Connecting for social development


Written by Asier Aramburu Climate Change RENEN Manager,.


It is estimated that approximately one billion people around the world do not have access to electricity. This fact slows down their socioeconomic development since it affects both their potential economic growth and key aspects of well-being such as health, nutrition and education.

In recent years, the countries of Central and South America have achieved high levels of electrification, but this evolution has moderated when they have reached to 90% -95% electrification. This is due to the fact that the remaining areas are difficult to access or they face some social or security difficulty. In the case of Colombia, these areas are concentrated in the so-called ZNIs.

The Non-Interconnected Zones (ZNI, acronym in Spanish) are formed by the Colombian territory that is not connected to the Central Interconnected System (SIN, acronym in Spanish). According to the latest data provided by the Superintendency of Home Public Services, it includes 52% of the country’s territory, with an estimated population of 1,900,000 inhabitants. Colombians living in these areas do not have public electricity service through the national grid and, therefore, depend on local generation solutions. These solutions are based mostly on diesel generators (96% of the total). The use of this fuel not only implies a considerable environmental impact, but also causes significant diseconomies of scale since 80% of the capacity is concentrated in plants with a capacity lower than 100 kW. Moreover, they have to deal with the high cost of the diesel and its volatility.

However, the electrification of these areas has been limited by geographical obstacles and conflicts in some regions, as well as the following barriers:

  • The population density is extremely low (an average of 3 inhabitants/km2), which makes the logistics of service attention difficult (high investment and operating costs per user).
  • Poor logistics and transportation infrastructure, and in some places non-existent.
  • Low level of average consumption.
  • Low payment capacity by users and therefore low level of collection of the companies’ portfolio.
  • High levels of losses.

Therefore, a vicious circle that has not yet been broken is created. Getting out of this circle is even more important for Colombia if it is considering that the ZNIs concentrate most of the territory that has suffered most of the violence. Thus, ensuring their access to electricity is a necessary step to allow their development and advance in the resolution of the conflict.

As stated before, the traditional method of promoting electrification, the expansion of the national grid, has proven insufficient to achieve 100% of national coverage. For this reason, distributed generation has become the most suitable solution for the electrification of these areas. Although the electricity supplied with minigrids under normal conditions has a cost substantially higher than the average cost of the interconnected system, minigrids are competitive in those locations where extending the main network is even more expensive. In addition, in order to complete the cost-benefit analyses, the social cost of not having a basic minimum supply of electricity and the lack of reliability in the supply should be included as externalities. By including these costs, these projects would be more feasible and the considerable social benefit would be measured in economic terms. In contrary, not including them will lead to a minimum cost solution: not to incur in any cost, that is, not to electrify the area.

Furthermore, based on this alternative, the non-interconnected areas of Colombia have enormous potential to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. And it is that, although Colombia is experiencing an accelerated expansion of its generation capacity from non-conventional renewable energies, most of these projects are focused on supplying energy to the SIN.

As previously stated, developers (both private and public) must overcome numerous difficulties to implement generation projects in the ZNIs. These regions are supplied by independent operators that do not have enough volume to launch massive electrification projects. Furthermore, the have serious difficulties in accessing financial markets due to limitations in the payment capacity of their users. Thus, these projects are generally not attractive projects for private investors and additional resources are required. The carbon market is one important source of income that can support these projects development.

ALLCOT has led the validation of the Inírida Solar Farm project (Inírida, Guainía), the largest solar project developed in the ZNI (2.5 MW). This project represents a fundamental milestone for these regions and offers a referent that can be replicated to allow the transition of these networks to renewable energies.

The Inírida Solar Farm project consists of a photovoltaic solar plant that covers around 22% of the municipality’s energy demand and allows an annual reduction in emissions of approximately 2,800 tCO2e. This reduction is achieved thanks to the fact that this plant replaces part of the energy generated by the diesel fuel plant that fed the entire local distribution network of Inírida. Now, this network will benefit from a hybrid generation system (solar + diesel), in such a way that the reliability of the system will be ensured due to the diesel generation when is needed.

The electrification of the ZNI through mini-grids powered by renewable energies will be key in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 and for universal access to energy in Colombia. Thanks to this important milestone, a gap that slows down the improvement in the quality of life of almost two million people will be closer to be overcome. We invite you to consult more information about the project at the following link.

Systemic Risk


Written by Enrique Lendo, Business Development Mexico Advisor.


The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its 2021 Global Risk Report last week. Climate and environmental risk were ranked at top in its tables in terms of likelihood and second, after Infectious diseases, in terms of impact. It is highly likely that a standard will be set for countries and companies where climate impacts will be perceived as riskier than economic, geopolitical and technological ones.

Climate change impacts capital markets through two types of risk. The first one is Physical Risk which results from damages to property, infrastructure and land. The other one is Transitional Risk which is associated with changes in regulations, technology and consumer/investor preferences towards low carbon economic growth. Risk exposure varies from one country to another depending on geographical, physical and economic conditions. Mexico is a highly vulnerable country, with a high physical risk profile, due to its geographical location between two oceans, complex topography and irregular human settlements.

In 2020, global greenhouse gas went down 7% due to mobility restrictions from the Pandemic. However, temperature records were broken once again with a cumulative increase of 1.25 °C with respect to industrial levels. To avoid catastrophic impacts, scientists recommend global temperature increase to stabilize at 1.5 °C by the end of the century, leaving a very limited space for maneuvering.

At higher temperatures, climate impacts and associated physical risks exacerbate. According to Swiss Re, 2020 was the fifth costliest year for insurance companies in 40 years, with $83 billion dollars in losses. Cyclone Amphan displaced 4.9 million people in India and costed $13 billion dollars in losses, while hurricanes in the United States and Central America displaced 200 thousand people and costed $40 billion dollars. For financial institutions, physical risk materializes through exposure to companies, buildings and countries which are impacted by climate change.  Insurance companies face losses and increase their sure primes, banks face loan defaults and assets in impacted zones tend to depreciate.

Transition risk has been increasing because more countries have committed to “net zero” targets and more consumers and investors demand companies to act responsibly. In his first day in office, Joe Bide signed executive orders to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change and revert Trump´s Administration initiatives that lowered standards on environment and climate change issues, while Janet Yellen promised to strengthen climate risk policies in the financial sector. Biden´s Administration will invest $2 trillion dollars to finance the transition towards low carbon growth and will sanction with trade tariffs polluting countries.

Climate risk is transforming capital markets. It is now riskier for banks and investment funds to finance oil and gas projects than clean energy ones, because the latter are more cost effective and better accepted by society. In 2021, global investment in clean energy will overtake investment in fossil fuels. Last week, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the largest asset management company in the world, sent its yearly letter to CEOs reaffirming its commitment with decarbonizing its assets.  Other financial industries, central banks and regulators around the world are following through.

Mexico´s prime trade and investment partner is committing to a low carbon future while the financial industry is embracing and unprecedented transformation. Oil and gas companies are reinventing its strategies and citizens demand greater responsibility from governments and corporations. Mexico is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts.

What will its strategy be to manage risk and capitalize the transition?

Article originally published in Reforma news paper.

The role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the new generation of comprehensive corporate reporting


Written by  Andrés Melendro, Sustainability Manager.


The private sector’s progressive adoption of the SDGs

Ever since Agenda 2030 was released in 2015, the UN Global Compact and more recently UNDP through its SDG Impact initiative have been eager to find ways to embed the SDGs in the DNA of the private sector’s sustainability disclosure. In fact, reaching such ambitious and transversal goals requires private commitment reflected by companies’ consistent actions to progress against the SDGs.

As a result, sustainability standard-setters, which aim at harmonizing the way companies disclose their impacts -positive or negative- on people, the planet and prosperity have naturally taken up the challenge of including the “SDG language” in their requirements.

Tearing down the Berlin wall between financial and sustainability reporting

In parallel, as sustainability gains recognition as a key set of variables directly impacting market risk and business valuation, financial standard-setters like the IFRS Foundation have also been trying to connect the dots by integrating sustainability into their reports.

These two major evolutions of corporate reporting are highly visible in the recent “Statement of Intent to Work Together Towards Comprehensive Corporate Reporting” written by the main sustainability standard-setters and framework creators (CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB). This declaration is a major landmark in the 30-year long history of sustainability reporting. As corporate (financial and sustainability) standard-setters reinvent their frameworks to make them compatible or even to unify them and put an end to the “alphabet soup of metrics”, referring to the multiplicity of standards and the complexity of navigating them all. ALLCOT strongly supports this initiative and argues that this is the right timing to fully articulate corporate reporting with the SDGs.

Comprehensive corporate reporting should erase the conceptual wall lying between sustainability and financial reporting, but also make sure transparent disclosure of present impacts is complemented by ambitious goal-setting.

The rationale for embedding the SDGs in comprehensive reporting

Sustainability disclosure standards are meant to gather precise, consistent and comparable company-reported information which shareholders and stakeholders, such as clients, potential employees or investors can use to make decisions about the company.

In the current trend towards ESG (environment, society and governance) standards and metrics consolidation, it can seem paradoxical to advocate for the inclusion of an additional framework, the SDGs. In fact, the SDGs are not completely equivalent to other sustainability or ESG frameworks. First, besides metrics SDGs are a call to action, to track progress toward common and absolute goals, beyond just making public information about current performance. Second, the SDGs enable companies to better account for their dependency on people and planet by focusing on external stakeholders. That dependency must also be linked to financial information.

From market-based to planet-based benchmarks

Sustainability ratings systems and rankings, such as the CDP, classify companies by comparing them to their peers. These benchmarks are useful, yet they lack an absolute view of what must be achieved to achieve sustainable development. In the SDG logic, ambition must be absolute rather than relative to current company and industry performance. Initiatives such as  Science-based targets and Future-fit business are aligned with the view that systemic conditions should define the thresholds within which society and business must operate to maintain a planetary balance.

ALLCOT’s SDG services aim at shifting business practice from just quoting a general qualitative alignment with SDGs or using the SDGs to report current activities differently, by translating sustainability information to the “SDG language”, towards using them to set ambitious goals. This way sustainability can be embedded into decision making, as advocated by the SDG Impact Standards and certified by their SDG Impact Seal. The time has come for the new generation of comprehensive corporate reporting that recognizes that no enterprise can create value in the 21st century if it ignores the wellbeing of the social and natural systems upon which it relies.

The key player in the race for decarbonization


Witten by Asier Aramburu, Climate Change RENEN Manager.


In order to effectively advance in reducing the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), the way in which energy is produced and consumed in the world must undergo radical changes. Currently, three quarters of GHG emissions correspond to the energy sector, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels. Although various competitive technologies based on renewable energies have been developed, there are sectors in which their capacity to mitigate GHG is very limited. This fact makes it necessary to develop complementary solutions to decarbonise sectors and applications in which electricity is not cost-efficient, accessible or feasible.

One of the most promising alternatives is based on the large-scale production and use of hydrogen, a gas known and used since the beginning of the industrial era. However, the massive use of this molecule has not been viable until now, thanks to the green hydrogen, the one that is produced through the electrolysis of water. This process is based on the separation of the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen through the application of electricity from renewable sources. For this reason, production costs are highly dependent on the price of energy. Thus, the massification of renewable energies has allowed the commercial exploitation of this technology to become viable.

On the other hand, it has multiple applications, from domestic natural gas networks to fuel replacement for buses, trucks or ships. Its main advantage: when it burns, it only leaves water steam as a residue. The mechanism is simple: hydrogen reacts with air, generating energy and releasing water.

Attracted by its multiple benefits, an increasing number of countries are betting on its development. Germany is one of the main leaders as it has already committed to invest US $ 10.6 billion to create a local production of green hydrogen. Spain has also joined this race through a National Strategy that seeks to build 4 GW of green hydrogen capacity by 2030.

These efforts will be also supported by the European Post-COVID-19 Recovery Fund that focuses on clean investments, including green hydrogen. This plan is transferred to Spain by using more than 1,500 million euros until 2023 to boost renewable hydrogen.

In Latin America, Chile is leading this development and has just published its National Green Hydrogen Strategy which aims to achieve 5 GW capacity by 2025 (built or developing) and 200 kton/year of production and an installed capacity of 25 GW by 2030.

ALLCOT also wants to lead this sector, so it is actively supporting companies that are developing pilot projects for the production and use of green hydrogen. Due to their innovative nature, these projects require alternative income sources to be able to reach the financial sector. ALLCOT can go hand in hand with these companies so that they can generate carbon credits from GHG emission reductions. Thus, it can be an essential support to enable green hydrogen projects that can then be scalable and replicable.

Thanks to these first projects, progress will be made to get economies of scale that allow reducing costs, encouraging the creation of innovative industrial value chains, promoting technological knowledge and generating sustainable jobs, contributing with all of these to the reactivation of a green high added value economy.

Hydrogen can be a key player in the complete decarbonization of the economy. Its application in sectors where electrification is not cost efficient makes it an extremely competitive technology that has already been included in many NDCs[1]. ALLCOT, as a veteran company in developing climate change mitigation projects, is committed to develop this technology so that its full potential is reached, and progress is made in the fight against climate change and in the achievement of the Development Goals Sustainable (ODS).


[1]Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are a series of measures and actions which countries that are party to the Paris Agreement plan to take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

Measuring Impact on Sustainable Development Goal Projects: From Good Intentions to Impact


Written by Wilson Rangel Sustainability Consultant.


According to the report, ‘Approaching the Future 2020’, the commitment of companies to the 2030 Agenda has increased progressively over the last 5 years, being today the third most relevant trend for the executives consulted.

Among other data, about 41% of the companies are already working on the Sustainable Development Goals, and 60% claim to have defined the SDG on which they will focus their contribution to 2030 Agenda.  These data reflect the growing interest in the corporate world to generate investment to achieve an impact on the SDG.

Despite this, institutional transformation has been slow to align business resources into effective actions to meet these ambitious global goals by 2030. In fact, a recent UN report points to an urgent need to modernize the global financial system in order to meet the SDG.

Indeed, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2019 discussed the need to increase financing to meet the ODS. Neverlethless, the key point is to make the best use of these resources, and the efficiency of these resources per se can help attract more resources.

For this reason, several international organizations have promoted Impact Evaluation as an effective way to provide scientific evidence of the impact of social investments on SDG. In Latin America in particular, the IDB Group uses Impact Evaluation to close knowledge gaps and build more effective investment models, with a view to increasing the efficiency and scale of investments that work best.

Corporate results frameworks, Impact Evaluations, and other tools help assure governments, aid funds, donors, and investors that the money has a tangible impact. In this way, social investment resources can be focused on the projects that have the greatest impact on SDG.

The ambitious goals of the Sustainable Development Goals have become a major challenge to meet. For this reason, the participation of the various stakeholders in society is fundamental: Governments, NGOs, companies, civil society. ALLCOT as an organization focused on climate change and sustainability services has managed to properly identify the structural conditions of the current market and understand that the key point is to increase resource efficiency.

ALLCOT has a portfolio of services focused exclusively on organizations that are interested in working on Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, these services are focused on efficiently managing the resources of the organizations and generating the greatest possible impact.

For organizations that are in an early and intermediate stage, ALLCOT provides advice for SDG Mapping, understanding what the impact of the organization’s business model with ODS is. It also helps organizations SDG Quantify in their business model.  Finally, it supports organizations in managing the impact on SDG through an Improvement Roadmap.

On the other hand, for organizations that are at a mature stage and make social investments in particular programs, ALLCOT provides advice on measuring impact on SDG, and thus helping organizations to efficiently invest their resources in the right programs.

Achieving the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 Agenda is a major challenge for society at large, but the best way to meet the challenge is to use all resources in the most efficient way. This ensures that the resource is generating the greatest possible impact.

The way to Glasgow


Written by Enrique Lendo, Business Development Mexico Advisor.

 


Twenty-twenty marked the beginning in the way to Glasgow, city in the United Kingdom that will host the United Nations Climate Conference in 2021, also known as the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26). The Conference was originally scheduled for late 2020 but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was postponed until November 2021. The main goal of COP26 is to reach a universal commitment towards “Net Zero” emissions by midcentury.

The way to Glasgow began early in January with an unprecedented leadership from the private sector, which advanced hurriedly towards decarbonization. The World Economic Forum ranked climate change and environmental risk at top of its tables, while BlackRock announced it will stop funding fossil fuel investments. In August, British Petroleum presented its carbon neutrality strategy and ExxonMobil was expelled from the Dow Jones due to its loss of value. City Group announced a $250 billion-dollar green fund and Morgan Stanley disclosed for the first time the carbon footprint of its products. By December, 1,500 companies, with a combined value of $11 trillion dollars, and 30% of the oil industry had committed to Net Zero targets.

Subnational governments and citizens also hasted the pace to join the way to Glasgow. In July, Tamaulipas became the first subnational government in Mexico to put a price on carbon as California committed to banning gasoline vehicles by 2035. In November, the citizens of the United States elected a president who has set the fight against climate change as national priority. By the end of the year, 950 cities and provinces around the world had committed to carbon neutrality, and 74 % of US voters perceived climate change as an important issue to determine their decisions.

National governments arrived late to this race, but they will very likely set the stage in 2021. In September, China surprised the world with its Net Zero target before 2060, followed by Japan and South Korea with similar targets by 2050. In December, the UK and France convened a summit to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement. By then, 110 countries had announced their intentions to set Net Zero targets by 2050. The US, Mexico and Brazil were not allowed to talk at the summit due to lack of commitment. However, that same day, Joe Biden announced the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement the first day of his administration and he will host his own climate summit in the first 100 days.

With the upcoming commitment form the US, 65% of global emissions will be carbon neutral by midcentury. Russia, India, Indonesia, Brazil and other large emitters will have to be dealt with in order to reach the goal set for Glasgow. Their commitment will depend on convincing them that environmental degradation does not constitute a political agenda but a demonstrated fact with increasing human and physical impacts. In 2021, there will be more floods like the one in Tabasco and more wildfires like the ones in California, and another $ 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of climate related impacts worldwide pushing the risk further up in capital markets.

The good news is that these markets are already responding by punishing dirty investments. In 2021, for the first time in history, investments in clean energy will overtake these of fossil fuels and by 2024 there will be more renewable energy installed capacity. Post-COVID economic recovery provides us with the opportunity to build back better, meet the Paris Agreement targets, propel investment, and create millions of new jobs.

In 2021, the way to Glasgow will continue. Committed countries will increase the pressure on polluting countries through diplomacy and trade sanctions. Capital markets will further decarbonize their portfolios. Citizen will demand politicians to enhance their commitment and subnational governments will reinforce their leadership.

what will you do in the way to Glasgow?

Article originally published in Reforma news paper

Between meadows and tides


Written by Felipe Jiménez Pastrana, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant.


The carbon emissions into the atmosphere is a major driver of climate change, and blue carbon ecosystems contain high carbon stocks. This is because, unlike terrestrial ecosystems, carbon stored in the coastal soil in ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and marshes can remain trapped for long periods of time. For example, a given area of mangrove forest or seagrass can store up to 10 times more carbon than the same area of land-based forest.

Seagrasses are among the most threatened and ignored ecosystems on the planet due to pressures from coastal degradation, acidification of seas and oceans, and variations in temperature caused by climate change. These underwater flowering plants form dense meadows in shallow areas along the coasts. Their long, narrow, green leaves are temporary and permanent habitat for a variety of fish, turtles, starfish, shrimp, cucumbers, anemones, epiphytic seaweed, crabs, sea urchins, and snails, and form the basis of food webs in other estuarine and coastal environments such as manatees, turtles, and seabirds.

The environmental services that these ecosystems provide are of enormous relevance: they reduce the impact of waves by stopping strong currents; they increase sedimentation, produce oxygen and cleans seas and oceans by absorbing polluting nutrients that travel from land to sea (improve water quality); their roots and rhizomes stabilize the seafloor substrate, and also prevent coastal erosion and provide food sources for local communities.

Taking its importance given the environmental services that they provide and as a sensitive ecosystem, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) proposed a conservation-preservation structure through programs based on its enormous capacity to absorb carbon, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and ocean acidification. UNEP also stresses that the most important function of seagrasses is to capture 10 percent of the carbon stored in the oceans, because even though they occupy only 0.2 percent of the world’s seabed, they retain carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical forests.

Seagrasses are a source of opportunities to mitigate climate change, adapt to future changes, increase resilience, and provide multiple additional social benefits. We must act now to protect seagrasses by prioritizing timely, ambitious, and coordinated action in the areas of conservation, sustainable management, and restoration. ALLCOT, as a leading organization in projects aimed at climate change mitigation and environmental protection, would succeed in aligning its blue carbon actions and initiatives with programs that focus on the conservation and protection of seagrasses and the sustainable development of local populations.

These ecosystems represent, as mentioned, a potential to support vulnerable communities living in coastal areas. Therefore, protecting these ecosystems would lead to the conservation of the diverse ecosystem services they provide and to a strengthening of sustainable development in local communities. Furthermore, it would support the development of key species and populations for the maintenance of marine food chains.

ALLCOT has the potential, the motivation, and the tools for the development of these innovative projects. It means a global challenge that ALLCOT would be able to assume and lead.

The development and acceptance of governments to carry out projects with emphasis on the conservation of sea grass ecosystems, would mean the support at national level of the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and provide accompaniment and support in the adaptation process of local communities. This would also be linked to the continuous improvement of the indicators defined by the 2030Agenda Sustainable Development goals and objectives.

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES (SDGS) AND THE WINE SECTOR


Written by Karen Vega, Business Development Specialist.

 


Times are hard all over the world because of the social, health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic. In these times of great uncertainty and in this critical economic situation, the wine sector, along with other agricultural sectors, will have to intensify their environmental efforts in line with the European Green Pact and the ‘From Farm to Fork’ and Biodiversity strategies.

The European Green Pact establishes an action plan for:

  • Encourage efficient use of resources by promoting practices towards a clean and circular economy.
  • Restore biodiversity and reduce pollution.

Many winegrowers and their cooperatives have been strengthening their sustainability policies in recent years, placing great emphasis on the mitigation of their emissions. Viticulture is an essential part of rural ecosystems and offers a range of benefits that go far beyond wine production. However, in order to achieve the objectives of the European Green Pact, viticulture must have the opportunity to invest in the protection of its natural resources and have adequate guidance and support from government institutions.

Among the main advantages and benefits of the implementation of sustainable practices are: increased energy efficiency, access to specific financing programs for sustainable products, improved commercial image, mitigation of economic risks due to future legislation, transparency and increased confidence of their stakeholders and cost optimization throughout the value chain.

Main SDGs involved in the wine sector:

Companies can have a great positive impact on society by promoting responsible consumption and a healthier lifestyle. On the other hand, they must also improve working conditions throughout the labor chain, ensuring the physical and emotional integrity and safety of their workers.
Promote and invest in content of interest related to the wine sector and sustainable lifestyles to ensure access to employees with skills that meet future business needs.
Also the realization of internal training plans that help to improve the awareness and efficiency of employees.
On the one hand, implement training and support programs and, on the other hand, invest in the integration of technology into agricultural systems as a key facilitator to create opportunities for women to participate in viticulture and at the same time fulfill family responsibilities.
Apply precise agricultural technologies that enhance productivity and minimize water use. This includes drip irrigation systems, water quality control, efficient crop rotation and field application methods, waste control, efficient use of water both for grape washing and at the infrastructure level, etc. This also enhances the resilience of the sector to imminent climatic variations such as drought.
Sustainable initiatives in the wine sector include the adoption of measures that ensure decent, fair and inclusive work: fair labour contracts, flexible working hours, breaks, eradication of child labour. On the other hand, especially in these difficult times, we must promote the creation of synergies with other sectors such as tourism and hotels.

From the point of view of infrastructure, seek investment to support the development of agriculture and markets that include water, connectivity/technology, roads, storage logistics, etc. In this way, the social and technological occupation and development of agricultural areas is promoted.

Wine, being an agricultural product with high added value, is an economic activity that contributes significantly to the establishment of population in rural areas. Its good practices can safeguard the natural heritage of the surrounding areas, promote urbanization and transport plans, improve air quality in the surrounding communities, etc.

Organic farming is the most responsible way to produce food. It is necessary to put in value the commitment to ecological viticulture and sustainable production: to promote recycling, the reuse of organic material either in the manufacture of compost or in the generation of energy from biomass, etc.

Reducing the environmental footprint by implementing new practices and technologies such as the use of renewable energy, reduction of logistic flow, optimization of water use, reduction of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, among others. On the other hand, the cultivation hectares are also used for projects to fight climate change such as CO2 sequestration.

 

The absence of systemic pesticides and herbicides allows and favors a rich variety of both plant cover and insects and birds in the organic vineyard.

 

 

Plastic Waste Reduction Standard


Written by Alfredo Gil, Climate Change Waste Manager.


Our daily life is surrounded by plastic. Due to its high versatility, low price and properties (flexibility, durability and
lightness) it is present in packaging, clothing, construction materials, all kinds of objects and even as an ingredient in cosmetics. However, plastic is also often associated with the "use and throw away culture" since much of this material is used to manufacture a wide variety of containers that have a very short useful life. The simple gesture of throwing a plastic bottle on a beach takes about 500 years until it completely decomposes on the seabed. 8 million tons of plastic waste reaches the seas and oceans annually. This amount is equivalent to the weight of 800 Eiffel Tower, it could cover 34 times the island of Manhattan or equal the weight of 14,285 Airbus A380 aircrafts.

Currently, the most effective solution, when it is not possible to avoid its use or generation at source, consists of the recovery and recycling of these plastic waste. In order to encourage and evaluate the impact of this type of initiative, VERRA, with the support of the 3R Initiative, will launch the new “Plastic Waste Reduction Standard” in early 2021. This program aims to maintain consistent accounting and accreditation of a wide variety of plastic recovery and recycling activities anywhere in the world and to promote funding for projects that increase the recovery of plastic waste from the environment and / or its recycling. The Program will allow projects to be independently audited to determine to what extent they have reduced plastic waste and / or increased recycling rates. The so-called “plastic credits” will be equivalent to one ton of recovered or recycled plastic and will be issued based on the amount of plastic that is collected and recycled above the reference rates (usual or imposed by regulations) in each region.

These methodologies provide procedures for estimating net plastic waste recycled through mechanical recycling activities. Eligible initiatives will be the installation of new recycling facilities, capacity increases or technological improvement in existing recycling facilities, recycling of types of materials (including packaging) that have not been previously recycled in an existing facility, as well as incentivizing or facilitating the increase in the collection of plastic waste. The new program also establishes procedures to estimate the net plastic waste removed or diverted from its destination or usual final disposal through formal and informal recovery activities, with the aim of preventing this plastic from remaining or ending its life cycle in the environment.

Although this program is still in development and in public consultation phase, the technical department dedicated to the waste management sector at ALLCOT is already working on the use of these new methodologies to evaluate, develop and certify the first recycling and recovery of plastic waste projects in the VERRA registry. ALLCOT offers technical support throughout the initial evaluation process of eligibility under the new program of the different initiatives, the development of the project design documentation and the necessary calculations to determine the volume of “plastic credits” that will be generated. Once the project is registered in the program, ALLCOT will participate in the development of the Monitoring Reports and the periodic verification process.

Through participation and development in these new plastic waste recycling and recovery projects, ALLCOT continues to align its activity as always with the objectives established by the 2030 Agenda. These projects, framed in the “Plastic Waste Reduction Standard” will contribute decisively to the following Sustainable Development Goals: 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 11. Sustainable cities and communities, 12. Responsible consumption and production, 14. Life bellow water and 15. Life on land.

 

The importance of the food sector in sustainability


Written by Karen Vega, Business Development Specialist.

 


1. SDG ADVANTAGES IN THE FOOD SECTOR.

Sustainability should not be confused with terms such as ecological, biological or organic product. Sustainability is a step beyond and covers multiple aspects that are part of the company’s context such as reputational image, concerns of its stakeholders, use of natural resources, protection and conservation of biodiversity, among others.
In 2015, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which require joint action by governments, private sector companies, civil society and all citizens in order to achieve them. The SDG are an ambitious plan of action for people, the planet and prosperity, and companies play an important role in achieving them.

In the face of the current growing relevance of SDG, companies in the food sector are beginning to align their strategies with the 17 SDG, integrating many of these issues into their business model, supply chain and stakeholder relationships; investing in sustainable sourcing, processes, materials, machinery and products throughout the value chain.

We are in a challenging time for corporate resilience and although it presents many challenges it also opens a range of opportunities for those companies that have the vision and commitment to lead the changes that are coming.

The SDGs can be used to guide, direct, communicate and report on their strategies, objectives and activities, allowing companies to capitalize on a variety of benefits and create added value to their business. Some of these opportunities and benefits are:

  1. Obtain a broader vision of the sector, its environment and its needs, allowing the identification
    and even creation of future market niches.
  2. The SDG aims to realign global public and private investment flows by reorienting them to meet sustainability objectives. Allowing small businesses and entrepreneurs, committed to sustainable and inclusive business models, to connect with capital to grow their business;
  3. Decrease business and reputational risks by reducing their climate impact and adopting fair and inclusive labor practices.
  4. Building resilience to the costs and/or requirements imposed by future legislation.
  5. Strengthen relationships with stakeholders and remain at the forefront of new policies.
  6. The SDG brings together priorities and purposes in all its dimensions (social, economic, environmental) allowing the use of a common language that can help create synergies with governments, NGOs and other businesses.

2. HOW TO START THE PROCESS TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE COMPANY.

The process of becoming a sustainable company includes knowing its impact on natural resources, generation of waste and spills, generation of direct and indirect emissions, as well as the interrelations with its stakeholders. ALLCOT helps companies to determine this starting point through its services of environmental footprint calculation and mapping of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Once this baseline has been identified, it is necessary to know then how to take actions that will make our company improve its focus on sustainability and be aligned with global agreements on the issue, the demands of our stakeholders and the requirements of Agenda 2030. All companies, regardless of their size or sector, have a responsibility to comply with all relevant legislation, respect internationally recognized minimum standards and uphold universal human rights.

ALLCOT helps companies to meet their obligations and guide them to take initiatives beyond these minimum responsibilities to advance social and environmental goals.

From ALLCOT, we quantify, evaluate and help design your strategy for mitigation and sustainability through: