I was one of only a handful of Americans at the World Resources Forum 2011. A few times I was asked was how I felt about America’s besieged environmental policies, or the lack of America’s participation in global climate talks, or other questions along those lines that acknowledged some international frustration with America in the environmental sphere. How do I feel? Pretty discouraged. The current US political landscape and debate is alarming for a conservationist.
Corporate reporting and assessment frameworks are powerful tools to help investors and consumers choose their investments and products wisely. In the wake of the World Resources Forum 2011, corporate sustainability assessments are an important tool to help consumers and investors drive change towards a less-resource-intensive world. One of the oldest, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) started in 1999 as a way to list the top 10 percent of sustainable global companies for investors. SAM, a boutique sustainable investing fund, invites the largest 2500 companies each year to submit sustainability data for DSJI scoring; companies are added and dropped from the list based on their performance. The process is third-party reviewed by Deloitte Consulting. Two companies that attended the World Resources Forum 2011 are ranked on the DJSI; Kraft Foods and Syngenta.
Memory is selective. The impressions that sticked to the minds of the participants of the WRF 2011 are starting to lose their tint. What will people remember in one year? And in five years? Personally, I will remember the presentation by Klaus Elle at the highlights session at the end of the first conference day.
What happens if you fall in love with your job, or asked in another way, how can you fall in love with what you do? As a managing editor I had the privilege to work with a fascinating bunch of students who were supposed to write about change and cover the perspectives of change makers. I realized during the virtual coaching and preparatory days and the even more intensive time during the World Resources Forum in Davos that this selected group of young students are changemakers themselves. While having had the chance to see the reporters grow from post to post I fell in love with my job. You will witness a glimpse of my enlightment in the following video in which the reporters introduce to their favourite posts.
In this section, I will be looking at how can we enhance writing skills, or in other words, make a post exciting and interesting to read. First of all, before even starting to write, think for a few seconds about these three questions:
Yes we can! Obama was not the first to use this empowering sentence. Roger Baud founder of ACTIS, a spin off of ETHZ, already used it in 2000 to promote the first Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) course. Bring 35 young people from all around the world together for 17 days. Hold interactive classes on sustainability from 8 am to 8 pm.
This is a post for young people. During three full days, the future of resources has been discussed at the World Resource Forum. The average age of the active participants of the conference is rather high. This means: these people debating on the future of our society are not the ones who will see their previsions take place or not! The ones who will experience the reality, are the young inhabitants of this Earth.
We all know how big businesses are socially responsible, don’t we? From a buzzword to the new “way of managing business by considering the impact of activities on customers, employees and shareholders” (Businessweek), Corporate Social Responsibility is now fully embracing corporate culture. Socially responsible projects and programs have attracted investments exponentially in the last decade. Several studies show the link between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and financial performance. By understanding that in order to do well, one must do good, CSR strategies have contributed extensively to their profit-maximisation objectives.
At the World Resources Forum, it’s no surprise that the construction industry and housing were active, as buildings are responsible for more than 40 % of global energy use and one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, there is a huge potential to save energy and materials through changing the building methods. Passive houses can save up to 95% energy in heating compared to standard buildings (exact savings depend on the local building code and climatic region). We can also refurbish old buildings and decrease energy needed for heating by 90%. Very promising numbers.
Finally. Someone dared to question the approach of the World Resources Forum, and it was one of the speakers. Marilyn Mehlmann, General Secretary of Global Action Plan International (GAP), said some assertive words that many of us wanted to hear, especially the young ones (coincidence?). I found her speech sincere, which probably made it unpleasant for many of the people present. If you didn’t attend the conference, you might be asking yourself why ‘unpleasant’?
Save the best for last: at the very end of the conference, I had the privilege of interviewing Bas de Leeuw, Managing Director of the World Resources Forum about my favourite topic: Event sustainability. As Bas has a quite impressive background and is a changemaker and environment lover himself, listen to the interview to hear what he has in mind in how to make this event a “green” one. Interview with Bas de Leeuw about the Carbon Footprint of the WRF2011 by Sandra Troegl by Studentreporter
Prof. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker is one of the gurus of resource efficiency present at the WRF 2011. I had the privilege to interview him. I asked about him how did we arrive to the present resource squandering and how should the political and economical frame change to establish a sustainable resources use? How did the perception of resources changed during the last 40 years? Are politicians ready to change something?