#UNEP; #ReNewPower; #India; #RenewableEnergy; #SDGs
Gurugram, Haryana (India) August 29 (Canadian-Media): India’s largest renewable energy company, ReNew Power, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have signed a partnership agreement to promote increased access to renewable energy and improved energy efficiency, UNEP reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The strengthened partnership between the two parties – who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 10th July 2020 in Delhi- focuses on enhancing access to renewable energy and improving energy efficiency as part of the progressive strategies that India has adopted to realize its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.
ReNew Power will partner with UNEP’s District Energy in Cities Initiative as an implementation partner for renewable energy installations across India with the aim of shifting the heating and cooling sector to an energy efficient one. The partnership will also implement solar off-grid projects, studies, and assessments. Joint efforts will be promoted through annual events to showcase contributions to India’s strategic vision on renewable energy.
Renewable sources constitute about 23.6% of total installed capacity in India. The country had a target of 175 GW of renewables capacity by 2022, and at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, the Prime Minister announced an increase in the target to 450 GW.
At ReNew, we have always believed in going beyond our business and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders on multiple issues impacting various communities across the country,” said Vaishali Nigam Sinha, ReNew Power’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Through our association with UNEP, we are looking to work on issues which have the potential to accelerate growth and bring about socio-economic change in the area of environment and clean energy.”
“ReNew Power is a market leader in renewable energy and has demonstrated that clean energy makes ample business sense,” said Atul Bagai, Head of UNEP’s India Office. “We are proud to associate with them to push the envelope when it comes to clean and viable energy solutions for multiple applications in support of the climate goals and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.”
#UN; #India; #CleanEnergy; #Covid19Pandemic; #ClimateAction
India/UN, Aug 28 (Canadian-Media): India has a crucial role to play in promoting clean energy and climate action as the world looks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday.
In India, a woman demonstrates how to use a solar dish for cooking. Image credit: UNDP India
Delivering the 19th Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture, the UN chief called on India to take the lead in transforming global economic, energy and health systems to save lives, create inclusive economies and avert the threat of climate change.
“India can become a true global superpower in the fight against climate change, if it speeds up its shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” he stated.
With the pandemic putting sustainable development at risk, exposing vulnerabilities that will worsen with climate change, the Secretary-General outlined how switching to clean energy could benefit millions worldwide.
“Investments in renewable energy, clean transport and energy efficiency during the recovery from the pandemic could extend electricity access to 270 million people worldwide – fully a third of the people that currently lack it,” he said.
Furthermore, “these same investments could help create nine million jobs annually over the next three years”, he added.
End fossil fuel subsidies
Mr. Guterres highlighted India’s progress in the renewable energy sector.
The number of workers has risen five-fold since 2015, while last year, spending on solar energy eclipsed coal-fired power generation for the first time.
Despite significant challenges, the South Asian giant has embraced the technology that will power a sustainable future, and is a pioneer in areas such as clean cooking.
However, the UN chief noted that subsidies for fossil fuels, such as coal, are still roughly seven times higher than subsidies for clean energy. The situation is the same in many other parts of the world, something he found “deeply troubling”.
“I have asked all G20 countries, including India, to invest in a clean, green transition as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “This means ending fossil fuel subsidies, placing a price on carbon pollution and committing to no new coal power plants after 2020.”
‘Up in smoke’
Fossil fuels, including coal emissions, create pollution that has severely damaged human health.
Mr. Guterres said eliminating them would result in a rise in life expectancy by 20 months, and prevent some 5.5 million deaths annually worldwide.
Unlike renewable energy, investing in fossil fuels is “bad economics”, he continued, which explains why the world’s largest investors are abandoning coal.
“They see the writing on the wall,” he said. “The coal business is going up in smoke.”
Time for bold leadership The UN chief said he was inspired to learn about a “promising trend” in India.
During the pandemic, the proportion of renewable energy rose from 17 per cent to 24 per cent, while coal-fired power declined from 76 per cent to 66 per cent.
Mr. Guterres underlined that renewable energy must continue to grow, and coal use progressively phased out.
“Today is the time for bold leadership on clean energy and climate action. I call on India to be at the helm of the ambitious leadership we need,” he said.
Honouring a climate action pioneer The Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture has been delivered annually since 2002, in honour of the late Indian industrialist and founder of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
The Secretary-General described Mr. Seth as “a climate action pioneer” who stressed that his country must end its reliance on fossil fuels and instead invest in solar power.
“India has all the ingredients for exerting the leadership at home and abroad envisioned by Darbari Seth,” he said.
#Vancouver; #BritishColumbia; #Canada; #Terramera; #ScienceHorizons; #YouthInternship
Vancouver (British Columbia), Aug 28 (Canadian-Media): Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced Aug 28 at Terramera, a Vancouver-based clean-technology company specializing in sustainable agricultural practices, of Canada's partnership with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employers across Canada to create 900 internship opportunities for students through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program.
The Minister was joined by Ajay Patel, President and CEO of Vancouver Community College; Karn Manhas, Terramera founder and CEO; and Melody Sizer, a former Science Horizons intern, now full-time Terramera employee.
“I encourage students and businesses to take part in this fantastic program aimed at creating jobs for youth in the clean-technology sector. As Canada continues to safely restart our economy and build a more sustainable future, your skills, passion, and expertise will help to scale up our efforts to fight climate change and reach our goals of being net zero by 2050,” said Wilkinson in a news release.
Run by independent, third-party organizations (delivery agents), Science Horizons has been operation for more than 20 years and has delivered over 5500 internship opportunities in Canada. Selected via an open call for proposals, Delivery agents for 2020–21 are BioTalent Canada, Clean Foundation, Colleges and Institutes Canada, ECO Canada, and the United Nations Association in Canada.
With its commitment to support students, Government of Canada is promoting news skills developed by them in the fight against climate change and support the growth of the clean economy to build a cleaner, more prosperous future.
Science Horizons, now open for 2020–21 applications, supports jobs in clean-technology sectors by offering internships to recent post-secondary graduates in STEM, including opportunities for Indigenous graduates, graduates from rural and remote areas, and women in STEM fields.
A funding of up to $15,000 by Science Horizons is available to employers for each intern they hire, and interns will receive experience working on environmental projects lasting six to twelve months. About 90 percent of interns secure a full-time job or return to school after their internship.
Funding is part of a $600 million investment under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to organizations that deliver a range of activities helping youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a broad range of skills and knowledge to participate in the current and future labour market.
“The ability to attract and develop top talent from across BC and Canada is a source of our strength and innovation. Our interns through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program have helped us become the mission-driven, collaborative, and innovative company we are today. We extend our thanks to Minister Wilkinson and Environment and Climate Change Canada for nurturing programs like this one, which create opportunities in the innovation economy. These are the jobs that will help lead our province and our country to economic strength and recovery in these challenging times and beyond,” said Karn Manhas, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Terramera in the news release.
#UN; #UNEP; #Nairobi; #MobileGames; #Covid19Pandemic
Nairobi, Aug 22 (Canadian-Media): Some of the biggest names in mobile gaming today – with a combined active user base of 250 million players – unveiled a series of environmental activations they will be integrating into live games such as Subway Surfers, Angry Birds 2 and Golf Clash, UNEP reports said.
Video Game Industry. Facebook page
During the first ever Green Mobile Game Jam, which took place from March to April 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, developers and CEOs from 11 companies committed to integrate these green activations such as new modes, maps or buildings, themed events, storylines and messaging.
The UNEP-facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance supported the Green Mobile Game Jam, whose organisers hope that the shared learning and new practice, represents a new turning point for green thinking in game design for mass audience mobile games.
“We are excited to see the gaming industry throw its weight behind global efforts to reverse the climate crisis,” said Inger Andersen Executive Director of UNEP. “The climate emergency needs all hands on deck. In reaching out to 250 million gamers, we hope to inspire audiences to take action.”
John Earner, CEO of Space Ape who helped oversee the Jam said, “I was skeptical whether we could pull it off, especially during lockdown, but it was really inspiring to see companies who are normally very competitive come together and deliver some really great work. I see a huge amount of potential here for our industry and player communities going forward.”
The results of the jam, activation designs and timelines for implementation can be seen on this Green Game Jam page with activations from:
Image credit: Twitter handle
The participants of the jam were asked to address themes ranging from climate change, supporting action around reforestation and restoring nature to exploring how games can integrate education on renewable energy. Green Game Jam participants voted Playdemic as ‘Overall Winner’, MAG Interactive as ‘Most Adoptable’ for their collaboration with TreesPlease and Creative Mobile as “First to Market”. Wildworks emerged as ‘UNEP favourite.’
Some activations have already been integrated and the rest will go live by early 2021 or sooner. The Playing for the Planet Alliance is partnering with Google Play to promote eligible games, with the activations later this year. Next year, organisers hope that additional companies will sign up to participate in the jam, potentially reaching up to 1 billion gamers with the activations.
#NewYork; #UNEP; #Adobe; #OceanAgency; #OcenLeague
New York, Aug 20 (Canadian-Media): The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Ocean Agency, in collaboration with creativity partner Adobe, today launched Ocean League, a new campaign that showcases the power of creativity in driving positive change for ocean protection and climate action.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The ocean is facing a perfect storm of pollution, overfishing, and climate change, and these threats have pushed ecosystems such as coral reefs to the tipping point of collapse. Coral reefs alone support 25% of all ocean life and over half a billion people with food and income. At this critical moment in time, the campaign invites individuals, leaders, organisations and brands to join the #OceanLeague and the Glowing Gone campaign, a global movement supporting greater ocean protection.
As a part of the collaboration, the Ocean League pledge for greater ocean protection is powered by Adobe Sign, making it easy to access and e-sign from any device. Additionally, Adobe has created specially designed ocean-themed Adobe Photoshop Camera lenses, giving everyone the opportunity to immerse themselves in underwater worlds and share creative imagery to show their support.
“The crisis facing the ocean is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. We need to be far more creative in our approach to create a groundswell of popular support and action for the ocean. This is why we are excited to have teamed up with Adobe on this campaign,” said Leticia Carvalho, Head of Marine and Freshwater at UNEP.
Image credit: Twitter handle
On September 30th 2020, the UN Biodiversity Summit will take place, marking the start of a year packed with international conferences where conservation targets for the next decade will be determined - described as “the Super Year for the Ocean” by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson. UNEP, The Ocean Agency and Adobe will showcase this groundswell of support to policy-makers through visual displays at key events, with the specific goal of prioritizing coral reefs and oceans in the Post-2020 framework at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021 (CoP15).
“In this moment, the power of creativity and the ability for it to have a global impact has never been more relevant,” said Adobe VP Brand Marketing, John Travis. “Adobe is committed to inspiring and enabling creativity for all, so that together we can create change. We are so proud to support UNEP and The Ocean Agency and empower the global community to take action towards ocean conservation.”
The campaign collaboration builds on the success of the #GlowingGone campaign, a partnership between UNEP, The Ocean Agency, Adobe and Pantone in 2019, which reached millions of people through creative challenges and sports events, such as the World Surf League. The campaign brings attention to the ocean’s warning sign that is currently going unnoticed: corals glowing in fluorescent colours to protect themselves from rising ocean temperatures. These fragile ecosystems are on the frontline of climate change and need the world’s attention.
“Ocean conservation is rarely prioritised as an issue, despite the fact that a healthy ocean is of fundamental importance to all life on Earth. We know that a positive show of mass support - including global brands and celebrities - can inspire the policy and funding commitments we need from governments,” said Richard Vevers, CEO of The Ocean Agency.
UN Goodwill Ambassadors and ocean advocates from around the world are supporting the campaign, encouraging digital audiences to share their creations with #GlowingGone and #OceanLeague to highlight their support. UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, with UNEP Ambassadors, influencers and ocean advocates include: Raisa Andriana and Hamish Daud, David de Rothschild, Alice Eve, Amanda Cerny, Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau, Rocky Dawuni, Shawn Heinrichs, Nadya Hutagalung, Dana Melanie, Dia Mirza, Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, Alex Rendell, Antoinette Taus, and Yaya Touré, as well as Julie Lake and Rob Machado.
“The current pandemic has put a spotlight on our unhealthy relationship with the environment, and especially our ocean. Ocean acidification, and many forms of pollution from marine litter to harmful nutrients, are decreasing its balance and productivity. Ecosystems such as coral reefs are rapidly facing complete collapse, with 50 percent of coral cover around the world damaged. Like the pandemic, it is having the greatest impact on some of the world’s poorest communities. It’s critical that the international community uses the opportunity of the coming conferences to set bold targets for ocean conservation,” said Ashlan Cousteau.
#Arizona; #US; #tropicalForests; #Restoration; #deforestation
Arizona (United States), Aug 13 (Canadian-Media): More than half of the world's aboveground carbon is stored in tropical forests, the degradation of which poses a direct threat to global climate regulation, https://phys.org/news reports said.
Dipterocarp seeds are collected in primary forest and grown in nurseries to provide sufficient planting material for large-scale restoration efforts. Image Credit: Michael O'Brien / SEARRP
Deforestation removes aboveground carbon in the form of trees, reducing the size of global carbon stocks in the process. Once forests are degraded, they are often perceived to have little ecological value, despite evidence of their ability to continue to provide important ecosystem services and to store significant amounts of carbon.
This misconception has marked degraded forests as prime candidates for full conversion to agricultural plantations, but recent research challenges this idea and offers a promising alternative—forest restoration is a more sustainable solution capable of both replenishing carbon storage and preserving biodiversity. While this concept isn't new, the adoption of restoration practices has been impeded by uncertainties over its effectiveness.
Now, an international team of scientists from 13 institutions, including researchers from the Arizona State University Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science (GDCS), has provided the first long-term comparison of aboveground carbon recovery rates between naturally regenerating and actively restored forests in Southeast Asia. The researchers found that restoration practices improved carbon storage recovery by more than 50% compared to natural regeneration. The paper was published today in Science.
"Not long ago, we treated degraded tropical forests as lost causes. Our new findings, combined with those of other researchers around the world, strongly suggest that restoring tropical forests is a viable and highly scalable solution to regaining lost carbon stocks on land," said co-author and GDCS director Greg Asner.
The researchers studied an area of tropical forest in Malaysian Borneo, where agricultural activities have caused soaring deforestation rates for years. The study site was heavily logged in the 1980s and subsequently protected from further logging or conversion to plantation agriculture. To assess forest recovery, Asner and his team mapped the area using their Global Airborne Observatory, equipped with powerful lasers and spectrometers, in 2016. The resulting maps revealed the location and amount of carbon stored above ground across thousands of hectares of forest.
Areas left to regenerate naturally recovered by as much as 2.9 tons of aboveground carbon per hectare of forest each year, highlighting the ability of degraded forests to recover if protected from full agricultural conversion.
First author Chris Philipson, of the University of Dundee and the ETH Zurich, said, "This quantitatively confirms that if degraded forests get effective protection, they can recover well naturally."
Even more importantly, the researchers found that forest areas that underwent active restoration recovered 50% faster, from 2.9 to 4.4 tons of aboveground carbon per hectare per year. Restoration methods included planting native tree species, removing tree-climbing vines, and thinning vegetation around saplings to improve their chances of survival. Full ACD recovery in a naturally regenerating logged forest would take around 60 years, while recovery for an actively restored forest takes just 40 years.
This is the first time that a long time-series dataset has been used to demonstrate that active restoration helps the regeneration of forests after logging and other disturbances. However, the current carbon price is still not sufficient to pay for the cost of restoration, limiting the impact that this approach can have on the climate change crisis. However, new carbon offset programs could potentially fund these restoration costs.
"Science has laid out a clear pathway for land managers. We now must turn to the economics of the problem to generate the support to pursue these solutions," said Asner. "Restoring degraded tropical forest works to mitigate climate change, and it saves biodiversity along the way."
#Quebec; #Asbestos; Toxic; #BAPE
Quebec, Aug 10 (Canadian-Media): Quebec’s exposure to workplace asbestos fibres currently is much much higher than the federal norm (of 0.1 asbestos fires per cubic centimetre of air) should be lowered as soon as possible, says a report by the province’s independent environmental review agency.
Asbestos. Image credit: www.asbestos.com
Quebec’s workplace safety agency has also been called by Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) to revise its process of compensation for workers to facilitate those affected by conditions linked to asbestos exposure to prepare a defence.
BAPE. Image credit: Twitter handle
Asbestos has been scientific documentation for its toxicity in all its forms, and is the single largest on-the-job killer in Canada.
Today it is banned in 55 countries.
Breathing in asbestos fibres was associated with cancer as early as the 1930s and exposure is also linked to non-cancerous pathologies including asbestosis.
A ban on the use and sale of asbestos by the federal government came into effect in 2018, after the last asbestos mine in Quebec closed in 2012.
But since asbestos residues represent a significant economic opportunity, the provincial government last fall asked the BAPE to investigate
The BAPE came up with recommendations to promote safe recovery of waste from asbestos and added that mines should follow the maintenance of safety management records, as provided for in Quebec’s law on health and workplace safety.
The report also is concerned that despite its known toxicity, asbestos is not included in the list of contaminants in provincial regulations for land protection and rehabilitation.
Pathologies and deaths among species of fish have occured, said the report due the levels of concentrations of asbestos fibres in the region’s Bécancour River.
#UN; #GreenEconomy; #ClimateChange
Geneva (UN), Aug 09 (Canadian-Media): In Uruguay, thousands of families earn a precarious livelihood making bricks, using traditional methods that are often inefficient and harmful to the environment. A UN project, in collaboration with the Uruguayan government, aims to make the industry less polluting, whilst preserving jobs for the many artisans who depend on it.
Artisanal brickmakers in Uruguay put the raw material into a mold, and then lay it out to dry. Image credit: Pablo Montes Goitia/UN Uruguay
Land, fire and water
When Eduardo Romero was 40 years old, he was fired from his job as a bricklayer. It was 1992, in the city of Durazno, Uruguay. With his few belongings on his shoulder, Eduardo headed for the north of the country and stopped only when he found work.
It was in the city of Tranqueras, and his new source of income came from land, fire and water: Eduardo started making bricks.
Today, five jobs, two ventures, three children and 28 years later, Mr. Romero is still linked to this insecure industry, which is both an easy source of employment for those who need it most, but where people work without social security or insurance, and with their labour rights continuously violated. “It is a precarious sector,” says Mr. Romero. “We are always on the edge of town, wearing dirty clothes.”
Reliable statistics on the industry are hard to come by, but estimates suggest that there are some 14,000 families working in 3,500 production units across the country. The informal nature of the work makes for high turnover.
On top of the pressure on individual workers, the industry has a negative impact on the environment; emissions are high and some brickmakers, lacking other sources of fuel, burn protected species of trees.
During the brickmaking season, which lasts from September to April, an artisanal producer can make an average of about 30,000 bricks per month; the entire sector in Uruguay yields enough bricks every year to build at least 1,500 new houses, plus hundreds of businesses, kilns, factories, and more.
Eduardo is one of a growing number of artisanal producers who are changing the way they make bricks and, in the process, helping the entire country enjoy a cleaner environment. But in a sector like this, changing traditions is difficult.
Turning mud and garbage into solid foundations
Making bricks the traditional way, is an art that requires several stages. First the elements are obtained to make the raw material: water, soil, clay, sand, and organic matter such as horse dung.
This material is mixed and put into moulds, then laid out to dry for three days. Then they are baked in an oven, with firewood serving as the main fuel, for between two and seven days, and allowed to cool. Four days later they are ready for sale.
At each stage of the process, there are abundant occupational hazards and environmental impacts.
‘Far behind in technological terms’
In addition, this method is far more inefficient than modern, mechanized techniques: according to the government, factories can churn out bricks almost seven times faster than an artisanal producer.
“The artisanal brick industry is far behind in technological terms,” says Pablo Montes, who works for the Uruguayan government, and is also national coordinator of PAGE Uruguay (Partnership for Action on the Green Economy), a project involving the UN and the Uruguayan Government.
He explains that there are significant obstacles to artisans moving to newer techniques: it has fewer job opportunities; it also requires certification that most artisans don’t have, whether for the expense, or because many have not finished primary school and can barely read or write.
That’s why PAGE is looking to support the artisanal industry, helping workers to enjoy greater rights and higher incomes, and cutting pollution during the production process.
PAGE staff talked to brickmakers from all over the country, looking for improvements at every stage of the production process, and brought in consultants from other countries – such as Colombia, which has already undergone its own transformation – to give workshops on how to make better bricks.
By doing so, PAGE is helping to move Uruguay closer to the twin goals of a greener and more prosperous economy. The project is still in progress, and is developing even better methods and training more brickmakers.
Artisanal, safer, greener
“Transforming the industry will allow these ventures to be successful,” says Mr. Romero. Still, he has no illusions that such a change will be easy to achieve.
“In this profession, there are men and women who have made an honest living for decades or for their whole lives,” he explains. Artisanal brickmaking is a way of life, a tradition. Countless homes and businesses in every part of Uruguay have been built with bricks made by the hands of anonymous laborers. They have invested their lives in the profession, and they are proud of what they have created.
“That is what we are trying to defend,” says Mr. Romero. Even as he changes his own way of working, with guidance from PAGE, he realizes that not everyone will be so quick to adapt. Some may be sceptical of outsiders who come to teach them a skill they’ve practiced for many years.
Pablo Montes of PAGE is optimistic that brickmakers will be won over by the benefits that the new ways of working offer them. “We want to keep the industry artisanal, while making it safer and greener,” he says. “We can have both.”
New Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management aims to improve the safety of tailings facilities in the mining industry
London (England), Aug 8 (Canadian-Media): The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (the Standard) launched today, establishes the first global standard on tailings management that can be applied to existing and future tailings facilities, wherever they are and whoever operates them, UNEP reports said.
Open Pit Mining. Image credit: UNEP
Strengthening current practices in the mining industry by integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations, the Standard covers the entire tailings facility lifecycle – from site selection, design and construction, through management and monitoring, to closure and post-closure.
With an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment, the Standard significantly raises the bar for the industry to achieve strong social, environmental and technical outcomes. It elevates accountability to the highest organisational levels and adds new requirements for independent oversight. The Standard also establishes clear expectations around global transparency and disclosure requirements, helping to improve understanding by interested stakeholders.
The Standard was developed through an independent process – the Global Tailings Review (GTR) –which was co-convened in March 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) following the tragic tailings facility collapse at Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019.
The co-conveners have each endorsed it and call for its broad and effective implementation across the industry:
Dr Bruno Oberle, Chair of the Global Tailings Review, said: “It is with great pleasure that I present the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, which sets a precedent for the safe management of tailings facilities, towards the goal of zero harm.
“The catastrophic dam collapse at Vale’s Córrego de Feijão mine in Brumadinho was a human and environmental tragedy that demanded decisive and appropriate action to enhance the safety and strengthen the governance of tailings facilities across the globe. I am particularly pleased to deliver a document which reflects and addresses the complexity and multi-disciplinary nature of sound tailings management.
“It has been a privilege to lead this work and I now call on all mining companies, governments and investors to use the Standard and to continue to work together to improve the safety of tailings facilities globally. It is my hope that the Standard will be supported by an independent body that can maintain the quality and further refine and strengthen the Standard over time.”
Ligia Noronha, Director of UNEP’s Economy Division, said: “The approach to mine tailings facilities must place safety first by making environmental and human safety a priority in management actions and on-the-ground operations. The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management is an important milestone towards the ambition of zero harm to people and the environment from tailings facilities. Its impact will depend upon its uptake and UNEP will continue to be engaged in its rollout. We are encouraged by the ICMM role and commitments on Standard implementation and call on the rest of the mining industry, and those that finance and invest in the mining industry, to make a similar commitment. In order to maintain the integrity of the Standard, it is crucial that a non-industry organisation identify and pursue the most effective implementation model such as the establishment of an independent entity. To this end, UNEP will continue to engage in dialogue with other interested stakeholders to explore potential solutions.”
Adam Matthews, Director Ethics & Engagement, Investment Team, Church of England Pensions Board (representing PRI) said: “For decades people have called for a global standard that can drive best practice. It is tragic it has taken the Brumadinho disaster to make this happen, but a unique partnership has come together to address a systemic challenge faced by the mining sector and we are now as committed to make this common practice in all operations. For the first time we have a global standard that goes beyond existing best practice and establishes the most comprehensive Standard that Investors will hold companies accountable for in their implementation. I look forward to working with all parties to establish an independent entity which will oversee the implementation of the Standard”
John Howchin, Secretary General, Council on Ethics for the Swedish National Pension Funds (representing PRI) said: “In January 2019 we called for there to be a new industry standard that drives best practice to address the risk of tailings facility failure, and we have been assured by the Global Tailings Review’s independent expert panel that if this standard had been in place, the disaster at Brumadinho would not have happened. We expect all mining companies to comply with this framework, and responsible investors looking to address the risks of tailings failure now have a responsibility to drive implementation, incorporating the Standard into stewardship and active ownership strategies.”
Tom Butler, CEO of ICMM, said: “ICMM and its members – representing about a third of the global industry – have an unwavering commitment to safer tailings facility management. ICMM’s Council welcomes the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management as a significant step forward in achieving this commitment. Through effective implementation of this Standard, ICMM members will set the bar for all mining companies to work together to make all tailings facilities safer.
"The Standard will be integrated into ICMM’s existing member commitments, which includes third party assurance and validation, and we are in the process of developing supporting guidance. Members have committed that all facilities with ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences will be in conformance with the Standard within three years of today, and all other facilities within five years."
The Standard covers six key topics: affected communities; integrated knowledge base; design, construction, operation and monitoring of tailings facilities; management and governance; emergency response and long-term recovery; and public disclosure and access to information. These topics contain 15 Principles and 77 specific auditable requirements for operators to adhere to.
Today’s launch of the Standard is supported by two accompanying documents, published independently by the GTR Chair: an in-depth compendium of papers that explore various operational and governance issues related to tailings, and a report on the feedback from the public consultation.
The GTR was chaired by Dr Oberle with the support of a multi-disciplinary Expert Panel and input from a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group. It involved extensive public consultation with affected communities, government representatives, investors, multilateral organisations and mining industry stakeholders and is informed by existing good practice and findings from past tailings facility failures.
New York, Aug 8 (Canadian-Media): A survey among 78 financial institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean holding 54% of the total assets managed by the banking sector in the region, revealed that 38% of banks incorporate guidelines on climate change in their strategy and 24 percent have a policy on climate risk evaluation and disclosure.
UNEP. Image credit: Twitter Handle
The study entitled “How the Banks of Latin America and the Caribbean incorporate climate change in their risk management,” presented today during an online event, was prepared by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and CAF - Development Bank of Latin America, with the collaboration of the Latin American Federation of Banks (FELABAN).
69% of the participant banks identified forestry and agriculture as the sector most exposed to climate risks, followed by the energy generation sector at 44%. 80% of the institutions recognized that the main physical risk to be incorporated in their risk evaluation and management was ‘flooding,’ followed by ‘drought’ (mentioned by 41% of the banks).
Banks in the region have an opportunity to improve the assessment of climate risks in their plans and strategies, with the aim of increasing their resilience and be better prepared to support the transition to low carbon economies.
According to the report, 41% of the institutions that took part in the survey recognized they do not have mechanisms to identify, analyze and manage climate risks.
The authors concluded that climate risks remain unmanaged mainly due to a lack of knowledge regarding the financial impact of climate change, and because of the absence of regulatory demands.
Banks in the region still tend to perceive climate risks from the perspective of how companies impact the environment, and not how exposed these companies are to climate threats. Considering the latter is key for financial institutions in the face of the expected increase in disasters and other impacts of extreme weather, the report notes.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, given current concentrations and on-going emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century the rise in global temperature will exceed 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. This will come with higher sea levels and more frequent and intense climate disasters.
“During the last decade, banks in Latin America and the Caribbean have made significant progress in integrating sustainability criteria in their different areas of work. The study that we present today will also contribute to the timely management of climate risks in their financing portfolios," said Julián Suárez, Vice President of Sustainable Development at CAF.
"Climate risk assessment is key to the goal of aligning the banking industry with a sustainable and equitable global economy in the 21st century, which becomes even more relevant today as we need to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic," said Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI.
The authors call to follow the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and to replicate initiatives like the UNEP FI pilot project with 16 of the world’s leading banks to develop analytical tools and indicators that strengthen the assessment and disclosure of climate risks.
The survey revealed that 53% of the banks utilized the Sustainability Report as a mechanism to disclose risks linked to climate change, while only 16% reported through regulatory financial forms as advocated by the TCFD recommendations.
Due to the lack of knowledge regarding climate-related risks definitions, the authors also recommend the banking sector of Latin America and the Caribbean to prepare a common taxonomy on these issues.