Thematic Areas

Results: 1 - 10 of 76
  • CREATING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2014
    (Resource Based Waste Management)
    Author: xxThrough subsidiaries, Waste Management provides waste reduction consulting, collection, transfer, recycling, conversion, resource recovery and disposal services to residential, commercial, industrial and public-sector customers throughout North America. We serve over 21 million customers with environmentally sound management of solid wastes and the transformation of waste into usable resources. We publish a detailed sustainability report every two years. This report updates our 2012 Sustainability Report, providing full-year data for 2012 and 2013 and discussing key developments in 2014 where information was available prior to publication. Notes on the scope of the data are included with the data charts or in endnotes. This report covers Waste Managements wholly owned operations, all of which are located in North America. An Appendix to this report, containing a wealth of supplementary information, can be found on our website. We focus our reporting on the following themes, which we have identified through internal and external consultation to be the most material: Focusing on our customers sustainability needs Reducing and recycling wastes generated by others Converting waste into renewable energy, fuels and chemicals Managing our waste treatment, materials processing and disposal facilities to exceed regulatory obligations Serving as responsible stewards of the land We routinely engage with stakeholders to re-evaluate the sufficiency and appropriateness of our goals and reporting
  • The costs of industrial water pollution on people, planet and profit
    (Water)
    Author: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Industrial pollution is a severe threat to water resources around the world, particularly in the Global South where the view prevails that pollution is the price to pay for progress. This view is usually associated with the ideas that dealing with pollution is too costly, that pollution prevention is too difficult and impractical, and that environmental and social effects can be dealt with in the future. To make matters worse, there is also a general misconception that wastewater treatment plants can eventually deal with all water pollutants, whatever their toxicity. This short-term view has resulted in the widespread dumping of undisclosed and often hazardous chemicals into water. However, when substances with persistent and/or bioaccumulative1 properties remain undetected or ignored in the aquatic environment, longlasting and irreversible environmental and health problems can result. Zero dischargeThe only way to address these hidden dangers in our water is through a preventative approach: Taking action to phase out the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals, rather than attempting to control the damage with endof-pipe treatment methods. Accordingly, Greenpeace is calling for governments to adopt a political commitment to zero discharge2 of all hazardous chemicals within one generation, based on the precautionary principle and a preventative approach to chemicals management. This commitment must be matched with an implementation plan containing short-term targets, a dynamic list of priority hazardous substances requiring immediate action3, and a publicly available register of data about discharge emissions and losses of hazardous substances, such as a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR)4. Our call for zero discharge is built upon three decades of exposing and addressing the problem of hazardous chemicals. However, rapid industrialisation is now taking place in many parts of the Global South, with seemingly little regard for the painful lessons learnt in the Global North where the pollution caused by hazardous substances has generated enormous economic, environmental and social costs
  • NEEDS FOR THE GREEN ECONOMY
    (Governance)
    Author: Publications Office of the European UnionEnvironmental challenges raise serious concerns for the welfare of current and future generations. Responses should be driven by independent but commonly reinforcing policies for environment, energy, transportation, employment, and training. International organisations are joining their forces to help realise the potential for green jobs with the participation of employers and employees. The initiative New skills for new jobs: anticipating and matching labour market and skills needs, launched by the European Commission (1 ) responds to the Councils (Education, Youth and Culture, November 2007 and Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, June 2008) and European Council (December 2007, March 2008) requests to the Commission to present a comprehensive assessment of future skills requirements in Europe up to 2020 and to propose further steps to anticipate future needs. Strengthening international cooperation with global partners is crucial to address the impact of climate change and the economic crisis.
  • WORKING TOWARDS A BALANCED AND INCLUSIVE GREEN ECONOMY:
    (Governance)
    Author: First published in December 2011 by the United Nations Environment Management Group. © 2011 United Nations all rights reserved worldwideA green economy is an approach to achieving sustainable development. It requires breaking away from resource-intensive growth models, a transformation of consumption and production into more sustainable patterns and increased value added created and reinvested in resource-rich supplier communities in the developing world. The context for this approach is the increasing resource intensity of consumption in developed countries even though their production is becoming less resource intensive, which implies the shifting of environmental impact to other countries through international trade. At the same time, the resource intensity of both consumption and production in developing countries may increase in absolute terms in their industrialization process. These trends tend to exacerbate resource constraints and break the planetary boundaries.
  • A Compilation of Green Economy Policies, Programs, and Initiatives from Around the World
    (Governance)
    Author: World Resource InstituteThe purpose of this compilation is to highlight examples of "Green Economy" policies, programs, and initiatives taking place around the world. In recent years, the concept of the Green Economy has emerged as a potential remedy to some of the key market and institutional failures that characterize the conventional development model, and as a more effective pathway to advancing economic, social, and environmental goals. Green Economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development will be one of two specific themes discussed at the Earth Summit 2012 (Rio+20), the other being the institutional framework for sustainable development. While broad consensus on how to define the Green Economy is still emerging, it is nonetheless possible to survey the rapidly proliferating international landscape of case studies under the Green Economy banner and identify their contribution to sustainable development. There are various ways to categorize these case studies by geography, by broad sector of the economy, by policy approach (e.g., taxation, expenditure, regulation), or by type of sponsoring institution. This compilation provides information on each, but is organized primarily by sector and geography in order to illustrate the diversity of actors and approaches across the globe. Each example is categorized into one dominant economic sector, although it is recognized that many of these case studies promote Green Economy objectives in more than one sector. In this compilation, not every Green Economy sector is equally represented. Nor is the list exhaustive or comprehensive. The case examples presented here were selected to reflect geographic diversity, and are limited to those examples with demonstrable benefits in each of the three sustainability domains economic, social, and environmental and those with clear links to public policy. The case examples in this compilation are organized first by sector and then by geographic location. Each example provides a brief description of the case study and identifies specific policy changes that made it possible. The compilation also discusses major economic, social, and environmental outcomes. At the end, the compilation provides important links for more information about each case example. The compilation is a work in progress that will be supplemented as new Green Economy initiatives unfold in the years ahead.
  • FRAMEWORK FOR A GREEN ECONOMY TRANSITION T O W A R D S A L O W - C A R B O N, C L I M A T E - R E S I L I E N T A N D R E S O U R C E - E F F I C I E N T C I T Y
    (Governance)
    Author: C I T Y O F T S H W A N E F R A M E W O R K F O R A G R E E N E C O N O M Y T R A N S I T I O NTo date, the worlds economy has been resource intensive and economic development has often led to increased poverty and a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. Traditional economic growth strategies and approaches have undervalued ecological goods and services, which form the basis of all economic activity. A green economy, on the other hand, aims to improve the efficiency of natural resource use so as to improve human well-being and reduce ecological scarcities and environmental risks. This document, the final draft of the Green Economy Strategic Framework for the City of Tshwane (the Strategic Framework) aims to provide a strategic guide for low-carbon, equitable economic development that can enhance Tshwanes transition to a green economy and facilitate a sustainable development path. This section outlines how the green economy concept developed in response to the worlds growing need for sustainable development. It provides a national and provincial perspective to better outline how a green economy can be achieved, and describes a policy that can facilitate the transition to a green economy.
  • WASTE TO ENERGY
    (Energy)
    Author: World Energy Resources: Waste to Energy World Energy Council 2013Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technologies consist of any waste treatment process that creates energy in the form of electricity, heat or transport fuels (e.g. diesel) from a waste source. These technologies can be applied to several types of waste: from the semi-solid (e.g. thickened sludge from effluent treatment plants) to liquid (e.g. domestic sewage) and gaseous (e.g. refinery gases) waste. However, the most common application by far is processing the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (Eurostat, 2013). The current most known WtE technology for MSW processing is incineration in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. MSW generation rates are influenced by economic development, the degree of industrialization, public habits, and local climate. As a general trend, the higher the economic development, the higher the amount of MSW generated. Nowadays more than 50% of the entire worlds population lives in urban areas. The high rate of population growth, the rapid pace of the global urbanisation and the economic expansion of developing countries are leading to increased and accelerating rates of municipal solid waste production (World Bank, 2012). With proper MSW management and the right control of its polluting effects on the environment and climate change, municipal solid waste has the opportunity to become a precious resource and fuel for the urban sustainable energy mix of tomorrow: only between 2011 and 2012, the increase of venture capital and private equity business investment in the sector of waste-to-energy - together with biomass - has registered an increase of 186%, summing up to a total investment of USD 1 billion (UNEP/Bloomberg NEF, 2012). Moreover, waste could represent an attractive investment since MSW is a fuel received at a gate fee, contrary to other fuels used for energy generation, thus representing a negative price for the WtE plant operators (Energy Styrelsen, 2012). However, an increasingly demanding set of environmental, economic and technical factors represents a challenge to the development of these technologies. In fact, although WtE technologies using MSW as feed are nowadays well developed, the inconsistency of the composition of MSW, the complexity of the design of the treatment facilities, and the air-polluting emissions still represent open issues for this technology. The development of WtE projects requires a combination of efforts from several different perspectives. Along with future technical developments, including the introduction in the market of alternative processes to incineration, it is nowadays crucial to take into account all the social, economic and environmental issues that may occur in the decision making process of this technology. Growing population, increased urbanization rates and economic growth are dramatically changing the landscape of domestic solid waste in terms of generation rates, waste composition and treatment technologies. A recent study by the World Bank (2012) estimates that the global MSW generation is approximately 1.3 billion tonnes per year or an average of 1.2 kg/capita/day. It is to be noted however that the per capita waste generation rates would differ across countries and cities depending on the level of urbanization and economic wealth.
  • THE GREEN ECONOMY BOON OR BANE?
    (Governance)
    Author: Dhaka BangladeshOver the last couple of years, the word Green has been found in a prolific use from a biological chlorophyllous colour pigment to an economy wide implication. Traditionally, Green is used to represent the Nature. With an increased attention to environment for the last few years, in response to mounting threat of climate change, it is not surprising to call for a holistic nature oriented approach that could equally protect environment as well as livelihood. However, skeptics are also large in number, who have been showing their reservations in this much widespread use of the word Green based on antiquated ethical question whether it is going to become a new shrewd approach for industrialized countries to accumulate wealth or it is really useful to protect our over-degraded nature?
  • RENEWABLE ENERGY
    (Energy)
    Author: Copyright @United Nations Environment Programme, 2013Energy is the lifeblood of the world economy. Energy interacts with all other goods and services that are vital for economies and the economic and functional reliance on energy is expected to further increase. In particular, global energy demand has been estimated to grow by more than one-third until 2035, with China, India and the Middle East accounting for 60 per cent of this demand increase (IEA 2012a). As highlighted in the Green Economy Report (GER) (UNEP 2011), the global community and national governments are faced with several challenges with respect to the energy sector. These include: Access to energy: Currently 1.3 billion people one in five globally lack any access to electricity. Twice that number nearly 40 per cent of the worlds population relies on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste to cook their food (IEA 2010a). 220 and Trade Climate change and emissions: Energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the main drivers of anthropogenic climate change, exacerbating patterns of global warming and environmental degradation. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel combustion are reported to have reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011 (IEA 2012b). Health and biodiversity: The processing and use of energy resources pose significant health challenges, pertaining to increased local air pollution, a decrease in water quality and availability, and increased introduction of hazardous substances into the biosphere (UNEP 2010a). For example, the inhalation of toxic smoke from biomass combustion can cause lung disease and is estimated to kill nearly two million people a year (IEA 2010a). Adverse health effects from energy use are aggravated by increasing instances of land degradation and deforestation, leading to a simultaneous loss of biodiversity. Energy security: The growth in global population and rising incomes will increase energy demand and result in upward pressures on energy prices and growing risks of importer dependency on a limited range of energy suppliers.
  • PASTORALISM AND THE GREEN ECONOMY
    (Governance)
    Author: ©2014 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, United Nations Environment ProgrammeThe Green Economy concept has recently gained significant traction due to mounting global fears over multiple crises of climate change, energy, food and financial systems. Transitioning towards a Green Economyan economic system in which material wealth does not increase environmental risk, ecological scarcity or social disparitywill require growth strategies in which production and consumption does not continue to come at the expense of natural capital and social equity. In the livestock sector this requires a three pronged approach: reduced consumption of livestock products; greening the intensive system as much as possible; capitalising on the inherent sustainability of pastoralism for local, regional and international markets. Three principal elements are essential to understand the role of pastoralism in delivering sustainable outcomes: (i) the contribution of pastoralism to the maintenance of natural capital; (ii) pastoralisms resource efficiency and sustainable production in highly variable dryland environments; and (iii) the conditions that enable pastoralism to deliver on its green economy potential. The objective of this study is to review the state of knowledge on these elements and reveal the key priorities for enhancing pastoralisms role within the transition to a Green Economy.

 

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