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TOP 10 Global Sustainability News | Sep 24 – Oct 10, 2020


No.10 COVID-19 to add as many as 150 million extreme poor by 2021

Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which was already slowing poverty reduction progress, the World Bank said on October 7.

The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to push an additional 88 million to 115 million people into extreme poverty this year, with the total rising to as many as 150 million by 2021, depending on the severity of the economic contraction.

Extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.90 a day, is likely to affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world’s population in 2020, according to the biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report. This would represent a regression to the rate of 9.2% in 2017. Had the pandemic not convulsed the globe, the poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020. (The World Bank)

No.9  WFP awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020

On October 9, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, the WFP provides assistance to 80 million people in over 80 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. (The Nobel Peace Prize website)

No.8 Chinese Enterprise Sustainability Index Report 2020 released

On September 27, at the CEO Forum on Sustainable Development during the China Top 500 Enterprises Summit 2020, the Chinese Enterprise Sustainability Index Report 2020 and the list of top 100 sustainable companies were released.

The report shows that the overall sustainability performance of Chinese enterprises in 2020 is steadily improving. Competitiveness differences among enterprises are obvious, and innovative development trends are emerging; digital and intelligent development are actively promoted, but the formulation and implementation of sustainability strategies still need to be strengthened; corporate environmental information disclosure is showing a good development trend, and the environmental governance shows good results; resource utilization efficiency continues to improve, and the establishment of a circular economy system requires long-term efforts. Enterprises generally perform well in social contribution, but a green consumer market needs to be strengthened.

The report suggests that enterprises should seize the opportunity of industrial transformation and upgrading to increase the proportion of mid-to-high-end products or green products and guide consumers for green consumption, helping achieve green and low-carbon circular development. (Henan Daily)

No.7  HSBC targets net zero emissions by 2050

HSBC will target net zero carbon emissions across its entire customer base by 2050 at the latest, and provide between USD 750 billion and USD 1 trillion (772 billion pounds) in financing to help clients make the transition, HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn told Reuters on October, 9.

It’s also committed to achieving net-zero emissions in its own operations and supply chain by 2030 and aims to reach a net-zero carbon client portfolio by 2050 in a step to align its business activities to the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

Quinn said in a statement, “Our net-zero ambition represents a material step up in our support for customers as we collectively work towards building a thriving low carbon economy.” (Reuters)

No.6 WWF launched China's first marine environment courses

On October 9, the Beijing office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and One Planet Fund (OPF) jointly released the first marine environment education courses "Guardian the Blue". The courses focus on four themes including "Understanding the Ocean", "The Importance of the Ocean", "The Problems Facing the Ocean" and "Guarding the Ocean", aiming to raise public awareness of the ocean, make clear of the threats to the ocean and its relationship with human, and call for participants in protecting the marine environment.
The course applied the theoretical framework of WWF environmental education curriculum, and invited experts and lecturers in fields of marine protection and environmental education to co-develop the courses. The moduls of the courses can be freely combined, so that different scenarios could be applied for all types of audiences. The localized environmental education can thus be conducted in different scenarios such as protected areas, schools, communities, and nature reserves. (China Environment News)

No.5 22 companies listed into “pursuer of excellence in sustainability”

On September 24, China’s first Pursuer of Excellence in Sustainability list was joinly released by the Social Responsibility Offices of China National Garment Association and China National Textile Apparel Council (CNTAC), together with the international fashion industry authoritative media WWD China. The list aims to honor companies prioritizing long-term interests such as social morality and human well-being, so that sustainable fashion can create more abundant and long-term social and economic value, thereby changing the living environment of all mankind.

The three organizations gathered 12 experts from the government, apparel industry, universities, and research institutes, to select companies from candidates based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the 12 sustainable development goals of the Chinese fashion industry. Finally, 22 companies including Bosideng, HLA, JNBY, HOdo, K-Boxing, Sateri and Semir, were listed. (WWD News)

No.4 G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting to promote safe travel and sustainable development

On October 7, the G20 Tourism Ministers held a ministerial meeting on a video conference, pledging to jointly address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic; promote recovery of the travel and tourism sector and realize its potential to drive faster economic recovery post health crisis; maximize the sector's contribution to inclusive and sustainable development; and further develop the sector as a key and resilient industry, contributing to the global economy and generating decent work.
Zhang Xu, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of PRC, said in his speech that China is willing to continue deepening the cooperation with other countries, sharing experience and promoting the prosperity of the industry. He proposed that, public sectors such as the government, should play a leading role in overall coordination of resources and optimize the business environment in tourism industry; private sectors such as enterprises, should be active in responding to the crisis and also making innovations; international organizations should function as a think-tank in providing advice for rapid recovery of the tourism industry. (Government portal of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s republic of China)

No.3 Iceland signed sustainable development agreements with financial institutions

On September 25, Iceland's prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir signed agreements with multiple financial institutions, including Icelandic pension funds, banks, insurance companies and investment funds, expressing the willingness of using funds to maintain sustainable development concerning Iceland's international obligations and the standards set by the Icelandic government. These include achieving carbon-neutrality by 2040, a target set by Iceland itself, as well as the Paris Agreement targets of greenhouse gas reduction, 1.5°C global warming limit, and the UN SDGs by 2030. (Sina Finance)
No.2 China to set up UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center

At the General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center.
The Centre in China will provide technical and capacity-building support to countries and to help the international community monitor and evaluate the implementation process of the Sustainable Development Goals using geographic information. Secured, reliable and scalable service platforms and innovative collaborative projects will enhance the critical role of geographic information data in global sustainable development. (China daily)

No.1 China released position paper at UN Summit on Biodiversity

On September 30, Chinese President Xi Jinping made the following four proposals at the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity: adhere to ecological civilization and increase drive for building a beautiful world; uphold multilateralism and build synergy for global governance on the environment; continue with green development and increase the potential for high-quality economic recovery after COVID-19; heighten the sense of responsibility and strengthen the power of action to tackle challenges to the environment. Proposed upon current problems and future perspectives, these proposals target challenges of global environmental governance and explore the path of harmonious co-existence between human and nature, indicating the direction of facilitating the coordination of economic development and ecological protection, and reversing biodiversity loss.
On October 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the High-Level Meeting on the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of The Fourth World Conference on Women. In his speech, President Xi addressed that women are creators of human civilization and drivers of social progress, and they have made extraordinary achievements across all fields of endeavor. In both containing COVID-19 and promoting post-COVID economic and social recovery, it is particularly important to address the special needs of women and deliver on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In his speech, Xi proposed China’s actions for the next five years, including “donating another USD 10 million to UN Women” and “continuing to fund the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education”. (CRI Online)

This article is translated from China Sustainability Tribune.
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