Report guardian (UK): Smart businesses will act now to reduce their environmental impact



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THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

MEDIA COVERAGE ON THE LAUNCH OF GEO-5 FOR BUSINESS REPORT

Guardian (UK): Smart businesses will act now to reduce their environmental impact

Bloomberg Business Week (UK): Munich Re to Rio Tinto to Bear Costs of Climate Change, UN Says

Voice of America (US): UN: Climate Change May Impact Global Business

Indo-Asia News Service- IANS (India): Changing environment to impact global business

Aol (UK): UN- Green concerns set to hit firms

Courrier Mail (Australia): Environment holds business risk: UN

MSN News (New Zealand): Changing environment to impact global business: UN

Ecoseed (US): Changes in global environment to cause major changes to business – U.N. Report

Voxy (New Zealand): Environmental issues 'will have growing Impacts on business'

French

Portugeese

German



OTHER NEWS

CNN (US): Elephant killings surge as tusks fund terror

Deutsche Welle (Germany): Kyoto Protocol comes into force in Afghanistan

Deutsche Welle (Germany): UNEP report sees slowdown in renewable energy investments

Africa review (Kenya): Give them bread: Feeding the hungry no longer a science

Reuters AlertNet: Kenya: Scratch-Card Solar Brings Clean Energy to Kenya's Poor


Other Environment News
AFP: Indonesia steps up firefighting, Malaysia still in smog

Reuters: Obama takes on power plant emissions as part of climate plan

Financial Times (UK): ‘Climate bomb’ warning over China coolant release

Guardian (UK): Tasmania's old growth forests win environmental protection

BBC News (UK): Fukushima nuclear plant: Toxic isotope found in groundwater

Phil Star (Philippines): Palace mulls moving oil depot out of Manila

Star (Kenya): The Nile Basin States Are Gifts of the River

Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
ROA
ROAP
ROLAC
RONA
ROWA
Environmental News from the UN

ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE UN DAILY NEWS
ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE S.G’s SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

To read a specific news article, press the ctrl button on your keyboard then click on the news headline you want to read

Selected Screenshots
AFP


Guardian (UK)



Bloomberg (UK)


Voice of America (US)

Times of India


DPA (Germany)

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News




MEDIA COVERAGE ON THE LAUNCH OF GEO-5 FOR BUSINESS

Guardian (UK): Smart businesses will act now to reduce their environmental impact
21 June 2013
The snow-topped peaks of the north-eastern US and the Olifants river in South Africa, with its resident hippos, may seem like worlds apart.
Yet businesses operating in these two locations – hubs for ski tourism and mining respectively – face the same challenge of an increasingly uncertain future, due to the far-reaching impacts of climate change, and other environmental trends.
Half the ski resorts in the US north-east may no longer be viable in 30 years due to rising temperatures. Platinum mines around the Olifants river system are set to pay 10 times more for using water over the next decade if chronic shortages persist.
A new report released on Friday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that financial impacts linked to environmental changes are set to be felt far more frequently by greater numbers of business across the globe.
The new study, GEO-5 for Business says that the future success of businesses in transport, tourism, finance, food, and other sectors, will hinge on their ability to manage the major risks posed by climate change, depleted natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather conditions.
But the study says smart businesses can buck the trend and create competitive advantage, by tapping into future demand for sustainable technologies, services and products, and by reducing their own environmental footprint.
Today, environmental impacts on business are costing the global economy around $4.7tn each year, primarily from pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
GEO-5 for Business shows that severe floods in Australia in 2010/11 resulted in more than $350m in claims to re-insurer Munich Re. The same period of extreme weather in Australia contributed to a loss of $245m by mining group Rio Tinto due to reduced shipments.
In the pharmaceutical industry, biodiversity loss, and extinctions of plant species, could result in the loss of one major drug every two years.
With the world's fast-growing population, and rising incomes in emerging economies, demand for natural resources is on track to treble by 2050 – meaning that water and other critical raw materials for industry will be less available, and more expensive.
To meet the world's resource needs in a sustainable way, UNEP has urged a "decoupling" of economic growth from resource use, involving major investment in technological, financial and social innovation. This can at least freeze per capita consumption in wealthy countries, and support developing nations to follow a more sustainable path.
Faced with the twin challenges of tackling poverty and supporting development with degraded natural capital, world leaders at last year's UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) gave a clear backing to the green economy; low-carbon, resource-efficient and inclusive sustainable development that operates within planetary boundaries.
Through its Green Economy Initiative, UNEP is providing a package of advisory services to more than 20 countries to strengthen national green economy plans. Working from Mongolia (hosts of World Environment Day 2013) to Mexico, the services consist of policy advice, technical assistance and training to support initiatives that promote equitable, sustainable development.
GEO-5 for Business demonstrates that the business opportunities presented by a green economy exist across in all sectors, in all parts of the world.
Office and home owners, for example, are increasingly seeing the benefits of reduced operating costs, increased building values, greater return on investment, and higher occupancy rates from new and retrofitted green buildings. Through the LEED programme (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the US Green Building Council is certifying 1.5m square feet of building space every day in more than 130 countries.
Opportunities in other industries include growing demand for ICT services for collecting and processing environmental data that can allow governments and companies to monitor environmental performance.
In the leisure business, spending on eco-tourism is increasing by more than six times the growth rate of tourism overall, and can reduce the high levels of water use and marine pollution linked to the industry. In the energy sector, the proportion of total power generation from renewable sources is set to rise from 20% to 31% by 2035 – presenting significant opportunities to advance clean energy technologies.
Many industries are already joining forces and moving ahead. This week saw the first anniversary of a landmark partnership between the UN and the insurance industry to strengthen the sector's resilience in the face of environmental risks.
To date, some 60 leading insurers, insurance market bodies and international organisations – worth more than $5tn in total assets – have signed up to the Principles for Sustainable Insurance initiative aimed at improving environmental, social and economic sustainability in the sector.
Overall, it is estimated that more than 80% of the capital needed to reduce global carbon emissions to agreed international targets, and slow the pace of climate change, will come from the private sector.
Whether in the US, South Africa, or across the globe, businesses can make a choice. Instead of running the risk of succumbing to the impacts of environmental changes, skiing, mining, or other companies, can seize the opportunity to adapt. By slimming down their use of natural resources, better managing waste, and investing in sustainable products and markets, companies can cut costs, protect and improve their reputation, and future-proof their business for the realities of a resource-constrained 21st century.
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Bloomberg Business Week (UK): Munich Re to Rio Tinto to Bear Costs of Climate Change, UN Says
21 June 2013
Corporations from Munich Re to Rio Tinto Group will bear rising costs from pressures on the Earth’s environment such as changes in the climate and water shortages, according to a United Nations Environment Program report.
Their success will increasingly hinge on the ability to adapt to a “rapidly” changing environment and to develop goods and services that help reduce the effect of climate change and are less reliant on water and harmful chemicals, the agency said today in a report released at Bloomberg’s London office.
“Climate change and dwindling availability of natural resources like water will shape future profit and loss and drive new markets,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in the study. “Companies that face up to these realities are likely to be the ones that thrive and remain competitive in a rapidly changing world.”
Businesses are trying to curb damage to the environment by moderating greenhouse-gas emissions, water usage and trash disposal. At the RIO+20 summit on sustainability a year ago, the UN detailed $513 billion of commitments from governments and companies seeking to reduce strain on the Earth’s resources.
A week ago, British billionaire Richard Branson, chairman and founder of Virgin Group Ltd., and Kering executive Jochen Zeitz said they were setting up a panel of business leaders dubbed the “B Team” to devise business strategies that prioritize environmental effects alongside profit.

Flooding Costs


Today’s GEO-5 for Business study builds on the fifth edition of the UN Global Environment Outlook, released in June 2012 and marking the institution’s most comprehensive assessment of the state of the planet. The rising frequency of extreme weather events linked to climate change is a risk for all industries, today’s report showed.
The UN cited as an example flooding in Australia in 2010 and 2011 that led to more than $350 million of claims for Munich Re and $245 million of costs for miner Rio Tinto. While scientists balk at attributing individual natural disasters to climate change, they say rising temperatures will lead to an increase in extreme weather events.
Temperature gains may render fewer than half of ski resorts in the U.S. Northeast economically viable within 30 years, while water charges for platinum mines in South Africa’s Olifants River system may increase 10-fold by 2020 as the region dries up, according to the study.

Risks, Opportunities


The report examined 10 areas of business, identifying risks and opportunities for each that result from environmental pressures. The findings include:
-- Building and construction companies may find opportunities limited in some areas due to water scarcity, while consumers step up pressure to minimize waste. Urbanization will lead to growing demand for “green” housing and infrastructure.
-- Chemical companies will face increasing government regulations and consumer pressure to minimize water usage and cut waste. Demand for chemicals used in insulation, energy-efficient lighting and water purification is set to grow.
-- The reliability of power grids may be put under pressure by increasing heat waves. Utilities will have to shore up infrastructure that’s vulnerable to extreme weather. Renewable energy is predicted to increase at the expense of coal.
-- Operational costs of mining companies will be hit by extreme weather events, while environmental laws may prevent their spread into some areas. Demand for minerals and metals used in renewable energy technologies is set to grow.
-- In finance, insurers may face rising costs from claims, while there will be increased demand for insurance and more financing opportunities for projects relating to climate change.
-- Food and drinks companies face depleted fish stocks and shifting agricultural zones as the climate changes. New markets are predicted to open up for climate-resilient food varieties.
-- The loss of plant and animal species will limit discoveries of compounds used in health care. Demand for health care services may rise due to air pollution and water-borne diseases.
-- Data centers for information and communication companies are energy-intensive and vulnerable to rising power prices. Makers of electronic goods may face new regulations and consumer pressure to cut waste. Markets will grow for products that manage energy use in buildings and process other environmental data.
-- Tourism may decline in some areas due to environmental degradation. Eco-tourism is growing, and customers are often willing to pay more for it.
-- Transportation companies face supply chains disrupted by extreme weather, and regulations to reduce their emissions. Incentives may boost low-carbon and fuel-efficient technologies.
The study “is in many ways a prospectus for the 21st century company: one that internalizes how rapid and accelerating environmental change will shape risks, but also the need and demand for new sustainable products and market opportunities,” Steiner said.
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Voice of America (US): UN: Climate Change May Impact Global Business
21 June 2013
Extreme weather events, including rising temperatures linked to climate change, and growing competition for natural resources mean tough times may be ahead for the business sector, the United Nations said in a report published Friday.
Nick Nuttall is from the United Nations Environmental Program.
“We are living in a world of more extreme weather events. We are living in a world of rising water scarcity. We are living in a world where things like natural resources are being gobbled up at an increasing rate. By 2050, if we carry on this way, natural resource consumption will triple," said Nuttall.
The report is called "GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector." It follows the U.N.’s Global Environment Outlook which made a comprehensive assessment of the state of the world's changing climate.
According to that report, human pressures on the planet mean that several critical environmental thresholds are approaching or have already been surpassed.
Nuttall says that has widespread implications for global business. The new report looks at how construction, chemicals, mining, food, and other industries will all be impacted.

Nuttall gives the example of South Africa, where pressure on natural resources will impact mining costs.


“Certainly in respect to their platinum mines, they could actually face water charges 10 times their current value by 2020, so that's in just seven years, because of water scarcity in South Africa," he said.
Rising temperatures will also impact the tourist industry, the report says. For example, it says less than half of the ski resorts operating in the northeast of the United States will remain economically viable 30 years from now.
Nuttall says that meanwhile, the world's population is growing, especially in countries with developing economies. Governments will have to make major investments for infrastructure needs such as transport and electricity.
Nuttall says it’s important the future is built with the environment in mind.
“So there is a huge amount, trillions of dollars, being invested in the coming years in many developing countries. And that is happening in a sense through the private sector. The question is whether the governments involved can push that investment into the green, environmentally friendly space," said Nuttall.
According to the U.N. report, 80 percent of the capital needed to address climate change may come from the private sector.
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Indo-Asia News Service- IANS (India): Changing environment to impact global business: UN
22 June 2013
The future of the private sector will increasingly hinge on the ability of businesses to adapt to the world's rapidly changing environment, according to a UN report.
The report titled "GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector" was released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in the British capital, Xinhua reported.
It analysed the potential risks to 10 different sectors of the economy, and also the opportunities that many companies could grasp if they develop goods and services that can reduce the impacts of environmental concerns.
"From extreme weather events, to rising pressures on finite natural resources, changes in the global environment will increasingly impact operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials, and the reputation of businesses," the UNEP document said.
In the tourism sector, for example, a 1.4-2.2 degree Celsius rise in average winter temperatures would likely mean the closure of more than half of the ski resorts operating in the northeastern US in 30 years.
As for water scarcity, it said platinum mines in South Africa's Olifants River system faced 10 times higher water charges by 2020 as they compete with local communities for the ever scarcer commodity.
The report also outlines key recommendations for each of the 10 sectors, including building and construction, chemicals, power, extractives, finance, food and beverage, healthcare, IT, tourism, and transport.
"The report speaks to the reality of climate change and natural resource scarcities," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
"It makes the case that whether it be in water saving, or climate-proofing infrastructure, the world is going to look for solutions that in turn will drive corporate competitiveness, reputation risk and a transition to an inclusive green economy," he said.
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Aol (UK): UN- Green concerns set to hit firms
21 June 2013

Growing environmental issues such as climate change and water shortages are set to hit businesses from the power sector to the tourist industry, a United Nations report has warned.


Rapid changes in the global environment will increasingly effect operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials and even the reputation of businesses across a range of sectors, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) study said.
But while there are huge commercial risks from extreme weather events, a loss of wildlife and habitats and growing pressure on limited natural resources, there are significant opportunities for businesses that seize the initiative.
The report examined the impact of environmental changes the world is facing on a range of sectors, including building and construction industries, power supplies, finance, food and drink, healthcare, technology and tourism.

The future of the private sector will increasingly hinge on the ability of businesses to adapt to environmental changes and develop new environmentally-friendly goods and services, UNEP warned.


Climate change, which is set to increase extreme weather such as floods and droughts as well as push up temperatures, is a key concern. Severe floods in Australia in 2010-2011 resulted in 350 million US dollars (£250 million) claims to insurer Munich Re, contributing to a 38% drop in quarterly profits, while the same extreme conditions saw mining giant Rio Tinto lose 245 million US dollars (£158 million) in earnings.
Rising temperatures will hit tourism businesses, with fewer than half of the ski resorts in the north east US likely to be viable in 30 years if winter temperatures increase, while the growing zones for food crops will shift as local climates change.
Power companies will need to toughen up infrastructure or move it to protect energy supplies from extreme weather, while transport networks are also likely to be more frequently disrupted.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner said the report outlined the risks faced by businesses from rapid and accelerating environmental change, but also the need and demand for new sustainable products and market opportunities.
"The report speaks to the reality of climate change and natural resource scarcities and outlines how more creative decisions by the private sector with longer term horizons may assist in meeting these challenges. It makes the case that whether it be in water saving or climate-proofing infrastructure, the world is going to look for solutions that in turn will drive corporate competitiveness, reputational risk and a transition to an inclusive green economy."
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Courrier Mail (Australia): Environment holds business risk: UN
21 June 2013
Rising temperatures, storms linked to climate change and growing competition for water and land point to tough times ahead for the business sector, but also a chance for profitable innovation, the United Nations says.
Citing the ravages of floods in Australia in 2010-11 which cost insurer Munich Re $US350 million ($A382 million) and mining group Rio Tinto another $US245 million, the report on Friday said companies had no choice but to adapt.
"From extreme weather events, to rising pressures on finite natural resources, changes in the global environment will increasingly impact operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials, and the reputation of businesses, from finance and tourism, to healthcare and transport," said the UN Environment Program document.
"The future of the private sector will increasingly hinge on the ability of businesses to adapt to the world's rapidly changing environment and to develop goods and services that can reduce the impacts of climate change, water scarcity, emissions of harmful chemicals, and other environmental concerns."
In the tourism sector, for example, a 1.4-2.2C rise in average winter temperatures would likely mean the closure of more than half the ski resorts operating in the northeastern United States in 30 years.
The report said Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions were projected to double in the next 50 years, leading to a global average surface temperature increase of 3-6C by the end of the century.
As for water scarcity, it said platinum mines in South Africa's Olifants River system faced 10 times higher water charges by 2020 as they compete with local communities for the ever scarcer commodity.
Global electricity demand could be over 70 per cent higher in 2035 than 2009, said the report -- and pointed to more frequent heat waves associated with climate change affecting grid reliability.
But while the risks to business were "significant", they also presented unique opportunities for companies that seized the growing demand for greener technology, investments and services, said the report entitled "GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector."
More than 80 per cent of the capital needed to address climate change may come from the private sector.
"This can bring about significant 'green economy' investment opportunities in the finance sector for green buildings, energy-efficiency technology, sustainable transport and other low-carbon products and infrastructure," the UNEP said.
"In cities, around 60 per cent of the infrastructure needed to meet the needs of the world's urban population by 2050 still needs to be built, presenting significant business opportunities for greener urban construction and retrofits."

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