-New Straits Times-
KOTA KINABALU: FIVE non-governmental organisations (NGOs) received Shell Sustainable Development Grants here yesterday to undertake environmental and sustainable livelihood projects.
The recipients were Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos) Trust, Land Empowerment Animals People (Leap), Tatana Roots Community, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society and Persatuan Warisan Bung Bratak from Sarawak.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Shell Malaysia country chair Iain Lo were present during the ceremony.
The five organisations were part of 16 NGOs chosen nationwide for the RM560,000 grants programme. Each NGO will receive between RM30,000 and RM50,000.
Masidi said: “The Shell Sustainable Development Grants has given out more than RM2.5 million over the years to assist and educate our communities and youth, while simultaneously ensuring the initiation of key environmental projects in Sabah and other parts of the country.
“This programme is yet another manifestation of its commitment to sustainable development.
“After four years, this programme has grown to reflect a true testament of how much excellent progress can be achieved when key stakeholders, NGOs, government departments and the community, work hand in hand.”
He encouraged communities and NGOs to overcome environmental and social issues and not depend on the government.
Lo said that in promoting and initiating more projects, Shell Malaysia would accelerate its progress towards sustainable development in the country.
He added that such funding would act as a catalyst for groups and individuals to achieve their targets on environmental conservation as well as sustainable livelihood.
“The programme seeks to empower Malaysian-based NGOs to initiate sustainability projects.
“By working together, we can leverage on the reach and insights of NGOs and other like-minded organisations to uncover hot spots in the nation that require attention.
“These partnerships also enable Shell to place funding where it warrants, and with the NGOS, deliver the results we need to make a difference in our communities, youth and environment.”
All projects selected at the event had been judged based on their practicality, direct benefits, financial needs and sustainability factors.
The Pacos Trust, Leap and Tatana Roots Community received grants under the sustainable livelihood category while Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society and Persatuan Warisan Bung Bratak came under the environmental conservation project category.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
CYBERJAYA, Jan 9 (Bernama) — Malaysian-based CSF Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, today launched the country’s first commercial green data centre and the largest in South-East Asia here.
The Computer Exchange 5 (CX5) is one of the three data centres announced as part of the Entry Point Projects under the Economic Transformation Programme last year.
The exchange has been awarded the provisional Green Building Index-certified(GBI) rating which recognises the facility as a green, sustainable building that has satisfied certain GBI Accreditation Panel’s requirements.
They include, among others, factors such as the ability to provide energy and water saving, a healthier indoor environment, better connectivity to public transport, the adoption of recycling and greenery for their projects and reducing impact on the environment.
CSF chief executive officer, Adrian Yong, said the facility, with a gross floor area of approximately 580,000 sq ft, was one of the three data centres developed and operated by the group here.
The group also has data centre facilities in Johor Bahru, Hanoi and Jakarta, he said.
“We are eyeing to expand our business into Singapore, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh,” he said at the launch of CX5 today.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, launched the exchange.
Yong said currently, the group has over 200 customers and over 1,500 installations in computer rooms and data centres.
“The cutomers and tenants of our data centres comprise companies involved in various industries including government, banking, insurance, motor vehicle, oil and gas, food and beverage, travel, manufacturing and information technology,” he said.
Since 1991, the group has undertaken contract works to build and fit-out over 200 data centres and computer support facilities in Malaysia with some installations in Indonesia, China and India, he said.
He said the group has achieved outstanding financial results even in a global economic climate that continued to be uncertain.
In its financial results for the first half of financial year 2012 announced on Nov 28, 2011 CSF’s revenue rose to RM91.7 million from RM46.6 million in the same perid of 2011.
Earlier, Ongkili said as global demand for information technology services, such as hosting and shared services outsourcing, continued to rise, CSF was poised to capitalise on this and helped position Malaysia as a world-class data centre hub.
— BERNAMARead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(Bernama) — Malaysia’s green economy is expected to be active next year despite a moderate economic growth with the entrance of new players and the development of more green products, supported by greater awareness among businesses and the public.
Green Age Solar Technology Sdn Bhd general manager, Andy Ang, said the green technology industry is growing as more industries continue to be involved in the conservation and preservation of the environment through green technologies.
“We foresee new players entering this industry to join in the green effort. Overall, the world is waking up to green technology and embracing the use of green products,” he told Bernama here today.
Green Electric Sdn Bhd director for corporate and business development, Kirby Lee, said the green economy will continue to be in focus and promoted by the Malaysian government as the country is committed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2020.
“I believe the green economy will be a key thrust of the government’s growth strategy, as seen in the coming into force of various regulations such as the feed-in-tariff and focus on electrification projects in the rural areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Schneider Electric Inspiration 2011 poll showed that the future for going green looks bright and Malaysian businesses are keen to invest in energy-efficient solutions where 79 per cent of the respondents said they will include energy efficiency into their business operations.
Schneider Electric Malaysia country president, Peter Cave, said with the support from the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, businesses are starting to acknowledge the benefits of going green and are adopting various strategies to ensure long-term sustainability.
“Malaysians are aware that being ‘green’ is good for the planet and for their pockets but the costs of implementing these initiatives remain a barrier,” he said.
Cave said if there are suitable incentives for investment and adoption, it will spur businesses to be more sustainable and energy-efficient and that Malaysia will be on a more positive track to a greener economy.
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which has been involved in green technology for over 10 years, said the green technology agenda in the Malaysian construction sector will continue to be progressively meaningful as it represents a critical and vital strategic intent.
A CIDB spokesperson said the widespread availability and recognition of green technology in terms of products, equipment and systems are the responsibility of all players in the construction value chain.
“It is my hope and on-going aspiration to see the interests and emphasis, especially in the arena of best practices and choices, being pursued by the contracting community,” he said.
Malaysia’s vision in promoting green economy saw the launch of an ambitious plan to build a ‘green economy’ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on May 18, 2011 at the eminent 42-member Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council in New York.
The plan to build a ‘green economy’ will involve the help by an advisory council that includes economist Jeffrey Sachs and the United Nation climate change chief.
“Malaysia’s vision of a ‘green economy’ would see it moving beyond its status as a manufacturing hub, and establish low-carbon emissions, highly efficient use of resources, and a healthy, well-educated populace,” said Najib.
In the 2012 Budget, Najib also proposed full exemption of import and excise duty on hybrid and electric cars to continue to be given to franchise holders to promote green technology and ensure sustainable development of the nation.
He also urged financial institutions, businesses and agencies to work together and be more innovative in realising the global call for green technology.
On Nov 25, it was reported that the Cabinet has approved a green neighbourhood and low carbon city framework and assessment system, aimed at reducing the nation’s carbon emissions.
Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, said the guidelines would bring the country a step closer to achieving its goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 40 per cent by 2020, as announced by Najib in Copenhagen last year.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Protecting our ‘natural’ capital can boost our financial capital, argues ZAKRI ABDUL HAMID
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s keynote address at the second International Greentech and Ecoproducts Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2011) on Sept 8, urging the business community to be more involved in green business, recalls two anecdotes related by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston in their book Green to Gold.
The first was how Sony Corporation faced a nightmare in the weeks before Christmas 2001. The Dutch government was blocking Sony’s entire European shipment of PlayStation game systems. More than 1.3 million boxes were sitting in a warehouse instead of flying off store shelves. Sony was at risk of missing the critical holiday rush.
A small but legally unacceptable amount of the toxic element cadmium was found in the cables of the game controls. Sony rushed in replacements to swap out the tainted wires. It also began an 18-month search to track down the source of the problem, inspecting over 6,000 factories and resulting in a new supplier management system.
The total cost of this “little” environmental problem: over RM390 million. The lesson learnt: even the best companies can be surprised by environmental issues. The environment is not a fringe issue — it can cost businesses real money.
The second is how proactive action by a company can result in extraordinary return on investment.
In the late 1990s, British Petroleum (BP) committed itself to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, the main culprit of global warming. After three years of relentlessly “looking for carbon”, BP discovered numerous ways to cut emissions, improve efficiency, and save money. A lot of money.
The initial process changes cost BP about RM60 million but saved the company a whopping RM1.95 billion over those first few years. As of 2007, the savings topped RM6 billion.
Esty and Winston summed up an important principle: smart companies seize competitive advantage through strategic management of environmental challenges.
BP and Sony learned what some companies already knew: the business world and the natural world are inextricably linked.
Our economy and society depend on natural resources. Every product came from something mined or grown. This newspaper was once a tree, the ink these words were printed in began as soybeans. The environment provides “ecosystem services” to our economic system — not financial capital, but natural capital.
And yet, as shown by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a mega-study commissioned by the United Nations a few years ago, 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystem services are being degraded and we are “overdrawing” our natural capital to the detriment of future generations.
In his remarks, the prime minister asked: “How could we, as a global population, continue to develop without damaging our environment, fuelling climate change or overexploiting the natural resources of our planet?”
To stop development altogether is never an option. But any future development has to be sustainable — using resources in ways that meet our needs today without compromising the needs of generations to come.
Or as Najib puts it: “Now is the time for us to shift our development to a more ‘eco-centric’ course” — a trajectory predicated on our understanding and appreciation of the finiteness of our natural resources and the imperative to develop sustainable solutions for our current and future lifestyles.
The world needs to embrace the “green economy”, defined by the UN Environment Programme as an economy that improves human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Simply put, a green economy is characterised by low carbon emissions, highly efficient use of resources and social inclusiveness.
Najib also put on notice his wish “to see Malaysia become a major producer of eco-technology products not just in our region but globally … and that this will in turn translate into an increase in the number of green jobs and green business opportunities”.
To help realise this goal, two new initiatives undertaken by the government are the National Eco-labelling Programme and the National Green Procurement Policy.
Eco-labelling will help ensure that businesses make credible claims about their products and raise awareness of environmentally-friendly products and services among consumers and manufacturers alike. By favouring such products in government and private sector purchasing decisions, green procurement will help green industries grow.
To his great credit, the prime minister has staked a claim to being the most environmentally-friendly prime minister of the six this country has had so far. One of his first acts upon assuming office in 2009 was to establish the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, significant with its singular focus on green technologies.
At the 2009 Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Najib was one of the few heads of governments who were forthcoming in pledging a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity of GDP by 2020 against 2005 levels, conditional upon appropriate technology transfer and adequate financing by the advanced countries.
A National Green Technology Policy was put in place in the same year. Recently, he announced plans to launch a Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System to turn towns and cities across Malaysia into eco-friendly townships.
The government is making efforts on many fronts to encourage the private sector to get involved in the green economy. One good example is the Green Technology Financing Scheme introduced last year to assist companies that are users and producers of green technologies.
A total of 97 projects have been awarded Green Certificates with a combined value of more than RM2 billion, indicating a strong interest among the business community. Unfortunately only 21 have received letters of offer for loans from financial institutions. This doesn’t augur well if this country is to embrace the green economy.
More needs to be done to increase public awareness and appreciation of the green economy and eventually a sustainability-led lifestyle. It is time that we seriously consider integrating into our education system the element of “Education for Sustainable Development” from pre-school to university.
After all, as the Native American proverb goes: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
The writer is science adviser to the prime minister and former chairman of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice
With the price of rare earth elements due to China’s de facto monopoly now running at more than $100,000 per tons of unprocessed ore, it would seem that countries would be lining up to attempt to gain a piece of the action.
Many are, with operations extending from Estonia to Mongolia.
While the 17 elements, are not in themselves radioactive every global rare earth ore deposit is found amongst radioactive thorium deposits.
But the Third World model of attracting foreign investment, even in so rich a potential investment has aroused environmental concerns in Malaysia over the effects of such operations, throwing the classic model of Western dominated capitalist development into disarray.
On 9 October 1,000s of Malaysians demonstrated against plans to open a $230 million rare earth processing facility in the country’s eastern resort town in Kuantan, concerned about possible environmental damage.
Activist Tan Bun Teet said, “We deserve a healthy environment for our future generations. The government can’t just build anything in the name of development.”
What is intriguing about the protest is that the rare earth elements (RREs) initially are to come from Australia. The Lynas Advanced Materials Plant is scheduled to start processing rare earths imported from Australia, to be used in high-tech products from iPods to Toyota Prius automobiles to U.S. cruise missiles.
Australian miner Lynas Corp. owners of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant insists that the project would be beneficial, with Lynas Corp. executive chairman Nick Curtis stating that China’s 2010 decision to temporarily block shipments to Japan over a political dispute reinforced the importance of creating other supply alternatives.
If all goes according to plan then as many as 2,500 construction workers will soon be constructing the world’s largest rare earth metals refinery in Kuantan, the first rare earth ore processing plant to be built outside China in nearly 30 years. According to Lynas Corp., then the Kuantan facility will refine slightly radioactive RRE ore from the Australia’s Mount Weld after it is trucked to Australia’s Fremantle port for transportation by sea.
Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board director general Raja Dato Abdul Aziz bin Raja Adnan, said that Malaysia approved the Lynas project only after an interagency review indicated the imported ore and subsequent waste would have low enough levels of radioactivity to be manageable and safe.
Malaysia’s environmentalist opposition to RRE mining is not new. In 1992 Malaysia’s RRE refinery, operated by Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical, was shuttered, and the mine site is now one of Asia’s largest radioactive waste cleanup sites. Reviewing the experience Raja Adnan said, “We have learned we shouldn’t give anybody a free hand.”
During the 1990s Japan closed its RRE mines and Mitsubishi moved its refining operations to Malaysia to reprocess waste from old tin mines rich in RRE ore byproducts, which also contained extremely high levels of radioactive thorium.
Even one of the RREs’ prime markets, the U.S. Defense Department, has acknowledged its processing environmental legacy. In 2010 United States Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office analyst Cindy Hurst wrote in her “China’s Rare Earth Elements Industry: What Can the West Learn?” report , “Every ton of rare earth produced generates approximately 8.5kg of fluorine and 13 kg of dust… Using concentrated sulfuric acid high-temperature calcination to produce approximately one ton of REE generates 9 600 to 12 000 cubic meters of waste gas – containing dust concentrate, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid; approximately 75 cubic meters of acidic wastewater, and about one ton of radioactive waste residue.”
So, at the end of the day, the issues for Kuala Lumpur are simple – do the short-term profits of weakening China’s RRE monopoly of RRE production outweigh the long-term environmental consequences?
No clear answer has yet to emerge – but local opposition is mobilizing and the issue is increasingly whether Malaysia’s example will now be emulated by other developing governments interested in enhancing their bottom lines while being courted by Western mining concerns.
When does a purported good thing turn into something else?
By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.comRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
KUALA LUMPUR: The Low Carbon Cities Framework will push efforts towards a low carbon economy to meet the Government’s target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020.
In launching the framework, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was his aspiration to develop Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as shining examples of eco-friendly townships and to replicate this in other cities and towns in the country.
“The framework is intended to help achieve the goal, assisting local councils, town planners and developers formulate action plans to cut carbon emissions.
“It is my dream that one day, we can all live in clean, healthy and high quality environments; in cities, townships and communities that are built on the fundamentals of green technology. This is my vision for a green Malaysia,” he said when launching the 2nd International Greentech and Eco-products exhibition and conference.
The Prime Minister said the Energy, Green Technology and Water ministry and the Housing and Local Government ministry were collaborating closely to ensure the framework and the Green Neighbourhood Guidelines were effectively applied by local councils.
Najib said sustainable development did not mean no development at all but would ensure resources were used wisely without compromising the needs of generations to come, adding that the time has come for countries to shift their development to a more “eco-centric” course.
“To help achieve this goal, the Government has put in place a National Eco-Labelling Programme to ensure businesses make credible claims about their products and to raise awareness among consumers and manufacturers about environmentally-friendly products and services,” he said.
Najib said the Government had introduced the Green Technology Financing Scheme to assist companies that were users and producers of green technology. To date, 125 applications had been submitted of which 97 approved projects have been awarded Green Certificates with a total value of more than RM2bil.
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today urged financial institutions, businesses and agencies to work together more closely and be more innovative in realising the global call for green technology.
While interest from both businesses and financial institutions have been strong, Najib said the end result has been less positive.
Last year, the government introduced the Green Technology Financing Scheme to assist companies that were users and producers of green technology.
To date, 125 applications have been received with 97 approved projects having been awarded Green certificates valued at more than RM2 billion.
“This may sound tremendously encouraging but there remains a gap between demand and supply. I have been informed that out of the 97 Green Certified projects, only 21 have received letters of offers for loans from financial institutions.
“I urge all parties to rise to this challenge and play their role in supporting the development of green economy to the fullest,” he said at the launch of the 2nd International Greentech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference Malaysia (IGEM 2011) here today.
Najib also launched the Low Carbon Cities Framework and Assessment System in line with Malaysia’s transition towards a low carbon economy and to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 40 per cent in 2020.
“It has long been my aspiration to develop both Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as shining examples of eco-friendly townships and to replicate this in other towns and cities across Malaysia,” he said.
The Low Carbon Cities Framework is intended to help local councils, town planners and developers formulate action plans to cut carbon emission.
Najib also said there was tremendous potential for green technology growth in Malaysia, especially within the four target sectors namely energy, construction, transportation, water and waste management.
Meanwhile, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said the banking sector should be more bullish in terms of providing loans to the industries that used green technology in their processes.
“I think banks should be more forthcoming in their loan portfolios for these types of industries. Certainly there is much that they can do,” he said.
Chin said there were foreign banks that were interested in such projects.
“I’m encouraged by the fact that there are foreign banks like Japan’s Sumitomo Bank which is coming in with big to establish an environmental fund which will be used for green technologies.
“I had fruitful discussions with them recently. We are trying to work with them on how to finance solar panel being installed in houses. Hopefully, we’ll come up with a system,” he said.
“I wish every bank could look at things in that sort of positive light, especially our local banks,” he added.
Chin said the fear of failure of the high risk of these projects could be the reasons why for local banks were not supportive of green projects.
“There is some risk of course. Every loan has a risk. No loan is 100 per cent guaranteed. But, we have to be proactive in certain areas,” he added.
He also said in green financing, the government had already provided some buffer for the risk.
“There is the Credit Guarantee Corporation which guaranteed 60 per cent of the loans given.
“So, basically financial institutions are only taking up 40 per cent of the risk. The scheme itself is already reducing the risk for the banks and yet they are still not up to it.
“They don’t accept the challenge in providing the green financing,” Chin added.
Referring to moves by green groups to push for labelling of palm oil as they claimed that orang utan were being driven out from large forests cleared for oil palm plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Musa said:
“They may not want to believe us if we say it, but it is best for them to come and see for themselves.”
Sime Darby is one of the world’s largest listed palm oil producers.
Musa was speaking at the launch of the book Forever Green: A Sustainable Future With Deramakot by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan here yesterday.
Located in Sabah, Deramakot is the first natural tropical rainforest in South-East Asia managed in accordance with sustainable forestry principles.
Green groups, mainly those in Australia, want law for clear labelling of palm oil rather than it being listed as a generic vegetable oil.
Musa said corporate citizens in Malaysia shared equal concerns about conservation but felt that criticisms against any country should be responsible as it would have implications on the country’s economy and the livelihood of its people.
The proposed move to name only palm oil for labelling and avoiding other edible oils could be seen as discriminatory, he said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
PENAMPANG, July 12 (Bernama) — Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, will lead a delegation for a one-week visit to Australia, starting July 24, 2011, to counter the misconceptions on palm oil.
Dompok said the delegation hoped to convince the Australian government to drop its bid to legislate the mandatory labelling of palm oil as an ingredient in food products.
He said the delegation would comprise government officials, palm oil industry players and experts in the fields of wildlife, forestry and environment.
“The delegation will show what Malaysia, the second biggest producer of palm oil, has been doing all this while and counter the misconceptions.
“I want to tell them our side of the story, particularly on the efforts by the Australian Parliament (following the passing of the Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling — Palm Oil) Bill 2010), concerning palm oil.
“I want to give them the correct information … We will be engaging with a wide range of people there, maybe from the legislature and also from the (palm oil) industry itself,” he told reporters after launching ‘Edupalm’, an awareness programme for secondary school students at SMK Datuk Peter Mojuntin here today.
On June 23, the Australian Senate passed an amendment to the Food Act requiring products containing palm oil be explicitly labelled, rather than be described as “vegetable oil”.
Dompok said the visit offered an opportunity to set things straight before the Bill was debated and passed by the Lower House of the Australian Parliament.
He had earlier described the Bill as “a discriminatory law against palm oil”, as competing vegetable oils were not required to do the same.
“When it comes to environmental and ‘green’ issues, palm oil has been an easy target all these years … And those from outside the country said we have not only been destroying the orang utan (population) but also our forest reserves,” he said.
Dompok said these misconceptions were further spread by those who were dissatisfied with what the country has achieved, and thus it was the country’s duty to promote and create awareness on the sustainable practices it has adopted.
He said the team would also be promoting other commodities, such as timber and rubber, during the visit.
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(Bernama) — Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui said less than 10 per cent of Malaysian companies adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda.
“Most of the rest already know how important this CSR is, but still they didn’t make it as business practices,” he told reporters after opening the CSR Sustainability Summit 2011 here Monday.
The one-day summit, themed “Redefining Global Footprints for Sustainable Development”, was organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute. It discussed key issues and strategies on new insights for businesses, governments, CSR practitioners and non-governmental organisations.
In a speech earlier, Chin said CSR represents the first step of a transition towards a system that is radically different from the past.
“It will be a system in which the concepts of competitiveness on one hand and sustainable development on the other hand become increasingly indistinguishable,” he said.
He said the 10th Malaysia Plan reinforces the nation’s agenda to achieve a high income and high productivity economy while focusing on socio-economic issues.
The Budget 2011 announcement which among others requires public limited companies to disclose their CSR activities and provides encouragement for good CSR practices, he said, surely had set in motion the trend amongst local institutional investors to integrate social, environmental and governance considerations in their investment decision.
“Following on from this, I do hope that more Malaysian companies will see that there is an increasing convergence between the private sector, the financial markets and the global community where CSR is not an option.
“It should not be regarded just as a response to externally prescried measures, but as an essential business strategy,” Chin said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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