How important is the Return on Investment when it comes to sustainability matters?

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Today I would like to share with you a very interesting topic that I stumbled on while browsing trough the web: The ROI of Sustainability.

If you had an economics/business class then you know perfectly what the return on investment is ,and how important it is out there in the real world to have an Index that shows you on first sight how long it takes until your investment becomes profitable.

And at this point there is a very informative website from triplepundit.com (very informative also the article CSR After the Volkswagen Scandal) that collected a vast series of articles and videos that handles exactly this matter and gives answers to business related questions like “is my idea for sustainability justified by the expense?” or “how can I calculate the payback period for upfront expenditures?”.  The answer to this questions are given by experts and people that come from companies that had to take decisions of this type and did some good investments.

I suggest you to give it a try, here is the link, dont be shy 😉

http://www.triplepundit.com/series/roi-of-sustainability/

IRENA – The International Renewable Energy Agency

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In today’s lecture about renewable energy production, our professor Chalvatzis Konstantinos showed us some very useful sources for data and information on renewable energy stuff that everybody that is into research about RE should know about. One of those is IRENA – the international Renewable Energy Agency.

You do may not know about this agency because it is still a very “young” organisation. Founded only in 2009 and headquartered in Abu Dhabi its main task is to sustain renewable energy policies; until today 138 countries take part of the agency (see pic above). Beside the IEA, the International Energy Agency, it is one of the biggest suppliers of data and gatherer of information on renewable energies. In fact, the main reasons for its foundation is that an increasing world population in the next decades and the industrialization process that goes within this estimation have to be based more and more on renewable energy sources, also because of the increasing risk of a shortage on fossil energy sources and rising prices.  But it doesn’t end here, also a decrease of greenhouse gases and a more sustainable use of classical energy sources is what the people behind IRENA try to achieve on an international, national and regional level.

I would suggest you to check out their Homepage, there you can find loads of useful information on what is going on in the field, but also how they are organised. And of course you can also apply for an Internship there, right now a position is open =)

Give it a try, and thank me later!

My two cents on Milan’s Expo 2015!

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I know I should have written this post long time ago. Even though I went to Expo 10 days ago, I should have went there before (less people would have been there) and this review might have helped some people weather to go there or not. But it might help you right now. What do I think about Milan Expo? – ‘A Glorified Disaster’.

I must say I had high expectations from it. More on sustainability terms and less on food. The Capital expenditure has soaked up €1.3 billion (£930 million). Some 145 nations are taking part – 54 with their own pavilions, which is 12 more than Shanghai managed at the last Universal Expo in 2010. Between them, the nations have tipped in €1.1 billion (£785 million). Running costs will be more than €800 million (£570 million). More than 10 million have already visited this expo. In terms of organization, it wasn’t so bad. But where was sustainability?

Italy did manage to organize it well. I have to give it that. But India did not participate in this event, which was a huge disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to go to this pavilion but to my surprise it was not on the list. After further research, I got to know that because of diplomatic tensions, India pulled out of the at the last event.

Some 140 countries showcased their local food. Some used sustainability as a showcase in agriculture but that was it. It was all food. Some were selling their garments to people. It was kind of flea market expo. If you have patience to stand in queue for 3 hours to know that cuisine of Korea, be my guest. I took the brochure and read what kind of food they are planning to show inside. My suggestion would be (if you still want to attend this event) go there early. As early as 9am and stay there till 23hrs to catch up on as many things as you can. It is indeed to much to see. Over priced, less quantity food.

India looking forward to bank on Solar power

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In India, Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend. India’s commitments on increasing its non-fossil fuel component of power generation to 40% by 2030 are substantial. Even though coal usage has been increasing too but India is confident to use more solar power. In Gujrat (one of the states in India) they have been using Solar power a bit for a while. The project was the brainchild of Narendra Modi. As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi spurred companies to build more than 900MW of solar plant across the state in just a couple of years. Now, as prime minister, the question is whether he can repeat the feat across India, which receives more sunlight than any other country in the G20. India’s booming cities are another huge challenge, with many struggling with blackouts, particularly when temperatures soar and air conditioning is ramped up. Again, Modi’s 13-year tenure in Gujarat is providing the solar template. In September, it was announced that rooftop solar power projects in the state capital, Gandhinagar, will be replicated in Punjab and Delhi, where a storm at the end of May plunged its fragile grid into rolling blackouts for a week.

Delhi is ever more power-hungry, but with little open land and 300-plus days of sunshine a year, rooftop solar is an attractive solution. India’s pledge document talks about increasing nuclear power from 5 GW to 63 GW by 2032 and doubling wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022. But the most ambitious is the plan to increase solar capacity from 4 GW to 100 GW in the next seven years. With the liability issue bogging down nuclear, much of the heavy lifting may have to be done by solar and, to some extent, wind.

Solar power has become the catchword for many states in recent times. Internationally, the price of solar power components has been declining at 15% year over year, and states are leveraging this trend to get good deals. Recently, Madhya Pradesh was able to beat down the price it will have to pay for power from a solar project to Rs 5.05 a unit.
The pledge document says: “A scheme for development of 25 solar parks, ultra mega solar power projects, canal top solar projects and 1,00,000 solar pumps for farmers is at different stages of implementation.” The 100 GW expansion planned nationwide would need acquisition of nearly 5 lakh acres of land – at least three times the size of Mumbai.

I really hope India start using more non fossil fuels and less charcoal.

Source: The guardian, TOI

Volkswagen Shows Need for Sustainable Corporate Governance : Boards should embed sustainability in corporate DNA

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SteamGreeners, here a well writen Articel about Volkswagen and its CSR Policy! Enjoy and thanks to the guys from friends of the OECD guidelines!

Friends of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Last week news broke that Volkswagen has been involved in diesel emissions scandal in which they had rigged up to 11 million of their vehicles to pass emissions tests. The Volkswagen scandal involves cheating of consumers, cheating of taxpayers, cheating the climate, and cheating of governments. The scandal shows a failure of Volkswagen’s consumer policy, its integrity policy and its corporate responsibility policy. It also highlights a clear failure of its corporate governance. In other words, shareholders were also cheated. The loss of billions of shareholder value within just one week indicates how much the companies’ board oversight as well as it risk management systems have failed.

Board rooms of enterprises should be a driving force for change and corporate boards should practice what I like to term ‘’Sustainable Corporate Governance.’’ In other words companies should embed corporate sustainability and responsibility in their corporate DNA. This was something clearly missing…

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Paris Summit 2015 – Each country’s pledge

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Carbon Brief has been following each country’s pledge towards the Paris 2015 summit. Here on this post you will find more details on how each country pledged in the upcoming summit. While for some countries, the pledges seem a big task however it will be interesting to see if they manage to achieve the target.

For instance, Mexico – the first developing country to come forward – includes a section on adaptation, while the EU is silent on the topic. Switzerland’s pledge of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions looks high compared to the EU’s “at least 40%”, until you realise they plan to use international carbon credits where the EU will make all reductions on home soil.

These pledges are also known as “intended nationally determined contributions”, or INDCs. You can find more details of each country’s INPC on UNFCCC. If the INDCs fall short – as they are widely expected to do – there is no official mechanism in place to ratchet them up before Paris. This is where they will be incorporated into the agreement, and likely take on some element of legal force.

I have my skepticism too but let’s wait for this event to happen!

Source: Carbon Brief

Plastic bag’s usage has been reduced but still a long way to go!

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Over the few months I have been stressing a lot in my posts regarding the use of plastic bag in our daily life. Why I say ‘the use of daily life’?

Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide.
That’s over one million plastic bags used per minute.

Recently, England started charging their customers in Supermarket for the use of plastic bag. It was long over due. Denmark was the first country in 1993 to pass the law to charge customers for the plastic bag in supermarket. Even Finland tops the list for less plastic bag usage.

Ireland ans Scotland started charging long way back too and succeeded in reducing the usage by significant number.
I remember when I was in school in India, there was once a strong campaign against the use of plastic. If any student did a bad thing, he was punished to clean the sport ground by taking out the plastic bags. The ground was really dirty and mostly I and my friends had to do it sometimes. We liked it. It was better than attending Maths class.
(btw only guys cleaned it, girls were saint at that time – pun intended).

Now, living in Italy, where they charge 15 cents for the plastic bag, I take my own bag for last 10 months for shopping. I carry my laptop bag everywhere. You never know when you need to shop. I look like a nerd. Even people tell me that I am always with that bag but I sleep well knowing that I am using less plastic than I was using before.

There is a post where it says that by 2050 99% of seabirds will have plastic in their body system.

When Ireland started charging over the use of plastic bag, there was 90% reduction in the usage. So did Australia and it worked wonders for them. I wonder why India and China lack behind.

You know in India they put hot tea in the plastic bag to drink later on in office or back home? really unhealthy but good memories. I see loads of people carrying plastic bag in supermarket only to put it in their cars truck. Why can’t they use a trolley till their car parking to put the stuff inside? or keep a strong bag in the car for shopping in the future.

I am optimistic but with my own limitations but what a beautiful world will be without the plastic in the ocean.