Questions persist over giant Chinese soy trader’s traceability

The Chinese agribusiness giant COFCO International released plans in July to achieve full traceability of its direct soy suppliers in Brazil by 2023, an effort that could help curb the devastation of the Cerrado savanna biome. However, environmentalists say the plans falls short on transparency.

“Soy production can go hand in hand with the conservation of forests and native vegetation,” Wei Peng, head of sustainability at COFCO International, said on announcing the pledge, adding: “We make our traceability commitment public because we are prepared and we want to be held accountable for it.”

In rece

Green products startup Bizsu hires Dr Snigdha Sharma as sustainability advisor

Bizsu, a sustainable products firm based in Singapore, has hired environmental engineer Dr Snigdha Sharma as environment and sustainability advisor.

Sharma, who holds a doctorate in environmental science, joins the year-old startup to drive greater adoption of sustainable product procurement and practises among businesses in Asia.

Launched in 2019, Bizsu distributes sustainable products, including plant-based packaging, bagasse tableware, compostable and reusable plant bottles and low-energy airconditioning solutions.

Indigenous rights undermined for hydropower in northern Indian state

Imagine having to fight four legal battles over 10 years for what is yours even according to the Indian Constitution. This is what has happened in the case of the Kashang Integrated Hydro Electric project located in the district of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh.

Kinnaur is recognised as Schedule V (with special rights) under the Constitution, because its population is predominantly comprised of forest-dwelling

To cut plastic packaging waste in cities, curb air pollution

Plastic waste is a growing environmental problem, with over 300 million tonnes consumed a year and an estimated eight million tonnes entering and polluting the seas and oceans each year.

China alone discharges between 1.3 million and 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste into the sea each year. It is also one of the world’s largest users of online food delivery platforms. Each day, 65 million meal containers are said to be discarded across China, and office workers contribute to over half of the trash, the researchers noted in their study, Air pollution as a determinant of food delivery and related plastic waste.

While we see more research on the impact plastic pollution is having on the natural environment, there has been less work trying to understand the human behaviour that drives plastic poll

Land eight times the size of Bali burned in Indonesia in last five years: Report

Greenpeace blames Indonesia’s poor law enforcement for the recurring crisis, stating that the government has failed to uphold pledges to prevent fires and punish companies behind the blazes, made after the catastrophic fire episode in 2015.

Broken promises

Indonesia’s 2015 fire season, which destroyed 2,6 million ha of land, was its worst in nearly two decades, with the blazes generating more carbon dioxide emissions than the United States’ entire economy for almost a month.

They also shrouded much of Southeast Asia in toxic haze that resulted in an estimated US$16 billion in economic losses and caused respiratory illnesses in hundreds of thousands of people across the region, sparking a diplomatic row with neighbouring Singapore and Mala

ABN Amro Asia Pacific sustainability chief departs as bank cuts non-European corporate finance business

The Asia Pacific head of sustainability of ABN Amro has left the business, as the Dutch multinational bank scales back its operations in the region in the wake of the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

ABN Amro exited the corporate and institutional banking sector outside of Europe in August after reporting second-quarter losses, at an estimated cost of about 800 jobs globally. 

The restructures sees APAC sustainability head Ghislaine Nadaud move on after 14 years with the company.

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New Zealand PM Ardern urged to apply crisis skills to climate change

New Zealand’s re-elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should use the skills she honed in successfully crushing the threat of Covid-19 to focus on a green recovery and help farmers tackle climate change’s “nuclear-free moment”, environmentalists said.

Ardern, whose Labour Party won a landslide victory in the general election last weekend, made a name for herself by responding decisively to the coronavirus pandemic and healing the nation after the killing of Muslims by a white supremacist.

Having previously formed a coalition government with the Green Party, which secured a bigger 8 per cent mandate this time, Ardern famously called climate change “

The future of data centres in the face of climate change

The future of data centres in the face of climate change | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific

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Drought and hunger drive Nepal farmers to India, defying Covid ban

As an exceptionally wet monsoon season caused floods and landslides across much of Nepal, Buddhi Prasad Chaudhary, a farmer in the west of the country, was harvesting his rice early, after drought left it suitable only for animal feed.

Chaudhary, 27, uses groundwater supplies to grow some of the crops on his half-acre (0.2-hectare) farm in the Narainapur rural municipality of Banke district. But for a thirsty crop like rice, he depends on rain.

“It is almost impossible to grow rice using groundwater irrigation only,” said the farmer, who relies on rice farming to earn an income and feed his extended family of 10.

“This year is the first time I have had to buy rice, as my harvest won’t be sufficient for my family for the whole year,” Chaudhary told the Thoms

We need to mine deep-sea metals to power the energy transition: DeepGreen CEO Gerard Barron

The sort of deep-sea mining DeepGreen does involves scooping nodules of these metals off the ocean floor in a way that limits impact, says Barron, who grew up on a dairy farm in Australia, started his first business while at university, and founded an advertising technology firm before helping to set up and finance DeepGreen in 2011. There will be no deforestation, use of explosives, drilling, grinding or child labour—issues commonly associated with land-based mining.

Though negotiations to lay the regulatory foundations for commercial deep-sea mining have been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Barron is pushing for deep-sea extraction to go ahead even without a regulatory framework. This worries environmentalists who are opposed to any sort of excavation of the deep sea.

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