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New Global Commission to Put Business at the Centre of Sustainable Development

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Commission of business, labour and civil society leaders, established by Unilever CEO Paul Polman and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown, will highlight the massive rewards to businesses who take a lead in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Businesses which join global efforts to end extreme poverty and protect the planet’s finite natural resources can reap great rewards and protect their long-term performance, a proposition that will be tested by a new commission launched today at the World Economic Forum.

Created by the former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development will work over the next year to articulate and quantify the compelling economic case for businesses to engage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including:

·         Significant economic rewards – through new markets, investment opportunities and innovations – if the world tackles challenges including poverty, inequality and environmental stress

·         Risks to business performance and stability, and increased fragmentation, resource competition and fragility, if the world fails to address these risks

·         The necessity to work with governments, international organisations and civil society in order to build a future where businesses can perform – with inclusive, sustainable growth and widespread job creation

 

The Global Commission brings together international leaders from business, labour, financial institutions and civil society. They will present a comprehensive report in one year’s time, outlining new business and financial models, as well as market opportunities for companies who are invested in sustainable approaches.

Since 2000, the world has seen extreme poverty more than halved.  Business – which provides 60% of GDP, 80% of inward capital flows and 90% of jobs in developing countries – has been central to this success story, but can play a greater and more constructive role in realising growth and development opportunities.

“A massive prize awaits business if it successfully ushers in an era of shared prosperity and increased sustainability,” said Commission Co-Chair Mark Malloch-Brown. “Governments and international organizations alone cannot build the future we need. Business is the key to accelerating the transition.”

“There is no business case for enduring poverty. We have an opportunity to unlock trillions of dollars through new markets, investments and innovation – but to do so, we must challenge our current practices and address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges. Every business will benefit from operating in a more equitable, resilient world if we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

“There is a case to be made that vast economic incentives exist for changing business as usual,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. “Business can create the fair wage jobs to propel societal development that leaves no one behind.  Business innovation can deliver the technological advancements needed to achieve an efficient, net zero emissions economy.  And business and society could both win, if more businesses recognize this and act upon it.”

Commission members:

In addition to co-founders Mark Malloch-Brown and Paul Polman, members of the Commission include:  Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School, Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom; John Danilovich, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Hendrik du Toit, CEO, Investec Asset Management; John Fallon, CEO of Pearson PLC; Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co.; Mo Ibrahim, Founder of Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank; Sam Mostyn,President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID);  Roberto Oliveira de Lima, CEO of Natura; Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director and CEO of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL); Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact; Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group; Vineet Rai, Co-Founder and Chairman, Intellecap and Gavin Wilson, CEO of IFC Asset Management Company LLC.

Mark Malloch-Brown will act as the Co-Chair of the Commission, while Jeremy Oppenheim – who led the development of the influential New Climate Economy report – will act as Program Director.

The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development:

The Global Commission has been created to do five things:

 

·         First, to decode the SDGs and show why it makes sense for business to engage on sustainable development at a far more strategic level than it has to date.

·         Second, to show how new business models can align profitability with social purpose.

·         Third, to map out how new financial tools can crowd in private capital and align economic and social returns.

·         Fourth, to show how business, government, and society can work effectively together to build the partnerships needed for SDG delivery.

·         Fifth, to quantify the efficiency gains in achieving sustainable development if business is fully aligned with the SDGs.

 

The Commission will conduct foundational research, and engage in fact-finding dialogue with a diverse cross-section of key stakeholders, including business leaders, investors, civil society representatives, social entrepreneurs and academic experts. 

The initiative aims to explore current and future disruptive business models, understanding what they mean for sustainable development; and to map out new financing mechanisms the world will need to reach the SDGs. It will investigate changes in core business operations and behaviors that go far beyond traditional corporate social responsibility and voluntary partnerships.

The UN Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute and The B Team are supporting the effort, to help mobilize the business community and the next generation of entrepreneurs, to support achievement of the global goals by 2030.

The Commission receives funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the governments of Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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