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Issue 29 | December 2012
A BRAVE new World Global Issue
Publication licensed by IMPZ
What we need in order to march towards a sustainable future
Liam Williams Founder firstname.lastname@example.org
Before it’s too late Those who are able and willing to analyse the current human condition may realise that we are entering a very challenging period for our own survival. With a world population at seven billion (and counting), global problems are growing at an accelerated rate, and leaving this ticking time bomb unaddressed is like writing off our future. Many governments and private sector players are still living under the delusion that stability is permanent, and that resources are free-flowing. The “business as usual” mindset is the biggest obstacle to conquer as the concept of perpetual growth is, by definition, unsustainable. This issue captures the spirit of change that is vital for our survival. The cover represents the paradigm shift we strive for, from the world we live in now where we are paying the price for centuries of exploitation, to a brighter tomorrow, if we make significant adjustments in our current social behaviour. Throughout the year, we focus on the Middle East because this is the epicentre of change, bridging the gap between east and west. Sustainability as a life principle needs to be practiced across the world. This issue allows us to dip our toe in the water as we move towards making a global mark. Touching upon ancient philosophies, prophecies and belief systems that universally call for humanity to live within its means, our cover reflects the fact that we are now at a crucial juncture in history. In disaster situations such as Katrina in New Orleans, the earthquake in Haiti or the Fukushima tragedy in Japan, survivors are mostly left to fend for themselves. Then, it is back to the basics for humanity, guided by the primal search for food and water. If a conscious effort is not made, wars in the near future will not be over energy, sovereignty or power. Instead, humanity will be fighting for survival in a ravaged world. It is high time that we ask ourselves some decisive questions: how would we sustain ourselves if all our resources dry up? Will we survive if all our utilities were cut off indefinitely? Will we pave our own path to destruction, or rise above the obstacles standing in our way for a sustainable future? The choice is ours to make.
Publisher Dominic De Sousa COO Nadeem Hood email@example.com Founder Liam Williams firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 375 1511 Editorial Praseeda Nair email@example.com Dina Mahmoud firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Junaid Rafique email@example.com +971 4 375 1504 Harry Norman firstname.lastname@example.org +971 4 375 1502 Design & Photography Marlou Delaben email@example.com Web Development Troy Maagma Maher Waseem Shahzad Production and Circulation James P. Tharian Rajeesh M Printed by Printwell Printing Press LLC Published by
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Foresight can be 20/20 H
Praseeda Nair Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
umanity and the Earth will soon suffer some very grim consequences”. Like an ominous death knell, the Prince of Wales declared certain climate change truths that were clearly aimed to shock and awe the audience at the seventh edition of the International Green Awards in November. Under the gauzy green lights at London’s Battersea power station, His Royal Highness Prince Charles was honoured with the illustrious Lifetime Achievement award for his tenacious pursuit for a greener UK. Attending the event as an official media partner, we couldn’t help but feel rattled by the Prince decrying the vices of our excessive society and how consumer culture is the harbinger of doom. These axioms of sustainable living are common knowledge as far as basic economics is concerned. Scarcity and opportunity cost are the fundamentals of Econ101, and learning to live within means is a virtue that has trickled down to schoolchildren for generations. Yet what is it about both developed and developing nations that nudges ambition to the point of hubris? Legends of a glorious pre-recession Dubai still linger in every corporate space. It was a time when opulence was a right, and ‘sustainable development’ remained a lofty goal for government entities to strive for on
their own. After the economic crisis of 2008, the concept of green business as a tenet for sustained growth started to catch on. The UAE’s united bid for a greener economy has set the wheels in motion for the region in establishing itself as a ‘green business hub.’ With the private sector stepping up their individual efforts, the government has been making announcements left, right and centre. Moves to diversify the nation’s energy mix, news of constructing the largest solar park in the region, the stirrings of a nation-wide green building rating tool—the news wires have been buzzing with green activity. Just when the global community was starting to see Dubai as a greener, more down-to-earth avatar of its pre-recession image, the city’s intention to build the world’s largest mall, park and hotel community barreled through its growing green reputation. While funneling money into infrastructure for tourism can secure economic longevity for the city, there’s a clear dearth of skilled manpower if green practices are to be enforced. We’re talking about thousands of skilled facilities managers, trained support staff to ensure that building systems are optimised, and, considering the construction and maintenance of a massive park that aims to dwarf London’s Hyde park— sustainable landscapers are a must. What about all the
7.083 Current global population
Global life expectancy at birth
metric tonnes per capita of CO2 emissions
“The world’s population has tripled in this century alone and is expected to double or triple in the next. The global economy may grow by a factor of five or ten including with it extreme rates of energy consumption, carbon dioxide production, and deforestation. It is hard to imagine all things actually happening in our lifetime and in the lives of our children. We have to consider the prospects of global suffering and environmental degradation unlike anything in human history.” -- Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
water used on irrigating the imported flora? Will the city’s roads and urban spaces be revamped to handle mass tourism? Can we expect a concentrated investment in sustainable transportation to justify these moves towards encouraging footfall into the city? Questions abound. As we wait with bated breath on more details of the development project’s sustainable properties, we can only hope that Dubai’s old ‘biggest, largest, flashiest’ pattern doesn’t make a comeback, setting the emirate’s green clock back by four years. Today, the world uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we consume in a year. Modest UN scenarios indicate that by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support our mounting population and consumption trends. And of course, we only have one. The result of brazen consumption are numerous: dwindling fisheries, waning forest land, depleting fresh water reserves, and abounding greenhouse gas emissions, which directly leads to freak incidents like
the effects of climate change. Global overconsumption also brings about resource-related conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, and other human misfortunes, which invariably affects the world’s poorest faction who cannot find a way out of their situation by importing resources. It’s seems evident that our current environmental situation is merely a symptom of the biggest problem plaguing our world—myopia. The shortsightedness that regulated global policies since the industrial revolution are now being exhumed and re-evaluated, considering our depleting natural resources. While birds fall dead from the sky and fish beach themselves en masse, it’s not hard to see reason in the warnings of climate change alarmists. Beyond private-public partnerships, individuals and institutions all over the world need to live within ecological limits, making these natural boundaries central to any initiatives, frameworks or legislation. For nations driven by iron-fisted top-down governance, the public sector need to fuel growth in research and development, investing
in technology and infrastructure that will allow the private sector to operate in a resource-constrained system. Together, both sectors can reach residents, either through their sentiments or their wallets, to live within their own means. At the recent Emirates Green Building Council Annual Congress, BGreen had moderated a panel discussion on the role of communities in pushing for sustainable growth. Among the illustrious panel, a question was raised regarding the role of the media, as the fourth estate and unbiased watchdog for the interest of all parties involved. Speaking on behalf of the Middle East’s only green business publication, I am confident that the region can bulldoze past the cynics and the alarmists to find a happy medium. After all, that is the core precept of sustainability. This issue is a special edition for a reason. We delve into the global nature of sustainability to evaluate the progress made by the world’s leaders and lingerers in green development. There are no winners or losers in the global race for sustainability—as long as everyone is running the same marathon.
THE AMERICAS The next four years American political reform for climate change in the wake of superstorm Sandy
Sun, sand, sea…and sustainability Eco-tourism in the Caribbean
Jogos Brasil As the host of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Olympic games, Brazil takes centre stage
EUROPE 22 A lifetime achievement HRH Prince Charles receives the lifetime achievement award at the recently held 2012 International Green Awards Bumper to bumper 23 London’s congestion fee makes no excuses for green vehicles
24 Financing green projects UK’s Green Investment Bank accelerates private sector funding in the green economy Investing in the future 26 Germany’s scarcity of local engineers has led top firms back to school
Led by the all-embracing essence of kyosei, Canon highlights how eco-technology is the only sustainable way forwrard
A city in the dark Daily black outs have become the norm in Lebanon
Transparent path ahead Queen Rania’s Jordan River Foundation NGO sets the trend for transparency in reporting
In the slums of Cairo One of the world’s most efficient, yet underappreciated recycling systems
A future hub North Africa’s largest solar project is expected to be fully functional by 2015
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA 67 African energy in the limelight African Development Bank’s goals
Portugal’s sustainable pride Carlos Manuel talks to BGreen about one of Portugal’s leading sustainable resources
Spain’s solar saving grace Despite its strength in solar technology, Spain relies on imported energy to meet its demand
Traveling to the “node pole” The Arctic Circle is fast becoming a major connection for data storage
The ivory chase A look at the insidious exotic animal trade and poaching in recent years
AUSTRALASIA Sustainable Living Festival Australia celebrates the green lifestyle Offshore visions Southern hemisphere’s largest offshore wind farm announced
RUSSIA Taking it to the polls Russia calls on CSR after realising the importance of sustainable growth
India’s footprint Keeping consumption in check is crucial for this emerging giant
A brighter future Singapore leads the green building revolution in pursuit of resources
TURKEY 37 No holds barred Turkey’s renewable energy evolves in only some parts of the country
Taking on overfishing Philippines becomes global leader in sustaining marine biodiversity
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA The cost of breaking records Officials announce another record-breaking construction project in Dubai
The rise of the Snow Dragon China set to alter the world map as we know it
A stable Energy Mix Japan to disassociate with nuclear energy to rally local support ahead of elections
Nuclear Lesson Global concern over nuclear stability
High hopes for change UN Climate change negotiations in Doha
Part of our dna OSRAM CEO and Chief sustainability officer highlight their green journey
Saudi’s six year plan US$100 billion investment in renewable energy
for a more 52 ECO-SUSTAINABLE sustainable earth
ANTARCTICA The frozen frontier Lewis Pugh conquers all five oceans, including the South Sea off the Antarctic, and lives to tell the tale
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GDP (current US$)
United States of America Economic Policy & External Debt
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
Latin America & Caribbean Economic Policy & External Debt
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Environment GDP (current US$)
CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
The Next Four Years As Barack Obama ascends to tackle global issues for the coming four years, climate change mitigation receives greater public attention in the wake of superstorm Sandy On 7 November 2012, Obama won his second term as the President of the United States of America. During his victory speech, he did not fail to mention the environment. “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt; that isn’t weakened by inequality; that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” During his first term, Obama took the environment into consideration by investing in renewable energy to a remarkable extent. He permitted to licensing offshore wind development along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, solar and wind energy on both public and private lands and
investing in electric cars and the batteries to power them, (although not every company the government backed went on to be successful.) The Obama administration has met the goal of authorising 10,000 megawatts of large-scale renewable power on public lands by the end of 2012 with 33 renewable energy projects, including 18 utility scale solar facilities, seven wind farms and eight geothermal plants, with connections to the power grid. Climate change in the cards With the superstorm Sandy having hit the east coast on 29 October, many environmentalists are drawing
links between the natural calamity and climate change, calling for the federal government to take action in cutting emissions. Burning coal, oil and gas emits greenhouse gases that blanket the earth, raising planetary temperature and triggering extreme weather events—of which, in recent history, Sandy takes the throne. Mindy Lubber, the head of The Ceres Coalition, urged the Obama administration to “move America towards a more sustainable economy.” Ceres, as a Bostonbased organisation comprising of more than 130 ethically responsible investors, environmental and social advocacy groups, aims to reduce
the greenhouse gas emissions and build the resilience of communities to better prepare for extreme weather conditions and to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In a message sent to the Obama Administration, Lubber expressed the need for “a bold plan to reduce and manage the risk of climate change. The US must act by creating policies to address the climate challenge. Inaction is too expensive.” A goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020 and 30% by 2030 was suggested by Lubber to help expand clean energy. Scientific consensus While researchers are still speculating the role of humaninduced climate change, a likely contributor to the intensity of this superstorm could be the fact that surface temperatures in the western Atlantic Ocean were unusually high days before the event—about five degrees Fahrenheit higher than the expected temperature for this time of year. Noted scientist Kevin E. Trenberth at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, said human-induced global warming has been raising the overall temperature of the surface ocean, by about one degree Fahrenheit since the 1970s, suggesting that global warming could have contributed as much as 10% how the superstorm came to be. This year’s historic loss of sea ice in the Arctic caused a stir
in climate change circles, leading to further speculation that it could be a potential contributor to the growth of Sandy. Since the late 1970s, the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic has fallen by close to 50%, largely because of human-induced warming. The loss of sea ice could be altering the flow of the atmosphere enough to heighten the risk of severe weather in mid-latitude regions like the United States. Although Sandy began as a hurricane, growing from the evaporation of the warm ocean surface, scientists noted that by the end it was also pulling energy from the stark differences in atmospheric temperature and pressure that normally drive winter storms. Extensive computer modelling has suggested that the number of Atlantic hurricanes will stay the same or even decrease with global warming, however, the intensity of the storms that do occur is likely to increase. Scientists predict that Sandy would set off a scientific rush to perform the same kind of modelling for hybrid storms. Rising levels The ocean is rising unremittingly, and scientists see this is a direct consequence of global warming. Warm water expands, just as warm air does,
and the warming of the ocean is clearly a factor behind the increase. Another factor is that land ice the world over is starting to melt as the temperatures increase, dumping extra water into the ocean. Over all, the ocean rose about eight inches in the last century. The rate appears to have sped up in recent years, to about a foot per century, prompting some scientists to believe that it will accelerate further. Coupled with sinking land mass, certain regions will definitely feel the pinch as the water levels rise, such as Pacific islands and the mid-Atlantic region of the US. Hope for the climate Fred Krupp, President of the environmental defense fund added, “as the historical storm reminded us, we have no time to waste; we must get serious about climate solutions in order to protect our loved ones and communities from terrible impacts extreme weather disasters, droughts, heat waves and other dangerous consequences of global warming. Especially in the wake of Sandy, which demonstrated that doing nothing about climate change is much costlier than taking action, this issue clearly should be a top priority for our leaders in government.”
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Sun, sand, seaâ€Ś and sustainability With more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays, tourism is the Caribbeanâ€™s main source of economic growth, fuelling trade and employment. Mass tourism along the coast had relegated environmental stability to the backburner until recent marked interest in ecoleisure in the Carribean As a cluster of islands, the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to environmental impacts such as coastal erosion, fresh water shortages, marine pollution and loss of coral reefs and other habitats. Efforts to develop and promote sustainable practices and strategies are very important as part of the ongoing measures to manage land degradation in the Caribbean Small Island Development States (SIDS). Tourism is a major employer in the Caribbean states, generating
roughly1.3 million jobs. Caribbean governments have developed their tourism industries in a strategic move to diversify their economies. In many Caribbean countries, the tourism sector now contributes up to 50% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and tourism receipts are a major source of foreign currency. The growth in Caribbean tourism in the last 15 years has been driven by destinations such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic the Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica.
Rapid growth Hotel developments have damaged mountains, natural vegetation and watersheds, causing soil erosion and lagoon pollution. Mangrove forests and shoreline vegetation have also been affected by beach front construction. Furthering these issues, tourism planning lacks interdepartmental coordination between the land authority, the environment agency, urban planning and other bodies. There is a lack of a central state policy or
regulatory board to monitor developments in the region in a way that positively impacts society, addressing larger issues of poverty and employment through sustainable growth. Ecotourism could help empower local communities through knowledge sharing to drive sustainable agricultural practices, minimise the impact of tourism-led footfall in the country, and diversify income sources. Sustainable land management The Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project is an initiative supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and jointly executed by the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute and the Office of Sustainable Development and Environment of the Organisation of American States based in Washington, D.C. SLM aims to address land degradation at the community level in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. With a budget of US$120 000, the project engaged 23 community members over five months in various capacitybuilding exercises. In the agroforestry component, there are 11 farmers who are involved in the apiary establishment. Another eight farmers will attend a tourism training course because they will be involved in the ecotourism component of the project. Ecotourism, which will operate on a small- scale, community-owned basis, will include visits to the unique landscape and its wildlife and activities revolving around indigenous traditions. The
activity mix adopted by this project facilitates its sustainability. Dominican Republican In Las Terrazas de Coson on the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic, there is a pristine eco-resort that has little to no environmental impact but which provides the luxury that high-end travellers expect. Some of its environmental projects include: managing storm water run-off, using solar power, using cisterns to provide water and incorporating garden-tiled roofs. This project is directed to high-income tourist but it signifies that investments in ecotourism can also be very significant in supporting the development of green construction techniques and energysaving technologies. Barbados The Government of Barbados has stated its intention to develop sustainable tourism as a means of diversifying the economic base beyond agriculture and industry. Barbados
is a relatively mature mass tourist destination where activities have been developed since the 1960s. Tourism development in Barbados is located mainly within 800 metres of the coastline. The concentration of large infrastructure and resort complexes along delicate coastlines has destroyed mangroves and beaches and caused lagoon pollution from sand mining, dredging and sewage dumping. The Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit, the National Conservation Commission, the Barbados National Trust and the Ministry of Tourism collaborated to create the Adopt-a-beach Project based on the belief that visitors and locals could help sustain the coastal and marine environment through a range of activities including regular beach and underwater clean ups; International Coastal Clean-up Day; certified first-aid courses; designing and providing creative and effective garbage receptacles, benches and tables; re-vegetation initiatives; community awareness programmes for beach users.
Jogos Brasil As the host of the upcoming 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games, Brazil is gearing up to renovate its largest stadium, Estádio Nacional de Brasília, to greener heights Projected to finish in the coming year, the renovations will ideally push the site as the first net-zeroenergy stadium in the world and will be certified LEED-Platinum. The renovations will increase seating capacity to accommodate more than 70,000 fans, renewable energy investment of US$400 million and low emission transportation. Green building features onsite include rainwater collection, water recycling, natural lighting in design, and addon features that have rarely been used in this scale. A ring of solar
photovoltaic panels on the roof will power the stadium, which will be equipped with “photocatalytic membranes” that are designed to trap pollutants in the air. The chemicals in the pollutants are broken down as a purification measure. Carbon emissions from transportation, making up more than half of the stadium’s carbon footprint, are also partially removed from the atmosphere. To cut down emissions at the source, clean transportation will be encouraged to and from the stadium, with parking facilities
being set aside for 3,500 bicycles and 1,000 VIP parking spaces inside the stadium. Parque Olímpico Rio 2016 Brazil, hosting the summer Olympiad in 2016, recently announced AECOM as the winner of the competition to design its Olympic village and related spaces. The Urban Masterplan outlines how the Olympic Park area will be used, the public spaces, squares and parks as well as the location of the permanent and temporary
venues and the future real estate developments to be built at the site. Detailed planning, through the Executive Project, will be carried out over the next months by AECOM in conjunction with the parties involved in the park construction. AECOM, which was also responsible for the London 2012 Olympic Park Masterplan, will receive R$100,000 (US$62,000). Similar to AECOM’s work for this year’s London Olympics, the project for Rio focuses on conserving the site’s environmental features: the lagoon’s ecological restoration; ensuring soil permeability; universal accessibility; integration with municipal projects planned for the surroundings; prioritisating sustainable technological innovations. In 2016, the Parque Olímpico (Olympic Park) will be the
heart of the games. With an area of 1,180,000 square metres, it will host competitions for ten Olympic sports (basketball, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, handball, hockey, tennis, cycling, aquatics and gymnastics) and 11 Paralympic sports (wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, boccia, judo, sitting volleyball, goalball, 5-a-side football, 7-a-side football, wheelchair tennis, cycling and swimming). The Main Press Centre (MPC) and the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC), where an estimated 20,000 accredited journalists will work during the games, will also be built at the site. Over three million tickets will be on sale for the competitions to be held at the park, which is expected to host around 200,000 spectators per day.
After the games The Urban Masterplan frees up at least 60% of the Olympic Park area for future developments. The new permanent sports facilities will be built around the existing ones - the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre, the Olympic Velodrome and the Olympic Arena. After the games, this group of venues will form South America’s first Olympic Training Centre and will become a reference in discovering and developing sporting talent. Adam Williams, AECOM’s associate director, revealed he “sought inspiration in the city’s elements. We wanted to bring the experience acquired in London, where it was also important to plan the park’s Gamestime operation and long term usage, as well as the transition between these two moments.”
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Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
503.7 million 2011
98% 2010 December 2012
A lifetime achievement Held at the historically significant Battersea Power Station which was once a symbol of the unsustainable industrial era as London’s robust coal firing plant, the seventh edition of the International Green Awards lauded the achievements of green leaders around the world. Ushering in a new era of a green revolution, the awards honoured His Royal Highness Prince Charles this year with the illustrious Lifetime Achievement award
After decades of preaching sustainability and driving awareness for climate change, Prince Charles shared his joy in receiving an award for his achievements, feeling vindicated after being dismissed as a “crank” for his advocacy of the green movement. “It certainly feels like a lifetime since I first felt compelled to say something, and more to the point do something, to highlight how fast we are heading to the terrifying point of no return,” he stated in his acceptance speech. Over the years, the Prince of Wales has founded several green initiatives from ethical business to fair farming, social justice to rainforest protection. Noting the struggle of subsistence farmers around the world, he created two initiatives to improve the sales of two key products of the sheep farming
HRH Prince Charles
industry; the “Campaign for Wool” and the “Mutton Renaissance.” Both the initiatives are aimed to highlight the sustainable properties of wool as a natural fire-retardant and renewable fabric; and mutton as a delicious alternative to lamb, that would help sheep farmers gain a better profit while protecting their way of life. In 2007, the Prince turned his attention to the mass annihilation of rainforests in the tropics with the Rainforests Project, aiming to find practical solutions to slow deforestation and the effects of climate change. “We cannot go on thinking that the Earth with somehow just cope and miraculously go on being so abundantly generous with her precious resources,” the Prince said. “We are pushing nature beyond her limits; we are breaching one planetary boundary after another.“ It is therefore an act of suicide on a grand scale to ride so roughshod over those checks and balances and flout nature’s necessary limits as blatantly as we do,” he grimly summarised in his speech which served as both an inspirational start to an evening acknowledging major players in the green arena, as well as a reality check for the world at large.
Bumper to bumper More than 19,000 motorists avoid London’s congestion fee by simply upgrading their older vehicles for greener models. A recent notice circulated across the city is alerting motorists that this green subsidy may not last for long
In London, more than 19,000 motorists avoid London’s congestion fee because they drive greener vehicles. A notice has been made out to green motorists that warn, they may have to pay in the future. Transport for London (TfL) has proposed abolishing the Greener Vehicle Discount, which applies to cars with emissions of less than 100 grams per kilometre of CO2. Motorists currently eligible for the discount can consider this announcement a two years notice period before they too have to pay the charge. The congestion charge was enforced to to reduce traffic by making driving along the heaviest motorways more expensive, thereby urging motorists to consider mass transit and other sustainable forms of travel in lieu. As
manufacturers improve engine technology and embrace cleaner solutions, more cars are passing the bar and gaining eligibility for the exemption. Small, fuel-efficient vehicles like the Fiat 500 , which had earlier enjoyed the exemption, have been imported into town to replace older models, and are now adding to the congestion. This has led to further restrictions on congestion so that no diesel model cars on the roads will be exempt. The congestion charge for cars entering the central London zone currently stands at £10 - or £9 for drivers who are registered to pay via an automated payment service. The new plan will penalise those flouting the rules a higher fee from £120 to £130. From July 2013, electric vehicles and cars that comply with the stricter emissions standards would be eligible to
receive an Ultra Low Emission Discount, earning free entry into the congestion charge zone. After 2015, the current Greener Vehicle Discount will be removed. Nick Fairholme, TfL’s director for congestion charging told the British media in a statement, “we are really keen to hear what Londoners and motorists have to say about the proposed changes to the congestion charging scheme. The proposed changes will make the scheme greener and more efficient.” Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones said it was a natural progression in the city’s move towards a low carbon economy. “The Mayor should use this opportunity to set up a very low emission zone, starting with a £25 charge for the most polluting diesel cars,” she stated in response. The 12-week public consultation closes on 8 February 2013.
Financing green projects The UK has founded the world’s first investment bank that is primarily dedicated to greening the economy, in tandem with nation’s federal committments to direct the region towards sustainability in the long term
The United Kingdom has created the world’s first investment bank that is primarily dedicated to greening the economy. The UK government is committed to setting the region towards a green economy meanwhile continuing to promote increasing sustainability for the long term.
Businesses and residences will benefit largely from the transition to a green economy as it presents a significant growth across sectors. With that, a large investment of an approximately £200 billion in key green sectors is required for the energy system until 2020.
The bank’s mission is to provide financial solutions to accelerate private sector investment in the green economy. Capitalised with £3 billion, the GIB will play a vital role in addressing market failures affecting green infrastructure projects in order to stimulate a step up in private investment. GIB received state aid endorsement from the European Commission last month. Its first two projects received a total of a £13 billion investment. The first project is a group of six plants that will generate energy from waste in northeast England. This project will receive a total of £8 million. The second project will modernise the British facilities of the Irish construction company ‘Kingspan,’ by using materials to make them more energy efficient. This project earned a £5 million investment. The bank began investing in projects earlier this year under commercial terms, by dedicating £180 million to expert fund administrators for co-investment in smaller energy assignments. The projects will be given authority to borrow their essentials and necessities by 2015, and have decided to focus on offshore wind, waste and non-domestic energy efficiency as priorities. At the bank’s inauguration, UK business secretary Vince Cable said, “the Green Investment Bank - a key coalition pledge - is now a reality. It will place the green economy at the heart of our recovery and position the UK in the forefront of the drive to develop clean energy”.
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Investing in the future Despite being known for its strong manufacturing industry, Germany’s dearth of local engineering talent has become so pronounced that some of its leading companies havve been actively tweaking the country’s kindergarten and early school curriculum to encourage the future generation down this career path
In Germany, kindergarten kids as young as three years old are gaining interest in technology and science. This is due to the fact that industrial giants such as Siemens and Bosch are among hundreds of companies rewarding schools with monetary and material compensation for engaging children in the sciences. Many European countries, from Switzerland to Spain, suffer
shortages of graduates. The main problem however, lies in Germany, a land that was once known for churning out top-level engineers.. According to the engineers’ association, German companies have 95,000 vacancies for engineers and only about 40,000 are trained. Working with kindergarteners to catch them young, when they are the most curious to know how things
work and why, Bosch, Bürkert, and Siemens are just some of the German firms investing in human capital for the future. “Starting at school is not good enough – we need to help them to understand as early as possible how things work,” according to Maria Schumm-Tschauder, head of Siemens’ Generation21 education programme.
100 energy units
35 energy units
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The only good watt is a negawatt
Point of use
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Due to intrinsic inefficiencies, 33 units of energy consumed at the point of use require 100 units of primary energy*
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Siemens has provided about 3,000 “discovery boxes” filled with science experiments for kindergarten students in Germany targeted to children aged three to six. Each box costs 500 (US$775) to the company. It also trains teachers on how to use them as well as providing similar boxes around the world to preschools from China to Ireland. The Discovery Box The Discovery Box promotes the spirit of research among children at an early age through mini-laboratories for future scientists to familiarise themselves with tools of the trade. With the assistance of luminous bulbs, crystals, food dyes, test tubes and other scientific (yet safe) equipment, Discovery Boxes contain 45 experiments that are targeted to hook children in environmental, health and energy issues affecting the real world today. “Tell me something and I will forget it− Show it to me and and I will remember it. Let me do it and I will retain it.’ goes the Confucian saying,” quotes Michael O’Connor, Corporate Communications for Siemens Ireland, where the originally German concept has since been implemented. “Currently children do not necessarily make the connection between what they learn in school and the magical role and application of science and technology in our day to day lives. We need to change our approach to teaching science and technology and make it more fun. If not we will run out of graduates and this will impact on our future economy,” he adds. simple experiments a) Creating Light − featuring an Electric Circuit, using a battery, wire and light bulbs, the children learn how to make electricity flow and power light.
b) Creating Heat − using steel wool, needles, wood and batteries, the children learn to create heat in a dramatic experiment that causes the steel wool to glow. c) The Paper Clip Race − featuring test tubes with different colourful liquids the children test the viscosity of the liquids by simply dropping the paper clips into the test tubes. Kindergarten apprentices A total of 70 companies, including Bosch, BASF, Trumpf, Voith, Fischer and more, have come together in support of reaching out to the younger generation through the “Knowledge Factory.” One of the most popular projects in the Knowledge Factory involves engaging kindergarteners with KiTec tool boxes. KiTec stands for “Kinder entdecken Technik” (children discovering technology), and contain glue, wood, screws, wire, saws, and files. “Imagine you are on a desert island and have to build a house or a bridge,”
the instructor announces, engaging the children with a focused task. Before the children can get started with any kind of designing, inventing, or building, they are all shown how to use the tools and are given a “tool license” to prove they know what they are doing and to ensure safety, much like in the real world. In small groups, the children are given tasks from structural engineering to automotive technology and electrical engineering. This gives children a fun learning environment where they are able to work individually and part of a team meanwhile discovering what technology
partnerships. As part of getting children more actively involved in such projects, the students work with up-and-coming industrial mechanics to build wind turbines and elements of LED lighting units. This mentorship role for apprentices are meant to help motivate them in their entry-level roles by strengthening their sense of responsibility, leadership and social skills. At the same time, children are overjoyed to be learning something new without having to go to school. Some companies are also using other strategies from trying to get more girls to take up engineering to working closely with technical colleges.
can offer to the world. The children each have a research diary where they can record all their experiments and results, or sketch the things they want to build later with their parents. Site visits and field trips To subconsciously allow children to understand the world of engineering and technology, Bosch invited kindergartens and schools to take part in on-site tours as part of its educational partnerships. While touring, children were also given the chance to try out drills for themselves. The drills are supervised by Bosch apprentices who are also involved in these educational
The “Roberta” project The number of female students taking up engineering in Germany is significantly less than enrolled male students taking up the same program. Among the almost 310,000 students taking engineering science in Germany’s universities, only 50,000 of them are female. If this trend continues, the sustainability of the Germany economy could be in jeopardy. The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) noticed how big a problem this was starting to become. “It is not just a question of quantity”, according to spokesperson Thorsten Leimbach from IAIS. “It is a matter of quality. The findings produced by mixed teams are clearly much better than those produced by purely male groups. We simply cannot do without the input women invest in the engineering disciplines.” The IAIS has designed special courses in robot
technology with the female students in mind through the Roberta project where a large-eyed Wall-E looking robot tries to capture the interest of young girls. “We individualise the robots, give them faces and create references to other specialist areas such as medicine or biology,” Leimbach explains. The robots are made to act like animals by waddling and dancing to get children to relate to the animallike machines. RobertaRegioZentren are special centres that specialise in training teachers who are interested in utilising high tech educational methods into their curriculum. The course certifies teachers to use the robots in class. Even after the course, there is still a continuing education process for the teachers where they are kept up-todate by the RegioZentren across Germany spread all over the country. By designing, constructing, programming and testing mobile robots, children learn the basic concepts of today’s technical systems. In a playful and practical approach, the children learn to handle sensors, motors, and graphical software. These are the main technical topics of Roberta courses. In addition, they learn that constructing technical systems is a creative process that is not easy but strengthens their confidence in their own technical skills. This helps them to gain knowledge in ICT, electrical engineering, mechanics and robotics. 85% of the children aged 10 and over who are exposed to these robots see themselves becoming a computer or robot expert in later years.
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5 million tonnes of CO2 trapped by cork forests every year
natural industrial process, sans additives
Portugalâ€™s sustainable pride In Santa Maria de Lamas, a town just over half an hour from Porto, Portugal, lies an astonishing forest of cork. General manager of Amorim and member of APCOR, Carlos Manuel, talks to BGreen about Portugese cork and how its durability can help produce a greener environment
acoustical reasons and also for anti-vibration. We are now introducing cork for flooring. BGreen: What are the characteristics of this product?
BGreen: What is the driving force behind APCOR? Carlos Manuel: The Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) was created to represent and promote the Portuguese Cork industry. Itâ€™s a nationwide company, founded in 1956 and based in the north of Portugal, in Santa Maria de Lamas. All the companies that operate in the fields of production, marketing or the export of cork products can join the association.
BGreen: How is Portuguese cork positioned in the Middle East market? Carlos Manuel: There are some Portuguese companies already positioned in the Middle East Market. Amorim is a brand name that is provided through local distributors and offering different cork products for the construction industry. The cork used is specifically for thermal insulation,
Carlos Manuel: Cork is mostly used for its thermal and antivibration properties. Cork has a long lifespan. Its technical characteristics are a result of its long durability and therefore, when or if buildings are demolished, corkÂ can be totally recycled. There are official reports and environmental certifications for the raw material used (cork), industrial processes and finished products alike. The annual sustainability report is made available to the public, as are lifecycle analyses of the products.
Spain’s solar saving grace Despite having a leg up on the competition when it comes to solar technologies, Spain still relies on progressively expensive and unsustainable fossil fuels for around 70% of its power needs, the majority being imported
Spain’s Electric Power Act was formulated to boost sustainable economic and jobs growth, enhance Spain’s energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Yet bad debts from a speculative property boom threatens to overwhelm Spain’s entire economy. Generous feed-in tariff (FiT) rates for solar and wind energy also led to a boom in renewable energy that has since slowed down because of the fiscal crisis.
Renewables save the day Solar and wind installations continue to be built in Spain despite the debt/ credit crisis. Installations of utilityscale and distributed solar and wind energy systems will produce clean, renewable electrical power, protecting consumers from rising fossil fuel costs. They’re also making large reductions greenhouse gas emissions, as well as all the other forms of environmental pollution.
Renewable energy has also been a boon for Spain in terms of investment and job creation, which is considerable, given the unemployment rate of 25%. Spanish companies such as Abengoa, Gamesa, and Iberdrola, among others, have become leading multinational players in the solar, wind, renewable energy and clean technology markets, contributing significantly to growing renewable energy use around the world. CSP growth Abengoa recently announced the that Helios 1 — the first of two parabolic trough concentrated solar power (CSP) plants — is up and running at the Castilla-La Mancha Solar Complex. The Castilla-La Mancha Solar complex consists of two identical 50
megawatt CSP plants, outfitted with 360 parabolic solar collectors installed over an approximately 110 hectare area. Helios 1 will produce enough clean, renewable electricity to power 26,000 Spanish households, while substantially reducing 31,400 tones of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions per year. Abengoa’s become a world solar power leader, having an installed base of solar capacity totaling 593 MW in commercial operation, as well as 1,060 MW under construction across Europe, the US and Africa. “For the first time in its history, Spain occupies a position of leadership in a major technological-industrial sector of growing importance worldwide. In our country, the renewables sector directly employs over 120,000 people, generates 1 % of GDP, and invests 2.67 % of its contribution to GDP towards R&D; more than double the national average,” states Abengoa chairman Felipe Benjumea. “Spain is a world leader in solar thermal technology which provides employment for 25,000 people, with the vast majority of jobs found in regions with higher unemployment rates, and also enables the curbing of burdensome imports of fossil fuels. Spanish companies are building more solar thermal plants abroad than inside Spain, maintaining higher value-added activity in our own country with the resulting development in other sectors, payment of the corresponding taxes, job creation, and the exportation of cutting-edge technology.”
Travelling to the “node pole” Google’s conversion of an abandoned paper mill in Hamina, Finland, coupled with Facebook’s highly lauded move to Luleå, Sweden, will most likely propel the Arctic Circle as a major node for data storage in Europe, earning the region the title of “node pole”
Data centres in various regions provide near-instant access through mirror sites for users in that particular area, encouraging Internet big names to set up shop far and wide.
Social media giant, Facebook, set up its first server farm outside of America in Luleå, Sweden, capitalising on the sizeable energy savings that comes from using natural cooling. Natural cooling in northern climes allows for a more sustainable data solution for larger corporations concerned about their emissions. Natural options Air-side economisers, which bring in outside air whenever it is cold enough to neutralise the temperature
within the data centre, or waterside economisers, which use the evaporative cooling capacity of a cooling tower to indirectly produce chilled water, are sustainable cooling options for keeping a growing data centre’s energy needs in check. Large sites that receive a lot of traffic require an abundance of storage space to allow users from all corners of the world quick access to information.
Hamina, Finland Ever since Google announced their paper mill-based data center in Hamina, Finland, there has been significant interest in attracting other data centre business to the Nordics. Google is set to invest an additional US$184.5 million to double the size of this data centre in Hamina according to a Reuters report. The company said the decision was a response to growing demand for its services. The Hamina data centre is famous for its innovative coolingsystem design, as an upcycled site that used to be a paper mill using underground granite tunnels to bring water from the Bay of Finland for free cooling. Google has converted the 60-year-old mill it bought from the paper company In 2009, Stora Enso spent €200m to adapted the seawater cooling system for data centre cooling. Google chose Hamina because
of its combination of energy infrastructure, land available for development and qualified local workforce. About 90% of the data centre’s employees are Finnish, and most of them live in the local community, according to the IT magnate. This is one of two Google data centres in Europe, with the other one situated in Belgium. The company has six data centres across the US and three in Asia, in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Luleå, Sweden With lows well below freezing and highs that seldom hit 25 degrees Celsius in midsummer, the location’s natural cooling and renewable hydropower makes it ideal. Luleå is the coldest town in Sweden, housing several of the country’s bigger hydropower stations. Sweden also has the lowest electricity price in Europe and the country’s northern region, including Luleå, has the lowest electricity price in Sweden. The power to operate the new data centre, about 120 megawatts, will be completely derived from hydropower. Drawn by Facebook’s arctic circle data centre, businesses, bandwidth and technical talent have started to flock to what was once a sleepy hamlet up north. After a year of construction, Facebook’s Arctic Circle data centre has yet to open, but the mere presence of the brand has already brought a flood of inward investment, dubbed the ‘Facebook effect’ by Luleå’s mayor, Karl Petersen. Luleå’s local science park has reported a 25% rise in companies coming to the area in a bid to mimic Facebook’s move. Applications to the town’s University of Technology are up
by 18%, leading to an all-time high of 17,000 enrolled students on campus. Courses on IT engineering have even seen applicants rise by 100% owing to the association of the Nordic cold, data centre efficiency, and a second cycle of a tech boom. Secondary companies in the data centre market, such as storage solutions provider EMC, vendor Fusion-io and service provider Milestone, are setting up shop as well. Construction firm NCC has created a division specialising in data centre construction to be based in Luleå. “This past year with Facebook’s presence has meant a great deal for
Sweden and Lulea. We are entering a new, digital industrial era, and we expect growth and positive effects to continue,” states Petersen. Meanwhile, new infrastructure investments will double the capacity for Internet traffic into Sweden. In a new pilot project, several Luleå households will receive a broadband capacity of 1000 Mbps.
Taking it to the polls In 2010, 74 major Russian companies published sustainabily reports, with an additional 140 companies reporting on their corporate social responsibility initiatives, according to the Russian Union of Industrialist and Entrepreneurs. BDO Russia went one step further to investigate how important sustainable growth is for the Russian market two years on
BDO Russia polled the most responsible businesses in Russia regarding sustainability development in their companies. Over 60 were taken to a poll where it was confirmed that this year, 81.4% of these companies are already involved in publishing sustainable development reports. According to BDO Russia 34.7% of the companies that participated in the poll are interested in developing a sustainable development strategy. 21.3%
of responders are interested in enforcing a strategy that has already been a work in progress. 14.7% would ideally want to learn how to create sustainable development reports while the remaining 12% are not participating nor are aware of the concept of sustainability and how it can form a foundation of their business strategy. Delving deeper The respondents believe that the responsibility for the quality of goods and services, employer responsibility, corporate governance, business ethics and anti-corruption, public relations, environmental protection, efficiency and rehabilitation, and lastly, supplier network are an essential aspect to maintaining sustainable development. In accordance to the employer responsibility poll, 54% of poll participants concluded that they are ready to take responsibility and be held accountable for the personal and professional development of their employees, 48% said they were responsible for workplace safety, while 41% believe that they are responsible for reasonable compensation for their employees. Cashing in on ideas “Western companies have long ceased to consider social
responsibility to be a burden and a public duty. They have learned to cash in on it”, General Director of BDO in Russia, Alexander Lantsov said. “For Russian companies, however, it is still a matter of public relations and risk management. They cannot monetise this kind of activity so far.” Although Russia is beginning to understand the importance of a sustainable development, they still need to distinguish the benefits of sustainable development, especially with Russia approaching an entry to the World Trade Organisation. Lantsov stressed the importance of securing the interest of domestic producers by tightening environmental requirements for foreign companies trying to enter Russia. Mobile phone operator MTS, and their Telecom Idea project suggests a growing interest in sustainable development among Russian companies. This project, (launched in 2011,in conjunction with the Ministry of Communication and Media, the Ministry of Education and science and the Ministry of culture and the Higher School of Economics) is part of MTS’ innovation programs and has already earned the company a total of US$37 million. The purpose of the project is to transform the ideas of the MTS employees,
talented applicants or MTS clients into an effective tool for boosting the company’s capitalisation. It gives young enthusiasts an opportunity to experience project presentation and to learn about financial backing. Therefore allowing them to bring their ideas to life as well as constituting a source of new business development ideas for MTS. MTS released a statement from their Vice President and COO, Alexander Popovsky saying, “We view social responsibility projects as longterm investments laying the foundations for the company’s sustainable development and shaping an interest in new products and technology,” In 2004, the Uralsib Financial Corporation became one of the first on the Russian market to issue its public nonfinancial report under the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability reporting. Transparency and accountability According to the BDO poll, 46% of respondents are ready to take up transparency, responsibility and accountability; 40% have adopted a corporate governance code; 26% take corporate governance and environmental protection issues into account when evaluating their operations, whereas just 2% can manage complaints.
No holds barred Despite its enormous solar and wind energy potential, Turkey’s renewable energy sector is slow to bloom, inching forward in only certain areas of the country. The next 10 years of concentrated efforts to encourage the clean energy sector could lead to an obstacle-free path towards a greener future for Turkey
Straddling Asia and Europe, Turkey’s strategic location has endowed the nation with more than just a unique cultural and historical cocktail. The nation’s massive solar and onshore wind potential has placed it second in rankings within Europe when it comes to the potential for the renewables sector, which as yet remains under-realised. Current position One of the main reasons behind Turkey’s current account deficit is the nation’s reliance on imported energy to match the growing demand. Despite having access to high-speed winds along the Aegean coast, the country’s reliance on wind is at a low 1,800 MW. Turkey’s installed power generating capacity is expected to surpass 55,000 MW in the coming year. In terms of solar energy, only 5 MW of installed photovoltaic systems are contributing to the nation’s energy mix. So far, hydropower has been successfully tapped on, adding up to nearly one third of the country’s installed capacity. In an
require tying up with a globally significant developers who can provide the knowledge and expertise to unlock the sector’s potential for profit and sustained growth. On the policy side, the central government has only set aside a limited capacity for solar energy, establishing a legislative requirement for any installation project over 500 kW to obtain licensing. In 2008, the fledgling wind energy market was starting to take off in Turkey, but a frenzied auction led to overlapping sales of licenses for wind project. Projects with an unfeasible joint capacity of more than 78,000 MW, nearly double of the ideal number of 38,000 MW. The mix-up led to expected delays but the disputes have since been cleared, and from the coming year, the winning developers are set to begin construction. unfortunate twist, the hydropower dams have been called out recently for posing environmental danger. Red tape and uncertainty Breaking into the market comes with its own set of complications—from bureaucratic procedures to delays in implementation. The renewable sector is also led by holding companies that branch into the field solely to diversify their assets, suggesting a lack of strategic planning and interest in the nation’s sustained well being. Many local companies reportedly see renewable projects as an added asset that can be turned over for a quick profit, rather than a move worth furthering in the coming decades. These small-time players also fall short because of their lack of investment in research and development. The next big move for these local entities to step up would
Time will tell Inspired by the growing green revolution sweeping the Middle East, and the established level of environmental business ideals in Europe, the Turkish government has set ambitious goals for the future. By 2023, they have planned for a 20,000 MW of installed wind capacity, goals for reducing the current account deficit by 1% of GDP, and investing in research and development spending from 1% of GDP to 3%. The government is also looking to clean up the licensing process for renewable projects, tightening and streamlining the procedure to urge foreign investment and strategic partnerships, while increasing the incentives for local players.
Middle East & North Africa
Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) GDP (current US$)
$1.205 trillion 2010
Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
72 2010 Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita) Population, total
336.6 million 2011
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
The cost of breaking records After a string of pledges throughout the year elevating the role of sustainability in the policies and frameworks in Dubai, officials have recently announced mega construction projects on the way that could overstretch the emirateâ€™s recovering economy
Dubai’s ever-expanding cityscape
While still considerably far from Dubai’s pre-recession growth, the emirate’s economy has been sputtering into gear, most notably in the construction sector as cranes across the city slowly swing back into action. Adding another highend development to Dubai’s many landmarks, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has announced the planning of the world’s largest shopping mall and the construction of more than 100 hotels in same area. “The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city,” Sheikh Mohammed said while announcing the move.
This project will be strategically located between Sheikh Zayed Road, Emirates Road and Al Khail Road, and will be undertaken jointly by Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding. Reviving pre-recession projects Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City, as the project will be called, represents a revival of the prerecession Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens project. Upon the first announcement in 2008, the masterplan would cover 74 square
kilometres, and cost US$60 billion (AED220 bn). The revived project, MBR City, contains a park, which on its own is expected to be 30% larger than London’s 1.4 square km Hyde Park. The new project, which includes the world’s largest shopping complex, aptly named Mall of the World, is expected to have capacity for 80 million visitors annually and a total of 100 hotel facilities to facilitate tourists. Universal Studios played a moderate role in the development of
the Mall of the World. In accordance to the 2008 plan, a Universal Studios theme park was positioned in the Dubailand theme park. This proposal has since been put on hold. It is still unclear whether the Universal Studios theme park will remain as planned in the Dubailand theme park, or if it will be situated on the Mall of the World premises. The original plan for Dubailand was to create a golf course that would be named ‘The Tiger Woods’, in relation to the famous golfer well before his public image waned. Although this project was delayed, it’s reported that the MBR city will include “a number of golf courses under well-known international names.” A closer look MBR City is considered to be a “Cultural Crossing,” an avenue that is populated largely by art galleries. The project will link Business Bay and Downtown Dubai with this crossing. The MBR City project is divided into four components. The first component relates to leisure, where the park, hotels and Universal Studios can be clubbed together. The second component focuses on retail with a sprawling mall. The third component looks at art and culture, and the final component is an exclusive area that will offer
an incorporated environment for entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. Despite these grandiose plans, a timetable for the project has not been put into play as of yet. Another major aim for Dubai is to project an estimated number of 90 million passengers passing through the Dubai International Airport by 2018. “Our development initiatives concerning infrastructure in all sectors should be aligned with this growth rate and we have the determination to reach our objectives and be the first in the region to achieve them,” Sheikh Mohammed said. Matthew Green, head of research for the Dubai office of commercial estate agency CBRE, estimates that there are currently around 400 hotels in Dubai. “As long as it is structured as a long-term project - and we have to assume that a scheme of this size would be built over the next 20 years - then we think this could be successful,” Green said in an interview with the local media. According to Green, Dubailand has plenty of room for more housings and hotels. Emaar has agreed to be part of the planning process for a large number of hotel rooms that will be situated in Dubailand. The announcement of MBR City
came only a week after Sheikh Mohammed announced a separate slate of development projects for the emirate, including a AED2.5 billion expansion of Madinat Jumeirah, a pedestrian footbridge across Dubai Creek, a AED390 million residential complex for Dubai Police, and the AED1.5 billion expansion of Business Bay Canal. The waiting game Design and construction aside, the sheer size and scale of the development suggests a regression for the city to back when it was globally known for its excesses— contradicting Dubai’s hard earned, and slow to catch on, title as a sustainable business hub. “I believe we are now equipped with the right infrastructure and tools to make smart choices. Guided by strong leadership and a vision for the future, Dubai is capable to achieving (the title as a sustainable business hub). Just because the project is of a massive scale, it does not mean that it cannot be sustainably built,” Adnan Sharafi, Chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council said in a panel discussion moderated by BGreen at their inaugural Congress at the end of November. While industry experts remain optimistic, the announcement did not include information on whether the project would attempt to attain any form of green building rating, or the role sustainable design would play in realising this masterplan.
High hopes for change The UN climate change negotiations taking place in Doha, Qatar must lay the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement by 2015 After a series of disappointing climate change talks post-Kyoto, including this year’s much hyped Rio+20 conference held in June, many delegates are rallying for more larger committments from each nation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties 18 (UNFCCC COP18) being
held in Doha. Head of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) delegation, Tasneem Essop says while it is widely expected that this round of negotiations is unlikely to deliver significantly on any issues, now is the time that expectations must be proven wrong. “Governments of the world have a chance at Doha to make something
happen,” she says. Trust among developed and developing countries will be the deciding factor for the success of the negotiations at Doha, she says. “The block now is that there is lack of trust. Developed countries have made commitments – even low levels of commitment at that – and some haven’t delivered. At the same
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be hosted in Doha this year, at the Conference of Parties (COP). This convention will be a milestone for Qatar, as it leaps on to the world stage and marks the first conference appearance of its kind in the Middle East. With the main focus of sustainable development being geared towards developing nations as massive infrastructure investments increase the potential for higher emissions, the Mena region (being one of the main source suppliers of fossil fuels,) is acknowledging more attention that is focused on improving sustainability. The choice of Qatar, a participant of the Kyoto Protocol, as host nation for the convention is especially appropriate, as the MENA region could soon be on the receiving end of erratic climate patterns already facing other parts of the world. In addition to the enormous political and demographic pressure from region-wide water scarcity, and the absence of the plowable land has seen the region’s richer nations engage in mass-land purchase for food security programmes overseas. Furthermore, many of the Middle East’s most economically active cities are located in coastal zones that are likely to be affected by climate change. Recently, Qatar has been working to amplify its position on the global stage through the investments of its sovereign wealth funds. To increase Qatar’s global credibility, the nation also hosted major global sporting tournaments such as the Asian Games in 2006 and the Arab games in 2011. In 2022, Qatar will be hosting the FIFA World Cup, for which large scale urban and commercial development projects are underway.
time, developing countries are being pressured to take more actions, but without the committed finance to implement these actions. The global effort has to be a fair, shared effort if we are to get anywhere near the level of trust required to make
progress. In our view, this can make or break progress towards finalising a new global agreement by 2015,” says Essop, And never has the imperative been stronger. The release of several sciencebased climate change reports in the last week show overwhelming that the world is quickly slipping behind its CO2 emission targets and if this slide is not arrested sharply, the world faces the devastating consequences of a 4°C world. “This year alone, we have witnessed some of the most devastating effects of climate change all around the world. As CO2 emissions reached record highs, Artic sea ice reached record lows, droughts blistered the world’s grain-producing areas, and wheat, corn and soybean prices hit historic peaks. And when food prices spike, poor people go hungry,” Essop says.
If countries aren’t ready to talk about more ambition (i.e. bigger cuts and finance), they are living in a parallel universe, one in which climate change isn’t bearing down on the world like a runaway train, says WWF’s Samantha Smith, leader of its Global Climate and Energy Initiative. “We’re hopeful that countries will respond to the wave of extreme weather impacts that hit the planet this year. We expect the EU to deliver on a second commitment period for Kyoto; we expect rich countries to have credible plans for how they’ll keep their promises on climate finance; and we expect developing countries to do their part, bearing in mind that most are primarily low income countries still. The real test is whether folks are ready to talk about bigger cuts, in line with what every credible scientist and institution is telling us.”
Creating sustainable value with light Dr Constantin Birnstiel, OSRAM’s Chief Sustainability Officer, outlines how efficient lighting solutions in response to global sustainability challenges
Global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, demographic change and urbanisation make sustainable development ever more important. That was also reflected by the programme of the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha from November 26th until December 7th. As electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20% of global electrical power consumption and close to six percent of worldwide
greenhouse gas emissions it’s an important lever to influence these challenges. Replacing inefficient lighting technologies with state-ofthe-art products like LED, innovative light systems and intelligent light management systems would cut the world share of electricity used for lighting by half. This could save as much CO2 as a newly planted forest more than twice of the size of the United Kingdom would absorb – more than 600 million tonnes annually.
A global strategy for efficient lighting Another important step towards replacing inefficient lighting technologies is the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) initiative “en.lighten” where OSRAM, one of the leading lighting companies in the world, is one of the founding members. The initiative addresses the challenge of accelerating global market transformation to environmentally sustainable lighting
technologies by developing a global strategy in support of the gradual phase-out of inefficient lighting. According to a UNEP assessment over US$110 billion could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting. The yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out of incandescent lamps would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coalfired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately US$210 billion. Thus, we at OSRAM, address global sustainability challenges with innovative, efficient lighting solutions – meanwhile generating more than two thirds of total revenue. An example would be our light management system “Encelium” that demonstrates perfectly how energy savings of up to 75% can be achieved in offices, industrial buildings and functional buildings such as hospitals. This is made possible by using special software that identifies the individual optimisation potential. With these and other efficient OSRAM lighting solutions our customers saved nearly 70 million tonnes of CO2 within the last five years – this is as much as one Airbus 380 emits by flying around the world more than 30,000 times.
Efficient lighting in off-grid areas An outstanding example of supporting the transition to sustainable lighting in developing countries is a project we implemented in Kenya in 2008, being the first lighting manufacturer to take a holistic approach to efficient lighting in off-grid areas (areas without access to electric light). The Corporate Social Responsibility project aims at providing access to sustainable, environmentally friendly and affordable off-grid energy services such as light and portable water – thus significantly improving the livelihood of communities in remote areas. In 2011, a follow-up project was initiated with the aim to expand to peri-urban areas and informal settlements like those of Nairobi, addressing the challenge of urbanisation in areas without an affordable or regular power supply. Sustainable lighting for a better quality of life Shaping the future of light is more than just efficiency: sustainable light protects, activates and comforts, thus improving people´s quality of life. For example, a special light system developed by OSRAM that matches the characteristics of natural daylight and therefore supports the daily biological rhythm of humans. This is based on studies demonstrating that blue enriched light influences the biological well-being of humans, improving daytime activity and cognitive brain functions, verifiably increasing productivity. Therefore these light systems can be used in educational institutions, office
buildings, hospitals or homes for the elderly, addressing the challenges of demographic change and urbanisation. An innovative example for this is a study we carried out together with the “Transfer Centre for Neuroscience and Learning” in German schools, installing light systems of combined blue and white LEDs in classrooms. The results were consistently positive: Due to the biologically optimised lighting in the classrooms, the students achieved significantly better results in standardised tests for concentration ability than the comparison group, and their performance speed also increased substantially. Sustainability as key factor for successful business Regarding the global challenges we are facing it is now more important than ever that companies have to integrate sustainability within their business model – not only to contribute to society and environment but also to our company’s success. The best indicator for sustainable business operations is the life cycle of a company. Studies show that the average lifetime of companies is between 40 and 50 years. OSRAM’s business activities have been focusing on light and hence on quality of life for over 100 years now. Today more than two-thirds of its revenue comes from energy-efficient products. They improve living, working and learning conditions; they save money and they contribute to our environment. This triple bottom line approach has been successful in the past and it will be in the future.
Under the Patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
INTERNATIONAL WATER SUM M IT 15–17 January, 2013, ADNEC, UAE Promoting Water Sustainability in Arid Regions
Let us tackle the water challenges together Overcoming the urgent water challenges of the world’s most arid regions requires decisive collective action. Join the world’s leading experts at the first International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi from 15 - 17 January 2013 -and be part of the solution.
Join us as a visitor at our International Exhibition: – Follow the latest innovations of 150 world-leading companies – Discover cutting-edge solutions in our Water-Energy Nexus Zone – Learn and be inspired at the Sustainable Solutions Village
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Environment portfolio hits €4bn mark At the 2012 Sustainable Innovation Forum, taking place alongside the UNFCCC Conference of Parties conference (COP 18) in Doha, leading light manufacturer Osram announced its current environmental portfolio, highlighting how energy efficient lighting can massively cut costs and mitigate contributing factors towards climate change
The LED lamp Parathom Classic A75 saves more than 80% energy in comparison to an incandescent lamp.
the osram environment portfolio Qualification of the products and solutions for our environmental portfolio is based on a defined selection process and is checked once a year by osram experts. Two criteria are used to qualify osram products, systems, solutions and services for acceptance: 1.Energy efficiency: osram products, systems, solutions and services, as opposed to conventional technologies, lead to an improvement in energy efficiency of at least 20% or to a corresponding energy savings during operation with the customer. Examples therefore are light management systems or led lamps which save 80% and more energy in comparison to conventional systems or lamps. 2. Environmental technologies: an environmental technology protects the environment and resources, reduces or curbs the negative effects by human intervention or contributes to a cleaner and healthier environment. Osram products, systems, solutions and services either themselves represent a form of environmental technology or make a central contribution to it. One example therefore are uv lamps as puritec from osram. They are adapted for disinfecting air, water and surfaces and are used in municipal and industrial waste water treatment and drinking water treatment plants.
Fishermen in Kenya at their daily work using Osram energy-efficient O-lamps.
ccording to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), global power consumption could be reduced by US$110 billion annually by making the conscious switch to energy-efficient lighting technologies. In addition, around 950 terrawatt hours of power could be saved, which corresponds to the annual energy consumption of India and Mexico. As a participant in the Sustainable Innovation Forum in Doha, Osram presents its solution suggestions from its environmental portfolio. In the end, light is one of the simplest and likewise effective levers for more energy savings worldwide. Lighting is responsible for almost 20% of global energy consumption and for six per cent of
the emitted greenhouse gases. Energy savings are particularly obvious with artificial light. “Energy-efficient lighting is one of the simplest and most effective levers in reducing energy costs significantly and promoting climate protection at the same time,” says Constantin Birnstiel, Chief Sustainability Officer at Osram. Osram has concentrated for years on the subject of sustainability. The company now achieves more than 70% of its total revenue with sustainable products. In the financial year 2012 this amounted to around €4 billion. A large component in this is made up by LED-based products and solutions. They already represent more than 25% of the total Osram revenue of €5.4 bn.
Saudi’s six-year plan When one of the world’s prime exporters of oil declares a US$100 billion investment in renewable energy to diversify its economy while reducing its own domestic reliance on conventional energy, it might be time for the rest of the world to follow suit
Saudi Arabia’s economy relies on the oil sector for 80% of public revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings, while also facing high unemployment of 14.4%. Like neighbouring UAE, the kingdom seeks to diversify the economy beyond oil, to create future employment opportunities in a green framework. Saudi Arabia has also invested in a new legion of universities to encourage the shift towards a knowledge-based economy. Saudi Arabia is a major player in the global energy market and is active in policy dialogues on energy and environment issues as a member of OPEC, and the sole Arab member of the G20. Policy makers are now concentrating on improving resource efficiencies for sustained economic growth while also addressing the environment.
Big plans The Kingdom plans to install 41 gigawatts of solar power by 2032, which can meet 20% of the country’s needs, while diversifying to include wind, nuclear, waste-to-energy and geothermal energy solutions to the mix. Matching the nation’s growth in electricity demand is Saudi Arabia’s reliance on desalination for potable water. The energysapping process consumes millions of barrels of oil per plant o a daily basis, which could use with a renewable overhaul. Looking beyond its own borders, Saudi Arabia also recognises the economic and employment opportunities in becoming a major player in the global solar industry, and aims to develop its own supply chain and manufacturing facilities. Bids for the first phases of implementing a local supply chain and manufacturing in solar solutions are beginning to stir. Saudi’s strong-willed government has the authority to implement aggressive, topdown policies that local and international private sector entities are expected to follow, which could bode well for the country when green federal policies are put in place. The ninth National Development Plan The first phase of the strategic programme, scheduled between 2011 and 2013, is part of a six-year framework to build the country’s
infrastructure and capacity, with a key focus on: • Mainstreaming Sustainability into Development Policy • to establish new sustainable development indicators and integrate greener approaches into development planning • diversify growth through regional development and knowledge- based economy • regular analysis of trends such as the UN’s Millennium Development Goals Reports and National Human Development Reports. • Green Economy • Set strategies for transitioning to a green economy, with a special focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy and in other priority sectors such as, water, mining, buildings, transport, and waste. As a way of generating new growth in employement and global competitiveness, the global green economy reached a record market capitalisation in 2010 of US$386 billion, led by emerging economies, suggesting that the kingdom may have a great opportunity to capitalise on this emerging trend. Social Empowerment Strategies and policies for poverty alleviation and engaging youth and women in employment are essential for social stability and growth.
ECOTECHNOLOGY FOR A MORE SUSTAINABLE EARTH Led by the all-embracing essence of kyosei, Canon HIGHLIGHTS how ecotechnology is the only sustainable way forward
asteful energy policies, overuse of resources, water supply shortages, global climate change, and deforestation are just some of the issues that need to be addressed for humans to achieve sustainable living on this planet. By the year 2025, an additional 2.9 billion people will strain tightening water supplies, and the world’s energy needs will rise 60 percent by 2030, according to the United Nations. Against this backdrop, there are more and more people seeking eco-friendly products for their homes. Technology integrates into every facet of modern life from buildings and energy to home, transport and lifestyle. Eco-technologies in particular perform a crucial role in protecting the environment and making our daily business and home lives more efficient. Utilizing eco-technology enables us to reap a number of benefits such as minimizing waste, saving energy, and reducing carbon emissions in addition to saving money on
household bills. It is therefore important to encourage people to embrace new ecotechnology developments. As early as 1997, Canon, the leading imaging solutions provider, has been integrating various environmental approaches in all areas of its corporate activity: One of Canon’s noteworthy achievements in the environmental domain is its global certification ISO14001, the international standard for environment management systems. More than 800 of Canon’s manufacturing and sales offices – 66 of which are in the EMEA region – are certified under the standard in 39 countries. Canon also takes pride in the fact that it has reduced its logistics CO2 emissions by around 40 per cent globally since 2006. Canon also implements a Material Flow Cost Accounting system to monitor and address resource and energy wastage throughout its production cycle. Importantly, as part of its commitment to high energy
efficiency products, almost 100 per cent of Canon’s scope of products in EMEA qualify for the EU ENERGY STAR® Programme, a unique initiative that certifies energy efficiencies in office equipment to help businesses and individuals protect the environment. Canon has also been very active in promoting eco-responsible and energy efficient solutions, which contribute to its commitment to sustainability: The second generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE of multi-function devices (MFDs) embodies Canon’s commitment to green technologies. The versatile photocopier range simplifies emailing of documents and can produce high-end booklets and brochures on top of supporting regular faxing, photocopying, scanning and printing functions. The imageRUNNER ADVANCE line uses Canon’s Device Management Solutions which includes printing technologies that can reduce ink and toner consumption by an average of 35 per cent. Enterprises using an
imageRUNNER ADVANCE photocopier and other Canon MFDs can thus drive down annual toner consumption by around 350 cartridges and consequently cut CO2 emissions by 1.68 tons. Products under the imageRUNNER ADVANCE series do not contain steel, copper or aluminum materials, surpassing the requirements of the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE series is one of the world’s most energyefficient Multifunction devices (MFDs). ImageRUNNER ADVANCE photocopiers are highly recommended for optimizing cloud computing in the office setting. By minimizing computer and paper use, Cloud Connect enhances the environmental appeal of Canon’s popular MFD line. UniFLOW V5.1, the first unified print and scan platform developed by Canon, is another part of the company’s eco-friendly arsenal which enables users to reduce paper wastage by streamlining physical document flows.
The system can also track documents, restrict content access and detect possible information security breaches. Corporate sustainability efforts at Canon cover the procurement functions as well. The company’s Green Procurement Programme ensures that priority items bought from suppliers and third parties comply with all legal requirements regarding chemical substances contained in them. In addition, up to 30 per cent of the company’s printer housings are made with recycled plastic as part of a comprehensive Produce-Use-Recycle product lifecycle approach. Plastics recovered from returned Canon machines or from waste generated during manufacturing are re-used in new products such as the X MARK 1 mousecalculator-keypad and the imageRUNNER ADVANCE series, thus offering strong environmental credentials. Canon has also developed biomass plastic, a renewable resource developed in collaboration with Toray Industries which has a recordbreaking flame retardance rating of 5V – a
world first. Use of this material can reduce manufacturing-related carbon emissions by 20 per cent compared to conventional plastic. The imaging specialist’s green agenda extends all the way to its clients. Canon’s consultancy team can help enterprises achieve substantial energy savings and environmental benefits by tweaking their operations. By switching to duplex printing, for example, an organization could save an amount of energy equivalent to powering 19 homes for a whole year. The eco-friendly print strategies recommended by in-house experts can easily help offices trim print costs by between 10 and 30 per cent annually. Additionally, Canon’s on-demand fixing technology upends conventional rollerfixing systems by saving up to 20 to 25 per cent of energy consumption. All Environmental conservation activities are based on Canon’s corporate philosophy Kyosei (living and working together for the common good) which is an integral part of the brand’s existence.
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Access to electricity While leading the Levant on many fronts, Lebanon still falls short when it comes to providing its residents unflagging access to electricity On cool autumn evening, Beirut’s swanky nightclubs teem with local revelers and travelling carousers alike, while scores throng to scenic seaside eateries overlooking the city’s glittering million-dollar skyline. What tourists are strategically shielded from is nation’s unreliable utility grid that plunges even the
most thriving city in Lebanon in total darkness for up to 12 hours a day. Access to electricity, as a basic human right, should be expected from the Levantine nation, yet the utilities sector seems to have been overlooked in the nation’s post-war renovation. Lebanon’s electricity problems stem from the 15-year-long civil war
that tore the nation apart, allowing the infrastructure of the once thriving city of Beirut to fall into decay. As it currently stands, the most recent power station in Lebanon dates back to more than a decade ago. While the capital manages to get by with 4-hour-long power cuts on average, the outskirts of the nation
Lebanon 24/7 Carboun, an advocacy initiative promoting sustainable cities in the Middle East, drives numerous projects that are aimed share information regarding the existing frameworks for sustainability in the region, while advocating change for better systems and practices in the future. Founded by Karim Elgendy, Carboun’s three focal projects include the highly popular LebanON 24/7 initiative that examines the issue of electricity access in the nation. According to Carboun, “this situation, although directly impacting the day-to-day life of Lebanon’s 4 million citizens, has never been addressed in the media with the proper level of clarity, and very few actually understand the underlying reasons for the power shortages and the challenges to reform of this sector.” LebanON 24/7 is conducted by Carboun’s Lebanon National Coordinator, Guy El Khoury, and a team of three Carboun Student Ambassadors. Learn more about the initiative on www. carboun.com
face the brunt of the issue, dealing with roughly half-daylong cuts. Tourism remains the nation’s strength, although supporting the electrical load brought on by the two million tourists pouring into the Levantine nation annually poses a heavy strain. As Lebanon’s volatile energy distribution flails, diesel generators across the country sputter to life, running for hours at a time, eating into the profits of small and medium businesses that barely manage to stay afloat in the region’s unstable economy. To survive the region’s pendular weather, most residents have invested in diesel generators to power their homes, leading
them to pay both the diesel bill and the utilities bill to the state-owned Electricité du Liban (EDL), notorious for sapping the nation’s budget year on year. According to a recent World Bank report, the last combined cycle plants were installed in the 1990s, while the rest date further back. The report adds that onethird of all electricity generated in Lebanon comes from private generators while 58% of households use some form of self generation, such as generators and large batteries. Close to 4% of Lebanon’s GDP goes to the energy sector due to inefficiencies. The minister of Power and Hydraulic Resources, Jibran
Bassil, says demand at peak time is about 1,000 megawatts above capacity. The solution would be either to build more power stations, or invest in renewable options. Recognising the negative impact of unstable energy on its citizens led to the government launching the nation’s first focussed sustainable energy plan. They approved a plan to produce 5,000MW a year by 2015 in order to provide 24-hour electricity by
expanding their energy portfolio. Bassil said the plan would cost about US$4.8 billion: $1.5 billion from the government, $2.3 billion from the private sector and $1 billion from donors. A quick poll of Lebanese citizens would suggest a palpable level of cynicism towards the idea of pumping more money into EDL’s outdated portfolio, while corruption remains a sizeable obstacle in the way of undisrupted energy access.
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16-18 APRIL 2013 ADNEC, ABU DHABI, UAE
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Transparent path ahead As early as 2008, the Jordan River Foundation positioned itself as more than just an institution with human interest at heart by authoring a sustainability report. Founded by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, the NGO is the first in the Middle East to advocate transparency as a necessity in improving the quality of life and access to economic opportunities for more Jordanians Employment opportunities for the rural women of Jordan are not easy to come by. As the nation moves away from subsistence farming and small-scale industries, many of its citizens have been stripped away of a livelihood that had sustained their families for generations. The Queen herself founded the non-profit Jordan River Foundation (JRF), in a bid to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in the women of Jordan through the reviving of traditional handicrafts. By publishing of a sustainability report, the Jordan River Foundation is able to quantify its reach and impact. According to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) qualified report, since its inception, JRF has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect beneficiaries by reaching out to
the traditionally disenfranchised members of society and touching their lives, in addition to developing community-based organisations and training municipalities in strategic planning and project management. “I’m proud that Jordan River Foundation is the first NGO to produce such a report,” said Queen Rania from the standpoint of founder and active participant. “Sustainability has been behind JRF’s goals from the beginning; reporting is increasingly more important for corporations, but also for NGOs because transparency is critical,” she said. Sustainability reports provide institutions with the means to prove that they are being responsible, accountable and transparent. Companies are encouraged to
balance profit with environmental protection, and equal opportunity. “This report gives us a scientific way to measure our impact and state it clearly,” said the Queen. While highlighting JRF’s positive impact in the country, the report also serves as a guide to show where the foundation can scale up its efforts and improve outreach opportunities. Dar Al Aman, for example, was hailed as a success, but notably had minimal reach. The report allows the foundation to rectify its shortcomings and map ambitions for the coming year. According to Vice Chairperson of JRF, Fadi Ghandour, “JRF will connect the sustainability report to the foundation’s strategy so that there is no disconnect between financial reporting and overall
JORDAN - Queen Rania visits an entrepreneurial centre in Jabal Al Natheef that aims at implementing incomegenerating projects
WISE WORDS Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
strategy… our strategy of how and what we do is very transparent”. Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Suheir Ali emphasised that the report is a great measure from a donor perspective, as it states exactly how and where funding is being spent. “When things aren’t measured it leaves a lot of room for doubt. When you have things documented, there’s no room for debate,” said the Queen, noting her hopes for all NGOs in the region to follow in line with JRF’s leadership and produce their own sustainability reports. The report also outlines JRF’s environmental impact. Minister of the Environment Khaled Irani said he was encouraged to see the positive implications in the report, including JRF’s organic farming that will be expanded in the coming years.
Our region faces substantial hurdles to development: chronic water shortages; the highest unemployment rate in the world; a burgeoning and youthful population; the untapped potential of women; and, a school system not attuned to the demands of today’s job market. By addressing these issues now we can spur growth as well as tackle long-term challenges. That is a fundamental truth in an age where our economic, social, and environmental systems are so interconnected. So we must abandon harmful and self-interested practices for business methods that maximise the bottom lines of both company and community. In other words, we need greater transparency, more accountability, and better governance. While other countries move into the field of sustainability, Jordan will continue to innovate, solidifying its position as a leading regional economy, society, and role model. Jordan’s first national responsible competitiveness report is part of this strategy, helping us recast Jordan businesses to compete.
WITH AROUND SEVEN MILLION WINDOWS CLEANED ANNUALLY FOR ABOUT 220 CLIENTS, DELIVERED AT THE HIGHEST INDUSTRY SAFETY STANDARDS…
We take Cleaning to
In the slums of Cairo Hand picking trash piling up in the impoverished areas of Cairo, the zabaleen (garbage people) are overlooked by society and underappreciated by the government in their role in the city’s waste management The unavoidable odour of decaying garbage lingers in Mokatam and Mansheyet Nasser, undercutting the view of the Coptic Monastery and mountainous landscape. As you walk through the streets of Cairo, small mounds of garbage can be seen piling up in corners, or strewn across the pathways. Littering in principle is somewhat of a norm in the city because of a lack of governmental enforcement of laws. Apart from failing to see the need for disposing trash appropriately, there is a marked lack of infrastructure standing in the way of efficient waste management. The zabaleen of Cairo’s slums, also known as garbage people, make their living off of collecting and recycling both residential and street garbage. The mountains of trash are visibly seen piling atop ‘garbage town’, where children as young as eight years old are picking up and sorting trash to earn bread for their families. The early years In the early twentieth century, zabaleen migrated from Upper Egypt to Cairo where they started
collecting waste, sorting it and reselling it as recycled materials. In ‘garbage town,’ the streets are covered in plastic waste. In some alleys, cloth and paper trash piles up. Other areas hold hazardous waste from the hospitals. Organic waste was fed to pigs, until recently when the government decided to slaughter all of Egypt’s pigs as a preventative measure against the H1N1 virus, even though there were no reported cases of swine flu in Egypt. The zabaleen work day and night collecting and sorting through the garbage, without any sanitary standards, health related protocols or age requirements in place. Maryam Samir Fekry, an inhabitant of ‘garbage town’ and employee at the Association of the Protection of the Environment (APE) recalls her years in the zabaleen community. “I was not like normal children, I did not live my childhood like others did. When I was 9 or 10 I started working here at the organisation,” Fekry remembers. Her father did not have enough money to provide
for their family, leading to her having to leave school at an early age to join the zabaleen. When she was older, she went back to school alongside work. The system The Zabaleen have gained a lot of experience and practice through generations of trial and error to get the most out of every type of trash. From the age of eight, zabaleen are inducted and trained by older members who set ground rules and share techniques. With their recycling efforts, they managed to outperform the garbage systems of modern mega cities. The zabaleen population is estimated at 40,000, with members collecting roughly 4,000 tonnes of garbage everyday— about a third of Cairo’s total garbage production. Cairo is an immense city of 20 million inhabitants. Despite the large population size, the zabaleen are able to handle at least 40% of the city’s waste, recycling 80 to 85% of it. This is a significantly higher rate of recycling than most jurisdictions where waste management
Upon completion, it is taken to the showroom and the crafts room where it can be painted, or used in hand craft or sent to the APE where it can be used as material for embroidery and sold to tourists in gift shops.
programmes are advanced and thriving, such as cities in Europe and North America. The men collect garbage from the homes and streets and bring it to their own homes where women sort the trash with their bare hands. This poses a threat to their health resulting in many illnesses such as hepatitis, tetanus and a high infant mortality. When the waste is bought to garbage town, it is sorted and separated by aluminium, paper, plastic, organic waste and nonrecyclable products. The aluminium is cut into circles to make various products such as pots, satellite dishes and cups. Nora Elisha, an inhabitant of garbage town and an employee of the APE explains the process of using and reusing paper. “We get paper from the offices and companies, and then we sort it and remove plastics and pins from it. The machine used can take up to five kilogrammes of paper. We shred the paper, and then we put it in the machine where it is made into paste. Then we make paper out of it.” According to Elisha, the paste is poured into a mesh frame, shortly after; they put about 10 to 15 sheets of paste paper on a wooden pallet and send it to the dryer. When the paper is ready, it is spread on a cloth, spare and spoilt pieces are removed as it may come out too flakey.
Zabaleen collect over 4,000 tonnes of waste a day, recycling 85% of their pickings
Government and acceptance Despite the zabaleen’s hard efforts, they have never received any acceptance or support from their government. According to Nicole Assaad, an employee in the paper studio, the zabaleen are doing a phenomenal job for the city and its sustainability. Despite the zabaleen’s significant contribution to waste disposal, the former government decided to make significant investments in foreign garbage companies in 2005. Many people fail to believe the government and its promises, considering recent tumultuous events in Egypt. Zabaleen believe that they are paying but not receiving the proper service. The garbage is not picked up or sorted properly and the zabaleen are concerned. Fekry notes how the trash was sorted at the point of collection when it was undertaken by the zabaleen. Now the external garbage companies handle that, “if they do pick it up,” she adds. “The big people, the ones from the government, do not even care about the people. How are they supposed to care about the environment? If the government cared about the environment and the people, they would have cleaned the streets a long time ago,” Fekry states. In the past few years, the unofficial structure of the zabaleen has come under fire from a municipal government eager to modernise and change the system. But the zabaleen have proved their system to be an effective set-up, especially with their undisputable recycling rate. The Association of the Protection of the Environment The Association of the Protection of the Environment (APE) works with the unofficial garbage collectors of Cairo. The goal of the APE is to help the often disregarded group find enhanced ways to support the
environment and aid themselves. The main focus is built on developing environmentally friendly waste management and recycling techniques which help to build the human capacity of the zabaleen communities to extend the lifespan of products. The APE also focuses a lot of its attention on creating programmes for women to empower them to build better lives for themselves. Their income generating programmes have helped many improve their situations. In short, the APE mission is to “promote environmentally safe solid waste management in Egypt through empowering garbage collectors, particularly women, youth and children to become technologically able to manage a viable system or household waste, including recycling.” Through comprehensive development, including health, education, social, economic and cultural programmes, garbage collectors become agents of change for a better environment. The APE is currently working with the zabaleen towards the lofty goal of Zero Waste in Egypt. Hope for the future Although it is not acknowledged, the garbage collector plays an imperative role in society. According to Bekhit Risk Metry, a resident of garbage town and an APE employee, the garbage collector lives in difficult circumstances in order to allow other people to live in a clean environment. “It will become better,” he says. “All the people are looking to the future and want to lead a better life, whether it is here in our town, or outside. A lot of people here are like fish—if they leave the water, they will die. This is how they would feel about the community. There is a strong bond between the families here. The people got used to each other and know each other. They are from Upper Egypt, not here. And for years they have known their common history. That is why they feel safe here. “ Hopefully, the new government and the people of Cairo will become more aware of the fact that there is a system that not only keeps Cairo clean, but also delivers one of the most efficient recycling programmes in the world.
A future hub By 2015, North Africa’s largest solar project in Morocco’s Ouarzazate region is expected to be fully operational, with the first phase of the 500 megawatt CSP project having received €345 million in tenders from Europe
In September 2012, the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency, MASEN, announced that a consortium led by the International Company for Water and Power (ACWA), Saudi Arabian water and power company ACWA, Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas and TSK Electrónica y Electricidad had been selected as bidders in the large scale project. The 500-megawatt parabolic-trough concentrated solar power (CSP) project is expected to be the first implemented under Morocco’s Solar Plan (MSP), which aims to install a total solar capacity of 2 gigawatts by 2020. The European Investment Bank has pledged €100 million to the first phase of the project, while the European Union has made €30 million available. A further €100 million will come from the Development Agency for France (AFD), and €15 million from Germany’s KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW) and Federal Environment Ministry (BMU).
Additionally, the World Bank said a US $200 million loan would be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and another $97 million loan would come from the Clean Technology Fund to aid in the project’s development. “As the lead European financial institution on this project, the EIB is proud to contribute both its financing and its technical expertise acquired across Europe for all sources of renewable energy. The first phase of Ouarzazate is a milestone for the success of the Mediterranean Solar Plan in the region. It provides a strong
and green signal for the future in terms of technology, economic and energy development, and job opportunities,” stated EIB VP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. Tenders for CSP towers of 50 MW capacity are also expected to be launched in Ouarzazate. According to Obaid Amrane, board member at MASEN, the bidding process will begin by the end of 2012 or early 2013. Photovoltaics are also expected to play a bigger role in the third phase of the project, with a minimum of 50 MW of capacity expected to be added in the first 500 MW phase.
Mohammed VI Green City
King Mohammed VI of Morocco
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI recently visited the site of an up and coming green development being built just outside of Benguerir – one of the largest phosphate producing areas in the country. Located just 70 kilometers north of Marrakech, the Mohammed VI green city will be constructed in tandem with the Polytechnic University of the same name, which is designed to attract high quality candidates from around the world to produce a thriving new sociocultural “engine” for the city. The megaproject has been designed to incorporate environmentally sound urban planning to allow for an ecological public space, resting on education, research and development, transfer of technologies, the adoption of innovative and promising projects as well as the proximity with the corporate world.
The university will offer academic programmes that cater to sustainable development, such as industrial management, engineering, dryland farming, green technologies and sustainable development, town planning and architecture, business and management, governance and public administration, and health sciences. Partnerships with leading engineering and science institutions in France and the United States, namely Ecole des Mines de Paris and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), translates to greater opportunities for knowledge sharing on a global level. One of the main components of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is the Industrial Management School, a training institution which aspires to provide the Moroccan industrial market with
highly qualified managerial skills. The school will focus on theoretical courses to be consolidated by field training, in addition to individual and group projects. The University will be endowed by high quality and distinguished national and international faculty members with different backgrounds and expertise. A 23-hectare faculty housing project will be developed, which includes villas, recreation facilities, and shopping centres. In order to ensure the connection and integration between the Mohammed VI green city and the existing city of Benguerir, a green lane of 4 km has been designed. The lane, called Coulée verte, will cover 80 hectares where over 50,000 trees will be planted. King Mohammed VI has planted a tree as a symbolic launch of the green lane project.
GDP (current US$)
$1.246 trillion 2010
Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
54 2010 Population, total
874.8 million 2011
Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
African energy in the limelight The continent’s energy sector gains global importance as renewables come into focus. The financial sector steps in to support the energy industry’s sustainable growth
Of the estimated 1.4 billion people globally lacking access to electricity, the majority live in Africa. Financing is needed to drive renewable energy projects large and small throughout Africa to stimulate investment, maintain rapid economic growth and provide universal energy access around the continent, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), headquartered in Abu Dhabi. By concentrating on renewable energy projects for the rapid expansion of electrical services, Africa could see widespread prosperity, IRENA contends. “In order to meet its rapidly growing energy needs within the next two decades, Africa requires vast investments in new energy projects, from large investments to feed national
power systems, to innovative, localised off-grid solutions to bring power to people and areas that are currently not served,” said Frank Wouters, IRENA’s Deputy Director-General. Banking on green energy According to officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the bank recently approved a new energy policy that provides a general framework that will help the bank face the double-edged challenge: addressing the continent’s energy needs in order to unlock its development potential while responding to energy-related environmental concerns.
Sub-energy sectors in the new policy are renewable energy, hydropower, oil and gas, coal, nuclear energy and power transmission and distribution. The Bank explains that the policy advances the objectives to support Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in their efforts to provide all of their populations and productive sectors with access to modern, affordable and reliable energy infrastructure and services; and also to assist RMCs develop their energy sector in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner. The Bank says it will help its RMCs to harness their energy resource endowments to ensure energy security and expand access to affordable and reliable energy services. However, to ensure that its efforts to increase access to energy for all does not undermine its commitment to social and environmental sustainability, the AfDB indicated that it will help its clients first assess different energy options against their ability to achieve such objectives; and then gradually adopt a sustainable low-carbon growth path. This path will focus on the three pillars: renewable sources, energy efficiency and clean technologies. The AfDB states that it will also develop medium-term energy strategies proposing result-oriented operational action plans to effectively deliver on the new policy. The Bank will ensure mainstreaming of the energy dimension in its policies, strategies and operations and also step up its efforts to mobilise resources, invest in the development of staff skills, and engage in strategic partnerships, which is a lot more than can be noted of most financial institutions around the world.
The ivory chase Despite a global CITES ban on international sales of ivory since 1990, tens of thousands of elephants are still being poached, twenty years on, to meet an insatiable demand for ivory products in East Asia
Confiscated tusks; Poachers caught by NGO’s.
The Far East stands behind a progressively growing ivory trade, stirring interest in African poachers in search of a quick fortune. The vastness of the African savannah makes elephant habitats inaccessible for government entities to protect dwindling herds. War-torn African nations, faced with food shortages and deplorable conditions, have turned to poaching as a source of wild meat, further aggravating the plight of the African elephant. Unsurprisingly, 2011 saw the highest volume of illegal ivory seized since global records began in 1989, according to a report published recently by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The CITES programme on Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), the Elephant
Trade Information System (ETIS) managed by TRAFFIC, and the CITES trade database managed by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are the most comprehensive databases on elephant statistics. These authoritative sources of information have shown a very close correspondence between trends in elephant poaching and trends in large-scale ivory seizures, detecting essentially the same patterns at different points in the illegal ivory trade chain. Commenting on the report, the CITES Secretary-General, John E. Scanlon, said: “We need to enhance our collective efforts across range, transit and consumer states to reverse the current disturbing trends in elephant poaching and ivory smuggling. While being essential,
enforcement efforts to stop wildlife crime must not just result in seizures – they must result in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband. The whole ‘enforcement chain’ must work together.” According to ETIS data, three of the five years in which the greatest volumes of ivory were seized globally occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2011 alone, there were 14 large-scale ivory seizures—a doubledigit figure for the first time in 23 years, when ETIS records were first compiled. They totalled an estimated 24.3 tonnes of ivory; more than in any previous year. Large-scale ivory seizures (those involving more than 800 kilogrammes of ivory in a single transaction), typically indicate the participation of organised crime.
Asia bound China and Thailand are the two primary destinations for illegal ivory consignments exported from Africa according to the seizure data. Seizures of large ivory consignments in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam since 2009, were believed to be in transit to China and Thailand. Some African and Asian countries have made significant efforts to enhance enforcement. Earlier this year, China held a large-scale raid, leading to the seizure of 1,366.3 kg of ivory and the arrest of 13 suspects. Most of the ivory smuggling containers leave the African continent through Indian Ocean seaports in East African countries, primarily Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania. “Evidence is steadily mounting which shows that African elephants are facing their most serious crisis since international commercial trade in ivory was generally prohibited under CITES in 1989”, said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s Elephant and Rhino Programme Leader and the Director of ETIS. Poaching levels at an alltime high The CITES MIKE programme has documented a steady increase in levels of elephant poaching across Africa since 2005, with the levels in 2011 being the highest since monitoring began ten years ago. Poaching levels are increasing in all countries where African elephants occur, and may be leading to dramatic declines in some populations, particularly in Cameroon with the recent slaughter of hundreds of
elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park. “MIKE analysis shows poaching to be highest where human livelihoods are most insecure and where governance and law enforcement are weakest. It also suggests that poaching is driven by demand for ivory in East Asia. The number of African elephants poached in 2011 alone could well run into the tens of thousands,” said Julian Blanc, who coordinates the MIKE programme. Beyond ivory Ivory aside, live elephants are being carted away for the circus trade in China and for tourism in Thailand. Statistics are hard to find on the plight of smuggled live animals, despite the prevalence of these inhumane cases. The African Elephant Action Plan, formed by all African elephant range states under CITES in 2010, calls for an investment of US$ 100 million over three years into elephant conservation efforts, including the use of modern traceability systems, including DNA forensics in cases of wildlife trafficking. DNA evidence has been used successfully in a number of rhinoceros-related cases in South Africa and it is routinely forming a part of numerous criminal investigations. In order to prevent the mistreatment of animals on
an international scale, the recently established International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) is another entity that can provide support in fuelling an integrated front. The international trade in elephant ivory was banned by the Conference of the Parties to CITES in 1989. The CITES Parties have twice relaxed the ban since, first in 1999 to allow a “one-off” sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to Japan, and again in 2008 to allow further one-off sales from those three countries, plus South Africa, to China and Japan. As a precondition for the second sale to go ahead, two monitoring systems – ETIS and MIKE – were established to monitor trends in levels of illegal trade in ivory and of illegal killing of elephants respectively. CITES also recognised the role of the IUCN Elephant Specialist Groups, which monitor the status of elephant populations, and UNEP-WCMC, which monitors the legal trade in ivory. Together, these four systems deliver consistent, evidence-based information to help the CITES decision-making process.
South Asia GDP (current US$) Population, total
1.656 Billion 2011
Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
$1,299 2011 Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
Economic Policy & External Debt Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
$4,243 2011 Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
72 2010 GDP (current US$)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita)
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
97% 2010 December 2012
India’s footprint In order to meet the resource and waste absorption requirements of its citizens, Global Footprint Network estimates that India now needs twice the resources—effectively two Indias—to fuel its growing economy. A saving grace for slowing down wanton resource depletion could be the South Asian nation’s growing interest in green construction for its long-term economic savings As an ecological debtor country, India consumes more than the ecosystems within its borders can provide. India currently has a per person Footprint of 0.75 global hectares and a per person biocapacity of 0.4 global hectares, clearly indicating that it’s running an ecological deficit of close to 100%. Short-term solutions such as importing resources from other nations have been employed for centuries for economic reasons, but for sustained growth, there’s a need to set the clock back and reduce consumption drastically while investing in increasing the biocapacity of the nation.
RIGHT: The snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas are melting yearly
Climate change A worldwide increase in temperature has caused the Himalayan glaciers to melt, changing the flow rates of many of India’s key rivers and tributaries. As a result, landslides and flooding have wiped out riverside villages, displacing one million people in Bihar, one of the poorest states in the country. Another direct result of climate change is the noticeable alterations in the length and intensity of seasons. For a nation where agriculture and natural raw materials make up a major part of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), these fluctuations affect major crops such as rice, production of which could fall by as much as 40%. Research from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development expects climate change to cause India’s GDP to fall by up to 9%.
Construction Growing at an average annual rate of 9.5%, India’s construction industry is expanding close to twice the global rate, making it the largest sector within the nation. Motivated by economic reasons and the savings associated with sustainable construction, India’s built environment is increasingly aware of green building practices. The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) was formed in 2001 to promote sustainable choices in design, practices and material selection. The IGBC is comprised of architects, developers, product manufacturers, corporate, and government agencies interested in the built environment.
Green building reduces the environmental impact of buildings. The American rating tool, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is popularly used across the world because of the fact that certified buildings consume at least 40 to 50% less energy and 20 to 30% less water than a conventional building. As an added bonus, green buildings can provide improved health and safety benefits for occupants, while improving the credibility of organisations habiting in green buildings for their positive move towards corporate citizenship. An increasing number of buildings in India have been awarded the LEED platinum rating,
and over 300 green building projects of more than 230 million square feet of space are currently in progress. Reducing and reversing the effects of rapid unsustainable growth in past years will require conscious decisions on the part of Indian government, society and private sector. Beyond certification, the maintenance and care of the built environment will require a mindset change among the citizens to embrace resource efficiency and a greater concern for the environment.
Innovation in construction Fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, is notorious for being a major air pollutant. Approximately four million tonnes of this byproduct is released into the air in India, which has led to dark smog clouds to form directly over the population dense urban areas of the nation. This smog contains trace amounts of carcinogenic heavy metals that can adversely affect the health of the citizens. For every 200 megatonnes (Mt) of coal burned, 80 Mt end up as fly ash as residue sent through chimneys, or bottom ash, which is residue at the bottom of the furnace. Recycling this insidious waste product is revolutionising the industrial process, which is now being implemented in India. Fly ash can now be trapped and used to make bricks using “FAL-G” technology. This technology provides an alternative to traditional clay bricks, which can be damaging to fertile soil. These bricks use what would otherwise be released as waste using minimal energy in the process, which in turn leads to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. The invention of the FAL-G fly ash brick has impelled the Indian government to ban the use of clay bricks in new construction projects, while encouraging FAL-G bricks as the preferred alternative.
Leading the region As Asia’s leading green building hubs, Singapore has demonstrated over a decade of investment and research in innovative design and clean technologies in the dogged pursuit of resource efficiency
The aptly nicknamed ‘garden city’ is famous for its strategic position in south east Asia for tourism, trade and sustainability, moulded by the government’s ironclad regulatory framework and industry-wide incentives. In 2005, taking the lead in green building innovation, Singapore established its own rating mechanism, the Green Mark, in tandem with the city state’s first Green Building Masterplan as a legislative measure enforcing all new projects and major renovations for public buildings to pass Green Mark’s rigorous standards. Since 2008, all new and retrofit projects over 2,000 square metres
must by law meet the minimum requirements of Green Mark. High standards Meeting the mandated minimum requirements has encouraged developers to invest in research and development to source the most cost effective solutions in keeping projects green. Passive architecture as a design strategy started gaining prominence, with optimised orientation to minimise solar heat gains, minimal direct West-facing facades and maximising daylighting. Many buildings also come with extensive overhangs and planters to block direct sunlight. Facade and roof greening have also been
gaining traction to counter the heat island effect. A few pilot projects have surfaced in recent years, featuring solar photovoltaic panels for onsite energy generation. Some projects have invested in “green concrete” which uses recycled concrete aggregates as a major ingredient. Investments in latest green technologies, from motion detector lighting in toilets and stairwells to waterless urinals. Much of this is controlled by intelligent building management systems. According to Frank Lee, Siemens’s head of building technologies for South-east Asia, there are already a plethora of technological solutions available today.
Siemens’ own green building monitor is used to observe the energy consumption of buildings, with data made available to tenants and visitors through smart technologies. The transparency in sharing this information can help tenants modify their consumption behaviour to follow more sustainable patterns. In the sunny tropical island state, Nippon Paints have introduced a coating solution that can reduce indoor temperatures by 5 degrees Celsius. SolaReflect exterior paint – which reflects sunlight away from the surface before it gets converted and trapped as heat within the building – is currently being used as far out as on the Panasonic Building in industrial area,Tuas, and in the heart of the city, coating the luxury residence Scotts Square Orchard Road. City Developments’ head of CSR, Esther An, explained the
reason for this green shift as primarily to conserve resources and enhance resource efficiency. Efficiency, as defined by An, requires lowering energy consumption without sacrificing comfort, air quality and other human requirements. “Improving energy efficiency can be accomplished through existing technologies to reduce the energy used by buildings, while at the same time improving levels of comfort,” An says. “Efficiency gains in buildings are likely to provide the greatest energy reductions and in many cases will be the most economical option.” On a related vein, the next step for Siemens in south east Asia will focus on energy efficiency throughout the building life cycle, as well as integrating energy and the public utility grid. Iron fist The government’s stronghold on the nation’s development has led the
strategic forward thinking every step of the way. Legislative pressure to go green is increasingly palpable, which could encourage further knowledge and resource sharing within industries. The Singapore Sustainable Blueprint, set by the government, has an energy efficiency target to increase the 2005 figures by 35% in the next 18 years. To meet this target, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) aims for at least 80% of the buildings in Singapore to be more resourceefficient, and achieve at least a Green Mark Certified rating by 2030. Partnering with BCA, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and the Ministry for National Development (MND) recently announced a call for a joint grant for proposals in green building technologies. The agencies are asking for submissions in the areas of building materials and energy-efficient solutions and technologies as a way of driving research and development.
4.5 million full-time coastal fishers who depend on their daily fish catch
$9 Billion annual economic output from fisheries in the region
10 million tonnes of marine fish protein produced annually by the Philippines and Indonesia alone
Taking on overfishing The Philippines has demonstrated decades of highly intuitive environmental conservation programmes, placing the archipelagic nation as a global leader in sustaining marine biodiversity through the setting up of “no-take zones” while the current fish stock is at 10% of the recorded figure 50 years ago. The biggest threat of overfishing comes from subsistence fishers in coastal communities who can be utilised as the prime drivers for conservation, if the right incentives are provided. Rare has taken to engaging local fishing communities at a grassroots level at 12 key sites in the Philippines. The programme is designed to reduce overfishing in a manner that actually improves the livelihoods of coastal communities, which is crucial to ensuring the longevity of the industry. Over 7,107 islands make up South East Asia’s largest archipelago, the Philippines, which scientist see as the global epicentre of marine biodiversity. Housing more than 2,000 different species of fish, coral reefs, and organisms in its clear blue waters, marine life has been sustaining over two million jobs for local fishermen. Overfishing is a palpable threat for this industry in the long run, and despite conservation efforts, only less than 5% of the Philippines’ coral reef systems remain untouched,
No-take zones Research shows that by designating no-take zones, fish populations inside these zones can more than quadruple while fish stock outside the reserve can double. By restricting access, the catch’s value increases as well. This concept was established by Rare, a global conservation organisation, whose community inclusion programmes are known in various other archipelagos, stemming from their pioneering projects in the Caribbean. “It’s a location where people say ‘we’re not going to fish,’ so all your lovely coral reefs, your mangroves, your sea grass, your invertebrates are given a chance to breed,” Rare programme director Stuart Green explains. “As we say in the Philippines,
‘when there’s no one roaming around the house, you have plenty of time with the wife,’” he adds, jovially. More than a one-fourth of the world’s 4,700 documented no-take zones are in the Philippines, but arguably, many of these zones exist only on paper. When developing the Programme for Sustainable Fishing, Rare and its partners began by building on the Philippines extensive experience in this concept of no-take zones, while identifying the few places where community management of the concept is effective with demonstrated benefits to both people and nature. “We then built our plan around replicating the most effective practices at 12 new sites, with the ultimate goal making the bright spots the norm, rather than the exception in the Philippines,” states Green. Partnership Partners for the programme in the Philippines include local government units, non-profit organisations, and national institutions. Collectively, they have the potential to improve conservation of 200,000 hectares of protected areas. Given the Philippines’ position as a leader in marine conservation globally, demonstrating a successful model that can be replicated anywhere, has the potential to encourage similar investment in other parts of the world.
The rise of the Snow Dragon Three months ago, Chinese icebreaker, Xuelong (Snow Dragon), completed a maiden voyage between the Pacific and the Atlantic through the virgin ice of the Arctic, all in the name of scientific research
Harkening back to the days of conquistadores and intrepid explorers, the 119-member team aboard Xuelong set off from the port of Qingdao, China, in July 2012. Much like sea voyages of the past, the Snow Dragon expedition was in search of resources in a brave new world. According to the Polar Research Institute of China, the purpose of the trip was to conduct scientific research operations including thorough geographical surveys, installation of an automatic meteorological station and investigations on oceanic turbulence and methane content in the Arctic area during its 18,500 nautical miles journey, of which 5,370 nautical miles was spent traversing the Arctic. A piece of the Arctic pie This new wave of resource-driven exploration stems from the axioms of climate change. The snow levels in the Arctic are receding faster than previously estimated, reaching their “lowest summer cover” in 2012 as far as the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre figures suggest. As a thick blanket of ice melts off, a whole new treasure trove of natural minerals and sea-bed resources are soon to become accessible for those who are poised to seize them. Close to 40% of current global reserves are stowed away in the Arctic, which now puts the scramble for polar exploration into perspective. Developed and developing countries, especially the Nordic nations that are geographically primed, are building
up their exploratory equipment to uncover the hidden reserves of the melting mass of the Arctic. Fossil fuels from the region alone can sustain many nations for the medium term, while ample deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, tungsten, and diamond could possibly herald a bright period of sharp economic growth all over the world. Preserving these resources to make them last would be the economically and environmentally sustainable thing to do, but given most nations’ thirst for natural resources to fuel economic growth, this new find could cause research into renewables to stagnate, leading us back to square one in a few short decades. China’s northern strategy In 2010, a Rear Admiral of the PLA Navy stated that “the Arctic belongs to all the people around the world as no nation has sovereignty over it,” yet even more recently, China’s State Oceanic Administration has argued that the central Asian nation is a ‘near Arctic state,’ aggressively pushing for permanent membership on the Arctic Council, which is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1996 to promote sustainable development in the region. The council currently has eight members – Canada,
US, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and Finland- all of whom, understandably, share a border with the Arctic Ocean. Global implications and future projections While oil mining has been carried out in the region, the recent melting of arctic snow has made the process considerably cheaper. The European Union, Japan and South Korea have applied for a permanent observer status at the Arctic Council over the last three years for this very reason. South Korea is one of the largest spending nations in terms of carrying out research on the Arctic. For China, apart from having a stake in the region’s wealth, the Xuelong voyage also demonstrates a shorter, more efficient trade route for China, especially since the current sea way to Europe involves manoeuvering across the highly problematic Straits of Malacca, and the far out Suez canal. China’s presence in the Arctic will immensely alter the world map as we know it, adding momentum to a stronger bond between China and Russia. Siberia, strategically placed in this scenario, can then emerge as a major hub for trade, telecommunications and potentially even sustainability.
A stable energy mix Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has promised to dissociate Japan of nuclear energy in coming decades as he announced his party’s strategy –a bold move towards establishing a stable energy mix for the archipelago
In Fukushima, nuclear reactors were sent into meltdown after a tsunami knocked out their cooling systems. An outspoken group of activists in Japan stressed their concerns and opposition against atomic power in the aftermath of this disaster. “After the nuclear accident (in Fukushima), we believe the Japanese people wish for and are resolved to have a society that does not rely on nuclear power plants,” Prime Minister Noda announced. “We will put all available policy resources into building a path toward that goal,” he added. The pledge was a reassuring confirmation of the announcements
made earlier this year when Prime Minister Noda’s cabinet declared that it would work towards scrapping nuclear power in late 2030. The Democratic Party of Japan (DJP) released a document that stated that they would also try to end deflation during the 2014 fiscal year by working with the Bank of Japan. Among the promises made, the DJP also vowed a “large scale” budget in the coming new year. As part of their promises to the Japanese civilians, the DPJ emphasises its aspiration to extend Japan’s alliance with the US and vows to promote Japan’s participation in the talks on the Trans-Pacific
Partnership a wide ranging free trade agreement that has been a bane for the country’s farmers. The 2009 JPD campaign platform offered a variety of specific promises, many of which fell short of people’s expectations. Of the many pledges made in 2009, the DPJ promised to remove highway fees and stop the construction of huge dams by strengthening ties with the United States Despite these lofty goals, the DJP has been criticised by voters for not following through with their promises, leading to a landslide in support for the opposing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). “Looking back at the past three years, there are promises that we were able to keep, and unfortunately there are things we could not deliver,” Noda said. “With deep apologies to the Japanese people, and lessons learned from our shortcomings, we drafted this,” he said. The LDP recently unveiled its campaign promises, emphasising that it would strengthen defence programmes and would establish permanent presence on the Tokyo controlled islands at the centre of a dispute with China. Japanese voters will sound their voices on 16 December to vote for the party of the choice. Most commentators are expecting that no particular party will gain overall control of the power lower house. A possibility of an unstable coalition government is seen as the likeliest outcome to the elections.
Nuclear lessons In the wake of the Fukushima disaster that hit Japan in 2011, the global community has raised opposing views on the stability of nuclear power as a clean source of energy. We look at some of the lessons learned in retrospect
were evacuated. Most properties and more importantly, many lives were saved. This damage primarily stemmed from the tsunami and nuclear leakage.
The protection systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has killed thousands of people and forced as many as 100,000 citizens out of their homes as a result of a massive earthquake that struck Japanâ€™s northeastern coast, causing a tsunami and a tidal wave shortly after. While radiation at the nuclear site has now been contained, it will likely take several years to deactivate the plant and measure the radiation impact it has made. This crisis was an unforeseen emergency
as three simultaneous disasters, earth quake, tsunami and radiation leaks took a toll for the worst for Japan. Japanese authorities were severely censured by domestic constituencies for their lack of preventative measures. In actuality, the Japanese disaster management system worked to minimise the damage, which could have been much larger. In the earthquake stricken zones, trains came properly to a halt, while electrical systems were shut down. Japanese civilians
Prevention measures As a preventative measure, Japan has developed a few disaster risk reduction systems such as enhanced building codes, emergency response systems, and public awareness campaigns for minimising casualties Harkening back to the last tsunami that shook the world, 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that damaged the infrastructure of its epicentre in Indonesia, all the way across South East Asia to the Indian east coast, had a magnitude of 9.0 and killed more than 180,000 people. As a preventative measure for future climate disasters, Indonesia made a conscious effort in investing in the formation of disaster management agencies, careful training of volunteer responders, the creation of a disaster management plan and reconstruction of segregated high risk areas. This investment paid off immensely, consequently when this yearâ€™s tsunami hit the same coast of Aceh, Indonesia, in January at a powerful 7.6 magnitude, the damage was much less severe than previous years. This was largely due to the active stance the Government has taken on disaster risk reduction.Â
Economic Policy & External Debt GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$) GDP (current US$)
$1.372 Billion 2011
Health Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Environment CO2 emissions (metric tonnes per capita) Population, total
22.62 million 2011
Education Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
Living sustainably As its name suggests, Australia’s annual Sustainable Living Festival brings focussed attention to environmental issues by supporting industries that encourage a greener lifestyle
spawning an environmental awareness organisation known as the Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF). The yearly Festival now run by the SLF has become a largescale event that brings thousands of people from all over the world together to share similar interests as a greater, greener community.
In 1988, a small gathering of green enthusiasts congregated to celebrate and promote sustainable living. For many people, this was their first opportunity to share knowledge, information and interest in a resource-efficient, environmentally aware lifestyle. With time, this informal gathering gained momentum,
The Foundation The Sustainable Living Festival raises awareness and provides the necessary tools for transformation by displaying top solutions to the ecological and social challenges that we as a global community face. The SLF aims to inspire and empower everyday Australians to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living. The Foundation makes its mark through the creation of awareness on a massive scale through events that engage communities within and outside of Australia. The SLF advocates transparency and responsibility in their processes and actions, with a clear vision for the future. The last edition of the festival saw more than 100,000 visitors, including more than 240 community volunteers. The festival added a new flare and some 130 exhibitors showcased their products and services, alongside presenting more than 350 lectures, workshops and performances. The Future Due to its overwhelming success, the SLF plans to expand the Festival to spread
the sustainability message even further. The Festival will take place from 9 February to 24 February 2013. This includes the Big Weekend Festival in Melbourne from 15 February to 17 February 2013. The Festival will host and promote sustainability workshops on topics such as community gardening, sustainable house tours, swap meets, conservation activities, skill shares, DIY workshop, and more. The Big Weekend will include an exhibitor expo, lectures and workshops, performance, art and film, and “Education Day.“ In 2013, an estimated 122,000 visitors are expected to attend and engage with hundreds of organisations and individuals who represent Australia’s largest and oldest sustainability festival. The Sustainable Living Festival raises awareness and provides the necessary tools for transformation by displaying top solutions to the ecological and social challenges that we as a global community face. The SLF aims to inspire and empower everyday Australians to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living. According to Dr Moss Cass, Australia’s first environment minister and SLF patron, “the Sustainable Living Festival is a manifestation of a commitment to healing our environment, a demonstration of diverse proposals for changing our behaviour and reducing the damaging impact we are having.”
Offshore visions Hydro Tasmania announced its intention to build the southern hemisphereâ€™s largest offshore wind farm with a capacity of 600MW on King Island off the coast of Australia
The ambitious project could support more than 5% of Australia’s total 2020 renewable energy target into the national grid through a high-voltage direct current underwater cable across Bass Strait to Australia’s state of Victoria.
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Over the past year, Hydro Tasmania has been assessing the potential for a large-scale wind farm on King Island. From an economic and environmental standpoint, the initial studies suggest that the project could be a roaring success. The project cost is estimated at AUS$2 billion (US$2.1 billion), following the company’s announcement earlier this year to build a multi-million dollar offgrid power plant combining solar panels, wind turbines, biodiesel, and energy storage technology. “It is important to emphasise that it is very early days,” company chairman David Crean said. “The project will only proceed to full feasibility if the majority of King Islanders are in favour. That is why we are embarking on a consultation process that aims to set a high standard nationally for engaging with local communities on major renewable energy projects,” he added during the announcement. The proposed wind farm, Taswind, can produce approximately 2400 gigawatthours of renewable energy for domestic demand. The country’s renewable energy industry body, the Clean Energy Council, hailed the proposal as a “welcome display of leadership by one of the industry’s major players”. Clean Energy Council CEO, David Green lauded the project in capitalizing on the nation’s natural strengths. “Australia’s southern coastline has some of the strongest winds in the world. We should be making better use of this worldleading renewable energy resource and it’s excellent to see Hydro Tasmania launching a project which is aiming to do just that,” he said. If the community and government approve TasWind, construction is expected to start in 2017 for a 2019 completion date.
The TasWind Project is complementary to the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP), which encourages the increase of renewable energy generation while reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The resulting reduction of emissions and increased quality and reliability of power supply are key drivers of the plan.
Called out for human rights violations Announced at the end of November 2012, the TasWind project is its consultation phase, seeking feedback from the island’s community over the next three months before feasibility studies are conducted. Hydro Tasmania emphasised the importance of garnering local support from the residents of the island, especially after receiving flak for their construction plans in Sarawak, Malaysia earlier this year. The controversial proposals for the construction of dams on indigenous land received protests from the residents of the Bornean jungle, as well as from the Australian Greens political party, who have rallied to pull out the Australian company from the unspoiled Malaysian rainforest. Despite vehement opposition from a coalition of Sarawak NGOs, Save Rivers, whose leaders are currently in Australia campaigning against the construction of these dams, Hydro Tasmania is reportedly “turning a blind eye” to human rights and the impact of the constructions. Coalition chairman Peter Kallang said: “People in Australia need to be aware that an Australian stateowned company Hydro Tasmania is involved in massive dam proposals that stand to affect up to 20,000 people who live along the Baram River in Sarawak. In the next 20 to 30 years, Sarawak is expected to build 12 more mega dams to generate electricity for the use of smelting plants in the SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy) area. Effectively all the land belonging to the Kayan, Kenyah, Penan and other Orang Ulu communities will be wiped out, taking with it the rich biodiversity teeming in and around these centuries-old settlements.
The frozen frontier As part of the multiple international conventions aiming to protect the seventh continent, the Antarctic Environmental Protocol pushes for the conservation of the natural environment. As the only person to swim long distances in the world’s five major oceans, Lewis Pugh shared the unimaginable experience on traversing the brackish waters of the Antarctic at this year’s International Green Awards
Plunging into the murky depths off the Antarctic coast, Lewis Pugh ripped through ink black tides in the 2-degree Southern Ocean. Having honed a conditioned response to the cold known as anticipatory thermogenesis, the maritime lawyerturned-record breaker can raise his body temperature to 38 degrees Celsius just by willing it so. Seven years since his Antarctic swim, Pugh conquered the frigid Arctic Ocean, swimming for 21 minutes off the northern tip of Spitsbergen Island in nothing more than a swimming cap, goggles, and a Speedo. He also swam 14 kilometers across Nelson Mandela Bay, in South Africa, and 15 kilometers through shark-infested waters off Sydney, Australia, to become a record-holder for swimming long distances in all five oceans. The Antarctic swim Swimming one kilometre in the world’s coldest water involves herculean resolve. Professor Tim Noakes, a sports scientist from the University of Cape Town, recorded Pugh’s ability to raise his core body temperature by nearly
2 degrees Celsius in anticipation of entering the freezing water. He coined the phrase “anticipatory thermogenesis” (the creation of heat before an event) from Pugh’s case alone, mirroring the reported skills of Hindu ascetics in the Himalayas known for raising their body temperatures in freezing weather. Pugh believes it is a Pavlovian Response to years of cold-water swimming. “It’s like going into battle,” Pugh said about entering the frigid cold water. He explained that if he were to just dip his toe in, that creates a mental block. Similarly, he had the option to be pulled out of the water at the 500 metre mark just in case—but he dismissed that as it creates a subconscious obstacle between achieving his target. “When I dove into the water, it was ink black, broken up by frozen blocks of ice. It was a literal shock for my entire body—my skin felt like it was on fire, I was hyperventilating, and all I could will myself to do is to keep my arms and legs moving. From precise strokes, my movements started to get uncoordinated and soon enough I was just slapping the water at fast as I could,” he described.
Our bodies are conditioned to protect our core that houses our vital organs. In the cold, all the blood rushes away from the extremities to warm the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and brain. When placed in a warm environment again, the blood shoots back to the extremities, absorbs the cold, and cycles it through the system again. “I can’t remember the last few minutes of the swim. I could see our boat looming ahead, and the next thing I knew, I was being pulled out of the water. Immediately after I got out, I had a hot shower to start the reheating process before hypothermia sets in.” Pugh describes his outlook on life as that of careful planning rather than reckless risk-taking. “I follow a philosophy that I call the “P factor”: Proper planning and preparation prevent a poor performance.” Protecting the environment From Magellan’s hyperbolised circumnavigation in the middle ages, to the yearly expeditions carried out by government entities and private explorers in modern times, the Antarctic has captivated generations with its desolate beauty and unchartered depths. The Antarctic Treated and related agreements, collectively referred to as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), ensures the protection of the seventh continent from exploitation and human interference. Antarctica has been established as a scientific preserve, free from military bases and recreational developments despite an increased interest in tourism down south.
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Published on Dec 12, 2012
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