On the vigil before its annual general meeting (AGM) which takes places between October 7-9, the World Bank has awarded the lowest score by development charity Christian Aid. The scorecard marks the climate impact of the world’s investment banks.
Coming in last place with an F, the World Bank was criticised for spending more on fossil fuels than clean energy, for its continued funding for exploration of yet more fossil fuels and its lack of a clear strategy to transform its investments to support the UN Paris Agreement.
This is despite the fact that it makes very strong public pronouncements on the urgency of climate change as a global problem.
The scorecard is published in the report, Financing our Future, which also grades the Inter-American Bank (D), the Asia Development Bank (E) and the African Development Bank (E). Jointly, the four development banks have financed $17.5bn of clean energy in the past 5 years, but they also spent $18bn on fossil fuels in the same period.
The report author, Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Change Advisor, said: “If World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wants to be taken seriously as a champion of global development he must overhaul this two-faced investment policy and get serious about ensuring clean energy access in poor countries.
“With one hand it finances some innovative clean energy access projects and warn of the dangers of climate change, yet with the other it spends millions on fossil fuel exploration and development which has little impact on poverty reduction. This is despite the International Energy Agency warning that no more than a third of proven reserves can be consumed prior to 2050 if we are to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees.
The historic Paris Agreement showed world leaders are waking up to dangers of climate change and have committed to do something about it.
“The World Bank should be at the forefront of this global transition to a low-carbon world, yet its investments give a confused and contradictory picture.”
She added: “It’s clear that all these development banks need to clean up their act and to do it quickly, especially the World Bank, which is currently bottom of the class.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to development, so to have development banks investing in fossil fuels is deluded. Instead these banks need to play a catalytic role so that people living in poverty can access sustainable energy that meets their needs.”
The report shows that although the investment banks have some good examples of backing renewable energy projects in the developing world, they all score disappointingly low on the clean energy scorecard. This assesses total spend on renewables verses fossil fuels, their policies on fossil fuel phase out, how supportive they are for clean energy access and the transparency on the carbon footprint of their investment and strategy to reduce it.
Dr Doig added that the UK Government had a key role to play in reforming the banks and encouraging them to get their act together.
She said: “The Department for International Development has taken positive steps, including its Energy Africa campaign which aims to extend the use of solar powered electricity to light up African homes and businesses. This 21st century energy supply is sustainable, affordable and reliable. It is exactly this kind of energy access initiative we need to see more of.
“We need the UK to knock heads together in the development community and ensure policies and investments which will deliver the Paris Agreement.”
The report concludes with three recommendations that would help make the development banks fit for purpose.
1. Ensure the carbon emissions of their funding portfolios is publicly available and set clear targets to reduce the carbon footprint of their investments and their exposure to climate risk
2. Support developing countries to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction commitments by phasing out financing for fossil fuels by 2020, and instead prioritising financial support for delivery of countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement.
3. Support developing countries to achieve universal access to energy, giving greater priority to decentralised and off-grid renewable energy technologies.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
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