New Zealand's one billion dollar investment in fossil fuels dangerous for our future, says WWF report
The report, Fossil Fuel Finance in NZ: The Superannuation Fund and ACC, released today as part of WWF's ongoing Seize Your Power campaign shows the one billion is from total assets of 40 billion.
With over three quarters of existing fossil fuel reserves needing to remain unburned to avoid catastrophic climate impacts, the report sets out how this investment is dangerous for our future, while reiterating WWF's global call to ramp up investment in renewable energy and decrease investment in coal, oil and gas.
'We're at the start of a big change, a move away from fossil fuels and towards the cleaner, renewable future scientists tell us we must have. WWF asks New Zealand and its citizens to be part of that change and invest in the future. It makes sense now, ethically and financially, to invest more in renewables and phase out coal-based energy systems'', said Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF's Global Climate and Energy Initiative.
Recent announcements by the World Bank and European Investment Bank to nearly eliminate financing of coal plants are critical signs of a growing wave against coal and for its alternatives, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Though coal is the world's predominant source of electricity, it is also the most polluting, posing a huge threat both to our global climate and to human health.
"Over $1billion of New Zealanders' pension and accident insurance money is invested in coal, oil and gas companies. Yet their on-going profitability depends on digging up and burning the un-burnable: fossil fuels that have to remain untouched if we are to avoid ever greater climate change," said Peter Hardstaff, WWF-New Zealand's Head of Campaigns
SuperFund's direct holdings include Soco International PLC, which is currently the focus of a global WWF campaign to stop them prospecting for oil in Virunga National Park, Africa's oldest and most biodiverse national park (2).
Both SuperFund and ACC hold shares in Shell, which is under pressure for drilling in the Arctic; Anadarko, the Texan oil company with permits to drill in New Zealand's deep waters, including the Pegasus Basin and the Great South Basin; and BP which was involved in the 'Deepwater Horizon' disaster off the Gulf of Mexico.
Investing in fossil fuels is increasingly being recognised by international ratings agencies as financially risky.
UK analysts Carbon Tracker have documented how the finance industry is creating a 'carbon bubble' which is set to burst, causing significant loss of value to these companies (3).
"We urge not only SuperFund and ACC but all NZ financial institutions to start divesting from fossil fuels, beginning with the most polluting such as coal and tar sands, and increase investments in clean energy. Our money should work to protect our future rather than threaten it further," said Hardstaff.
Under the umbrella of The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), the CEOs of some 15 leading global salmon producers announced a commitment today in Trondheim, Norway, to certify their farms to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard by 2020. This sustainability initiative is seen by WWF as the most promising development yet of a near decade long process of engaging with producer, processor, retailer, community, civil society and consumer stakeholders in the industry.
"This is a game-changer," said Dr. Jason Clay, who chairs WWF's Global Initiative for Market Transformation. "The salmon sector is finally working together and embracing sustainability. This is going to radically change aquaculture – and have ripple effects in the entire global food industry."
"WWF helped launch the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues nine years ago, and we're happy to see that GSI is using the outcome of that comprehensive multi-stakeholder process—the ASC Salmon Standard—as its global benchmark. This commitment shows that these companies see sustainability as a pre-competitive issue, one that they must work on together to make progress more quickly."
"The combined impact of these companies – representing 70% of global farmed salmon production– will drastically reduce the impact of salmon production on some of the world's most ecologically important regions."
"Five years ago, global aquaculture production surpassed wild caught as the primary source of seafood consumed by humans. Two years ago aquaculture production, by volume, surpassed global beef production. As demand for farmed seafood increases on a finite planet with limited resources, production systems will have to become more efficient and do more with less."
"As these companies progress on their sustainability journey, WWF will assist and support them as appropriate. This might include helping them assess their compliance with the ASC standard, develop systems of continuous improvement, measure performance and share lessons learned, technology and better practices."
Standard stays up to date
The ASC Salmon Standard directly addresses many of the key issues raised in relation to salmon aquaculture. Regular reviews of the standard with stakeholder participation and public consultation will ensure that the standard remains updated in line with state-of-the-art science, developments in techniques and management practices.
The ASC Salmon Standard already requires cooperation between different producers through requirements for Area Based Management to monitor and reduce impacts on coastal communities, coastal environments and wild salmon populations. It also mandates a high level of farm level restrictions and reporting on fish escapes, seal and other predator control measures, chemical, medicine, nutrient and waste releases and parasite and disease control. The standard also prohibits any preventive use of antibiotics.
Adherence to the standard will also reduce salmon farming demand on wild caught fisheries for fish oil and other feed. The standard also excludes genetically modified salmon and requires disclosure of the use of any transgenic GMO material used in feed.
Certification to the ASC salmon aquaculture standard is conducted by independent certifiers who are regularly audited by an accreditation body and whose recommendations can be subject to challenge and review.
This year's program will bring more than 700 business and sustainability leaders together to share their insights on how to improve the role of business in society and how corporate responsibility and sustainability drives sales, saves money and improves asset values.
Featured sessions at this year's event include:
- Keynote Address: Eliot Spitzer, The Sheriff Of Wall Street
- Keynote Address: Herman Mulder, Global Reporting Initiative
- Q&A with James J. Murren, MGM Resorts International
- How to Build Your Next Generation of Leadership
- Employee Engagement 2.0: Taking Volunteerism to Another Level
- How Businesses Are Restoring Trust and Being Rewarded
- Weighing the Risks and Opportunities of Collaboration
- Measuring Brand Engagement with ESG Overlay
- Brand Management: Where CSR & Shareholder Value Intersect
- Responsible Brand Management in the Era of Social Networking
- Supply Chain Responsibility - What is the Future?
- Unlocking the Freight Supply Chain to Reduce Carbon and Costs
- Building Trust & Better Data Through Third Party Verification
- Social Responsibility in the Alcoholic Beverage Industry
- Shared Responsibility: An Exclusive CEO Roundtable
For more information please visit www.COMMITForum.com.
Transforming Lives, Empower Pragati Joins the Business Call to Action to Grow Skills and Scale Up Services in India
India’s financial inclusion network and operations skills giant Empower Pragati has announced it will join the Business Call to Action (BCtA), with plans to expand skills training aimed at boosting incomes for some two million disadvantaged youth in India by 2020.
Empower Pragati is an India-based private sector social enterprise specializing in livelihood skill development to empower India's disadvantaged youth. The company focuses on meeting the needs of those living in urban and rural poverty and lacking the required education and opportunity. Empower’s vocational and skills training programs seek to create sustainable livelihoods for the urban and rural poor and works closely with the National Skills Development Corporation of India (NSDC, a government of India promoted organization) to deliver a range of comprehensive specialized training.
Empower’s solutions and services are being delivered across seven states of India. Their value-added delivery services are designed and developed keeping in mind the needs of uneducated, poor and rural people. Since its founding in 2010, Empower Pragati has trained 30,000 people, conducted more than one million days of training, generated more than two million days of employment and US$8 million in revenue.
The commitment with the BCtA will expand the reach of Empower’s wide range of training to meet the needs of the growing Indian marketplace. Empower has pledged to promote financial self-sustainability of at least 70 percent of the newly trained candidates by ensuring them placement at par with minimum wages.
“Working with the NSDC to meet India’s needs for 500 million skilled workers by the year 2022. Empower Pragati is working to ensure livelihoods meet the growing demands of India's service sector,” said Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager of the Business Call to Action. “We are pleased to welcome Empower Pragati as they have identified service sector areas that are in demand for entry and mid-level labor in both the formal and informal sectors. Accordingly, Empower Pragati provides the vital youth skills training, confidence building, and career networking.”
Empower has grown to a team of 120 training centers with 300 people who provide specialized management, monitoring and active training and counseling with trainees and companies for prospective jobs. Each center trains an average of 300 trainees per year to achieve the company’s objective of training two million people. Empower plans to rapidly scale up and setup a total of 750 training centers across India over the next three years.
“We are pleased to expand our commitment and our programs to build the capacity of India’s vulnerable population, who have traditionally not had the opportunity to be a part of India’s growth. Our goal is two million by 2020,” says Rajiv Sharma, CEO and founder of Empower Pragati.
The company also plans to expand its specialized curriculum and work to pilot training services in other key regions including Africa in the near term.
Business Call to Action (BCtA)
Business Call to Action is a global initiative that challenges companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Australian Agency for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Global Compact, the Clinton Global Initiative and the International Business Leaders Forum to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis. www.businesscalltoaction.org | @BCtAInitiative
Empower Pragati is an India-based public-private partnership specializing in livelihood skill development to empower India's disadvantaged youth. We believe that all youth are capable of gainful employment, but those living in urban and rural poverty often lack the required education and opportunity. Our ventures focus on innovative vocational and skills training programs that seek to create sustainable livelihoods for the urban and rural poor. Empower Pragati is co-owned by National Skills Development Corporation of India, a public-private partnership of the Government of India.
Wyndham Worldwide Supports Local Piedmont Triad Community With Week of Charitable Activities at Wyndham Championship
(Marketwired) - During the Wyndham Championship, August 15 - 18, spectators will enjoy exciting, not-to-be missed PGA TOUR golf in a vacation-like setting reminiscent of Wyndham Worldwide's (NYSE: WYN) resorts around the globe.
Fans will also have the opportunity to get directly involved in what has become the cornerstone of the tournament: philanthropy.
Focusing on improving the lives of children, Wishes by Wyndham, Wyndham Worldwide's philanthropic foundation and official charity of the championship, will donate $100,000 to the winning charity in its Charity of Choice awareness campaign, as well as sponsor multiple other philanthropic activities to benefit national and local charities whose missions are also to benefit children.
Held at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., the Wyndham Championship is an annual golf tournament on the PGA TOUR and the final stop of the PGA TOUR's FedEx Cup regular season. Attracting more than 80,000 spectators each year, the tournament gives Wyndham Worldwide the platform to connect with its customers while expanding the reach and presence of Wishes by Wyndham and supporting many local charitable organizations.
"Philanthropy is one of the core values at Wyndham Worldwide, and we feel strongly that it is our responsibility to do what we can to help others around the world," said Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, Wyndham Worldwide. "As one of the world's largest hospitality companies, we are not only committed to providing great vacation experiences for our guests, but also to enhancing the quality of children's lives around the world and making lasting contributions in the communities where our employees live and work."
Spectators hold the key to the "Charity of Choice." During the tournament, fans have an opportunity to decide which local charity will receive $100,000 from Wishes by Wyndham. Voters will choose from the top 10 charities that were determined by an open voting period held in July on WyndhamChampionship.com and the Wyndham Worldwide Facebook page. From Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18, participants may cast their vote for one of the charitable organizations once per day on-site at the "Key to Wyn" expo tent. The winning charity will be announced at a special ceremony after the tournament trophy presentation.
Building on its relationship with a former winner of the Charity of Choice campaign, Wishes by Wyndham has committed $1 million to The First Tee organization over the next five years to help it expand the reach of its programs and shape the lives of young people through the game of golf. On Tuesday, The First Tee of the Triad held its Life Skills Experience golf clinic for local Piedmont Triad youth at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center. In addition to learning fundamentals of the golf swing and the game, participants met PGA TOUR Pro Cameron Percy.
PGA TOUR Pros can participate in Wyndham Championship philanthropy. The "Birdies for Charity" competition, a golf video game tournament held on site Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18, gives spectators and the PGA TOUR Pros playing in the Wyndham Championship a chance to raise money for charitable organizations. Using the Nintendo Wii™ Sports expert level three-hole course, participants who score one-under par on their video golf hole will help raise money for Wishes by Wyndham charities and have their names posted on a leaderboard outside the gaming area. At the end of the week, the individual with the best score will present the check to the winning Charity of Choice organization.
Charitable giving is for everyone at the Wyndham Championship. Offering something for all ages, particularly when it comes to giving back, the tournament will provide an opportunity for kids in attendance to help other children in need. The Wishes by Wyndham Christel House Tapestry Painting, a six-foot by four-foot tapestry featuring a black and white golf-themed image, will be on-site for kids to color and bring to life with paint. At the end of the tournament, the tapestry will be presented to Christel House International to be auctioned at a future fundraiser. A Wishes by Wyndham signature charity, Christel House International's mission is to help children around the world break the cycle of poverty, realize their hopes and dreams and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.
During the Wyndham Championship, Wishes by Wyndham will also donate to a variety of other charitable organizations, including the Kevin Harvick Foundation, which works with underprivileged children to help improve their lives and the PGA TOUR Wives Association, which supports and provides assistance to children and their families.
About Wyndham Worldwide
One of the world's largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN) provides a wide range of hospitality products and services through its global portfolio of world-renowned brands. The world's largest hotel company based on the number of properties, Wyndham Hotel Group is home to many of the world's best-known hotel brands, with over 7,410 franchised hotels and over 635,100 hotel rooms worldwide. Wyndham Exchange & Rentals is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and the world's largest professionally managed vacation rentals business, providing more than 5 million leisure-bound families annually with access to over 106,000 vacation properties in 100 countries through its prominent exchange and vacation rental brands. The industry and timeshare ownership market leader, Wyndham Vacation Ownership develops, markets, and sells vacation ownership interests and provides consumer financing to owners through its network of 190 vacation ownership resorts serving approximately 915,000 owners throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Based in Parsippany, NJ, Wyndham Worldwide employs approximately 32,500 associates globally.
For more information, please visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.
About the Wyndham Championship
Contested annually on the Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., the Wyndham Championship was founded in 1938 and is the seventh oldest event on the PGA TOUR. Additional tournament information is available at www.wyndhamchampionship.com or through the tournament office at (336) 379-1570.