Showing posts from April, 2014

Maurice Strong video release for his 85th birthday

A Conversation with Maurice Strong on his 85th Birthday "If the world succeeds in making a transition to truly sustainable development, all of us will owe no small debt of gratitude to Maurice Strong , whose prescience and dynamic presence on the International stage have played a key role in convincing governments and grassroots alike to embrace the principle - if not yet the practice - of adopting a new, long-term, custodial approach to the global environment."  Kofi Annan former UN secretary General Tuesday   April the 29th   2014 is Maurice Strong's  85th birthday .  Happy Birthday Maurice, we have so much to thank you for.  For more than half a century   Maurice Strong , as much as anyone on the planet, has been the torchbearer for the cause of sustainable development – as visionary, humanist, teacher, businessman and diplomat, as well as champion global thought and action leader. His crowning achievement was to curate and manage the 1992 Rio Ea

Listen to a podcast on where we stand 21 months from Rio+20

Post Rio + 20: Where Do We Stand 21 Months Later? 4/3/14   Organized by the New York Bar Association's Environmental Committee The term "Sustainable Development" first appeared in the 1987 report "Our Common Future," prepared by the Brundtland Commission. Sustainable Development was endorsed as the basis of a new model of development at the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, known as the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Twenty years later, the Rio + 20 Conference produced an Outcome Document called the "Future We Want," which articulates essential commitments necessary for Sustainable Development. The need for a sustainable future has remained a constant for the past quarter century and has propelled a deeper understanding of the principles and practices that will enable such a future. Indeed, understanding and implementing sustainable practices is even more crucial today in the face of globa

A perspective on the new paper by the co-chairs of the Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group

Introduction We are now getting into a very interesting period in the Sustainable Development Goals process. There has been slimming down of the number of Focus areas from 19 to 16 . This has been done by combining a number of Focus areas. New Focus area 8: Economic growth, employment and infrastructure – is a combination of old Focus area 8 – Economic growth, old Focus area 10 on Infrastructure and old Focus are 11 on Employment and decent work for all. The New Focus area 9: Industrialization and promoting equality among nations – is a combination of old Focus area 9 Industrialization and old Focus area 12 on promoting equality. The other main change is old Focus area 18 on Means of Implementation has been  either “mainstreamed” under each of the new focus areas or it’s a new Focus area 15 combining MOI and Global Partnerships for Development. I have been arguing a similar line to most of G77 that it only makes sense if Means of Implementation ( e.g. cap

Next book due out in June - The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda

The Plain Language Guide to Rio+20: Preparing for the New Development Agenda is my second book with Jorge Laguna Celis and Liz Thompson and will eb a Kindle download in June. It was inspired by a publication, in 1993 by the Centre for Our Common Future called The Earth Summit’s Agenda for Change. In 2003 Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future produced an updated document after the Johannesburg Summit called The Plain Language Guide to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. We have reprinted below the original Preface from 1993 by Warren (Chip) Lindner, which expressed the vision that sprang from Rio and was embedded in the Johannesburg and Rio+20 Conferences. Chip was then the director of the Centre for Our Common Future and had been the secretary to the Brundtland Commission. He went on to be the political advisor to the chair of the 1998 World AIDS Conference and successfully campaigned for the conference to have its next conference, its first in a developing countr

Low wages means the State subsidies

I read a very interesting article on the Forbes web site this morning by Clare O'Connor about a report by the Americans for Tax Fairness - that suggests that Walmart Workers cost taxpayers $6.2 billion in public assistance. The report argues that by paying low wages the State is therefore subsidizing the company and any company with food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. It is isn't something that I had seen so starkly put before but I think as we look more and more at the growing income inequality and the attacks on the state by some on the political right it is something people should be more aware of. Although the article focuses on Walmart it applies to so many companies that are paying around the minimum wage while at the same time making huge profits and paying their top management/directors very well. To put it very starkly your taxes are enabling companies to continue to pay low wages. In 2012 the gap between the richest 1 percent and the remaining

EU and Australia approve/change legislation in favour of requiring companies to report on ESG

Aviva Investors welcomes brave new world on corporate transparency Following up the Rio+20 push for a global framework for Corporate Sustainability Reporting the European Parliament voted on legislative proposals to encourage around 6,000 companies to report on their environmental and social performance. The proposals apply to all EU large public interest companies with over 500 employees. The legislation is now finalised and will see the proposals formally adopted by the Council of Ministers after which member states are expected to bring them into force by 2016.   Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors  warmly welcomed the conclusion of the legislative process and said: "It is the start of a brave new world for corporate transparency. This legislation should hugely increase the amount of information available to investors and the general public on how sustainable a company’s operations are. “Information on a company’s environmental

Great Transition Initiative Launches New Website

Great Transition Initiative Launches New Website For over a decade, the Great Transition Initiative has advanced a visionary scenario of a future rooted in human solidarity, well-being for all, and ecological sustainability. It now enters a new phase with renewed energy and heightened sense of urgency. Its re-imagined website— —serves as a platform for exploring bold visions and change strategies. The new site features: ·          An open-access journal of ideas publishing new essays, book reviews, and interviews. ·          A MacroScope highlighting current developments that carry long-term global significance. ·          Educational material such as videos, an overview of critical ideas, and archival literature. ·          A GT Network Space for those seeking more intensive engagement. GTI offers a unique and valuable resource for understanding our present moment and shaping our collective future.   ** ****************************

Reflections on the Way Forward from the SDG OWG 10

Reflections on the Way Forward from the SDG OWG 10 If you are hooked on intergovernmental meetings and coffee then SDG OWG 10 was a fascinating place to be this last week. This was the first time for governments and stakeholders to indicate what they wanted to retain and what they wanted out of the focus areas and their sub potential target areas.  Star of the week has to go to Farrukh Khan from Pakistan who came very prepared for the meeting with language for the targets, timescales and % as well as goal areas they sit under.  From Earth Negotiations Bulletin  Most disappointing were most of the European Union members who came with just broad goal and target comments. The co-chairs showed enormous patience with some of the Member States’ “blah blah,” and continually reiterated that the stocktaking phase is over.  Farrukh also has to again be complemented for bringing up Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) in much earlier meetings; now of course the

Captain America - Winter Soldier

For those who know me well they know I am a great superhero fan. When I was at Stakeholder Forum staff often accompanied me into comic shops I had found in different cities. While on the Danish delegation for Rio+20 some of us had superhero nicknames and mine was Captain America. I have always found the character of Captain America an interesting one. I apologies for those who know the story of Captain America but....he is one of the great collaborations of J oe Simon and Jack Kirby two of the absolute greats in superhero writing and drawing. Marvel would not be what it is without Jack Kirby he was the artists behind virtually all of Marvels heroes and some would say the writer as well though Stan Lee claims that.  The character first appeared in 1941 where Steve Rogers a failed applicant for the army agrees to be a guinea pig in to enhance him to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum. This works but as he is going through some Nazi spies attack and destroy the

Skanska issues green corporate bond

After the discussion on capital markets at the Nexus Conference I was very leased  to see this posting from Noel Morrin on Skanska and the capital markets. “Skanska offers capital markets the opportunity to invest in Skanska’s green projects through its first green corporate bond. The invested capital will be exclusively allocated towards investments in green commercial property development. “There is an increasing interest in the investor market for not only earning a return on investment, but also contributing to a better environment. Skanska is a leader in green project development and construction, and wants to be the preferred choice for investors seeking green investments”, says Peter Wallin, CFO, Skanska AB. “Green bonds help Skanska diversify its investor base and is yet another way to benefit from our leading position in green project development. The successful issuance confirms the capital market’s confidence in Skanska’s financial strength and continued long t