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Water... the blue gold
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CLIMATE CHANGE AND BUSINESS CARBON FOOTPRINT SERVICES
CLIMATE CHANGE AND BUSINESS CARBON FOOTPRINT SERVICES
The climate is changing. Nowadays we have an accelerating warming trend that has brought the global mean temperature up 0.8°C over the past century and more than 0.4°C over the last decade.
Global warming is caused by releasing what are called greenhouse gases (GHG): carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere.
However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising into the atmosphere thereby increasing the planet`s temperature leading to real issues: melting ice caps, rapidly spreading droughts.
Additionally, the irreversible damage to the world’s ecosystems, including the resulting extinction of a large fraction of the earth’s species, will be the most extensive civilized humans will have ever experienced.
And yet, with every ton of carbon burned, the earth is irreversibly altered and the changes in climate to come will likely threaten many people’s access to those basic services: including food, shelter and water
Everything we buy, produce, use and dispose of has a carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of a product or service is the total carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted during its life cycle, ranging from its raw materials, through production to its final disposal.
Why a Carbon Footprint Label?
A Carbon Footprint Label leads to understand the carbon emissions of the products, sites and services they use and support positively the environment with sustainability development.
Measuring carbon emissions at every step of the supply chain leads to valuable energy and cost saving opportunities and this ultimately contributes to a cleaner, better world. And publicizing a carbon footprint reduction with a recognized Eco-Label enhances brand reputation and sales appeal. It is the first step towards carbon neutral targets.
What is a carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint is a measure of the exclusive global amount of carbon dioxide (CO2 in Kg or tonnes) and other greenhouse gases emitted by a human activity or accumulated over the full life cycle of a product, a service or an organization.
A Product Carbon Footprint project helps meeting the needs of both businesses and their customers. It provides to meet the needs of:
- Organizations - to measure, reduce, improve eco-efficiency and communicate the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their products, site and services
- Customers - to help customers of manufacturers make choices that would lower their own carbon footprints, and to educate them on how the way they use the products they buy can lower their carbon footprints by selecting a privileged “eco-friendly” supplier
- Individuals - to acknowledge and manage their personal carbon footprints every day.
Some Carbon footprint labeling schemes have already been developed in different countries worldwide and Carbon Footprinting is well perceived and more and more requested by end-consumers.
Carbon Footprint Way
The journey towards carbon literacy is not easy. But we will all have to make it: Individuals, communities, governments and organizations big and small.
The challenge for organizations is how to do this in a way that is smart and good for business.
It needs to ACT in 3M way before Offsetting:
Get your Carbon Reduction be certified with the Blue Carbon ® Eco-Label
Certification and Blue Carbon Status
Blue Carbon® footprint certification status will offer competitive advantage to your organisation. The status will provide your customers, staff, stakeholders with instant recognition of your green credentials and your powerful position on climate change.
The different color levels will demonstrate tangible results in GHG reduction and enhance your motivation to improve further carbon emissions over time to Blue Carbon level over 40%.
The logo can be used on stationary, websites, vehicles, premises and literature. The instant recognition could be a contributing factor to winning new business and an opportunity to opening your services/products to new markets.
THE MAURITIUS STRATEGYRead Insight
MAURICE ILE DURABLE
MAURICE ILE DURABLE
Many texts refer to sustainability or sustainable development as a term that emerged in the 1980s with World Conservation Strategy and the United Nations’ concern over the degradation of the environment and rising pollution. Yet it is to be noted that the concept of sustainability existed much earlier. The Vedas, the Maori culture and the North American Indians have used sustainability as their basis approach to living, where the spiritual and material entities are balanced. In Christianity, St Francis of Assisi provides the matrix of sustainability, stressing the equality of humanity and ambient creatures, and living with Nature. However, with Descartes, and his philosophy of “Cogito ergo sum”, control of Nature by human beings was advocated.
The words “sustainability” and “sustainable development” are often used to mean the same thing. However, they are different. The following definitions can be used to differentiate them.
Sustainability: “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.” Theodore Roosevelt – 1858-1919, 26th President of the United States.
Sustainable development: “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to achieve their needs and aspirations” ( Brundtland Commission).
While Roosevelt implies the preservation of the natural capital at any cost, Brundtland introduced the term development which implies that economic development can co-exist with environmental and social considerations. With the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s and the leading paradigm of economic growth that was upheld by Reagan and Thatcher, Brundtland had to focus on development rather than on the protection of the environment only. The concept of sustainability essentially means that effects on renewable resources do not exceed the regenerative capacity of the environment or “No net loss” of the natural resources.
Therefore Sustainable Development could be seen as development that delivers basic environmental, social and economic services to all without threatening the viability of the natural, built and social systems upon which these services depend. Accordingly sustainability can therefore be thought of as the goal, whereas sustainable development is seen as the process for achieving it. Sustainable development leads to sustainability. Hence while Roosevelt was referring to “Sustainability of the world”, Brundtland was addressing Sustainable Development – the process to achieve Sustainability
According to Brundtland’s report, the concept of Sustainable Development is that the natural resources of the Earth are limited and are being used disproportionately by a minority of people living in the wealthy nations, thus creating intra-generational inequity. The rate of use of these resources is ever-increasing, thus depriving the future generations of a living standard comparable to that of the present, and therefore further creating inter-generational inequity. The underlying philosophy of sustainable development is that the natural resources belong to all humans whose aspiration to higher standards of living should not be rendered limited. The point of view, according to the report, is that the present wasteful lifestyle of the developed nations is not sustainable on account of their disproportionately large per capita resource consumption that results in environmental degradation and societal inequity. The rallying wisdom behind sustainable development, therefore, is for restraining the rate of use of material and non renewable resources now so as to keep enough for future generations to fulfill their own ambitions of living standards.
Accordingly, Brundtland’s definition referred to sustainable development where the report highlighted three fundamental components to sustainable development namely: environmental protection, economic growth and social equity. The report is concerned primarily with the satisfaction of human needs in the future and hence is anthropocentric. This stresses the need for development to respect the earth’s finite capacities if it is to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations. The report was primarily concerned with securing a global equity, redistributing resources towards poorer nations, whilst encouraging their economic growth.
In opposition to the anthropocentric stand, there is another school of thought which asserts that sustainability means the creation of a society and economy that comes to terms with the life-support limits of the planet and hence is more eco-centric, in that the integrity of the biosphere is considered.
Two levels of sustainability have been identified ranging from the anthropocentric orientation incremental change to the eco-centric orientation radical change. The anthropocentric approach has been referred to as weak sustainability, holding that growth is necessary for environmental protection and relying mainly on technological innovation to solve environmental problems. This approach has also been referred to as the treadmill approach. The eco-centric approach has been referred to as strong sustainability, holding that environmental protection is necessary for economic growth.
The concept of weak and strong sustainability has been summarized in Table 1:
Table 1: Weak and strong Sustainability The above table acknowledges that while science and technology drive weaker sustainability, stronger sustainability requires changes in behaviour. A bold move towards sustainable development in Mauritius is the legislation of the Maurice Ile Durable – referred to as the MID programme with its intention of turning the island into a model sustainable island. The latest related issue to the MID is the release of the green paper “Towards a National Policy for a Sustainable Mauritius” on April 2011 by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. The document shows that the scope for sustainable development, previously energy-oriented, is now open to economic, social and environmental considerations, with the main thrust around the 5 Es, namely: Energy, Environment, Employment, Education and Equity.
An interesting issue to ponder upon is: why not “Maurice Ile Soutenable” instead of “Maurice Ile Durable”? Translated in English, “Durable” means “Capability of lasting” while “Sustainable” means “ability to support”. While the former has a time limit connotation, the latter refers to a much more everlasting principle. It appears that “Durable” is intrageneration-oriented, while “Sustainable” isintergeneration-oriented.
Hence the questions we need to address are:
What type of Sustainable development and Sustainability are we adopting in Mauritius? Are we adopting a weak or a strong sustainability? Is the vision of the Ile Maurice Durable inter or intra generation oriented? The article is part of the various issues examined in Mr P.P.Mauree’s PhD Thesis entitled “Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Sustainable development in Spatial Planning: Mauritius as a Case Study”.
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