Poznan/Nairobi, 7 December 2008 - As nearly 200 governments are meeting to move forward a new global deal to address climate change at the UN climate conference, an increasing number of countries, cities, companies and organizations are committing to a low-carbon future by joining the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net).
The CN Net - established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - brings together countries, cities, companies and organizations that have set some of the world's most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "From a hip hotel which blends Shanghai's tradition and modernity to Thailand's largest supermarket chain to the biggest outdoor music event that communicates the environmental message to the global audience, the new Climate Neutral Network participants bring the low-carbon vision for the future to millions of people."
"I am also pleased to welcome the Pacific island nation of Niue, which is joining the CN Net in the country category. For many small island developing States like Niue climate neutrality is more than just a concept - it is a matter of survival. Finally, the two cities coming on board - Slough in the UK and Waitakere in New Zealand - exemplify that addressing climate change is part and parcel of urban sustainability," he added.
Are you climate NIUE-tral?
The Pacific island nation of Niue is the new country coming on board the Climate Neutral Network. It is hoping to become carbon neutral in the near future. Niue's own annual CO2 emissions are approximately 0.003 million metric tonnes for a population of about 1,700. The Government of Niue focuses in particular on the transport and energy sectors as the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions.
It promotes the use of energy saving appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs, and, in the case of transport, enforces maximum speed limits and encourages carpooling. It also works to cut down carbon emissions through better waste management and harnessing renewable energy resources.
Slough steps to climate neutrality
A historic stopping point for coaches travelling between London and Bath, Slough today has a population of nearly 120,000 and is one of UK's most culturally diverse communities. The Slough Borough Council's strategy includes having all public transport and council vehicles running on cleaner fuel and cutting its CO2 emissions by one-fifth in the next 20 years.
Waitakere is New Zealand's fifth largest city representing nearly five percent of the country's population. The city's Action Plan on Climate Change and Energy targets stabilizing per capita greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 and reducing them by 80 percent by 2051.
In climate neutral company
Companies and organizations big and small are joining the Climate Neutral Network. The eleven new participants are being announced today in Poznan are:
- URBN Hotels, China's first carbon neutral hotel;
- Tesco Lotus, Thailand's largest supermarket chain;
- Live Earth, organizer of large-scale environmental music & entertainment events;
- Ementor Group, Scandinavia's leading IT provider;
- First Climate Group, Europe's leading carbon asset management company;
- Biosphere Capital, carbon trading, technology and finance company;
- GHG, carbon management company working in Portuguese-speaking countries;
- Aeris Futuro Foundation, which created Poland's first CO2 calculator;
- IDEA, Paraguay's Institute for Environmental Law and Economics;
- Rios Tropicales, a Costa Rican eco-adventure company; and
- Yachay Wasi, a Peruvian NGO planting one million native trees in the Andes.
For More Information Please Contact
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when traveling: +41 795965737, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or: Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 20 762 3088, Mobile: +254 (0)728 600 494, or e-mail: email@example.com
Or: Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Information Officer, Climate Neutral Network, on Tel: +254 20 762 4387, Mobile: +254 721 847 563, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org/climateneutral
Notes to Editors
Information about the participants
URBN Hotels, based in Shanghai, prides itself on being the fist carbon neutral hotel in China. The hotel is implementing a wide range of measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, including water based air conditioning system, low voltage lights and electronic equipment which is automatically turned off when guests leave their rooms. An ivy 'green wall' in the hotel's courtyard increases thermal insulation, air purification, carbon sequestration and acoustic absorption. Ninety percent of materials used in URBN Hotels are recycled, including wood panels from Shanghai's old buildings.
With over 450 stores and 28 million customers per month, Tesco Lotus is Thailand's largest supermarket chain, which has recently opened the first "green store" in Asia. Tesco Lotus is committed to at least halving carbon emissions from its existing operations by 2020.
Live Earth is a US-based organization which leverages the power of music and entertainment to focus the world's attention on the issues and solutions of climate change. In 2007, Live Earth staged a 24-hour music event across all seven continents, featuring 150 of the world's leading artists and billions of fans worldwide participating. From planning to execution, the organizers placed the highest priority on ensuring sustainability of these massive simultaneous events. Successfully achieving carbon neutrality in 2007, Live Earth developed the Green Event Guidelines, a set of approved solutions to producing carbon-free and sustainable live events, which account for all elements of production from waste to power to transportation.
The Ementor Group is the leading provider of IT infrastructure products and services in the Nordic and Baltic region. It has pioneered a recycling scheme for servers, laptops and other IT equipment which is successfully marketed in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and soon to be implemented in Finland. The company has already cut its greenhouse gas emissions by one-third and expects to be climate neutral by 2010.
First Climate Group, based in Germany, is one of Europe's leading carbon asset management companies and an investment advisor to the Post 2012 Carbon Credit Fund established by the European Investment Bank. The company minimizes its own carbon footprint from travel and energy consumption, and offsets unavoidable emissions through verified emission reductions.
Biosphere Capital, which operates from its headquarters in Singapore, is an international advisory, project management and trading company in the areas of clean and renewable energy, specializing in emissions reduction technologies and finance. The company believes that it is possible to achieve exceptional financial returns in the context of the low-emissions economy.
Based in Portugal, GHG is a company that promotes climate change solutions through carbon management, including mitigation, offsetting and certification under the "e)mission" brand. GHG works with Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, and Guinea Bissau to help them develop clean energy technologies with carbon finance.
Working under the motto "Let's create a climate for the future", Polish NGO Aeris Futuro Foundation catalyzed the planting of 450,000 trees across the country. The Foundation also developed the first CO2 calculator in Poland to measure carbon footprint and identify the number of trees needed to offset its effects.
IDEA - Insituto de Derecho y Economia Ambiental (Institute for Environmental Law and Economics) - in Paraguay became climate neutral in 2008. In addition to reducing energy consumption in the office, IDEA supports a project in Brazil which works with communities to substitute firewood by rice husks.
Rios Tropicales is an eco-adventure company that operates throughout Costa Rica. The company's Rainforest Eco-lodge was built in 1991 entirely in accordance with green construction principles and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The company is also actively involved in reforestation and watershed protection projects across the country.
Yachay Wasi means 'house of learning' in Quechua, the language of the indigenous peoples of Peru, descendants of the Inca civilization. The NGO carries out reforestation projects in the spectacular natural areas surrounding Cuzco in the Peruvian Andes. In December 2008, at the beginning of the rainy season, Yachay Wasi is launching 'A Million Native Trees' campaign.