25th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 25): ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of climate change in Africa

MADRID, Spain, December 12, 2019/ — There was standing room only as ministers, diplomats, activists and journalists gathered at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid to mark Africa Day at the COP 25 climate meeting.

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of climate change in Africa.

In the opening statement for Africa Day on Tuesday, Yasmin Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, on behalf of the African Union, said: “We have, and will continue to engage and to seek landing grounds on the outstanding issues. But we must flag our concern at the apparent reluctance by our interlocutors to engage on issues of priority to developing countries, as evidenced by the large number of such issues which have simply been pushed from session to session without any progress.”

Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by devastating natural disasters recently. Africa Day has been held at the conference every year since COP 17 in 2011 to rally support for the continent’s cause.

“The climate disaster issues confronting the continent demand a predictable and unified response,” said UN ASG Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of African Risk Capacity, an agency of the African Union (www.AU.int) that helps governments respond to natural disasters.

“Africa needs to move towards market-based innovative financing models to achieve a strong, united, resilient and globally influential continent. The future of Africa depends on solidarity.”

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the ECA would support African countries to revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to attract private sector investments in clean energy.

“The lack of concerted and meaningful global ambition and action to tackle climate change poses an existential threat to African populations,” Songwe said.

The Paris Agreement is the guiding force of current climate negotiations. It calls on nations to curb temperature increases at 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain rises within 1.5°C. The next step is to implement NDCs, which set out national targets under the Paris Agreement.

While African countries outlined bold aspirations to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their NDCs, the continent’s position is that it should not be treated the same as developed nations as its carbon emissions constitute a fraction of the world’s big economies.

“The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) remains committed to partnering with other institutions in providing the requisite support to AU member states in reviewing and updating their NDCs,” said Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programmes at AUDA-NEPAD.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Environment Minister and current chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, said the Africa Day event should come up with new ideas to enhance the implementation of NDCs in Africa.

Africa is already responding positively to the challenge of climate change, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, citing huge investment interest in renewables at the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

“Clearly, we are a continent that has what it takes to create the Africa that we want to see happen. I believe what has been the missing link is the ability to brand right and to act on the market signals,” Nyong said. “We continue to present Africa as a vulnerable case and not as a business case with opportunities. In fact, where we have attempted the latter, the results have been spot-on.”

Chief Fortune Charumbira, Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, said robust climate legislation was key.

“The world’s response to the challenge has shown that legislation is imperative to cement efforts employed by various stakeholders; from the Paris Agreement to Nationally Determined Contributions,” he said.

Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said climate change affected sectors key to Africa’s socio-economic development, such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, biodiversity and tourism. She called on African countries to take stock of the Paris Agreement, and its implementation around finance capacity building and technology.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

Climate Change Will Disrupt Oceans, Causing Chaos Says U.N.

September 25, 2019—Today, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading body of climate scientists, released the summary for policymakers of its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (the cryosphere refers to areas containing frozen water, such as glaciers and snowcapped mountains). More than 100 scientists from 30 countries examined thousands of peer-reviewed studies to assess the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans, as well as its coastal, polar, and mountain regions. Their conclusions were grim.

Global warming of 1 degree Celsius has already taken place, and the impacts are already being felt: rising sea levels, disappearing glaciers, more extreme weather, marine heatwaves…” noted EESI Executive Director Carol Werner. “Already severe, these impacts will only get worse as we continue to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

Climate impacts will severely disrupt communities throughout the world. Rising sea levels will endanger coastal cities and small island nations, and likely force millions to migrate further inland. The IPCC expects sea levels to rise between 1.28 and 2.8 feet by 2100, and flood damages are projected to increase 100- or even 1,000-fold. Disappearing mountain glaciers in Asia and South America will leave hundreds of millions without reliable sources of water for drinking and farming during the dry season. Acidification, caused by the higher levels of atmospheric carbon seeping into oceans, is harming marine ecosystems, including zooplankton which form the basis of the food chain. Marine heatwaves are contributing to the creation of dead zones—vast oxygen-depleted areas devoid of fish. Melting permafrost in Arctic regions could unleash billions of tons of additional carbon, creating a vicious feedback loop.

Most nations have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for global warming to remain significantly below 2 degrees Celsius. But even if all of their pledges are kept, global temperatures are expected to rise more than 3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

“A 3-degree rise in global temperatures would be absolutely devastating,” says Carol Werner. “World leaders meeting in New York for the U.N. Global Assembly must recognize their responsibilities as leaders at this critical point in time and commit to action that will really make a difference.”

source: www.EESI.org

Spadel receives “CO2 Neutral” label for all its sites

Spadel, a producer of natural mineral water, has received the “CO2 Neutral” label from CO2Logic and Vinçotte for all its sites in Europe. This is a wonderful way of acknowledging a Belgian company, market leader in the Benelux with a strong regional presence in France and in the UK, that remains committed to sustainability and that was named as one of the Top 10 Most Sustainable Companies in Europe by the European Business Awards in 2014.

Sustainability is one of the strategic pillars of Spadel’s business strategy. For this reason, the Belgian market leader for natural mineral water set itself ambitious sustainability goals in 2010: to achieve a 20% carbon footprint reduction by 2015 and to become entirely carbon neutral by 2020. The 1st 2015 goal -20% reduction was achieved, and Spadel can today say with pride that as of the end of 2015, it has become CO2 neutral  across the board, at all branches , production sites and offices across Europe. The CO2 Neutral label has been given today at a workshop organized at the Spadel offices on the implementation of the engagements of the members of the CSR network The Shift regarding the COP21.

The goal of reducing the CO2 footprint by 20% between 2010 and 2015 was achieved for the most part thanks to our own efforts (15%), while the remainder (5%) was gained by using compensation (offsetting). 

Marc du Bois, Spadel Managing Director: “Sustainability is in our DNA. Spadel wants to be a sustainable company in a sustainable world. Gaining the CO2 neutral label underscores the efforts we have been making for years to provide concrete answers for reducing our C02 footprint. This reinforces the choice of Spadel to develop regional quality brands with a low CO2 footprint”. 

The CO2  footprint fell by 15% as result from own achievements, from 211g CO2 per litre to 180g CO2 per litre. Over the five years, this represents a saving of 42,000 tonnes of CO2 , distributed as follows:

1)   22,000 tonnes of CO2 at the complete chain.

The savings are primarily the result of:

  • The weight reduction in PET bottles at all Group sites
  • The use of recycled PET for the Spa and Bru bottles, e.g. in the case of the Spa Reine bottles that have a unique ecological profile thanks to the 50% recycled PET
  • The purchase of Belgian PET, which has 20% less impact compared with the market average.

2)   13,000 tonnes of CO2 reduction refers to measures in the manufacturing sites: energy saving, offices, company cars and so on. This is the result of 

  • rationalised energy use 
  • the implementation of new product lines such as the glass filling line in 2010 with a reduction in energy use of 30%, and the Bru-Chevron heating system for dishwashers
  • the use of renewable energy: green energy in all manufacturing sites; the total renewable energy at a group level represents 37% of the total energy use;
  • the installation of 26,000m² of solar panels on the Spa Monopole roof (the largest in Wallonia) and 2,450m² at Bru-Chevron;

3)   Finally, a 7000-tonne CO2 reduction in the ‘Distribution’ point, specifically in transport and the entire logistics chain through the project ‘Lean & Green’. 

C02 compensation tool
Despite the many efforts in recent years, some residual emissions that Spadel is unable to reduce immediately have remained in the industrial sites. To prevent the residual CO2 emissions from having an impact on the climate, Spadel has made the decision to compensate its operational activities by using Gold Standard-certified climate projects. In doing so, Spadel will be assisted by CO2logic, an independent climate consultancy. The efforts made by Spadel in terms of the environment will also be verified by the independent agency, Vinçotte. The project selected is the “Saving Trees” climate project in Uganda (www.savingtrees.org).

Antoine Geerinckx, CO2Logic Managing Founder, said “Gaining the C02 neutral label is a clear signal, demonstrating Spadel’s commitment to continuing their pioneering role in terms of sustainability. Spadel is already taking all the steps that most companies will be obliged to take over the next few years in an effort to stay below a heat increase of 2°C”.

Spadel’s sustainability strategy
Sustainability is one of Spadel’s strategic pillars. To further strengthen our leading position in this field, we have set out ambitious sustainability goals across three pillars:

  • ‘Nature’s best close to you’ based on a proactive policy on protecting natural sources and on product innovation, aiming towards natural quality in all our products.
  •  ‘Our footprint’, working as hard as possible towards reducing both our carbon and our water footprint.
  • ‘People & Society’, playing an important social and societal role, both internally and externally.

Le Pain Quotidien UK Becomes Carbon Neutral

At Le Pain Quotidien, they believe that our environment is everything. Their mission to serve fresh, wholesome food means that they consider the impact they have on the environment in nearly every aspect of their business. In this vein, we are thrilled to announce that the UK restaurants of Le Pain Quotidien have been certified carbon neutral by the climate advisory organisation CO2logic – an exciting step for Le Pain Quotidien in their ongoing sustainability journey.

What does it mean to be carbon neutral? To become certified carbon neutral, Le Pain Quotidien calculated their carbon emissions, made efforts to bring them to as low a level as possible, and then offset those that are unavoidable by investing a carbon-reducing project elsewhere.

How did they achieve carbon neutrality? After calculating their own carbon emissions, one of the major actions they took to reduce them was retrofitting all lighting in their restaurants with LED lights, a simple step that allowed them to cut down on light-energy consumption by an astounding 80%. They have taken this retrofit initiative nationwide and are building all new restaurants with LED lighting. Le Pain Quotidien also made strides in using more efficient refrigeration, cooking and cooling operations to make their carbon footprint as small as possible.

Their rustic décor is made with recycled wood material which means more trees and less wastage. They also focusing on their suppliers as they are taking a big part of their journey: where they can they schedule night deliveries to reducing transport miles and congestion. They are proud to say that their selected glass/dishwasher supplier is the first in the UK to achieve Carbon Footprint certification.

The coffee cups and bags are made of compostable material and they are operating with a strict wastage recycling procedure in each restaurant.

Of course, restaurant operations still create some carbon emissions. That’s where the offset comes in – they are supporting our Gold Standard-certified project in Uganda that distributes efficient cooking stoves to reduce wood consumption. This helps to lower deforestation and reduce toxic fumes, while still enabling local families to have effective and functional cooking methods which, of course, at Le Pain Quotidien understand is a fundamental part of a happy life.

They are not stopping here – their goal is to go carbon neutral globally by 2020!

Le Pain Quotidien is incredibly proud to be part of this movement, a sentiment that was perhaps best captured by their global CEO, Vincent Herbert: “we want to be part of the growing community that addresses climate change by reducing our climate impact – and this is just the beginning.” It is just the beginning – from here, they hope to soon expand this carbon neutral program nationwide, and one day, globally.

Proximus reaches its goal to become climate neutral

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  • Having reduced its carbon footprint by more than 70% between 2007 and 2015, Proximus has reached its objective to become a climate neutral company in 2016.
  • The “CO2 Neutral” label recognizes the significant efforts made by Proximus to reduce CO2emissions directly linked to its activities (vehicle fleet, heating in buildings, data centers, fixed and mobile networks) but also to reduce indirect emissions, particularly the home-work commute, business travel, and the energy consumption of decoders and modems.
  • The results are impressive: in six years, Proximus managed to reduce its energy consumption by 22% (-3% in 2016) and its carbon emissions by 32% (-4% in 2016).
  • And it doesn’t stop there: Proximus aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by an additional 30% by 2025, and to reduce its indirect emissions by 50% by 2040, in particular by raising awareness among customers and suppliers.
  • At the same time, Proximus will continue to offset its remaining emissions by supporting international climate projects, especially in Africa.

Alignment with scientific objectives

On a global scale, 15 of the 16 hottest years on record were in the 21st century. Today, the effects of global warming are clearly being felt in countries throughout the world. As a socially responsible company, Proximus plays an active role in the fight against climate change and wants to set an example in this area by aligning its objectives with the objectives fixed by scientists at the Paris COP21 in 2015 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Thanks to Proximus’ efforts over the past decade to reduce its environmental impact, it has become one of the first BEL 20 companies to be recognized as climate neutral. Proximus is also the only Belgian company to receive the CDP Climate Leadership Award which recognizes initiatives taken by listed companies to reduce their CO2 emissions, thereby limiting their impact on climate change. Last October, Proximus received this award for the fourth consecutive year.

Very encouraging results

At Proximus, sustainability is not new. Since 2007, the company has reduced its CO2emissions for its Belgian activities by more than 70%. How? Notably, by using 100% green electricity; by improving the energy efficiency of its fixed and mobile networks; by reducing electricity consumption in its data centers; by renewing heating installations in its buildings; by switching to a greener vehicle fleet; and by encouraging the use of public transport and bikes for the employee commute.

These different measures, which are described in detail in the new Proximus CSR Report for 2016, have led to some impressive results:

  • Carbon emissions of the Proximus Group have fallen by 32% in six years.
  • Energy consumption of the Proximus Group has fallen by 22% in six years.
  • Fuel consumption per vehicle has fallen by 22% in 9 years.
  • 99.6% of company vehicles currently report CO2 emissions under 145 g CO2/km, compared to 56% in 2010.
  • 47% of employees who have a company car have chosen to replace it with public transport for the home-work commute.
  • 88% of Proximus waste was recycled in 2016 (compared with 85% in 2015).
  • Thanks to the new V5 and V5 Compact decoders, which consume more than 50% less energy than their predecessors, the average consumption of all TV decoders used by Proximus customers has fallen by 33% in the past three years.

Further reducing our environmental impact

Now that we have a good momentum going, there’s no stopping us. Proximus is determined to continue and even intensify its efforts to protect the environment in order to achieve an additional 30% reduction of its CO2 emissions by 2025.

In the longer term, Proximus also wants to exert more influence on the reduction of indirect emissions resulting from its activities, in order to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2040. In practice, this means that Proximus will have to continue its efforts to reduce waste reduction, purchase sustainable goods and services, and reduce the ecological footprint of Proximus devices supplied to customers.