Once a resource-constrained country, Singapore invests in sustainable and efficient technology to cater for its energy needs

Solar panels used to power walkway lights

Singapore has faced many challenges in the last two decades, most notably in the energy sector. With limited renewable energy options, the island still relies heavily on imports. Typically, according to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCA), the average wind speed is not powerful enough to activate wind turbines, while calm seas limit tidal power generation. Not to mention that the country doesn’t have a river system with fast flowing water which makes hydroelectric power a rather impossible investment option, and nuclear plants are not safe due to the limited land area and population density.

Nevertheless, Singapore has committed to becoming a benchmark in green energy and to profit from one resource the island has abundantly: solar energy. Earlier this year, the NCCA announced that the country aims to increase solar deployment from 47MWp to 350 MWp by 2020. The goal is that renewable energy would represent 8% of all the power demand. In order to do so, the country is investing heavily in research and development, as well as in creating an attractive ecosystem for cleantechs.

One of the projects developed by the government is to install solar panels on rooftops of high-rise public buildings, as well as on water surfaces. The latter, pointed as a bold and innovative pilot program, has reached so many good results that it was recently extended to the ocean. Popularly known as ‘energy islands’, the structure will supply energy to industrial and residential areas. Yet, as the geographical limitation makes it harder for the country to expand indefinitely its solar power plants, the government has decided to invest in efficiency.

The University of Singapore is thus working on solar cells that convert more sunlight into energy, and is, to that end, is making them cheaper to be integrated into buildings. The cost of solar energy has also been reduced in the last decade, making it more competitive.

Last year, the government announced that six clean energy investments across the fields of solar, wind, microgrids and energy management will help position the country as Asia’s leading cleantech hub. Currently, more 100 than clean energy companies are part of this ecosystem and helping to attract research funds, as well as an elite team of researchers. The university has already 110 PhD students, half of whom have graduated and are working in the solar energy industry.

As the authorities have secured the funding and support for these projects, the future for clean energy in Singapore seems bright!

Singapore is the host city for the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF), organized by Horyou, the social network for social good. The event will be held in September 2018.

WestRock paper and packaging is a giant company of sort – with a revenue of more than 14 billion USD, the company has been exhibiting good financial health in recent years. For WestRock, business sustainability is much more than a financial goal, reason why the company is constantly working with its supply chain, customers and communities located on the company’s factory site. We interviewed Cynthia Wolgien, WestRock Corporate Communications and Social Responsibility Manager in Brazil about the company’s community programs and vision for the future.

“Learning with the Tree” is a project which trains public school teachers with UN Agenda themes

(Versão em português abaixo – Portuguese version below)

– Tell us a bit about WestRock’s involvement in sustainability projects.

I have been working in the area of external communication and social responsibility for six years and at WestRock the two areas are closely linked. Sustainability has always been in our practices and, as the world has progressed, the company has evolved with it. In recent years, it started to work more thoroughly with the various dimensions of sustainability and this year will be the first to launch a sustainability report, aligned with the global report that the company launched last year. In Brazil, our company is privately held and has no obligation to file a sustainability report on investor standards. So we have the freedom to speak to other stakeholders, communities and clients in our report. What guides our work are the three pillars we call PPP: People, Planet and Performance.

– What are the regions of the country where your CSR programs are concentrated?

The vast majority of CSR actions are around the company’s units in Brazil, more specifically in Santa Catarina and Paraná Southern states, where we have our forests. With these communities we take special care, we run surveys and studies so that our social projects impact where they are needed most. But throughout the country we have at least 18 voluntary initiatives.

– Could you name one project of major relevance?

This year we are working with communities’ needs in a deep and smart way, in order to understand their needs and to know how they fit into what the company believes before implementing programs. One of the initiatives is “Learning with the Tree Project”, which is in its 23rd edition and trains public school teachers with themes that have always been related to the UN agenda. Two years ago, we launched the program with the 17 sustainable development goals, to present them more generally. Last year, we worked on goal 15 and land life, and this year we talked about water, goal 6. Approximately 200 teachers are trained each year, many of them coming from poor municipalities, without access to didactic material to implement the projects. So the company provides not only content, but also promotes debate and donates the material to the schools. Our goal is to reach out to children so they grow more aware and environmentally responsible. It is long-term, and they take this knowledge home, being agents of transformation and questioning.

– How can sustainability be good business?

Within the PPP philosophy, all these actions will give sustainability to the business over time. Performance is the financial health that, globally, is aimed at the investor. In Brazil, we think of performance as a profitable business that is sustainable to pay suppliers and reinvest in what we believe in. Our commitment goes beyond our operations – we have a code of conduct for suppliers to meet the goals of integrity, employee well-being and safety.

– What is your vision of corporate social responsibility within the company?

Our desire is to continue to be one of the companies that innovates and brings solutions to the customer but thinking from the forest point of view, passing through the paper mill and arriving in cardboard, which is our biggest business. We want to innovate in a responsible and committed way, in order to to minimize impact. In addition, we seek to involve employees, suppliers, customers and communities, to work always in a more holistic sustainability way.

Horyou, the social network for social good, supports social innovative initiatives that help the world to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Horyou is the organizer of SIGEF, The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. Be the Change, be Horyou!

——————————————————————————————————-

Entrevista em português

Responsabilidade social corporativa define a sustentabilidade nos negócios

Professores participantes do Projeto Aprendendo com a Árvore (PACA)

A empresa de papel e embalagens WestRock é uma gigante em seu mercado – com mais de 14 bilhões de faturamento global, a companhia vem apresentando boa saúde financeira nos últimos anos. A sustentabilidade nos negócios está intimamente ligada à preocupação com a sua cadeia de fornecedores, clientes e comunidades nos entornos das fábricas da empresa. Entrevistamos Cynthia Wolgien, gerente de Comunicação Corporativa e Responsabilidade Social da WestRock no Brasil, que fala sobre os programas comunitários da companhia e sua visão de futuro.

– Conte um pouco sobre o envolvimento da WestRock com projetos de sustentabilidade.

Trabalho há seis anos à frente da área de comunicação externa e responsabilidade social e na WestRock as duas áreas estão intimamente ligadas. A sustentabilidade sempre esteve nas nossas práticas e, à medida que o mundo foi avançando, a empresa foi evoluindo com elas. Nos últimos anos passou a pensar de maneira mais centralizada nas diversas dimensões da sustentabilidade e esse ano será o primeiro que lançará relatório de sustentabilidade, alinhado com relatório global que a empresa lançou no ano passado. No Brasil, nossas empresa é de capital fechado e não tem obrigação de lançar relatório de sustentabilidade nos padrões para investidores. Por isso temos a liberdade de falar para outros stakeholders, comunidades, clientes, sem o viés da obrigação. O que norteia o nosso trabalho são os três pilares que chamamos de PPP: Pessoas, Planeta e Performance.

– Quais são as regiões do País onde estão concentrados os programas de RSC?

A grande maioria das ações de RSC estão no entorno das unidades da empresa no Brasil, mais especificamente em Santa Catarina e Paraná, onde temos nossas florestas. Com essas comunidades temos um cuidado especial, fazemos levantamentos e estudos para que nossos projetos sociais tenham impacto onde elas mais precisam. Mas em todo o país temos pelo menos 18 iniciativas voluntárias.

– Você poderia citar um dos projetos de maior relevância na área de sustentabilidade?

Esse ano estamos trabalhando com as necessidades das comunidades de maneira profunda e de forma inteligente, para entender seus anseios e saber como eles se encaixam com o que a empresa acredita antes de implementar programas. Uma das iniciativas é o Projeto Aprendendo com a Árvore (PACA), que está em sua 23a edição e capacita professores da rede pública com temas que sempre estiveram relacionadas com a agenda da ONU. Há dois dois anos, fizemos o lançamento do programa com os 17 objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável, para apresentá-los de maneira mais geral. No ano passado, trabalhou vida terrestre, objetivo 15, e esse ano falou da água, objetivo 6. No total, aproximadamente 200 professores são capacitados por ano, muitos deles provenientes de municípios carentes, sem acesso a material didático para implementar os projetos. Então a empresa providencia não só o conteúdo, mas promove o debate e doa o material para implementação do projeto na escola. Nosso objetivo é chegar às crianças, para que elas cresçam mais conscientes e ambientalmente responsáveis. É longo prazo, e que levem esse conhecimento para casa, sendo agentes de transformação e questionamento.

– Por que a sustentabilidade pode ser um bom negócio?

Dentro da filosofia do PPP, todas essas ações darão sustentabilidade ao negócio ao longo do tempo. A performance é a saúde financeira que, globalmente, é voltada ao investidor. No Brasil, pensamos performance como ter um negócio rentável que seja sustentável para pagar fornecedores e reinvestir no que acredita. Nosso compromisso vai além das nossas operações – temos um código de conduta para fornecedores para que eles cumpram metas de integridade, bem-estar dos funcionários e segurança.

– Qual é a sua visão de futuro para a responsabilidade social corporativa na empresa?

Nosso desejo é continuar sendo uma das empresas que mais inova e traz soluções para o cliente mas pensando desde o ponto de vista da floresta, passando pela fábrica de papel e chegando no papelão ondulado, que é nosso maior negócio. Queremos inovar de maneira responsável e comprometida, para minimizar impactos. Além disso, buscamos envolver funcionários, fornecedores, clientes e comunidades, para trabalhar sempre com esse viés de sustentabilidade mais holístico.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

Em São Paulo, jovens da comunidade do bairro de Pedreira colocam mãos à obra em programas de aprendizado em sintonia com as demandas do mercado de trabalho

Projeto é voltado a adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos

Conhecido pelos desafios econômicos e sociais, o bairro de Pedreira, na zona Sul de São Paulo, consta na lista dos distrito com os menores índices de desenvolvimento humano (IDH) da cidade. Nesse contexto, a vida pode ser dura para os jovens: longe dos principais centros empregadores e com pouco acesso à educação de qualidade, eles se encontram limitados em suas opções de carreira.

Pensando em dar mais alternativas a adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos, o projeto Área 21, uma parceria entre o Instituto Tellus, a Brasilprev e o Conselho Estadual dos Direitos da Criana e do Adolescente, vem oferecendo formação na área de tecnologia e empreendedorismo. O projeto, que conta com metodologia inovadora e um laboratório onde os alunos podem exercer sua criatividade usando ferramentas como impressoras 3D e equipamentos de realidade virtual, foi lançado este mês e já tem 320 inscritos.

A estrutura do programa lembra a de muitas escolas inovadoras de empreendedorismo: o Área 21 usa técnicas de design thinking e gamificação para que os alunos aprendam a solucionar problemas. O desafio final é criar um protótipo de start up.

Objetivo do programa é ser um laboratório de empreendedorismo e inovação

Uma das apoiadoras do Área 21 é a seguradora Brasilprev, que tem como objetivo unir sustentabilidade à inovação. «Esperamos que as experiências e interações vividas por eles ao longo do projeto os deixem mais bem preparados para entrar no mercado de trabalho, não eó em relação aos conhecimentos técnicos mas também nas competências comportamentais», afirma Cinthia Spanó, gerente de Comunicação Corporativa e Sustentabilidade da Brasilprev.

A gerente explica que a empresa se envolve há muitos anos com projetos sociais e de desenvolvimento comunitário, como a Fábrica de Ideias, que também apoia a ascensão profissional de adolescentes em situação de vulnerabilidade e risco social. O projeto, realizado em parceria com o Instituto Reciclar, ajuda o jovem a escolher sua profissão e a desenvolver suas competências socioemocionais.

Diversos estudos sobre o trabalho do futuro vêm apontando que as carreiras das próximas gerações exigirão mais competências comportamentais e menos conhecimentos técnicos, já que estes estarão sempre mudando e se atualizando. “No século 21, vivemos a inclusão de diversas tecnologias, e o jovem precisa, acima de tudo, se preparar e aprender a enfrentar novos desafios. É importante que ele não tenha medo de resolver problemas”, afirma Henrique José dos Santos Dias, um dos educadores da Área 21.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

English version here

La agenda de desarrollo sostenible de la naciones unidas para el 2030 ha puesto en escena desde el 2015 una serie de metas para orientar el mundo por la senda de la sostenibilidad con el objetivo de erradicar la pobreza, mejorar las condiciones de vida y tomar acción inmediata en conservación del medio ambiente. Es así, que los 17 objetivos de desarrollo sostenible apoyan y promueven un campo especifico que tanto sector privado, público y civil tienen el compromiso de empoderar y representar.

Objetivos de desarrollo sostenible

 

El alcance de cada uno de estos objetivos refleja no solo un avance en el desarrollo de cada país o región del mundo, sino que también evidencia las sinergias y cooperación internacional dispuesta a actuar por el bien social de cada uno. Pero, ¿cómo se puede contribuir de manera individual a estas iniciativas?

Si aún no tienes claro cómo puedes aportar tu granito de arena para lograr los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de las Naciones Unidas estos consejos te pueden ser útiles:

1. Apóyalos en redes sociales

Las redes sociales como Horyou te permiten compartir proyectos y acciones relacionadas con el alcance de algún Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible y permite que otras organizaciones internacionales te ayuden a lograr tus metas, ya sea por medio de financiación o visibilidad.

2. Mejora tu visibilidad

Usa siempre los #SDG , #ODS en cualquier publicación en la red para que sea visible el apoyo que estas brindado a cierta causa o proyecto. Así, será más fácil encontrar personas apoyando el mismo objetivo y será mayor la probabilidad de lograr conexiones futuras.

 

3. Únete a nuevos retos

Pierde el miedo y apoya nuevas iniciativas como el #HoryouLightChallenge en donde puedes compartir tus actos positivos en pro del desarrollo sostenible así sea en tu rutina diaria.

4. Convierte tu pasión en ayuda

Identifica cuál de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible se alinea más a tus rutinas, hábitos y trabajo y comparte maneras novedosas de contribuir a soluciones dirigidas a las metas propuestas.

 

Inspira a tus amigos!

5. Sé un embajador de tu objetivo de preferencia

Comparte con tu comunidad e inspira a tu círculo de amigos a apoyar los objetivos de desarrollo sostenible por medio de sus rutinas diarias. De esta manera, podemos lograr que cada uno aporte su granito de arena a la agenda mundial de desarrollo sostenible y tener para el 2030 un planeta y condiciones de vida mejores para nosotros y generaciones futuras.

 

Por Sueyfer de la Torre

 

 

 

 

Cities which use technology to provide a better quality of life to its people are following the right path to become smart and prosperous.

Barcelona, Spain

A few months on the first 5G networks started operating in the United States and China, the technology market is already gearing up for the massive impact of hypervelocity networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) in everyday life in cities. For many experts, the revolution has already started: we have reached the era of 5G cities where smartphones, drones, cars and connected industries will be the tools for governments to predict the future. Most cities’ main goal is to create an environment where people can thrive to face less inequality and bureaucracy, and have more access to information regarding their rights and the public services they are entitled to.

“The age of connectivity has been reached and will benefit billions of citizens around the world,” says Mats Granrys, general director of the GSM Association, the European trade body which represents mobile operators. In practice, while 5G is still waiting for organizations and governments’ approval of technical specifications, top US and European phone operators have entered an aggressive race to turn cities into technological hubs.

Vodafone, which is doing 5G tests in Milan, Italy, aiming at providing the city with 80% coverage, is one of them. The project is to transform Milan into a data lab, using interconnected drones and fixed cameras to oversee mobility and security. Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone Group, foresees technologies such as digitally-integrated ambulances with hospitals, where remote consultations and vital data exchange will help to make the rescue process more efficient and speedy. Cameras and drones also improve event management and act as support for city security by allowing authorities to create alternative traffic routes in real time, for example. Together with the local government, Vodafone is also working with small entrepreneurs on the project. “The idea is to create an ecosystem of experimentation. Technology can be the great solution to generate more productivity, business and jobs in cities”, he says.

Jean Pierre Bienaime, general secretary of the European infrastructure association 5GIA, says cities like Barcelona in Spain and Bristol in the United Kingdom, are the next smart 5G cities. “From measuring the environmental impact of pollution to digital monitoring and automatic management of ports, there will be a radical transformation in public and private management”, he affirms. Bienaime believes that cities must focus on Public/Private Partnerships to ensure the success of the initiatives.

Companies, in particular telephone operators, are taking the first steps in regional data analytics initiatives with the potential to become smarter with technology. Telefonica, for example, inaugurated a project in São Paulo, Brazil, that uses traffic data to predict high levels of air contamination up to 48 hours in advance. The system uses the signals emitted by smartphones to draw a matrix of mobility and understand the pattern of people’s displacement. “As urban traffic is a key predictor of pollution, we have been able to identify the problem before it happens,” says Pedro Alarcon, Head of Telefonica in the Big Data for Social Good area. He adds that the project was born as a sustainability action but ended up becoming a marketable product, thanks to the government’s interest in acquiring the service. “The next steps with the arrival of the 5G networks will be to implement the IoT to be even more precise,” he says.

One of the benefits of the new generation of Internet, according to 5GAI’s Bienaime, is the wide coverage of networks and the minimization of service failures. In Brazil, for example, the association is developing international cooperation projects in remote regions, with the goal of bringing connectivity and the internet of things to benefit sectors such as agriculture.

In a speech in February this year at the Mobile World Congress, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim highlighted the role of the mobile industry in economic growth and the end of inequality. “Smartphones are dream accelerators,” he says. The presence of mobile networks and connected devices in communities in poor countries, he explains, enables communities to access new business, as well as education and autonomy.

Yong Kim cites such examples as Manila in the Philippines where a public-private initiative for open data was launched to monitor traffic, which generates daily losses of more than $ 60 million, or India, where data points to the regions of cities most affected by pollution and allow institutions to invest in housing and the environment. “The internet of things can unite us to reduce extreme poverty,” he says.

Many of these social innovation projects are laboratories for operators to work with broader solutions in cities and regions with different profiles, regardless of the degree of economic development. “By combining mobility data with other sources, operators can create a business case to support decision making and planning by governments and NGOs,” says Granrys from GSM Association.

More Stories

Once a resource-constrained country, Singapore invests in sustainable and efficient technology to cater for its energy needs Singapore has faced many challenges in the last...