ECCI becomes AA 1000AS (AccountAbility) licensed assurance services provider

Logo-AA100 Logo

In its continuing growth as the leading sustainability solutions provider across Southeast Asia (covering Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia), ECC International (ECCI) has been accredited and awarded the status of licensed AA 1000AS assurance service provider in the region by AccountAbility, UK – a leading global organisation providing innovative solutions to the most critical challenges in corporate responsibility and sustainable development.

 AccountAbility’s AA1000 series of standards have become the gold standard in the industry for performing assurance of non-financial reports, more popularly developed into sustainability reporting. The AA 1000 series are principles-based standards to help organisations become more accountable, responsible and sustainable. They address issues affecting governance, business models and organizational strategy, as well as providing operational guidance on sustainability assurance and stakeholder engagement. The AA1000 standards are designed for the integrated thinking required by the low carbon and green economy, and support integrated reporting and assurance.

 Having become a licensed assurance services provider, ECCI is now vested with the responsibility and privilege to carry our external third party assurance of sustainability reports (commonly called CSR reports and ESG reports) for organisations that are interested to get a credible statement as well as global recognition of their sustainability commitment.

 “With the unprecedented growth that the ASEAN market is experiencing there is an increasing interest among stakeholders (investment community, public sector, top management and consumers) for responsible profit and strong risk management in private sector. Practicing sustainability reporting to communicate one’s sustainability commitment and pursuing a credible third party to accredit this is seen as a good way to address such stakeholder needs. We are happy to be able to provide sustainability assurance services for companies in the region. Our 15 years of experience in this domain and geography will give us the right advantage of global expertise coupled with local knowledge!” said Karthik Subburaman, Country Manager, ECC International.

 ECCI is the leading sustainability solutions provider spanning assessment, strategy, training and assurance services with over 1000 customers in the last 15 years. Under the domain of Corporate Sustainability & Governance, ECCI works closely with its customers in the following areas – Energy Management, Sustainability Reporting, Corporate Responsibility & Governance, Carbon Neutrality & Climate Change. Some of the key management systems and best practices that ECCI helps its customers implement include ISO 14001, OHSAS 18000, ISO 26000, SA 8000, GRI G4, UNGC, ISO 50001, PAS 2050 and PAS 2060 amongst others.

GRI G4 – Quick Look on what’s hot and what’s not!

By Karthik Subburaman, Country Manager, ECCI Group

GR4 logoGRI guidelines has been the globally accepted gold standard in non-financial reporting over the last decade . But with several questions around the credibility of the basis for rating companies as superior vs otherwise using applicability levels and different types of assurance, improvement of the guidelines for sake of clarity and better hold of the sustainability context was imperative.

GRI G4 – the next generation guidelines was released last thursday (May 23) officially at the Global Reporting Initiative Conference held in Amsterdam between May 22-24 2013. A bi-annual affair, this year’s event attracted close to 1600 practitioners from over 60 countries – with exactly equal number of men and women registrations. The script for inclusiveness and equality could not have been written better…

The G4 guidelines was touted to be an enhancement of the G3.1 guidelines in many areas while several of the components have been retained. Largely, some key objectives the guidelines that this change aims to achieve include:

  • Simpler and clearer guidelines that leave not too much to interpretation (by convenience)
  • Grounded on principles that help companies focus on ‘material issues’ rather than go merely by number of indicators
  • Make it simple for new reporters to take on the responsibility of non-financial reporting and take transparency to the next level

How far these objectives will be achieved will be answered in time as companies start adopting G4 guidelines but as in any new focus area there is clamor from the other side for intentional omission of focus / clarity on ‘sustainability context’ making the guidelines still a difficult set of best practices from the perspective of true sustainability!

Leaving opinions for a different post, here is a list of

Whats HOT – New additions / changes to the guidelines
Whats NOT - Omissions from G3.1

Whats HOT!

  • New ‘in accordance‘ criteria – It consists of two options: “Core” and “Comprehensive.” Core reports will include majority of the standard disclosures and a minimum of one relevant indicator per material aspect. Comprehensive will include all the standard disclosures and all of the relevant indicators for each material aspect. The biggest change from G3.1!
  • Its ALL about ‘Materiality‘ – While materiality is not new, the G4 framework more explicitly requires reporting efforts to center on materiality — impacts, risks and opportunities. What used to be a bunch of protocols to determine report content, now forms the crux of G4 reporting!
  • Open up your ‘boundary‘ – There is an exemplified need to consider supply chain and downstream processes through customer use as part of reporting still in line with materiality!
  • DMAs a double! – There are two separate DMAs (Disclosures on Management Approach) – general standard disclosures and specific standard disclosures. The latter along with the indicators are clubbed under the 3 major categories (Social, Economic and Environmental)
  • Indicators & disclosures plus some more! – There are some new indicators added with very few deletions. Special focus on governance related standard disclosures leading to 10 new additions!
  • Increased focus on Ethics & Integrity - Special mention as a standard disclosure area which was not originally separate. Calls for specific attention to aspects such as remuneration, transparency etc. making it relevant in today’s scenario

Whats NOT!

  • No A,B,C application levels – Application levels have been removed to give way to ‘in accordance’ criteria and increased focus on materiality!
  • No assurance based on application levels – With the removal of application levels, external assurance leading to ‘+’ ratings of sustainability reports is also not part of the G4 guidelines. However, assurance as a potential value-added intervention for credibility still exists!
  • Value chain assessments are gone – Value chain reporting of the organization has been removed and there is a specific intent to include supply chain as mentioned before

Personal Highlights

  • Potentially shorter reports - With a clear trend towards considering materiality aspects before reporting, overall length of reports might become shorter (especially as companies figure to perform appropriate assessments and prioritization)
  • Probably lesser uptake for assurance – to begin with! - With lesser clarity around the types as well as intensity of assurers on the aspects of materiality, going for external assurance could remain a wait and watch game for many!
  • Guidelines and implementation manual – The what & how… connected! With the intent to keep the guidelines close to inputs on its usage, there is a sense of ease and connection which might make it reporter-friendly.

To learn more about the GRI G4 guidelines and the updates from G3.1, please attend our upcoming Friday Forum on 7 June 2013 organized by Apex Global.

About Apex Global & ECCI

ECCI is the leading process improvement solutions provider in Southeast Asia, focused on process consulting, automation solutions and learning outsourcing services. We help companies achieve performance excellence by assisting them implement management systems and international standards/best practices across multiple domains and industries. ECCI has helped several top companies in the region implement GRI guidelines and prepare externally assured sustainability reports!

APEX Global (The Academy for Professional Excellence) is the learning solutions arm of ECCI – the leading process improvement solutions provider in Southeast Asia. Our sole aim is to promote performance excellence among professionals. We help our customers achieve greater success through effective, experiential and results-oriented training delivery.

Another milestone in Sustainability Reporting for ECCI

ECCI helped Ayala Corporation in developing their 2011 Sustainability Report for at the conglomerate Level. The report focuses on the Environmental, Economic and Social performance of the group for the past year based on the GRI G3.1 Guidelines. The report was released during the recently held  Sustainability Summit at the Ayala Museum on Friday, October 5, 2012. The report was officially launched by its Chairman, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. The event was organized by Ayala Corporation to strengthen the sustainability initiatives in the group. Lory Tan, WWF President, Philippines and Adam Brennan, Global Sustainability Manager for Puma where speakers in the event who shared their views on the Climate Adaption Project in the Philippines by WWF and implementing sustainability measure in their organizations respectively. At the end of the Sustainability Summit JAZA’s message was “We all have a big job to do”. This statement by the chairman clears out the vision and direction given by the Chairman to its subsidiaries.

Another milestone in Sustainability Reporting for ECCIIn their third conglomerate sustainability report, it reinforces the group’s commitment in creating shared value to the broader communities in which they operate. It highlights Ayala’s pledge to improve their sustainability impact through their operations, products and services, supply chains, human resources practices, community involvement and management approach.

After helping Globe Telecom’s 2011 Sustainability Report and helping them achieve a B+ level of external assurance, ECCI assisted Ayala Corp to attain GRI Application Level B Check for the report to strengthen the credibility of the report.

Being one of the leading training and consulting companies in Southeast Asia, ECCI has been taking active participation in helping companies developing their Sustainability initiatives and disclosing them through reporting. Some of the key areas where ECCI helps clients are in Energy Management, Carbon Footprint, Sustainability Reporting and CSR.

For more information on ECCI’s Corporate Sustainability & Governance services portfolio, please email info@eccigroup.com

On The Road to Sustainability

ISO’s current portfolio of nearly 19,000 standards provides solutions in all three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, economic and societal.

Here are some examples of achievements by the international community, represented at Rio+20, working within the ISO system. The examples illustrate how ISO standards serve as tools in the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Environment

Environmental Management

One of the concrete results following on from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992, was the development by ISO of the ISO 14000 family of standards for environmental management which translates into action ISO’s commitment to support the objective of sustainable development discussed at the first Earth Summit. In essence, the ISO 14000 family provides a framework for organizations large and small, in manufacturing and services, in public and private sectors, in industrialized, developing and transition economies, to : Minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by their activities:

Meet regulatory requirements

Achieve continual improvement of their environmental performance

Improve business performance through more efficient use of resources.

Has the ISO 14000 family actually made a difference?

The increasing number of users is an important element in the answer. At the end of December 2010, 14 years after publication of the first edition of ISO 14001, which gives the requirements for environmental management systems, the standard was being implemented by users in 155 countries and economies. These include both public and private sector organizations, large and small, in manufacturing and services, in developed and developing economies. In addition to ISO 14001, the ISO 14000 family includes 25 other standards addressing specific challenges such as lifecycle analysis, environmental labelling and greenhouse gases (see next section).

Climate change

The ISO 14064:2006 series and the ISO 14065:2007 standard provide an internationally agreed framework for measuring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and verifying claims made about them so that “ a tonne of

carbon is always a tonne of carbon ”. They support programmes to reduce GHG emissions as well as emissions trading programmes. Beyond their welcome by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, they are now being implemented on a day-today basis by users as varied as a New Zealand printer, a Norwegian shipping company, an Indian construction company and the Spanish organization that is one of the world’s largest transport infrastructure providers.

ISO and the Environment

The ISO 14000 family is the most visible part of ISO’s work for the environment. In naddition, however, ISO offers a wide-ranging portfolio of standardized sampling, testing and analytical methods to deal with specific environmental challenges. It has developed more than 650 International Standards for the monitoring of aspects such as the quality of air, water, soil and nuclear radiation. These standards are tools for providing business and government with scientifically valid data on the environmental effects of economic activity. They may also be used as the technical basis for environmental regulations. Other environment related work includes standards for designing buildings, or retrofitting existing ones, for improved energy efficiency.

Economy

ISO standards provide solutions and achieve benefits for almost all sectors of activity, including agriculture, construction, mechanical engineering, manufacturing, distribution, transport, healthcare, information and communication technologies, food, water, the environment, energy, quality management, conformity assessment and services.

Efficiency, Effectiveness, Innovation

These standards contribute to sustainable economic development by increasing efficiency, effectiveness and, therefore, conserving resources. They keep the wheels of industry turning by providing specifications, dimensions, requirements and testing and maintenance regimes for engineering, construction, production and distribution.

They ensure compatibility and interoperability of the information and communications technologies that have become the backbone of almost every sector. They speed up the time to market and diffusion of products and services derived from innovation, such as nanotechnologies and vehicles powered by electrical batteries or hydrogen. They facilitate trade, providing a basis for agreement between business partners and the technical support for regulation.

Economic Benefits

Several studies have found that the economic benefits of standardization represent about 1 % of gross domestic product. This shows that standards make an annual contribution of GBP 2.5 billion to the economy, and attribute 13 % of the growth in labour productivity. Standards and related conformity assessment (checking that products and services measure up to standards) have an impact on 80 % of the world’s trade in commodities.

Management Standards

ISO 14001, referred to above, is a management system standard like the pioneer in this field, ISO 9001 for quality management. These are among ISO’s best-known 14001 has since been followed by other standards for the needs of specific sectors, or to address specific issues.

They include:

Information security (ISO/IEC 27001)

Food safety (ISO 22000)

Supply chain security (ISO 28000)

Energy management (ISO 50001)

Road traffic safety management

(ISO 39001 – under development).

Although the ISO 31000 standard for risk management is not a management system standard, it shares with this category the attribute of being generic, providing benefits for any organization in the public or private sector.

 These benefits may be economic, environmental or societal, making it an important tool for sustainability.

Social Responsibility

1 November 2010 saw the publication of ISO 26000 which gives organizations guidance on social responsibility, with the objective of sustainability. The standard was eagerly awaited, as shown by the fact that a mere four months after its publication, a Google search resulted in nearly five million references to the standard. This indicates there is a global expectation for organizations in both public and private sectors to be responsible for their actions, to be transparent, and behave in an ethical manner. ISO 26000, developed with the engagement of experts from 99 countries, the majority from developing economies, and more than 40 international organizations, will help move from good intentions about social responsibility to effective action.

Health

ISO offers more than 1 400 standards for facilitating and improving healthcare. These are developed within 19 ISO technical committees addressing specific aspects of healthcare that bring together health practitioners and experts from government, industry and other stakeholder categories. Some of the topics addressed include health informatics, laboratory equipment and testing, medical devices and their evaluation, dentistry, sterilization of healthcare products, implants for surgery, biological evaluation, mechanical contraceptives, prosthetics and orthotics, quality management and protecting patient data. They provide benefits for researchers, manufacturers, regulators, healthcare professionals, and, most important of all, for patients. The World Health Organization is a major stakeholder in this work, holding liaison status with 61 of ISO’s health related technical committees (TCs) or subcommittees (SCs).

Food

There are some 1 000 ISO food-related standards benefitting producers and manufacturers, regulators and testing laboratories, packaging and transport companies, merchants and retailers, and the end consumer. In recent years, there has been strong emphasis on standards to ensure safe food supply chains. At the end of 2010, five years after the publication of ISO 22000, the standard was being implemented by users in 138 countries. At least 18 630 certificates of conformity attesting that food safety management systems were being implemented according to the requirements of the standard, had been issued by the end of 2010, an increase of 34 % over the previous year. The level of inter-governmental interest in ISO’s food standards is shown by the fact that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organizations has liaison status with 41 ISO TCs or SCs.

Water

The goals of safe water and improved sanitation are ingrained in the UN Millennium Development Goals. ISO is contributing through the development of standards for both drinking water and wastewater services and for water quality. Related areas addressed by ISO include irrigation systems and plastic piping through which water flows. In all, ISO has developed more than 550 water-related standards. A major partner in standards for water quality is the United Nations Environment Programme.

*This article was originally published in ISO Focus Magazine. The text is based on the brochure, Rio+20 – Forging action from agreement – How ISO standards translate good intentions about sustainability into concrete results.

London 2012 Olympics closes with a legacy of ISO 20121 Sustainable Event Management

With sustainability as the key agenda for most of the organizations, organizations can now conduct sustainable events based on the international standard recently launched by ISO. As the impact of an event is most significant on the environment, organizers can follow implement this best practice and achieve sustainability. ISO 20121 – Event Sustainability Management System has been designed to help organizations improve the sustainability of their event related activities, products & services.

Before becoming an ISO standard, it was BS 8901 under the British Standard which was first launched in 2007 in the UK. Soon after its launch, the standard became so popular and of great interest for the event industries that it was decided to turn it into an international standard acceptable by universally.

One example of a sustainable event is the recently held London 2012 Olympics. London’s plans for organizing the Olympic Games this year came with a promise of legacy and sustainability. This commitment is made evident in all aspects of the games from the construction of game venues, waste and carbon management, promotion of sustainable transport to food sourcing. In fact, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is the first organizing committee certified to BS 8901 and their sustainability approach is built around five themes of Climate Change, Waste, Biodiversity, Inclusion, and Healthy Living.

Similarly, ISO 20121 will benefit organizations to be more financially successful and socially responsible, reducing their environmental footprint during the events. The standard is a collection of processes but not a checklist which needs to be implemented across the business for an event to be a sustainable. It does not set any performance requirement making it highly adaptable for organizations. ISO 20121 is applicable for all types of industries ranging from caterers, hoteliers, stage building, event organizing and other industries in event management.

Building blocks – ISO standards as powerful tools for taking action

This article originally appeared in ISO Focus magazine, written by Martin Danvers representing the UK on the ISO Technical Management Board.

Recently it was reported that the world’s population had reached seven billion. Although a rough estimate, of only arbitrary significance, the figure is a pointed reminder of the rapidly growing pressure that is threatening the ability of humans to live safely and comfortably with each other, with other species with which we share our habitat and, of course, with the habitat itself.

Although we cannot reliably predict when and how this pressure will result in an irreversible collapse of our ability to coexist with our environment, it has for some time been clear to most informed opinion that radical changes in our behaviour are needed to prevent this breakdown. In essence, this is what sustainability is all about.

The concept is easy to understand, but elusive to define or to underpin with a coherent and exclusive set of principles. This can be a problem for those of us in the ISO community whose instinct as professional standardizers is to define, codify and classify.

One view on sustainability is grounded in the concept of “ sustainable development ” summarized in the 1987 report of the Brundtland Commission : “ …meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs ”.

Whilst it goes on to discuss the eradication of poverty, it fails to reflect the fundamental cultural reality that one person’s needs may be vain aspirations for many, and nonnegotiable demands for others. This takes us into a realm of socio-economic relativism that can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory for some.
Three pillars

This view of sustainability goes beyond its roots in physical environmental concerns, so that it is now perceived as being supported by three distinct but essential pillars : environmental, economic and societal.

The economic pillar comprises the established global trading system, seen as a political inevitability and as a driver for rising standards of living. From a standardization perspective it is often taken for granted, since standardization originated as a tool for supporting commerce and enhancing economic growth.

The environmental pillar reflects the need to use the earth’s resources, both finite and renewable, so that future generations can be supported effectively, safely and harmoniously. For standardization this is now fairly familiar territory, and standards such as the ISO 14000 series on environmental management have been making a worthwhile impact for over a decade.

The societal pillar is constructed around the idea that the economic and environmental pillars will inevitably fail unless attention is given to a more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity. It acknowledges that competition within a rapidly expanding human population for increasingly scarce natural resources will eventually lead to cataclysmic conflict from which nobody and nowhere will be immune.

These social concerns are complex and pose considerable challenges to traditional standardization techniques. It was met successfully with the publication ISO 26000:2010, Guidance on social responsibility. It is significant that the title does not reflect the more familiar “ corporate social responsibility ” term. Whilst large organizations have the potential to make a greater impact by their actions, social responsibility is regarded as being too important a principle to be restricted solely to corporations.

The intention behind ISO 26000 is that it reflect appropriate behaviours for organizations of all types and sizes (and therefore, by implication, by individuals) to bring about the fundamental changes in human social interactions necessary to support a sustainable future.

Obviously, the mere existence of a voluntary standard will not cause these changes to take place. However, ISO 26000 is becoming increasingly influential. Not only is it surpassing many of the expectations of its original proponents, but is serving as a credible reference point for initiatives by national governments and international agencies.
ISO’s contribution

ISO standards that broadly address some aspects of sustainability have been with us for many years. Indeed, there is a strong argument that a significant long-term contribution towards the achievement of a sustainable future has been made by the very existence of ISO : a global, self-financing, non-governmental body that, using a consensual decision-making model, involves a wide range of relevant stakeholders to establish formal, structured codifications on which common expectations can reliably be based.

As ISO evolves its processes for simpler and wider engagement in its work, the grounds for that assertion will inevitably become stronger. However, it has to be emphasized that ISO is not, in the narrow sense, a political movement. Its principal task is to produce standards that are attractive, authoritative and practical tools for voluntary application by those who wish to use them.

During the last five years, sustainability has become more prominent in the collective consciousness of public, governmental and commercial organizations. As a result, an explicit commitment to sustainability has been reflected in standards for those areas of economic activity where it is most pressing, notably construction and the management of water, waste and energy.

For the near future it is likely that standards addressing supply chain issues, employment and, in the widest sense, management systems, will become established as popular and effective tools for codifying common expectations, underpinning regulatory measures and demonstrating commitment.

In the longer term, we can expect sustainability to become a fundamental principle for ISO standards in just the same way as market relevance. Those parts of the global market that conclude that sustainability is not market relevant might well find themselves without a market.

ECCI helps Globe Telecom in achieving External Assurance for its 2011 Sustainability Report

Globe telecom released its 2011 Sustainability Report on April 17, 2012 during its Annual Stockholders Meeting. With “Transformation” as the central theme of the report, it reflects the cultural and network transformation within the company – focused on providing excellent customer experience.

The report is based on GRI G3.1 Guidelines covering the Environment, Economic & Social aspects of its performance.

ECCInternational is the leading process consulting and training company in SE Asia when it comes to Corporate Sustainability & Governance (CSG). ECCI helped Globe Telecom in creating their 2011 Sustainability Report and achieving a B+ level of external assurance. This makes Globe Telecom the first telco company and one in few in Philippines to achieve external assurance for its Sustainability Report.

Globe Telecom has also achieved the distinction of being the first company in the country to have the external assurance done by an AA (Accountability) accredited third party assurance provider. The external assurance of the report was conducted by TUV Rheinland, one of the very few.

Globe Telecom has achieved external assurance for its 2011 report to further strengthen its credibility in the market, emphasize management’s commitment towards sustainability, and increase the level of confidence among its stakeholders.

With the increasing popularity of promoting sustainability, more and more organizations are leaning towards developing Sustainability Reports which give a holistic information on the financial, environmental, and social performance of a company. Meanwhile, external assurance helps protect the interest of stakeholders and provides a level of comfort to key decision makers, allowing them to know that the information they are using for their business decisions are reliable and comply in all material aspects with the relevant reporting frameworks. By taking the lead in this practice area, ECCI has helped companies in Philippines, Vietnam, China and India create their sustainability reports.

View Report or Learn More about ECCI’s CSG services

Oil, Food, Water: Is Everything Past Its Peak?

An unprecedented crisis faced America. Oil production was going to peak in just three to five years, resulting in foreign oil addiction and economic calamity. The scientist responsible for slapping the nation into consciousness implored industry and government to act: “The smug complacency that habitually blinds the American public must be torn,” wrote David White, chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey. It was 1920.

More than 90 years later, tempers still flare over the prospect of global “peak oil.” Last week a commentary in the prestigious journal Nature argued, “oil’s tipping point has passed.” It’s the most recent high-profile salvo about whether, or how soon, the petroleum extraction that drives the global economy will reach a plateau and then, inevitably, decline.

“Peak” alarms going off aren’t unique to oil. There’s peak coal: Production could top out around 2025, according to the Energy Watch Group, an international group of legislators and scientists studying long-term trends. Peak food: The U.N.’s Food Price Index reached a new high in February 2011, exacerbating poverty in developing countries and creating potential for civil unrest. “Peak water” entered the popular lexicon in 2010, after two scientists classified threats to human use of rivers and underground aquifers, and to ecological stability. Peak coffee, peak chocolate, peak rare earth metals, peak travel have all followed suit. It’s “peak” season.

Two simple trends are driving these concerns. The world has more people than ever, and more of those people than ever are breaking out of abject poverty and competing in a global market for goods and resources.

The human population passed 7 billion last year, and the U.N. projects it will top 9.3 billion by 2050. Most of the growth is occurring in Asia, where the population is on track to balloon 40 percent, to 8 billion, by midcentury.

An even bigger human accomplishment, and cause for worry, is the rise of the middle class. It’s expected to nearly triple in the next two decades, to 4.9 billion people in 2030 from 1.8 billion today, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. The Global Footprint Network, which developed a resource-accounting tool for countries, puts it this way: At current consumption rates, we’ll need two Earths by 2030.

That’s a lot of new consumers. It’s the reason Starbucks is extending its franchise to India, U.S. beef exports may rise 11 percent this year, and Kraft is spinning off its sleepy U.S. grocery business and focusing on Brazilian chocolate. And those reports are all from just last week.

The private sector’s reaction to these global trends and others — including climate change — has a name: sustainability. It’s the global race among nations and corporations for secure, long-term access to strategic resources and burgeoning markets. Companies are preparing for this race by probing deeper into their operations to find sources of value and risk that had eluded them before. It’s not about do-gooder business. It’s about smart business.

The concept of peak oil, or peak anything, is imperfect. New technologies and new discoveries have proven most estimates of the world’s limitations to be overly pessimistic. Unconventional petroleum products such as tar sands and shale gas products show that even if the extraction of conventional oil in its purest form has peaked, “peak cars” or “peak electricity” aren’t yet on the horizon. But as a framework for anticipating the world’s resource needs, peaks are a good way to survey the horizon.

This article is written by Eric Roston and originally appeared on Bloomberg.com.

APEX Global’s first training for 2012: Carbon Footprint

January 25, 2012. ECCI and APEX Global starts the year with a one day course on Carbon Footprint – Offset your indulgence with PAS 2050. PAS 2050 is a widely recognized methodology for accounting greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change.

As the United Nations Secretary General said, Climate Change is the major, overriding environmental issue of our time, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security, and other dimensions (www.unep.org).

The term ‘carbon footprint’ is commonly used but in many cases misunderstood. Carbon Footprint is a term used to describe the amount of GHG emissions caused by a particular activity or entity by an organization thus creating a quantitative method of assessing their contribution in climate change. The one day awareness held at New World Hotel, Makati City training explained the key principles of the methodology based on the principles of PAS 2050. Sustainability practitioners from DOLE Philippines, Hyundai Asia Resources, Sunpower Philippines, Nutri-Asia Inc, Monde Nissin Corp, and First Gas Power Corp attended the training which also provided the fundamentals of measuring carbon footprint and CF reporting. PAS 2050 provides a method for assessing the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of goods and services (jointly referred to as “products”). This can be used by organizations of all sizes and types, in any location, to assess the climate change impact of the products they offer.

Sustainability practitioners can look forward to the next APEX Global training on Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner on February 27 to March 2, 2012. For more information, please email training@eccigroup.com or call +6324038668.

Four Sustainability Trends to Watch in 2012

By Dan Probst

The worldwide movement toward sustainability has made significant progress over the past half-dozen years as companies and cities have pursued strategies that balance future and current societal needs.

Now, sustainable development is entering a new phase, characterized by greater alignment within and between the public and private sectors.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle has been the lack of consistent and comparable standards for defining and measuring sustainability. Although these issues have yet to be fully resolved, many well-coordinated initiatives in recent years have pointed the way forward for companies and cities.

In 2012, major trends shaping the sustainable development movement include:

Transparency – Buildings, companies and cities are measuring and disclosing energy usage, carbon emissions and other information relating to sustainability.Corporations don’t require legal mandates to encourage disclosure. In 2011, more than 3,000 companies, including 404 Global 500 firms, voluntarily reported their carbon emissions, water management and climate change policies to Carbon Disclosure Project in 2011, perhaps swayed by CDP’s 551 investor members, who use the information in deciding where to place more than $71 trillion in investment capital.

Global Consistency- Deeper sustainability reporting by cities and multi-national corporations has intensified the need for consistent ways to measure the effectiveness of energy, water and other sustainability strategies on a worldwide basis. Given the wide regional variation in environmental priorities around the world, the end goal may not be a single global standard, but a way to translate local government and business practices into a common global vocabulary for measuring effectiveness and recognizing achievement.

Public/Private Collaboration – 2011 stood out as a year when government and business organizations explored their shared green goals and realized that public-private partnerships and collaborative initiatives are often the best way to overcome obstacles to sustainability. Some of these joint efforts will start to bear fruit in 2012. As just one of many examples, airports and other government entities often have surplus land that’s unsuitable for commercial property development but could be leased to private companies for development as large solar energy installations.

Focus on Solar Energy – Solar energy installations at commercial properties drove much of the market growth in 2011, but the pace of new installations dropped significantly in the third quarter, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported.

The strength of the solar market in 2012 and beyond will be affected by several variables, including basic supply and demand economics, technological improvements, and the amount and type of available incentives. It is clear, however, that interest in solar energy continues to grow as payback periods grow shorter and fossil fuel costs continue to rise.

2012: Taking Sustainability to the Next Level

The common theme to all these trends is of an industry poised to break through to the next level. The industry has moved swiftly through initial phases of understanding the basic costs and benefits, implementing low-cost initiatives, exploring more sophisticated strategies, and navigating around roadblocks.

Today, it is easier to see the opportunity for dynamic progress by cities, property owners and corporate tenants that have laid the groundwork for growth and success.

This article originally appeared on Globe-Net. Dan Probst is Chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services at Jones Lang LaSalle.