Mini-Series: Impact Istanbul features conference highlights, round-ups, interviews, Q&A’s, and speaker profiles. It is part of our International Business Forum 2013 live coverage. Mihailo Terzic says that it’s no question that the world needs more sustainable habits of developing and consuming products. But in emerging economies, whose role is it to make this happen? “It is possible to create a village, a community of people that would use green energy and live in sustainable way by using natural materials and products,” remarks Arindam Dasgupta, founder of Tambul Leaf Plates.
In the restrooms of the Plaza Athénée in Bangkok, Thailand, where the UNEP Switch-Asia Conference on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) took place in November 2012, I noticed I had two choices when it came to drying my hands: paper or cloth. I’ve often alternated between the two but at this time and place, it got me thinking – which one is the more resource heavy option? The paper towel is a single-use commodity, while the cloth towel can be reused after washing it. This experience raised the question of what if the hotel could just buy a product that promises to be good for the environment, whilst delivering the same function – a win-win situation, right? That’s where the Green Public Procurement (GPP) plan comes into play.
Language is an interesting device. It helps us communicate with each other, share our ideas, thoughts, feelings. Yet, more often than not, all of the above get lost in a morass of misinterpretations and misunderstandings. The concept of sustainability isn’t safe from this either. It’s easy to overuse the S-word these days.
Unless one is living under a rock, chances are my readers have heard about United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals which were conceived to raise millions out of poverty in the developing world. According to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohan Munasinghe, “throwing money” on the developing countries is not enough to make the world’s development path more sustainable. At the World Resources Forum in Beijing, he talked about why the rich need to focus not only on development aid and technological inventions but also on curbing their own consumption. First of all, why shift our attention to consumption? “Focusing on sustainable production is not a sufficient condition for sustainability.
Several problems are being talked about when it comes to the Internet. We speak about one’s addiction to it, about the isolation it provokes – all connected, but all alone – about the risks of our data being stolen or the risks of buying online with a credit card. More rarely, we speak about Internet and its environmental impact. Has it ever occurred to you that while you are browsing the World Wide Web, there is a big charge of electricity coursing across the world to bring you the pages and documents you ask for? And I’m not talking only about the power your computer is consuming at the moment – as a fun statistic, a small laptop produces around 8 grams of CO2 per hour.
I had the pleasure to run into Dr. Michael Appleby who works for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (yes they did help ban bullfighting in catalonia) as a scientific advisor. He gave a presentation at the WRF regarding food security and animal welfare and was perhaps the only person who dealt with the topic considering the interrelation between resources and food. Since food shortage is a real issue and will be even more so in the future I decided to highlight this important topic and interview Michael Appleby. Our conversation touches many fields related to food consumption and animal welfare. Also possible solutions to the obvious problems are discussed.
Business can be beautiful! This is no oxymoron. It has already been proven by the growing number of innovative set-ups in the world that create products which not only serve the purpose of personal utility or indulgence, but they also bring about positive environmental and social change in the world. However, we, as consumers, haven’t heard as much about the products as their appeal would lead us to believe. Known by the names of social enterprise and social entrepreneurs, the two concepts have been around since the early 1980s. These business models brought to life to solve social and environmental challenges through the entrepreneurial approach of trading and making profit have been the “next big thing” ever since I started my university studies some five years ago.
An increasing population, growing needs and rising pollution… there is no doubt that changes need to happen in several part of our lives if we don’t want to empty the resources of our earth. Let’s look at the case of water, for example. The names “San Pellegrino” and “Aquafina” are well known to all of us; most of us have probably even bought a bottle or two without really thinking about it. But today, this is the very discussion on the table, as some politicians propose ideas that challenge our ideas of consumption and question bottled water. Upon reflection, consuming bottled water is illogical.
TEDx never fails me. My seduction of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro (informally abbreviated as Rio+20) as a 20-year follow-up to the ground-breaking 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development hosted in the same city, officially began at the independently organized, TEDx Rio+20 event. TEDx orchestrated a thought-provoking production of fully planned unique content and design at the Rio de Janeiro headland Forte de Copacabana on the 11 and 12 of June. The highlighted event on Human Power ended on the luring topic “Chaos to Order”. The Hungarian born and Canadian physician, Dr. Gabor Maté, who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction, took us through the intricacies and complications of an addict and noted it is a myth that drugs by themselves are addictive.
Have you ever imagined yourself eating a worm-burger, a grasshopper-taco or an insect-cookie? Probably not. For many people, it is hard to think of insects as a sumptuous source of food. This might change in the future. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the world will have to produce 70 percent more food in order to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people in 2050.