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  • Fran 3:47 pm on August 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Akzo Nobel, Alcoa, CEMEX, , Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, water scarcity, WRI, WWF   

    WRI Next Practice Collaborative: let’s get it together 

    Will we achieve 80-95% GHG emissions reductions by 2050? Only with radical change. That’s why the Word Resources Institute’s recently launched Next Practice Collaborative is exploring new finance and business models for a carbon-constrained economy.

    ‘Next Practice’, a term coined by business thinker CK Prahalad, means benchmarking corporate performance against tomorrow’s emerging opportunities. It’s a way of comparing how future economic leaders will meet global demands for resources like energy and water while reducing greenhouse gas concentrations and enabling climate-resilient development at a pace and scale never before achieved. Tricky.

    The WRI is working with a cross-sector group of companies including Akzo Nobel, Alcoa, CEMEX, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, Staples and United Technologies Corporation. With input from expert advisors, the group will examine new business and finance models for low-carbon economic growth in major markets like the United States, China, Mexico, India and Brazil.

    Groups like WWF Climate Savers and CDP’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership and Performance Leadership Indices are already championing corporates with excellent target setting, reporting, carbon reduction, supply chain management and policy engagement. Of course these are great initiatives but far deeper change is needed to reach the ultimate, radical goal of a global low carbon economy.

    The WRI recognises that to achieve an 80 to 95% reduction in GHG emissions, corporates must deliver transformative business models which include contributing to adaptation in poor countries as well as implementing adaptation and mitigation measures themselves, developing products and services that reduce vulnerability to climate change, factoring climate change risk into long term decision making and completing the transition to low carbon energy sources. That’s a daunting to-do list and if achieved, will show how sustainability, or at least climate change, has made it to the heart of the business agenda.

  • Amy 10:37 am on February 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Malta, water scarcity   

    Getting our feet wet 

    Malta's San Blas Bay

    As I write this, I am gazing at what seems like an endless expanse of water: the Mediterranean Sea surrounding the tiny island state of Malta that I have called home for the past 2.5 years. But what seems infinite is only an illusion. Water scarcity is one of the greatest threats facing Malta and many other regions around the world—but the issue has been sidelined in the volatile debate over climate change. Water wasn’t even on the agenda at the global negotiations for a climate treaty in Copenhagen last December.  Yet the link between a changing climate and shrinking water supplies is undeniable. Malta has reason to worry. It lies in the middle of the two must vulnerable regions to threats imposed by climate change, draws most of its water supply from the sea through costly desalination plants and is under constant pressure of water scarcity. Yet, as The Malta Times reports, there is no strategy laid out in a national water policy.

    This water anemia afflicts governments, industry and citizens alike. Actions to remedy the problem, if any, are too slow and too paltry to match the size of the threat. It’s not as if we don’t know what needs doing.  The Pacific Institute and the United Nations Global Compact laid out an excellent framework for action last May. Recognizing that climate change will exacerbate many water- and energy-related business risks, they called for a number of steps, including measuring our water footprint.

    Enter the Carbon Disclosure Project’s  water disclosure project, asking companies to  report on their water usage and availability.  Business faces profound risks in a water constrained world, and investors are watching. Analyzing our water footprint is a not a bad place to start. It’s time to get our feet wet.

    • Robbin 8:29 am on February 17, 2010 Permalink

      The rocky island of Malta has no lakes or rivers, and as you say, depends on desalinisation. Isn’t there a success story lurking there somewhere? One that can be used to focus on the risks and policy gap?

    • Amy Brown 8:14 am on February 19, 2010 Permalink

      Illegal abstraction of water, especially in the agriculture sector, is a real problem in Malta. Trying to stop some of these leaks points to at least one success story: http://www.gwptoolbox.org/index.php?option=com_case&id=19. From what I understand, groundwater in Malta supplies less than half the demand. While in the past most houses built had to have a well by law, today many of these houses have been pulled down to make way for high-rise new development. Despite the water shortage, it is not illegal in Malta to extract groundwater for commercial purposes. Late last year, the government maintained it will not charge tariffs for ground water extraction while publicising its effort to register those making unauthorised use of the groundwater supply. Obviously, this is one very big policy gap, and too little incentive for success stories to emerge.

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