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Wave of sustainability reporting in the world
Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint - Md. Touhidul Alam Khan and Raisa Rahim
Bangladesh has slightly improved in global ranking of 2012 Global Hunger Index: Bangladesh goes two steps up in ranking from 70th position to 68th position up in 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report released through the IFPRI website last year. Global Hunger Index is a report jointly prepared and published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. Bangladesh ranking two steps up in Global Hunger Index, although, is a good news especially in terms of eradicating hunger and reducing poverty, nonetheless, the country's hunger situation still remains 'alarming' as defined by the index criterion of the published report.

Food and food waste has been an emerging global problem for the past few years. With accelerated economic growth and increasing economic production, food waste will be a matter of grave concern in Bangladesh sooner or later. Bangladesh, being the ninth most populous country and twelfth most densely populated countries in the world will surely bear consequences of both food scarcity as well as food loss if food wastage problem is not addressed.

Today is World Environment Day and it is celebrated every year on 5th June all over the globe. The theme is set about by UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and the theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebration is Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint. Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages one to reduce their foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. Approximately 98% of the world’s hungry live in developing nations. Bangladesh, being an LDC and an emerging economy, still has most of its country’s regions poverty stricken. 49% of the country’s population are still living under national poverty line. In order to address problems strategically, food and food wastage problems will pose serious challenges indeed in the years to come.

The linkage between food, food waste and the environment is inextricably linked. Food waste: food that is thrown away when it could have been sold or eaten, wastes more than just the food itself. It is also a waste of all the natural resources that are used to produce, harvest, transport, process, package and distribute food products. Water, in particular, is used in vast amounts to grow fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains and to support agriculture. Have you ever wondered that scrapping leftovers into the bin contributes directly to climate change? But how? When wasted food is thrown away and breaks down in landfill, together with organic materials, it becomes the main contributor to generation of methane- a gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in atmosphere. Food waste has an environmental impact caused by the loss of natural resources used to produce the food and the greenhouse gas emissions created during its production and disposal. The fact that food is wasted amongst a fixed class group while rest 49% of the country’s population are going to bed hungry means it surely has a social impact.

Bangladesh being an agrarian economy should be more proactive in handling pre-consumption food wastages as food system represents a great part of our carbon footprint. According to Waste Database of Bangladesh (published by Waste Concern), food and vegetable wastes comprises approximately 67.75% of urban solid waste. From Year 1991 to Year 2005, per capita waste generation rate in urban areas have been increased from 0.31 to 0.41.It has been further projected that by the year 2025, per capita waste generation rate in urban areas will increase to 0.60. With waste generation increasing in direct proportional with GDP & population, food waste will be a challenging issue indeed.

When food is wasted, the energy and resources invested by the supply chain to deliver food to our pantry and plates is lost. That signifies how important supply chain is in its impact on our greenhouse carbon footprint. Pre-consumer waste is generated at many points in the food supply chain including manufacturers, food processing facilities, supermarkets and retailers, cafes and restaurants. Soil, water, natural resources and energy are used to produce, harvest, transport, process, package, distribute and market all our food products. Traditional farming practices like clearing, cultivating, irrigating, spraying, fertilizing and cropping can impact our environment and combined with the introduction of pesticides and weeds, soil loss and dry lands salinity traditional farming practices have changed our landscape for the past few decades or so. Inefficient farming methods and lack of knowledge amongst the farmers in efficient handling and usage of agricultural techniques have already contributed to the effects of climate change in the realm of food and food wastage. Other than food supply chain, pre-consumer food waste may also result from overproduction, spoilage, products not meeting the demands of food retailing and wholesaling sectors (size and aesthetic) and food preparation. Although half of the country’s population is still under national poverty line (under 49%), the urban upper class group and the emerging dominant middle class is a contributing group to food wastage. Food is also wasted after purchase. Post-consumer food waste is the food that is thrown away after it has been purchased by the customer. Such waste includes customer plate wastes from restaurants, cafes and takeaways or any food purchased from a retail store (supermarket, fruit store, and bakery) that has been purchased but then not eaten.

If current trends in our population and consumption patterns continues in such wasteful manner like that of mentioned above, Bangladesh will need to produce about twice as much food by 2050 in a changing climate with higher prices for energy, water and fertilizers. By swapping our wasteful habits for a more sustainable approach to buying, preparing and managing our food, we can all play a part in bringing about significant environmental and greenhouse benefits. We can all reduce our environmental impact by changing our actions towards food production and food waste when we grow our own vegetables and buy local produces and support sustainable farming, thus increasing our demand for sustainable produce and contributing positively to our environment and hence fighting climate change.

Md. Touhidul Alam Khan ACMA is SEVP, Head of Corporate Assets & Client Origination and Team Leader of Green Banking Unit, Bank Asia Limited and Raisa Rahim is Team Member of Green Banking Unit of Bank Asia Limited. They can be reached: touhid1969@gmail.com and raisarahim@yahoo.com

Daily Star
Financial Express
3 phases of the green banking policy
Resource constraint has already hit the overall global business and society as well. Moreover, on the path to industrialisation we have started neglecting our eco-system threatening the lives of teeming millions in tandem with the global climate change scenario. Banks, as financiers, can play a key role in this regard being the hub of economic activities.

Climate change: Bangladesh sits on a low-lying area and millions of people seek their livelihood from the abundance of nature. Unfortunately climate change resulting from Green House Gas (GHG) emission of the industrialised countries has already changed the weather pattern and we are also vulnerable to sea level rises. The Government of Bangladesh has invested around $10 billion in the last 35 years to mitigate the sufferings arising out of natural disasters. Environmental pollution: Once dependent on agricultural and fisheries, unplanned industrialisation has led to pollution which is choking the lives of inhabitants in Bangladesh. A study by the World Bank has concluded that the four rivers near the capital city Dhaka receives around 1.5 million cubic meters of waste water from 7,000 industries and also 0.5 million cubic meters from other sources. Environmental regulatory authority: Industries have to abide by the Department of Environment (DoE) Rules and Act, which is often loosely monitored. Industries are often reluctant to incorporate measures to protect the environment as it adds to their investment cost as well as operating cost.

But recently we are observing hefty fines are being imposed on industries violating the Act, which would create awareness amongst the industries and the banks financing such concern.

Green banking policy: Against the backdrop of these uncertainties, the Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, has come up with a groundbreaking initiative to bring all the commercial banks on board with its green banking policy issued on February 27, 2011.

It is divided into three phases. Under Phase-I, banks are to develop green banking policies and show general commitment on environment through in-house performance.

During Phase-II, banks are to develop sector-specific environmental policies, set green targets to be achieved through strategic planning, setting up green branches, improved in-house environment management, environmental risk management plan and guidelines, disclosure and reporting of green banking activities.

Under theThird Phase, banks are expected to address the whole eco-system through environment-friendly initiatives and introducing innovative products, standard environmental reporting with external verification should be part of this phase.

The policy also has provisions for banks to allocate funds for mitigating climate change risk.The policy is already having an impact on the banks' internal environment management as well as fund allocation process, thus influencing the business houses. Most of the banks have formed Green Banking Cell as required under the said policy and undertaken green initiatives. The policy would be the benchmark against which the activities would be judged.

The Bangladesh Bank's progress report on the commercial banks shows the headway the banks have made in their in-house environment management and influence it has on the clients to incorporate sustainability into their projects.

Declaration of top ten banks for Green Banking initiative is also acting as a motivational factor have caused competition amongst the banks to remain in the sustainable list. Under this policy banks are also to receive added points in central bank's annual rating and expansion of branches.

BB Governor representing in the Rio summit: The governor of central bank raised concern regarding vulnerability of Bangladesh from climate change effect, which is already taking its toll in the form of more severe natural disasters.

He also highlighted the unique green banking policy being adopted by the central bank for the banking sector. This pioneering initiative is already having a positive impact on the banks and their clients to undertake environment friendly initiative.

More than a year has passed since the green banking policy was adopted. This has apparently created an awareness amongst the banks and their employees. We need support from leading international institutions to adopt best global practices to enable us to move towards a sustainable future.

By combining our cheap labour with cutting-edge technology we may find solution to our energy needs and scarce resources. We should take measured steps to protect the environment to ensure a prosperous green future for the coming generations.
Source: http://asianbankingandfinance.net/banking-technology/commentary/3-phases-green-banking-policy
Greening banking - a new way of thinking
Md Touhidul Alam Khan

Resource constraint has already hit the overall global business and society as well. Moreover, on the path to industrialisation we have started neglecting our eco-system threatening the lives of teeming millions in tandem with the global climate change scenario. Banks, as financiers, can play a key role in this regard being the hub of economic activities.

Climate change: Bangladesh sits on a low-lying area and millions of people seek their livelihood from the abundance of nature. Unfortunately climate change resulting from Green House Gas (GHG) emission of the industrialised countries has already changed the weather pattern and we are also vulnerable to sea level rises. The Government of Bangladesh has invested around $10 billion in the last 35 years to mitigate the sufferings arising out of natural disasters.

Environmental pollution: Once dependent on agricultural and fisheries, unplanned industrialisation has led to pollution which is choking the lives of inhabitants in Bangladesh. A study by the World Bank has concluded that the four rivers near the capital city Dhaka receives around 1.5 million cubic meters of waste water from 7,000 industries and also 0.5 million cubic meters from other sources.

Environmental regulatory authority: Industries have to abide by the Department of Environment (DoE) Rules and Act, which is often loosely monitored. Industries are often reluctant to incorporate measures to protect the environment as it adds to their investment cost as well as operating cost. But recently we are observing hefty fines are being imposed on industries violating the Act, which would create awareness amongst the industries and the banks financing such concern.

Green banking policy: Against the backdrop of these uncertainties, the Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, has come up with a ground-breaking initiative to bring all the commercial banks on board with its green banking policy issued on February 27, 2011. It is divided into three phases. Under Phase-I, banks are to develop green banking policies and show general commitment on environment through in-house performance. During Phase-II, banks are to develop sector-specific environmental policies, set green targets to be achieved through strategic planning, setting up green branches, improved in-house environment management, environmental risk management plan and guidelines, disclosure and reporting of green banking activities. Under the third Phase, banks are expected to address the whole eco-system through environment-friendly initiatives and introducing innovative products, standard environmental reporting with external verification should be part of this phase. The policy also has provisions for banks to allocate funds for mitigating climate change risk.

The policy is already having an impact on the banks' internal environment management as well as fund allocation process, thus influencing the business houses. Most of the banks have formed Green Banking Cell as required under the said policy and undertaken green initiatives. The policy would be the benchmark against which the activities would be judged.

The Bangladesh Bank's progress report on the commercial banks shows the headway the banks have made in their in-house environment management and influence it has on the clients to incorporate sustainability into their projects. Declaration of top ten banks for Green Banking initiative is also acting as a motivational factor have caused competition amongst the banks to remain in the sustainable list. Under this policy banks are also to receive added points in central bank's annual rating and expansion of branches.

BB Governor representing in the Rio summit: The governor of central bank raised concern regarding vulnerability of Bangladesh from climate change effect, which is already taking its toll in the form of more severe natural disasters. He also highlighted the unique green banking policy being adopted by the central bank for the banking sector. This pioneering initiative is already having a positive impact on the banks and their clients to undertake environment friendly initiative.

More than a year has passed since the green banking policy was adopted. This has apparently created an awareness amongst the banks and their employees. We need support from leading international institutions to adopt best global practices to enable us to move towards a sustainable future. By combining our cheap labour with cutting-edge technology we may find solution to our energy needs and scarce resources. We should take measured steps to protect the environment to ensure a prosperous green future for the coming generations. The writer is an Associate Member of Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) and Associate Editor of The Cost & Management Journal.
Source: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/m_more.php?news_id=147510&date=2012-10-20
Green Banking : Go Green, think green
Md. Touhidul Alam Khan

Commemorated every year on 5 June, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. The aim of the day is to:


* Give a human face to environmental issues;
* Empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development;
* Promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues;
* Advocate partnership, which will ensure all nations and peoples, enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.

The First regulatory enforcement named Comprehensive Environmental Responses, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) formed by US government in 1980. Under the act, a potentially responsible party (PRP) is a possible polluter who may eventually be held liable under CERCLA for the contamination or misuse of a particular property or resource. Four classes of PRPs may be liable for contamination under this act:
* Current owner or operator of the site;
* Owner or operator of a site at the time when disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant occurred;
* Person who arranged for the disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant at a site;
* Person who transported a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant to a site, who also has selected that site for the disposal of the hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. In these perspectives green banking initiatives taken by international organizations are:
* Equator Principles: Set of voluntary standards that commit signatory banks to take social and environmental risks into account when providing project finance.
* UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI): This was developed by institutional investors that recognise the increasing relevance of environmental, social and corporate governance issues that apply to asset management.
* UNEP Finance Initiative Statements: These recognise the role of financial service sector in making global economies sustainable. This promotes investment in clean and renewable energy by financial institutions and other investors.
* UN Global Compact (UNGC): Set of ten voluntary principles under which signatories promise to avoid complicity to human rights violations, adhere to labour standards, and protect the environment.

Being a responsible corporate body and with a view to developing green banking practices in the country Bangladesh Bank issued a circular on 27th February, 2011 (BRPD Circular No.2) on Policy Guideline for Green Banking towards banks stating “to adopt a comprehensive Green Banking Policy in a formal and structured manner in line with the global norms so as to protect environment degradation and ensure sustainable banking practices”. In line with the instructions of Bangladesh Bank, all banks are supposed to take initiatives to formulate its Green Banking Policy with an aim to inculcate practices towards optimum usage of natural resources and make every effort for environmentally friendly activities. As per circular of Bangladesh Bank, banks are to implement Green Banking guideline under three phases:

In a word, we can say that green banking refers to the attempt of the banking sector to consider social, ecological and environmental factors with an aim to protect the environment and conserve natural resources. The banking sector plays a major role in financing investment for commercial projects, which is one of the most important economic activities for economic growth. Hence, by taking various measures to save the environment the banking sector can play a crucial role in promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible investment. As such, Green Banking is also known as Ethical Banking and Sustainable Banking. The purpose of Green Banking initiatives taken by central bank is to ascertain required measures to save the environment and reduce pollution while serving or financing customers and improve in-house environment management through efficient and effective use of resources in all the branch and head offices of banks. Bangladesh Bank is well aware of the environmental degradation situation and has already given time-to-time directions to all scheduled banks. Commercial Banks are now required to ensure necessary measures to protect environmental pollution while financing a new project or providing working capital to the existing enterprises. Banks have been advised to facilitate their clients with utmost care financing for installation of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) in the industrial units and to finance in Solar Energy, Bio-gas, ETP and Hybrid Hoffman Kiln (HHK) in brick field under refinance programme of Bangladesh Bank.

By implementing this policy banks intend to accomplish the following objectives:
* Increase goodwill or improve brand image by showing their commitment to save and protect the environment;
* Reduce giving loans to certain environmentally harmful projects;
* Check the necessary environmentally due diligence factors before lending a loan/investment;
* Make efficient and effective use of resources and channel financing in an environment friendly manner; Introducing new technology in banking operations that would not only benefit customers but also increase the productivity of employees;
* Reduce carbon foot print in all branches and head offices of all banks;
* Create awareness amongst the stakeholders about environmental and social responsibility enabling them to adopt environmentally friendly business practices. The theme of World Environment Day 2012 is "Green Economy: Does it include you?" UNEP defines a Green Economy as 'one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes. This is why Green Banking initiatives by all banks are moral obligation to save the people. And the time has come for all lenders to “go green” and “think green” by setting their mindset taking remarkable footsteps through successful green banking initiatives.
Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/suppliments/2012/environment/pg1.htm
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