Leading regions pledge climate action, Olam app maps small farms, Syngenta boosts Bangladesh farms, Lego cuts energy use, and Singapore opens green academy

175 states and regions vow to take climate action despite Trump

STATES, REGIONS, and business leaders from around the world met in Beijing this week to confirm their commitment to climate action.

The Under2 Clean Energy Forum, a side event of the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial, explored through a series of high-level roundtables and keynotes how sub-national governments and businesses can work together to deliver the Paris Agreement, following the announcement of the US intention to withdraw.

The event brought together high-level delegates from across the world, including Governor Jerry Brown of California, Rachel Kyte, CEO and special representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, Apple, and many others. Earlier in the week, Brown signed an agreement for California to work with China to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement, though nonbinding, aims to expand cooperation between China and California on renewable energy, zero-emission vehicles and low-carbon urban development. 

Set up in 2015 by California and Baden-Württemberg to galvanise sub-national leadership on climate change, the Under2 coalition comprises 175 governments from 35 countries. The coalition announced five new signatories, including Denmark, the Indian state of Chhattisgarh,  Brittany in France and the South African provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, which is the secretariat for the Under2 coalition, said: “While the Trump administration is talking about the credibility of Paris, the rest of the world is moving on to action and delivery. States, regions and businesses are leading actions to limit warming and they are already seeing the economic and health benefits.”

Olam mobile app maps 100,000 small farms


AGRIBUSINESS GIANT Olam said 100,000 smallholder farmers now have access to detailed information about their farms through its Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS), a revolutionary method of collecting and applying farmgate-level data through a mobile app.

OFIS is a “one-stop shop” tech platform that gives smallholder farmers access to the same big data innovations commonplace among large-scale farms. It also allows international customers to have “unparalleled visibility” into the production of crops like cashew and coffee, the company said.

Each farm has been mapped and surveyed via an Android app, with the uploaded data harnessed to provide tailored support for smallholders and more precise details to customers who need to make critical choices about financial interventions, such as agri-training, school or healthcare infrastructure.

OFIS director Simon Brayn-Smith emphasised the platform’s capability in helping all participants in the supply chain: “You have to remember that while big data usage is commonplace among large-scale farms, our field officers are working in some of the world’s most isolated places. With the OFIS technology they have been able to survey and record, on the spot, thousands of farms, the surrounding landscape, as well as the farmer’s social circumstances. This gives the farmers, Olam and our customers greater insight to tackle issues from poor yields to climate change and child labour. And by geotagging each bag of produce we can trace it from farm to fork, providing assurance to end-users on product provenance.

OFIS is being rolled out across Olam’s cashew, cocoa, coffee, hazelnuts, palm, pepper, rice and rubber supply chains, with a goal to reach half a million farmers by 2020.

Syngenta, VSO boost smallholder farmers in Bangladesh

Credit: Syngenta

SYNGENTA and international development agency VSO have published a report  on their community development programme Growing Together, which aims to sustainably improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Bangladesh. The report shows that in 2016 there was an average 50% increase in net income for 10,000 farmers, with yields in vegetables up 80% and yields in potatoes increasing 50%. 

The partnership established six farmers' centres, enabling better market access and higher crop prices. The report also showed that chemical fertilisers and pesticides in rice cultivation had dropped by 60% and 50%, respectively. A strategic partnership with Bank Asia led to a 60% reduction in the cost of borrowing.

The Growing Together programme places Syngenta corporate employees from across the world into the heart of poor rural Bangladeshi communities, offers smallholder farmers modern agricultural technique and, financial services, and access to national and international markets.

Philip Goodwin, CEO of VSO said: “There is lots of talk about companies contributing to tackling poverty and inequality, whether in their own communities or through supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But discernible action at such scale and in such a short space of time is something else. We’ve been blown away at how Syngenta have approached this work, and the results truly do speak for themselves.”

The report said the number of farmers’ centres could scale up to reach 100,000 farming households in Bangladesh.

Lego to increase efficiency by further 10%

Credit: Lego

THE LEGO GROUP is extending its partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as part of efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in its manufacturing factories and supply chain. It has committed to a further 10% increase in carbon (CO2) efficiency per LEGO brick produced by 2020, building on a 12% improvement since it joined WWF’s Climate Savers programme in 2014. It will also continue to ensure 100% of energy consumption is balanced by production of renewable energy sources.

Marjorie Lao, CFO of the LEGO Group, said: “We have made solid progress balancing 100% of our energy consumption with renewables, but we know there is more to do to make the production of LEGO bricks more sustainable, especially in reducing CO2 emissions from our factories, and the entire supply chain. WWF is a valuable partner, who challenges us to think differently about how we operate and inspires us to set ambitious climate targets, and to inspire children to take care of the environment.”

Singapore opens sustainability academy

Credit: Shutterstock Inc.

SINGAPORE marked World Environment Day by opening its first sustainability academy. The Singapore Sustainability Academy, jointly created by local property developer City Developments Limited (CDL) and non-profit Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), is the first major initiative that supports the country’s national and global sustainability goals outlined in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint and Climate Action Plan.

These initiatives align with Singapore’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The net-zero emissions development sits on top of CDL’s City Square Mall in Singapore’s Farrer Park district.





Singapore  emissions  climate change  CO2 emissions  Lego  Bangladesh  farming  cocoa  supply chains  coffee  smallholders  mobile app  Paris Agreement  Trump 

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