The CSR Monitor archive

News and Information (Updated Regularly) 2008-14

Climate Summit 2014

Adopting resolutions is good, Setting ambitious goals is better, Taking action is best. After two decades of Climate Summits, starting from Berlin in 1995 and including Kyoto 1997, Marrakech 2001, Montreal, 2005, Copenhagen 2009 and Doha 2012, the 2014 New York Summit was inaugurated on September 23rd under the motto “Catalyzing Action”.

Eager to avoid the many mistakes and the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen summit, more specific action were agreed including actions intended to the avert the worst effects of climate change, commitment of private sector funds to move to greener investment outcomes, and action statements for eight specific areas were adopted (Agriculture, Cities, Energy, Financing, Forests, Industry, Resilience and Transportation).

Sustainability Innovations Deployed in Global Markets

The Scandinavian think tank Sustainia was created as a response to the need for a clear, positive and well-argued notion of what sustainable practices entail. Dedicated to communicate the attractive and empowering aspects of sustainable living, without discarding the urgency of the matter, a central part of its mission is to push for faster adoption of sustainable solutions across sectors and markets.

The recently published study on 100 leading sustainability innovations deployed in global markets “Sustainia 100” is a guide documenting 100 innovative sustainability solutions from around the world, showing how the growing diversity in sustainability innovations can provide businesses with new market opportunities. As reported by the UN Global Compact, three drivers are shaping market-ready innovation: Circular economy products, data analytics to reduce resource waste, and sustainability practices throughout the supply chain.

Climate Change 2014 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

On March 30, the Summary for Policymakers of the Fifth Climate Change Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was approved.

The research presented in the report is based on the following definition of climate change: “Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.”

The report, still in draft form, highlights a series of important issues that call for global action, where MBA graduates can and should take a lead, including:

  1. In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans;
  2. In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality (medium confidence). Glaciers continue to shrink almost worldwide due to climate change (high confidence), affecting runoff and water resources downstream (medium confidence). Climate change is causing permafrost warming and thawing in high-latitude regions and in high-elevation regions (high confidence);
  3. Many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances, and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change (high confidence);
  4. Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts (high confidence);
  5. Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability (very high confidence).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)  and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Marine Energy Gains Interest in Europe and Globally

As explained by the Ocean Energy Systems initiative (part of theInternational Energy Agency), marine energy (also called ocean energy or blue energy) comprises wave energy, tidal and current energy, as well as the potential to extract energy from thermal zones in the world’s oceans. The major source of energy is the movement of water. This tremendous source of renewable and completely clean kinetic energy is also close to many of the largest cities and urban concentrations.

In January 2014, the European Commission, DG Maritime Affairs, adopted a new Action Plan for Blue Energy for 2020 and beyond. The plan stipulates that for ocean energy to deliver on its potential, the time is ripe to bring Member States, the industry and the Commission together to work in a collaborative manner to accelerate its development.

Green Solutions in Tourism

After a period of ‘hibernation’ the IMBA CSR Monitor is back with updates of interesting initiatives in the broad area of Corporate Social Responsibility happening in Greece and internationally.

With prospects of increasing the flow of tourists to Greece to new record heights in 2014, the tourism industry has huge potential to develop and bring growth back to the country. An interesting project initiated by UNWTO (The World Tourism Organization) called Hotel Energy Solutions (HES)  delivers information, technical support and training to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy usage. Potential to innovate and provide a more ecologically-friendly vacation experience could provide an additional advantage to Greece’s myriad of tourism oriented businesses.

Establishment of iMBA Energy Club

iMBA Energy Club is an enthusiastic attempt of MBA students to promote the awareness in Energy related topics from either an academic or a professional point of view. Find out more in the dedicated part of this website.

The Social Dimension of Preventive Healthcare

Reaching the masses is the true challenge for healthcare and thus also indirectly for the pharmaceutical industry. A recent study from the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution at the University of Newcastle shows that there are marked socioeconomic gradients in health behavior.

The greater exposure of poor people to unavoidable harms engenders a disinvestment in health behavior, resulting in a final inequality in health outcomes. In order to reach these groups, both policy makers and health-care businesses might need to rethink practice and approaches radically.

The Greening of Brands in Consumer Goods Industries

In a recent Field Study Project conducted by a team of students of the MBA International Program for a major international household equipment brand, a broad range of concrete activities for the substantial greening of consumer goods products were analyzed and proposed.

It is true that the impact of environmentally preserving actions in this sector can have great impacts, due to the large volume of goods produced, distributed, and used. Especially, technical advances in terms of reducing the electricity consumption in general, the use of water in dishwashers and washing machines, or the use of toxic chemicals in cooling products are of utmost importance. Technical aspects also include designing the products for maximum recyclability and using less toxic materials and cleaner production processes. Greenpeace proposes to this end a guide to greener electronics, including a regular green ranking of manufacturers.

It is also essential to ensure recycling of machines, which requires collaboration with the retailers so that the old equipment is taken back when the new is delivered. An example of such an initiative in Greece by the retail chain Kotsovolos can be seen on Youtube.

As the students also emphasize, one must pay attention to ‘greenwashing’ of brands, i.e., the use of marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that products or processes are environmentally friendly. Companies must pay attention so as not to commit any of the seven sins of greenwashing.

World Development Report 2011

In its April 11 release of the 2011 World Development Report, the World Bank reports on the changing character of conflicts around the globe. Although an alarming 1.5 billion people still live in countries affected by repeated cycles of political and criminal violence, there are also signs of improvements. Fewer people die in civil wars, and countries like South Africa, Colombia, Ghana and Liberia have made great progress in installing basic structures of civil society, both institutions and enterprises, after having enjoyed peace treaties or succeded with internal efforts of combating violence.

The role of business corporations in supporting democratization, growth and increased well-fare is instrumental. International investors have a great responsibility of acting exemplarily and focusing on sustainable solutions with local knowledge development and job creation when they engage in various infrastructure projects.

Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI)

Sustainable and responsible investment is rapidly becoming increasingly important as an investment market for a wide range of players. As defined in the 2010 European SRI Study by Eurosif, providing an interesting overview of this investment market, there are two constant factors that remain important to investors interested in this form of investment:
1. A concern with long-term investment;
2. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues as important criteria in determining long-term investment performance.

Other recent studies include those of the SAM Institute, and a research overview can be found in a recent article in the Journal of Business Ethics, specifically focusing on the heterogenity of SRI.

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