Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

3 Mar, 2008

Global Business Leaders Sign “Climate Savers” Pact

A business group including leading companies such as Sony, Nokia and Nike has come together to present the Tokyo Declaration, a joint call to tackle the urgent issue of climate change.

In this dispatch:










Tokyo, Japan, Feb 15, 2008, (JCN Newswire) – A business group including leading companies such as Sony, Nokia and Nike has come together to present the Tokyo Declaration, a joint call to tackle the urgent issue of climate change. Signing the declaration at the Climate Savers Summit 2008 held by WWF and Sony in Tokyo today, a dozen business leaders highlighted that the world’s greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by more than 50 percent by 2050, and that emissions must peak and start to decline within the next 10 to 15 years in order to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.

Presented by Sony Chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force, the Tokyo Declaration is the most far reaching call for action on climate change from the global business community.

“At Sony, we believe that it is impossible for a business to flourish in a degraded environment. For this reason we are committed to using our technological ability and know-how to reduce our impact on the planet, and to help our customers reduce their impact at home,” said Sir Howard Stringer. “We have always recognized that we have an obligation to act responsibly in all of our business activities to help minimize our environmental impact, and at the same time utilize our unique talents to help solve environmental problems together with our peers and our partners.”

Many signatories of the Tokyo Declaration and other WWF Climate Saver companies have already exceeded the ambitious emission reduction targets they set themselves upon joining the Climate Savers Programme. In the declaration they go beyond this with a pledge to reach out to their business partners and urge them to undertake effective steps to reduce climate pollution. The companies also pledge to promote and enable a low-carbon lifestyle among their customers and consumers.

“WWF’s Climate Savers Programme and the Tokyo Declaration suggest the scope of the contribution business can make to successful action on climate change”, said James Leape, Director General of WWF International. “These companies are to be applauded, not just for the example they have set in reducing their own emissions, but also for their willingness to urge action on governments, the broader business community and their customers and consumers.”

With the Tokyo Declaration, Climate Saver companies intend to emphasize the imperatives and benefits of early, voluntary and innovative action on climate change. The signatories are Allianz Group, Catalyst, The Collins Companies, Hewlett-Packard Company, Nike, Inc., Nokia Corporation, Novo Nordisk, Sagawa Express, Sony Corporation, Spitsbergen Travel, Tetra Pak and Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

Download the “Climate Savers Tokyo Declaration” [2MB} http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/200802/08-0215E/CSTD.pdf



26 February 2008 — The UK could save annual CO2 emissions equivalent of just over 1,700 Boeing 747/8 flights from London to New York – if all employees who have opted out of company car schemes chose to take advantage of ‘green’ tax breaks and opt back into their employer’s schemes.

According to KPMG’s Company Car team, since 1999 there has been a decline in the number of company cars, with HMRC figures indicating 400,000 employees having opted out in preference of purchasing their own vehicles. KPMG research** suggests that 52 per cent of employees who opt for cash instead of a company car use the money to purchase a second hand car, with emissions estimated at 30-40 plus grams per kilometre higher than the average company car driven by their colleagues.

If all 400,000 employees that have opted out opted back in – assuming they currently emit the national private car average of 191g/km**, driving a typical distance of 18,000** miles per annum and they drop to the average company car with emissions of 165g** on the same mileage – the UK would save total annual CO2 emissions of 301,000 metric tonnes – the equivalent to just over 1,700 Boeing 747/8 flights from London to New York.

Harvey Perkins, director within KPMG’s Company Car team commented: “Changes made by the Government in 2002 to the company car tax rules were received with mixed reviews. For a minority driving relatively low business mileages in relatively high emissions vehicles, the changes had a negative financial impact and a number of people chose to opt out of the company car regime and buy their own cars instead. However, there is no doubt that the effect of the Government’s foresighted approach to use these rules to help employees make the right environmental choices has been to drive down CO2 emissions in company cars.

“Recently we have been seeing a change in mood with the number of company cars beginning to grow again. This seems to be driven by employees being more aware of the advantages of company cars – both to the environment, and by extension their own pockets – and, to some extent, employers’ concerns over the potential health and safety implications of their staff using privately owned vehicles for work purposes.”

A move towards consumers demanding greener vehicles is forecast to continue according to the 2008 annual global automotive survey by KPMG LLP in which senior global auto executives reported increased demand for vehicles using alternative fuel sources: 65 percent of respondents said this was important or extremely important to consumers – a significant increase on 53 percent in 2007.

Further changes to company car tax rules will come into force from April this year, and will allow for a much lower tax and national insurance charge in respect of vehicles that emit 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre or less. These ‘ultra low emission’ vehicles allow employees to benefit from the lowest tax charges on company cars in a generation.

According to Harvey Perkins employers are looking to respond by improving their company car options. He said: “Employers are keen to ensure their schemes offer employees the best options by featuring cars in the lowest emissions bracket. As manufacturers continue to strive towards delivering viable environmentally friendly alternatives, the financial and environmental benefits could be significant.”

Direct Link: http://www.kpmg.co.uk/news/detail.cfm?pr=3044



The subject of “Climate change – a fundamental challenge for the global tourism sector” will be one of the highlights of the ITB Future Day on 7 March 2007. Prof. Dr. Martin Claussen, Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Dr. Manfred Stock from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, and Dr. David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, will discuss the medium and long term implications of climate change for tourism.

Time is running out: while ski regions in Europe are suffering from a lack of snow, in other parts of the world entire islands are at risk of disappearing altogether. A number of trend researchers have been invited to address the subject of “The future of travel”, and David Bosshart from the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and Martin Raymond of “The Future Laboratory” in London are just two of the leading forecasters who will be contributing to this event. There will be another forum taking a look into the future: “What sort of travel are young people looking for, what do they expect from their holidays, and how does one reach the target groups of the future?” The basis for the discussion is provided by the current Shell young report “Jugend und Reisen” (Young People and Travel).


Making its debut at the world’s largest travel trade fair, ITB Berlin: the motoring organisation ADAC is participating with its own tourism forum at the leading trade show for the worldwide travel industry. Europe’s largest motoring organisation has invited some leading experts to Berlin to join distinguished participants in discussions about the prospects for “Tourism by car in a time of climate change”. The ADAC Tourism Forum is being held for the first time and is one of the highlights of the ITB Convention Market, Trends & Innovations, which is taking place during the ITB Berlin.

The ADAC tourism forum “Tourism by car in a time of climate change” will be held on Friday, 7 March 2008 from 11.15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hall 7.1a, New York Room 1. The following have agreed to participate in the debate: Heinrich Beckmann, spokesman for the board of DB AutoZug GmbH; Dr. Peter Brandauer, Mayor of the community of Werfenweng and President of Alpine Pearls; Dr. Gordo Jain, Executive Officer, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety; Markus Graf von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff, operator of a spa clinic and hotel, who has built his own race track; Albert Kockelmann, Divisional Director ADAC Motorcycles, Classic Cars, Marques Club and Local Club Coordination, and Dr. Peter Zimmer, Director Tourism and Travel Services ADAC. Max Stich, ADAC Vice President for Tourism, will provide an expert introduction to the discussions and Dr. Wolfram Weimer, Editor in Chief of Cicero, will chair the meeting.

Marking the start of the new partnership with ADAC, the club’s members can enjoy a special offer: during the weekend, when the ITB is open to the public: visitors who present their ADAC membership card will be admitted at the reduced rate of 12 euros, instead of the standard rate of 14 euros.



BOULDER / DENVER, Colorado, — Africa Adventure Consultants, a specialist in boutique safari holidays, has announced the launch of a comprehensive effort to reduce carbon emissions as well. Africa Adventure Consultants has joined forces with Sustainable Travel International (STI) on its pioneering TravelGreen™ program, which allows Africa Adventure Consultants to offer carbon neutral safaris to travelers. Africa Adventure Consultants is STI’s first African safari operator partner implementing a sophisticated program that offers carbon offsets on every safari the company sells.

“Carbon neutral” means the point at which greenhouse gas emissions have been identified, measured, reduced where possible, and 100% of the remaining emissions have been offset through high quality renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. Total greenhouse gas emissions are a factor of the air travel to get to Africa as well as the style of safari people enjoy. Sustainable Travel International assists in determining the total greenhouse gas emission per traveler, and Africa Adventure Consultants then absorbs 50% of that amount and provides the option for the traveler to offset the remaining 50%.

“We’ve found that our clients not only appreciate our initiative to protect and preserve the delicate ecosystems of Africa, but appreciate being given the voluntary opportunity to contribute directly as well.” said Kent Redding, President of Africa Adventure Consultants. “Earlier this year we worked to make our Denver office 100% carbon neutral, we continue to carefully select game areas in Africa that operate under sensitive environmental standards and now feel that Carbon Neutral travel is the next logical step. What does this mean for our clients? We are providing a way to travel to Africa with a limited negative impact on the environment.”

Africa Adventure Consultants also works with their African partner companies to reduce CO2 emissions by implementing solar and wind power schemes, reduce wood burning, protect land to create carbon sinks, and more. Proceeds from purchased offsets are invested by Sustainable Travel International into high-impact sustainable development projects, including reforestation, renewable energy and energy conservation. These projects, which also benefit local communities, are located throughout Africa and other regions. Sustainable Travel International provides carbon offset projects that are independently verified by third-party sources.

The projects must verifiably reduce greenhouse gas emissions according to the CDM Gold Standard, consistent with the principles of the Kyoto Protocol, or meet the standards set forth by the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance. In 2007 Sustainable Travel International received the highest ranking in an independent study of carbon offsetting programs commissioned by the environmental group Clean Air-Cool Planet.



New York, Feb 26 2008 — By the end of this year, half of the world’s 6.7 billion people will live in urban areas, according to a report unveiled by the United Nations today, which also predicts that future growth of the world’s urban population will be concentrated in Asia and Africa.

The “2007 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects” provides the official UN estimates and projections of the urban, rural and city populations of all countries in the world up to 2050. The latest data contained in the report confirms that “urbanization is growing everywhere,” said Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which prepared the report.

Presenting the findings at a press briefing in New York, Ms. Zlotnik added that perhaps the most important message of the report is that not all the regions of the world are equally urbanized. “Although Asia and Africa are the least urbanized areas, they account for most of the urban population of the world,” she stated, adding that the growth of the urban population in the years to come is going to be highly concentrated in these two regions.

Currently there are 1.6 billion people living in Asia’s urban areas. That number is expected to rise by another 1.8 billion people in the next four decades, more than doubling the urban population, Ms. Zlotnik pointed out. China, which is now 40 per cent urban, is expected to become more than 70 per cent urban by 2050. Its urban population is expected to number about 1 billion by that year.

In comparison, only 30 per cent of India’s population today is living in urban areas – slightly more than 300 million people. By 2050, 55 per cent of India’s population will be living in urban areas, amounting to 900 million people. “India is expected to urbanize much less than China and, therefore, it is expected to remain the country with the largest rural population during most of the future decades,” said Ms. Zlotnik.

Turning to Africa, she noted that the urban population is “likely to triple over the next 40 years,” passing from 340 million to over 900 million. Meanwhile, the urban population will grow a little bit in Latin America, while not very much in the developed world, she said, adding that “more or less what we have today is what they’re going to face.”

The report does note that the projections will only be realized if fertility rates in the developing world continue to decline. If fertility rates continue at current levels and urbanization occurs at the predicted pace, the world urban population will increase to 8.1 billion by 2050 instead of the 6.4 billion projected.

Ms. Zlotnik pointed out that there are three components of growth – natural increase, transfer of the rural population to urban areas through migration, and reclassification of rural localities to urban centres. “In most of the countries of the developing world, estimates show that about 60 per cent of urban growth is now attributable to natural increase.

“The exception is China, where only 30 per cent of urban growth is due to natural increase and 70 per cent is attributable to changes in the number of areas considered urban and also to migration,” she stated. She added that while megacities – those with more than 10 million inhabitants – attract a lot of attention, that is not where most of the population growth will be found. With 36 million people, Tokyo is the world’s largest megacity and it is not expected to change in size until 2025.

The fastest growth rates will be found in the cities of Africa, such as Lagos and Kinshasa that are not yet megacities but will be in the future, and the cities of Pakistan and Bangladesh, such as Lahore, Karachi and Dhaka.



New York, Feb 25 2008 — Corporate giving can play an important role in advancing the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Deputy Secretary-General told more than 200 top executives and business leaders at a special event of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) today.

“Enhanced cooperation between the different actors represented here today, especially through a better understanding of corporate giving strategies, would add great value to the overall development effort,” Asha-Rose Migiro told the gathering of leaders from such companies as Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs & Co. The event was co-organized by the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) – a global forum bringing together corporate leaders who think about philanthropy as part of their business model.

Pointing to the emergence and rapid growth in recent years of corporate and individual giving, she said that the UN “welcomes this trend as a wonderful embodiment of the universal human values of justice, fairness, compassion and equality. “We see philanthropy’s immense potential to help people as they strive for a better life with dignity and hope,” she added. “We need to better understand it, and help direct its benefits effectively and efficiently.”

In recent years, the Organization has been opening its doors to more partners, and more innovative partnerships, she noted, adding that “every UN agency, fund and programme is rethinking the way we work in light of this effort.” This “new age of partnership” is crucial in addressing global challenges such as climate change – one of the UN’s top priorities. “Many of you have a leading role to play in this, not only as corporate philanthropists but also as senior managers of large corporations whose decisions crucially affect consumption and production patterns,” she noted.

It will not be possible to successfully address such pressing issues without cooperation between Member States and the world’s leading private sector representatives, the Deputy Secretary-General added.

Echoing her comments, ECOSOC President Léo Mérorès said that governments cannot achieve internationally agreed development goals on their own, adding that “the active involvement of all parts of society is critical if we are to succeed.” He added that today’s meeting can provide valuable inputs to ECOSOC’s first Development Cooperation Forum, to be held in New York in July, as well as the annual ministerial review of progress towards development goals.



New York, Feb 25 2008 — Predictable carbon pricing is needed to direct world investment flows toward an economy that could minimize climate change, close to 140 governments agreed today as they concluded a major meeting on the subject in Monaco, the United Nations Environmental Programme [www.unep.org] says. “Sufficiently high and long-term predictable price for carbon will be central for mobilizing capital for the new economy,” according to the summary by Roberto Dobles, Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister and President of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which ended Friday, and discussed the theme of “Mobilizing Finance for the Climate Challenge.”

The five-day Forum set new priorities for UNEP and was the largest gathering of environment ministers since last December’s landmark UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, which ended with 187 countries agreeing to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol.

In adopting a medium-term programme of work at the meeting, participants decided on a new strategy to strengthen and refocus UNEP’s response to climate change as well as its handling of disasters, conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, harmful substances, hazardous waste and resource efficiency, UNEP said.

“This decision is a major milestone in achieving a consensus among the international community as well as civil society and the private sector to set new and transformational directions for this environment programme of the UN,” Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said at the meeting’s close.

In regard to financing to meet the challenges of global warming, many participants urged that the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol become quickly operational to ‘climate proof’ vulnerable economies, according to the President’s summary. In addition, many maintained that the Clean Development Mechanism of the Protocol, which may eventually generate up to $100 billion of investment flowing from North to South into clean and green energy projects, needed to be “supplemented by significant contributions from industrialized countries.”

“Developing countries no longer need to be convinced of the advantages of green growth, but they do need financial and technical assistance in order to make the transition to lower carbon economies,” the summary noted. A transformation in the marketplace was noted by private sector participants at the meeting, who said that renewable energy had ‘shed its fringe image’ and was now a mainstream business, although there remained a ‘lack of activity’ in poorer developing countries.

Comments are closed.