Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: 30th May 2014

30 May 2014

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

Conservation and Biodiversity

  • On the International Day for Biological Biodiversity (22nd May), The European Commission launched a new initiative, The EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life), through which the EU are focusing different priority areas, including developing nature-based solutions towards a green economy. As part of this, B4Life will be leveraging funding and stimulating business models such as markets for green products and eco-tourism, promoting public-private partnerships for the sustainable management of natural resources, help develop Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes and offer inventives to manage their land to increase the quality and quantity of key habitats.
  • In Cameroon, a new mechanism is being introduced to strengthen forest governance and help save the country’s forests. The government has introduced reforms that aim to protect the cultures and livelihoods of a range of forest based communities and peoples, as well as add to the positive impact created by the voluntary partnership agreement - an international law that means only legally logged wood can be imported into the EU.
  • According to Joshua Hill and Chloe Hill, authors of the new book, ‘Global Biodiversity Finance,’ the private sector has to get more involved in funding mechanisms for biodiversity. “Businesses need to be empowered and incentivised to manage biodiversity assets,” they say. In a review, Francis Vorhie describes the book as, “timely,” adding that, “it furthers our understanding of our market-based approaches are needed to both finance and deliver conservation on a global scale.”
  • In the Philippines, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are working together to launch two environment programmes to sustain natural resources. The projects the Barangay StraTREEgic Forest Project (BSFP) and the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for the Miarayon-Lapok-Lirongan-Tinaytayan Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) of Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park.
  • A new report from IIED explains four ways that forest management can benefit people and planet. The research, which was based on studies from around the world, recommends: helping businesses secure land and resource tenure; making it easier for businesses to form effective organisations; investing in programmes that strengthen business know-how; and revitalising technical extension services so they can help deliver local and global public goods effectively.

Local forest workers in Cambodia, one of the regions studied for a new report. Source: Creative Commons.

Best Business Practice

  • Can tourism ever be sustainable? “Yes!” says the Rainforest Alliance as explained by Katherine Martinko in a recent blog. She says: “since global tourism shows no signs of slowing, the Rainforest Alliance believes that the best thing we can do is teach businesses how to be responsible and to encourage travelers to seek out sustainable options.” It does this through a certification scheme that assess the three main pillars of sustainability - environmental protection, social equity and economic viability.
  • Travelife is a programme created by European travel associations to help travel companies and their suppliers acheive sustainability through training, management, reporting and external recognition and certification. Recently, Travelife have united with the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries to encourage sustainable tourism in Asia Pacific, including plans for training and management tools to establish positive impact for the market.
  • Inditex, Quicksilver and H&M are among other clothing brands that have signed up to Fashion Loved by Forest, a mechanism launched by Canopy last year.  As part of this, clothing brands - which together represent $45 billion in annual sales - are committing to only using pulp sourced from forests that are not endangered. In explaining the need for this, Catherine Stewart, Communications Director at Canopy, said: “it is increasingly clear that unless we are able to shift the trajectory of the market, the clothing and the fashion industry will become a significant driving force in global deforestation.”
  • IIED’s Emma Wilson writes about one of the initiatives seeking to promote greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industry - the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a voluntary global standards for disclosing company payments and government revenues in order to reduce corruption and promote sustainable development. But, as Wilson explains, this alone isn’t enough: “different stakeholders and initiatives, together with EITI-implementing partners… must pull together to make transparency really work to reduce poverty and bring about local-level sustainable development.”
  • A partnership of NGOs and businesses, including General Mills, M&S and Nestlé are working together to address global water challenges through a new standard - the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Standard. After successful pilot schemes with flower and vegetable growers in Kenya, the scheme is now being used by companies in South Africa, China, Australia and Peru. 

A certified project. Source: The Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard

Climate Change 

  • Ahead of the Paris 2015 negotiations, Climate Change Capital’s James Cameron explains the barriers that stand in the way of an ambitious climate change treaty and outlines his hopes for a price for carbon that businesses and investors can respond to. For example, he describes the need for an international treaty that respects the different political circumstances each government has in place rather than a top-down regime that establishes a global price for carbon.
  • The essential requirements have been finalised, meaning that the UN-backed Green Climate Fund could start investing next year. However, the fund, which is designed to deliver £100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate impacts and mobilise investment in low-carbon technology, is not without controversy. Questions over which green projects it supports and how it will raise funding still need to be answered. 


  • Fairtrade has recently been accused of failing to deliver benefits to African farm workers, a recent study claims. As part of the findings, it has been discovered that profits from Fairtrade-certified products from Uganda and Ethiopia are not trickling down to the workforce. Christopher Cramer, an economic professor and one of the report’s authors, said: "wages in other comparable areas and among comparable employers producing the same crops but where there was no Fairtrade certification were usually higher and working conditions better. In our research sites, Fairtrade has not been an effective mechanism for improving the lives of wage workers, the poorest rural people."
  • PepsiCo, a drinks company, has pledged to ensure that all the 450,000 tonnes of palm oil it sources each year will only come from members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. But, Greenpeace argues that signing up to this mechanism does not go far enough to guarantee the supply chain will be free from deforestation and social conflict.