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Leading businesses commence testing of a new Natural Capital Protocol

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Over 40 businesses will be the first to see the new draft today of the Natural Capital Protocol, being developed by the Natural Capital Coalition.  The testing will be led by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), a member of the Coalition.

The Natural Capital Coalition is a global platform which brings together the different initiatives and organisations working in natural capital under a common vision of a world where business conserves and enhances natural capital. www.naturalcapitalcoalition.org

The companies will join an already extensive group of organisations in this unique collaborative process, which involves the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), leading a consortium on the writing of the Protocol, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), leading a consortium on the engagement process. The final Protocol will enable companies to improve their decision making by standardising how their relationship with nature is measured and valued.

Ten businesses will be testing the Protocol in depth, including The Coca-Cola Company, The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Hugo Boss, Kering, Natura, Nespresso, Nestlé, Olam International and Shell. Each will test the Protocol against specific business applications, including: assessing water use opportunities and risks in site specific locations (Dow Chemical); identifying the drivers of environmental impacts along the supply chain to inform raw material procurement strategies (Hugo Boss); investigating how natural capital assessments can potentially enhance the management and reporting of environmental issues (F. Hoffmann-La Roche); and exploring how to bring Natural Capital assessment results into strategic business decisions (Kering).

More than 30 additional businesses are testing specific aspects of the Protocol, including a range of different geographies and sectors meaning over 40 businesses in total are contributing to the development of the Protocol.

This first-of-its-kind programme is designed for businesses to live-test, refine and influence the final Protocol to ensure it is robust, practical and relevant to the entire private sector.

Neil Hawkins, Dow corporate vice president, EH&S, and chief sustainability officer, said:  “As part of our 2025 Sustainability Goals, Dow seeks to better incorporate the value of nature into business decisions and deliver projects that are good for business and good for ecosystems. We are proud to help pilot the Natural Capital Protocol as part of our efforts.”

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of international institutional affairs at Kering said: “We are pleased to contribute our Environmental Profit and Loss methodology and our experience in embedding natural capital accounting into our business for the development of a broadly adopted Protocol. The pragmatic work we are doing together to standardize and scale the Protocol is critical to the future protection and maintenance of natural capital and biodiversity. ”

Chris Brett, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Olam International, said: “Along with our partners at the Natural Capital Coalition, we believe that the only way to change behaviours for a sustainable future is to place monetary value on Nature’s assets. However, the Protocol won’t work unless it can be implemented consistently and effectively across industries, regions and sectors in the ‘real world’, so we are glad to be one of the pilot private sector partners testing it in our global agribusiness operations.”

The Natural Capital Protocol will bring together the many approaches to natural capital under one standardized framework. The final global Protocol and supporting guidance will be published on 6 July 2016.

Mark Gough, Executive Director of the Natural Capital Coalition, said: “These companies are at the forefront of a process that will change the way business relates to nature. Their contribution to the collaborative approach is essential to make sure the Protocol is practical and will help improve decision making”

Polly Courtice, Director of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, said: “This is a significant and vital stage in the Natural Capital Protocol, which will provide us with invaluable insight to help steer the content of the final protocol.  The involvement of business users from an early stage has always been essential to ensure the final outcome becomes a commonly used product in the market.”

Follow the conversation online.

The Natural Capital Protocol is a product of the Natural Capital Coalition. The Natural Capital Coalition has brought together – through two consortia led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s leading institutions from business, accountancy, consultancy, financial institutions and NGOs to develop the Natural Capital Protocol, to develop two sector guides on Food and Apparel, and to engage business in the development and testing of the Protocol.

These institutions are: Accenture, ACTS, ARCADIS, The B Team, Carbon Disclosure Standards Board, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Conservation International, Deloitte, eCountability, eftec, ERM, EY, FAO, GIST Advisory, IERS, Imperial College London, Integrated Sustainability Services, Natural Capital Project, The Nature Conservancy, The Sustainable Fashion Academy, PwC, Sustain Value, Synergiz, Trucost, True Price, Vital Metrics, World Resources Institute and WWF. Work on the Natural Capital Protocol Project has been made possible with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the International Finance Corporation.

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What Does the Rising Alt-Right Movement Mean for Climate Change Propaganda?

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Time author Justin Worland penned an insightful post this summer about the increasingly divisive attitudes on climate change. Worland pointed out that concerns about climate science used to be a bipartisan focus, but have since become primarily the concern of the left.

The Alt-Right Gives Renewed Voice to Climate Change Denialism

Unfortunately, the battle is becoming more divisive than ever before. The rise of the alt-right movement has propelled climate change denialism into overdrive. The election of Donald Trump illustrates this perfectly. In 2012, Trump tweeted that climate change was a mess created by the Chinese. At the time, his statement was dismissed as a mocking jab at the current president. However, after millions of alt-right voters put Trump in office, these fears became more pronounced.

The alt-right movement is gaining steam across the Western World. This has created profound concerns about the inevitable future of climate change. Of course, not every alt-right group adheres to climate change denialism. A British paper writing service would likely publish more articles that are favorable to the climate change discussion, even if it was read primarily by right-wingers. However, that is of little solace to the rest of the world. While alt-right groups in mainland Europe may not share the American GOP’s hostility towards climate science, they will help reinforce their political capital.

Around the same time Worland published his article, his colleague at The Guardian, David Runciman wrote a piece that focused more heavily on recent developments driven by the alt-right.

“Not all climate sceptics are part of the “alt-right”. But everyone in the alt-right is now a climate sceptic. That’s what makes the politics so toxic. It means that climate scepticism is being driven out by climate cynicism. A sceptic questions the evidence for a given claim and asks whether it is believable. A cynic questions the motives of the people who deploy the evidence, regardless of whether it is believable or not. Any attempt to defend the facts gets presented as evidence that the facts simply suit the interests of the people peddling them.”

Does this mean that the quest to fight climate change has been lost? No. A new generation of right wingers are beginning to break the cycle of climate change denialism. According to recent polls, millennial conservatives are much more likely to be concerned about the future of climate change then they’re older conservative brethren. They may help turn the tide of the political discussion, so climate change can once again be a bipartisan concern.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of concerns:

  • Millennials are less politically active, so they may not have the influence necessary to temper the alt-right position on climate change.
  • The alt-right has significant control over the discussion. Trump has taken efforts to bar studies that contradict his position on climate change. Millennial attitudes on climate science make shift after being exposed to alt-right propaganda.

The biggest concern of all is that it may be too late to address the problem by the time millennials have any meaningful political influence.

So what can be done to address the issue? Climate change advocates must be more diligent than ever. They will be combating a group of climate change deniers with a lot more political support. They will need to make the case that fighting climate change is not a political concern, but a concern of human survival.

With concerns about climate change mounting, they will also need to make it one of their primary ballot points during coming elections. If they create enough of a protest, they may be able to turn the tide of discussion.

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How Home Automation Can Help You Go Green

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The holidays are an exciting, nostalgic time: the crispness in the air, the crunch of snow under your boot, the display of ornate holiday lighting up your home like a beacon to outer space, and the sound of Santa’s bell at your local Walmart.

Oh, yeah—and your enormous electric bill.

Extra lights and heating can make for some unexpected budgeting problems, and they also cause your home to emit higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.

So, it’s not just your wallet that’s hurting—the planet is hurting as well.

You can take the usual steps to save energy and be more eco-conscious as you go about your normal winter routine (e.g., keeping cooler temperatures in the home, keeping lights off in naturally lit rooms, etc.), but these methods can often be exhausting and ultimately ineffective.

So what can you actually do to create a greener home?

Turn to tech.

Technology is making waves in conservation efforts. AI and home automation have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, not only because of their cost saving benefits but also because of their ability to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Use the following guide to identify your home’s inefficiencies and find a solution to your energy woes.

Monitor Your Energy Usage

Many people don’t understand how their homes use energy, so they struggle with conservation. Start by looking at your monthly utility bills. They can show you how much energy your home typically uses and what systems cost you the most.

monitor energy usage

Licensed from Shutterstock – By Piotr Adamowicz

The usual culprits for high costs and energy waste tend to be the water heater and heating and cooling system. Other factors could also impact your home’s efficiency. Your home’s insulation, for example, could be a huge source of wasted heating and cooling—especially if the insulation hasn’t been inspected or replaced in years. You should also check your windows and doors for proper weatherproofing every year.

However, waiting for your monthly bill or checking out your home’s construction issues are time-consuming steps, and they don’t help you immediately understand and tackle the problem. Instead, opt for an easier solution. Some homeowners, for example, use a smart energy monitor such as Sense to track energy use in real time and identify energy hogs.

Use Smart Plugs

Computers, televisions, and lights still consume energy if they’re left on and unused. Computers offer easy cost savings with their built-in timers that allow the devices to use less energy—they typically turn off after a set number of minutes. Televisions sometimes provide the same benefit, although you may have to fiddle with the settings to activate this feature.

A better option—and one that thwarts both the television and the lights—is purchasing smart plugs. The average US home uses more than 900 kilowatts of electricity per month. That can really add up, especially when you realize that people are wasting more than $19 billion every year on household appliances that are always plugged in. Smart plugs like WeMo can help eliminate wasted electricity by letting you control plugged-in items from your smartphone.

Update Your Lighting

Incandescent lightbulbs can consume and waste a lot of energy—35% of CO2 emissions are generated from electric power plants. This can have serious consequences for increased global warming.

To reduce your impact on the environment, you can install more efficient lightbulbs to offset your energy usage. However, many homeowners choose smart lights, like the Philips Hue bulbs, to save money and make their homes more energy efficient.

Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone, and many smart light options come with monthly energy reporting so you can continue to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Take Control of the Thermostat

Homeowners often leave the thermostat on its default settings, but defaults often result in heating and cooling systems that run longer and harder than they need to.

In fact, almost half the average residential energy use comes from energy-demanding heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to fiddling with outdated systems, eco-conscious homeowners use smart thermostats to save at least 10% on heating and roughly 15% on cooling per year.

Change your home’s story by employing a smart thermostat such as the Nest, ecobee3, or Honeywell Lyric. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your in-home temperature by accounting for a variety of factors, including outdoor humidity and precipitation. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home.

Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. About one-third of that goes to maintaining their yards. Using a smart irrigation systems to improve your water usage can save your home up to 8,800 gallons of water per year.

Smart irrigation systems use AI to sync with local weather predictions, which can be really helpful if you have a garden or fruit trees that you use your irrigation system for  water. Smart features help keep your garden and landscaping healthy by making sure you never overwater your plants or deprive them of adequate moisture.

If you’re looking to make your home greener, AI-enabled products could make the transition much easier. Has a favorite tool you use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share in the comments below.

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