Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: 18th May 2015

18 May 2015

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

Low-carbon finance

  • New large-scale finance for low-carbon infrastructure can be sourced from the emerging 'green bonds' market, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative. They point to the US$36.6 billion of green bonds issued in 2014 and the recent first Indian bond issued bonds worth US$250 million for renewable energy projects.
  • Varun Dutt from the Indian Institute of Technology shed light on the Clean Development Mechanism. While pointing to the large amount of programs receiving CDM credits, including the Himachal Pradesh reforestation project- reported to be worth US$200 million of the World Bank's Indian portfolio, he criticised  elements of the CDM regime. He is concerned about the ability of CDM projects to delivery pro-poor benefits to developing country communities.

Agriculture

  • Watch Bill Vorley, Principal Researcher in the Sustainable Markets Group at IIED, discuss inclusive business propositions for smallholder agri-business operations with Seas of Change. He argues that projects that work with such businesses need to provide high value and less risk to developing world farmers when offering the promise of international markets. He said that inclusion should be not a goal in itself, and that markets should offer development opportunities to local communities. See more here.

Smallholder farmers in Kenya. Source: Wikipedia

Extractive industries

  • A number of public seminars have been held in Tanzania to improve transparency and accountability in the management of expected revenue from natural gas deposits. The deposits are reported to be worth nearly 15 times that of the country's current annual GDP. Attendees included representatives from the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a number of local research institutes, Government and central bank officials. The forums were open to the public in an effort to better educate Tanzanians of the potential changes brought by new gas exploration.
  • There are reports from Guyana that the US Government, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank are working with Guyanese officials to encourage the country’s participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Fashion

  • What's the difference between 'ethical' and 'Fairtrade' fashion? Hayli Goode this week drew light on the dividing lines. This included the branding offered, with both the 'Fairtrade' mark and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) operating in the field. Other differences cited include that Fairtrade focuses on workplace standards in line with International Labor Organisation conventions, whereas the Ethical Fashion Forum (different from the ETI) looks at how the production process maximises benefit to the garment workers, and minimizes environmental impacts.
  • The work of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) was profiled this week by Green Biz. The ICCR has acted in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh to sign companies onto legally binding agreements to implement safety inspections, report their safety records, and offer transparent processes for remediation in the case of workplace accidents. The investor coalition of companies drawn together by the ICCR has more than 200 members globally and represents US$4.1 trillion in assets.

Garment workers in Bangladesh. Source: Wikipedia 

Forests

  • While there are more companies demanding deforestation-free supply chains, as pointed out by a position paper by Rainforest Alliance, these commitments don't necessarily address other environmental impacts of farming such as the use of toxic chemicals, or water and land use. Read more here.
  • The recent UN Forum on Forests in New York had a number of important discussions, including on the REDD+ programme against deforestation. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, hailed the progress of REDD+, while Pakistani representatives called for the financing of REDD+ through the Green Climate Fund, and for the scheme to be a key part of any global climate agreement delivered at the Paris UNFCCC conference in December of this year.