Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has initiated the establishment of a new independent organisation, the Belantara Foundation, that will create an innovative new direct funding platform to protect rainforests. This new funding mechanism will channel both public and private sector finance direct to local communities and other actors implementing forest conservation projects.
The announcement coincided with the Global Landscape Forum in Paris which is taking place as part of the UN climate talks during COP21, to draw attention to the urgent need to protect the world’s remaining forests.
Belantara’s mission will be to provide a direct channel to protect and support Indonesian forests for the billions of dollars of financing for forest conservation that have been pledged worldwide. When its full remit is announced in 2016 the foundation will be able to receive funding from both the public and private sector, with governance standards, safeguards and a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system that gives funders confidence their money is being put to good use.
The new platform builds on APP’s experience of working with government and non-government actors on landscape-wide conservation and restoration projects in Indonesia. It seeks to draw on the partnerships that APP have established with government funded programmes such as the landscape approach programme in South Sumatra province , with the aim of finding synergies with programmes of this type and collaborating with these actors in landscapes across Indonesia.
The foundation will have a clear governance structure and arm’s length agreement with APP, who will be guaranteeing a long-term grant to fund its initial activities. The new foundation will provide both a coordination and supervisory function for different actors in the landscape and achieve its objectives by allocating funds to NGOs, local communities and other organisations involved in delivering projects. All activities will have the ultimate aim of protecting and restoring Indonesian rainforests.
“Billions of dollars have been pledged around the globe for forest conservation, but too little of it has made a real impact on the ground. We want to use our leverage and reach as the largest private concession holder in Indonesia to create a platform that will be independent and accountable but which will also provide an effective means of channelling some of this funding to real projects that make a difference in protecting and restoring Indonesia’s rainforests. We will start by investing our own funds in the platform but hope that in a short time others will follow,” said Aida Greenbury (pictured), Managing Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at APP.
Belantara along with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Yapeka, APP and other partners, has produced a landscape conservation master plan to act as a guide for all partner groups implementing projects. With the input of key stakeholders, the foundation has identified ten priority landscapes, where APP and its suppliers have commercial forestry based operations and are among the most ecologically valuable, yet simultaneously threatened in Indonesia. These will form the initial focus of the foundation’s work to support the protection and restoration of local ecosystems while advancing sustainable development within communities. These landscapes are a mix of ecosystems dominated by wetlands, including mangrove forests, peat swamp forests, and freshwater swamp forests, together with lowland rainforests and heath forests.
The Foundation is uniquely placed to be able to work with a diverse group of stakeholders and stimulate collaboration and coordination amongst all parties engaged in conservation projects in the ten landscapes identified across Sumatra and Kalimantan. The Foundation will also allocate funding to initiatives that share similar landscape scale conservation objectives. These plans will be unveiled in more detail in early 2016.
This new commitment is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate USD $10 million a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014. Earlier this week at the Indonesian Pavilion at COP21, APP also announced a community based agro-forestry programme for 500 communities in Indonesia.
Environmentally Sustainable Furniture for Dummies
We probably don’t think a great deal about our furniture choices. I know that I tend to just buy whatever looks pretty, seems functional and fits my budget. That usually means a trip to a few showrooms and big warehouse stores, like Ikea.
But we have a responsibility to the planet. We can do better. There are three major ways that our furniture can help the environment:
- Purchase used and/or recycled furniture and extends the lifecycle of precious materials.
- Source furniture that is free of environmentally unsustainable products.
- Choose furniture that doesn’t require electricity – opting for manual transitioning.
By investing in environmentally sustainable, high-qualify furniture, you’ll be able to pass down items from generation to generation. This will save your heirs on the cost of furnishing their own home, and help to protect the environment from wasteful fad furniture that only lasts a season or two.
Natural and Recycled Furniture Materials
If you absolutely love the look of wood furniture, search for environmentally sustainable products. For example, locally sourced wood or bamboo can easily be replenished without requiring excessive international harvesting of precious woods that harm the environment.
Sustainable wood products are only sourced from companies and locations that have the ability to quickly replace harvested wood – providing a responsible resource for generations of manufacturers and consumers.
Recycled furniture can either be a gently used item from someone else’s home, or a new piece of furniture that’s been used from reclaimed sources. You’ve probably seen examples of this at your local park – cities are increasingly using recycled materials to create benches and picnic tables.
But recycled materials don’t have to feel rough or rustic. Items made from recycled wood are readily available for order online or in-store. And believe it or not, electronic waste can be reclaimed and crafted into beautiful pieces of modern furniture.
The only limitation on recycled furniture design is the imagination of the creator. If you want to do it yourself, check out this DIY recycled furniture pinterest board!
Avoid Harsh Chemicals that Harm the Environment
Did you know that many cushions are made of highly-flammable polyurethane? Furniture manufacturers help keep our butts out of the hot seat by treating the materials in cushions with fire-retardant toxins. Unfortunately this padding breaks down overtime and the dust is both toxic to humans and the environment.
There are multiple lines of eco-friendly furniture that avoid the use of flammable polyurethane – often substituting with organic cotton. Just understand that you’re going to be in for a bit of sticker shock – eco-friendly furniture, when purchased new from major brands, gets pricey.
If you can’t afford the pricetag, I recommend finding used furniture from the same product line. There are a ton of websites dedicated to helping eco-friendly consumers find used organic, responsibly sourced products – and that includes furniture.
You’ll also want to stay away from faux leather. Furniture made from pleather and other leather substitutes are heavily treated with chemicals. That’s never a win.
Hypo-allergenic stuffing, combine with traditional leather might be a decent compromise if you have to have the leather look to tie a room together. But be conscious of the fact that tanning is not an environmentally friendly process, so try to limit these materials in your design.
In conclusion, it’s up to you how crazy you want to go. I think that as long as you stay with used furniture, you’re on the right track – even if it isn’t environmentally perfect, it’s at least a sunk cost for the environment – the damage has been done and you’re extending its useful life. But I think the most important takeaway here is buy quality items that you can pass down to your next generation – if that means spending more on higher quality new items that are sustainably sourced, so be it.
Livery Services: Mother Nature Needs You to Invest in an Eco-Friendly Fleet
In the United Kingdom, fleet vehicles make up most of the traffic traveling our roadways. If there’s one area of the transportation sector environmentalists should be focusing on, it’s the way we move goods, services and people around the empire.
Businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles need to realize the environmental impact of their service, and the opportunities available to help them lower their operating costs, while saving mother nature.
A green fleet is much cheaper to operate – both because of lower petrol consumption and government grants and tax benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at the things your company is unnecessarily spending money on every year due to an old, dirty fleet of polluters.
Vehicle Taxes on Polluters vs. Environmentally Friendly Fleets
If you want to operate your commercial van on public roads, you’re going to have to pay a VED, or Vehicle Excise Duty. The total fee assessed for this is based on the age of your vehicle, not how much you drive it. This is important, because an idle fleet of polluters can be just as costly as a fleet of green vehicles that produce value for your company.
Vans that were built after 1 March 2001 were taxed either £132 every six months, or £240 annually. This rate is effective per the TC39 VED tax code. There are exceptions to this rate.
For example, if your van is classified as a Euro 4 van, and was manufactured between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006, TC36 VED tax code applies to you. The six-month rate is £77, or £140 annually.
For older vans, manufactured prior to 1 March 2001, your tax rate is based on the size of the engine. Vans with engines less than 1549cc are charged £82.50 every six months, or £150 annually. Old vans with larger engines must pay £134.75 every six months, or £245 annually.
Euro 4 vans are the cheapest to operate from a tax perspective. Why? Because they were fitted with specialized filters that help to reduce the amount of dangerous pollutants that make it into earth’s atmosphere. You enjoy the tax savings year-after-year by operating these vehicles.
It really is economically more affordable to operate a green fleet.
Petrol Costs – Another Reason to Think Green to Save Green
The cost of petrol is heavily impacted by our environment. When Britain is thrashed by stormy weather due to global warming, or oil production is impacted by environmental disasters, the cost of filling up skyrockets.
At the time of this writing, petrol is £1.16 per liter, and diesel is £1.18 per liter. There are forecasts from reliable agencies that see the price continuing to rise in the near future, passing price points not seen since 2014.
Regardless of the speculative nature of future fuel prices, the fact remains that vehicles that use less fuel save their operators money every time the wheels turn.
As an alternative, many companies are heavily investigating and testing all-electric and hybrid alternatives for a greener, more economical fleet. As an example, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular all-electric vehicles – and it’s a fantastic choice for transporting people or smaller cargo payloads to residential destinations. The total cost to charge a Nissan Leaf, using current electrical vehicle charging technology, is just £3.64 to go from empty to full charge.
That’s a HUGE savings over filling a petrol tank. And with the prevalence of fast-charge locations, it’s possible to go from zero to empty in just 30 minutes.
In conclusion, there are many ways to save on fleet operation costs. And by investing in a more efficient fleet, you’ll be doing your part to save the environment. Both tax incentives and lower operating costs make green fleets a no-brainier for serious fleet operators throughout the United Kingdom.
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