Written by Andrés Melendro, Sustainability Manager
Last Wednesday, June 16th, the Center for Sustainable Development for Latin America (CODS) launched its SDG Index: a measure of the progress of Latin American and Caribbean countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report highlights that, overall, the region is not meeting the goals set forth in the 2030 Agenda, and that the health and economic crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic also represents a considerable setback in most of the SDGs. If the current trend continues, the goals set in 2015 would not materialize even on a 50-year horizon.
SDG 13, Climate Action, stands out as an exception because widespread quarantines and restrictions on production have led to a considerable drop in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the rebound effect is foreseeable since the reduction is circumstantial. In particular, it is possible that the interest of investing in sustainable projects and green technologies gets delayed by the haste to reactivate or protect sectors of greater importance for the immediate future of a company. In this sense, ALLCOT’s work to develop projects that generate financial incentives to reduce emissions is more relevant than ever.
The methodology advanced by the CODS is based on the one that the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been using for several years worldwide to establish international comparisons. The CODS adjusts it to the statistical reality of the countries of the region, given the unavailability of many indicators. In this way, the comparison becomes more valid. In some cases, for some States, there is no available methodology for SDG measurement. Another issue is the lack of data: the index requires figures ex-ante and ex-post 2015 to measure progress since the creation of the 2030 Agenda.
The report also includes a visualization tool called the dashboard. This allows to highlight, through a traffic light code, how close an SDG is to being fulfilled, in order to serve as a prioritization tool in each country.
The publication of the SDG Index, as well as the creation of the municipal SDG indexes in Colombia cities by the Corona Foundation through its network tracking cities’ wellbeing, illustrate the trend towards the appropriation of the SDGs by non-governmental entities and their measurement at sub-national scales. The private sector, and in particular organizations setting standards for corporate sustainability reports, have also included the SDGs in their performance metrics. Precisely, ALLCOT is currently developing statistical tools to quantify the impact of the socioeconomic co-benefits of its climate change mitigation projects, through the 230 indicators associated with the 17 SDGs.
This exercise presents several challenges, given that the project areas tend to be smaller than local political-administrative divisions in the country where the project is developed and usually do not coincide with their geographical limits. ALLCOT, like the CODS, adapts the SDG indicators to the real data availability and to variables that make more sense depending on the specific context. In addition, to mitigate the absence of local data in many rural areas of developing countries, ALLCOT has created mechanisms for collecting primary data to establish a meaningful SDG baseline. In this way, ALLCOT takes a leadership role in measuring corporate impact on sustainable development.
Written by Ronal Cubeo, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant
Out of the issues that trouble us as humanity, the most visible one nowadays is the COVID 19 pandemic. Certainly, the expansion, magnitude, and impact that it has had on countries at different stages of industrial and technological development have created great challenges, perhaps one of the most important being communication.
I was asked to write a short piece on “The importance of communication in the time of COVID” and relate it to the concept of MALOCA. In this sense, it is necessary to specify the concept and meaning of MALOCA in the indigenous populations of the Colombian Amazon. The MALOCA has at least three functions: first, as a physical space where families live; second, as a vital space for culture and worldview of the indigenous community, it represents par excellence the space for transmission of knowledge through orality —from the origins of each living being, the relationship between man and the creatures around him, as well as the relationship with creative entities who live in other spaces healing rituals and traditional dances are performed in this space—; third, as a political space, it is also a space for discussion on issues that affect the community organization and lifestyle.
Regarding communication, it is worth mentioning that the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, although they present particularities in their worldview, also present common elements. One of them is that in order to communicate among themselves and with others, the first thing that must be done is to “order one’ s thoughts” in order to be able to transmit words that have real content, life content.
How can indigenous communities contribute to communication in the face of the current pandemic crisis? The first thing we should mention is that, in the worldview of indigenous peoples, the land and the living beings and other elements that constitute it are intimately related. In the beginning, when the Creator Being assigned each element a function, it was up to man to “administer” those elements in a harmonious manner in order to maintain the order that was given to him. Diseases are a consequence of the human transgression to those principles: when men look at nature as resources and resources as commodities that can be exploited, this rationality disturbs the indigenous world’s principles of life, and therefore changes are produced, along with its consequences.
In this sense, what indigenous peoples can contribute in terms of communication is linked to life itself, and refers to the principles of life, to retake the channels of communication with nature and other elements that compose it, in a holistic manner and under the principle of responsibility on behalf of the preservation of humanity. This is based on the principle that the earth and its entire composition was given to us by the Creator Being to be “managed” in a responsible manner, without altering its natural cycles.
ALLCOT, which aims to contribute through environmentally responsible projects to the reduction of GHGs, is expected to explore channels of communication with local communities, aware of the challenges involved in carrying out projects with diverse local actors, in a country whose territorial realities make up what Uribe de Hincapié (1999) calls “mixed sovereignty”, that is, the practice of local governance as a confluence of different actors.
Approaching indigenous peoples will allow us to explore other forms of organizations specific to each people, other ways of understanding the world, of understanding nature and, above all, other ways of communicating and relating to the land, to life itself. Understanding the principles of the life of each society is the unavoidable step to assume the challenge of assertive communication.
The invitation is to learn these “other” forms of understanding life, to seek this knowledge in the “other” that will enable spaces for discussion and decision-making regarding the environmental aspects. For indigenous communities, “what is not in the indigenous knowledge is in the other knowledge” (Palma, 2019), the other knowledge is outside the indigenous world, but it is not beyond their understanding, the discoveries should be complementary, not excluded. Exploring and comprehending these “other” ways of understanding life can contribute a great deal to the environmental agenda, national and global.
“Quantification of SDGs to implement Article 6 of the Paris Agreement”
From December 2th to 13th, the UN’s Climate Change Conference will take place at IFEMA, Madrid’s convention center. This event will include the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also known as COP25, the 15th meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol, and the second meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement.
ALLCOT will be attending this high-level conference, which is an opportunity to give enhanced visibility to the work that is being carried out about climate change.
Sergi Cuadrat, our Group Chief Technical Officer, will be presenting a side event called “Quantification of SDGs to implement Article 6 of the Paris Agreement”.
ALLCOT is developing an open-source SDG Quantification Methodology which aims to measure the co-benefits of emission reduction projects on the SDGs. This requires measuring SDG baselines at the local scale and tracking progress. This operational tool will be applied to development activities to ensure a fair carbon price.
- El Hadji Mbaye Diagne, Vice-Chair of the CDM Executive Board.
- Margaret Kim, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Standard.
- David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer of Verra.
Venue: BusinessHub Side Event room. (IFEMA – Madrid)
Day: December 10th.
Hour: 14:00 to 15:30.
It will be a pleasure for us to participate in this great event and share it with all the attendants. See you there!
Written by Alexis Leroy, CEO ALLCOT
Last month, the climate change community met in New York City for Climate Week. Numerous organizations hosted events around the city on the sidelines of official United Nations events, making Climate Week one of the largest climate gatherings of the year.
I attended, among other events, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) “Carbon Forum North America”, held at the iconic Explorers Club headquarters in midtown.
The Explorers Club is an historic establishment that dates back to the early 20th century, when explorers such as Edmund Hillary, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh would regale members with tales of extreme conditions, new species of animals – some are still displayed in the club – and their efforts to push back the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.
I like to think it was no accident that IETA chose The Explorers Club to host their annual event. Climate change is unknown territory: we are charting a new path into the realm of changing weather patterns and mankind’s ability both to prevent and to adapt to a changing environment.
And it also occurred to me that what groups involved in climate change are doing is very much akin to exploration. Not only does our changing climate represent the new territory, but the efforts that nations are making to prevent catastrophic climate change are also an entirely new way to tackle environmental problems.
To apply market mechanisms to solve an environmental problem may seem contradictory, but it speaks to one of the most powerful forces that drives mankind: its ambition, its pursuit of security and knowledge and its desire to survive. All of these are represented in market systems, and they were also forces that drove the great explorers.
Recently, a study was published that showed how close cooperation among nations in linking their carbon pricing systems could bring down the cost of reducing emissions by as much as $250 billion a year by 2030. Efficiencies of scale, as well as closely aligned regulations, are critical to achieving these cost reductions.
This is ground-breaking research that highlights how the power of markets can be used to achieve a global good. And the idea of markets for environmental outcomes is not even new: The United States pioneered the use of markets for environmental goals when it developed the first emissions trading systems for Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in the 1970s.
This study explores the farther reaches of what may be possible if nations can agree on a clear and transparent set of standards and regulations for countries to use when setting up their carbon markets. The UN negotiations in Santiago this December will be critical to bringing to reality the exploratory work of work such as this study.
This research demonstrates how important it is that nations, as well as interest groups in the environmental space, consider the role of business. There are plenty of NGOs advocating for practical solutions to the problem of climate change, but not many of them address the concerns of the business community.
It’s not heresy to say this: whatever we may think of the global economy and its presence in our lives, business is among the most important constituencies that make up society. And as such, it has a role to play in addressing our problems.
Within the climate sphere alone, green NGOs advocate for solutions that consider science, human rights, climate justice, gender, youth, and workers. Why would it be seen as wrong that an NGO should help craft effective, efficient market mechanism regulations so that business can fully play its role?
Some may say that governments simply need to regulate carbon emissions out of existence, by imposing a tax on carbon dioxide. There are many parts of the world where that happens. Real explorers, however, are looking for ways that guarantee the environmental outcome, rather than government tax receipts.
Capitalism is often seen as incompatible with climate action; just look at the protests that are growing by the day around the world. The role of pioneers and explorers like IETA is to make the two work together, speeding up climate action by ensuring that there’s a real incentive to take action.