CSR IN SMEs: Values Becoming Valuable Once Shared

 

In an ever-changing world, re-thinking traditional concepts and frameworks is becoming a must, especially for the world of business where profit has always been the ultimate goal to attain.

The economic aspect, although crucial, has lost its monopole making room for other pillars that a business should take into consideration in order to survive in a highly competitive market.

Therefore, companies are no longer perceived as isolated entities detached from their environment and communities.

Nowadays, with the rapid evolution of social media, the balance of power has been completely transformed, giving stakeholders the right to put companies under the microscope analyzing their promises, behaviors and therefore demanding answers.

Transparency is no longer an asset that enterprises can proudly portray as a competitive advantage.

However, the way companies choose to communicate, and engage with their stakeholders can be a distinctive approach forging a unique corporate identity.

Hence, corporate responsibility is becoming a duty and a fact rather than a choice, putting the company´s reputation at stake, and its maintenance an ever-growing challenge.

 

The emergence of SMEs is a living proof that when it comes to corporate responsibility size does not matter.

Therefore, all the misconceptions that link corporate social responsibility with the company´s size and budget, are becoming ideas from the past.

However, in SMEs, savings in the budget are often achieved through innovation and eco-efficient measures.

Small and medium enterprises have been created as a response to a specific demand in society, justifying their size, structure and business focused on niche markets.

Stressing on the important fact that CSR is not a simple add-on to the company´s performance, SMEs are being created with responsibility at the heart of their mission, vision and purpose. They are being portrayed as role models due to their contribution to sustainable development and the contagious effect it is generating, by transcending the limits of the communities where they operate.

It is a well-known fact that change makers should start by looking at themselves in the mirror first, before changing the world. And that is exactly the strategy that is being adopted by SMEs.

Before engaging the external stakeholders, it is essential to start with the heartbeat of the enterprise itself; its people.

The employees are the doers, responsible to transform the owner´s words, promises and values into concrete behaviors, reflecting the cultural essence of the enterprise.

Therefore, internal engagement and motivation of the employees are key success factors.

When the source and the inside of the organization is healthy, it reflects on the outside, and translates the purpose of the business in the most honest way possible, straight to the heart of its stakeholders.

 

The staff is the mirror of any enterprise, their efficiency and passion feed on the inputs they receive from the top management. A management that believes and apply the values they  preach across the company.

In a world where focus is being set on increasing the market share, all businesses are looking in the same basket, whereas multiple sources of inspiration and innovation can be extracted, just by looking at their own businesses.

Coherence will start rising as soon as the actions of the companies start matching their promises.

Innovation is leading the way, and presenting new alternatives even in times of crisis. Innovative solutions that are focused on the core excellence of the SME seek, to achieve positive change by getting an increasing number of other enterprises on board for a collective and more influential impact.

“Doing good” does not contradict the purpose of business it complements it, and gives it an added value.

From the suppliers to the customers, SMEs are conscious about their position and the nature of the relation they are trying to build with every stakeholder.

 

By setting their own rhythm and trend, SMEs are forging the path of shared values, by getting all their stakeholders on the same boat and making them feel part of the company.

Decision-making is not management oriented anymore, brainstorming and collective input and feedback are humanizing the business.

 

Traditional top-down communication trapped in a hierarchic corporate context is being transformed into a lateral communication, where the messages are spread across the enterprise.

Nowadays, isolation offers rejection and interaction with other entities is a guarantee for survival, acceptance and trust.

Therefore, personal values coexist with the company´s values as well as the values shared by society as a whole.

Allowing all stakeholders´ values to be heard will enhance the love brand zone that every company is aiming to install towards their clientele, by trying to transform them into evangelists.

In other words, the goal is to create loyalty towards the brand, through emotional engagement.

 

Values define identities, and corporate identity is clearly a competitive advantage, since it sets the company apart from its tribe.

According to Roy Disney: “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are”.

 


When Social Meets Business

Before the social enterprise concept even came to life, the limit between the profit and non-profit world has never been so clear.

Social issues were addressed within the context of a non-profit organization through fundraising and humanitarian aid, whilst business was focused on profit and market share increase.

The possibility of bringing these two worlds together by introducing the human within the business and financial independency within the organization seemed to be a challenge especially when these entities were already in place and functioning.

Hence, the social enterprise was created to reconcile the business sense of a company with the social cause of an organization, within one entity.

And what globalization has introduced implicitly, is the opportunity to combine and merge different concepts and principles, that even though different from the outside, will eventually lead to innovation.

Caught between social engagement and profit, is social entrepreneurship in an identity crisis or is it an innovative concept?

For a traditional enterprise success is linked to the amount of profit that has been made, whereas for a social enterprise measuring the efficiency of the project is directly linked to the social aspect. Considering that the social or in other words the targeted community is the reflection of the success or failure of a social enterprise.

The challenge is to maintain the balance between the social purpose and the financial sustainability to keep on feeding the enterprise.

Furthermore one of the pros of social change is its contagious ability; by bringing more people on board, the replicability of the project becomes a natural answer rather than a pure financial study only focused on numbers and profit.

The passion and motivation of the social entrepreneur is significant to the sustainability equation. Whereas the selection of a meaningful career is crucial when it comes to the determination of the entrepreneur.

 

 

Being part of the social change circle, gives a personal satisfaction that leaves the social entrepreneur wanting more and working harder in order to enlarge his scope of social impact.

Whether a person is a social entrepreneur or an intrapreneur within his company, change is the main and final destination, however the road to take in order to get there is totally up to them.

 

We live in a time of crisis where social, environmental and economic problems are becoming part of our daily lives. Tackling these social issues leaves a lot of room for creativity and innovation.

A difference in perception is clearly what distinguishes a social entrepreneur from a business entrepreneur. Whereas by looking at the same problem, some people have the ability to see it as an opportunity for change rather than an issue to be solved by keeping it as such.

Empowerment is key when talking about social entrepreneurship, by breaking the vicious cycle of dependency that charity has created, people become more self-reliant, and in power of their own destiny.

Becoming an agent of change is a responsibility within itself, but once success comes along motivation and determination become the sustainability drivers of the social enterprise.

 

According to Sharad Vivek Sagar: “If money could have changed the world, money would have changed the world”.

 

 

 


Innovation at the heart of Nike

Just like its athletes, always ready to take on new challenges, breaking records is the way business is done at NIKE. A multinational company that strives at pushing the envelope regarding sustainability through innovation. The importance of these two pillars is embedded by the sustainable business and innovation team managing the lifecycle of a product and its compliance with environmental responsibility.

Over 16000 materials are used in the production phase each year. A pair of shoes alone can use more than 30 materials. Keeping track of the products from their source till their fabrication phase makes the impact assessment a manageable task. Therefore, innovative tools are being created to manage sustainability.  The product creation teams use the Nike materials index to select eco-friendly materials through the innovation project placemat following four strategic steps; Explore, Develop, Pilot and Scale, the level of responsiveness of a project to these core pillars should be an indicator of its sustainability level and potential. Each material’s impacts are assessed in the areas of energy, chemistry, water and waste, to understand each phase independently and how it integrates with the ecosystem, representing the value chain of the company.

Engaging the entire business from suppliers, factories to farmers growing the organic cotton, the main goal is to deliver products and services that combine a high level of performance, innovation and sustainability.

Two additional sustainability indexes are being implemented as well regarding manufacturing, footwear and apparel.

The sustainability journey continues for Nike, and its success is strongly dependent on the innovation factor that the company feels strongly about, making it its culture and main driver of its business, by setting Nike apart from its competitors.

Nike believes that innovation comes in different colours and shapes. Equally important they serve as a response and main tool to many challenges, by increasing the probability of the impossible becoming possible through breakthrough ideas.

The disruptive idea category, is more of an “avant-gardiste” idea that has never been implemented before. Nike is keen on developing this area of expertise that will forge his pioneer identity on the market. The revolutionary innovation come as secondary and is related to the creation of  new ideas followed by the evolutionary category that addresses short term solutions.

Envisioning more growth for the future is a fact for companies. In the case of Nike being a 32 billion dollar company is just a transitory phase that will lead to 37 billion in 2017. Innovation is a key to tackle all obstacles standing in the way of achieving this goal.

From trying to determine what type of sole would be ideal for running shoes, to actually using a waffle maker to create it, this experiment placed Nike on the map, as a leading company in tailoring efficient products for athletes.

According to Steve Jobs; “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

Having achieved their leadership on the market, Nike intends to expand it to the sustainability arena as well, since leadership doesn’t recognise division.

 


Farmers’ Market: Bringing Rural Flavour Into The City

When it comes to the public opinion, rural areas can evoke poverty, a distant location where farmers are attached to their lands unable to play a role that will make them part of the urban scenery as well.

 

This superficial image of farmers’ potential and skills was the incentive behind the creation of a project aiming to establish a weekly farmers’ market in Lebanon.

This market will promote organically produced goods of local producers, and will moreover support small-scale farmers for a direct-to-consumer marketing.

In a small country like Lebanon where you can go from Beirut the capital to the village in less than one hour, talking about an urban-rural blend is a possibility far from fiction.

 

 

In an aim to bring these two worlds together, the idea of an “Organic Farmers’ Market” was born, as a tentative to link urban residents to producers living in the geographic vicinity, and therefore strengthen the linkages among the two communities

This project is a partnership between a private company making its mark in corporate social responsibility and the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU), in the American University of Beirut.

This development project aims to foster an idea that translates Lebanon’s attachment to its roots and tradition.  By bringing the rural flavor into the city, the challenging situation of the farmers will be addressed.

 

Based on a study by the United Nations Development Program about 28.5 per cent of the Lebanese population, including rural people, lives below the upper poverty line of US$4 a day, 8 per cent of which is under the lower poverty line of US$2 a day.

The poorest people live in the rural areas and are mainly small farmers, livestock herders, fishers, and women who are heads of households.

Farmers live in isolated communities, with limited access to credit and banking services necessary to engage in income-generating activities.

The vulnerability of the Lebanese rural areas is repeatedly put to the test. The 2006 hostilities caused damage to the country’s entire economic sector, infrastructure, agriculture and forests. According to an assessment conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in 2006, the damage that affected the agricultural sector, attained US$280 million. The war came as an added burden, complicating an already complicated situation.

Therefore, the Farmers’ market puts a strong emphasis on local capacity development and organisational strengthening of small-scale farmers, through:

 

Although some small-scale initiatives have been developed to promote the marketing of sustainable agro-biodiversity products, many small-scale rural producers in different regions still have difficulties in accessing such markets and information on better practices.

The main objective of the project is focused on promoting organic farming with certification to enhance environmental sustainability and improve the marketing of the locally produced organic products for small-scale producers and/or cooperatives.

Nowadays, poverty is being seen as an opportunity for development rather than a problem that is being marginalised.

The social perception is changing from simple assumptions to supporting innovative initiatives that tend to tackle a problem by adding different actors to the sustainability equation.

 

“A robust regional food system, that benefits eaters and farmers cannot be achieved in a marketplace that is controlled, top to bottom, by a few firms and that rewards only scale, not innovation, quality or sustainability” (Wenonah Hauter)

 

Sources :

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Lifestyle/2013/Aug-23/228304-from-seed-to-spread-at-zicos-farmers-market.ashx#axzz2ud4jBNxD

 

 


Responsibility: Far Beyond Finger Pointing

We live in a world where the word “threat” continuously makes the headlines, shaping all aspects of life on earth.

From scarcity of Natural Resources, climate change, illegal logging, toxic waste, deforestation, overexploitation to pollution… the list goes on showcasing a common denominator; Man’s interference with nature.

What has started as an instinctive exploration led by human curiosity, soon transformed into a limitless and destructive behavior. A living proof that what goes around comes around, and humanity is the one paying for it.

Organisations, governments, activists and humanitarians all around the world have taken it upon themselves to conduct this battle against the “disturbers” of the planet.

But can we identify those disturbers? Are they living on another planet planning to destroy ours? By pointing at them are we assuming that we, as individuals, as citizens of the world are not at fault?

We are all responsible for what is happening, by simply being part of a system and a set of mind that is being imposed on us in a modern and innovative package. We choose every day to measure the world and its problems according to our personal lives and whether or not it is affecting us directly. Forgetting that we are part of an ecosystem ruled by a chain principle, that is being disturbed, putting a considerable pressure on its carrying capacity.

The ever-growing development of technology allied with obsolescence, is becoming more of a state of mind than anything else. It is a human made recipe for a vicious cycle. A cycle with a new set of priorities dictated by profit even when human life is at risk.

Consumerism has proven to be the disease of this century. As a guarantee for their market survival, companies are creating and answering to limitless demands.  Everything has limits and nature isn’t exempt from this realistic concept. It is up to the human being to assume its responsibility by bringing sustainability into the equation. The simple acknowledgement of the bio-capacity of the ecosystem is a step forward towards measuring our footprint and managing our actions in a sustainable manner.

 

Responsibility is not a given, it is earned by the human consciousness.

According to Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today”. And this is what sustainable development is all about…

 

Sources:

http://www.rff.org/Documents/RFF-DP-05-14.pdf

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/global_scarcity_scramble_for_dwindling_natural_resources/2531/

http://www.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/pdf/Article%20in%20Journal%20of%20Economic%20Surveys.pdf

 


Land of The Cedars: Slipping into Deforestation?

Lebanese Flag

The symbol of a country is usually what forges its identity and sets it aside from the others.

Placed at the centre of the Lebanese flag, the cedar portrays the green essence of this country or what’s left of it.

What used to be described as the green carpet covering the mountains of Lebanon has sadly become a memory that number of NGOs alongside the government and the community are fighting to preserve and rejuvenate.

We always link negative environmental behaviour to the modern ages making the destruction of nature a new phenomenon brought on by industrialisation and modern technology. When in fact the depletion of natural resources goes far back to when humans discovered fire some half-a-million years ago. Cutting down trees was a vital activity for shelter, food and warmth. Wood being the guarantee for survival, the concept of deforestation came to life, transforming from a survival tool in the ancient times to an increasing threat today.

 

The cedars of Lebanon (cedrus libani) called cedars of God in Arabic, developed across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. After centuries of persistent deforestation, the scope of the forests started to decrease due to the intensive exploitation of timber by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Phoenicians and Egyptians.

Inhabiting the Lebanese shores, the Phoenicians were using cedar wood to build their ships for trading purposes and the Ottoman Empire used it in railway construction.

 

Agreeing on the fact that deforestation is not a recent phenomenon in Lebanon, doesn’t make it a problem of the past. In the old days, more than 50% of the land was covered with forests. Today, only 13% of forested area remain while only 4% represent the dense concentrated forests.

 

When will the Lebanese government start reconsidering its list of priorities that always places environmental problems at the bottom?

Some problems cannot afford to be postponed, making their impact irreversible.

Forest on Fire

Forest fires, among other natural and human threats, are a major player in this decrease, continuing to be one of the most dangerous, especially when the government is not properly equipped to encounter these ravaging fires. Acres of forests are destroyed yearly in a blink of an eye.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture 9.6 million trees (1200 hectares) of natural forests are burned annually.

129 fires were registered in 2004 resulting in 585 hectares of burned forest areas and 117 fires in 2005 spread in different regions.

The most impactful fires took place in 2007 known as the black day for the environment in Lebanon where 12 million trees of different cover types burned in one day.

As a result of this ongoing environmental tragedy, mystery persists behind the reasons of these fires; and whether they were intentional (for political reasons) or natural.

Looking for the source of these devastating fires is the only way to prevent them, especially when the effect of the forests that have been burned down twice within a period of 10 to 15 years cannot be restored naturally, and therefore their reforestation would cost millions of dollars.

The World Bank, estimates 100 million USD/year as the financial damage of the deterioration of the land and wildlife.

Deforestation can be prevented if governmental control is well exercised along with a law enforcement regulating the development of agricultural areas at the expense of forests as well as the creation of a national campaign for public awareness when it comes to biodiversity conservation.

Cedar Tree

The danger of desertification is becoming more of an actual fact than a probability. The civil society is mobilised to protect the forests through the creation of natural reserves. As a result of this effort “Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve” has an area of 550 km2 that hosts 32 species of wild mammals, 200 species of birds and 500 species of plants and additional reserves are being created all over the country for the preservation of the Cedars of God added to the UNESCO list of world Heritage Sites in 1998.

 

Globalisation puts all of us in the same boat especially when it comes to environmental problems. While some countries are using the right tools, others don’t even feel the urgency to own these tools.

 
Sources:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/?search=lebanon&searchSites=&search_by_country=&region=&search_yearinscribed=&themes=&criteria_restrication=&type=&media=&order=country&description

 

http://www.moe.gov.lb/Projects.aspx

 

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/lebanon_cedar.htm

 

http://www.wildlebanon.org/en/pages/advanced/a_lebanons_biodiversity.pdf

 


Sustainability: The Dimension of Human Feeling

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something”.  Edward Everett Hale.

 

After 15 years of civil war and uninterrupted inter-confessional conflicts, Lebanon was transformed from a battlefield to a laboratory where diverse political formulas have been tested for a well-functioning society. While talking about taking action is something that our government has done for decades, taking these words and actually putting them into practice has been a challenge that civil society has proudly taken on over the years.

Reality on the ground shows that civil society chose to act by bringing development into the equation using a collaborative approach. The latter consisted of creating a bridge between the private sector, the public sector, and civil society. A bridge that from the beginning, was seen as transparent and started overcoming opacity even more as soon as change in the community was being achieved. Companies willing to play the social responsibility card are seeking to partner with NGOs to improve community understanding. Partnering with the civil society gives both the public and the private sector a sense of community linkage Therefore, the bottom of the pyramid is evolving into an opportunity for sustainable change, rather than being seen as an obstacle.

This positive change led to public acknowledgement of NGOs as key development actors in the country. This change has been introduced through a bottom-up bottom-down negotiation, reducing the communication gap between citizens and their government. Volunteerism and engagement were seen through a different light. Citizens, empowered by the successes of these organisations, felt the urge to embody the role of change maker.

 

Usually when we talk about sustainability we see it as a result we are aspiring to attain. Therefore we build strategies, researches and statistics in order to make our project productive over time. I, however, would like to link sustainability to something more personal, giving it a humane dimension by telling the stories of two Lebanese citizens that founded their respective NGOs as a translation of their personal experience.

 

 

Lena Gebrane, is a mother who truly believes that feelings shouldn’t be property-owned, and that once shared, can become incentives for change in society. She felt devastated when her son Hadi was taken away from her due to a car accident that ended his life when he was only 19 years old. By choosing to act she founded an NGO by the name of “KUNHADI” to raise youth awareness on road safety through a new driving culture and keep youth safe on Lebanese roads, where around 520 people die every year due to speed and drunk driving.

 

“Donner Sang Compter” (DSC) (Give blood without expecting anything in return) is an NGO founded by Yorgui Teyrouz, a 20 year old student who decided to transform tragedy into opportunity after a personal incident made him think about the importance of giving back to his community. Due to a blood donation shortage in Lebanon, this organization conducts blood drives in collaboration with hospitals. By bringing innovative communication tools to the table, DSC was answering a vital need in society with more than 10.000 donors fulfilling more than 450 demands per month.

 

What can we say about these individuals that, in response to a painful feeling, made a difference that matured into solutions to national issues? How do we make this instinctive feeling sustainable in order to achieve a sustainable change in the world? The approach they both unconsciously used is people-oriented. The most honest feeling is the suffering of a human being. By listening to their broken heart they saw the bigger picture, the picture of positive change. Their NGOs started without a strategy or an advanced study, just an urgent response to a community need. However, working in the field brought in a more strategic approach, that consisted of placing the people at the heart of the project as a guarantee for its sustainability.

 

We always come across aspirational words and phrases filled with hope, beauty and promises. Words, that in the moment, create this sudden urge in us to become the best version of ourselves, wanting to change the way we are, the way we feel about the world, the people, our future, our children’s future…But is it enough? Do powerful quotes, and words that look good on paper have the same power when it comes to real life’s challenges? Do we still have the same urge once we become aware of the obstacles?

We choose to live what we’re feeling the way it suits us, we can either be the receiver by doing nothing, or the giver by using this destroying feeling and giving it back to others in the form of positive change.

Sources:

 


Beirut: From A City Under-Construction To City Of The Future

With a population of over 2.1 million and a size area of 20km2, Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon.

Throughout history and until the end of a fifteen year civil war (13 April 1975 -13 October 1990), Beirut has been destroyed five times, recreating itself over and over again. Rebuilding the future on the remains of a stolen past became more of a déjà vu that was being replicated with the uncertainty and instability that came with it.

Considered as the center of business, politics and entertainment in Lebanon, Beirut was the only place that embraced all communities, religions and cultures, and ironically enough it was the first place that had been destroyed. Instead of being seen as a sign of richness and uniqueness, the religious differences became a factor of separation and violence shredding the nation to pieces.

Therefore, rebuilding the city of Beirut had to go far beyond construction and architecture, putting together the broken infrastructure of its people, demoralized and demotivated by this endless scenario.

People being the heart of their cities, in the case of Lebanon, its capital was in the heart of its people, an incentive that placed Beirut back on the map as an emerging city, planning for a sustainable future

The chaotic atmosphere that reigned for fifteen years brought a considerable number of social and political issues that made the planning of the city a complicated task.

The contested transformation of Beirut is due to the ever-changing zoning laws that allowed developers to use more space for construction on their lots by building more skyscrapers. This increase in high rises made the streets even more congested, giving Beirut a saturated appearance that can seem overwhelming to some people preferring a more spacious environment with less noise pollution and higher exposure to natural lighting.
In many ways, architects seeking to improve the city’s green potential are attempting to retroactively correct an internal infrastructure that never had a master plan, and was an ad-hoc result of population densification.

This uncontrolled development was erasing the authentic heritage of the city, therefore it was a challenge to preserve the combination of French, Italian and ottoman houses that added to the natural mixed flavor of the city.

Moreover, the nature of the Government; where politics and sectarianism constantly overlap, comes at the expense of the common good, creating a lack of trust in the public sector.

The fact that the private interest is taking over the public interest, is leading to the creation of a marginalised community that is developing on the base of self-interest and self-satisfaction. Therefore, everyone is looking to fulfill their own needs leaving behind the concept of common good and community interest.

The cultural behavior of the community translates a self-detachment that should be more of a governmental concern especially when the real estate sector is evaluated as an important factor in the GDP. And that real estate owners have the power to decide how the city is going to be built, without any consideration to the community’s needs. As a result of that, real estate is seen as a productive sector whose sole purpose is to generate personal profit regardless to their responsibility towards a community they are part of.

A suggested solution would be to slap taxes on real estate development to be used specifically for the development of common good.

The boost in efforts to go green in the city is partly due to the Mayor of the municipality of Beirut; Bilal Hamad, leading the adoption of numerous eco-friendly projects. He believes that: “The environment is a very important issue for Beirut, where the ratio of green space per capita is the lowest in the area”

Lebanon’s capital has just 0.6 square meters per capita of public green space, a statistic that renders the city “unhealthy” by WHO standards. To correct the ratio, half the city would have to be demolished.

Beirut is below average where environmentally friendly urban planning is concerned. The solution should begin with the rehabilitation of the existing spaces, like the public gardens of Sanayeh, Sioufi and Geitawi.

The mayor’s hesitation to launch a full-scale green-oriented urban planning program might have something to do with the government’s protracted implementation process, which can take up to a year. Whereas having a grant would facilitate the process in terms of bureaucracy and timeframe challenges.

Getting a green light for these types of projects, is a difficult task especially when it comes to convincing investors that the high initial costs are worthwhile in the long term.

However, in terms of creating a more environmentally friendly city, smaller initiatives are not sufficient. More drastic measures should be implemented such as the Damascus Road project in order to make Beirut a qualified candidate when it comes to complying with international standards.

In 1992, and as a starting point in the rehabilitation process, the French Agency for Development Ile-De-France and the Municipality of Beirut signed an agreement for the Urban Development of the City of Beirut.

This agreement should enable the launching of multiple projects aiming at improving infrastructure that could revitalize activity in the capital.

According to the Ambassador of France in Lebanon, Denis Pietton: “Financing studies for the improvement of urban development in Beirut in terms of transport including non-aggressive transport vehicles, but even in terms of green spaces and street lighting.”

The project will focus on the construction of:

As a complementary approach to the rehabilitation process, awareness initiatives are being conducted by NGO’S through partnerships with the public sector, using sports as a team-building tool enhancing community engagement amongst citizens. Activities are being implemented on Sundays for people to enjoy their city and benefit from the areas that had been closed for this purpose.   Moreover these activities serve as a reminder that loyalty to ones country comes before religion and political affiliation.

The acknowledgement of a problem is half way to recovery, and the creation of bridges that could lead to solutions is a social achievement in itself.

Therefore, Beirut is on the right path for recovery.

 

Sources:

http://cmbeirut.org/content/promoting-non-aggressive-vehicles-beirut

 

http://www.codatu.org/calendar/november-7-2012-website-creation-region-ile-de-france-to-beirut/

 

http://www.idf-beyrouth.com/

 

http://attheedgeofthecity.wordpress.com/

 

http://www.worldviewcities.org/beirut/urban.html

 

 

 

 

 


CLIMATE CHANGE:VICTIMISATION OF A GENERATION BY ANOTHER

The gravity of a problem starts being noticeable when even enemies get together in order to put an end to it. Climate change is a natural fact that is becoming more dangerous by the day, threatening the well being and safety of human life in general, apart from their religion, nationalities and culture. Therefore, its negative impact doesn’t differentiate between developed and developing countries; when it comes to risks, all countries are on the same boat, a realistic fact that led to the creation of the First World Climate Conference (WCC) in 1979.

Thirty four years have passed since this conference took place as an international acknowledgement of the global impact of climate change, a stepping stone in a long battle that produced a considerable number of negotiations leading to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw on November 2013.

The logo of the UNFCCC translates perfectly the message to be spread, regarding the responsibility on an individual level. Whereas the green circle represents the “responsible” individual willing to raise awareness amongst other members of its community on the importance of adopting environmental-friendly behaviours, that can lead to a decrease in the negative impact of climate change.

In other words, climate change should become everybody’s business, everyone is responsible from the public sector, to companies, civil society, and even consumers that nowadays have the choice to make a responsible choice, by evolving into a conscious consumer.

The aim of this Convention is to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases; the main environmental pollutant due to industrial interference conducted by humans. As a result of that, controlling the CO2 emission will help reduce the fast development of climate change and its damaging impact by limiting the effect of climatic extremes.

Deforestation that is contributing at 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year, was one of the concerns discussed at the conference due to the importance of forests as regulators of the amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. As a tentative solution to this problem, the “ Warsaw Framework for REDD+” created a fund as a significant contribution to forest preservation in developing countries. As a second step in the support system offered to developing countries, the “Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage” was created in order to support developing countries in their struggle against Climate change like the Philippines and Vietnam, in desperate need for urgent action.

This support to developing countries was translated through a series of adaptation programs implemented on a national level in order to enhance the level of well-thought decisions leading to measurable results. Results that can portray the intensity of the impact on the environment, making the prevention and adaptation process more of a tailored response to the problem, rather than a random and spontaneous reaction. Therefore one of the goals on the action plan was the setting of the markets for the emission trading system that consists on putting a price on carbon emissions. These emissions are rising worldwide and with them world temperature, causing the negative effect of global warming.

The concept consists on the big polluters paying more, to get an allowance to pollute from countries having a smaller carbon footprint. Some would argue that taxation and simple regulation obtained through efficient public policies would serve as an incentive for decreasing carbon emissions, because the bargaining approach cannot be used to address the problem of pollution. It is a challenge that should be seen through a wider scope using the multi-criteria analysis that considers all the general factors, in opposition to the environmental valuation that by fixing a price on nature, fails to reflect the real value of it.

The UNFCCC Conference closed on a positive note, inviting all the countries to comply to this international commitment, as a guarantee for its success.

Given that these climate talks were a step forward towards the new climate agreement scheduled to take place in Lima and Paris in 2014-2015, governments have to prepare a draft text for their vision of a new universal climate change.

“Some things can’t wait”, this say serves as a reminder that time is our enemy when it comes to climate change, therefore prioritising is a must when the issue we are trying to solve concerns our existence.

 

Sources:

 


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