World Economic Forum working to close the gender gap


Autor: Yvonne P Mazzulo

Fecha: 20/02/2011

As the World Economic Forum held it’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland during the week of January 26-30, 2011, at the top of the list of issues were avenues to close the gender gap and to aim for gender parity.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called for action from countries, organizations, and schools around the world. In response, the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum have announced a commitment to increasing their efforts to identify and select women leaders to integrate into the Young Global Leaders community with the ultimate goal of reaching gender parity.

David Aikman, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders stated that, “The Forum of Young Global Leaders strongly believes that the future of leadership is one of gender parity. In alignment with these trends and in addition to our belief in the importance of reducing the gender gap, we call on our Partners, our community and the general public to nominate outstanding young women leaders from around the globe to reach our goal of 50/50 parity.”

According to the 2010 Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden continued to demonstrate the greatest equality between men and women. The United States closed its gender gap, rising 12 places to enter the top 20 for the first time in the report’s five-year history. The U.S. climb in rank is attributed to a higher number of women in leading roles in the current administration and improvements in the wage gap.

Continue reading on World Economic Forum working to close the gender gap – National women’s issues |

Towards sustainable capitalism


Autor: Jonathon Porrit, David Bent

Fecha: 23/02/2011


Well-bing-4 “The quality of leadership being shown by business executives is in marked contrast to the kind of grudging on-off incrementalism that characterises the policy interventions of most governments.”

The effort to reconcile climate economics with market forces has so far stalemated, but Jonathon Porritt and David Bent say there is a sustainable business model that works.

To say that today’s political elites are not joined-up in their fragmented responses to these and other crises is something of an understatement. There would appear to be no “over-arching economic rationale” other than to maintain the status quo. But what if the current version of capitalism – consumption-driven, credit-fuelled, export-dependent economic growth – is itself at the heart of these crises? Then the root causes will go untouched, and there will be no serious recognition that we need a new version of capitalism that enables all to have better lives within environmental limits.

There are some who argue that there is no form of capitalism that can be sustainable. Capitalism’s imperatives to grow, to accumulate, to concentrate ownership and to turn everything and everybody into commodities and “monetisable assets” are seen to be completely incompatible with a more equitable economy constrained by the limits of the natural world.

We both have a good deal of sympathy for those sentiments, but we are also realists. The UK Meteorological Office’s report «Informing Choices» is a reminder of the urgency of the climate challenge; it warns that if mankind is to have a 50% chance of avoiding warming of more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, greenhouse-gas emissions must peak by 2020, with 5% yearly reductions thereafter.

Over the coming decade we do not have a choice on the nature of the global economic system: it will be capitalism in all its varieties, from the notionally “free market” of the United States to the state-managed capitalism of China. The unapologetically pragmatic response of our own organisation, Forum for the Future, and indeed of the majority of environmental NGOs, is therefore to seek to put sustainability at the heart of that economic model rather than to seek to replace it with some fully-fledged ideological alternative.

Happily, there’s already a wealth of authoritative, high-powered work to drive forward the emergence of new ways of reconciling our material aspirations with the constraints of a finite planet. France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy has challenged what he describes as “the fetishisation of GDP as the sole measure of economic progress” by dint of setting up a high-level Commission to come up with different ways of measuring economic progress.

It is now more than 30 years since the pioneering economist Herman Daly first defined “the minimum ecological conditions” for any economy in terms of maintaining constant stocks of physical (or “natural”) capital. And it’s 10 years since Paul Ekins, one of the co-founders of Forum for the Future, took that a step further by introducing the idea of “safe minimum standards” so that policymakers could put in place systems to avoid irreversible damage to stocks of “critical natural capital”.

But as the author Tim Jackson has pointed out, economics – and macro-economics in particular – remains ecologically illiterate. “We have no model for how common macro-economic ‘aggregates’ (production, consumption, investment, trade, capital stocks, public spending, labour, money supply and so on) behave when capital doesn’t accumulate. We have no models to account systematically for our economic dependency on ecological variables such as resource use and ecological services.”

That macro-economic challenge can only be realistically addressed by governments working together. But at the micro-level, there is still much to play for. Since its inception in 1996, Forum for the Future has based its work as a strategic advisor to a wide range of both public and private-sector organisations, including some of the largest companies in the world, on the kind of integrated approach advanced by Daly and Ekins.

The Five Capitals framework is, in essence, a tool that allows organisations to understand the bigger systems of which they are a part, to recognise the limits to those systems and to flourish by working out how best to optimise the contribution they can make to maintaining and even enhancing the different stocks of capital on which they depend. The Five Capitals are:

Natural capital

Natural capital (also referred to as environmental or ecological capital) is that part of the natural world which humans make some use of, or derive some benefit from, hence its definition by economists as any stock or flow of energy and matter that yields valuable goods and services. There are different kinds of natural capital:

• Resources, some of which are renewable (timber, grain, fish and water), and others that are not (fossil fuels).

• Sinks that absorb, neutralise or recycle waste.

• Ecosystem servicessuch as climate regulation, flood control, pollination and so on.

Human capital

Human capital comprises the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual capacities of any individual. In an economic context, it consists of our health, knowledge, skills and motivation, all of which are required for productive work. Enhancing human capital – for instance, through investing in education and training – is vital for a flourishing economy. Poverty is both morally indefensible and socially inefficient in that it prevents millions of people from fulfilling their potential.

Social capital

Social capital takes the form of structures or institutions which enable individuals to maintain and develop their human capital in collaboration with others and includes families, communities, businesses, trade unions, schools and voluntary organisations, as well as other institutions.

Manufactured capital

Manufactured capital is made up of material goods that contribute to the production process, but do not become embodied in the output of that process. The main components of manufactured capital include:

• Buildings – the environment of villages, towns and cities.

• Infrastructure – the physical fabric supporting social and economic life, including transport networks; schools; hospitals; media and communications; energy; and sewerage and water systems; and

• Technologies – the means by which goods and services are produced, from simple tools and machines to information technology, biotechnology and engineering.

Financial capital

The role of financial capital is perhaps the least understood of all the categories of capital now seen as essential to a sustainable economic system. It is usually excluded from such models on the grounds that financial capital has no intrinsic value, is not essential for the production of goods and services, and simply provides a means of exchange for the fruits of other categories of capital. Paper assets that make up the stocks of money, bonds and equities have no value in themselves, but are simply derivatives of the underlying manufactured, natural, social or human capital stocks.

For companies, the Five Capitals framework enables decision-makers to understand better what “capitals” it depends on (staff, customers, communities, raw materials, supply chain, stable eco-systems and so on) and to integrate sustainability into core business strategy.

One example of a company using the framework is Finlays, the global tea and flowers producer. We helped the company re-think its strategy for the next 15 years in the light of sustainability issues – from the rate of natural resource decline to the nature of governance in Kenya, from the structure of the global retail sector to the technological innovations which could affect the company’s supply chains. Finlays used the lens of the Five Capitals to turn future risks and opportunities into an ambitious set of commitments that should enable the company to become more resilient and therefore more sustainable.

The framework also works well on a cross-sectoral basis. We have worked with key players in the tourism industry to outline the features of an exemplary sustainable tourism destination so as to help “internalise” a proper understanding of those stocks of capital that any destination relies on to be successful, as well as the positive and negative impacts it can have. Our report «Paradise Found«pulls together a total of 21 features of a sustainable tourism development.

These two examples illustrate companies that are searching for their role in creating a more sustainable version of capitalism – and make a profit from doing so. They are using the Five Capitals framework as a bridge from the micro-level business drivers they experience up to the macro-level dynamics.

Leading companies are today moving away from the elusive vagaries of “corporate responsibility” and are instead developing a much better understanding of both biophysical and socio-economic “sustainability issues” as drivers of long-term success and, increasingly, short-term financial performance. The recent UN Global Compact/Accenture report «A New Era of Sustainability«confirms our experience with some 93% of CEOs from 800 companies around the world saying they believe that sustainability will be critical to the future success of their business.

The quality of leadership now being shown by business executives is in marked contrast to the kind of grudging on-off incrementalism that characterises the policy interventions of most governments. One of the biggest barriers for businesses seeking to reconcile profitability with the pursuit of sustainability is regulatory risk, with governments failing to provide unambiguous market signals – for instance, a floor price on carbon dioxide– let alone incentivise proper investment frameworks for genuinely sustainable wealth creation.

By the same token, it is only fair to point out that even the most enlightened business leadership does not provide any kind of challenge to the deeper contradictions in contemporary capitalism. Growth, whether in earnings, profits or market share, is still a non-negotiable imperative for these companies. “We don’t make the rules,” they will tell you. And fortunately nor do they! But one can’t help but think they might be just a bit more proactive in supporting efforts by civil society to get the rules changed.

In the meantime, as Tim Jackson continues to point out, there is still no articulation of a “credible, socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario for continuing growing incomes for a world of nine billion people”. From our vantage point, working with over 70 companies and more than 20 public-sector organisations, we can see leading organisations reaching the limits of what they can do on sustainability within the current macro-economic framework.

That’s the real “bottom-line” for today’s political leaders. Only capitalism has the dynamism to create society-wide change in the space of 10 years. But only a sustainable version of capitalism can marshal that dynamism so that we avoid future crises – whether they are caused by climate change or by defaulting Eurozone economies.

We need senior people in European Union governments and elsewhere to do some heavy-lifting on the macro-economic front to help move towards a sustainable version of capitalism. The time available for reconciling today’s astonishingly dynamic market economies with the bio-physical life support systems on which we depend is going to rapidly ebb away.

Jonathon Porritt is Forum for the Future’s co-founder and programme director and David Bent its head of business strategies.

The original version of this article was published in the Spring 2011 issue of Europe’s World.

Europa puede obtener toda su electricidad de las fuentes renovables


Autor: EuropaPress

Fecha: 23/02/2011

Europa puede obtener toda su electricidad de las fuentes renovables. Ampliar fotografía

Greenpeace ha asegurado, en su informe ‘La batalla de las redes’, que Europa puede obtener toda su electricidad de las fuentes de energía renovables y que «la rigidez» de las centrales nucleares y de carbón impide, a su juicio, aprovechar toda la energía renovable que hay disponible.

El estudio, dado a conocer este miércoles en España, pone de manifiesto que las centrales nucleares y de carbón «son un gran obstáculo en el camino hacia un sistema 100 por cien renovable» y muestra «la necesidad de eliminar el 90 por ciento de las actuales centrales térmicas de carbón y nucleares para tener un suministro eléctrico estable y eficiente para 2030, con un 68 por ciento de fuentes renovables para esa fecha».

Según ha indicado la organización ecologista, el trabajo expone «por primera vez» cómo sería una red inteligente en Europa en el año 2050 y ha precisado que, basándose en «exhaustivos modelos» desarrollados por la consultora en ingeniería Energynautics, refleja cómo la gestión inteligente de la red, la tecnología de control y una red de líneas de transmisión eficientes «pueden equilibrar de forma fiable la demanda con el suministro procedente de energías renovables variables a través del continente, incluso cuando haya poco viento o sol».

«El informe revela cómo las energías renovables entrarán cada vez más en conflicto con las centrales nucleares y de carbón. En momentos de máxima producción, se está impidiendo el funcionamiento de generadores renovables, que producen energía limpia y sin coste adicional, para permitir que las centrales nucleares y de carbón sigan funcionando», ha advertido.

Greenpeace ha afirmado que esto se debe a que la energía eólica y solar fotovoltaica «es variable, mientras que las centrales nucleares y de carbón son constantes pero inflexibles». Por su parte, el responsable de la campaña de Energía de Greenpeace Internacional, Jan Vande Putte, ha asegurado que «los políticos europeos deberían distanciarse del carbón y la nuclear, que están bloqueando el progreso hacia el sistema energético limpio, moderno y eficiente del futuro».

«El año pasado se decidió parar miles de aerogeneradores para permitir que las centrales nucleares y de carbón continúen con su negocio peligroso y sucio», ha añadido. Asimismo, el informe precisa que, en España, las renovables –que han experimentado un «rápido crecimiento en los últimos años y han proporcionado, en algunos momentos, más de dos tercios de toda la electricidad– han suministrado, en 2010, un 35 por ciento de la electricidad, mientras que la nuclear ha supuesto un 21 por ciento y el carbón un 8 por ciento.

«Esto convirtió a España en un exportador neto de electricidad a Francia», ha señalado. Sin embargo, Greenpeace –que también señala que el próximo lunes los ministros de Energía de la Unión Europea se reúnen para concretar cómo cumplir el mandato de priorizar las energías renovables y la eficiencia energética acordado por los por los jefes de Gobierno el pasado 4 de febrero en la Cumbre de la Energía– recuerda que, en las ocasiones en que ha coincidido una baja demanda eléctrica con una alta disponibilidad de viento, «se ha dado la orden de parar parques eólicos, lo que ha dejado perder cientos de megavatios limpios, ante la imposibilidad de detener las centrales nucleares».

National Geographic introduces Adventure Travel Program


Autor: Milton Ramírez

Fecha: 17/02/2011

National Geographic Adventure Cover

In keeping with its tradition of adventure and exploration, National Geographic has introduced National Geographic Adventures, a new program offering unique trips for the active traveler. The program allows travelers to experience adventure from new perspectives, such as trekking across mountain ranges to archaeological wonders; kayaking into a glacier-carved wilderness; crossing an entire country on foot; or climbing a little-known route up one of the world’s highest peaks. These adventures also offer immersive cultural experiences like visiting with Andean villagers, hiking to a remote monastery in Bhutan to meet with monks, or living among some of the world’s last hunter-gatherers in Tanzania.

To make these trips possible, National Geographic has partnered with Mountain Travel Sobek, an adventure travel company co-founded more than 40 years ago by the late Barry Bishop, legendary mountaineer, photographer and longtime National Geographic staff member. Together, National Geographic and Mountain Travel Sobek have developed unique, active itineraries in some of the world’s most remote and spectacular places, including Alaska, Bhutan, Chile and Argentina, England, Italy, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Spain, and Tanzania.

“Adventure is an integral part of National Geographic’s heritage. These new trips combine the immersive experiences for which we are so well known with the opportunity for a more physically active adventure,” said Lynn Cutter, National Geographic’s senior vice president, Travel and Business Development. “Each unique itinerary has something special to offer that makes the experience not just a trip through stunning scenery, but an authentic, unforgettable adventure.”

Trips are categorized by activity level – easy, moderate, strenuous or ultimate challenge. Each trip has a maximum of 16 travelers, allowing for greater flexibility to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that may arise. The small group size also allows for stays in cozy inns, deluxe tented camps and mountain lodges not able to accommodate larger groups. Along with dynamic and experienced trip guides, travelers are joined by local guides, from sherpas in Nepal to nomads in Mongolia, who share invaluable insights into their culture and their land.

Each itinerary is crafted by tapping into the knowledge and insights of National Geographic experts to bring depth and meaning to the travel experience. Traveling with National Geographic allows adventurers access to special sites, fascinating people and private homes. Whenever possible, National Geographic arranges visits with experts in the field, giving travelers the opportunity to meet with the people whose discoveries have appeared in National Geographic’s television programs and magazines.

For more information or to receive a copy of the 2011-2012 National Geographic Adventures catalog, the public may call (888) 689-2557 or visit

Participation in a National Geographic Adventure provides support to National Geographic’s vital exploration, conservation, research and education programs.

Starbucks demuestra que puede reciclar sus vasos ya usados.


Autor: Milton Ramírez

Fecha: 17/02/2011

Starbucks Coffee Co. no solo ofrece free WiFi para sus clientes, es muy activa en las redes sociales, sino también es una compañía que cuida del ambiente.

Como saben el papel tiene como materia prima a la madera y esta es renovable. Los bosques son renovables y son ellos los que obtienen carbón que es el que ayuda a estabilizar el clima global. Entonces el desperdicio de papel es totalmente recuperable, capaz de reciclarse en nuevo papel.

Eso es precisamente lo que hace Starbucks. Y con el proyecto de seis semanas en el que se ha demostrado que es posible reciclar los vasos ya usados, pone a esta compañía a un paso de cumplir con su objetivo de reciclar el 100% de sus vasos para el 2015.

Paper Foodservice
es el proveedor de los vasos para Starbucks. Hasta la fecha solo la Mississipi River Pulp LCC sobre el río del mismo nombre, en Tennessee, ha sido capaz de exitosamente reciclar los vasos ya usados coviertiéndolos a nueva fibra lista para fabricar los nuevos.

Este concepto no solo se ajusta al concepto de Energía Limpia que en su último informe a la nación hiciera el Presidente Obama sino que a parte de beneficiar a Starbucks, abre un gran espacio para utilizar productos de papel reciclados en toda la industria de los alimentos.

[Fuente Green Manufacturer]

Radisson Blu Lyon announces commitment to sustainable tourism


Autor: Staff

Fecha: 07/02/2011

Radisson Blu Lyon has announced it is committed to developing sustainable tourism. Initiatives that are being put in place include helping children at local orphanages, reducing the paper consumption levels in the hotel and inviting guests to visit ‘green’ places of interest.

The Radisson Blu Lyon hotel possesses The Green Key, which is awarded to tourism and leisure facilities. The Green Key is designed to raise awareness to the need to run a responsible business in the tourism and leisure sector. To be awarded with The Green Key the Radisson Blu Lyon had to fulfill a list of requirement which make it more ‘green’. Attached to this, the hotel pays particular attention to ethics, the environment and social responsibilities.

All of the actions undertaken by the Radisson Blu hotel in Lyon are design to establish a real responsible business. Examples of this include reducing packaging used by suppliers, automatically printing on both side of the paper and in black and white, separating waste according to international standards, using energy-saving bulbs in the hotel rooms in Lyon and using renewable energies.

As a responsible and social business, the Radisson Blu in Lyon collects toys, clothes and books for associations such as the French Secour Populaire.

The hotel also collects funds for The World Childhood Foundation by holding gourmet coffee mornings at the Le Bistrot de la Tour Brasserie and giving the money collected to the charity.