05 Sep 2014
Here you will find a round-up of all the latest news and events in mechanisms from around the world.
Standards and sustainable sourcing
- Global Fairtrade sales reach £4.4bn following a 15% growth during 2013. Meanwhile, in the UK, the market for Fairtrade products is now valued at £1.8bn, making it the biggest in the world.
- Both the public and private sectors are investing in eco-labels. But are consumers catching on? According to Kazer, Technical Leader of Carbon Trust, sustainability is secondary to price and quality when it comes to choosing a product.
- Sustainability standards, such as Marine Stewardship Council, Forest Stewardship Council and Water Stewardship Council, are paving the way for a new trend in corporate behaviour: stewardship, According to Stuart Poore, Director of Corporate Stewardship at WWF-UK, several companies are taking significant steps, such as Coca-Cola and Marks & Spencers.
- To help SMEs build sustainable supply chains, the Food and Drink Federation is working on a WRAP-led project to develop a sustainable sourcing commodity risk assessment tool.
- The new EU Energy Label came into effect on 1st September, but should consumers be worried about what this means for their vacuum cleaners? The consumer group, which?, has said they should be, while the European Commission maintains that the label will improve standards.
- As part of the new partnership agreement, Unilever and Solidaridad are working together to improve the lives of 1 million people by applying sustainability and social standards throughout Unilever’s supply chains.
- A new partnership between H&M and Swedfund is said to encourage high environmental and social standards in Ethiopia's developing textile industry. “...Our goal is to contribute to developing the textile industry in Ethiopia, thus creating jobs with good working conditions that lift people out of poverty, especially women,” says Anna Ryott, MD at Swedfund.
- There are countless schemes for sustainability certification operating around the world. But what makes them successful? For Laurèn DeMates, there are seven key ingredients: stakeholder collaboration, clear and realistic criteria, streamlined process, support and assistance, sliding scale pricing, audits and impact evaluations.
- The Carbon Trust are developing a new certification scheme for sustainable production in Brazil to support International industrial competitiveness and low carbon growth. The proposed scheme will involve foot-printing, certification and product labelling for aluminium, cement, chemicals, pulp and paper. Following the pilot phase, the Carbon Trust aim to roll the scheme out across all sectors.
- A new publication from CIFOR: Social impacts of the Forest Stewardship Council certification. The study considered various social impacts, including working conditions and distribution of resources, and found that the certification has been able to push companies towards “remarkable social progress.”
Forest. Image source: Wikipedia
- Steve Thomas, PhD Scholar at Australian University, writes: “Carbon pricing is still the best way to cut emission if we get it right.”
- Climate aside, a cap-and-trade climate policy could have some benefits that you don’t expect. To try and get people to more concerned about climate change, researchers are finding that communications on carbon emissions must emphasis what’s killing us today, especially since a cap on carbon emissions would save $125 billion in human health costs.
- Using a natural capital accounting methodology, a study from Imperial College has found that carbon offsets bring over $600 a tonne of benefits to local communities, including poverty alleviation and nature conservation.
- Carbon prices are set to average at €23 in 2020, analysts say. But a report from Thomson Reuters predicts that without emissions trading scheme reform and emission reduction targets, prices may remain low at €14.
- China plans to introduce its national market for carbon permit trading in 2016, a government official said on Sunday, adding that Beijing is close to completing rules for what will be the world’s biggest emissions trading program. Meanwhile, a blog from Carbon Brief analyses the situation.
- UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres delivered the keynote address at the Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum this week in Bogotá, Columbia. In the speech, she highlights why she believes carbon markets and the CDM are important to secure an ambitious 2015 agreement.
A paper factory in Piteå, Sweden. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
- “A new Climate Bill would shrink government and reward taxpayers”, says James K. Boyce, Director of the Program on Development, Peacebuilding and the Environment. The Bill, which was introduced to the US Congress in August, features a cap-and-dividend policy whereby the money made from auctioning permits is fed back to the American people - that’s everyone with a social security number receiving direct payments.
- Boosting Research and Development spending and related training isn’t enough to ensure technology works in favour of sustainable development. Policy steps must also be taken: first, to build networks of diverse stakeholders working proactively together; second, to foster and share learning from research and experience; third, to promote shared visions among stakeholders; and, finally, to support diverse experimentation with technologies and practices.
- Patrick Mazza critiques a preoccupation with market-based solutions to climate change, such as cap-and-trade systems, and suggests that the climate movement needs to direct attention to public investment in innovation technologies and industries.
- Thomson Reuters have launched a new set of indices based on European companies’ Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) practices. “The new Thomson Reuters CRI [Corporate Responsibility Indices] Europe Indices… offer a very powerful proposition for all ESG-conscious individuals and institutions,” says Stephan Flagel, Head of Indices at Thomson Reuters.
- A new report from the OECD proposes recommendations on how to mobilise resources for development, including new mechanisms, such as taxes on transactions in financial markets that can generate additional resources to finance sustainable development.
- Policies for a green economy, including market governance mechanisms, can be found worldwide. Research presented by the United Nations Environment Programme at the Green Economy Coalition’s first public annual meeting showed that 65 countries are now pursuing green growth. Meanwhile, 48 of them are taking steps to develop national green economy plans.