climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. (Edie)


Indonesia finally ratifies Asean haze treaty

Indonesia’s Parliament has voted to ratify a regional treaty to tackle the haze 12 years after the agreement was signed, as air pollution from raging forest fires continued to plague neighbouring countries this week. Indonesia is the last Asean country to ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which requires that members cooperate and implement measures to prevent, monitor and mitigate transboundary haze pollution. As part of the agreement, Indonesia has to commit more resources to tackle forest fires and is obliged to respond promptly and provide relevant information such as satellite images sought by other member countries that are or may be affected by transboundary haze. Neighbouring Singapore issued a statement on Tuesday welcoming the ratification as a “timely” move, following the passing of its own transboundary haze bill into law last month, which could impose fines of up to S$2 million on errant companies responsible for the fires. (Eco-Business)


White House takes fresh steps to crack down on HFCs

The US government has unveiled fresh plans to work with businesses to phase out harmful greenhouse gases commonly found in refrigeratiors and air conditioners. The White House yesterday announced the latest step with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to curb emissions of potent hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) and drive private sector investment in the development and deployment of alternative technologies. The EPA said it would work with manufacturers to help them reduce HFCs in fridges and air conditioners. It also plans to hold workshops with various parts of the industry to find ways of moving away from HFCs. Meanwhile, retail giant Target announced it was expanding its use of HFC-free refrigeration systems and would be working with chemical producers to test greener alternatives. A number of other companies announced they were joining the EPA’s GreenChill industry coalition aimed at phasing out HFCs, including food retailer Kroger and Port Townsend Food Co-op. (BusinessGreen)


Image source: New Climate Economy