Sustainability

Back in the 1990s, environmental journalism was a brave choice – a relatively new, complicated topic that has only started to engage the global audience, while many broadcasters and newspapers were not yet convinced it was an issue of public interest. Despite all the odds, Mark Kinver decided to pursue the career, and never looked back. The environmental journalist has been working for BBC News for more than 17 years and is always inspired by trees, as much as by people and the mission to report the truth.

Horyou blog is happy to inaugurate the «Changemakers» interview series with Mark Kinver!

Kinver: «People do care about environment»

When and why did you start covering environmental issues?


I started reporting on environmental issues back in the late 1990s. I had always been interested in politics but I became a bit dismayed with the seemingly petty nature of disputes within political parties and within the mechanics of the party political process. I did not want to follow a career in an arena which left me feeling somewhat disenchanted. So I looked around for an issue/topic that I could focus on. The environment had always been a central part of my life. As a youngster, I either spent my time on moorland or beaches, and I loved trees (still do!). I have not looked back since then and have reported on environmental stories all over the world.


In the last few years, environmental issues have been gathering more global attention and making daily headlines. Are you optimistic about the public awareness of these topics?

Yes. People do care about environmental issues. Whether it is about the energy they use, the transport that takes them from A to B, the food they eat, or the plight of threatened species. What environmentally focused organisations and individuals need to remember is that people do care. However, they also care about keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table. It may not be the top priority for most people but it is still an issue. Give people facts and they will act. Give people emotion and they will become suspicious.


More often than not, environmental coverage touches on social issues. How to raise the public’s attention to the interconnectivity between the environment and society?

Avoid buzzwords and concepts like interconnectivity and interdependency etc. People just need to become aware of the relationship their have with the land around them. This will take time, and a big question is whether we have enough time left to make us all a sustainable species. I remain hopeful that we will forge a closer relationship with the planet and the means of how it sustains us.


Who inspires you in your work?

People on the front line. Farmers, scientists, business people, etc. They have to face real-world problems on a day-to-day basis, and they have to find the best solution they can. More and more of them are putting environmental considerations centre stage.

What will be your main focus in 2018?


Apart from trees (!) I think food security is going to be an issue we are going to hear more and more about. While there will be a focus on the food supply chains, we will also hear much more about nutrition security – in industrialised economies, experts are concerned that too much sugar and fat is being consumed. This concern will manifest itself in various guises, such as proposed economic instruments, public awareness campaigns and an increase in consumer awareness.

This year’s Responsible Business Forum (RBF), Asia’s largest gathering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) held in Singapore this week, a city that next fall will also host SIGEF 2018. Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, the social network for social good and organizer of SIGEF, was invited to be part of an exclusive group of 600 delegates to attend the event.

Responsible Business Forum (RBF), Asia’s largest gathering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) was held in Singapore this week

«Our participation in the Responsible Business Forum in Singapore is a sign that we are following the right path. Both Horyou and SIGEF are typically in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which makes us very welcome there», says Parienti. SIGEF 2018 will be held on September 11th, during the chairmanship of the ASEAN Summit.

RBF will hold SDG workshops for all participants, as well as share commitments, report on progress and define a framework for measuring performance and impact of each goal through case studies and panels. The Forum approach is to provide integrated solutions to accelerate action. Businesses, governments, UN agencies, NGOs, investors and international experts will be presenting their success stories, as innovation and financing of SDG will be high on the agenda this year.

The event will comprise seven channels of debates, namely agriculture, food & nutrition; consumption, climate change, inclusive growth, cities and urbanization, and circular economy. Discussions will include green financing opportunities, cleantech and data philanthropy, while companies will showcase initiatives that prove they keep thinking ‘out of the box’, such as AkzoNobel, a coatings industry bringing solutions to smart cities and clean oceans, or MasterCard that is acting on gender equality and inclusion.

The business sector’s cooperation with other actors of the SDG ecosystem will be stressed by many speakers. «We have to translate the SDG into a language that the business community can understand», warns Meng Liu, head of Asia and Oceania Networks with the United Nations Global Compact. «In order to support their implementation, the business sector must go beyond CSR», adds Haoliang Xu, regional Director for UNDP in Asia Pacific.

According to the UNDP, business opportunities that align with SDG are valued at 12 trillion US dollars globally. «There is so much to be done. Horyou, with SIGEF and Spotlight, is a tireless supporter of SDG as it offers channels of communication and funding for many organizations and projects that help to achieve the goals», reminds Parienti.

Barcelona is hosting its 8th annual Corporate Social Responsibility Week, an event which connects the public sector to companies and non-profit organizations to discuss the recent developments in CSR. Horyou team has visited the venue and reports on some success stories.

8th CSR Week Barcelona took place from 14th to 18th November

What can a food bank do about global warming? Why should a healthcare and beauty products industry career coach unemployed women? Those are merely signs that CSR is pushing companies to go beyond their backyard. We all find profit in a better world.

The 8th edition of the annual CSR Week in Barcelona was an indication that many companies are trying to run the extra mile through their environmental and social actions. On a panel titled «Conferencias Soc-Eco-Amb», held on Tuesday, four organizations from very diverse industries showcased their actions.

Miguel Ángel Trabado, Henkel Beauty and Healthcare regional head of Professional Partnership Services (PPS), shared the «Fundación Quiero Trabajo» experience inaugurated this year. The project provides hairdressing, clothing, styling and professional coaching to unemployed women, helping them to recover from a job loss and restore their self-confidence. So far, 53 women have received assessment and advice, and 71% have found a new job. «It’s important to notice that most of the work is done by volunteers, and the great majority are women as well», he said. It is a global project that has produced remarkable results in Spain, with a high rate of successful job placements.

Speaking for Metro de Madrid on its recently launched CSR Policy, in line with the 11th and 13th UN Sustainable Development Goals on Sustainable Cities and Climate Action respectively, Monica Mariscal insisted on the company’s commitment to invest in innovation and technology in order to deliver the best user travel experience. Metro de Madrid is thus reusing 80% of its consumed water and, in 2017, it will reduce by 25% its energy consumption. Insisting on the responsibility to cater for the vast diversity of its users, she disclosed that «From a social perspective, the company has a commitment to diversity, and is building accessible stations and training both employees and people with disability to better use the metro». The goal is to have 73% of all stations accessible to people with disability by 2030.

Ana Gonzales talks about the CSR and Environment projects in Caprabo

As for the national supermarket chain Caprabo and its microdonations program, it is striving to reduce food waste, as well as to support people in need. Hence, the company donate small quantities of its unsold products – a pack of eggs in which just one is broken, for instance -, to non-profit organizations or food banks. This sounds simple but it requires some logistics in relation to food preservation and employee training to send out only items that are safe for consumption. According to Ana Gonzales, in charge of CSR and Environment for Caprabo, «The program is a success as it helps to feed 788 families per year. It also reduces food waste by more than 2,000 tons».

Caprabo micro donations go to organizations like Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona, a food bank that provides 18,000 tons of food to 137,000 people in Catalonia. In addition to putting meals on needy families tables, the organization has recently signed an agreement with the public sector by which it is working on reducing CO2 emissions. According to Joan Bosch, Economic Resources Coordinator, it is an extra challenge they are happy to take. «We have changed all our lamps to LED and are looking forward to reducing our emissions by more than 2,300 tons of CO2 in 2017», he stated. It is all done thanks to volunteering work and donations, and we aim higher each year. «Poverty is more intense and chronic than ever. We cover only 27% of families in need, and we expect to improve this number and the quality of what people are eating», he added. It will be done, of course, with lower emissions and the tireless commitment to building a better society.

Um fundo de investimentos criado para estimular a inovação aplicada ao meio ambiente – essa é uma das estratégias da Inseed Investimentos para estimular o empreendedorismo sustentável no Brasil. João Pirola, diretor da empresa, fala ao Horyou blog sobre como investir em negócios verdes pode ir além do ‘politicamente correto’ e trazer lucros e inovação para o negócio.

Quando o fundo foi lançado e qual a proposta por trás de sua criação?

Dentre as iniciativas de inovação, existe um espaço para as pequenas e médias empresas inovadoras que buscam desenvolver soluções que impactam direta e positivamente o meio ambiente. A principal questão destas empresas menores é ter acesso a recursos para conseguir fazer isso em escala maior e velocidade. Da mesma forma que as grandes empresas industriais têm muito recurso para explorar e para produzir, as pequenas e médias também deveriam ser capazes de acessar recursos para desenvolver suas soluções inovadoras e assim, gerarem grande impacto no meio ambiente. Neste contexto e com esta proposta surgiu o Fundo FIP Inseed FIMA, criado pelo BNDES em 2012, e gerido pela Inseed Investimentos. Empresas do setor de tecnologias limpas, com faturamento de até R$ 20 milhões ao ano, podem candidatar-se a receber aporte de capital do Fundo. São R$ 165 milhões de capital comprometido para aporte em até 20 empresas até o fim de 2017. O Fundo contempla três eixos de investimento: Soluções Ambientais, Tecnologias Avançadas e Agropecuária Sustentável, e Novos Modelos.

João Pirola. Foto Cláudio Camarotta

Um dos grandes temas correntes é a inovação social – você acredita que negócios responsáveis social e ambientalmente podem gerar lucros tão expressivos quanto os de negócios tradicionais?

Sim. Eu diria que empreendedorismo, inovação e meio ambiente são os grandes temas do momento. Tudo que a gente fizer do ponto de vista industrial, econômico, urbano ou agrícola tem que estar dentro de uma equação de menor impacto: Como recuperar aquela matéria prima? Como fazer uma melhor compostagem? Como usar menos agrotóxico? Como fazer mais coisas orgânicas? Mas tudo isso também pensando em rentabilidade e economia, pois o sustentável, a princípio, não pode ser mais caro, se não ele vai criar uma restrição. A nova agenda do século XXI implica inovações tecnológicas e a capacidade de empreendê-las, com o olhar sobre o meio ambiente sempre presente.

Como você vê o futuro da inovação ambiental?

O caminho é o incentivo e o estimulo à inovação tecnológica. A Inseed é gestora de um fundo de inovação em meio ambiente, criado pelo BNDES e pioneiro no Brasil. Acreditamos que grande parte dos problemas ambientais atuais, que foram gerados com a industrialização, ou com a urbanização, podem ser acolhidos, equacionados e até minimizados com a aplicação de inovação tecnológica em diversas áreas. Ao trazermos a temática “inovação ambiental”, queremos convidar o empreendedor a ter um novo olhar sobre o meio ambiente.

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!

Horyou soutient des initiatives innovantes qui s’inscrivent en résonance avec les Objectifs de Développement Durable des Nations Unies. Ainsi, nous sommes heureux de partager la campagne de Food Save Challenge, promue par notre partenaire Impact Hub Lausanne.

Savez-vous que plus de 12000 tonnes de nourriture sont non consommées par an en Suisse? Cela représente un budget de plus de 64 Millions de francs.

Le problème n’affecte seulement la Suisse – il est global et si concernant que fait partie des Objectifs de Développement Durable de l’ONU. En pensant à lui donner des solutions innovantes, Impact Hub Lausanne lance le Food Save Challenge, un défi pour startups. L’entrepreneur qui présente les idées plus innovantes sur le gaspillage va gagner 9 mois de soutien financier, coaching et un space de travail au Impact Hub Lausanne valant jusqu’à CHF 50,000. Les candidatures sont ouvertes jusqu’à 10 Novembre.

Pour participer du Challenge, il faut être un entrepreneur ou une start-up résidant actuellement en Suisse et présenter un projet avec potentiel d’impact de réduction de gaspillage alimentaire dans la région de Lausanne. Les critères comprennent aussi «adaptation du réseau» – si l’initiative est un ajout précieux au réseau d’épargne alimentaire existant, «faisabilité», «durabilité» et «attractivité».

Le Food Save Challenge fait partie d’un projet plus large, le Lab Vie Durable, qui veut promouvoir des modes de vie durable em Suisse Romande, en créant une plateforme multipartie qui favorise la collaboration ouverte entre les acteurs privés, publiques et associatifs, em se focalisant sur trois thématiques: consommation responsable et futur de l’alimentation, santé et bien-être, mobilitées et communauté durables.

Au delà du Lab Vie Durable, il y a aussi des projets Open Labs, notamment des sessions de travail ouvertes à tous, et un Social Labs, qui débutera em 2018 et offrira une processus expérimental d’apprentissage et de prototypage avec une cohorte de 12-24 leaders d’opinions. «Le Lab Vie Durable avec son approche régionale est un premier pas pour renforcer les liens et synergies entre acteurs clés de l’Arc Lémanique, créer une seule communauté grandissante dans la région et contribuer ainsi à l’essor de la Romandie et son positionnement en tant que leader régional d’innovation durable!», a dit Amanda Byrne, co-fondatrice de l’initiative.

UN End Hunger goal is to achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Horyou’s new series is about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Every week, Horyou blog will publish an article about one goal, highlighting projects and actions that have been supporting its implementation.

Children under 5 are one of the most hunger vulnerable groups

One in ten people on our planet is undernourished. In rough numbers, they are 793 million, and one-fifth of them are children under 5 years of age. By contrast, 41 million children under 5 worldwide are affected by overweight and obesity – that’s 6% of children population. The numbers are shocking, yet the situation has improved in the 21st century – efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition have advanced significantly since 2000. Ending hunger, food insecurity for all, however, will require continued and focused efforts, especially in Asia and Africa.

Is there a way to improve both scenarios?

Horyou volunteer serving food at “The Meal”

The answer, according to the UNDP, lies in more investments in agriculture, including government spending and aid. It is in funding small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production systems, as well as making an effort to maintain the genetic diversity of plants and animals, both crucial for agriculture and food production. As of February 2017, 20 percent of local animal breeds were classified as at risk, according to data gathered in 128 countries. It’s all connected – global warming affects crops, animal breeds and food prices -, causing insecurity, civil unrest and wars. In 2016, 21 countries experienced high or moderately high domestic prices, relative to their historic levels, for one or more staple cereal food commodities. Thirteen of those countries were in sub-Saharan Africa. The main causes of high prices were declines in domestic output, currency depreciation, and insecurity.

Some governments have invested in long-term agricultural subsidies programs, according to the UNDP. It’s not enough. We, as a society, can act, either by supporting organizations which foster diverse and sustainable agriculture, participate in educational projects to promote healthy and responsible food consumption or spread the word about reducing waste.

On our Horyou platform, you can support projects like The Meal, which organizes festive and healthy meals for people who can’t afford good food in several countries – the last edition took place in 54 consecutive cities around the world! Or SOS Faim Luxembourg, an NGO which works in African rural areas to promote family farming and microfinance. The Green Bronx Machine, based in the US, uses education and school farming to teach kids about the importance of healthy eating habits and local food systems.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps fight hunger in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

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