Showing posts with the label English
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The Mission of Sustainability Reports: The GRI and Vale's case

Julio F. Campos 
I think it is unnecessary to comment about the recent tragedy caused by Vale in Brumadinho, which has so far resulted in a hundred deaths.

What is questioned here is the validity, effectiveness or even the connection with the reality of corporate sustainability reports, in the case of GRI, of which Vale holds the Gold Seal.

But a brief historical review of events is required.

Back in 2013 Samarco, a joint venture between Vale and BHP was aware of a report warning of problems in Bento Rodrigues, which indicated the risk of its dam.

In 2015 the risk became a reality with the rupture of the dam resulting in the death of 15 people, the destruction of the Rio Doce and the contamination of the coastal region. So far the survivors of the tragedy still suffer from the company's unwillingness to assume its indemnity responsibility. The previous report of 2013 pointing out the risk of the dam was rebutted by BHP.

The direct consequence of the "accident" was …

The Sustainable Fashion Myth

Julio F. Campos
The latest trend in the fashion industry,  sustainability is on the hype and widely celebrated by fashion corporations, concerned consumers, designers and whoever wants to save the planet.

However, if the electronics industry is the father of planned obsolescence, fashion is doubtless the mother, releasing season after season new collections to allow the engaged audience to keep up with the last tendencies. 
Who wants to be kept out of the latest tendencies after all? Like all the other movements towards sustainability, those engaged with the fashion also follows the same set of beliefs used by the rest of business.
Optimize the production process to reduce its impact, and; Recycle. So the actions are focused on the start and the end of the process.

But is that all?

That's the most relevant question and to answer that it is necessary to bring to the reader the statement that explains why those actions are not enough and usually are not as good as they seem.

Biodegradability is the New Black

Julio F. Campos
Disposable products such as plates, cups, and cutlery have been sold due to its practicality as a use-and-dispose option to doing the dishes.

Although the idea was born back in 1908 to avoid the disease dissemination in hospitals due to sharing common recipients, it was after World War II and the development of the plastic industry that the disposable products reached the general public.

Originally used for packaging, it was not long that the disposability concept reached other daily used products as we know today.

In a world where, unfortunately, the time has become a most valuable commodity, the single-use idea was easy to sell, fastly getting public acceptance.

It was not only until the recent years that the problem of such "practicality" has become known by the public.

Although not new for environmental scientists, the plastic problem got popular worldwide attention after the media in recent years exposed the Great Pacific Garbage Patches (which was dis…

The 4 books to understand unsustainability causes and solutions.

Julio F. Campos
This article provides a list of four of the most important books on sustainability that one need to read to both understand the causes of our problems and the ways to solve them The Coal Question; An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal Mines; William Stanley Jevons; 1865.Concerned with the fast rates in which the coal was being consumed due to high demand by industries, Jevons approached the issue analyzing how the technological development of equipment efficiency and its consequent reduction in coal use could prevent it exhaustion or scarcity.

Over a century before the definition of the eco-efficiency term in 1992, in what become known as "The Jevons' Paradox", Jevons observed that the constant increase in efficiency could if fact leads to increase in recourses use, resulting in a fast decline of resource stocks.

While still trying to be disproved by the efficiency advocates, the number of scientific studi…

Price or desire? Consumers or corporation driving forces?

Julio F. Campos With excerpts from the Guardian "How formula milk firms target mothers who can least afford it"
Recently I was discussing the role of price over the consumerism that is collapsing our planet's systems.

Some argued that the low prices are the more important driving force behind what people consumes, or better, how much they consume, and since corporations only produce to attend the consumer demand, the former would have a more impact of resources depletion than corporations.

The basis of that logic is that consumers consume because corporations offer low prices products.

I argue that the issue is a bit more complex and deep than that.

First of all, both consumers and corporations are guilt for the environmental degradation. To define who’s more important is irrelevant.
Prices under the consumer perspective. The first step is to dismember the consume into its two ramifications:

The consume of needed goods, those that one buy because it needs it do live.The…

Sustainability, Innovation and the lesson of Elon Musk

Julio F. Campos
 What can we learn from Elon Musk to have more sustainable business models?

"Sustainability costs dear"

"Innovation costs dear"

Cost. The first word we hear from companies when it comes to sustainability and innovation.

Elon Musk is today the most well-known and envied example of success in innovation.

Paving the roads of three major breakthroughs, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and their revolutionary rocket generation, will be listed in history books at least as a new Von Braun, this one responsible for putting the man on the moon while Musk is the name that will take us to Mars.

Many entrepreneurs want to know the secret behind their success, but few actually look for the information that explains it.

As we shall see, it is simpler than it seems. But what is the relationship with sustainability? What can Musk teach? Before we understand this, let's talk about two problems concerning the driving of companies, which unlike him, others…

Importing Sustainability

Hugo Penteado Julio F. Campos
The list of the ten most sustainable countries on the planet varies depending on the source researched but is basically made up of European countries, with the Nordic countries usually at the top of the list, traditionally headed by Sweden.

Variations of the countries that make up the list also include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Recently, the University of Leeds study "A good life for all within planetary boundaries", analyzing our ability to live with adequate quality of life within the limits defined by the planet pointed out that, based on the current models of growth,  of the 150 countries, only Vietnam would be close to achieving the ideal results, with levels of resource consumption within the planet's carrying capacity, although it still needs to develop its social issues. (The reader can review the status of each of these countries here).
The study concludes that the search for human development in a universal way proposed…

Lessons from a Past Future. Cape Town's Day Zero

Julio F. Campos
Throughout human history, the careless use of natural resources has proven to result in catastrophic shifts to many civilizations.
Overuse of natural resources is known to have played the major role in the collapse of ancient civilizations. Easter Island, being the most famous of them, presents the ultimate example of how the mindless use of local, limited, resources could drive the end of an entire civilization.

The Mayans overpopulation and deforesting and overexploitation of local land, with a resulting drought, are another example of how the belief in the resources infinitude can lead a pungent civilization to disaster.

Angkor Wat, one of the most advanced Asian ancient civilizations, with is marvelous water control systems, upon which the entire civilization relied, collapsed due to external climate events leading to floods and droughts, resulting in the end of this entire civilization.

Even the great Roman empire was at the end subject to its soil over explorat…

What is Pollution from an Ecological Perspective

Julio F. Campos
I have been quite often asked questions about pollution.

What it is, it's different types, what products are considered to be pollutants, how the environment deals with it or what can we do to prevent it.

Here I'll briefly answer those questions explaining what pollution from the ecological perspective is. How, why, when an ecosystem is considered polluted and what can it do about it.

But first, it is necessary to bring two fundamental ecosystem structural characteristics.
A) The carrying capacity Carrying capacity is the capacity of any ecosystem to sustain a number of individuals of a given species. That could the number of different species, the number of predators, the volume of human use of its resources and, as we will see, the quantity of waste that it can process through its recycling species.

As such, every ecosystem has an intrinsic set of carrying capacities for its innumerous species which are derived from its complex internal interactions between …