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Climate Action 2011-2012


128 In order to learn as much as possible a representative sample of the Nicaraguan coffee sector was taken, and three organisations were chosen for the first coffee season, 2010/2011: • A large exporter with its own beneficio, CISA; • A co-operative with a central beneficio, CECOCAFEN; and • A co-operative with each smallholder processing the coffee by themselves, El Polo. The projects are implemented as business cases. This gives a clearer understanding of the scale of the investment, and the different financial returns of the proposed waste treatment systems, leading to an evaluation of each system. The business cases then provide a better understanding of the situations in which the proposed systems are beneficial, either economically, environmentally or socially. The business cases also provide valuable data on the economics of different biogas usage options. This will be useful for the potential rollout of the project, mainly the selection of locations. Cisa: “With this project, we reduce energy as well as the costs. And the biogas is used for our beneficio.” The waste treatment and bio-energy systems at the smallholders’ co-operative proved to be difficult to evaluate on financial aspects only. The benefits from the system have been measured so far on a qualitative level only. Better management of waste is resulting so far in cleaner surroundings for the beneficio (and the smallholder farmer’s house that is located close to it) and a lower threat to soil and water quality. The smallholder, but also the community, is benefiting from the lower environmental impact. Although the waste quantities are fairly small, the fact that there are literally thousands of this kind of individual processing unit increases the urgency of offering waste treatment to beneficios of this kind. Additionally, the use of biogas generates a benefit for the family when the firewood used for cooking can be (partly) wife of produCer, Cooperativa el polo: “My health hopefully will improve now because I am using less firewood. The smoke is bad for your health; so my whole family is now benefiting.” replaced by biogas, thereby reducing the work of collecting the firewood, providing a healthier working environment in the kitchen and potentially greater ease of use. outlook and funding Since July 2011, the project has also been launched at two co-operatives in Honduras, COAGRICSAL and CAPUCAS (HQC), and at a farm in Guatemala, Finca El Cascajal. The lessons learnt from the pilot activities in the three countries will be compiled. This will comprise data, information and conclusions on the technical specifications of the biogas installations, the economic and environmental benefits. This knowledge will be transferred through a trainthe-trainers module in the UTZ Certified network where processing and other technical staff will be invited for one of the training days. The funding for this project was awarded to UTZ Certified within the framework of the Biomassa Mondiaal fund, based in the Netherlands. Agentschap NL, an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, has been mandated to provide the subsidy. The Global Sustainable Biomass programme aims to contribute through this fund to the realisation of two Millennium Development Goals in particular: MDG 1 (eradicating extreme poverty and hunger) and MDG 7 (creating a sustainable environment). Their goal is to support developing countries in making their biomass production sustainable for energy use, and the certification of this to allow access to local or international markets. The challenge of the project is to scale this technology up for the rest of the Central American region, as at least co-funding is needed in order to initiate its implementation with the producers and processors. Vera Espindola Rafael is Field Development Co-ordinator for Latin America, UTZ Certified. Britta Wyss Bisang is Standards & Certification Manager for UTZ Certified. UTZ Certified is one of the largest sustainability programmes for coffee, cocoa and tea in the world: one-third of all coffee that is sustainably traded worldwide is certified by UTZ. Brands that have committed themselves to the sourcing of (sustainable) UTZ Certified raw materials are global market leaders such as Sara Lee, Mars, IKEA, Nestlé, Friele, Migros and Albert Heijn. Since these companies buy raw materials in large volumes, we can improve the standard of living of as many farmers as possible at a high pace. UTZ Certified De Ruyterkade 6, 1013 AA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tel: +31 20 530 8000 | Fax: +31 20 530 8099 Email: | Web:

Reporting Steps to Sustainability Safeguarding the environment with information disclosure By Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Is it possible to imagine a world of voluntary financial reporting? What might happen if, instead of following decades of agreed financial disclosure metrics, observed by regulators, we just asked companies to tell us what they wanted to – or nothing at all? In many respects, this is precisely the situation we are facing regarding environmental disclosure – including the data we all need about the effects of business on climate change. This situation is now shifting, as it must. We need an economic model that factors in care for the environment. © Valerie Everett Slowing the flow of communications can greatly increase a company’s understanding of the issues. Observers are very much aware of the rapid increase in companies’, investors’ and civil society’s interest in corporate environmental performance, and the context in which it matters most: sustainability. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has pioneered, and continues to improve, a sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. By establishing widely agreed metrics, GRI’s reporting guidance ultimately aims to be one of the tools that help all organisations to mitigate harm and improve environmental management, in a sustainable global economy. A sustainable global economy means economic prosperity, social justice and environmental care, in the service of all people. Sustainability reporting prepares companies and organisations for the transition to sustainable, responsible practices. And sustainability reporting will of course play a vital role in maintaining a sustainable economy, since it makes available the ongoing data that is similarly provided for our present day economy by financial reporting. A new Audience By 2050 there may be nine billion people on earth, many of them in the developing countries where environmental and social impacts are most sharply felt, and where the desire for something better will be strongest. We already consume more of the planet’s renewable resources than it can regenerate. In future we can expect to use very different means to feed, house, and transport ourselves, and to communicate. And so demands for environmental disclosure are rightly increasing, and coming from new audiences. Simultaneously, more and more of the world’s biggest and best managed companies recognise that environmental performance is fundamental to their future, and that integrating sustainability is essential for value creation. The collaborative effort to establish the ‘Why’ for reporting environmental and sustainability performance is gradually paying off. But this sets the stage for the next important effort – ‘How’? RepoRting in the wideR context To remain on the ‘Why’ for a moment; reporting requires all organisations to take a topic more seriously. When issuing formal communications, organisations involve many more reviewers and perspectives. This can slow the flow of communications but greatly increases a company’s understanding of the issues at hand. When embedded as a cycle, sustainability reporting is intended to build on itself, to enable organisations to see things they would not have seen before. Financial reporting alone is no longer an adequate measure of a company’s viability, never mind able to help it towards greater heights of innovation, or indicate the long-term viability of products and operations. A sustainable global economy means economic prosperity, social justice and environmental care. Sustainability reporting involves systematic dialogue with stakeholders. But there are also silent stakeholders that cannot speak for themselves: flora, fauna, and ecosystems. By considering the perspective of these stakeholders and completing the reporting cycle, organisations can build and maintain the public trust that is vital for any company. Organisations can improve their efficiency and productivity, 129