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Paving the Path to Sustainability: The Promise and Challenges of Transitioning to a Circular Economy

Why the Interest in Circular Economies?

Over the past decade, the concept of a “circular economy” has rapidly gained momentum worldwide. This emerging economic model aims to decouple economic growth from resource consumption by applying principles such as recyclability, renewable energy usage, product life extension, and waste reduction across industrial systems. Proponents view the circular economy as a vital step for balancing economic development with ecological sustainability.

The Opportunities

However, the shift from today’s prevalent linear “take-make-dispose” economy faces systemic hurdles. Both opportunities and barriers exist in applying circular economy thinking more broadly.

On the opportunity front, circular business initiatives have shown economic promise while lowering carbon footprints. Some car companies are generating new revenue streams through remanufacturing programs that refurbish old car parts for resale. Governments too are piloting supportive policies – from tax incentives in China to public procurement standards in the Netherlands.

The Challenges

However, some unintended consequences have emerged. Studies indicate that efficiency gains from circular production methods can spur overall consumption, thus offsetting sustainability benefits. This “circular economy rebound” warrants careful monitoring. Additionally, research shows that cultural acceptance issues frequently impede adoption – consumers may resist buying refurbished goods, while linear thinking dominates at many corporations.

Evolving Frameworks and Policy Levers

As the circular economy lens expands from a narrow focus on waste management to encompass system-wide change, indicators and policy levers must also evolve. Beyond tracking recycling rates, measurement frameworks need to address the retention of material value across manufacturing, transport, and product use phases. Similarly, supportive regulations should utilize tools like eco-design mandates, circular public procurement criteria, and finance options for secondary material markets and product-as-service business models.

The Road Ahead

The path towards a thriving circular economy remains full of promise, but it also requires actively overcoming behavioral, policy and market structure challenges. With coordinated efforts across businesses, governments and societies – especially in clarifying this model’s socioeconomic implications – the global economy can progressively transition from the take-make-waste model to one that fosters renewable flows of resources, finances and knowledge.

 

 

 

References:
Hartley, K., van Santen, R., & Kirchherr, J. (2020). Policies for transitioning towards a circular economy: Expectations from the European Union (EU). Resources, Conservation and Recycling.

Kirchherr, J., Piscicelli, L., Bour, R., Kostense-Smit, E., Muller, J., Huibrechtse-Truijens, A., & Hekkert, M. (2018). Barriers to the Circular Economy: Evidence From the European Union (EU). Ecological Economics.

Kristensen, H., & Mosgaard, M. (2020). A review of micro level indicators for a circular economy – moving away from the three dimensions of sustainability? Journal of Cleaner Production, 243, 118531.

Murray, A., Skene, K. R., & Haynes, K. (2017). The Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Concept and Application in a Global Context. Journal of Business Ethics, 140, 369-380.

Reike, D., Vermeulen, W., & Witjes, S. (2017). The circular economy: New or Refurbished as CE 3.0? — Exploring Controversies in the Conceptualization of the Circular Economy through a Focus on History and Resource Value Retention Options. Resources, Conservation and Recycling.

Zink, T., & Geyer, R. (2017). Circular Economy Rebound. Journal of Industrial Ecology.

 

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COP28 – A Glass Half Full or Half Empty for Climate Action?

Introduction

The recently concluded 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai was a defining moment for global climate action. As world leaders gathered to advance collaborative efforts against climate change, the summit led to groundbreaking agreements even while falling short on some key aspects. This article offers a critical examination of COP28’s outcomes – analyzing its achievements, limitations, and implications for driving forward the sustainability agenda.

Historic Agreements to Phase Down Fossil Fuels

One of COP28’s most historic outcomes was the landmark deal signed by over 190 countries to begin phasing down coal, oil, and gas for the first time in climate negotiations. This signals a major shift in tackling emissions at their key source. However, the agreement faced criticism for not using the stronger terms “phase out” and for allowing “transitional” fossil fuels. The deal also lacked a fixed timeline for when to end coal use. Still, experts hailed it as significant progress to advance the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.

Securing Climate Finance Commitments

COP28 generated new financial commitments, including a $30 billion Global Clean Energy Fund launched by the UAE to catalyze investments into renewable energy transitions. Further support came through the $700 million pledged to the Loss and Damage Fund, which aids vulnerable nations facing irreparable climate harm. However, this fell short of demands by developing countries. The talks underscored the urgent need to not just mobilize finance but also ensure its accessible and transparent disbursal to communities most impacted.

Ambitious Renewables Targets, But Challenges Remain

Under the UAE-led “2030 Breakthrough Agenda,” over 90 countries set elevated Nationally Determined Contributions and committed to tripling renewable energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. This marks substantial progress on ambition, especially for renewable transitions. However, tensions persisted as developing nations emphasized that economic growth cannot be sacrificed for climate targets. The talks revealed a pressing need to balance different priorities and ensure inclusive, just transitions.

Conclusion: Key Takeaways and Future Trajectory

With over 85,000 participants, COP28 displayed extensive global dedication to tackling climate change. From securing new finance to pioneering fossil fuel agreements, it charted an optimistic direction. Nonetheless, critics highlighted the lack of bolstered targets for emissions cuts and support for vulnerable communities. As the world moves forward from Dubai, COP28’s legacy will be defined by urgent, scaled-up action towards translating these promising commitments into reality. The road ahead necessitates transparency and cooperation to phase out emissions for a 1.5°C future.

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IFRS S2 Climate-Related Disclosures: A Step Towards Global Sustainability Reporting

The recently formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), created under the IFRS Foundation, has published its sustainability reporting standard focused specifically on climate-related risks and opportunities.

Introduction

The IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures standard is a pivotal development in global sustainability reporting. It creates a baseline for companies to disclose vital climate-related financial information for investors and stakeholders. As the world grapples with climate change, regulators, governments, and investors are seeking transparency on climate risks and business resilience.

Key Aspects of IFRS S2

IFRS S2 sets out disclosure requirements in four core areas:

  • Governance: Disclosing the governance and oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities, including board and management responsibilities.
  • Strategy: Explaining the impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on strategy, business model, and finances.
  • Risk Management: Describing the processes used to identify, assess, and manage climate-related risks.
  • Metrics & Targets: Disclosing key metrics related to climate risks, opportunities, and performance.

Limitations and Shortcomings of IFRS S2

While providing a solid foundation, IFRS S2 has some limitations:

  • Narrow financial focus
  • Flexibility allowing inconsistencies
  • Lack of verification guidance
  • Light on climate agreements
  • Challenging data requirements

Conclusion

The release of IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures constitutes significant progress towards consistent sustainability reporting, establishing a global baseline for climate-related financial disclosures. However, S2 represents just the initial building block in the ISSB’s work to develop a comprehensive global sustainability reporting framework. It aims to strike a balance between prescribing consistent disclosure requirements and allowing principles-based flexibility.

 

Keywords:
IFRS S2, Climate-Related Disclosures, Sustainability Reporting, Climate Risk, Financial Reporting, Sustainability Information, Global Sustainability Reporting, Climate Opportunities, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Risk Assessment, IFRS Foundation, International Sustainability Standards Board.
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IFRS S1: A Game-Changer in Sustainability Reporting

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) recently unveiled its first sustainability reporting standard, IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information. This marks a significant step towards harmonizing global sustainability reporting.

Key Points of IFRS S1

IFRS S1’s objective is to compel entities to disclose sustainability-related risks and opportunities impacting their financial prospects, including cash flows, access to finance, and cost of capital. This standard applies to all entities following IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, regardless of financial statement preparation under IFRS Accounting Standards.

The core of S1 includes:

  1. Governance: Disclosing governance processes for sustainability oversight.
  2. Strategy: Explaining how sustainability impacts business strategy.
  3. Risk Management: Describing sustainability risk assessment and management.
  4. Metrics and Targets: Reporting on relevant sustainability metrics and targets.

Entities must disclose material information needed by investors for informed decision-making. IFRS S1 also suggests sources for guidance, such as industry-based SASB standards.

Strengths and Benefits of IFRS S1

  1. Global Consistency: S1 offers a global baseline for consistent sustainability reporting across industries and regions, improving comparability.
  2. Financial Materiality: It connects sustainability to financial performance, making it highly relevant to investors.
  3. Flexibility: While setting baseline requirements, S1 allows customization based on business relevance, avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.
  4. Integration with Financial Reporting: It links sustainability factors with financial statements, demonstrating their impact on financial value.

Potential Limitations of IFRS S1

  1. Scope Limitations: It focuses on sustainability issues with clear financial impacts, potentially excluding broader ESG matters.
  2. Flexibility vs. Comparability: Customization could lead to varying disclosures, reducing comparability.
  3. Identifying Material Risks: Some entities might struggle to identify and disclose their most material sustainability risks.

In summary, IFRS S1 represents a milestone in sustainability reporting. It enhances global consistency, aligns sustainability with financial performance, and offers flexibility. However, it’s not without challenges, such as scope limitations and potential comparability issues.

The success of IFRS S1 depends on widespread adoption and its ability to provide investors with decision-useful information. Stay tuned for further developments as sustainability reporting continues to evolve.

#SustainabilityReporting #IFRS #InvestorRelations #ESG #SustainabilityDisclosure

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GSDR 2023: Transforming the World towards Sustainable Development

Introduction:

The United Nations recently released the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023, authored by a group of 15 esteemed scientists. This report serves as a crucial input to Member States’ review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting the progress made and the challenges encountered in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this blog, we will explore the key findings and recommendations of the GSDR 2023.

Accelerating Transformation:

The GSDR 2023 builds upon its predecessor, the 2019 GSDR, to provide decision-makers with evidence-based insights on accelerating progress towards sustainable development. At the halfway mark of the 2030 Agenda, the report raises concerns that the world is falling off track, attributing this setback to the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, inflation, and rising costs of living. It emphasizes the urgent need for transformative action to address these challenges.

Six Crucial Entry Points:

GSDR 2023 focuses on six entry points for transformation that are considered crucial in achieving sustainable development across various SDGs:

  1. Human well-being and capabilities
  2. Sustainable and just economies
  • Sustainable food systems and healthy nutrition patterns
  1. Energy decarbonization with universal access
  2. Urban and peri-urban development
  3. The global environmental commons

The report identifies these entry points as areas where actions can have a significant impact on advancing sustainable development goals.

Leveraging Science for Transformation:

To facilitate transformation, the GSDR 2023 proposes four levers identified in the 2019 report, namely governance, economy and finance, science and technology, and individual and collective action. Additionally, the report introduces capacity building as a fifth lever. It emphasizes the importance of scientific activity outside high-income countries and calls for socially robust science rooted in trust and integrity.

Key Recommendations and Calls to Action:

The GSDR 2023 concludes with a series of recommendations to drive sustainable development:

  1. Elaborating national plans of action to counter negative trends and stagnation in SDG implementation.
  2. Encouraging local and industry-specific planning to contribute to national strategies.
  • Increasing fiscal space through initiatives like tax reforms, debt restructuring, and engagement by international finance institutions.
  1. Investing in SDG-related data, science-based tools, and policy learning.
  2. Strengthening partnerships to enhance the science-policy-society interface.
  3. Implementing measures to improve accountability of governments and stakeholders.
  • Building capacity for transformation at individual, institutional, and network levels is highlighted as crucial, along with implementing synergetic interventions across the six entry points for sustainability transformation.

Collaboration and Transformative Science:

The GSDR 2023 draws on regional and cross-disciplinary perspectives gathered through consultations. The International Science Council (ISC) coordinated the technical review process by the scientific community. It stresses the importance of aligning science, policy, and society to create a future where people and nature thrive together.

Conclusion:

The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023 serves as a vital resource to accelerate progress towards sustainable development. While challenges persist, the report highlights that transformations are not only possible but inevitable. By adopting the recommended strategies and leveraging the six entry points, we can drive positive change and ensure a prosperous future for all.

Turritopsis, alongside its partners, remains committed to advancing sustainable development and incorporating transformative science into decision-making. Let us unite, implement effective measures, and work collectively towards achieving the SDGs and building a sustainable world.

For more information and to access the full GSDR 2023 report, visit:  https://sdgs.un.org/sites/default/files/2023-06/Advance%20unedited%20GSDR%2014June2023.pdf

 

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Climate change

Le changement climatique est un phénomène mondial qui a des effets néfastes sur notre environnement, notre santé, notre économie et notre qualité de vie. Dans ce blog, nous allons examiner les risques que le changement climatique présente pour l’économie et discuter des mesures que nous pouvons prendre pour y remédier.

Le changement climatique a des effets dévastateurs sur l’économie mondiale. Les événements climatiques extrêmes tels que les tempêtes, les inondations et les sécheresses ont des conséquences économiques négatives importantes. Les infrastructures critiques, telles que les routes, les ponts, les aéroports, les ports et les réseaux de transport, sont endommagées ou détruites par les tempêtes et les inondations, entraînant des pertes économiques massives.

Les sécheresses et les vagues de chaleur ont des conséquences désastreuses sur l’agriculture, ce qui entraîne une diminution de la production agricole et une augmentation des prix des denrées alimentaires. Les changements climatiques ont également des effets négatifs sur la santé, ce qui entraîne une augmentation des coûts de soins de santé.

Cependant, il est important de noter que le changement climatique n’est pas une fatalité. Nous pouvons prendre des mesures pour réduire ses effets sur l’économie. Voici quelques mesures que nous pouvons prendre :

  1. Investir dans les énergies renouvelables – Les énergies renouvelables telles que l’énergie solaire et éolienne sont de plus en plus accessibles et abordables. En investissant dans ces sources d’énergie, nous pouvons réduire notre dépendance aux combustibles fossiles, qui sont une source majeure d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre responsables du changement climatique.

  2. Promouvoir la recherche et l’innovation – La recherche et l’innovation sont essentielles pour développer de nouvelles technologies et de nouveaux moyens de production d’énergie plus propres et plus durables.

  3. Encourager la coopération internationale – Le changement climatique est un problème mondial qui ne peut être résolu par un seul pays. La coopération internationale est essentielle pour trouver des solutions efficaces.

Events

Sustainable Development Action Days (JADD) – 4 –

Biodiversity, a major issue for international environmental law

May 02, 2023 At 09:00 a.m. GMT +1 , online and in person

This event will be a unique opportunity to discuss the importance of biodiversity and its link to environmental law. Speakers will address topics such as legal challenges in protecting biodiversity, innovative ways to preserve biodiversity, local community rights and environmental justice. Participants will also learn how technology can be used to protect biodiversity and how laws and regulations can be adapted to help preserve our planet’s biological diversity. Finally, the event will be an opportunity for environmental professionals, academics, students and the general public to meet, exchange and discuss important issues related to the environment. It will be an invaluable opportunity for attendees to get informed, learn new ideas and help shape a more sustainable future for all.

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Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Disclosure Requirements

The International Society of Sustainability and Business Standards Board (ISSB) has voted to require companies to apply the current version of the GHG Protocol corporate standard for their greenhouse gas emissions. The ISSB will develop relief provisions to help companies apply Scope 3 requirements. This could include giving companies more time to provide Scope 3 information and work with jurisdictions on so-called “safe harbour” provisions.

Clarification of the key concepts of the proposed standard on general requirements

– The ISSB has confirmed that its requirements will aim to meet the information needs of investors.

– The ISSB has also confirmed that it will use the same definition of material as used in IFRS accounting standards and will discuss at a future meeting the need to provide additional guidance on how to determine what is important information.

Facilitate interoperability with jurisdictional requirements

– The ISSB prioritized several key topics for decision-making at its October meeting to facilitate ongoing dialogue with jurisdictions working on specific disclosure requirements, such as the EU, for s ensure that the ISSB’s global sustainability disclosure baseline is interoperable, and expandable, with specific jurisdictional requirements.

– These include confirming the use of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) architecture as the basis for its standards, confirming GHG decisions as described above and modifying some transition plan information and wording to facilitate alignment.

Today (Friday 21 October), the ISSB will review its plans to develop SASB standards. This will include deliberating feedback on its proposals to include industry requirements – based on SASB standards – in its proposed climate standard. The ISSB is carefully considering all comments received on its proposals, while being mindful of the request to finalize the standards. Its goal is to complete deliberations on the proposed standards by the end of 2022, in order to publish the final standards as soon as possible in 2023.

If you want to help #promote Sustainable Development with #Turritopsis, contact Us at: turritopsis@turritopsis.org

 

Events

Sustainable Development Action Day (JADD) -3-

Innovation Essential Pillar To Meet The Challenges Of Sustainable Development

September 21, 2022 at 09:00 hrs. GMT +1, online and face-to-face

Sustainable Development Action Day 3 was an opportunity to discuss the challenges of implementing sustainable development and key innovations for successful transformations and transitions. The Day was an opportunity to discuss the link between entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainable development as well as the functioning of the system to meet the five needs of sustainable development: food, energy, health, manufactured products and water, by highlighting the focus on equity.