Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’
Environmental Research Digest – May 2013
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report which details the social and environmental changes affecting forests in the Mediterranean region, as well as the contributions that forests make to agriculture, water, energy, tourism and other economic sectors.“State of Mediterranean Forests 2013” pays special attention to the vulnerability of Mediterranean forests to global changes such as climate change, as well as to changes in regional demographics and lifestyles.
- Innovative instruments should be developed and tested to address the current forest-related challenges and constraints in the Mediterranean region.
- The increase in ecological footprint in most countries in the Mediterranean region indicates growing pressure on resources as a result of unsustainable methods and levels of consumption. It also highlights the difficulty of implementing sustainable development policies.
- The Mediterranean region is regarded as a biodiversity hotspot because of its high endemism and because it is experiencing a widespread loss of habitat, making its conservation a priority.
- Forest policies in the Mediterranean region must deal with an increasing need to value ecosystem services, which are essential for human well-being but are increasingly threatened by climate change.
- At the same time, national and regional public authorities are increasingly less able to fulfill its policy development role, due to decreasing financial resources and the increased questioning of “top-down” approaches.
- Some government functions could, in certain situations, be substituted by market mechanisms (e.g. payments for ecosystem services), but these are unlikely to match the need.
- Moreover, the implementation of such market instruments requires efficient and transparent local governance.
- For similar reasons, it is difficult to develop “green economy” policies in the Mediterranean context, the forests and woodlands of which are characterized by their multifunctionality, low productivity and the central role of non-market services.
- Financing forest management remains a challenge, but it is crucial for ensuring the production of multiple goods and services.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
CSR Research Digest – May 2013
Timetric produced an analysis of emerging trends in the global hotel industry with special focus on energy efficient measures, sustainable procurement practices and green marketing initiatives. “Global Hotel Industry Survey 2013: Emerging Trends in Technology, Sustainability, Health and Wellness Tourism” is the result of an extensive survey drawn from Timetric’s exclusive panel of respondents from leading hotel industry companies.
- Regardless of buyer and supplier categorization, respondents consider ‘environment friendly initiatives’ as the most conspicuous emerging trend in 2013.
- Respondents from luxury hotels expect to use technological facilities such as ‘Wi-Fi access’, ‘eco-friendly technology’ and ‘efficient energy management systems’ to increase their operational efficiency in 2013.
- In total, 35% of buyer respondents indicate that they intend to save ‘less than 5% of total organizational expenditure’ in the next 12 months following the implementation of sustainability measures.
- In total, 65% and 32% of respondents from luxury hotels and other hotels expect an increase in the number of health and wellness tourists in 2013 respectively.
CSR Research Digest – May 2013
Timetric produced a report that analyzes how companies in the European construction industry perceive sustainability. “Sustainability in the European Construction Industry 2012–2013: Market Trends and Opportunities, Forecast of Budgets and Profitability, Construction Industry Procurement and Marketing Initiatives” contains in-depth analysis on the principal drivers and challenges with regards to sustainability plus the market-specific growth opportunities associated with the implementation of sustainable practices.
- Respondents identified the UK, Germany and France as locations likely to offer the largest-growth potential for sustainable construction, as indicated by 75%, 51% and 43% of respective respondents.
- Of all the construction contractors and project developer respondents, 48% anticipate an increase in profitability with the implementation of sustainability measures.
- ‘Customer satisfaction’ is considered to be the most important driver of green marketing by respondents from the construction equipment and supplier industry, as identified by 76% of respondents. Another 62% of respondents consider ‘competitive advantage’ to be important.
Authors: Bill Joiner & Stephen Josephs
Leadership Agility is an introduction and a guide to becoming a more agile leader. The ability to adapt to, and initiate, change is not only desired in today’s society – it is required. Uncertain working conditions and global competition call for strategic measures to sustained success in business. The book is highly relevant to CSR professionals as it may be used as a tool to initiating and leading change, a task some of us face daily on our quest to challenge business-as-usual. Change is needed if we are to confront and manage the great challenges of our time.
In the face of these challenges, Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs propose the concept of leadership agility. Their piece is based on years of research and maps out a complex theory on human development. This development is captured in the five stages of agility – expert, achiever, catalyst, co-creator and synergist. The reader is encouraged to identify their current level of agility in order to start growing as leaders. One may also use the book to analyze the leadership agility of managers or organizations.
Joiner and Josephs explicitly explain the different characteristics of each level, and draw upon real life examples from business leaders. The third and last part of the book is a guide on how to move within and beyond your current agility level.
I found the book difficult to understand at first. The theory is complicated, and one should bear in mind that the book requires deep concentration as well as inspiration to read. Identifying one’s own level of agility turns out to be a difficult task and I got more out of the book as I let go of this mission. Leadership Agility is a valuable read that had an impact on me in the end. After reading this book, I have become more aware of how my thoughts and emotions play into my performance and set my direction as a young professional. I feel better equipped to handle everyday situations and decisions and – perhaps – more agile.
Katja Blomé, CSR International
Authors: Karel Mulder, Didac Ferrer and Harro van Lente
Publisher: Greenleaf Publishing
Historically, improving the quality of life has been the main driver for the advent of technology. But the long term effects of new technologies are more often than not unforeseen. And when unwanted side effects of new technologies cause critical damage to our environment, the natural impulse is to turn to other technological developments to replace or reverse the effect of the old ones. Far from being a straightforward process, making technology more sustainable brings to the surface entire sets of problems and paradoxes.
Presented in the form of an academic communication session, the bulk of this book comprises a series of case studies all aimed at improving the economic, environmental or social performance of technologies and resource management. An introductory study and a chapter on conclusions frame the eleven studies looking at materials and energy, urbanisation, transport and water management.
Acknowledging both the Bruntland Commission definition of sustainability and the vagueness of the term, this volume investigates the complex ways in which different manifestations – or articulations – of sustainability conflict with each other and the way technology is intertwined with economic interests, policy-making, cultural habits or social goals. Can applying the same technology yield completely different and sometimes opposite results? Is it possible that the very process of recycling is damaging to the environment? How long until the end of oil, or the beginning of the hydrogen-fuelled society? These are only a few of the huge number of puzzling questions that scientists and researchers are trying to answer.
With its extensive biography and wide range of topics, the book is an excellent introductory read for anyone trying to get the grips of how sustainability works and how technological developments relate to it.
Leonard Bacica, CSR International
Social Research Digest – March 2013
This report features the results of the first structured benchmark of the farm animal welfare management and reporting practices of leading European food companies. The report relies on illustrative case studies from Europe and provides an objective account of the state of farm animal welfare as a business issue, and identifies a series of practical actions that can be undertaken by companies to raise the standards for animal welfare across the industry.
- Farm animal management and reporting remain in their infancy and many companies are yet to recognize the business importance of animal welfare and are yet report on the issue in a structured and comprehensive manner.
- Animal welfare is important for the animal and better management and care for livestock can improve productivity and food quality, which benefits the entire supply chain.
- This benchmark report—provides a unique reflection on the relative performance of food companies on this issue.
- It seeks to engage investors whose buy-in is fundamental to truly embed and take forward the concept within business.
- Most companies pay lip service to farm animal welfare compared to other corporate responsibility issues.
- 68 global food companies from Europe are observed.
- While 70 percent of companies analyzed by the assessment recognize that farm animal welfare is a business issue, only 46 per cent describe how their board or senior management oversees their approach to farm animal welfare.
- From the 68 companies, only 26 percent have published objectives and targets for animal farm welfare.
- Regulation within the European Union coupled with customer concern, pressure from animal welfare NGOs, and media concerns about poor corporate practices means that farm animal welfare is an important business risk and is an important driver of investment value.
- Companies that are leaders of good practice when it comes to farm animal welfare are Co-operative Group, Noble Foods and Unilever.
- This report’s Benchmark will provide the stepping stone for companies to better manage their farm animal welfare management.
- The second Benchmark Report will be released in August 2013.
Business Benchmark on Animal Welfare (BBFAW)
CSR Research Digest – March 2013
Every year RobecoSAM assesses the sustainability performance of more than 2,000 companies across 58 sectors. Based on an in-depth analysis, each company is scored on up to 120 financially material economic, environmental, social and governance criteria specific to its own industry, with a focus on long-term value creation.
- Nine US-based companies including Molson Coors, Alcoa, Sonoco Products, Herman Miller and UnitedHealth Group have been awarded gold medals for sustainability practices.
- This places the US higher than any other country in the rankings.
- The gold medal-winning US companies also include Baxter International and Waste Management – both named leaders in their sectors – as well as MeadWestvaco and PepsiCo.
- Germany and South Korea each account for six gold medal winners this year. German gold medalists are Siemens, SAP, BMW, Henkel, Adidas and travel firm TUI.
- Each one of them was named the leader in its respective sector.
- In South Korea, GS Engineering & Construction Co., personal products firm Amorepacific Corp., SK Telecom, communications company KT Corp and retailer Lotte Shopping set the standard as industry leaders.
- In addition, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. scored highly enough to be awarded a gold medal.
- Australia, Taiwan and Canada also feature on the list of top 10 gold medal-winning countries, proving that Europe is no longer the exclusive bastion of corporate sustainability and that sector-leading sustainability performance can now be found all over the world.
RobecoSAM and KPMG