Recent stories

The social entrepreneur – a sustainable business model?

Making a better world. All citizens should contribute to improve the welfare of society. This is no longer an idealist point of view anymore but a new perspective that many people support, as Muhammad Yunus remind us. This new thought current denotes a strong critic vis-à-vis the individualization tendency in our society. Happiness is not always correlated with individual amount of money accumulated but more with impact of individuals on their environment, according to the Nobel Peace Price winner.

Fossil of the Day – A look into the Oil and Gas Industry at Rio+20

Protesters at Rio Centro during the UN Summit

The call for the end of fossil fuel subsidies echoed in all venues of Rio+20. The OECD identified more than 250 individual subsidies supporting fossil-fuel production or consumption valued at US $45-75 billion per year, similar to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country like Croatia or Ecuador. Greenpeace estimates are even higher; the NGO evaluated fossil fuel subsidies in 2012  at $775bn, which is equivalent to the GDP of the Netherlands or Turkey.  Stretching over 40 kilometers, from the People’s Summit in Aterro do Flamengo, crossing to the Copacabana Fort all the way to Rio Centro and Parque dos Atletas in Barra da Tijuca, academics and specialists are unanimous in their opinion: fossil fuel subsidies must be extinguished because they are inefficient and prevent the economy from transitioning from the brown to green economy. Oil & Gas Corporations
Who needs the subsidies? Not the Oil & Gas (O&G) corporations.  Half of the top ten largest publicly traded companies in the world by market cap are oil and gas producers.  Their annual revenues are higher than most mid-size countries.

Financing Water: Can We Find Capital to Invest?

One of the first sessions on the opening day of the sixth World Water Forum was an introductory panel discussion about the financial needs for water management entitled Mobilizing Finance for Water: Needs and Challenges. It was no surprise that finance was the first topic on the table.  According to an OECD report, water is the “hungriest” sector in terms of investment needs.  By 2020, 600 billion USD will be needed for water management.  In comparison, electricity will only require 80 billion USD and roads will only need 160 billion USD.