Sustainability Planet Program TOP

The funding mechanism

For the realisation of sustainability projects, financial support is needed. The Sustainability of the Planet Program works as an identifier, shaper, coach and assessor of the proposed projects, and ultimately as a broker between projects managers and financiers. Candidate projects often need a combination of different funding.

Projects in early stages of development and projects with little or no expectations of returns often need ‘soft money’, e.g. from foundations and seed funds. For projects with sound economic feasibility, normal credits can be arranged in a risk reduced Public Private Partnership (PPP). Other projects may have the potential to attract investors with expectations of expansion, strong growth and high yields. A project may need financial support by several types of funders, e.g. both donors and investors. As a consequence, several types of financial stakeholders are needed:
A first group, consisting of private and public donors and funders, may consist of governments, organisations and foundations committed to support objectives of sustainability.  A second group, financiers and investors representing the debt and equity financing side; credits and loans. These usually have their own conditions, rates and terms, but always a clear focus on economic results. Multilateral financing institutions also belongs to this category, as well as equity finance with venture capital and private equity.  A third group of investors consists of micro-financing organisations, offering very small credits mainly to individuals.

The Sustainability of the Planet Program acts as a platform for
cooperation between major organisations working with sustainability.
Representing expertise in sustainability endevours, partners take an
active role in the program development. Partners may initiate new
projects, and groups of projects within their interests and geographical
scope of activities. They may also influence projects during the
planning phase, ensuring that experiences from their operations are
taken into account. Via their associations, partners may pave the way
for projects and contribute to the funding mechanism.

A Global Approach for Implementing Stepwise Environmental Product Declaration for SMEs
An Environmental Product Declaration – EPD is independently verified data on environmental aspects and impacts of a product throughout its life cycle. A Stepwise EPD is an initial EPD with simplified data collection and review. It is a first step to participation in national or international Type III environmental declaration programmes according to ISO 14025.
The project aims to implement EPDs in 50 SMEs in nine countries in South-East Asia, Africa and South America to enable smaller companies on those continents to join emerging markets for environmentally superior products and services. The project will target four different sectors namely, the transportation sector, the energy sector, the mechanical manufacturing sector and the food sector.
The project will build national and regional capability to produce EPDs on the targeted continents. A key factor for project success and the continued use of these capabilities is to engage one large client with each SME in the EPD/LCA work so that these clients will aid in generating a future demand for EPDs.

 

Sustainable residential estates in sparsely populated areas
Tools – Management
Society is entering a period when the so‐called “baby‐boomers” are now reaching the legal age of retirement. By 2020, the 65+ age group will represent close to 30% of the population in Western Europe. The business community, financial institutions and municipalities must develop sustainable products and services to meet the changing needs of this growing segment of society. The purpose of this proposal is to secure funding to develop a model for ecologically, financially and socially sustainable residential estates in sparsely populated areas that guarantee an acceptable long‐term return on investment for their developers, their future residents, the municipalities where they are located and society at large. The methodology proposed to drive this development is the establishment of a Community of Action consisting of representatives from the business community, financial markets, the municipality in which the project will take place, thought leaders and experts.This Community of Action will: -Identify the residential needs of citizens 65 years and over; -Identify state‐of‐the‐art applications, processes, products and services to minimise the environmental impact of the property; -Develop a sustainable business model for the construction, marketing and operation of the estate that sets a new benchmark for environmentally‐friendly housing.

Doing SMART Business – Week by Week
The Do SMART Business booklet aims to provide small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world with simple and concrete ideas for taking their own actions towards more environmentally and socially responsible business operation. It encourages changing small feasible things that make an immediate difference without requirement of large amount of investment. All actions are easily replicable, encourage the colleagues to do likewise and help to improve working quality as well as triple bottom line.
Various guides, tools and instruments published in recent years are either targeting large companies in developed countries or targeting rather technical experts. Trying to stay focused, most existing approaches cover only a certain part of the CSR universe (e.g. eco-efficiency, human rights). However, the vast majority is not written in an inviting style.
Instead, the Do SMART Business booklet:
• aims to be fun, short, explicit and well illustrated.
• will be content- and not process-driven, and not provide any detailed guidance on how to implement a management process. Instead, it will clearly signpost interfaces with existing management schemes (such as quality management), highlight the added value of taking a structured approach and refer to existing guidelines.
• will cover as broad as possible set of CSR aspects, reaching from workplace issues (e.g. harassment/bullying, training), marketplace (e.g. fair pricing and fair trade, local sourcing), community (good neighbourhood, corporate volunteering), environment (material and energy efficiency, transport, ecological footprint) to governance (business ethics, stakeholder engagement). In selecting these aspects, the booklet will not follow the agenda of a certain organisation or guidebook. How4 ever, each aspect will be presented in form of a very specific action, but providing “the bigger picture”.
• targets “ordinary” managers and employees at SMEs around the world, especially in Asia. It will not require any previous knowledge about CSR, and try to avoid using jargons.
Additionally, the “SMART Health Check” at the end of the booklet will tie up the various actions, providing a starting point for a more structured approach.
The booklet will be developed in cooperation with international partners and will be made both in a print form and on website for wide dissemination. It will also be translated into three languages at the minimum from the original English text. The dissemination events and accompanying training sessions will be organised in different regions to maximise the use of this booklet. In short, the Do SMART Business booklet will address a niche by trying to be more accessible than traditional guidebooks.

Risk assessment in the Banking sector
• To provide simple guidelines, checklists, for the Banking Sector to use in the dialog with SME customers.  The questions could differ in different sectors and regions. The tool will signal red or green for the client. If red the client and the banker in charge will find expert help to solve the problem.
• To provide tools for awareness building amongst the bankers working with risk assessment.There is a rising awareness in the financial sector about risks, opportunities and the necessity to include sustainability in the risk assessment process. So far, however, the focus has been on asset management, project financing and bigger loans and investments. In many financial institutions the awareness has not reached out to the bankers in the frontline handling risk assessment for SME: s. As the bank is a valuable contact/partner for the small companies the bank has a lot of influence. If the bank helps the companies to avoid risks due to lack of knowledge in the sustainability area that will lead to better results and fewer credit losses. The risks that can be avoided are for example:
New regulation and legislation. If the company is aware of changes in advance it’s possible to be prepared and also be proactive and make good business.
Consumer preferences. This is a difficult issue but together the company and the bank might analyse this area. What’s happening in the environment and social area from the customer’s standpoint?
Contaminated sites and processes that are adding to pollution in air, land and water.

 

 

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