Sustainability must not be compromised

 


Written by Enrique Lendo, Business Development Mexico Advisor.


Back in January, 2020 promised to be the “Super Year” of sustainable development. A growing number of companies, with assets close to $40 trillion dollars, committed to transit towards low emission and sustainable production and financing systems. For the first time, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report ranked environmental and climate risk at the top of its tables, over economic and geopolitical risk. In the framework of the United Nations, fundamental decisions for the climate change, biodiversity and oceans agendas have been postponed due to the pandemic. 

COVID 19 has exposed our vulnerability, as human species, before biological and natural phenomena as well as how fragile our economic and political systems are to global emergencies. The irrational management of biodiversity and ecosystems has triggered the evolution of viruses as climate change boosts its geographical reach and hastens its spread with massive consequences to human lives.  

On the other hand, social distancing and isolation measures recommended to contain the pandemic fosters significant changes in the scale and the structure of the global economy. 2020 will face one of the largest recessions in modern history with contractions of 13% in trade and 1% of global GDP and impact to 1.6 billion jobs throughout the world. The GDP contraction in México will be the range of 6 to 10% by the end of 2020.

However, the current crisis also provides an unprecedented opportunity to restructure our economic system towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns in the framework of the environmental, financial and social agendas. At macro level, governments are able to decide whether incentives considered in their economic recovery policies will be directed to traditional, less competitive and more polluting industries or towards sectors that will create economic gains and social welfare in the long term.

For instance, investment in renewable energy would bring gains of $100 trillion dollars by 2050, or returns of $3 to $8 dollars per unit invested. Such investment could also create 42 million new jobs and reduce green house gas emissions in the energy sector by 70%. In contrast, fossil fuels are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions, receive subsidies up to $5 trillion dollars a year and, in the case of oil, have experienced negative returns in the last days. Today, Mexico’s Pemex costs 24 billion dollars in losses to taxpayers and the auctions to allocate clean energy certificates have been postponed

At the micro level, manufacturers will have to adapt to the new trends in the value chains of a less interconnected world and find input providers closer to their production centers. In the service sector, digitalization and virtualization has expanded like never before, fostering innovation and the development of new products and processes. Only these companies and sectors able to adapt with creativity and speed will survive in the post-Covid world. However, sustainable consumption and production patterns will only be attained if policies and incentives are crafted properly. In the framework of economic recovery plans, environmental standards should not be downgraded, and support tools must not be directed towards polluting industries over more sustainable ones, otherwise inefficiencies will prevail and opportunities to boost green and sustainable growth will be lost.

ALLCOT and Conservation International Colombia, an alliance with a strong sustainable impact in benefit of the ecosystems and communities in Colombia.

Although Colombia has one of the worldwide highest indexes of biodiversity, it has decreased by 18% during the last years. The biggest threat is the natural habitat’s loss due to agriculture and cattle industries. It is our responsibility to protect the ecosystems and to fight against the climate change that affects much of the national territory, especially to the underprivileged communities.

ALLCOT, with more than 10 years of experience, develops worldwide sustainable projects providing its clients and collaborators with the knowledge and management expertise of initiatives aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to actively fight against the climate change crisis. We establish a commitment and therefore create alliances with other companies that, like us,  appreciate the environment.

Conservation International Foundation (CI) works to highlight and maintain the benefits that nature provides to humanity. From the start, CI has worked to protect more than 5 million square km (2.3 square miles) of land and ocean across more than 70 countries. Currently, it is established among 29 countries and has 2 thousand partners around the world. 

Based on a solid foundation of science, partnership, and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to take care of nature, global diversity, and humanity’s well-being in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Thanks to the common values and the interest of both in recovering and working in favor of nature, ALLCOT and Conservation International Colombia join forces with the target of executing Sustainable Socio-Environmental Projects, aligned under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of United Nations, that have a strong impact in the conservation of the environment, adaptation to the climate crisis and the communities development.

“Today more than ever it is high time to act. Act with significant actions against the imperatives of the environmental crises and consequential social impacts. Thanks to the alliance with CI, our shared values, and long-term vision, we can accomplish our goals and commitments within Colombia” said Alexis L. Leroy, ALLCOT’s CEO.

“The development of carbon market in Colombia represents a great opportunity to consolidate conservation and sustainability processes of maximizing the benefits over strategic ecosystems and its communities. The experience of CI working on socio-environmental projects in the territory, added to that of ALLCOT in the design of GHG reduction projects, will allow the development and implementation of high-quality projects” says Fabio Arjona, vice president of the Colombia Conservation International program.

Sustainability in the fashion industry


Written by Natalia Rodrigo, Group Sustainability Technical Manager.


 

Recent studies on the fashion industry state that this sector highly needs to improve sustainability performance. Although it is true that most fashion brands are aware of their environmental and social impact, only less than half of them have started to take real action. In addition to this, fashion companies are not yet implementing sustainable solutions fast enough to effectively counteract all the negative impacts this hastily growing industry has.

Current patterns of production and consumption in the fashion industry endanger natural resources and generate a loss of biodiversity. Furthermore, it cannot be discarded increasing rates of carbon emissions, water consumption, chemical use, and waste generation. Considering that, our planet has already overcome its safe operating boundaries, restrictions on one or more of its key input factors cannot be discarded, making it difficult to grow at the projected rate of a predicted increase of 60% by 2030. 

In addition to this, other non-environmental challenging issues such as animal welfare, lack of transparency and negative image, for instance, pressuring society to live up to body ideals, cannot be consigned to oblivion.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that the fashion industry is regarded as a powerhouse for global development. This point can be illustrated by the position it has as one of the world’s largest consumer industries. As a result, this sector imperatively needs to perform differently. Far away from integrating profit and growth, fashion can provide additional value towards its products, resulting in tangible benefits across society as well as the world economy. 

Fashion, talent, and creativity always go hand in hand. This means that fashion has a far-reaching savoir-faire, is active on social media and counts with enough leverage to successfully work on its own transformation. 

Positively surprisingly, the fashion industry has already embarked on the challenging target of raising consumers ´awareness, undertaking for real and effective improvements, conforming wide networks dedicated to environmental, social, and transparent goals.

In addition to all of this, targeted investments made on technology as well as labor conditions and productivity, achievable heretofore will allow fashion brands to counterbalance current pressure. This point can be illustrated by current initiatives on converting textile waste into raw materials using advanced recycling techniques; reduce water and energy consumption due to innovative technology implementation as well as to integrate waste management techniques across production and distribution operations.

Taking all these new specialized strategies into account, a sneaking suspicion that acting differently nowadays as well as eagle eyeing for innovative solutions will provide these companies with a unique opportunity to manage and make certainly profitable growth forge ahead.

On the other hand, if no prompt action is taken, fashion brands will strain themselves to downgrade average unitary prices, deeper depreciation levels, rising costs, as well as resource shortage among the value chain. Undoubtedly, this industry is nowadays based on a linear ‘one-way street’ of take, make, and waste.

As a result, chain reactions across fashion are quite predictable. Considering current projections for growth in energy prices and salaries by 2030, fashion brands will suffer a decline in benefits if they still opt for business, as usual, consequently pledging their long-term resourcefulness.

In order to effectively address the rising environmental and social pressure, as well as to strike with the continuous industry boost, this sector is called to assess its footprint. In order to determine the industry’s environmental, social, and ethical gaps, ALLCOT helps the fashion industry to successfully identify the level of sustainability at each stage of the value chain. This strategy empowers companies to identify KPI´s and raise red flags for the weakest of them.  The main objective of this effort is to build-up knowledge, transparency, and overall sustainability. 

Without any doubt, this challenge in patterns ‘turnover also aims to establish the basis for prospective remodeling, investment channeling and innovation.

In conclusion, if the fashion industry does not take prompt and fast action on sustainability performance, its contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be significant, putting into high risk the commitments of the Paris Agreement and therefore the Agenda 2030.  As a result, it is urgently needed to place environmental, social, and ethical improvements as an indispensable task within management’s agendas.

The fashion industry has the iron in the fire to empower large-scale environmental and social change.  Integrating more energy-efficient and conscientious use of limited resources, fair working conditions, as well as progressing on upstream and downstream issues along the value chain are key strategies to make this change a reality.

ALLCOT is changing the change…

Towards a Sustainable Palm Oil Product


By Asier Aramburu Santa CruzClimate Change RENEN Manager


Thanks to the project for the capture of methane, the displacement of fossil fuels and the cogeneration of renewable energy that ALLCOT is currently developing in Colombia, the palm industry can be a great ally in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The good management of its plantations and the avoidance of deforestation is not the only action that this industry can take, some changes in the processing of the fruit itself to obtain the oil can be also implemented to ensure a more sustainable product. Thus, Colombia has managed to turn a problem, waste management, into an opportunity. Industrial wastewater from the production process has a high organic load and requires a previous treatment to be discharged into an aquatic environment. In Colombia, this treatment was carried out using anaerobic lagoons, which emitted large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, a gas with a global warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2).

However, a solution was found: the use of biodigesters. Thanks to these facilities, methane emissions are being reduced by capturing biogas, the methane-rich gaseous mixture produced in the wastewater treatment process.

Although few plants are using this biogas to generate energy, the second phase of the project contemplates the adoption of this form of electric power generation. Thus, instead of burning in a flare, the current destination of most of the biogas, the companies will be able to adopt the technology that allows them to use that methane as an energy source. That is how they can become self-sufficient and deliver their surplus energy to the electricity grid, increasing the project’s climate change mitigation potential.

ALLCOT faces now a critical moment, as there is a need to update the Project Design Document (PDD) initially delivered to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). But the biggest challenge comes with the first verification of the emission reductions to obtain the carbon credits, which will certify for the first time the reductions that have already been carried out. ALLCOT is also challenged to demonstrate the potential and benefits of the project, so that the rest of the companies take part in the project and this industry is transformed. Furthermore, the success of this project comes with the development of other initiatives within the production process, such as composting the sludge and waste from the production process, which also emits large amounts of greenhouse gases in their decomposition process.

ALLCOT commitment goes not only by doing the calculations of the reductions and the preparation of the documentation to get the carbon credits. ALLCOT is involving and motivating the companies visiting their production facilities.

The palm oil industry is currently the world leader in the supply of oils and fats. At the top the Asian countries play the main role, led by Indonesia and Malaysia, which have achieved fast growth in recent decades, reaching a combined production of 59,000,000 tons (82.5% of the total). However, this growth has received multiple criticisms, since it has led to the destruction of natural forests.

In the case of Colombia, in a field dominated by Asian producers, it has managed to position itself as the first palm oil producer in America and the fourth in the world (1,600,000 tons).

Therefore, following this project, the Colombian palm industry could show its commitment to sustainable development, take distance from other producers and align with the objectives set forth in the Paris Agreement.

ALLCOT at COP25

 

SIDE EVENT

“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.

Panel Discussion:

  • 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!

Carbon offsets should have the same value as PPAs for project finance


Written by Alexis Leroy, CEO ALLCOT


Carbon offsets are just as valid and valuable as renewable power

Anyone involved in developing clean energy projects around the world will be familiar with the demands of securing project finance. Lenders typically want to see a solid revenue stream before they consider financing renewable energy or low-carbon energy projects.

Normally, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) fits this requirement: a long-term offtake agreement with a high-quality buyer offers confidence that the project will generate steady cash flow to service its debt.

Occasionally a PPA by itself may not be regarded as a sufficient guarantee of performance, or the off taker’s credit quality may not be sufficiently strong. In such instances additional security can be added in the form of liquid guarantees or performance bonds.

But there is another revenue stream that can play its part: carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets represent the saving in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs); they’re measured against a baseline in which the project would use legacy technologies. In this way a wind farm, a solar park or a waste-to-energy plant represents savings in GHG emissions compared to coal or even gas-fired power.

The world is waiting for a new global offsets market to replace the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that will end when the Kyoto Protocol is superseded by the Paris Agreement in 2021. But in the meantime, there are plenty of opportunities to develop and sell carbon offsets for some existing markets. The revenues generated should help secure project finance.

South Africa and Colombia are leading the way in creating high-confidence markets for carbon offsets, by allowing them to be used in part payment of their respective national carbon taxes and thereby granting them a monetized value – at least on paper.

Besides, the International Civil Aviation Organisation is preparing the launch a global offsetting market for airlines in January 2021. Demand for offsets from airlines participating in CORSIA is projected to reach as much as 174 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) tonnes in 2025 and could be nearly 8 billion tCO2e by 2040.

And beyond these formally established, government-backed markets is a wide variety of voluntary carbon offsetting programs operated by large industrial, commercial and retail companies around the world. According to Forest Trends, nearly 49 million offsets were retired by governments, companies, and individuals in 2018.

There are plenty of challenges facing the use of carbon offsets as securities for project finance. Firstly, the revenue stream from offsets would likely form only a fraction of the overall project costs, and for some, it may simply not be worth the effort to incorporate offsets into a finance agreement.

Also, revenue streams from offset sales tend not to be regular, but “lumpy”. Offset projects must submit independent verification and reporting of the volume of emissions reduced before they can apply for the issuance of those credits, and the costs associated with that process usually mean they can only afford annual or even biennial issuance. Such periodic issuance may not be steady or regular enough to satisfy a lender.

Yet at the same time, using carbon revenue to secure financing may yield two significant benefits: the quality and the reliability of the purchaser. In the case of countries with carbon taxes that can be part-paid in offsets, the guarantor of demand is the government, and industrial emitters must abide by the law.

Similarly, in the case of CORSIA, the end-buyers will be international airlines seeking to comply with government-established, UN-approved targets.

Why is the end-use of the offset important? Because lenders are concerned not only with the scale of revenue streams from a project but also the reliability and creditworthiness of the buyers. Higher-quality off-takers will mean more security for the seller and hence for the lender.

Secondly, it’s important to understand that there is a direct link between the security of the supply of renewable electricity and the security of the supply of carbon offsets. It should be the case that any lender that relies on a PPA as security against project finance, should also be able to rely on the flow of offsets through an emissions reduction purchase agreement (ERPA).

Lenders will consider the reliability of the power project – how much power it is expected to deliver across the length of any contract – when estimating the value of the PPA. The PPA, therefore, is a measure of the potential supply of power, and it can, therefore, be a measure of the supply of carbon offsets.

In the case of many reliable renewable energy technologies – waste gas, solar and even wind power – the actual generation of power and the generation of offsets are very closely linked.

A project developer could even use future delivery of offsets as a source of seed capital for a project. This was a common practice under the UN Clean Development Mechanism. By arranging an ERPA with a buyer who is seeking offsets for some compliance or even voluntary purpose, a project developer can then use this ERPA to raise seed capital. To be sure, the volume of offsets may be subject to clipping, but the principle is sound.

So why don’t lenders take ERPAs into account? If we agree that the fight against climate change is paramount, then how can we not support carbon offsets as a valid source of capital, and indeed may be more valuable than megawatt-hours of renewable power generation?

ALLCOT participates in the Local Stakeholder Consultation process in Ziguinchor, Senegal


Written by Mercedes García, Climate Change and Sustainability Manager


The degradation of mangroves during the last years is alarmingly increasing. Uncontrolled deforestation is one of the main causes, but the increase of the temperature of the planet is altering the salinity of certain areas, which significantly impact on the stability of an ecosystem as fragile as mangroves are. 

Mangroves live in tropical and subtropical latitudes. To the south of Gambia, mangroves occupy Casamance estuary, where they form a long band over the northern margin of the 6 km wide river, between Ziguinchor and Tobor, in Senegal. Due to the anthropogenic pressure, linked to illegal harvest and agriculture, there are many mangroves areas in a state of maximum degradation on which we must act. 

ALLCOT, together with the Senegalese NGO OCEANIUM, is working on the developing of reforestation and conservation project for a part of this mangrove, starting in Senegal and expanding in the coming months to the Gambia and Guinea Bissau. The goal of the project, called SWAMP (Senegal and West Africa Mangrove Project) is to empower the local communities through reforestation and mangrove conservation. For this, the project will be registered in the international standard SDVista with the objective of obtain carbon credits that could be reinvested in these communities and different socio-economics activities. For that, the participation of Senegalese government and local authorities has been necessary, through various meetings held during last year.

On October 15, ALLCOT had the privilege of being one of the speakers in these meetings, held in Zinguinchor. During a complete working day, the ALLCOT team had the opportunity to share with the participants how the project is structured, the short and long term objectives, and especially the detail of the socio-economics activities to be implemented, all of them aligned with the Sustainable Developing Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. 

There was also the opportunity to discuss and share a lunch with all the mayors who have already joined the initiative and many others who are still evaluating the possibility of adhering. Ideas about initiatives of developing and their alignments with the needs of the populations were exchanged. It was a very fruitful workday, which will be a turning point in the design of the SWAMP project. 

ALLCOT has extensive wide experience in the design and structuring of the project in the field of mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Our role in the project is to improve the quality of life of the populations that live in the mangroves through the incomes from the carbon credits. To obtain the maximum benefit the project is designed to cover two main areas. In the most degraded areas, propagule plantations of Rhizophora Mangle and Avicennia sp are scheduled. In the areas, best-conserved, protection and training activities will be carried. These activities include the creation of monitoring brigades, to awareness and training in the field. In parallel, the technical team is working in different activities linked to the food security and gender equity for the communities who live in the mangrove areas. 

Due to the significant social component of the project, the standard chosen has been SDVista. Standard developed by VERRA for all those projects which mitigate the greenhouse gas emission but have a profound impact on local populations. 

One of the objectives of the standard is not only to evaluate the contribution of the projects with the SDGs, but also their quantification, monitoring, and of course the verification by an accredited entity. It is, therefore, a robust standard that aims to demonstrate in an effective and verifiable way that the projects are contributing to meet the needs of certain populations. 

During last years, in ALLCOT we have worked in each one of our projects in the alignment of all the activities with the SDSs, all channeled through the fight against climate change. 

SWAMP project is undoubtedly a clear example of the strategy of the company for the future. Empower the local communities through the fight against the current climate crisis by developing initiatives in the scope of all the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

Carbon footprint and Expotural, Feria de la Naturaleza y el Turismo Sostenible


Written by Patricia Piñero, Sustainability Consultant.


Between September 27th and 29th, the EXPOTURAL Nature and Sustainable Tourism Fair opened in Madrid in Hall 1 of IFEMA.

EXPOTURAL has become the national reference for sustainable tourism, where nature and biodiversity protection has the greatest role. It is a space to propose and facilitate the promotion and development of destinations through sustainable rural tourism.

A 6000 m2 venue hosted this celebration, accommodating numerous activities available to attendees. Among them the award for the best initiatives in sustainable tourism, being the winning company Bahía de Santander, and secondly, Casa del Tesoro. Bahía Santander received the award thanks to its ecotourism and environmental education project focused on the recovery of the osprey, through the installation of innkeepers and nests in height. A meeting point was also set up for professionals of Active Tourism business tables so that both exhibitors and attendees could participate in these business rounds.

In addition to all these activities, the II International Forum of Nature Tourism and Sustainable Tourism was held, a series of presentations and round tables developed within the pavilion, and structured in different blocks, which dealt with topics such as Ecotourism, Local Development and Sustainability, rural and active tourism, etc. All under a Responsible Tourism approach, above all, for the climate change mitigation.

Coinciding with the general strike called worldwide to support the fight against climate change, EXPOTURAL actively participated in this cause by dedicating the first day of the II International Forum of Nature Tourism and Sustainable Tourism to Climate Change, the latter being one of the structural axes of the fair’s philosophy.

Another edition in which we had the pleasure of being invited to participate in the forum and of being able to be an active part of EXPOTURAL, not only in the presentation we offered to attendees on the management of the carbon footprint for companies, but also contributing to offsetting the fair’s carbon footprint itself. 

Alfonso Polvorinos, technical director of the Fair and the Forum, contacted us some time ago to explore how we could assess the impact of the fair on climate change and mitigate it in the best possible way.

For the 2018 edition, we calculated the fair’s emission identified them and drew up a reduction strategy as recommendations adapted for it. After this study and conclusions, we offered the possibility of compensating for the emissions resulting from the activity of the fair, to obtain a neutral carbon balance. This was done and we have continued working to make it possible again in this edition.

This emission offsetting consists, in broad terms, of the economic investment in carbon credits, an international decontamination mechanism introduced by the Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of the emissions causing climate change.

Therefore, the fair compensated these emissions generated through its collaboration with the RMDLT project, a forestry project located in the Brazilian Amazon that works to protect this fragile ecosystem from the rampant deforestation of the jungle, while allowing degraded forests to have the opportunity to regenerate.

The project contributes to reaching 12 out of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, among the most prominent we can mention: the improvement of the quality of life of the families that reside within the area and the land tenure of the people committed to the conservation.

For more information check our website www.allcot.com, or you can contact us directly at the following email ppr@allcot.com

The benefits of recycling in the fight against the climate crisis


Written by Encarnación Hernández, Climate Change Mitigation Consultant


We are currently facing a critical global situation in terms of consumption of plastics and their subsequent recycling. It is expected that by next year, plastic production will increase to 350 million tons. If this rhythm and the current “use and discard” consumption model are maintained, this level could increase to 619 million tons in 2030.

The process of decomposing plastic material produces the emission of two greenhouse gases with a high global warming potential (methane and ethylene) and a very harmful effect on human health. For this reason, in recent years various initiatives have been developed in the field of plastic waste reduction and recycling. Their main objective is to reduce dependence on existing conventional resources. However, there are other solutions in the market contributing to the manufacture of different products from recycled plastics. This is a great innovation in the recycling market.

ALLCOT Group, a company specialized in environmental solutions in the fight against climate change, is working on an innovative project based on the construction of sustainable housing from recycled plastic.

The main objective is the recycling of plastic waste to give it a second life, improving the performance of both recycling and waste recovery. The population is involved in the collection of plastic, mainly bottles, from which blocks and bricks are manufactured and used for the construction of houses or other types of buildings. These materials are flexible and flame retardant light and they display high insulation capacity. These characteristics make them ideal to face extreme weather events that often affect vulnerable countries to the effects of the current climate crisis, such as heatwaves or deterioration caused by water on such conventional buildings.

The ongoing project will be replicated in developing countries. It has focused on vulnerability groups, including women working in the informal waste recycling sector, and therefore contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals signed in the 2030 Agenda. In addition to reducing the amount of waste destined for its final disposition and increase its recovery, the project will yield another series of economic, social and environmental benefits. These include an increase in the country’s resilience to climate change, poverty alleviation, and improvement of the well-being and health of populations by offering a new sustainable livelihood. Finally, it also contributes to greater access to drinking water and improved biodiversity protection in the area.

This project contributes to the mitigation of GHG emissions and thus tackles the current climate crisis. With the use of different internationally accepted methodologies and previous studies, the actual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be calculated.  In fact, the secondary production of construction materials entails lower amounts of CO2 emissions compared to conventional production (from 40% to 80% depending on the type of material).

Given that fuel and electricity consumption the freest are the stages of the building process that release most CO2, the plastic brick recycling project is expected to have a high impact on greenhouse gas emissions reduction. 

Concentrating on five key areas (cement, plastics, steel, aluminum, and food), the project “Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change” illustrates how designing out waste, keeping materials in use, and regenerating farmland can reduce emissions by 9.3 billion tonnes. That is equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport globally.

ALLCOT is currently developing a methodology to estimate CO2 emission reductions since there is none approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that directly applies to the project in question.

Once approved by the United Nations, project implementation can begin. 

We need additional efforts to decarbonize our economy while creating creative and innovative sustainable growth opportunities.

Reflections on Climate Week New York and the role of explorers.


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.