Social Return on Investment (SROI) to measure extra-financial value

Organisations with a social purpose will want to know if they are achieving their social objectives. Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a method that can help organisations design systems that ensure they are gathering the information they need. Today, use of SROI is becoming “a way of thinking” for a variety of enterprises, from purely  investment-oriented to socially- driven organisations.

The concept of “blended value” is the idea of creating value as a function of economic returns with social and environmental impact. SROI help companies to understand, manage and communicate the social value that their work creates in a clear and consistent way with customers, beneficiaries and funders.It can help to raise finance for the business while managing risks and identifying opportunities. All in order to increase the social value or impact of your work.

Different organisations create value in many different ways, hence SROI can be very flexible. A consistent approach to understanding and accounting for social value means that you can communicate clearly where and how you create value in a trustworthy way.

Metrics to measure social value have proliferated, resulting in hundreds of competing methods for calculating social value. According to th SROI Network, SROI is based on seven principles, among others, we should consider:

Stakeholders engagement Understand the way in which the organisation creates change through a dialogue with stakeholders as a mean to understand their perceptions and expectations.

Understand what changes Acknowledge and articulate all the values,  objectives and stakeholders of the organisation before agreeing which aspects of the organisation are to be included in the scope; and determine what must be included in the account in order that stakeholders can make reasonable decisions

Value the things that matter Use financial proxies for indicators in order to include the values of those excluded from markets in same terms as used in markets

Only include what is material Articulate clearly how activities create change and evaluate this through the evidence gathered

But still there are several difficulties to achieve consistency and standardisation since each different business has wider effects than those reflected in their financial accounts.



Despite Apple has received widespread criticism for contractors’ labor issues and for its environmental and business practices, Apple does not publish a separate CSR report. On top of that, its website is the main media to inform about their environmental and social practices to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines G3/C were considered during the preparation of the information contained on their site. However, the GRI indices related to information disclosure briefly covers Governance, Product Environmental Reports, Recycling, Facilities environmental reports and Supplier Responsibility. Hence, it shows incomplete conformance with GRI indicators.

Apart from the CSR information contained in their online site, Apple published two relevant documents: Business Conduct, which is the equivalent to an ethical code, and Supplier Code of Conduct to address working conditions in Apple’s supply chain. Furthermore, we can obtain from their website the Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which details their efforts to improve worker protections and factory conditions including results from 2011 audits too.

In relation to the first one, the clear intention of the code is to protect the company and does not show commitment to its employees nor the community. New concerns in codes of business ethics cover customer-data protection, work-home balance or product responsibility, among others. But Apple´s Business Conduct treats the traditional key issues such as bribery and corruption, conflict of interest, etc.

This code does not go beyond righteousness or wrongness of human behaviour but shows more concern in protecting its intellectual property in order to secure its position in the market share rather than covering labor conditions.

One can state that Apple´s Business Conduct focusses more on employee ethics and governance rather than corporate ethics.  Its principles are intended for assuring full compliance with all laws and regulations in which Apple employees must operate under.

Regarding Apple´s Supplier Code of conduct, the code includes standards in the areas of Labor and Human Rights, Health and
Safety, Environmental Impact, and Ethics and Management Commitment.This one is based on the standard established by the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and was developed using internationally recognized standards from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and United Nations, among others. For the enforcement of this code, Apple executes onsite audits in suppliers.

In its efforts to address labor and human rights Apple is a member of the FLA, what means that Apple has opened their supply chain to an FLA auditing team that  measures their performance according the FLA’s Workplace Code of Conduct. In March the FLA announced it had found some violations at Foxconn plants, after auditing its facilities. Foxconn responded by reducing employee working times and addressing various code violations.

Despite the abovementioned actions, Apple shows little transparency and disclosure through its website. This one provides particular cases in which they tackled issues such as migrant labor, underage labor, excessive work hours, discriminatory policies and conflict-free materials. But it is needed further description and information, not only about corrective actions undertaken for each case, but preventive actions, these ones should respond to the identification of potential sources of non-conformity and must prevent irresponsible actions.

In relation to the environment, in November 2011 Apple featured in Greenpeace´s Guide to Greener Electronics that ranks electronics manufacturers on sustainability, climate and energy and how green their products are. The company ranked 4th out of 15 electronics companies (moving up five places compared to the previous year).

As mentioned before, Apples CSR activities seem to be more corrective and reactive in response to external pressures and scandals. Furthermore, it shows a clear lack of information disclosure, partly due to the absence of an audited CSR report which provides detailed information to a wide range of stakeholders. Apart from disclosing information, we are still missing actions from Apple with a social purpose such as supporting the development of technology that contributes to social change. Today being the world’s most valuable company also means being one which we have very high expectations of. But for being a reference in sustainability, Apple has a long way to go.


SMEs and sustainability

To consider sustainability with regard to SMEs we must have an understanding the specific features of these ones. Among the characteristics of SMEs we can find adaptability, flexibility, focus on local markets and  innovation. This type of enterprise tends to address market “niches” and choose a distinctive market positioning that differentiates them from that set them apart from other companies. They are source of job creation and wealth accounting for 60 to 70 per cent of jobs in most OECD countries.

Important is to take into account that in SMEs the owner generally has control over most strategic decisions. In this sense the background, character, values and beliefs of the owner will  have a direct impact on the strategic orientation of the Enterprise. In the ideal case being active when implementing sustainable strategies in the core business means the wish to be responsible, the aim to do the right thing. When things are done this way they can achieve an emotional engagement with their key stakeholders based on effective dialogues. This can lead to public support, enhanced reputation, differentiation, minimization of costs and risks.


The Natural Step: integrating sustainability principles into business core strategies

The Natural Step is a non-for-profit organisation dedicated to education, advisory work and research in sustainable development. They work with a diverse range of corporations, municipalities, academic institutions and not-for-profit organisations that have proven that moving strategically toward sustainability leads to new opportunities, reduced costs, and dramatically reduced ecological and social impacts.

One of the most interesting concepts showed was “backcasting” which they consider central to a strategic approach for sustainable development. It is a way of planning in which a desired outcome is imagined in the future, followed by the question: “what do we need to do today to reach that successful outcome?” This is more effective than relying on what business use to do, forecasting, which tends to have the effect of presenting a more limited range of options, obstructing creativity and it translates the problems of today into the future.

Planning from a sustainable future scenario, would seem to be shaky, as we can not  predict the future precisely. However, despite not being able to outline a sustainable future scenario in detail, we can agree on basic conditions or principles that must apply in any sustainable society and can be replicable to any sector.

The TNS Framework is a planning approach called `backcasting from four principles´.

1- concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust: eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of substances extracted from the Earth’s crust (for example, reducing our dependance on fossil fuels)

2-concentrations of substances produced by society: eliminate our contribution to the progressive buildup of chemicals and compounds produced by society (for example, dioxins)

3-degradation by physical means: eliminate our contribution to the progressive physical degradation and destruction of nature and natural processes (for example, over harvesting forests);

4-people are not subject to conditions that systemically undermine their capacity to meet their needs: eliminate our contribution to conditions that undermine people’s capacity to meet their basic human needs (for example, ensuring proper working conditions).

I found this four system conditions simple and basic as a must for any framework. It provides comprehensive guidance for any individual or any organization interested in addressing the sustainability challenge. With these principles TNS provides the description of success – the vision – of a sustainable future scenario that we need to be able to backcast.


Interesting facts about the food system in Portland City

During our study trip to Portland, in the U.S. state of Oregon, I enjoyed attending  very diverse presentations and talks related to practical approachs to implement sustainable business practices into the most local firms, such as Hot Lips Pizza, up to big businesses such as Nike, Inc.

It has definitely been an educational trip where we have seen profesionals from all sectors providing very interesting (first hand) stories and experiences, each one better than the previous. Additionaly I have very much enjoyed the city with its amazing and particular landscapes, original and artistic local stores, creative people and its sustainable building projects. Probably, due to lack of time, I feel this place could have enriched me even more.

But why is Portland the “Greenest City in the USA”?

Portland is known for its commitment to positive change. Doing some research about the city´s plans, I found out some background reports on development, health and safety, arts and culture, resources, energy and food systems in Portland.

The last report gives some interesting findings and recommendations to improve their local food system . Many of us are aware of the increasing obesity rates in the US. With 74.6% of Americans being overweight, I have been very surprised with the proliferation of organic and natural grocery stores in the city such as Whole Foods Market. One of my first assumptions was that Portland citizens are living a healthier and a more fit lifestyle than other citizens in the US. Susprisingly after reviewing the Food Systems report, I found out that Portland faces different challenges regarding to its food system.

The city of Portland is experiencing increasing rates of obesity and diabetes and some areas of the city have few food access options.  While rates in the city are generally on par or better than surrounding states and the nation as a whole, they are still above national targets. So why if Portlanders have the option to buy fresh and healthy products, they are still facing the same problems as many other american cities?

The problem is limited to certain areas of Portland, many of which have higher concentrations of poverty and they lack full-service grocery stores, community gardens and farmer markets.  Access can be seriously compromised if there are no grocery stores in particular areas, existing stores might be difficult to get to using the existing transportation options; food might not be affordable; or grocery or convenience stores might have limited healthful foods.

It is evident that people with easy access to healthful foods and limited access to unhealthful foods would tend to eat healthier, including more fruits and vegetables in their diets . This will result in improved nutrition and overall health.

The problem is that in many cases, low-income people travel long distances to reach affordable quality food. Within this context the City of Portland could make efforts to expand the access to healthy foods by planning for new food outlets while supporting existing outlets to provide more healthy and affordable products.

With this particular case I have learnt that obesity issues may be related in many cases to cultural aspects, however after deepening a bit more on the topic you can find out many other diverse and justified reasons for this unhealthy trend. Furthermore, serious doubts arise when thinking on how such a sustainable city still faces basic problems such as assuring accesibility to healthy local food to its communities.

For more information:

Food Systems- Portland Plan Background report




Climate Change | The Egypt Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling PoA

The parties involved in this PoA are Arab Republic of Egypt (host) and Denmark considered as Project participant. The PoA Lifetime is from 30 Jun 2011 – 29 Jun 2039.

General Operating and Implementing Framework of the PoA The Egypt Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling Program of Activities (PoA) has been designed by the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to support the enforcement of Traffic Law 121, which states that owners of mass transport vehicles that are greater than or equal to 20 years old wont be able to obtain license renewal. “Mass transport vehicles” are defined as taxis, microbuses and buses. All vehicles implicated by the law are eligible under this PoA. Traffic Law 121 was issued on June 9, 2008 and became effective on August 1st 2008.

The abovementioned Law was designed to accelerate the rate of fleet replacement, which would have two main benefits, improve air quality (including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) and reduce the number of traffic accidents involving these older vehicles.

The following table and red marks show that on average more than 62% of vehicles in Egypt are more than 22 years old, and 28% are more than 32 years old.

Average Age of Registered Taxis in the Greater Cairo Region and in Egypt

But this Law has some failures and it does not specify how affected vehicles are to be disposed of and secondly is not enforced properly, so vehicle owners have strong incentives to fail to comply with the law by:

a)  continue to operate; b) sell vehicles to regions to operate as taxis where the enforcement of the law is poor; c) convert vehicles to their own private use in case of taxis (such conversion to private vehicles and use by their own is allowed  by the Law); d) dismantle the vehicles and sell the engines for use in other vehicles.

The objective of such a scrapping and recycling program is to ensure that the older vehicles are definitely taken off the road and that the vehicle components are permanently and adequately disposed of, in this way Law 121 can have a better impact on road safety, air quality, and greenhouse gas mitigation.The Egypt Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling PoA fills this gap, without contradicting other regulations.

The Contribution to Sustainable Development of the Host Country in Egypt is:

· Reducing the level of urban air pollution generated by old vehicles, and indirectly this will mean a reduction of health problems related to this such as bronchitis, lung cancer, and heart disease,

· Reducing the number of traffic accidents associated with older vehicles;

· Supporting the local automobile components and vehicle assembly industries; and

· Supporting technology and the needed process for vehicle recycling( i.e. collection of vehicles at suitable treatment facilities)

And I will add to these contributions towards sustainability waste prevention from old vehicle scrapping.

On December 31, 2008, five auto dealers signed a Protocol with the Ministry of Finance, showing their willingness to participate in taxi CDM programme activities (CPAs) under the PoA.There is a filter for the acceptance or rejection of new vehicles, acceptance will be given to those vehicles that are locally manufactured/ assembled.

Problems if SSC CPA is not implemented:

1. Without external financial assistance it will be difficult for the Government of Egypt to achieve its intended enforcement of the law .This legislation will have a substancial and lasting impact on affected vehicle owners who cannot afford buying new vehicles. Government of Egypt has stated that in relation to those taxis that are affected by the law, many of the taxi drivers are from low-income groups, and are generally unable to replace their cars without risking their own personal livelihood or borrowing at usurious rates.

2. The coordinating managing entity (CME) lacks expertise, these barriers are:

· Environmental management planning.

· Development of an on-going, auditable greenhouse gas monitoring and data

management plan.

This program is the first-of-its kind in the country and Ministry has no experience in dealing with monitoring and database management for the greenhouse gas activities, scrapping site management etc.

Therefore, the program is designed within an implementation scheme to assist mass transport vehicle owners with financial incentives considering CDM revenues and to support the Ministry of Finance to achieve its implementation.

In relation to the Contribution of the programme to technology/knowledge transfer the carbon credits also pay for capacity-building and data management capabilities to ensure that the processes are implemented properly. The CME has received technical guidance from the

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), as Trustee for the Danish Carbon Fund, for the design of an emissions monitoring scheme, as well as enhanced quality assurance and quality control procedures for the Scrapping Site. Specifically:

· Provide guidance on developing high-quality construction and environmental management plans;

· Review and provided recommendations for social impacts generated by the program;

· Develop a feasible on-going survey methodology and plan for monitoring greenhouse gas

emissions; and

· Take responsibility for annual program supervision, which includes evaluating compliance with the Framework Environmental and Social Assessment.

Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling Project Site

The main contribution of this kind of program is enhancing vehicle efficiency in the region as Egypt ranks among the 11 countries showing the fastest growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CIF, 2009). In addition , the Greater Cairo Region (GCR) has seen a dramatic increase in total vehicle registrations, with the number of vehicles more than doubling in l5 years. The Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs indicates that vehicle emissions in the GCR region contribute 26% of the total pollution from suspended particulate matter. In addition to environmental impact, the existing situation in the GCR severely impacts productivity and safety. In relation to productivity, under a business-as-usual scenario, during 2001-2022 the average trip speed in km/h would fall from 19 to 12 km/h, while the average commute time to and from work would rise to more than 1.5 hours.  This situation would result in some US$1.6 billion in lost productivity and other economic costs. So at the end, fuel saving and time saving will be indirect boosted factors resulting from the implementation of this PoA in addition to alleviating Egypt’s high road fatality rates.

For more information: PoA 2897  Egypt Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling Program


Innovation | Open innovation: Philips´ approach to improve people’s lives

The term of Open Innovation was created and hosted by Henry Chesbrough, Executive Director of the Center for Open Innovation at the Haas School of Business, this forum builds on a site intended to be a digital community where theory is put into practice.

Open innovation is an idea that encourages companies to make greater use of external creation of ideas and technologies in their own business, and in the other way allows also new internal ideas to flow out to other bussinesses.

This concept is presented as the opposite to the closed innovation process which relies on internal R&D and deep vertical integration. The strategy of close innovation is to profit from R&D we must discovery it, develop it and ship it ourselves to be the first in the market.

And a more formal meaning for open innovation is “the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively”  ( Chesbrough, H.; Vanhaverbeke, W. et al, 2006, p.1).

Traditionally, business development processes and the creation of new products took place within the company´s boundaries. Nevertheless several factors have led to the debilitation of closed innovation . In one hand, the availability of highly educated people has increased over the years, in addition to higher mobility of these ones across the World.  As a result, companies have greater access to large amounts of knowledge existing outside the boundaries of the companies.

It is important also to take into account increasing knowledge flows when employees move from one firm to another, they take their knowledge with them, resulting in knowledge that flows among bussinesses.

Secondly, the availability of venture capital to early-stage, high-potential companies has increased significantly , this gives opportunities to good and promising ideas and technologies to be further developed outside the firm.In addition other companies in the supply chain, for instance suppliers, play an increasingly important role in the innovation process.

As a result, companies have started to look for other ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their innovation processes.

For instance through active search for new technologies and ideas outside of the firm, but also through cooperation with suppliers and competitors, in order to create customer value. Another important aspect is the further development or out-licensing of ideas and technologies that do not fit the strategy of the company.


Philips Group Corporation is the largest electronics company in the Europe. In 2010, it revenue was €25.42 billion, it employs around 114,500 people across more than 60 countries.

Philips has operated was founded in 1891. It is concentrating on three main areas: healthcare, lifestyle and technology. The mission of the company is to improve people’s everyday life through meaningful innovations and its strategy is also based on innovation, where key characteristics are the re-allocation of resources, the leverage of brands and core competences, partnerships with key customers and suppliers, strong intellectual property position, business transformation and operational excellence.

Philips has divided its businesses into six categories: Domestic Appliances and Personal care, Domestic Appliances & Personal Care (7 % from total sales), Lighting (16 %), Semiconductors (15 %), Medical systems (21 %), Consumer Electronics (28 %) and other activities (7 %). Because of this wide range of business areas synergies are important to Philips.

Philips spent € 2.6 billion to research and development in 2005. It has research laboratories in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, USA, China and India. In the last years, Philips has moved towards product-oriented R&D and directed resources to projects with short-term commercial prospects. (Philips, 2006a, 46)

Philips Corporation is an example of approach to open innovation through collaboration. It has had co- operation projects with other companies since 70s’ and nowadays it offers academic partnerships and co-operation to companies in many ways. It favours joint ventures as a collaboration form .

The most clear effort of openness is perhaps Philips’ research centre, High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. This is one of the world’s major private research organizations that creates breakthrough innovations in seven laboratories over three continents: Europe, North America and East Asia. It offers a highly innovative infrastructure, active engineering support as well as opportunities to work with Philips’ researchers to the other companies and institutes. Philips Research delivers: 1) roadmap innovations to support the existing businesses in the field of Healthcare, Lighting and Consumer Lifestyle, 2) innovations adjacent to existing businesses, 3) break away innovations to address new markets in line with the strategic direction of Philips.

Another case of Philips´ openness is the great effort the company does to encourage its workers to found ventures. Technology Incubator was designed for Philips’ technologies and Philips’ own employees to create new ventures from promising research projects and technologies that are not suitable for core businesses. The abovementioned incubator offers funding, facilities, business planning and partnerships to new start-ups.

Philips’ really tries to implement this open innovation thinking to the whole company. Vice president of Philips research, Jan van den Biesen (2004) sees that Philips is moving towards open innovation by replacing the outdated linear innovation model to a more open process allowing aid for open innovation by large firms, facilitating public-private partnerships, stimulating the public private mobility of researchers, redirecting state aid to research and innovation, allow innovation aid for SME and large firm alike and ensuring level playing field worldwide.

Do you want to know more about Open Innovation at High Tech Campus Eindhoven?

Imagen de previsualización de YouTube


Rural Development | Humanitarian aid system: interests in donor countries and disincentive effects in local production

The world’s system of humanitarian aid is extended as never before. Development aid has long been recognized as crucial to help poor developing nations grow out of poverty. Effective humanitarian response has a long-term impact, reducing the human consequences of disasters and building resilience. In 1970, in order to tackle poverty and vulnerability of citizens, the world’s rich countries agreed to contribute 0.7% of their GNI (Gross National Income) as official international development aid, annually. This figure means that for every $100 earned in the country, the country gives 70 cents in aid.

Since then, rich nations have rarely met their pledge of humanitarian response. Instead of 0.7%, the amount of aid has been around 0.2 to 0.4%, around $150 billion each year. A relevant example is the US, which is the largest donor in absolute terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target. In the March 2002 Monterrey Conference, 22 of the world’s wealthiest countries agreed to make accurate efforts towards the goal of contributing with 0.7 per cent of their national income as aid. This would provide enough money to raise the $195 billion per year.

Aid flows from OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor countries totalled $129 billion in 2010, the highest level ever, and an increase of 6.5% over 2009. This represents about 0.32% of the combined gross national income (GNI) of DAC member countries, still half of the pledged target.

The DAC first defined ODA-Official Development Assistance in 1969 and is the key measure used in practically all aid targets and assessments of aid performance.

So are countries meeting the terms?

2010 International Aid Donated (Official Development Assistance)

In relation to food Aid, Oxfam International states that demand for food aid could conceivably double by 2020 and the system is already buckling. Donors’ budgets for food assistance are in monetary terms rather than tonnage, if food aid was counted on tonnes it will guarantee the provision of a minimum amount of food for recipient countries, regardless of food price fluctuations. With the current food aid system food price hikes erode their value.

In-kind food aid play a significant role in providing a vital lifeline when in a country food is unavailable, but often what happens is that the food is there but its prices are too high. In these cases, providing cash or vouchers is more efficient, and  will not undermine the livelihoods of local producers and traders, as in-kind food aid often does. But still donors are providing disproportionate amounts of in-kind aid, why this happens? Just because this system suits vested interests of donor countries.

The USA is the world’s biggest food aid donor, providing practically half of the world’s food aid. But its programmes benefits more to agricultural producers and shipping companies than the countries suffering famine. Rather than donating cash to humanitarian organizations , American taxpayers first pay their farmers to  produce food, then pay a premium to buy it as food aid, and then pay another premium for it to be transported across the world. U.S. law requires that food aid money be spent on food grown in the U.S., at least half of it must be packed in the U.S. and most of it must be transported in U.S. ships. The Oxfam report, “Band Aids and Beyond,” claims that is far more expensive and time consuming than buying food in the region. “For roughly $1 spent on aid, the U.S. taxpayer is paying $2 to get it here,”

As the largest food aid donor, the USA sets a standard for others, and China, which is becoming a major donor in the food aid system, seems to be following its model.

The problem with all the abovementioned situation is that local economies had too often been altered by an ineffective introduction of funds and aid easily ending in donor-dependency . If projects were locally implemented and managed, funds would be used more effectively and coherently. In conclusion, by improving local capacity and implementing a long-term system on development,  growth and progress of developing countries would be far more effective.

Despite any good intentions from donor countries, what happens with this kind of tied aid?

In 2004, Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which provides food aid on behalf of 15 churches and faith- based agencies, mobilised their supporters to campaign against tied Canadian food aid, 90 per cent of which by law, as in the case of US, was sourced from national farms. One year later due to growing popular pressure, politicians the opportunity to untie 50 per cent of food aid. Continuing momentum grew until food aid was untied completely in May 2008. Today, Canada chairs renegotiation of the Food Aid Convention, promoting similar reforms to food aid globally.

Untying food aid allows humanitarian agencies to better taylor their response to the specific situation and needs to decide what is more benefitial for the recipiente country, purchasing food on local markets, or providing cash or vouchers so that people can buy their own food.

A good example of how to enhance family agriculture is BOLSA FAMILIA PROGRAM IN BRAZIL. Brazil’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program helped millions out of the poverty and is considered one of the most effective social protection programs in the world, having helped raise approximately 20 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2009 and well as significantly reducing income inequality. (The World Bank, 2010).This program involves transferring about US$20 per month to the poorest families in situations of food insecurity.

While investing on family agriculture, this kind of program makes countries less “aid” dependent and highly targets its measures to those who need most the aid. There seems to be growing evidence of the benefits of cash transfers over in-kind transfers, such as direct food aid.


The World Bank. Lifting families out of poverty in Brazil-Bolsa Familia Program (2010). Retrieved February 4, 2012, from:,,contentMDK:20754490~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:322341,00.html


Climate Change | Indian Case: Climate Vulnerability Monitor and Global Adaptation Index

The Climate Vulnerability Monitor (CVM) is an independent global assessment of the effect of climate change on the world’s populations brought together by panels of key international authorities.

Developed by DARA (international organization) and the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the report is meant to serve as a new tool to assess global vulnerability to various effects of climate change within different nations. This report reminds us that adaptation can help protect people’s livelihoods and strengthen their resilience.

The CVM carries out a global assessment of vulnerability to different aspects of  climate change including its Health Impact, Weather Disasters,  human Habitat Loss and Economic Stress on key industries  and natural resources.

But what effects does this monitor measures?

Health Impact (deaths due to climate-sensitive diseases), Weather Disasters (deaths and damage caused by storms, floods, and wildfires), Habitat Loss (populations at risk to desertification and sea-level rise), and Economic Stress (industry and asset losses). There a lack of more specific data regarding the Facuss they have taken into account for the indexes.

The following figures show where those impacts which are taking place in India from the year 2010 to 2030.

The arrow between 2010 and 2030 represents the change in vulnerability from one decade to the other. According to the scale, in the specific case of India it indicates that the overall vulnerability of the country is acute.

For 2030 acute vulnerability is shown in two impact areas: Health and Habitat loss.

High vulnerability is maintained in the current economic stress in India. And weather disasters will remain in moderate vulnerability in 2030.

Chief among the known drivers of climate vulnerability are poverty, governance, and gender development, as outlined in the 2007/08 UNDP Human Development Report. From this starting point, some preliminary analysis has been conducted comparing the Monitor’s findings with three well-recognized indices of headline climate vulnerability drivers: the Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and, most recently, the Multi- Dimensional Poverty Index.16

The most pronounced is the apparent link between the Human Development Index and the Monitor, whereby human development steadily decreases with every factor increase in climate vulnerability.

For example in the case of India it is important to take into account that Gender development is particularly important for human health impacts of climate change, which disproportionately affect children in developing countries, who are most likely cared for by their mothers or other female family members or friends.

The second index to asses is the Global Adaptation Index (GAIN) which summarizes a country’s Vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges on the one hand and its Readiness to improve resilience on the other hand. Vulnerability index measures a country’s exposure, sensitivity and ability to cope with climate related hazards, as well as accounting for the overall status of food, water, health and infrastructure within the nation.

India is the 59th most vulnerable country and the 18th least ready country. It has a high vulnerability with a score of 0,411, but this has been in continuous decrease since 1995, when the score reached 0,46.

This index is more complex than the one before, GAIN studies the vulnerability of a country per sector or per component. For instance when we look at the sectors measured we find the overal status of food (food production, nutrition and rural population), water (ability to provide clean water), health (ability to provide health services) and infrastructure (coasts, energy and transportation). India denotes the worst vulnerability scores in rural population and Health workers per capita.

This index also studies vulnerability of a country per component (exposure, sensitivity, capacity). IPCC uses these three terms to define vulnerability .  The greater the exposure or sensitivity, the greater is the vulnerability. However, adaptive capacity is inversely related to vulnerability. So, the greater the adaptive capacity, the lesser is the vulnerability.


Strategic environmental assessment and land use planning: case-study in Holland

Goal: Analyse the situation of the Netherlands with respect to strategic environmenaal assessment within the context of land use planning. It is focused on the process of implementation of European Directive 2001/42/EC (SEA Directive), the SEA Directive was not implemented untill september 2006.

Case study: Spatial strategy plan for North Holland-south

The south of the Province of North Holland constitutes the Northern part of the Radstad, which has almost two million inhabitants, and faces some development issues. This includes the growth of Amsterdam, the growth of Schiphol national Airport, the economic restructuring  of the North Sea Channel harbour and industrial area, and the perceived need to build about 150,000 new houses by 2020.

The strategic planning procedure started with a report published in the spring of 2001 that included a description of the area and the challenges it was facing. The aim was to develop a strategic view of the area as the first step in the preparation of a regional spatial plan, the main objective was to maintain and strengthen the economic driving force.

The provincial government voluntarily decided to prepare a SEA report. Following the Project-oriented EIA procedure. The EIA Commission appointed an independent Group of Experts which published a guidance on aspects to be studied in August 2001. Finally the SEA report was published in April 2002 together with a draft spatial plan, three months later the Commision working Group, after evaluating the documents they published, stated that the SEA report offered enough information to make a decision of future lines of development in the area.

The EIA Comission struggled with two main issues: construction of alternatives and how to evaluate the strategic information presented.

The Commission observed that the alternative strategic development concepts were not totally alligned with the central objective, these development concepts were based on traditional housing, transport and Business area considerations. Since economic, social and water, management sub-goals were not shown as alternative developments, the policy dilemma was blury.

In relation to the second issue the discussion between the EIA Commission and authorities did not result in the search of new alternatives, and they set up a quantitative score for traditional impact categories for a set of eight Basic policy alternatives:

Overall the SEA was judged to be useful by provincial government. The consultation of the general public did not result in  relevant feedback because the debate was at too general level. The SEA took about a year, too long for those preparing the formal regional spatial plan, this explains the lack of willingness to achieve alternative concepts.

An emphasis on broad qualitative assesment instead of a focus on accurate quantitative impact assesment would have reduced some of the pressure on time.


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