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Global Economy Gets a Little Greener

Ten New Participants Join UNEP's Climate Neutral Network at the Global Business for the Environment Summit in Singapore

Singapore/Nairobi, 23 April 2008-What brings together a Latin American beauty corporation, a boutique French advertising agency, a UK-based sustainability think-tank and a Brazilian online carbon trading venture?

All of them have pledged to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions en route to zero emissions by joining the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a web-based forum to catalyze a transition to a low-carbon world set up by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the UN's Environment Management Group.

The announcement was made today at the Global Business for the Environment (B4E) Summit in Singapore. The two-day conference, jointly organized by UNEP and the UN Global Compact, will discuss business-driven solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

"A small but growing band of countries, cities and corporations are making the clear and explicit statement that aspiring to low-even zero-emission economies-is not some unobtainable pipe-dream but a path to profitability, stability and sanity in an increasingly unstable world," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

"CN Net is federating this development and in doing so will catalyze a transition to a low carbon society able to transform the way we do business on this planet. The existing and new participants are leading by example and proving the art of the possible and a determination to be part of a global climate solution. I look forward to welcoming more to the network on World Environment Day 5 June under the theme 'Kick the Carbon Habit'," he added.

A growing number of countries, cities, companies and organizations have become CN Net participants since the initiative's launch in February 2008 during UNEP's Governing Council in Monaco.

The latest wave of participants extends the initiative's reach to small and medium enterprises, as well as international, non-governmental and research organizations.  

Headquartered in Peru, Belcorp is an international corporation with 40 years' experience in the manufacturing and sale of beauty products. Well-known throughout Latin America for its iconic brands, Belcorp has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint throughout the supply chain-from manufacturing to distribution of its products by some 500,000 female sales representatives.

Inoxia is a small advertising outlet based in Bordeaux, France, which prides itself on being a "responsible agency". Having completed its carbon assessment for 2006-2007, Inoxia has set out on an ambitious plan of action to cut greenhouse gas emissions caused by staff travel by 20% within two years.   

The aptly named BlindSpot research centre in the UK explores opportunities for global sustainability which are conventionally overlooked. The centre has developed tools to make sustainable development economically achievable such as "precycling insurance" that seeks to free up funds for more preventive investment in global security.

Based in Brazil's financial capital São Paolo, Incentive Sol is an up-and-coming online venture that enables users to contribute towards the global fight against global warming by purchasing environmentally-friendly products and services. A certain percentage of each transaction is invested in community-based sustainability projects, such as small-scale solar energy, while the buyers earn "carbon points" that could be used for future online purchases.

Sempre Avanti Consulting is a carbon neutral consulting practice based in Wellington, New Zealand, which specializes in management consulting, transportation, procurement and sustainability. A participant in the national carboNZero programme since 2006, the consultancy has a stringent travel policy that favours companies offering emissions offsets, and a vehicle purchasing policy with a focus on the use of hybrid cars and bio-fuels.

The UK-based Carbon Clear helps businesses and individuals calculate their carbon footprint, reduce greenhouse emissions at the source, and purchase carbon offset credits to balance their unavoidable climate impacts. Carbon Clear invests in projects that improve living standards in developing countries, while providing global climate benefits, such as fuel-efficient cook stoves in Sudan, energy-efficient artisan brick kilns in Nicaragua, and engine retrofits for two-stroke tricycle motorbike taxis in the Philippines.

Wright Communications is New Zealand's only public relations consultancy specialising in corporate responsibility and sustainability communications. It works with a broad range of entities many of which are pursuing carbon neutrality, including multinational corporations, New Zealand owned businesses, government agencies and the not-for-profit sector.

Established in 1999, Planète Urgence is a French NGO that has pioneered the concept of "solidarity holidays", which allows working professionals to engage in a concrete humanitarian mission during their annual leave or other spare time. By joining CN Net, the NGO has further committed to offsetting its volunteers' carbon emissions by investing in reforestation projects in the developing countries it operates in.

The Regional Ozone Network in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) was created in 2003 to assist 12 countries of the region in phasing out ozone-depleting substances in support of the Montreal Protocol, which in itself has significantly contributed to climate protection by phasing out substances which had caused both ozone-depletion and global warming at the same time. In line with UNEP's climate neutral strategy, the ECA network adopted its climate-friendly approach to organizing regional network meetings from 1 January 2008.

Last but not least, the United Nations has, under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also backed a decision to work towards climate neutrality and UNEP is among the first to adopt measures to realize this goal. As part of UNEP's climate neutral strategy, a preliminary comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory was prepared in March 2008 and UNEP's 2008 carbon footprint will be offset through the purchase of certified emission reductions and other activities, such as tree planting in support of its Billion Tree Campaign.

Quotes from Some of the New Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) Participants:

Belcorp (http://www.belcorp.biz/)

"As a corporation, we are committed to looking after our planet to make it a safe and healthy place to live on. This is hard work, but we know we can achieve it through the passion, commitment and enthusiasm of each of our collaborators, because, more than just a corporation, we are a great team capable of turning extraordinary things into reality."

-Paul Duclos, Research & Development Corporate Expert

Inoxia (http://inoxia.com/)

"Inoxia strongly believes that each company's actions will have an impact on the environment, no matter how big or small! Our commitment to CN Net shows that even an SME in the advertising industry can find a whole range of solutions to become more carbon neutral."

-Philippe Barre, CEO

BlindSpot (http://www.blindspot.org.uk/)

"If ever there was a moment for new thinking and fast action, it's now. BlindSpot's work on global economic tools will be shared through CN Net to give every business and every community a real chance to become climate neutral, or better. We want to see both the economy and the climate recover quickly - CN Net is helping to make that possible."

-James Greyson, Sustainability Analyst

Incentive Sol Soluções Solidárias Ltda (http://www. incentivesol.com/)

"We believe that the climate change problem is far too large to be confronted by one single individual, organization, group or nation, and only initiatives based on solidarity and team work, as the example set by UNEP's Climate Neutral Network, will contribute to making the world more sustainable."

-Stelio G. Cristovão, CEO

Sempre Avanti Consulting NZ Ltd (http:// www.sempreavantinz.co.nz/)

"We have chosen to join Climate Neutral Network as we see this as a natural extension of our participation in the New Zealand-based carboNZero programme. The CN Net gives global profile to business environmental sustainability. We are passionate about our companies' sustainability practices and see the CN Net as the best vehicle to show our global commitment to these issues. Sempre Avanti Consulting supports the goals of the CN Net and believes that businesses need to show commitment to their corporate social responsibilities by joining networks like the CN Net."

-Gordon Shaw, Consulting Director

Carbon Clear (http://www.carbon-clear.com/)

"Carbon Clear is delighted to support the aims of the Climate Neutral Network. As a company, we are passionate about helping business make the transition to a sustainable future. It is important that we inspire leaders in business and government by sharing share best practice and success stories. Through the Climate Neutral Network, we can contribute to a community that illustrates the benefits of a low-carbon future."

-Mark U. Chadwick, CEO

Wright Communications (http://www.wrightcommunications.co.nz/)

"A number of our clients are already certified carbon neutral and others are currently participating in the carboNZero programme, so it is of great value to understand what they are going through and what they are working towards. What we've found is that many sustainable solutions don't involve large financial investments, just sound decision making at critical moments-which any sized company can do."

-Nikki Wright, Managing Director

Planète Urgence (http://www.planete-urgence.com/)

"Planète Urgence is proud to join UNEP's Carbon Neutral Network in recognition of NGOs' leading role in the fight against climate change and their key function as an interface between the companies of North and the people in the South. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to compensate for those which cannot be reduced, to be carbon-neutral today and carbon-negative tomorrow ? that's the potential of the Carbon Neutral Network for us."

-Hervé Dubois, Director

Regional Ozone Network in Europe and Central Asia (http://www.uneptie.org/ozonaction/networks/eca.asp/)

"Most ozone depleting substances are greenhouse gases, some of which are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. That's why the implementation of the Montreal Protocol has already contributed in a very significant way to mitigating climate change and achieving the Kyoto targets. The European and Central Asian network is working with governments, industry and bilateral partners in the twelve participating countries to raise climate change awareness and test new approaches, and has recently organized its first climate-friendly meeting in Albania. But above all, we endeavour to 'kick the habit' and our addiction to carbon!"

-Rajendra Shende, Head of UNEP DTIE OzonAction Branch

Notes to Editors

The aims and objectives of the Climate Neutral Network, the pledges and strategies of the participants and details on how to join are at www.unep.org/climateneutral

UNEP resources on climate change are at www.unep.org/themes/climatechange/

UN Environment Management Group is at www.unemg.org

Global Business Summit for the Environment http://www.b4esummit.com/

For More Information Please Contact

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when travelling: +41 795965737, or e-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 20 762 3088, Mobile: +254 738 652793, or e-mail: anne-france.white@unep.org

Mr. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP)



Further Resources

Champions of the Earth

UNEP's website

UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information

UNEP's Climate Neutral Network

UNEP's Billion Tree campaign

UNEP's World Environment Day


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