Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: 03 March 2015

02 Mar 2015

Here you will find a round-up of all the latest news and events in mechanisms from around the world. 

Fairtrade Fortnight

  • In its 20th year, Fairtrade is using the annual Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February to 8th March) to raise awareness of the trade mark and the benefits that it brings to farmers and workers – 78% of the British public recognise the Fairtrade symbol but according to a survey over half "still don't actively choose Fairtrade products ".

Fairtrade mark. Source: Wikipedia

Forests:

  • A study of media coverage in Peru of the UN programme REDD, which aims to reduce deforestation, has shown that national media largely failed to report on the scheme, as did regional newspapers in the Amazon region where a number of REDD initiatives are in place. One of the authors of the report, Mary Menton, argues that greater reporting is necessary to inform public debate over the scheme, and that in response scientists, civil society and policymakers should aim to ensure that information on REDD programmes and decisions reach journalists.
  • Steve Zwick speculates as to whether REDD will be a core part of any potential Paris climate agreement, with a lack of clarity over whether international payments for REDD will be able to be counted towards countries "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs). Countries will be making their INDCs in the coming months, and the negotiating text which was debated at the Geneva UNFCCC talks last week has mixed signals for the REDD scheme. See here for an update on the climate negotiations and the INDC process.
  • A survey by the Global Canopy Programme found that only six major companies and one financial investor had comprehensive policies on the protection of tropical forests. The Forest 500 ranked the efforts of 250 companies, 150 investors and 50 government programmes to eradicate deforestation from commodity supply chains. The six companies: Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser Group, Procter and Gamble, Nestle, Kao Corp. and Danone, along with investor HSBC were given top marks in distancing themselves from deforestation in supply chains of key commodities such as pulp and paper, timber, leather, beef, palm oil and soya.

Tropical forest in Martinique. Source: Wikipedia

Agriculture

  • A successful carbon farming project run by Indigenous land owners in the Northern Territory of Australia is reported to be encountering difficulties in the absence of a carbon price. With the Australian carbon price being recently scrapped, the scheme which has generated a substantial amount of carbon credits through a savanna burning project which reduces the frequency of wildfires, faces an uncertain future in a voluntary market
  • World Agroforestry investigates the lack of support going to female farmers for advisory services, training and outreach programmes despite the fact that women produce up to 80% of basic foodstuffs across sub-Saharan Africa. However, there are efforts to increase farmer-to-farmer learning with female farmers in Kenya, Cameroon Uganda and Malawi volunteering to support their female peers. One volunteer, Betty Kalyango in the Lwengo District of central Uganda argues that the women she trains "have increased their incomes and started to participate in cooperative savings schemes".

Fisheries

  • Seafood Watch has launched a new app which will allow consumers to choosing the most environmentally responsible seafood to eat (based on which fish are the least overfished). It has already been downloaded more than 1.6 million times.
  • Greenpeace has criticised Australia's seafood labelling laws which they argue fall behind the European Union's new laws which provide comprehensive information on the production method, fishing method, catch area and specific commercial fish name. Australia meanwhile allows companies to use the generic term 'fish' rather than specifying a species, from a certain region. The lack of clarity means that the product could ultimately only be crumbed in Australia after being caught and processed overseas.

Endangered Yellowfin Tuna. Source: Wikipedia

Microfinance

  • Kelli Barrett reports on the potential role of microfinance in supporting payments for ecosystem services (PES). The idea is gaining support with a number of case studies showing success. These include projects in Costa Rica and Nepal which has repaired damaged watersheds (a form of water treatment system) using revolving loan funds as finance, and an initiative recently touted at the Lima COP20 climate talks entitled "Microfinance for Ecosystem-based Adaptation”.