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N°13 | FALL 2014

FANTASTIC PLASTIC? Turning waste into wealth

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Latest News. Special Reports. Insightful Features. Exclusive Interviews. Photo Essays and More. Join today and start revolving! Alexandria, Egypt, 2012. Source: Revolve 3

Launching the energy generation of the future The EDF Group is working to develop an energy mix that is both competitive and low-carbon. EDF is a leading producer of electricity from renewable sources, with the largest hydro fleet in Europe and solid positions in wind and solar power through its subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles. Profile: l 4,782 MW of net installed wind energy capacity l 555 MW of net installed solar energy capacity l ₏1.6 billion annual investments, or more than a third of the EDF Group’s total investments in new generation capacity in 2013.


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Off the English coast, in Teesside, 27 offshore wind turbines generate enough electricity to power 40,000 households while offsetting the release of some 80,000 tons of CO2.



ISSUE 13 | FALL 2014


CONTRIBUTORS Fernando Bretas Marcello Cappellazzi Edoardo De Silva Jérémie Fosse Gabriela Gusmao Julia Hyde Monique Kassa Derek Ralet Sven Stöbener Alexandra Wolframm

10 | T he Plastic Bank has launched Social Plastic™ as a global movement to create currency from recycled plastic; meanwhile the Gulf of Aqaba is being cleared of plastic debris to allow the Red Sea to thrive.

24 | Find out how to bring your energy bill down

PHOTOGRAPHERS Richard Allenby-Pratt Mohammad Al-Tawaha Eduard Bukin Mike Dunn Roberto Filho Guigaamartins Gabriela Gusmao David Katz Adam Moerk Georg Respondek

FOCUS 26 | B uildings are a pillar to more sustainable living – here are examples of initiatives around Europe.


Julius Fernie

Edoardo De Silva

with Derek Ralet, co-founder and CEO of Flexy Power.





35 | P hotographer Richard Allenby-Pratt imagines an “Abandoned” city that is being explored by previously captive wild animals.





52 | M  arcello Cappellazzi takes us to Garfagnana in Tuscany to see rural innovation efforts to revamp local businesses.




60 | W  hile global powers are embroiled in Ukraine, there is a parallel rush for the energy resources of the Arctic that is underway.



Stuart Reigeluth


68 | J érémie Fosse describes how to move towards a more sustainable system that is better for the economy and the environment.


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74 | T hree artists converge at a Berlin gallery exhibition depicting the environment through drawings, photography and painting.

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An integrated vision of water resources management Special Guest Editorial

For any civilization, adequate water resources are essential to survival. The great civilizations of Mesoamerica and South America developed on the basis of agricultural surpluses produced by complex irrigation systems, which required efficient handling of water resources. Today, the growing demands for food by populations that are increasingly energy-intensive jeopardize the availability of reliable water resources and the sustainability of ecosystems. This prognosis becomes even more complicated in a context of global warming, rapid urban growth and globalization.

Fernando Bretas Water and Sanitation Lead Specialist, Water and Sanitation Division (WSA) Inter-American Development Bank

Formulated in 1992, the Dublin principles, established what is considered a holistic approach to integrated water resources management (IWRM) in response to public sector policies which, at the time, were not well coordinated. After 1992, several countries and institutions, when dealing with water management issues adopted the IWRM philosophy. For instance, in 2012, in preparation for the Rio+20 conference, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development carried out a worldwide survey to assess progress in the implementation of IWRM, and the OECD did a study of the status of governance of water resources in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The results of both studies highlighted governance as one of the key limitations to implement the IWRM concepts and guidelines, such as problematic coordination among institutions, weak institutional capability and insufficient funding. In 1998, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) adopted an IWRM strategy with orientations and mandates for the implementation of institutional arrangements for IWRM, development of the necessary instruments and mechanisms and the operation and maintenance of water resources infrastructure. One of IDB’s most important experiences with IWRM is being conducted in Peru, a country with abundant but poorly distributed water resources and where the impact of climate change is significant, mainly in glaciers, which feed major rivers and streams in the driest parts of the country. The situation is aggravated in selected watersheds due to the competing uses of water, triggering conflicts among the various users, including agriculture, mining and domestic supply. Since 2001 the IDB has supported Peru in the implementation and consolidation of an IWRM approach that culminated with the approval of the Water Resources Law in March 2009. That same year, IDB financed Water Resources Modernization Program provided institutional support


N°13 | FALL 2014

Water is essential to life on this planet and requires a thorough understanding of how it is valued throughout the life cycle that it sustains. to the newly created National Water Authority and the watershed management instruments (information system, governance structure, user’s fees, etc.) were strengthened.

mentation of these watershed management instruments relied on effective communications strategies to facilitate internalization and coordination of the processes.

The establishment of councils in three pilot basins (Chira-Piura, Tumbes and Tacna) became a critical path for the implementation of the reforms that were planned. To create these councils, a working routine was followed with all the actors involved (government, civil society, NGOs, private sector, academia) which included awareness-raising and training. The preparation of the watershed management plans followed the methodology known as shared vision, which in each step of the process requires consultation with and approval from all stakeholders. In particular, the imple-

The analysis of the experience with the implementation of the IWRM approach in Peru shows that the process of institutional strengthening and modernization should adopt an integral approach so as to incorporate the different cultural perspectives that are present in a specific region or country. Once these perspectives are identified, it is necessary to evaluate the existing institutions to understand what they represent in the context of the watershed and what mechanisms can facilitate the necessary changes to promote stakeholders empowerment.

To be successful, any approach adopted needs to be adequately communicated to all levels of government to create transparency and identify strengths and weaknesses in the process. An easy-to-access information system is fundamental to strengthen the trust among the various actors, to facilitate coordination efforts among institutions and users, and to establishing clear rules of behavior in order to implement the necessary changes while respecting the existing capability for assimilation and execution.

Below: Irrigation system in the Tacna basin, Peru Source: IDB


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plastic bank Could waste plastic like this help reduce global poverty? One project thinks so. Writer: Monique Kassa, ChangeMaker, Plastic Bank Photos: David Katz


The Rimac River, located in western Peru is the most important source of potable water for the cities of Lima and Callao


Mr. McGuire (below) was right. Over the last 60 years plastic has become central to our lives. Hailed at the time as a miracle material, the now ubiquitous plastic – think bottling, packaging, cars, toys, construction, hospitals and even space ships – is now a huge problem when discarded as waste. The amount of plastic currently being produced is colossal and plastic waste is now “out of control”. In 2010, approximately 300 million tons of plastics were made. Half of that amount was used just once before being thrown away. Plastic is polluting our oceans and waterways, littering our urban and rural landscapes, and endangering wildlife and the eco-system throughout the world. It is both an ecological disaster story and a veritable health threat. Every region is affected as ocean currents carry plastic waste and plastic “nurdles” (plastic raw material pellets) to the beaches to the ends of the earth. (Revolve #5, Summer 2012, “The Plastic Reef Project” describes these floating islands of plastics in the ocean gyres.) Plastics and toxins have entered the food chain. Humans are at the top of that food chain.

But what if all of that waste plastic was gathered up and used as a type of currency, and used as a means to help reduce poverty? What if someone created a recycling project with a difference? What if it were an environmental project with a social and economic impact in those regions in most need like developing nations? Someone has come up with just such a project. It is called The Plastic Bank. The idea behind “The Plastic Bank” – the brainchild of David Katz – calls for the collection and exchange of waste plastics as a currency to help reduce global poverty. Plastic currencies could even be implemented in the near future. And the use of recycled plastic in eco-friendly would gain the label Social Plastic™.

David Katz has always had a dream. This dream was to bring hope to and liberate the minds of the world’s most disadvantaged and to rid the world of ocean plastic. His inspiration came from his travels, seeing beaches with more plastic than sand and people living in extreme poverty without hope. Katz realized that not only do the people of the world need hope, but that the earth itself is also struggling. It was further reinforced when he witnessed a profoundly moving video of albatrosses choking on plastic on Midway Island. Katz’s true “aha” moment came in May 2013 at Singularity University, the mission of which is to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. After this life-

Dialogue from The Graduate, 1967 (MGM/Canal +)


Below: The Plastic Bank has been featured in various television interviews and in hundreds of magazines, including Forbes and TIME Magazine, across 23 different countries

– Forbes




fington Po

– The Huf

We are a throwaway society and one of the worst offending materials is plastic. changing event, Katz’s vision was suddenly clear. He realized he simply needed to “Reveal Value in Plastic” and make it become too valuable to throw away. By using plastic as currency, Katz saw how it could be used to free people from merely surviving to providing them with the tools to thrive.

plastics but it is also a project to use the plastic to create useful tools through the use of 3D printing.

Living life in a developed country affords us many freedoms and advantages that Katz strongly believes should be experienced by all people no matter where they are from. Putting the power back in to the hands of the people and providing them with the means to look after their own families and futures is priceless and his ultimate goal. We are a throwaway society and one of the worst offending materials is plastic.

It is impossible to give hope to people if they cannot meet their basic needs. When people are focused on and living in survival mode, there is no opportunity for a person to expand their horizons or to become creative in their daily lives. In developing countries, plastics accumulate in the streets and discharge into the ocean bound waterways, as there are no functional waste management systems supported by the government. The Plastic Bank model aims to help eliminate this.

Turning plastic waste into a currency that can be exchanged to help lift people out of poverty and transition them into a self-sustaining life of entrepreneurship seemed like an obvious solution. The Plastic Bank is not only a motivational way of harvesting and repurposing waste

The Plastic Bank Mission

Below: David Katz and Shaun Frankson meet Nohra Padilla, creator of Associacion De Receidadores and winner of the Goldman Environmental Award. Padilla has over 38 years of experience organizing and supporting over 22,000 waste pickers

The Plastic Bank’s mission is to enable both education and opportunity for people in the community to exchange all plastics for income in addition to credits that can be used to buy basic necessities, to print 3D products (such as water pumps or wrenches) and provide various other life improvement opportuni-


Now, more than ever, consumers want to be engaged with companies that share their values.

ties. This opportunity will offer people the chance to become entrepreneurs and create jobs for themselves and others. This will also allow waste-pickers to hire others, perhaps family or friends, creating a ripple effect of hope and employment within these affected communities. In May 2013, Katz turned his dream into a reality. He assembled a team of experts from around the globe. Their goal was to help him in his quest to heal the world’s oceans and waterways, and provide hope by helping the world’s most disadvantaged to lift themselves from poverty. And so, “The Plastic Bank” was born.

The Social Plastic Movement In June 2013, co-founder and brand strategist Shaun Frankson coined the term Social Plastic™ and launched a global movement. This launch attracted vast international media attention focusing on Katz’s grand idea of creating “micro-recycling entrepreneurs” with access to a new currency enabling them to bring hope and employment to their needy communities. Above: A makeshift waste collection cart in Peru

Since then, citizens from over 140 countries have officially joined the Social Plastic™ movement by signing the petition at PlasticBank.org. The Plastic Bank Facebook page quickly gained over 125,000 supporters (facebook.com/PlasticBank) and @PlasticBank already has over 75,000 followers on Twitter just a year after launching.

Now and more than ever, consumers want to be engaged with companies which share their values. It is proven that more often than not, consumer purchases are decided on an emotional level. Social Plastic™ creates just that emotional connection to innate products. Socially-conscious companies will be inspired by Social Plastic™. Just as the organic symbol connects to sustainable produce and the Fair Trade symbol promotes the improvement to the lives of coffee farmers, the Social Plastic™ symbol will promote poverty reduction and plastic waste management around the world. As consumers become educated about The Plastic Bank initiative, they will start making purchase decisions with a preference for the Social Plastic™ label. Companies like LUSH are backing Katz’s belief that Social Plastic™ is the “wave” of the future. This internationally-recognized eco-conscious company has chosen the label for its Charity Pots, available across North America since April 2014.

The First Plastic Bank In October 2013, The Plastic Bank merged with the Plastic For Change program. During the period from August to December 2013, a dozen non-governmental organizations and community groups donated their shoreline plastic waste to the Plastics For Change program. Nearly 10,000 kilos of ocean plastic were collected from the shorelines of British Columbia and Alaska as part of the program. The plastic was then hand-sorted and the recyclable plastics were processed into reusable source stock for manufacturing.

The Plastic Bank is turning plastic waste into a currency that can be exchanged to help lift people out of poverty and transition them into a self-sustaining life of entrepreneurship. It can provide a social impact in areas with high amounts of poverty and plastic pollution by setting up exchange and recycling centers. David Katz realizes that plastic waste can be utilized as a resource to help mitigate global poverty. Using plastic as currency will free people from merely surviving and provide them with the tools to thrive. The Plastic Bank mission is to lead the global movement for Social Plastic™, to encourage companies and consumers to choose ethically-sourced plastic for recycling. The higher the demand, the greater the social impact towards helping to alleviate global poverty.


The “proof of concept” feasibility study was an important step; it proved the company’s ability to recycle complicated mixed waste streams into industry grade plastic pellets for manufacturing. The Social Plastic™ manufactured was subsequently used in LUSH Cosmetic’s Sea Spray bottles. Proceeds from the plastic collected from the ocean are donated back to continue to help fund Plastic Bank exchange centers to prevent more plastic from entering the ocean. Accompanied by team members Shaun Frankson and Andrew Almack, David Katz visited Colombia and Peru in March 2014 to meet with potential partners to bring the first Plastic Bank to life. They were inspired by all the incredible support. The team was able to experience first-hand the day-to-day working and living conditions of Resource Entrepreneurs in the developing regions. “Roughly 2.7 billion people live on $2/day or less. By revealing value in plastic, we can unleash the energy and creativity of the disadvantaged, which in turn reveals value in people,” says co-founder and vice-president Shaun Frankson.

Left: LUSH Charity Pot is a body lotion focused on changing the world. Funds from every sale of a Charity Pot are sent back to grassroots organizations. LUSH promotes The Plastic Bank and Social Plastic™ on their Charity Pots and also uses Social Plastic™ for its LUSH Cosmetic’s Sea Spray bottles Below: Nohra Padilla Associacion De Receidadores de Bogota ”resource entrepreneurs” Bottom: Andrew Almack (Co-founder and Development Manager), David Katz (Founder and CEO) and Shaun Frankson (Co-Founder and Vice Present) posing above Machu Picchu during their visit to Peru

While in Peru, The Plastic Bank team was able to connect with businessman Lorenzo Sousa, Chairman of Peru Rail SA, Peru Orient Express Hotels, and the Trans-Andean railway Ferrocarril Transandino. He is now on The Plastic Banks Board of Directors and brings a wealth of expertise as one of Peru’s most accomplished and visionary business leaders and social entrepreneurs.


Since its inception, the project has been fortunate to receive overwhelming support from all corners of the world. To date it has received partnership requests from organizations in 40 different countries. In May 2014, The Plastic Bank signed on its first official partner, Ciudad Saludable in Peru, to collaborate on a pilot project to launch the very first Plastic Bank in Lima.

Making Plastic Products through 3D Printing Meanwhile, an award-winning 3D printing technology was developed for the project by the University of British Columbia’s engineering department. They came up with a ground-breaking innovative process whereby commonly occurring waste items (including ocean waste) are turned into recycled plastic filament for 3D printers. This technology was made available globally through an opensource license in September 2014. This recycled 3D printing technology will clearly play a tremendous role. In the developing world, access to tools and necessities (wrenches and water pumps, for example) is often hindered by fragmented supply chains. 3D printing enables important products to be produced locally and even to be customized for specific local uses. By revealing the value of plastic through 3D printing technological advances, plastic waste suddenly becomes


Left: The first item printed with the Social Plastic™ 3D printing technology Above: Andrew Almack and Shaun Frankson fill bags full of plastic waste debris from the Pacific Ocean which was subsequently processed into Social Plastic™

Organisations are collaborating on a pilot project to launch the first Plastic Bank in Lima. a precious commodity which can serve to influence lives. Reactions around the world have been extremely positive. “David Katz and his partner have scaled-up a business in 18 months that might take others 18 years, while solving a huge problem for the planet. They are normalizing the price of recycled plastic so people around the world can make a living by farming, fishing, and finding plastic; and they are getting companies to agree to use only social plastic,” says Verne Harnish, Growth Guy.

Going Global David Katz’s dream is that this project should help eliminate global poverty and reduce plastic waste by the year 2035. One day, he

hopes to see Plastic Banks in communities all over the world. The sky’s the limit now that it has already taken off with a hugely successful pilot program in Lima, Peru. By highlighting the environmental and social impacts of recycling, The Plastic Bank initiative aims to empower individuals and bring communities together. One man’s brilliant and simple idea will not only change attitudes towards waste but also give poorer communities hope. Hope that they can raise themselves from poverty. There is no doubt that Katz’s dream project supported by a very practical and ethical solution will develop into a global environmental project with social consequences.

Plastic Garbage OUT TO SEA? A new regional exhibition shows the littering of the Red Sea with plastic The accumulation of marine litter in the ocean is a growing problem worldwide and has serious impacts on the marine environment, human health, and the economy. Plastic, the most utilized and persistent material arises as the primary contaminant in the marine environment. The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) is organizing the regional exhibition “Plastic Garbage - Out to Sea?” in Amman, Jordan, in order to inform the public about the negative impacts of plastic garbage on marine life. It also aims to encourage people to change their individual behavior and take action to minimize their consumption of goods resulting in plastic garbage.

garbage which ends up in the sea. Lots of the marine garbage is dumped in wadis and valleys, and thereafter flushed to the sea by floods. Lightweight items, such as plastic bags are also blown out to sea by the wind. Tourists who leave their garbage on the beach also contribute directly to marine pollution. Despite ongoing activities dealing with solid waste, the problem remains unsolved. Moreover, as most visitors expect clean beaches and oceans, marine littering poses a risk to the environment and it may result in economic loss.

How plastics used everyday The Aqaba coastline is the only maritime area pollute the oceans in Jordan with a limited shoreline of 27 km, facing several threats, such as industrial use, port activities, wastewater and littering. Additionally, human impacts, such as overfishing, improper diving attitudes – like stepping on or touching coral reefs, feeding fish, and careless anchoring exacerbate the situation dramatically.

Littering is a major threat to the marine environment in Jordan The lack of research and remote sensing images are hindering public understanding of the real impact of plastic littering on the marine environment in the Gulf of Aqaba. The majority of the population in Jordan lives in non-coastal areas and cities in the north. This makes it difficult for them to understand the severity of the issue, and the fact that they are contributing significantly to the plastic

JREDS in cooperation with the Drosos Foundation and the Museum fuer Gestaltung in Zurich is organizing the “Plastic Garbage - Out to Sea?” exhibition. In order to run the exhibition in Jordan, JREDS is supported by the program “Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity in Jordan” of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

and research in Aqaba, the production of educational material; environmental awareness workshops and the promotion of environmental conscious messages. There will be a full interactive educational program which shall be targeting different age groups.

Reducing plastic consumption The exhibition aims to increase awareness about the environmental challenges faced by marine life, to reach out to the local community and to convey the harmful effects of plastic garbage in the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. The aspired result is to inform Jordanians about the extent to which they contribute to marine littering and encourage them to change their behavior and reduce their consumption of goods, which result in plastic garbage. This change in awareness and behavior will allow for implementing appropriate disposal facilities and recycling systems and encourages the involvement of the private sector in order to reduce the use of plastic for consumer goods packing.

The exhibition is traveling around the globe and will take place in Egypt, Lebanon and Marocco. Its main focus is to show in a practical way the the link between our behavior regarding solid plastic garbage, the products we use daily, and the growing plastic littering of the world’s oceans in addition to its negative effects.

The exhibition takes place at the King Ghazi Hotel in the Jordanian capital Amman on November 15, 2014 and will last for three months.

The exhibition is also an umbrella for many more layers, such as the cleanup campaigns

information@jreds.org www.jreds.org

www.plasticgarbageproject.org Rama Ajailat rama.ajailat@outlook.com

Writer: Sven StĂśbener is Technical Advisor of Deutsche Gesellschaft fĂźr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Jordan and former spokesperson of the European Business & Biodiversity Campaign (EBBC). He identifies and assesses the business risks and opportunities arising from ecosystem change and writes articles and reports about the sustainable use of biodiversity in order to strengthen private sector commitment for biodiversity and ecosystem services.

tackling marine litter Plastic garbage is threatening Jordan’s marine ecosystem 18

The marine environment of the Gulf of Aqaba is of global significance in having some of the northern-most reef systems in the Western Indo-Pacific. Its coral reef ecosystem has a high environmental and human value since it provides food and economic benefits to local communities in the form of tourism. However, marine litter, in particular plastic garbage, causes a wide spectrum of environmental, economic and health impacts and poses a growing threat to the fragile marine and coastal environment in Jordan. A first step to a plastic-free marine environment is to improve public and business awareness of, and behaviour changes around, marine litter. Photo: Georg Respondek


Left: The persistence of marine litter, in particular lightweight plastic items, along the coast of Aqaba is the result of the public's lack of awareness about the consequences of their actions regarding littering and poor practices of solid waste management Source: Mohammad S. Al-Tawaha / JREDS

The Red Sea is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. The coral reef ecosystem of the Gulf of Aqaba, the northeastern arm of the Red Sea, attracts many tourists and divers since it has a high marine biodiversity, thus presenting a readily-available enterprise for Jordan’s tourism industry, which contributes to a significant part of the Jordan’s GDP.

date, have been unaffected by bleaching and other detrimental climatic effects. This ecosystem, therefore, provides a natural laboratory for the study of climate change impacts on coral communities.

According to a 2011 UNDP study for mainstreaming marine biodiversity conservation in the coastal management systems for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ), the economic benefits resulting from ecosystem services provided by Aqaba’s coral reefs were estimated between 24.6 million US$ to 49.2 million US$ annually. The world’s northernmost coral reef ecosystem is the most significant feature of the marine environment in Jordan. Home to around 127 species of hard coral and 300 kinds of soft coral, as well as 500 species of fish and thousands of plants and animals, the Jordanian reefs are an important reservoir for tropical reef species.

Aqaba is the only city with coastal access in Jordan, situated on the narrow 27 km long coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba. The area is strategically important and the vast majority of all consumer goods and foodstuffs for the country are shipped through the ASEZ. However, the Jordanian coastline is subject to considerable environmental resource pressure resulting from a variety of anthropogenic practices, such as littering, unsustainable mass tourism, construction of mega projects, increasing industrial activity and trade.

Some 55% of Aqaba’s fish population is coral reef fish. However, the majority of the fish population will disappear if the coral reefs are destroyed. This fragile ecosystem provides a habitat for endemic and globally threatened species, such as the endangered Indo-Pacific humphead wrasse and threatened species of marine turtles. Due to their isolated location, these reef habitats may be largely protected from the effects of global warming and, to


Plastic material is the most common type of marine debris

Marine litter, in particular plastic garbage, poses a growing threat to the marine and coastal environment and contributes to the decline of the coral coverage in Jordan from 40-50% in 1998 to around 25% in 2008. The recovery of coral reefs takes decades since they grow at a rate of around 1cm a year. Jordan represents the global problem of marine litter on a smaller scale. Most of the litter is plastic. Official figures of the Ministry of Environment indicate that around 400,000 tons of plastic garbage is generated in Jordan

each year. Plastic bags are among authorities’ main environmental concerns. Every individual uses an average of 1.5 plastic bags per day and 500 plastic bags per year. A total of three billion plastic bags are used in Jordan every year, only 20% of them find their way to landfills, while most of them end up in the sea, polluting the marine ecosystem. Plastic bags kill corals by covering and suffocating them, or by blocking sunlight needed for corals to live.

Microplastics in the aquatic food chain Since the beginning of its widespread usage in 1950’s, plastic as the most utilized and persistent material, arises as the primary contaminant in the marine environment. It has turned into a widespread environmental pollution problem since plastic degrades very slowly and lasts for many years, swimming in the ocean, covering beaches and being swept into the ocean again. Faisal Abu Sondos, Executive Director of the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) said that 80% of the sea litter results from the countryside and more than 60% is plastic. Meanwhile, researchers at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) have successfully demonstrated that microplastics are transferred in the marine food web. Plastic floats in the sea for many years where it is exposed to sunlight (photodegradation) causing it to break down into little pieces until the accumulation

West Bank Mediterranean Sea


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Aqaba Coastline

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of plastic enter the entire marine food chain. For instance, sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and they choke on them. According to the 2013 SYKE study, many plankton organisms are unable to separate plastic particles from their natural food and that they therefore also ingest plastic. The smallest pieces are reported to be around 2 millimetres.

Marine litter causes serious economic loss

Top: Spanning just 27 km, the Aqaba Coast is Jordan’s only maritime shoreline Illustration: Fernie / FreeVectorMaps.com Above: Most of the plastic garbage is thoughtlessly thrown away by beach visitors and ends up drifting in the sea Source: Georg Respondek / JREDS

As most visitors expect clean beaches and sea water, marine littering does not only pose a risk to the environment, but also results in economic losses to various sectors and authorities. Among the most seriously affected are coastal communities (increased expenditures for beach cleaning, public health and waste disposal), tourism (loss of income, bad publicity), shipping (costs associated with fouled propellers, damaged engines, litter removal and waste management in harbours), fishing (reduced and lost catch, damaged nets and other fishing gear, fouled propellers, contamination), fish farming and coastal agriculture. Littering threatens margins of the tourism


sector, e.g. the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region loses 622 billion US$ annually. Faisal Abu Sondos warned that damaging the coral reefs will have a negative socioeconomic impact on local inhabitants, affecting the glass-bottom boats and diving sectors at the Gulf of Aqaba. “We are destroying the coral reefs and thus destroying our tourism”, Abu Sondos exposed. There are 21 diving spots in Aqaba and 20 diving clubs that rely on the coral reefs to attract tourists. According to Abu Sondos destruction of the coral reefs is already happening with the number of households relying on fishing for a living decreased over the past decade from 300 to 60 families, all due to the dwindling fish population.

Public and private contribution to marine debris The current population for Aqaba City is projected to increase by more than 50% from approximately 100,000 to over 160,000 people by 2020, creating significant additional environmental resource pressure. However, the majority of the population of Jordan is living in remote areas and cities in the north of the country, far away from the coast. Nevertheless, the inhabitants in these areas contribute to a significant portion of the plastic garbage which ends up in the sea. Lots of the marine garbage is dumped irregularly in valleys and afterwards flushed out by floods, lightweight items like plastic bags are also blown to the sea by the wind. The persistence of marine litter in Jordan is the result of poor practices of solid waste management including inaccurate waste disposal facilities. Most of Jordan’s municipalities dispose their solid waste in unsanitary landfills with no protective lining and long-term management. Furthermore, a lack of awareness of the public at large about the consequences of their actions leads to low demand for solutions and thoughtless dumping of solid waste in streets and landscape. The Jordan private sector also contributes negatively to the polluted marine environment. Most of the packages are made out of plastic, e.g. pastries in plastic wrap. The


tourism industry uses many plastic products, such as soap and plastic carrier bags, and a separation of waste does only exist in some eco-friendly hotels and resorts. The food and beverage industry contributes with a high amount of plastic for consumer goods packing, e.g. plastic bottles, and the retail industry with a massive use of plastic bags and unregulated use of plastic wrapping to the marine ecosystem degradation at the Gulf of Aqaba.

Tackling the problem of marine litter Marine litter is part of the broader problem of waste management, which is a major public health and environmental concern in Jordan. Through establishing a “sense” for marine litter

in the Kingdom of Jordan, the consequence of dumping litter must be made visible in order to bring about a change in peoples’ behaviour. This change in awareness and behaviour is a first step and will allow for successful implementation of other projects addressing at the establishment of appropriate disposal facilities, recycling systems and the reduction of use of plastic for consumer goods packaging. The improved awareness towards this issue will start with decision-makers that pursue stricter laws for protecting the environment and stricter enforcement of these laws. The high pressure on the natural resources of Jordan’s coast poses significant challenges to effective management and conservation

Left: The northern-most coral reef system of the Gulf of Aqaba has a high environmental and human value with around 127 species of hard coral and 300 kinds of soft coral, as well as 500 species of fish and thousands of plants and animals Source: Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan Below: The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) is organizing clean up campaigns to conserve the fragile marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Aqaba. Since 2006, JREDS collected 4.5 tonnes of garbage during the last eight Clean Up The World Campaigns Source: Mohammad S. Al-Tawaha / JREDS

of this unique environment. For instance, the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS), an NGO dedicated to preserving and protecting the marine ecosystem at the Gulf of Aqaba, reduces pressure on national reefs from tourism, industry and shipping by organizing so-called Clean Up the World Campaigns. Since 2006, JREDS collected 4.5 t of garbage during the last eight clean up campaigns. “The clean-up campaigns will not necessarily curb the litter,” Abu Sondos said. “What is needed is an advocacy campaign and to introduce penalties that ban litter. Some efforts already have been made by the Jordanian authorities for a better marine environment. However, there is still a lot to be done in order to conserve Aqaba’s Red Sea waters and beaches.”

JREDS also organizes an exhibition about marine litter in Amman, Jordan. The exhibition “Plastic garbage - Out to Sea?” is expected to increase the perception of the importance of preventing plastic garbage by refusing unnecessary packaging, reducing the waste that goes to land fills and recycling. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting JREDS within the program “Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity in Jordan” in order to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the environment and biodiversity for a behavioral change within the Jordanian population. However, the behaviour towards marine litter will not change without providing the necessary infrastructure. Sustainable disposal facili-

ties, recycling stations, harmonized recycling processes and efficient supply chains are all needed, but to ultimately tackle the issue facing Jordan’s marine life, a combination of approaches are needed - raising awareness, extending producer responsibility, setting economic incentives such as fees or taxes, promoting effective law enforcement, monitoring and compliance of existing marine litter and implementing legislation. Only when these parameters are put in place will Jordan’s coastal environment improve, allowing the Gulf of Aqaba to truly establish itself as one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world.



What inspired you to start Flexy? We started from a very simple observation: there are numerous differentiated markets where costumers pay different prices for similar good or services. Let’s take the energy sector as an example. On one side, we pay our energy at different prices although the quality is the same whatever supplier you decide to use. On the other side, both individuals and companies try to cut costs. The question is: why are energy consumers not all with the cheapest supplier based on their consumer profile? It has been 3 years since the consumer is free to change supplier at any time, without paying termination fees. What makes them not change supplier?

“Lack of time and the opacity of the market immobilize consumers.” What are the reasons for the immobilization of consumers?

Derek Ralet CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF FLEXY Derek Ralet is the co-founder and CEO of Flexy, the first free broker in the Belgian energy market. He graduated from Law School at University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, and previously co-founded Jump Away, a property service company which enabled him to acquire deep knowledge of the real estate sector. He also worked in the B2B insurance business, understanding broker strategy.


The reason for the immobilization of consumers is twofold: lack of time and the market is opaque. Lack of time: the steps are administratively long and unwieldy to switch suppliers. The opacity of the market: all suppliers present themselves as the cheapest. Finding the right tariff plan becomes then a real uphill battle. These two elements discourage consumers to switch energy supplier. What do consumers actually gain from switching providers? Energy bills represent nearly 5% of the purchasing power of households, which is huge. For professionals, energy bills also represent a very important expenditure. Surprisingly, people pay little attention to it despite significant possible savings. For the “energy” component of the bill, for instance, it is possible to save over 30% electricity and 15% gas, which is considerable. Yet, 80% of Belgian consumers are passive customers, meaning that they do not optimize their energy bills by switching suppliers. In Brussels, Electrabel, the main supplier, still dominates 75% of the market.

What can Flexy do? Flexy is independent of any supplier and provides free and full-service management of energy bills for individuals and businesses. After a quick registration on our website, we provide a free audit of your energy bill to select the provider that suits you best. We notify the selected supplier and automatically transfer you to that provider, so you don’t have to go through the administrative hassle. Finally, your bill is reviewed each year to guarantee sustainable economies. Flexy saves you precious money and time, for free! What is the approach of Flexy to green energy? Flexy takes into consideration the environmental impact of suppliers in the selection process. We rely on a recent study by Greenpeace that rated the Belgian suppliers based on their environmental impact, especially in terms of their source of energy production. Flexy refuses to work with suppliers who are below a rating of 10 out of 20. We are pleased to notice that the least ecological providers do not offer the most advantageous market price. At Flexy we believe it is possible to be competitive and green.

“We believe it is possible to be competitive and green.” How come so-called “green energy suppliers” have bad results in the study? Green energy is produced from renewable and sustainable energy sources (wind, hydro, solar and so on). Today’s green certificates do not reflect the reality of the market. A supplier can sell so-called “green energy” but its own source of production may be exclusively from nuclear or coal

Source: Greenpeace

“Flexy is independent of any supplier and provides free, full-service management of energy bills for both individuals and businesses.”

resources. It is the reason why Greenpeace made the study to highlight the suppliers who really produce and invest in green energy. At the end, the electricity at home is the same for everybody, whatever the contract you signed. What matters is the quantity of energy from renewable and sustainable energy sources that is injected in the grid from all producers. Today it represents around 7%.

To get your free energy audit, contact: T: +32 (0) 477 656 685 E: info@flexy.be www.flexy.be



Building efficiency across Europe BPIE focuses on policy analysis and shares knowledge through studies, policy briefs, presentations and events, supporting evidence-based policy-making. Our goal is to make a sustainable and low carbon urban environment a reality in Europe. Buildings are a pillar of society – places where we work, rest, study, and where Europeans spend, on average, 90% of their time. Buildings consume over one third of the European energy supply, and cause the related amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The construction industry is one of the biggest economic players in Europe. Buildings and their impact on society must receive more political attention because they can provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time. Today, millions of Europeans are affected by fuel poverty and are unable to keep their homes adequately warm, to pay their utility bills or to live in dwellings without defects (leakages, damp walls, etc.). Since the economic crisis and the drastic increase of energy prices affecting all European households, fuel poverty has gained momentum in the poorer EU countries and even in stronger economies like the UK, France and Germany. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the resulting tensions with Russia once again demonstrate how dependent Europe is on gas imports from and through the region. Buildings consume a large amount of these imports for heating. A major increase in buildings’ efficiency could drastically reduce this dependency within a decade. Combining high efficiency solutions with the use of renewable energy systems, buildings can become energy supply facilities that will increase Europe’s energy security and decrease its dependency on energy Pantone 305 Pantone 302 imports. Buildings also have the largest potential for a cost-effective reduction of carbon emissions as well as to alleviate fuel poverty, improve air quality and increase comfort. There are ways to make all these benefits real: building at nearly zero or positive energy levels,

C51 M0 J9 N0 C100 M25 J0 N50


and opting for deep renovations of the building stock. This has to become a priority for policy-makers, building owners and investors. Two BPIE reports to be published this autumn analyze whether enough is happening to trigger more investments in buildings efficiency: The first report looks closely at the European situation of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) which should be provided for all buildings to be sold or rented. Providing objective information to assess, compare and improve properties’ energy performance has the potential to transform the real-estate market by influencing builders and owners to invest in greater energy performance, both in new buildings and renovations. To do so, a well-functioning and reliable EPC system is needed at the Member States level. In the second report to be published late October, BPIE analyses different renovation strategies which Member States have submitted to the European Commission. End of April 2014 was the deadline that the Energy Efficiency Directive defined for all Member States to have such a strategy in place. The report analyses the ambition and compliance of ten of the strategies submitted, the proposed policy initiatives, and looks at the potential impact of the strategies on renovation activities. Buildings can be an infinite source of innovation and this feature highlights specific cases around Europe of smart and positive energy buildings, on how to renovate historical buildings and how to make shopping centers energy efficient. Oliver Rapf

Oliver Rapf is the Executive Director of the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), a non-profit research center located in Brussels, dedicated to improving the energy performance of European buildings: www.bpie.eu

Valladolid: retrofitting a Spanish market Whether they are residential, educational, industrial or commercial, our buildings can be adapted and renovated to deliver their full potential as socially, environmentally and economically responsible by reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions. The refurbishment of a shopping center, an ancient and beautiful food market in the Spanish city Valladolid is exemplary of local energy transition efforts. Established in 1882, Mercado del Val, in Valladolid, capital of the Castilla y Leon Region, is the driving force of a medium-size urban area, and a leading economic and commercial center in the northwest of Spain.

To increase international visibility and to improve the public experience in buildings such as Mercado del Val, the Spanish cities Valladolid and Palencia created their own inter-urban brand, Smart City VyP. In this context, the two have worked on innovative and sustainable projects like the Mercado del Val rehabilitation. This renovation is part of CommONEnergy, a European project investigating the integration of innovative technologies in shopping centers

Top and above: A local market in the old town of Valladolid – “Mercado del Val” as it is now… Source: CommONEnergy

in Spain, Norway and Italy to make commercial spaces less energy demanding. The project’s objective is to re-conceptualize the covered market by using innovative methods to retrofitting. Comfort and environmental aspects will be a core focus.

The original foundation of Mercado del Val used stone, plinths and iron. Ventilation was created with inclined blinds made of iron sheets. First renovated 100 years after it was built, the changes in 1981 focused mainly on structural maintenance and sanitation as well


… and as it will be, after implementation of a deep retrofit, conserving the historical inheritance Source: www.commonenergyproject.eu

as restoration of the limestone blocks, brick walls and façade. Water, electricity and heating facilities were also modernized with the market successfully reopening for business at the end of 1983 with 114 stalls.

Future renovation of the market will increase the building’s performance in ecological terms while focusing on customers. The original architecture and commercial activities will be preserved to respect the building’s original design and retain its historic charm, while it will also be transformed into a structure that can meet the commercial needs of the 21st century. The main goal of this ambitious project is to centralize all aspects of the energy systems, shifting from single-action refurbishments to systemic retrofitting. In the Mercado del Val, energy needs will be reduced thanks to highly-efficient lighting, such as specific control elements, and by using natural light. Independent cooling systems will be integrated into the building and, for ventilation and cooling, cross-flow heat recovery and centralized fridge systems will be developed. Renewable energy such as geothermal power will be used and the overall system will be managed by an automated control. Finally, special attention will be paid to the glass walls and the project will make the most of the possibilities that natural light and passive heating have to offer.


Smart building initiative Buildings have a crucial position in cities and in our lives; they are where we live, work, shop, and so much more. But they also consume a lot of energy and produce 36% of Europe’s carbon emissions. We are pushing city limits and expanding our living spaces. Under these circumstances, solutions are sought to transform over-consuming buildings into smart and sustainable ones.

Below: Central Saint Giles, London. Source: Mubus7

Smart buildings have “insights” into what is happening on every floor and in every room, in terms of occupation and energy consumption. They are data-rich environments, holding valuable information about operations and performances that are then used to adjust building systems to increase energy efficiency. A smart building works with the occupants to configure systems, monitors the consumption and production and barely needs human interaction. Indeed, these “living systems” are laboratories to test new ideas, tools and technologies. In Denmark, remotely-read electricity meters for 75% of total electricity consumption have already been installed (primarily for industries but in 2014 the meters will be deployed for households). But smart does not always mean using advanced technology. Smart can mean building the structure in a way that allows energy to be saved, for example; concrete walls that conserve heat and windows to optimize natural light.

Below: “Smart building” can be more than just advanced technolgy Right: Inside the Gasunie Building, Netherlands Source: Guigaamartins

The benefits of smart buildings are obvious; lower energy costs and increased energy savings as well as reduced carbon emissions. A building with intelligent sensors and metering also “has the potential to save up to 60% on electricity use through lighting control, presence detection and intelligent shading”. Anexample of a smart building is the new United Nations green headquarters recently opened in Copenhagen. Solar panels, rainwater tanks, a seawater cooling system and solar shades equip the office complex. Sustainable building materials (all coming from less than


800km away) were used, and focus was put on reducing waste and minimizing the impact on surrounding ecosystems. This award-winning star-shaped building of 45,000m² was first designed to achieve high security and accessibility standards. The building, conceived by the Danish agency 3XN, received the European Commission’s Green Building Award in 2012 and the platinumcertificate with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The expected annual energy consumption is below 50 kWh/m². Architects, together with building occupants hold the keys to a sustainable and resilient future for buildings.


This page: United Nations headquarters in Copenhagen, designed by 3XN Source: Adam Moerk

Above: Paris La Défense shopping and working area, France

France: building an energy efficient future The building sector consumes more energy than both transport and industry. In Europe, buildings account for 40% of the energy used and 36% of the carbon emissions (the figures for France are respectively 42% and 25%): innovative ways to make buildings low-energy or ‘passive’ are therefore at the top of the agenda. Another important focus is Positive Energy Buildings (PEBs), which produce more energy than they consume, and are thus seen as a motor to accelerate the energy transition. They are generally designed to first reduce electricity, heating and cooling needs (i.e. the

energy demand) to an absolute minimum, and then the residual consumption is met with renewables. Essential elements for a positive energy building are deep levels of insulation, a high level of air tightness, a good quality ventilation system with heat recovery, an autonomous energy production system, smart control of all electrical appliances, natural lighting optimization as well as passive measures to maximize solar gain in winter and minimize it in summer. Heating (when still needed) and sanitary hot water are produced with heat pumps, condensing gas or wood boilers in the residential sector. Proper

ongoing management and regular monitoring of the building are also keys to success. There are currently more than 250 positive energy buildings in France, with 20 to 30 new developed each year since 2009. In France, a specific label (the BEPOS-Effinergie) supports the development of these energy efficient buildings; their performance statistics can be found on an “Observatory” created in 2009, whose goals are to promote low energy construction and renovation, to support the industry and gather studies and statistics. Energy consumption and production of the


projects are crucial, but eco-mobility, material life cycle and specific electricity consumption are considered as well. So far, only two projects have been certified and 28 files have been submitted and surely more are to come. The major element of this label is that it can be adapted to the requirements of the building and its potential, and is flexible to future evolution of the thermal regulation. As Sebastien Delmas from Effinergie explains: “Skyscrapers won’t be able to produce enough energy to offset all their consumption, unlike single-storey buildings”. This is why modulation has been introduced to take into account each case. Positive energy buildings and projects found across France: Montpellier The François Mitterand School has received financing from the region and ADEME to aid innovative features such as presence sensors for lighting and heating as well as extra insulation. Training has been provided to the occupants. The energy consumption has been cut and nearly 15 tons of CO2 has been avoided. The success of the operation has led the city to build three other positive energy schools Castelnaudary Two positive energy houses have been developed with BEPOS-Effinergie certification. They have received extra insulation with mineral wool. The energy balance has been improved by a variety of other measures such as a modified heating stove. An eco-mobility study has shown that a variety of solutions are needed for positive energy buildings. Nantes An ongoing project, MC2 is the renovation of a positive energy office from 1952. The concept of ‘box in a box’ insulation has been adopted using fiberglass and mineral wool as external insulation was impossible. A priority has been placed on utilizing natural light and avoiding the production of too much energy to prevent overcrowding of the grid. Sources: ADEME, Observatoire BBC, Construction21.


Left and below: A French Positive Energy House (Maison Hanau), or so-called BEPOS Source: Image courtesy of Effinergie Bottom: A wooden office building Source: creativenature.nl



5th Dii DESERT ENERGY CONFERENCE ROME | 2014 13th - 14th October 2014

at form tive w e N r ac inte ops! h t i w ksh wor

High-level international representatives

October 13

from the political, industrial and scientific

Networking Dinner

communities as well as civil society will meet this October 13-14 in Rome to identify

October 14

common actions to reach a market in

Full Conference Day

which renewable energies will blossom, improving the total energy mix of the Mediterranean region. The event will offer a wholly new format

» » » » »

The role of Desert Power in the greater energy transition What can we learn from RE projects on the ground in MENA? Renewable energy and industrial development? How to make market access for RE a reality Power interconnectors throughout EUMENA

with a range of interactive workshops giving participants the opportunities to engage on crucial topics.

Register now at www.dii-conference.com! Dii GmbH Kaiserstr. 14 80801 Munich Germany In collaboration with

Tel.: +49.89.340 77 05 53 Fax: +49.89.340 77 05 11 conference@dii-eumena.com www.dii-eumena.com




SUSTAINABLE BRANDS ‘14 LONDON November 3-5, 2014 | Lancaster London The leading brands of the future will be the ones that endure and thrive by embedding sustainability principles into everything they do. Today they are re-imagining their role in creating a healthy, regenerative economy and future. They’re re-designing every aspect of their business to deliver success while creating net positive impact. Learn how by joining brand innovators from around the world at Sustainable Brands ’14 London!

To learn more or register visit www.SB14london.com

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Richard Allenby-Pratt


Abandoned ‘Abandoned’ imagines a Dubai of the near future, abandoned by people and inhabited by previously captive wild animals. The project is concerned with the fragility of prevalent human economic systems, particularly those that are reliant on exponential growth, and their impact on natural ecology systems, suggesting that ultimately natural ecosystems may prove more robust than human ones. www.allenby-pratt.com















Richard Allenby-Pratt is a British photographer based in Dubai. Over the last five years he has become increasingly committed to personal photographic projects which usually revolve around economic, environmental and social themes. He is particularly interested in issues relating to sustainability and ecology: www.allenby-pratt.com


Organised by:

abudhabiart.ae #AbuDhabiArt

#InAbuDhabi 51

Garfagnana – a Mediterranean hub for rural innovation The Garfagnana area, nestled between the Alps and the Apennines, offers a radically different image from the traditional Tuscan landscapes. Facing both a looming economic crisis and an aging population, the typical production systems are about to become history. Valuable resources are left unused, though their potential could become a new expression of innovation in rural areas otherwise doomed to decline.

Writer: Marcello Cappellazzi is Researcher at Revolve Media Photographer: Eduard Bukin

Italy is famous for the tradition of high quality food but the production systems that struggle to survive are less spoken of. An example is the region of Tuscany where modern agricultural development relates to just a section of its territory. Far from the rural idyll associated with the Tuscany brand, mountain


areas such as the Garfagnana are striving to restore an active economic life to ensure the sustainability of business and the integrity of the land. There are still many attempts to recover the potential of Garfagnana and both local authorities and European ones are cooperating to prevent the region from

losing its territorial resources further. Due to the inclusion of private businesses and local communities, the region has become a hub for political experimentation and technical innovation that serve as an example for the Mediterranean region.

Water: a second life for economic activities Valuing local resources is often understood as preserving territory-specific characteristics that are unique and irreplaceable. However, from a sustainability perspective, it is important for food production systems to protect territory specific resources while reducing the dependence on external ones. Water management and use demonstrates the activities that make Tuscany a hub of innovation for rural development. In fact, the region’s economy comprises a number of activities that often imply a trade-off between profit-making and sustainable use of resources. There are several examples of industrial districts that have an extremely high economic potential but also have a detrimental impact on the quality of water available for food production. Localities specialized in leather or fabric production that have a high reputation in terms of the quality of the final product offered to the consumers often release waste water contaminated with chemicals and hazardous material

back in the environment. Tuscany is setting an example for the whole Mediterranean region by testing innovative technologies for waste water treatment and industrial water reuse. Industries are committed to the adaptation of their production lines with the objective of reducing the negative environmental impact, especially on water resources. The main goal is to create a new business model in the waste water treatment and reuse sector based on the successful experiences that can be witnessed in the industrial districts of Prato or Santa Croce. Tanneries in Santa Croce have always played a vital role for sustaining the local economy by processing leather in a traditional way. However, businesses are now concerned about the impact that these production methods have on the local water resources and are promoting a system for localized treatment of waste water. By doing so they not only reduce the quantity of pollutants expelled but they also

create a second life for water that would be otherwise lost. According to Professor Berni from Pisa University, expert in aquaculture, there are two advantages of advancing this type of system. On one hand it is possible to have a positive impact in terms of quantity and quality of water available, while on the other hand, the recovery of industrial water also has a positive impact in terms of economic value associated with water. As an example of this system, Berni described the technological advancement in the olive oil industry to convert bio-waste in biogas without wasting water as residues of production. This kind of initiative can transform Tuscany into a hub for technological innovation. While this could benefit other Mediterranean countries facing similar challenges by providing a blueprint for technological development, there must also be a strong political will in place to make it possible.

Water management and use demonstrates the activities that make Tuscany a hub of innovation for rural development.

Above: In Tuscany, water is not a scarce resource but its management and valuation are fundamental for preserving a fragile territory Opposite page: A view of Garfagnana from the village of Sillico


Land: guarding the territory through farming The most innovative areas of Tuscany are the ones that are branded and connected to domestic and international markets. Other territories do not have the same types of opportunities and, as a consequence, depopulation and abandonment are common challenges. Political guidance is not only important for supporting innovation, but also for restoring the economic viability of business in marginal areas. Land abandonment clearly exemplifies the effects that the disappearance of local economies can have on the territory. Landslides and floods are common threats in Tuscany as well as in many other Mediterranean regions due to the lack of hydro-geological risk management. Such management was once provided by farmers through the cultivation of land, but now must be coerced from landowners by public authorities. However, legal constraints for operating on private properties are nullifying the efforts. For this reason, the Tuscany regional administration has developed a set

of tools to fight land abandonment and to support the sustainable management of land.

The Banca della Terra (Land Bank) is a new institution created to endow public and private land to young entrepreneurs. The model promoted has been designed based on the successful experience of the Ente Terre Toscane, a public authority administrating all the public land in Tuscany. To promote the cultivation of this land, otherwise abandoned and therefore hazardous, Tuscany has assigned a part of its estates to private entrepreneurs, providing financial support for young farmers starting their businesses. As director Claudio del Re explained, the Banca della Terra is now trying to push the initiative further by including both public and private uncultivated land in the project. There are now three different instruments to allow investments without requiring the transfer of land ownership to the private firms.

While public land is administered on the Ente Terre Toscane model, private land can be voluntarily registered in a cadastre or can be identified by local authorities as uncultivated land to be temporarily occupied by farmers presenting a project for starting a business. Public authorities are shifting to rely on forms of private-public partnership to increase the project management efficiency while reducing the financial burden of managing more than 100,000 hectares of land otherwise abandoned and often fragmented among different owners. What might be surprising is that this attempt of political innovation was first developed at the grassroots level in one of the most marginal areas of Tuscany – the Garfagnana. Situated in the northern part of Tuscany, the area has set an example for allocating parts of marginal land owned by the local government in mountain areas to private investors determined to start a project for reclaiming a territory otherwise fragile and unproductive.

Left: Small isolated villages are being depopulated due to internal migration and the vulnerability to floods and landslides Top: Forested areas are fundamental in Garfagnana and chestnut production ensures a continuous management of the territory Above: The mountain landscape of Garfagnana is extremely different from the famous Tuscan landscapes, but high quality food production is as important as in other parts of the region


La Piana has been a pioneer in seed conservation efforts in Tuscany and Italy

Biodiversity: the evolution of agricultural ecosystems What makes the Garfagnana region interesting in terms of rural innovation is its isolation due to the convergence of the two main Italian mountain ranges: the Alps and the Apennines. This has determined the opportunities and paths of development of the strong local economies that have sustained the livelihoods of Garfagnana population for centuries. The typical agricultural production has determined the adaptation of local crop varieties and animal breeds to the specific climate and territory. In the past decades, these priceless resources have been replaced largely by more productive but less efficient breeds and seeds in terms of resource use. This has led to the gradual disappearance of traditions and production activities that are starting to be rediscovered in order to foster innovation in a territory struggling to survive. Local authorities, gathered beneath the umbrella organization Unione dei Comuni di Garfagnana, have supported since the 1990s the process of reintroducing traditional breeds and crops to enhance rural development. The coordination efforts between local, regional and European authorities have produced a legal framework favorable for the conservation of crop varieties that would otherwise

be extinct by now. In the Centro la Piana, a seed bank in Garfagnana, 29 species are registered as protected varieties, meaning that those crops are inherently linked to a specific territory and have pure genetic material. La Piana has been a pioneer in seed conservation efforts in Tuscany and Italy, and is now advancing new methods for participatory preservation of local varieties by Custodian Farmers. These farmers are entitled to use traditional seeds produced in La Piana and to receive a premium for five years, provided that they will preserve the plants’ pure genetic material by avoiding cross contamination with other varieties. This process is supposed to enhance a new model of rural development in areas where intensive agriculture has failed.

Above: Research and extension activities are fundamental to provide the biological material for reforestation and conservation of traditional agricultural crops Above right: In the Centro La Piana, awareness activities accompany the research operations to inform farmers and researchers. Activities also target schools and healthcare institutes Middle: La Piana is a project administered by the Unione dei Comuni di Garfagnana benefiting from regional and European funds Right: An example of a tree nursery in La Piana


Above: The resilience of local breeds is important for maintaining a characteristic landscape of grazing fields and pastures on mountain areas Below: Garfagnana cows are considered extinct by the farmers living in the region, but efforts are being made to restore the original breed

The activity of seed banks such as La Piana is based on a set of exceptions to a European Directive with regards to the commercialization of seeds. Any type of exchange of seeds, either formal or informal, has to comply with sanitary standards that can only be ensured by patented varieties produced for commercial purposes. However, an exemption can be given to those crops whose characteristics are unique, shared among a population and stable across time. If a crop qualifies as a conservation seed it can be registered as such and distributed, but only in the territory the species belongs to. This greatly hinders the capacity to reintroduce quality production in marginal areas because of the geographical constraint, but especially because of the high genetic diversity that traditional crops may have. Some plants need to have flexibility in their DNA to adapt to the climate or to geomorphological characteristics. This means some varieties are too diverse to be protected since they cannot respect the requirements for being registered as conservation seeds. The European Union has also supported the reintroduction of heritage breeds by giving a premium to farmers keeping local livestock


varieties. Since 1985, in Garfagnana local sheep and cows qualify for this program, but until 2004 the varieties have been considered extinct. Thanks to a project developed by the Unione dei Comuni, the Garfagnana sheep have been recovered and now repopulate the valleys in the area. Similar efforts are now targeting the Garfagnana cows, but their genetic material has been too compromised by inbreeding and crossbreeding, making it impossible to restore the authentic breed. The secret behind the successful reintroduction of Garfagnina sheep has been to demonstrate to the local community that rural innovation can be based on resources with a limited productive capacity but with adaptability to the traditional farming systems. A pilot project at the Cerasa farm, a public-private partnership, has in fact allowed the creation of a flock of Garfagnina sheep, which has lead to an increase from 20 to 800 animals in the whole region just in a few years. Cerasa has managed to prove that the animals adapt to the local climate and that their use enables high quality food production. Dairy production in particular has demonstrated their profitability in terms of production efficiency as well as in the quality of the end product.

Innovation: a rural transition Garfagnana has witnessed a series of transitions during the past decades and as a result its local resources have been put under an increasing pressure to cope with the impact of shifting economic activities. The decline of agricultural production is further hindering the potential that once valuable resources could express in the unique food production systems that have characterized the area. The passage of time is threatening the sustainability of those production systems and may result in their complete disappearance if nothing is done to preserve them. The initiatives to ensure a sustainable use of natural resources must therefore be accompanied by actions in sup-

port of those traditional productions systems. They have been developed to maximize the efficient transformation of natural resources into food products rather than the quantity of food produced. Competition with more productive areas is threatening the very existence of economic activities so vital for such a marginal area. With a coordinated effort between different institutions, and businesses operating at the grassroots level, the local community is struggling to preserve those resources and ensure the survival of micro economies that make use of them. Thanks to this partnership it has been

possible to create a positive environment for political experimentation and innovation that is starting to yield tangible results, both in terms of environmental conservation and sustainable food production. For this reason the Garfagnana has been a pioneer in Tuscany and Italy in terms of support for the transition towards a model of participatory and sustainable rural development. The common challenges that many Mediterranean countries face in terms of economic decline of marginal rural areas and under-utilization of natural resources could be tackled through the same political initiatives that are now trying to keep Garfagnana alive.

Left: Any agricultural activity in Garfagnana can easily find its own expression in a traditional dish from the region, such as preparing ravioli with ricotta and wild spinach Below: Traditional production methods – often extensive and time consuming – are an important element for preserving micro-economies that are based on the local farming systems



Sandro Pieroni

Unione dei Comuni di Garfagnana What new initiatives will favor Garfagnana in the 2014-2020 PSR? The main part of PSR will be focused on agricultural and forestry activities, and these measures will mostly be in favor of businesses that will be able to access different measures and plan their interventions accordingly. I think that PSR will also be interesting for public authorities, since they must integrate public interventions with private ones. There are structural actions that the private sector cannot do and are for the public sector to be taken care of, while production activities would fall more under the private sector. Other elements include creating quality brand for the region as well as innovative actions in the short supply chain as follow-up to the previous programming period. These projects have had positive results and will be the foundation for the next policies. The value of a short chain supply is that it comprises different actors (suppliers, producers, retailers) as well as local actors focusing on agricultural research, or in the food industry sector, allowing the creation of local networks. What measures are underway to restore the landscape or to manage hydro-geological risks? Those will be mostly forestry measures, which we worked a lot on over the past years. In Garfagnana, we spent €18 million on interventions, but unfortunately, damage on the territory after floods are very common and severe. There are some interesting instruments to mitigate the damage. One is the internal areas project developed at the national level: Tuscany as well as all the other regions will be asked to identify a pilot area where they will test an integrated management project, providing investments for private or public bodies, and health, education and mobility programs that are prerequisites for investments. One proposal has Garfagnana and Lunigiana [an adjacent region] cooperating on such a project. Tuscany has developed a ranking based on Irpet data to determine which areas are to be considered peripheral


The region of Tuscany is drafting the new Rural Development Plan (Piano di Sviluppo Rurale – PSR) as part of the Common Agricultural Policy reform for the EU programming period 2014-2020. The participatory approach adopted has ensured the productive inclusion of local actors that have determined a set of goals for Tuscany, to be integrated into the general EU goals. This also allowed public authorities to develop new forms of partnership with private actors guarding the territory through their economic activities. This will reduce pressure on public debt in times of economic crisis and will provide the opportunity to foster innovation and rural development by keeping agricultural business active even in marginal areas where it would otherwise be unprofitable. to project development. In Garfagnana, 12 out of 16 municipalities are considered peripheral, while another 4 are in Lunigiana, so it might be possible to identify a wider area with common problems. How to integrate such an initiative with the Ente Terre Toscane and Banca della Terra? There are two ways to include such initiatives. The first is to reclaim abandoned land with initiatives on uncultivated and under-used land as part of the territory management efforts. This is an important part of the public budget in the area, given its vulnerability to climate events. Another method on which we already invest, which is earmarked for the next PSR, is the landscape element. Landscape is a public good that can be attractive esthetically while producing local traditional products, as well as being a destination for tourism interested in the food and outdoor activities. Think of the chestnut trees, or the bean production in the low valley, or potatoes up the mountain. The restoration of pasture with local breeds of sheep and cows also is part of this effort. Another important initiative is Leader – a program that will be part of the next CAP. Reforestation efforts will be part of Leader and support public interventions. Another European Commission endorsed program is the Community-led Local Development, a multi-fund plan financed by ERDF, ESF, EAFRD that can be integrated with the internal area project. There are a lot of opportunities, especially for providing services to a population otherwise easily marginalized; it’s just a matter of coordination between decision-makers and local actors. This feature article is based on the topics discussed during the Summer School “Exploring Innovation for Rural Transition” offered by Pisa University as part of the IMRD-Atlantis Erasmus Mundus Program.

From pilot to reality. The Lindells with the Jögensjö family in the One Tonne Life house.

Pilot project enables climate-smart lifestyle Three years on from the end of One Tonne Life, this ground-breaking project, initiated by A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, has inspired a growing number of people to choose products that help them lead a climate-smart lifestyle. One example of these active choices is the Jogensjö family who are now enjoying a comfortable, low-carbon lifestyle in the house that was at the heart of the One Tonne Life project. “We’ve always believed in respecting the environment in our day-to-day lives. But we’ve still been pleasantly surprised by how easy and comfortable a climate-smart life is if you combine your environmental commitment with the latest technology,” says Tina Jogensjö, who works as a creative producer at Unicef.

One Tonne Life, the project where a family tried to live on as little energy as possible over a 6-month period, involved the cooperation of A-hus, Vattenfall and Volvo Cars, together with partners ICA and Siemens, to create a climate-smart life for the Lindell family. The test period saw the Lindells cut their emissions from their normal 7.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year per person to 1.5 tonnes. “We were interested and followed the One Tonne Life project through the media. The 80 per cent reduction in the Lindell family’s carbon emissions showed that it’s possible to make a real difference given the right motivation, know-how and technology. We estimate that we generate around half the carbon dioxide of an average Swedish family, but without compromising on our quality of life,” says Tina Jogensjö.

Vattenfall – smart solutions for lower energy costs Based on initiatives such as the One Tonne Life project, Vattenfall has developed a range of new products and solutions for energy-efficient living and a sustainable lifestyle. “It’s now easy for a lot of households to significantly cut their energy costs and environmental impact by actively monitoring their electricity consumption, using more energy-efficient appliances and changing behaviour. We’re helping the development of electrically powered transport by providing simple charging solutions for both the home and public infrastructure,” says Lars Ejeklint, Energy Expert at Vattenfall. Find out more about One Tonne Life at www.onetonnelife.com.


Arctic rush 60

Left: During a 63 days expedition in the Arctic Ocean, Rosneft and Exxonmobil scientists explored the ice cover and the sea floor of Kara Sea Source: Rosneft Below: The Arctic Ocean, North of Western Russia Source: Mike Dunn

On September 18, 2013, three Greenpeace activists scaled and boarded the Russian Gazprom Prirazlomnoye oil rig - the first oil rig to start production in the ice-filled waters of the Arctic. The Greenpeace message was simple: “No Arctic Oil”. The Russian Coast Guard seizure of the “Arctic Sunrise” ship and subsequent detention of the crew hit the headlines and sparked reaction on a global scale and highlighted Russia’s role in the future of oil and gas exploration of the Arctic territories. 61

Russia is not the only interested party, but it is actually the only nation so far to have risked hefty investments in the region.

The “Arctic Sunrise” has now returned safely to European waters and the media focus has shifted, the affair now overshadowed by Russian intervention in the Ukraine with possible new sanctions against Russia and growing global security tensions. In the last year, environmental groups have continued to raise awareness and to fight for the future of the Arctic. In September Greenpeace filed its fifth appeal against the Norwegian state-controlled company Statoil to suspend drilling in the Barents Sea. At the same time, the Arctic Council - an intergovernmental forum for Arctic cooperation - held its inaugural Arctic Economic Council meeting; giving industry direct access to Arctic decision-makers. Media focus may have shifted, but the debate has not gone way. Arctic exploration is still top on the oil industry’s agenda. At the 21st WPC Convention held in Moscow in June 2014, the major proponents of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic - Canada, Norway, Russia and the United States - were quick to justify continuing plans for exploration in the “Final Frontier” and were just as quick to use terms such as “wise environmental stewardship” and voice sound bites such as “safety is critical”.

Untapped natural resources The oil industry is keen to exploit what the 2009 US Geological Survey estimates as 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under the Arctic seas, but current drilling plans may well be uneconomical and unrealistic. Future exploration in this difficult and harsh environment will incur gigantic costs and be potentially devastating to the fragile environment, while the risks of the endeavour will continue to grow and become unmanageable.


The big question is whether Arctic oil and gas drilling is in practice an economic, technical and logistical “pipe-dream”. To most of the interested parties cooperation seems the only reasonable way forward to succeed. However, one player - Russia - appears to want to “go it alone”, drill first and then talk later, and might lose out long-term if it does not link up with other oil majors to share resources AND to tap the potential. Despite all the negotiations and agreements, political tensions are running high and a continued uproar from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and WWF is awakening the general public to the threats of continued oil industry expansion in this fragile region.

The Arctic reality check The Arctic region consists of the Arctic Ocean and the northern parts of Canada, Russia, the United States (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The region is covered by a vast ice-covered ocean and by surrounding monotonous permafrost that appears barren, but this Arctic ecosystem is complex and home to many forms of life such as zooplankton and phytoplankton, fish, marine mammals, birds, land animals (including humans), and plants that have adapted to living in extreme conditions. It is undeniably a fragile and remote environment that will suffer irreversible damage if exploration plans continue. Activist protests have regularly drawn attention to environmental dilemmas throughout the world - but Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign took on a different dimension. It became a diplomatic incident, a dispute between Greenpeace and Russia, and a fight for extradition of the crew between The Netherlands and the heavy-handed Russian authorities. The Arctic became headline news and sparked increas-

ing international political and environmental concern over the future of the North Pole region.

The Russian agenda Over the past few years, the rise in global temperatures has reduced the surface of ice around the North Pole and specifically a relevant part of Russian territorial waters. For Russia, the region is of crucial importance. Firstly, the Arctic holds the world’s largest remaining untapped gas reserves and some of its largest undeveloped oil reserves. A significant proportion of these

Above: Data collected by Rosneft and Exxonmobil will be used for 3D models of ice features to help identify the spots for exploration, build drilling platforms and choose routes for transportation of hydrocarbons Source: NASA

reserves lie offshore, in the Arctic’s shallow and biologically productive shelf seas. Secondly, and interdependently, if these areas remain free from ice, the Arctic Ocean will, within 20 years, open up to important commercial shipping, including traffic linked to oil and gas. The Russian dream is for the mythical North-West Passage to become a reality, an important transport passage and a means to facilitate tapping into its natural resources. This new route seems to have major advantages compared to the other classical maritime transit ways like the Suez and Panama canals.

In terms of distance and reduced transport costs, it is indeed a more viable option and, given climate change, an inevitable alternative. According to a 2009 U.S. Geological Survey, it is estimated that 30% (1,670 trillion cubic feet) of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 13% (90 billion barrels) of oil are located in the Arctic region. The Russian share is significant. Russia estimates its offshore oil resources at 100 billion tonnes: enough to satisfy global demand for 25 years at current levels of consumption. The state’s oil industry is naturally eager to progress.

International cooperation with Russia The growing global need for energy resources means that the Arctic has become an area of interest and international tension. It is still too early to know how the situation will develop, particularly as the major powers are currently focused on major political crises elsewhere. Russian ambition is one thing, the reality of exploration is quite another. The ultimate


Russia has the longest national coast along the Arctic Ocean and is the key driver in Arctic exploration. question is whether the country disposes of adequate resources and technology to obtain profitable gains. Clearly, Russia needs the cooperation of the other interested countries in order to carry out its grand plan, safely and efficiently. Russian state oil major Rosneft does already have agreements with U.S. ExxonMobil, Italian Eni and Norwegian Statoil to explore for Arctic deposits, but these projects are unlikely to produce any oil or gas before the 2020s, if they even take off in the short term. Northern American and European countries, as well as emerging powers like India, are willing participants. Indian state-owned oil company Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), for example, is interested in exploring for Arctic oil with Russian partners. The two sides are considering the possibility of pumping Russian oil and gas by pipeline to India, and supplying Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Indian energy hotspots. The link-up is not surprising; Russia and India have maintained a security relationship since the Cold War era and the two states also share the membership of the BRICS group of emerging economies. Inevitably, Russia is interested in claiming as much as possible in the Arctic area. Russian scientists are trying to prove that the undersea


mountain chain, known as the Lomonosov Ridge - rich in hydrocarbons as well as precious metals - is in fact the extension of the Siberian continental platform. In 2007, a Russian undersea expedition even planted its national flag some 4,000 metres under the North Pole, as a gesture to claim the area. Russia’s claims are controversial and consequently unacceptable to other countries like Denmark, Canada, and the United States. For they too want their fair share of the Arctic waters and oppose Russian attempts to monopolize the area. The truth is that although Russia is not the only interested party, it is actually the only nation so far to have risked hefty investments in the region.

Big ambitions, huge costs, inadequate management The reality is that the scale of expansion envisaged by Russia is so vast that it may well not be feasible in terms of financial, technological and human investment. Estimates made by the International Energy Agency in 2006 state that oil and gas production in the Arctic will only become profitable if the cost of extracting drops below $60 a barrel. Current figures are three-to-five times higher than that. According to Alexey Knizhnikov, WWF Russia’s oil and gas environmental

policy officer, “The cost of developing Arctic oil stands at $200 to $300 per barrel”. The WWF also estimates the cost of building an Arctic oil rig at $5-6 billion. Back in Moscow, hopes are still running high. The Russian government is still intent on a program to develop the country’s continental shelf through to 2030. In February last year, President Putin signed a strategy agreement aimed at developing Russia’s Arctic areas to ensure its regional national security until 2020. Prime Minister Medvedev ambitiously expects the country will be able to produce an annual 66.2 million tonnes of Arctic oil and 230 billion cubic meters of Arctic gas by 2030. These figures vastly outshine the 11 million tonnes of crude and 57 billion cubic meters of gas produced by Russian companies in 2011. Canada is also on the scene. It will soon develop its plans in the Beaufort Sea off the

Northwest Territories. To date, over $2 billion in offshore licenses for the area have already been committed by BP, Esso, Chevron, and others. Key players such as Norway and the United States are mainly interested in the Arctic hydrocarbon reserves. As Russia has the longest coastline surrounding the Arctic Ocean, its policy is an important determinant for the future of the region. To secure its ambitions, Russia has stepped up its military presence in the area. Competition for the Arctic could cause high tension, a potential diplomatic crisis and a veritable “cold war”. The scale and potential lack of adequate returns in a difficult economic period may well mean that Western countries prefer Russia to take the first steps. The Arctic oil rush could prove to be a chimera. According to Oil Magazine’s Paul Betts: “After a period of ‘irrational exuberance’, the pace

in the Arctic is slowing. In the last year, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Statoil stopped drilling, and Gazprom suspended the Shtokman project.” Betts believes that while Russia is a key driver in Arctic exploration, it “is also fully aware that it cannot do this by itself and that the development of the oil and gas sector, particularly offshore, depends to some extent on the participation and cooperation of Western oil companies.” Is the Russian oil industry even up to the Arctic challenge? NGO ShareAction’s Louise Rouse thinks not, affirming that Russian oil giant Rosneft and gas company Gazprom both face major inadequacies to operate in the sector. At Gazprom, not one member of the board of directors has specific offshore experience nor special responsibility for offshore projects and no steps have been taken to rectify the problem at board level. Rosneft too lacks expertise, transparency, resources and know-how, runs “risky corporate practices” and has never brought an offshore project to extraction stage as operator. Notably, Rosneft alone was responsible for 2,727 or 75% of oil spills in Russia’s largest oil province Yugra - having only extracted 25% of the total regional output that year.

Safety issues The main issue and “big problem” for the industry when “dealing with” Arctic exploration is safety. Installation of drilling stations and offshore platforms, before extraction is even possible, is challenging and extremely dangerous given the freezing temperatures and the extreme climate conditions. The track record is not good. In 2011, the Kolskaya rig capsized in a fierce storm and killed 53 of its 67 crew, after Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazflot continued drilling operations outside of the approved season and without carrying out all the necessary precautions. The Royal Dutch Shell’s prized Kulluk offshore oil rig is also a case in point. On New Year’s Eve 2012, after a violent winter storm off the coast of Alaska, the 19,000tonne floating drill platform was slammed against the rocks on Sitkalidak Island. The Left and far left: Rosneft and ExxonMobil started drilling in the Kara Sea in August 2014 Source: Rosneft


rescue operations over the following month involved more than 750 personnel to recover the $290-million rig and led to Shell’s decision to suspend its Arctic program indefinitely. Meanwhile, Gazprom’s headline joint venture with Total and Statoil, Arctic JV, due to operate the massive Shtokman field in the Barents Sea, fell apart after years of delays. A cost rise from $20bn to $40bn and a lack of clarity over fiscal conditions made extraction economically unfeasible. The worry is that those foreign companies still intent on venturing into the Arctic continue to prefer to do so in conjunction with Russian concerns. Europe currently consumes 70% of all Gazprom exports but the future profits lie further afield. Rosneft is seeking Asian partners to develop jointly the country’s Arctic Shelf and signed a memorandum with China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) to considerably increase Russian oil supplies to China. Gazprom is specifically interested in extending its liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, augmenting gas exports towards Asia while compensating for Europe’s inevitable declining demand for Russian gas, and possible politically-motivated international sanctions.

Environmental concerns The threat to the environment is a major issue even if Gazprom and Royal Dutch Shell’s current plans, for example, are to go ahead with their Arctic oil drilling ambitions in the name of “responsible exploration”. It appears that the oil companies do not have the capacity to prevent an oil spillage, nor clean it up once it actually happens. Moreover, they are running the risk of having to pay for financial and public image damages should they be faced with an environmental catastrophe. Arctic Ocean oil and gas extraction will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on an already fragile and endangered ecosystem. Oil spills, oil drilling and noise pollution will put wildlife at serious risk. Cod, seals, seabirds, whales and other marine mammals migrate and congregate in large numbers in the summer season and are vulnerable to pollution and destruction of their habitats. Some of these animals are also cornerstones


Above: The Arctic holds the world’s largest remaining untapped gas reserves and some of its largest undeveloped oil reserves Source: Rosneft

to the subsistence and cultural livelihoods of indigenous peoples in the Arctic. Arctic fisheries, providing food and economic value far beyond the Arctic, are also at risk. The sensitivity of the region means that an oil spill disaster similar to the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf of Mexico would be much more catastrophic for the environment. The extreme conditions of the Arctic waters would make salvage operations extremely difficult or even impossible in the colder months. According to Greenpeace, the drilling industry is still not prepared to face the threats posed by a major Arctic oil spill, due to a lack of adequate technology and infrastructure. Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil, on the other hand, maintains that it is prepared for Arctic exploration and is adopting a step-by-step approach based on decades of experience in cold water regions such as the ice-free areas of the Barents Sea. The massive infrastructure required to exploit oil and gas in these wild and untouched regions – vast drill plants, ice roads, ice airstrips, kilometer after kilometer of pipeline - will cause significant damage to benthic organisms, such as corals, and also to sea floor habitats, increase erosion and the fragmentation of migration routes. Scientific consensus has confirmed that climate change exists. Serious natural disasters and extreme weather patterns are proof of its existence throughout the world. Scientists and environmentalists are warning that this change will only be accelerated further by digging up

what is left of underground oil and gas in the “Final Frontier”. Ironically perhaps, the melting of the Arctic’s permafrost is precisely one of these major effects and it has already made the Arctic’s people and wildlife relocate. They might soon have to migrate south to the very countries rushing for the Arctic… EDITORS NOTE: Since the time of writing the EU has tightened sanctions against Russia as a response to the unresolved Ukraine crisis. The move is hugely relevant to Russian ambitions in the Arctic. These latest sanctions - which may well be lifted swiftly if there is a breakthrough in Ukraine - will effectively block the European community’s export of oil related services, including drilling and well-testing for deep-water and Arctic exploration and production. These sanctions will hurt the top state-owned Russian oil firms Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom by also restricting their access to raise capital on European financial markets. This is a serious matter for major player Rosneft, which only last August asked the Russian government for a $42 billion loan. Significantly, the EU sanctions do not affect the Russian natural gas sector. Gazprom will continue to supply gas to 25 EU countries and expect to derive what The Economist estimates as 60% of its 2014 revenue from the European market. The United States are due to follow suit and impose important sanctions, amid speculation and fear by many EU countries that Russia will retaliate by using its trump card and disrupt or even cut off energy supplies to Europe.

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Visioning, Converging Scaling-up


The three challenges of the global transition to a green economy Writer: Jérémie Fosse, Founder and Director of Eco-Union, organizers of the Global Eco-Forum in Barcelona.

In the beginning everyone was referring to Sustainable Development. Then came the concepts of Sustainable Consumption and Cleaner Production. Now the buzz words are Green Economy, Eco-Innovation or Circular Economy, not to mention Cradleto-Cradle, Blue Economy or Third Industrial Revolution… What are the links between these ideas? Are they similar, additional or contradictory? How can we promote these rather theoretical concepts to develop practical and efficient policies to really improve the sustainability of our societies? Can we learn any lessons from local experiences to identify the main challenges and opportunities of the global transition towards a greener economy? 68

Above: World leaders at the Rio+20 Summit, 2012 Source: Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR - Blog do Planalto Quarta-feira

A complex institutional framework At the first Rio summit in 1992, the concept of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) emerged as a strategic tool to promote sustainable development, as defined by the celebrated Brundtland report published earlier in 1987. Unfortunately, the Agenda 21 action plan, aimed to support the integration of SCP at a local scale, was not implemented in a regular manner around the world. Most of the industrialized countries, particularly in northern Europe, were rather successful in raising awareness with their citizens and, sometimes, greening their production and consumption behaviors. But the rest of the world had more interest in fighting extreme poverty through aggressive economic development, rather than taking care of its natural resources. During the past thirty years, China has lifted 500 million people out of poverty but damaged so badly the quality of its environment that almost one million people are dying prematurely annually from disastrous air pollution (according to a Lancet study) with an estimated cost by of near 6% of the total GDP, as calculated by the World Bank.

Twenty years later, the Rio+20 summit held in 2012 coined the term Green Economy, which aims to integrate environmental considerations into economic growth through greener economic activities. Despite demonstrating that investing 2% of the annual GDP into green sectors actually accelerates the rise of GDP on the medium-term, emerging countries were reluctant to support the transition, due to fears of increasing their already high dependency on international patents and industrial exportation rules. Based on the weak Rio+20 agreement, global institutions were given the mandate by headsof-states to support the implementation of green economy policies for voluntary countries. The World Bank, International Labour Organization (ILO), OECD and the UN (UNEP) quickly partnered to create a global alliance (PAGE) with the goal of boosting green jobs, eco-innovative businesses and sound environmental accounting. At that same time, a brand new intergovernmental body, called the Global Green Growth Institute, was created specifically to design modern economic models that could be used to track national and international green strategies. Until now the results have been underwhelming. It is

true that several emerging countries such as South Korea, Jordan, Bangladesh or Ethiopia have developed green economy roadmaps in carefully selected sectors. However the implementation speed is slow since the economic crisis is reducing the necessary financial investment capacity while political will and consistency is still painfully lacking.

Bringing in business The business world is also playing an important role in this game. After the relative failure of the Kyoto Protocol – unable to put a real price on carbon emissions – business leaders, mainly from renewable energy, waste and agro-food industries, decided to push for the development of a circular economy where virtually all waste is collected and reused as raw material for other productive processes, avoiding unnecessary material, energy and water losses. An impressive report, published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, showed that the benefits of re-manufacturing from waste could exceed $1 trillion globally. Frontrunners, such as England, Turkey, China or Switzerland, are already implementing


national industrial symbiosis programs based on private-public partnerships. Through industrial-ecology theories, it creates physical and economic exchanges between productive facilities in a same area, re-using their byproducts (energy, water or material outputs) from one factory to another, sharing common services between them (waste management, transport facility…) and creating new business ideas and technological patents through cross and open innovation processes. The design world has also been very active in thinking out-of-the-box to develop new products that radically reduce their environmental footprint. The Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) methodology, developed by chemist Michael Braungart and architect McDonough has inspired large multinationals (Nike) but also SME’s (Desso) to shape new products closing the biological and technological cycles between the manufacturing and the recycling phases. In doing so, they are actually able to offer high quality products with positive social, health and environmental impact, such as air-cleaning carpets or living-buildings. On a more practical perspective, the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tools are becoming widely introduced at university level and often used in critical sectors such as energy, food or fast consumers goods industries. The Blue Economy initiative, launched by sustainability guru Gunter Pauli, aims at creating resilient companies based on innovative business models, where the same manufacturing processes can create several financial incomes. A typical example would be a coffee producer (1st income) that could use the waste to produce fresh mushrooms (2nd income) and feed pigs (3rd income). This business model is mainly aimed at entrepreneurs and small organizations so as to increase the quality and margin of their products, rather than large or

Above: The French “Nord-Pas de Calais” region – looking to launch the Third Industrial Revolution initiative through decarbonization, energy efficiency and green start-ups

existing companies that are too dependent on high volume and low marginal cost.

Local communities and civil society Due to their smaller scale, cities and regions are very sensitive to the environmental, social and economic issues of their communities. They can therefore have a better understanding of the local problems and be very efficient

Left: The Cradleto-Cradle (C2C) methodology, developed by Michael Braungart and McDonough has proven to be inspirational to large multinationals


in bringing concrete solutions. The French “Nord-Pas de Calais” region has been suffering dramatically from high unemployment and suicide rates since the closure of the coal mines at the end of the 20th century. Based on an unusual political and business consensus, it decided to engage with global thinker Jeremy Rifkin to launch the Third Industrial Revolution initiative. Financed partly by participative crowd-funding and social equity tools, it aims to enhance the competitiveness and job creation of the whole region through decarbonization, energy efficiency and green start-ups. Obviously, in an interconnected world, the transition towards sustainability requires the commitment of the civil society. To guarantee a participative approach, the Green Economy Coalition (GEC), a gathering of social and environmental NGOs with think tanks and intergovernmental institutions, organized several multi-stakeholders’ dialogues at national

COPPER - KEY TO THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY Global environmental trends are creating risks for businesses as well as opportunities. This raise the question of how we can deal with resources in a more sustainable way. Failing to do so will severely affect our environment and inhibit economic growth. Copper is a naturally occurring material that can effectively contribute towards implementing a Circular Economy.

Challenges Infrastructure

Urbanization Population growth

Greenhouse gases

Summer heat Resource availability

Mobility needs

Precipitations Energy supply

SALE Globalization

Deforestations Water availability





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“Sustainability policies are still very inconsistent, fragmented and far too slow to be implemented” or regional scale, including Mali, the Caribbean, Brazil, India or Spain. These debates and roundtables allowed a better understanding of the local challenges and opportunities linked with a greener economy. It helped to identify the key actors and write a shared roadmap adapting global institutional framework to cultural, social and economic particularities of the targeted region or city.

Mainstreaming the Green Economy The environmental and societal challenges faced by our society have been clearly identified – climate change, population rise, biodiversity losses, among others major risks, are being carefully scrutinized. Scientists continuously publish comprehensive reports together with a range of political and technological answers. Field experiments have been successful in several parts of the world and publicized widely in the corridors of power. However, sustainability policies are still very inconsistent, fragmented and far too slow to be implemented. We are still stuck in the old paradigm: austerity vs. Keynesianism, taxes vs. incentives, market vs. regulation. But to be successful in reaching a fair, just and prosperous society, we have to go far beyond old economic and political schemes

and radically redesign our global and local sustainability strategies. To do so, three main challenges need to be tackled urgently. First, an ambitious and inspiring vision should be defined and adopted by all stakeholders (let’s call it visioning). This vision should not be limited to classic economic indicators but should include social and environmental targets. Those targets should be discussed and approved by relevant NGOs, business associations, and policy and decision-makers. This process has already started on a global scale through the discussion around Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) that should also be done on local and national levels. Secondly, a different set of academic and policy sustainability frameworks should be simplified and harmonized (the converging phase). Many concepts (and thinkers) compete to become the latest buzz word: SCP, C2C, Green Economy, Industrial Revolution … which creates unnecessary interferences and confuses the picture for leaders and citizens. A clearer and simplified model, with the intellectual contribution of think tanks and researchers, should emerge together with ready-to-use toolboxes, easily adaptable to specific local needs or targets.

Third, running sustainability projects should be shared, improved and replicated massively (the scaling-up step). This exercise can be undertaken by launching a collective platform based on the Wikipedia structure and updated by distributed green economy ambassadors, at local and regional scales. Then successful initiatives could be supported and financed collectively through crowd-funding and open innovation models.

Beginning of the journey Looking at the levels of implementing sustainability policies globally, until now most emphasis has been on partial, fragmented and sometimes inconsistent solutions. Only recently a more systemic approach has included comprehensive actions on ecodesign, sustainable public procurement and, for the most advanced countries, on greener tax policy. The financial sector deserves special attention, due to its central place in our globalized economy. Only through a shared vision, clear institutional convergence and ambitious scaling up, can we expect to win collectively the fight against inequality, poverty and environmental degradation.

About the Author: Jérémie Fosse is a senior advisor on sustainable development and green economy, supporting the global transition to sustainability of small and large companies as well as national or local governments. He is co-founder and president of eco-union, an independent environmental NGO that aims to capacitate, connect and empower change makers for sustainable development. He is also the founder and director of the Global

Eco Forum, an annual and international multistakeholders conference on sustainability in the Euro-Med region. Moreover he is founding partner of the strategic sustainability consulting company ecodigma and academic collaborator at Esade Business School, researching and teaching around corporate environmental sustainability. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering at INSA Lyon and an Executive MBA at Esade Business School. For more info, visit: www.eco-union.org Contact: jeremie.fosse@eco-union.org



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gallery profile

Hidden in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin is a small gallery called Mila Kunst where a group exhibition took place this summer in association with TransArt Institute. Revolve paid a visit and discovered among the artists represented at Mila Kunst, three who stood out for their common theme, showing aspects of the natural enviroment in different mediums: Julia Hyde from the United States exhibited beautifully detailed realist charcoal drawings of tree trunks; Gabriela Gusmão from Brazil displayed a fascinating photograph series of butterfly and moth chrysalis; and Alexandra Wolframm depicted what seem like clouds in the sky on large paintings, but that are formed from industry pollution.


ART 74

Above: 51°39’N,6°44O Duisburg-Marxloh 40x40 cm, oil on canvas, 2013 Below: 28°45’14’N, 88°18’5 3’W - Horizon 140x150 cm, oil on canvas, 2012

Alexandra Wolframm Clouds are a common natural phenomenon. Often however, clouds that might seem natural at first sight are caused by man. This work is intended as a subjective archive of the formation of clouds in places with industrial sites: European industrial harbors, where naval traffic fosters the formation of a dense blanket of clouds, altering the climatic conditions of the affected coastal zones, or steel plants and power stations all over Europe emitting greenhouse gases. The work is also a reflection on the less obvious effects of human interference with nature, questioning our perception of “nature” or its representation.

Installation with paintings, drawings and text, 2012 - ongoing



Left: Bark III, 2014. 27 hours and 19 minutes of drawing Charcoal on paper, 246 x 140 cm Below: Bark I, 2014. 14 hours and 27 minutes of drawing Charcoal on paper, 110 x 140 cm Bottom: Bark II, 2014. 14 hours and 57 minutes of drawing Charcoal on paper, 112 x 135 cm

Julia Hyde My work is driven by the immediacy and directness inherent in drawing. Drawing highlights the temporal and the operational elements of a process-based mode of working. These are made apparent through the visibility of the marks and the physical gestures, as time and action are registered on the paper. Using fine observational skills often manifested in detailed drawings, my intention is to work the line of tension between my own control and that of natural processes. Currently, I use drawing to gain a clearer understanding of the forest and the humannature power dynamic reflected within the ForĂŞt de Soignes in Brussels, Belgium. In the charcoal drawings of tree bark, I am transformed from a simple observer to a medium of execution. While drawing, various elements of the process are recorded. The paper has been extended to cover the ground beneath the drawing, capturing the charcoal and powder that falls, allowing my footsteps to leave traces across the paper, recording my movements.



Left: Deep Sleep 50cmx72cm, photography, 2012 Left below: Awakening

Bottom left: Still perplex

50cmx72cm, photography, 2012

50cmx50cm, photography, 2011

Below: Deep Sleep

Bottom right: Perplex

50cmx50cm, photography, 2012

50cmx50cm, photography, 2011

Gabriela Gusm達o I am a Brazilian artist immersed in a process of transforming the banal into the original through multiple media including photography, film, sculpture, drawings and installations. I focus on and devote the same degree of concentration to the rhythm of natural cycles (captured in my experimental videos) and to the flow of the crowd in public spaces (locus of several interventions). This back and forth movement involves a peculiar process, where solitude and multitudes, silence and polyphony, are equally essential. I am currently developing a work called Metaformosas. This title is the product of the meeting of two words in Portuguese: metamorfose (metamorphosis) and formosura (beauty). Formosa (beautiful) is the feminine adjective describing a figure endowed with beauty. Thus, the work entitled Metaformosas addresses the beauty in the process of metamorphosis, which I see as a metaphor for the creative process itself.


Run with Revolve This October Revolve will be running in the marathons and halfmarathons of Brussels and Amsterdam, raising funds for Education for Sustainability. Here we talk with Sandra Antonovic, founder of Nektarina and the driving force behind the project. What is Education for Sustainability (E4S)? E4S is a Nektarina Non-Profit project, which aims to introduce Sustainable Development as a subject in school curricula. Education plays a vital role in human development and we believe that if children learn about sustainability in a comprehensive way they will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to become responsible global citizens working towards more sustainable societies.

What is your approach? We work at a grassroots level with schools and local organizations to promote knowledge on sustainability, particularly among

young people; and with these organizations, we are working towards getting national ministries and other governmental institutions on board by supporting them in the initial stages of introducing the subject of Sustainable Development.

ownership of the project and its implementation in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Latvia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Romania.

Where do you work?

One of Nektarina’s focus countries at present is India. This year we have held various events in association with local partner organization “Zest Youth Movement” to raise community awareness on sustainability issues, particularly among youth. One of these events was a “My Green Planet” drawing competition (pictured above) in which over 400 students from three schools in Pune participated, creatively expressing their thoughts, ideas and hopes about recycling, renewable energies and pollution.

We conducted extensive research in our target countries and developed a network of local experts, communities and civil society partners. We reached the implementation stage in September 2012, entering into constructive dialogue with governments and respective ministries of education. Having initiated projects in several countries we have since handed them over to local organizations who have taken

What are some of your recent achievements?

Nektarina is active in India, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Cameroon, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, organizing local events and working with schools to understand the best methods for introducing Sustainable Development as a new subject.


In June this year, in celebration of World Environment Day 2014, we held an event which combined a rally with a riverbank clean and litter pick, raising community awareness about environmental sustainability issues. The rally was launched by a special guest delegation, among them environmentalist Professor Madhav Gadgil, a Member of Parliament of the Pune Constituency (pictured below).

Who is Nektarina NonProfit? Nektarina Non-Profit is a non-governmental, international organization, founded in Croatia and also registered as a UK organization as of 2014. We are dedicated to educating, connecting and inspiring people to care about their communities and their environment. We aim to promote and facilitate the idea of a responsible global community and a sustainable world, keeping in mind the 3 pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. Our projects aim to engage people, in particular youth, from all over the word, by promoting responsibility at a community level for the generations to come in line with our three key actions:

Help Revolve promote Education for Sustainability! Please support the Revolve Runners in their efforts to raise awareness about the importance of teaching Sustainable Development in school curricula. All donations are tax deductible after 30 euros and can be made out to: Nektarina Non-Profit IBAN: GB55 NWBK 5210 1490 6481 45 BIC: NWBK GB2L Reference: REVOLVE E4S INDIA



Choice of Paper & Printing Printing: Artoos A sustainable production chain: all offset presses use VOC-free inks based on vegetable oils. -50% Co2 emissions since 2008 ! 53520-1312-1007

Features: Printed on 90grs RePrint paper.

Paper Distribution: Antalis All paper used is 100% recycled FSC-approved and from ISO 14001 or EMAS certifed suppliers. 44

Cover: Printed on 170grs Cocoon Silk paper with matte laminate.


views: Printed on 115grs Cocoon Silk.

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Profile for REVOLVE

REVOLVE #13 - FALL 2014  

Plastic Banks | Environmental Art | Building Efficiency around Europe, and more.

REVOLVE #13 - FALL 2014  

Plastic Banks | Environmental Art | Building Efficiency around Europe, and more.