Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: December 5th 2014

05 Dec 2014

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

Climate and Carbon

  • In the lead up to the UNFCCC climate negotiations, hopes for a binding treaty were boosted by news that the US and China had made substantial pledges on emissions reductions, with China committing to a peak in emissions by 2030.
  • To meet their commitment, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) have announced plans to introduce a nationwide Carbon Market by 2016, as reported by Bloomberg. Dirk Forrister, CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association, heralded the news, telling the RTCC that it was “an encouraging sign of China’s seriousness.”
  • As revealed by Reuters, Chinese Commercial Banks have made considerable loans to firms trading on the existing carbon pricing pilots in seven Chinese states.

Mining

  • The Fairtrade Gold initiative is aiming to eliminate the use of mercury to extract gold, combating the catastrophic effect that mercury has on human health and the environment. As Greg Valerio in the Ecologist reports, the Fairtrade Foundation is driving the use of Fairtrade Gold certification, which helps artisanal and small-scale miners to change their practices, providing equipment, training and higher premiums for Fairtrade gold. From next year the I Do campaign will be encouraging consumers to demand Fairtrade Gold, starting with a focus on wedding rings.
  • MPs in the UK parliament have argued for a Social Responsibility Index to ensure that UK registered mining companies are fulfilling their responsibilities in terms of environmental and social performance. The members of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee claim that such an index should be implemented on top of the incoming Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

 

  

Gold mining truck in Tanzania. Source: Wikipedia. 

 

Forestry

  • REDD+, which puts in place a carbon-offsetting structure to tackle loss of carbon in forest ecosystems should have social safeguards, according to authors of a paper published in the journal Forests. Through case studies of schemes in Brazil, Indonesia and Tanzania, the authors examine how the respective REDD+ programs bring greater social benefits to locally affected people through transparency and community consultation.
  • Stella Gama, from Malawi’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has argued that REDD+ programs needs to better consider gender, particularly in relation to consultation processes and how benefits are distributed. Furthermore, in understanding the role of gender in REDD+ programs, forest management processes can be made more efficient, sustainable and be attuned to local communities’ realities.
  • In their November newsletter, the UN- REDD programme highlighted recent efforts at South-South learning around the implementation of REDD+ projects. Country representatives from Asia, Latin American and Africa traded best practice in data management, action planning and discussed how REDD+ pillars interact with national regimes and implementation practices.

Agriculture

  • IKEA has committed to using 100% certified sustainable palm oil, as per the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification processes, following moves by companies like Cargill and Unilever.
  • Environmental Leader reports on import bans continuing in China against US crops with a GM corn variety. In the Guardian, Karl Mathiesen analyses the decision by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to allow member states to choose whether to permit GM crops to be grown in their jurisdiction. He reports comments from the UK’s Chief Scientist, Sir Mark Walport who claims that denying access to GM technology could threaten food security across Europe and have a detrimental impact on the environment.

 

 

                                                                      

   A palm oil plantation in Indonesia. Source: Wikipedia. 

 

Environmental reporting and certification

  • Over 300,000 businesses worldwide have met the ISO 140001 environmental management standard, as reported by Business Green. An analysis by the UK’s Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) show that of those certificates more than a third of the businesses are located in China.
  • The Africa Report analyses the implementation of Fairtrade across Africa, with figures showing that 61% of all labourers and farmers are operating under Fairtrade provisions work across the continent. Furthermore, 30% of Fairtrade premiums go to African producers, with a large part of those operating in the cocoa sector.

Raising green finance

  • Amidst the ongoing climate negotiations, 30 of the most developed nations have pledged close to US$10 billion to the Green Climate Fund. The fund, which will be dispersed over four years, aims to provide support to nations who are both at least to blame for, and at most risk from, climate change. These include small island nations and Africa’s poorest countries. The funds will go to both climate adaptation measures such as flood defenses and to mitigation projects, such as capitalisation for solar and wind farms.
  • GreenBiz has reported that the market for Green Bonds could pass US$40 billion by the end of 2014. The growth in issuance comes on the back of a number of the biggest multinational investment banks agreeing over a set of green bond principles.
  • A recent paper from LSE Cities as part of the New Climate Economy project has analysed the fledging municipal green bonds market, reporting that amidst efforts by the World Bank to build municipal creditworthiness, cities in developing countries are still building their capacity to issue bonds. Johannesburg recently issued a green municipal bond which was oversubscribed, beyond its target value of US$136 million. The bond will fund waste to energy from landfill and 152 hybrid fuel buses’ modification of waste-water plants for electricity generation.