Written by Felipe Jiménez, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant
Humankind is destroying natural environments at accelerating rates. Deforestation, extensive agriculture, climate change, habitat invasion, biodiversity loss, and wildlife traffic, not only destroy vital ecosystem goods and services for humans but also open the way to zoonotic diseases and contamination of urban centers exposing people to deadly pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the current Covid-19 pandemic. It was a matter of time for this time bomb to explode and cause such a dramatic impact in the world, as a result of environmental overexploitation and biodiversity’s mismanagement.
Governments, with the help of local and international organizations, have a great opportunity and responsibility to set their countries and the world on a more sustainable path. Currently, policies and subsidies have been structured towards the protection and conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. Governments have understood the importance of reforming subsidies that are harmful to nature and introducing the payment of taxes for those activities involved in environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. The encouragement and promotion of effective nature-based projects and the strengthening of environmental monitoring and regulation procedures are being backed up by the governments and private sector initiative of creating more nature-based jobs. This in turn boosts up the economy and supports recovery processes within the ecosystems, promoting biodiversity’s conservation and restoration.
In addition to these actions, governments all around the world have banned wildlife traffic and taken precautionary measures to ensure food security and healthy consumption. In the same way, society leaders have conducted educational campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of establishing more sustainable alternative activities and confronting the problem through green investment and reinforcement of a more environmentally friendly economy and market.
Given the current situation, ALLCOT has a clear vision of its role in enhancing practices for the promotion of a resilient and well-functioning ecosystem. As a leader in the formulation of sustainable and climate change mitigation projects, ALLCOT supports the conservation of ecosystems and thus, the protection of biodiversity. Through the projects focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, ALLCOT tackles deforestation and forest fragmentation restoring biological corridors and protecting flora and fauna species, especially those key species considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered due to their role as environmental indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Together with the mitigation and climate action scheme, ALLCOT develops a variety of sustainable initiatives around renewable energy, energy and resource management, and waste management. Through these series of projects, the organization conducts a qualitative evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that could be positively impacted by the project’s activities and is currently working on a methodology that will allow monitoring this impact.
Among the activities that support the implementation of these programs, the projects include educational campaigns towards wildlife traffic, the correct resource, and environmental management, finance administration, governance, social leadership, etc. Additionally, supporting the previous idea of the encouragement and promotion of nature-based projects, ALLCOT develops well-structured plans that involve local community participation which gives them the opportunity to establish and learn about sustainable alternative activities and businesses.
We must realize that when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Resources overexploitation, plastic pollution, overfishing, and the contamination of water sources are some additional critical issues that humankind must confront through the alignment of sustainable initiatives and actions. The formulation of such nature-based projects must receive clear support from the government and the private sector. These investments and subsidies will create a more resilient economy and will also tackle social problems such as poverty and hunger. Allcot’s contribution to the conformation and realization of these projects highlights the strong commitment that the organization has with the Paris Agreement objectives and the 2030 Agenda goals.
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 Enrique Lendo, Business Development Mexico Advisor.
The World Environment Day sets a landmark for the international community. On June 5 of 1972, the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment triggered a process that has produced over 500 international environmental cooperation instruments to date. Mexico has subscribed about a 100 of these agreements, strengthening our environmental management capacity and positioning our country as a player committed with global challenges.
Currently, most of the countries around the world have enacted environmental laws and established institutions for their implementation. However, they have not been capable to halt global environmental degradation. Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. We have also lost 80% of wildlife species biomass and half of the natural ecosystem’s original areas due to massive deforestation, urbanization and pollution. Over one million species around the world are in danger of extinction.
But in the last years, the methodologies to monetize climate change impacts and the contribution of natural capital to the economy have also been improved. For instance, we know that services provided by biodiversity to productive systems are worth at least 1.5 times the value of global GDP. We also know that natural disasters cost over $100 billion dollars a year in damages and that the cost of climate change inaction could reach over 15% of global GDP by 2050.
Therefore, capital markets around the world are currently tuning their risk models to account for environmental and climate change impact of investment projects. On one the hand, physical infrastructure is more vulnerable to hydrometeorological impacts, on the other, the new generations of consumers and investors demand responsibly produced goods and services. Mexico´s Central Bank (Banco de México) and the UN have recently released the “Climate and Environmental Risks and Opportunities in Mexico’s Financial System”, setting this sector in a path that will reward sustainability and punish pollution through risk assessment.
The post-covid19 crisis provides a point of inflection in which governments and companies are able to choose between updating their strategies towards sustainability patterns or perpetuate inefficient and shortsighted growth models. In the last weeks, countries, regional blocks, and subnational governments around the world have announced green recovery strategies. The European Union just released its € 750 billion economic recovery package to finance low carbon infrastructure. In the US, Democrats are positioning a “Green Deal” in the face of the upcoming national elections, while South Korea and Indonesia already implement green recovery plans.
In contrast, sustainability has been absent in the language of decision-makers in the Latin American region despite its potential to scaleup investment, create jobs, and foster welfare in the long term. A recent UN report concluded that the transition towards renewable energy and transport electrification in the region could create 35 million jobs by 2050. In Mexico, millions of people living in rural areas could benefit from investment packages to foster sustainable practices in the agriculture and forest sectors. But in order to harness these opportunities, governments need to start designing their economic recovery strategies with a comprehensive and long term perspective. Never in history had we been presented with such an attractive and feasible chance to redefine our development model.
** Article originally published in Reforma news paper:
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.
Written by Ginna Castillo, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant
Historically speaking, cities emerged as places of encounter and agglomeration. Nowadays, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 55% of the world’s population lives in those places, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective strategy to avoid exposure to the virus has been social distancing which means that 55% of the population must rethink their way of living in order to avoid Coronavirus. In terms of transportation, new questions are arising on how to move through the city while remaining healthy or even if it is necessary to move on a daily basis at all.
So far, even under strict lockdown people working in essential occupations had to commute every day. Now, as some sectors of the economy are gradually re-opening in some countries, the possibility of social contact is getting higher, thus citizens are drastically migrating to individual yet affordable means of transportation. Governments are also being part of this shift by encouraging the use of non-powered vehicles or walking. There are around 250 local actions around the world to support walking and cycling during social distancing (Dataset from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center).
There is no doubt cycling is rising as the most resilient mean of transportation during the pandemic since it allows longer distances than walking on a small or cero daily budget. According to the World Economic Forum, most of the local initiatives have to do with free rides on shared bicycle services and offering more kilometers of bike lanes by adapting space from local roads or even highways in cities like Bogota, Milan, Barcelona or Brussels, to name a few. Meanwhile, community collaboration efforts are also taking part in transforming urban mobility through projects such as Lend-A-Bike in Manila.
These governmental or community initiatives have the potential of keeping ongoing after the COVID 19 pandemic is over, even if most of them are only taking place as temporal measures during the confinement. The first step in this direction is being taken by the government of the Ile-de-France region who is now considering cycling as the main mean of transport after deconfinement (LeParisien). But that is just the tip of the iceberg, discussions about mobility are happening everywhere and new questions are arising on unnecessary car trips, home office and proximity to jobs and services, among others.
It is well known that climate change is one of the most urgent environmental challenges of our time, so if all cities were to pay attention to these new questions and initiatives instead of following the business as usual scenario before the pandemic, wonderful things would happen simply because we are now capable of changing habits on a global scale. For starters, and just by cycling, greenhouse gas emissions would drastically drop. According to the ranking of urban transport modes made by travelandmobility.tech, moving by a gasoline car generates around 96% more emissions than moving by bicycle (gram per passenger kilometers). That is during the whole life cycle of each vehicle: manufacture, operation, maintenance, and disposal.
Still, this seems to be the first step of a very long path. From this point forward, cities will have the challenge of redistributing public space and perhaps redefine street hierarchy by putting people before cars. Land use will have to be even more diverse in order to guarantee proximity between homes, services, and jobs so that the distances for commuting are either walkable or suitable for cycling. Last but not least, public transport will get more relevant on long distances and intermodality would have to become a reality. All these changes will ultimately lead to a more sustainable way of life and a more sustainable future.
The COVID-19 in a matter of weeks transformed our entire world. Daily routines and everything we took for granted, like being able to go outside or hug a friend, are becoming distant scenarios. However, this moment of confinement provides alternative spaces of reflection and encounter, with others and with ourselves.
The crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 has led us to rethink the entire economy and the existing work dynamics. Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges is to maintain productivity and effectiveness at work, despite social distancing. For ALLCOT, the safety and welfare of our workers is a priority, so we follow the instructions given by the authorities and support from day one in the form of telecommuting. This way, our employees can continue to carry out their work from the comfort of their homes, thus balancing their personal and professional lives.
ALLCOT creates spaces to share with its employees
Since the beginning of this situation, we wanted to keep close to our workers and technology has become our best ally to achieve this. However, distance has never been an obstacle for us because the ALLCOT team is located around the world: Colombia, Mexico, France, Senegal, Spain, Guatemala, among others. Considering this, we launched our monthly FORUM, a meeting space that allows us to relate to all workers, tell our stories, and, of course, catch up on the current state of the company. This reaffirms the reliability of ALLCOT, which in the midst of the crisis continues to operate at 100% of its capacity and in continuous growth.
These moments have enabled the construction of new spaces, and we wanted the families of our employees to be part of our daily battle for the environment. This is how ALLCOTooNS was born, a diverse space where children could express their ideas, get to know each other, and share with the people in our organization.
ALLCOTooNS and the SDGs
Therefore, we have created “ALLCOTooNS and the SDGs”, a contest in which children can create from a craft, drawing or any object, what each SDG represents for them, and what actions could be taken to achieve it. ALLCOT Ethics Committee will be in charge of evaluating and informing the winners, who will receive an honorable mention and a bonus with which they must perform a small action in benefit of the SDG proposed. This competition is divided into two categories: under 10 years and over 10 years.
#SDG13 – 1st round: Artists and their Works
On this occasion, the first category chosen was SDG 13 “Climate Action”. Below, we present the artists and their works of art:
Luisa de Brigard
#SDG13 – 1st round: Winners
Our Ethics Committee, chaired by Mr. Van Kirk Reeves, has delivered that the winners of this first contest are:
- Category under 10 years old: Inés Muñoz
- Category over 10 years old: Diego Frowein