"Environment and Development for journalists" - a new
Brazilian Website under construction
The Brazilian NGO "Com-Mam" was founded in Sao Paulo in June
1998 by a group of specialists in the field of environment and
education. Com-Mam aims at bringing together information on the theme
"Environment and Development", and making it available to the
general public via different media, thus contributing to raising public
awareness about environmental issues. The idea to create the
organisation arose from the realization that information on the topic is
available, but is scattered among libraries, universities, NGOs,
specialist publications and institutes, and in the practical experience
of people involved with the subject.
Com-Mam has chosen the internet as their first medium, with the
webpage "Environment and Development for Journalists" (http://www.meioambiente.org.br).
Journalists are the targeted users of the website - since they are the
primary channel to public opinion - even though the information will
also be of interest to other users.
Com-Mam is currently consulting with specialists in the field of
environment and development. The site now includes a detailed "site
map" with navigation tunnels for all the themes the site will
eventually cover. For the moment, most themes include summary
explanations, which will be filled out gradually by texts and links.
Com-Mam welcomes your evaluation of the site, and your ideas as to how
it could be enriched and made more useful. Com-Mam would also be happy
to receive suggestions for themes, storylines, and links that you would
like to find. Funding contributions from public and private
organisations are also welcomed by Com-Mam.
For further information, please contact Ricardo Carvalho, Journalist
and President of Com-Mam, e-mail: email@example.com.
A Swedish and a Scottish organization are launching the OM Environment
Exchange to create an electronically based commodity market for trading
recyclable and environmental products. It aims at opening up the
recyclable commodities and futures markets to a wider audience by
providing price transparency and best markets for these commodities,
allowing traders to manage their risks, and matching buyers and sellers
while maintaining confidentiality. Environment Exchange also intends to
simplify handling of these commodities, allowing for savings on
administration costs and improved access to or disposal of all traded
The first tradeable instrument will be European Packing Recovery
Notes (PRNS). These Notes denote that a company has delivered a tonne of
packaging material to a recovery/recycling facility. Trades of PRNS will
initially be made over the phone with prices quoted on the website of
Environment Exchange, with trades eventually being made over the
internet. The first customers of Environment Exchange are in the United
Kingdom, but the company hopes to operate throughout Europe in the
Recent UK environmental legislation, such as the Landfill Tax and
Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 (PWRegs),
has been fundamental in triggering this initiative. This legislation has
altered the economic balance away from landfill towards recycling and
recovery, primarily to energy and composting, as a means of waste
disposal. It has raised the profile of recyclable commodities, created
new instruments (e.g. the evidence required by business that packaging
materials have been either recycled or recovered), and highlighted the
need to broaden the markets for commodities extracted out of the waste
As an illustration, the Department of the Environment (DoE) estimated
in 1996 that by 2001 PWRegs will impact on 19,000 businesses, and the
combined effects of this environmental legislation will be an annual
cost to industry of £1 billion. It will affect all waste producers with
a particularly major impact on the food, drink, retail, electronics,
textiles and chemicals industries. The desire of the Government is that
businesses should seek a collective solution to PWRegs by joining
registered compliance schemes, approved by both the Office of Fair
Trading and the Environment Agencies. These schemes will take on their
members' legal obligation to obtain PRNS. Some twelve compliance schemes
have been approved and others are seeking approval.
Source: Tomorrow - Global Enviroment Business, Number 1, Volume IX,
January-February 1999; and http://www.environmentexchange.com
The Liveable Tucson Vision Program
The Liveable Tucson Vision Program seeks to make Tucson, a city in the
State of Arizona in the United States, a better place to live by
engaging the community in an inclusive planning process to identify
common values, priorities, strategies, and measurable indicators of
progress that will be used to shape Tucson's future. Throughout the
spring and summer of 1997, a series of local forums were held in which
community members participated in a structured dialogue to discuss their
goals and priorities for the City of Tucson. In the fall of 1997, the
program was extended to include additional forums geared specifically
toward Spanish-speaking individuals, business people, and youth.
To date, over 700 community members have participated in the forums,
and those who were unable to attend meetings have had an opportunity to
"vote" for their top priorities in Council offices as well as
on the Livable Tuscon website. The 17 "Livable Tucson Goals"
are the priorities that were most commonly articulated by participants
during the process.
During the spring of 1998, six indicator workshops were held in which
community members worked together in small groups to develop indicators
to measure progress toward each of the "Liveable Tucson
Goals". These "Key Indicators of Progress" will be used
to create a "Community Report Card", that can be reviewed
annually to monitor progress toward the goal of a "Liveable
Examples of the wide variety of goals are: "safe
neighborhoods", "excellent public education",
"protected natural desert environment", "abundant urban
green space and recreation areas", "clean air and quality
water", and "people-oriented neighborhoods".
Indicators for measuring progress toward the goal "Better
Alternatives to Automobile Transportation", are use of alternative
modes of travel, ratio of miles of quality pedestrian and bike paths and
bus routes to total lane miles of roads, number of days you can see
Rincon Peak from Tumanoc Hill, and number of pedestrians in
neighbourhoods. Indicators for the goal "Efficient Use of Natural
Resources" are the ratio of protected natural desert to total
developed land, per capita water consumption, recycling as a percentage
of total waste, and renewable energy as a percentage of total energy
The fiscal year 1998-99 Policy Initiatives are broad program areas
that include specific programs and projects that help to further the 17
Liveable Tucson Goals. Main projects include "Back to Basics",
a project on neighbourhood improvement, "Everybody's
Neighborhood", aiming at downtown revitalization, "Youth
Programming" to make communities more child-friendly and
family-friendly, and multiple benefit water projects.
Source: 1998-99 Mayor and Council Policy Initiatives
Gender and Sustainable Consumption
The United Nations Environment and Development Committee of the United
Kingdom (UNED-UK) is currently undertaking a project on gender and
sustainable consumption. The findings of this research project are to be
compiled as a report for advocacy and to be presented at the seventh
session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), April 1999,
UNED-UK feels that gender and consumption has not been sufficiently
considered at the policy and NGO level, in spite of the fact that
consumption has been addressed by numerous conferences and papers since
the Brundlandt Report in 1987 and the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.
According to UNED-UK, integrating a gender perspective provides a more
complete and realistic picture for issues on sustainable consumption.
The first chapter of the report elaborates on the structural links
between gender and consumption. It provides a historical overview of how
women came to be historically associated with consumption and a
contemporary perspective on how women represent the largest group of
consumers worldwide. This chapter also looks at how gender influences
marketing practices and what we consume.
The second chapter addresses gender asymmetry and consumption
issues/rights. It focuses on key areas of asymmetry: poverty,
environmental degradation-poverty-gender, globalization-
consumerism-gender, advertising, and the role of the media and marketing
strategies directed at women and children. According to the authors of
the report, policy measures and initiatives on sustainable consumption
need to take account of inequality at all these levels.
The third chapter brings together information on campaigns and
activism (with a gender dimension) whereby groups have promoted
sustainable products and challenged consumer pressures. This chapter
looks at what has made these campaigns successful and how local people
have responded. It will also include a survey on how gender-sensitive
consumer groups are in the UK and to what extent they include gender in
Chapter four discusses ways of measuring gender disparities in
relation to consumption. The project calls for policy makers to
construct a Gender Consumption Index (GCI) that can provide gender
disaggregated data. This chapter will include studies that have measured
gender disparities and will discuss the benefits and importance of such
tools. Chapter four will be followed by a database of specific
individuals, research institutes and NGOs that are working on this and
UNED-UK is still in the process of collecting further information on
this topic, and is inviting those who are interested to get in contact
with them. They are also setting up an expert committee of people who
are specialised on this topic. Funding contributions from public and
private organisations are welcomed by UNED-UK.
For further information, please contact, Ms. Shalini Grover, UNED-UK,
3 WhiteHall Court, London - SW1A 2EL, UK. e-mail: Gshalini@hotmail.com.
Sustainable Consumption: a "Southern Perspective"
The Indian Consumer Protection Organisation CUTS is setting up its own
Programme on Sustainable Consumption. The Action Plan includes four main
sections: (i) Policy Framework on Sustainable Consumption, (ii)
Environment Friendly Technologies and Practices, (iii) Eco-labelling,
and (iv) Energy Availability and Efficiency.
Elements of the work on policy frameworks are activites related to
the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection, and the development of a
National Consumer Policy Statement for India. Other activities involve
policy advocacy to ensure implementation of the above documents.
In the context of environmentally friendly technologies and
practices, CUTS intends to identify good and bad practices, and to
disseminate information and campaign to promote best practice examples.
This section also includes work on advertising practices. The 1998
publication "Role and the Impact of Advertising in Promoting
Sustainable Consumption in India", written by N. Suresh, Rajat
Chaudhuri and Pradeep S. Metha traces the impact of advertsing on
consumption in India since liberalisation began in the early 1990s. This
section of the Work Programme also includes work on possibilities for
"leapfrogging" from selected old technologies to more
environmentally sustainable technologies, and campaigns to promote these
technologies (e.g. the Ecofrig described in the "News and
Trends" issue of October-November 1998).
In the area of eco-labelling, mainly concerned with the Indian
Ecomark, CUTS focuses on the analysis of existing standards that have
been developed for the existing range of products, comparative analyses
of eco-labelling criteria among countries, targeting a few selected
products for promoting the Ecomark, challenging false claims by
manufacturers, and influencing government procurement.
The work on energy availability and efficiency mainly concerns the
identification of alternatives for energy production and transmission,
information dissemination, and advocacy work with the government to
promote an environment friendly energy policy.
In December 1998, Rajat Chaudhuri and Pradeep Mehta, the Secretary
General of CUTS wrote a paper "The Question of Consumption - What
we can do about it - A Southern Perspective", where he analyzes the
particularities of consumption-related problems in the South, and makes
suggestions on how both the Government and civil society can tackle
For further details on the Programme on Sustainable Consumption, CUTS
Newsletters, and the above mentioned publications, please contact Ms.
Amelia Andrews at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.,
and surf website www.cuts-india.org
Sustainable Use of Resources in Europe (SURE)
Friends of the Earth Europe's 'Sustainable Europe' campaign found that
reductions of 80-90% in the consumption of non-renewable materials is
needed over the next few decades in the move towards sustainability.
However, this consumption of non-renewable resources continues to rise
at an alarming rate and the amount of waste produced in Europe each year
continues to grow.
Friends of the Earth Scotland are co-ordinating the Sustainable Use
of Resources in Europe (SURE) project which aims to highlight the
opportunities for improving the management of resources and reducing
total waste production across Europe.
SURE, which is partly funded by the European Commission, is an
eighteen month project running until October 1999. The project involves
partner organisations in England, Italy, FYR Macedonia, Netherlands,
Scotland, Spain and Ukraine. These countries represent a cross section
of the social and economic circumstances which determine the patterns of
resource use across Europe.
The main objectives of the SURE project will be to: (i) feed the
agenda of reducing consumption directly into the current EU debate on
waste and resource management; (ii) provide 'best practice' and 'worst
practice' examples of waste and resource-use policies and technologies
across Europe, (iii) develop and campaign for effective waste
minimisation and resource management strategies at the national level,
and (iv) raise public awareness of the effects of current resource
Each project partner will develop a strategy for reducing consumption
of resources and steering society towards minimising the production of
waste. In preparing their strategies, each partner will focus on one or
more specific resource streams which have a high profile in their
country. The principle recommendations from each strategy will be
brought together in a report designed to demonstrate what needs to be
done at a European level to improve waste and resource management.
A major conference is planned for June 1999. This will coincide with
the launch of SURE's European level report and will aim to attract
delegates from business, industry and government around Europe.
For more information, please contact: Gavin McCall, European Project
Manager, Friends of the Earth Scotland, 72 Newhaven Road, Edinburgh,
Scotland, U.K., Tel: (44)+131-554-9977, Fax: (44)+131-554-8656, e-mail: email@example.com.
German project on Indicators for Sustainable Household
The project "Priorities and indicators for environmentally sound
consumption" of the German Wuppertal Institute for Climate,
Environment, and Energy is part of a demonstration project of the German
Federal Environment Agency, aiming at evaluating sustainable consumption
patterns and lifestyles in Germany. It includes the development of
indicators to prioritise measures and behavioural changes needed at the
household level for reducing environmental degradation.
The first step of the project consisted in identifying the main
environmental driving forces behind the multitude of visible impacts
caused by society and the main household consumption clusters that
contribute to them. The second step involved the selection of indicators
characterising those household activities. The findings were that energy
and material consumption as well as land use were the main environmental
impacts of our society, and that housing (including construction), food,
and transportation (in this order) were the fields that needed most
attention from an environmental point of view. On that basis, five
indicators were selected for housing, three for food consumption, and
five for transport.
Construction and housing indicators are: heating energy consumption,
resource intensity, apartment size, the ratio of private investment in
existing buildings over private investment in the construction of new
buildings, and settlement area.
Food indicators are: meat consumption, percentage of consumed
products grown by ecological agriculture, and food-miles of transport
for selected products.
Transport indicators are: travelling distances for shopping and
leisure, percentage of travel for professional and educational purposes,
percentage of travel for leisure and shopping, the total number of cars
per 1,000 population, and long distance travelling.
The Wuppertal Institute organised a side event on the above project
during the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group of the Commission on
Sustainable Development. Ms. Nicola Breier of the Ministry for
Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety of Germany moderated
For further information, please contact: Mr. Joachim Spangenberg,
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
or Ms. Sylvia Lorek (e-mail: email@example.com
SPAC Watch: An NGO initiative to monitor national progress
towards sustainable production and consumption
This February, NGOs agreed to move forward with the proposed SPAC Watch
initiative. NGOs discussed various aspects of the initiative at the
International NGO Conference on Sustainable Production and Consumption,
in Soesterberg, Netherlands. This effort represents a collaboration
among NGOs in various countries around the world, with the objective to
monitor and report on progress by national governments in developing and
implementing sustainable production and consumption policy.
Already, NGOs from India, Russia, Ireland, the United States, Chile,
the Netherlands and other countries have committed themselves to act as
civil society watch dogs to monitor efforts -- or note the lack of
effort -- by their governments to follow through on their Agenda 21
commitments made at the 1992 Earth Summit.
In particular, NGOs are focusing attention on the commitment made by
heads of state during the Earth Summit to develop national policy
frameworks for promoting sustainable production and consumption
practices. With special attention focused on implemention of the newly
revised United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection, NGOs
throughout the world will be noting and reporting on what steps their
governments take beyond the statements made at the annual Comission on
Sustainable Development sessions.
For further information about SPAC Watch and the NGO Caucus on
Sustainable Production & Consumption, contact: Jeffrey Barber,
Northern Coordinator, NGO Caucus on Sustainable Production &
Consumption, Tel: 202-872-5339; Fax: 202-331-8166; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mid-Course Correction - Toward a Sustainable Enterprise: The
Ray Anderson, an industrial engineer from Georgia Tech, founded
Interface, Inc., a carpet manufacturing company in Atlanta, Georgia, in
1973. Over the next two decades, Interface grew and prospered, a success
by most traditional business indicators of growth: revenues, profits,
products, and territories. Ray Anderson, however, found himself growing
increasingly uneasy, a discomfort that became focused when he read Paul
Hawken's book, The Ecology of Commerce. It became instantly clear
to him that the processes of nature must be incorporated into every
aspect of his life, including his company.
The new book, Mid-Course Correction is the personal story of
Ray Anderson's realization that businesses need to embrace principles of
sustainability, and of his efforts, often frustrating, to apply these
principles within a billion dollar corporation that is still measured by
the standard scorecards of the business world. While the path has proved
to have many curves, Interface is demonstrating that the principles of
sustainability and financial success can co-exist within a business, and
can lead to a new prosperity that includes human dividends as well. By
the end of 1998, Interface had saved nearly $70 million through
initiatives to cut waste, save energy, and recycle its products.
Employees at all levels share in the savings, through bonuses tied to
waste reduction efforts.
Anderson, who is currently Co-chairman of the President's Council on
Sustainable Development, and was named the Georgia Conservancy's
Conservationist of the Year in 1997, aims to make Interface the world's
first truly sustainable company, and to that end he is introducing solar
energy into his plants and funding research to produce 100 percent
and Tomorrow - Global Environment Business, Number 1, Volume IX,
Canada's NRTEE Workshop on Emissions Trading
Canada's National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE)
organized an International Workshop entitled "Domestic Greenhouse
Gas Emissions Trading Programs, A Comparison of Progress Around the
World", on March 1-3, 1999, in Toronto, Canada.
It examined emissions trading schemes under consideration by a number
of countries. Speakers from government departments and research agencies
in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the United States, among
others, presented information on their national policy process and on
the trading program designs being examined in their countries. Other
topics discussed included allowance distribution and/or auction,
emissions source coverage, use of credits from sources outside of the
trading system, links to international flexibility mechanisms and pilot
programs for greenhouse gas emissions trading.
Contact Elizabeth Atkinson, Senior Policy Advisor, NRTEE, 344 Slater
Street, Suite 200, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7Y3, Fax: (613) 992 73 85,
Source: The Gallon Environment Letter, Vol. 2, No. 30, December 19,
1998, Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment; 506 Victoria
Ave., Montreal, Quebec H3Y 2R5, Tel: (514) 369 0230, Fax: (514) 369-
3282, e-mail: email@example.com.
New Venture Aims to Create World's First 'Hydrogen Economy'
A February 17 Daimler Chrysler news release notes that the company has
signed a Co-operation Agreement with EcoEnergy Ltd., Norsk Hydro, and
Royal Dutch/ Shell Group for a joint venture to investigate the
potential for replacing fossil fuels in Iceland with hydrogen and
creating the world's first "hydrogen economy". Oxygen from the
air and hydrogen fuel are combined in a chemical reaction in fuel cells,
to produce electricity and water. Vehicle fuel efficiency can be
improved by 50 percent with no exhaust emissions.
The joint venture, called the Icelandic Hydrogen and Fuel Cell
Company Ltd., with an equity capital of $1 million, will test various
applications using hydrogen or hydrogen carriers with fuel cells. One of
the first results could be a hydrogen/fuel cell-powered bus service in
Reykjavik, with additional projects being introduced between 2000 and
2002. The joint venture ultimately aims to convert both the public and
private transportation sectors, including fishing vessels. Work will
also be carried out in the production, storage and distribution of
hydrogen and hydrogen carriers.
The majority partner, Orkis hf., is owned by a group of Icelandic
companies, led by the New Business Venture Fund. Orkis has been
established specifically to take part in the joint venture. Each of the
three other partners has equal rights and shares and already has
expertise in this field. Daimler Chrysler has been developing fuel cell
technology for automobile applications since 1991 and intends to
mass-produce fuel cell vehicles for commercialization by the middle of
the coming decade. Norsk Hydro has a long history in the production of
hydrogen and hydrogen carriers and the development of hydrogen systems.
Shell has recently set up a hydrogen business and has developed
technology which can convert liquid fuels into a hydrogen-rich gas.
Iceland has large potential for renewable energy sources which, so
far, have only been harnessed to a limited degree. Some 67 percent of
its primary energy consumption is supplied by hydro- and geothermal
sources, the highest percentage share among OECD countries. The
Icelandic government has further development of the renewable domestic
energy resources on its agenda. Such use could contribute significantly
to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Sources: Sustainable Energy Coalition "Weekly Update",
February 21, 1999 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Clean Transport Trade Netherlands-Benin
Trade and Environment go well together. This is illustrated by numerous
business projects that were started in the framework of the Dutch
sustainable development agreements with Benin, Costa Rica, and Bhutan.
A new initiative on trade in used vehicles between the Netherlands
and Benin is an example. Increased use of motorised transport has lead
to various environment and traffic problems in Benin. The Dutch
organisation for North-South campaigns, INZET, and a number of Benin
counterparts are currently investigating the bottlenecks in both the
Netherlands and Benin. The project should produce concrete possibilities
for improvement without denying people in Benin their transport.
Improved public transport, joint ventures between garages in the
Netherlands and Benin and channelling the Dutch removal charge for old
vehicles to Benin are some of the options under discussion. Recent new
vehicle pollution legislation in Benin is a sign that vehicle pollution
has moved to a prominent position on the political agenda, and that the
government actively supports the initiative.
e-mail: email@example.com; Website
For more information about Ecooperation: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tel: +31 (0)20 422 11 40, Fax +31 (0)20 422 11 41.
The Natural Step for Business - Wealth, Ecology and the
The Natural Step is a model for sustainability that can be applied to
any system, and on any scale: households, organizations, companies,
communities, and countries. The Natural Step was founded in Sweden in
1989 by the Swedish oncologist Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert. Together with
fifty fellow scientists, he drafted a paper outlining fundamental
principles that could define a sustainable society. This process
resulted in a consensus endorsed by all participants. From this
document, four fundamental "system conditions" necessary for a
sustainable society were developed , and the model was adapted into a
one-day training program.
The system conditions are the following: (i) subtances from the
Earth's crust cannot systematically increase in the biosphere, (ii)
substances produced by society cannot systematically increase in the
biosphere, (iii) the physical basis for the productivity and diversity
of nature must not be systematically degraded, and (vi) in order to meet
the provious three system conditions, there must be a fair and efficient
use of resources to meet human needs.
The new book "The Natural Step of Business" is the first
book of in-depth case studies on companies that have adopted the Natural
Step. It profiles four major companies: Interface, a flooring company
from Atlanta; Collins Pine, a lumber company from Portland, Oregon; and
Ikea and Scandic Hotels, both from Stockholm, Sweden. The book provides
business leaders with the practical tools they need to build a
sustainable business by increasing operating efficiencies, reducing
costs, decreasing their impacts on the natural environment, and
increasing employee morale, loyalty, and effectiveness.
The Natural Step for Business - Wealth, Ecology and the Evolutionary
Corporation, Conscientious Commerce Series, January 1999, ISBN
For more information about the "Natural Step" (in the United
States), click on http://www.naturalstep.org
Lost in Transition: Local Markets and Sustainable Practices
This report follows up on the findings of the 1998 report "Impacts
of Economic Globalization and Changes in Consumption and Production
Patterns in Central and Eastern Europe (see "News and Trends",
August-September 1998). In comparison with the previous report, which
focused on environmental aspects of trends in consumption and production
patterns, the new report stresses the social and economic dimension.
The report includes a case study of the beverage and packaging
industry in Poland, and an article on public transport in Central and
Eastern Europe. It also has a chapter on the development of organic
farming in CEE countries and its social and environmental impacts.
Finally, the report includes a chapter on local environmental knowledge
in the Balkans, and on the impacts of the economic transition in
Ewa Charkiewich, e.a., CEE CAP Report 2 on Changes in Consumption and
Production Patterns in Central and Eastern Europe - Lost in Transition:
Local Markets and Sustainable Practices, December 1998, CEE CAP
For more information, contact Ewa Charkiewich, Tools for Transition,
Atjehstraat 20, NL 2585 VK Den Haag, The Netherlands, tel and fax: +31
70 3520 289, E-mail: email@example.com
Previous versions of "News and
News and Trends
December 1998-January 1999
News and Trends
News and Trends
News and Trends