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WORLD ENERGY CONGRESS UNVEILS PROGRAM THEMES

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

Ministers, CEOs and experts to address full range of energy issues

LONDON &SEOUL– 14th May 2013: The 2013 World Energy Congress Organizing Committee announced today some of the significant program topics that will be discussed by leading figures in the energy sector at the world’s premier energy event, to be held in Daegu, South Korea from October 13 to 17, 2013.

Under the theme of ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’, topics range from the future prospects of the oil & gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables sectors to the tough policy decisions needed to balance the often conflicting priorities of energy security, universal access to affordable energy, and environmental protection. Delegates will also be given insights into how finance and innovation are shaping our energy future.

“The Congress will provide a fascinating overview of the opportunities and challenges of our energy world in transition,” said Dr. Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council. “The issues to be highlighted will be addressed from a number of viewpoints, encompassing the perspectives of individual energy sectors and geographical regions, as well as providing a strategic overview of global energy trends.”

More than 200 prominent speakers, including energy ministers, industry CEOs and top experts and researchers, will answer the most pressing questions facing the global energy industry today, such as:

· Oil: Will state oil companies and independents come to dominate the industry?

· Gas: Will shale gas be a game changer in redrawing the global energy map or is it just a bubble?

· Coal: Can demand for coal overcome environmental concerns?

· Renewables: Is the honeymoon over?

· Nuclear: Can effective international governance rules keep alive the nuclear renaissance?

· Hydro: Has its time finally come?

· Biofuels: What are the critical success factors for sustainable projects?

· Utilities: Will new business models succeed in promoting decentralization?

· Energy access: Is it achievable against the competing demands for water and food?

· Energy security: What are the next big energy sources?

· Environment mitigation: Are green growth and rapid economic growth compatible?

· Energy efficiency: Are yesterday’s cities fit for tomorrow’s energy?

· Finance: Is development finance delivering inclusive green growth?

· Energy innovation: Is venture capital more important than government support?

· Asia: Can the region become a showcase for green growth?

· Eurasia: Can it achieve partnerships to unlock its full energy potential?

· Middle East: Will it balance the needs of energy exports, local energy growth and job creation?

· Latin America: Blessed with resources, but overwhelmed by choice?

· Europe: Can it achieve effective energy market integration?

· Africa: Is there an energy infrastructure road map?

“The program at the 22nd World Energy Congress captures the full range and complexity of today’s energy challenges,” said Cho Hwan-eik, chair of the Organizing Committee of the 2013 World Energy Congress. “The Congress offers an impressive and unmatched list of speakers to provide insights on how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.”

Specific sessions and speakers will be announced shortly.

For further information, registration and other details, please log on to www.daegu2013.kr

Media Enquiries:

World Energy Congress – international

Seán Galvin

Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 7133

M: +44 (0)7788 568 245

Email: sean.galvin@fticonsulting.com

World Energy Council

Monique Tsang

Tel: +44 (0)20 3214 0616

Email: tsang@worldenergy.org

About the World Energy Congress

The World Energy Congress is the world’s premier energy gathering. The triennial World Energy Congress has gained recognition since the first event in 1923 as the premier global forum for leaders and thinkers to debate solutions to energy issues. In addition to the discussions, the event provides an opportunity for executives to display their technologies and explore business opportunities. With the upcoming Congress in Daegu the event will have been held in 20 major cities around the world since its founding.

Further details at www.daegu2013.kr and @WECongress

About the World Energy Council (WEC)

The World Energy Council (WEC) is the principal impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Formed in 1923, WEC is the UN-accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum, with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy related stakeholders. WEC informs global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events, publishing authoritative studies, and working through its extensive member network to facilitate the world’s energy policy dialogue.

Further details at www.worldenergy.org and @WECouncil

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Lopatka: “Africa wants closer cooperation with Austria” / State Secretary sets initiatives for economic cooperation and educational projects

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

VIENNA, Austria, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Opportunities for deepening political and economic ties to the African continent were the focus in a meeting of Austrian State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka with 25 ambassadors from African states. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Austrian Development Bank and the Austrian Ministry of Finance (soft loans) are the partners in the Africa initiative, which the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs has started with the support of the Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) and the City of Vienna. The African ambassadors showed great interest in stronger economic cooperation with Austria, including tourism projects and accessing Austrian know-how.

Good prospects exist for strengthening economic cooperation. “We are focussing on the interface between business and development. Africa offers opportunities above all for Austrian exports and we must put these to good use. The prerequisites are favourable: Austria does not have to struggle with the negative effect of a colonial past in Africa. The trust exists for intensifying trade contacts”, the State Secretary said. The priorities for Africa are to be established in coordination between the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Economic Chamber Austria.

“Our Africa initiative comprises three focal areas: The first priority for us is “more trade than aid”, secondly we are offering our support in education and training, as for example in tourism and training for diplomats and thirdly we have set our sights on a closer partnership and cooperation with African partners within the scope of multilateral organisations”, Lopatka continued.

“Austria is training engineers in the erection of solar thermal facilities in South Africa for example, and supporting coffee growers in Tanzania in the production and marketing of top quality coffee. The engineering company Waagner-Biro is building bridges in Mozambique with the help of soft loans and the Schloss Klessheim tourism school offers grants for training places”, the State Secretary said.

“We are also calling for the membership of African states in the International Anti-Corruption Academy and for a further development of cooperation in energy projects. Vienna has been able to develop a strong profile over the past few years as a location of international significance in this field. The new office for the implementation of the UN initiative “Sustainable Energy for All” in Vienna has been added to the many existing facilities of our energy cluster and it is of very high relevance for the African states in particular”, Lopatka said. The African states would be able to represent their interests at the Vienna location even better by establishing an African Union (AU) bureau in Vienna. “We are ready to support the creation of an AU representation office in Vienna with a start-up package and we hope there will soon be a green light for this project from the AU”, the State Secretary concluded.

 

SOURCE

Austria – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Green business awards launched in Zimbabwe

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe anticipates to ignite its green economic revolution with the recent launch of the green business awards expected to be presented to outstanding winners in November 2013, according to Sebastian Zuze, Chairman of the awards. The awards recently launched in Harare under the theme:Greening the economy for sustainable national prosperity are an initiative of Xhib-it Events company and are meant to celebrate excellence in green practice,strategy and products, complimenting the Ministry of Environment’s efforts on greening the economy.They seek to recognize the most innovative,ambitious and effective initiatives by Zimbabwean business and individuals for achieving environmental sustainability and implementing smart business practice.

Launching the award, Zuze said going green is the idea of making sure that in any activity that is conducted by individuals,communities and business,the environmental impacts are assessed and minimized to ensure sustainability.

He added that the effects of not managing the environment include loss of bio-diversity and long term damage to ecosystems,pollution of the atmosphere and the consequences of climate change,damage to aquatic ecosystems,land degradation,the impacts of chemicals use and disposal,waste production and depletion of non-renewable resources.

“On the other hand, good environmental practice ensures increased productivity in our factories,reduction of waste, improved efficiencies,enhanced national image,better utilization of resources and development of environmentally friendly technologies,” Zuze said.   Through the awards, Zimbabwe seeks to explore various approaches to attain sustainable growth in the global market place.

“Goals for the awards are simple, but bold, to fill heads with practical knowledge,ideas,new trends,helping transform business as usual by partnering with extraordinary visionaries,forward thinkers,creative industry leaders and companies committed to building profitable and sustainable enterprises while solving some of the world’s toughest problems,” Zuze said.

Some of the award categories include;the overall green business award,the green leader award,the green entrepreneur award,the green supply chain award,the green building award,the green residential building award,the green energy award,the green professional services award,the green travel initiatives award,the waste to business resource award,the green retailer award,the green school/college award,the green SME award,the green manufacturer award,the green product award,the green innovation award,the green local council award,the green community award,the green healthcare award,the green entertainment and leisure award,the green communications award, the green financial institution award,the green corporate citizen award, the Minister of Environment’s award for environmental excellence, the minister of tourism’s award for eco-tourism excellence and the ministry of mines green mining award of excellence.

Awards chairman Zuze says many factors are impacting on local, regional and international trade.”Managing the environmental impact of manufacturing,mining and the activities involved during the provision of services to markets is assuming significance of enormous proportions especially in Zimbabwe,” Zuze said.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema said threats to the environment in Zimbabwe are arising from the construction industry, infrastructure development, mineral resources exploration, waste disposal, packaging and branding, communications, natural resource consumption, energy and water consumption.

“The precautionary principle is therefore crucial to apply that business should operate in a way that does not threaten the future of our existence by continually seeking alternative means and ways of operations that are sustainable,” Nhema said.

Nhema added that his ministry envisions using platforms like the Green Business awards,the merging of business and the environment through behaviour change known as sustainable business or green business to present opportunities for new business that is future oriented.

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GulfSol 2013 set to address MENA solar power problems

Posted on 10 May 2013 by Africa Business

Solar power in the Middle East seems simultaneously logical with sun-scorched deserts everywhere, and illogical, all that oil, at the same time.

But several of the “Gulf monarchies,” all major contributors to the world’s oil supplies, are starting to set goals to cut back on consuming the hydrocarbons they produce in favor of sustainable, climate-friendly energy sources.

Abu Dhabi has a goal of getting 7 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state owned renewable energy company, Masdar, is reportedly set to announce that it will invest ‘up to £1 billion’ in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB). Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is even more ambitious. The Saudi government hopes to just about double its installed electricity capacity by building 54 gigawatts of renewable energy (as well as 17.6 GW of nuclear power) by 2032, of which 41 GW will come from the sun. Qatar is also turning to renewables, with a plan on the table to get 10 percent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar by 2018. Kuwait, too, has ambitions for 10 percent renewables by 2020.

To meet the goals that the UAE have set themselves means expertise will be needed from the international solar power industry to deal with the difficulties involved in desert construction including dust, high winds and transmission requirements.

To address this demand, GulfSol takes place 3-5 September 2013 at the DWTC.

“It is apparent that whilst the solar industry in other areas is struggling, right across MENA, the opportunities for companies to get themselves involved with the wealth of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Right now, nothing is hotter for solar than the Middle East” said Derek Burston, exhibition manager of GulfSol 2013.

“It is this reason that there has been a surge in space reservations at this year’s inaugural GulfSol exhibition. As the only truly dedicated solar and PV show, the exhibition provides the perfect opportunity for companies to present themselves to a high quality visitor base over a three day period”.

For more information on confirming your exhibition presence at GulfSol 2013, contact Derek Burston on dburston@bowheadmedia.com or Ben Richardson on brichardson@bowheadmedia.com

To register to visit the event go to: www.confexsys.com/sol

For more information on the event go to: http://www.gulfsol.com/

Fast facts about the solar power industry

It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s trendy and it’s green. Solar and wind power are increasingly becoming topics of conversation as the world shifts from filthy coal, oil and other fossil fuels, to the clean and renewable energy provided by the wind and the sun.

  • It would take only around 0.3 per cent of the world’s land area to supply all of our electricity needs via solar power.
  • Weight for weight, advanced silicon based solar cells generate the same amount of electricity over their lifetime as nuclear fuel rods, without the hazardous waste. All the components in a solar panel can be recycled, whereas nuclear waste remains a threat for thousands of years.
  • Solar and wind power systems have 100 times better lifetime energy yield than either nuclear or fossil energy system per tonne of mined materials
  • The amount of energy that goes into creating solar panels is paid back through clean electricity production within anywhere from 1.5 – 4 years, depending on where they are used. This compares with a serviceable life of decades.
  • The theoretical limit for silicon based solar cells is 29% conversion efficiency. Currently, polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels generally available have efficiencies anywhere from 12% to 18%. With the addition of solar concentrators, the efficiency of photovoltaics is eventually likely to rise above 60 per cent.
  • The Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year
  • Solar radiation and related energy resources including wind and wave power, hydro and biomass make up 99.97% of the available renewable energy on Earth
  • The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s
  • The world’s largest wind turbine is currently the Enercon E-126 with a rotor diameter of 126 meters. The E-126 produces 6 megawatts, enough to power approximately  5,000 European households.
  • Global annual photovoltaic installations increased from just 21 megawatts in 1985, to 2,826 megawatts in 2007
  • Manufacturing solar cells produces 90% less pollutants than conventional fossil fuel technologies
  • The solar industry creates 200 to 400 jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation for every 10 megawatts of solar power generated annually.

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“MTN Business are passionate about Machine2Machine and therefore utilize our own solutions effectively as part of our green drive.”

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Africa Business

 



Exclusive interview with Kevin Jacobson
, General Manager, Business Indirect Sales, MTN Business. MTN is a platinum sponsor at African Utility Week.



Q: What are you most excited about regarding MTN’s current utility projects?

A: Our extensive M2M experience allows us to play a consultative role in the value chain. At MTN Business we have the opportunity to work with companies that provide a multitude of solutions including smart metering, where we are able to offer the know-how for effective implementation in this regard.

MTN Business have launched two products that Corporates themselves can monitor measure and in doing so, control and become more operationally effective and environmentally conscious.

These products include:

· Water Monitoring (WM) – a Machine2Machine solution that allows the customer to monitor their business’ water usage and access real-time and reporting through a web-based service. This MTN Machine2Machine device is connected to a water meter and using the meter’s standard pulse outputs, provides accurate hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual consumption reports. In addition, a business can also generate flow rate graphs detailing hourly consumption patterns, and can configure maximum/minimum flow rate alarms with escalation via SMS and email.

· Automated Meter Management (AMM) – controls and monitors a business’ electricity usage and takes advantage of the accurate hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual monitoring. Not only does this solution provide an overview of the meter, the SIM card and the network status, but it allows a business to remotely configure its electricity meter and backup usage information on a database.

Q: What sets MTN’s solutions apart from the competition?

A: MTN Business are passionate about Machine2Machine and therefore utilize our own solutions effectively as part of our green drive. We aim to not only save money and allow companies to do the same; but we are also doing our bit to save the planet. We have the vision that will take our customers into the future.

Q: Can you give us an indication of MTN’s interests in the African utility market?
A:
MTN is the largest operator on the African continent. At MTN, we understand the scarcity of resources and therefore the need to preserve and conserve resources. It is important to have real time information and manage our resources as best we can. We therefore selected this platform to participate in, in order to network with those who share a similar viewpoint to us, to gain insight as well as to showcase our innovations and the products that we offer to the utilities sector.

Q: What do you think are the main challenges for the energy industry in Africa?

A: We have a shortage of power in South Africa, inadequate resource running at full capacity without the luxury of being able to implement effective preventative maintenance. This leads to the risks of load shedding which in turn negatively impacts the economy. The Energy sector is battling to get their energy savings message across as well as failing in providing effective billing and collection leading to overloaded and oversized call centers, high debtors days and massive bad debt. Utilities need to get real time billing to the customer, increase transparency to consumers, demonstrate the real effects of energy conservation and let them experience the fruits of their effort. Consumers need to tangibly see the cost saving in order to change behavior.

Q: What is your vision for the industry?

A: Smart Grids; Smart meters; informed Corporates and consumers. Our vision for the industry is this:

· Smart Grids and Smart Meters

· Effective use of alternative enerygy

· Corporates and Consumers with a real time view of their accurate bills

· Utilities use time based tariffs to control usage.

· Creation of a larger green conscious community that understand the value of preserving resources.

Q: What surprises you about this industry?

A: So much can be done with the technology that is already available. Technology is at our finger tips and we have yet to exploit it as we could.

Q: What is your specific message at this year’s African Utility Week?
A:
Let’s start to effectively involve both corporates and consumers, give them the power and the consciousness to make a difference and lead them. Let’s use the technology available, partner and leave our mark.

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Climate Investment Funds Give North Africa and Middle East Green Light for Revised Regional Solar Plan

Posted on 07 May 2013 by Africa Business

 

AfDB/World Bank-supported plan to generate more than a gigawatt of power

 

About the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Established in 2008 as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, the US $7.6 billion CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, multilateral development banks (MDBs), and other sources. Five MDBs – the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank Group (WBG) – implement CIF-funded projects and programs.


WASHINGTON, May 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The US $7.6 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) today gave the go-ahead to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia to proceed with an updated version of a sweeping plan to create an unprecedented 1,120 megawatts (MW) of energy from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) for the region. The plan will receive US $660 million from the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and is expected to leverage nearly US $5 billion from other donors and private financing.

The plan, first endorsed by the CIF in 2009, has undergone post-Arab Spring changes by each country to reflect the political and economic conditions in the region and to build on emerging lessons from the plan’s first project now underway – the Ouarzazate I 160 MW plant in Morocco.

The revised plan accepted today by the CIF governing body provides a realignment of projects in the pipeline based on each country’s reassessed needs; focuses on well-performing projects as a stronger measure of the plan’s positive impact; and expands the plan’s horizons to also include Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic (CPV) technologies and business models including public sector, public-private partnerships (PPPs), and independent power producers (IPPs). The original plan projected a total of 895 MW of power, but with the revision the region now expects to achieve 1.12 GW, making it the most ambitious CSP program in the world. The countries have also agreed to request a smaller funding envelope from the original US $750 million to US $660 million including currently funded projects.

“The changes suggested by the countries in the plan make it a more viable and flexible plan which takes into account the realities each of these countries face,” stated Mafalda Duarte, AfDB coordinator for the Bank’s CIF program. “We can all look to this revised plan as both a signal of hope for the forward economic and social movement in the region built on renewable energy, and a more realistic blueprint for the evolution of renewables as a potent engine of power globally.”

The plan is also adding a technical assistance (TA) component to complement efforts at the project level and establish a critical platform for knowledge exchange and increase private sector involvement and regional integration.

President Mustapha Bakkoury of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), who presented the revised plan to the governing body, emphasized to the CIF that, “We are looking forward to seeing more involvement by this kind of financing in the coming years, and hope it will help continue the dynamism of the solar power sector and its competitiveness with wind and other energy sources, including fossil fuels.”

CTF allocations in the revised plan are:

•    Morocco: CTF US $218M for 300 MW (Ouarzazate II)

•    Egypt: CTF US $123M for 100 MW (Kom Ombo)

•    Tunisia: CTFUS $62M for 50 MW (Akarit) (may increase to 100)

•    Jordan: CTF US $50M for up to 100 MW including CPV

•    Technical assistance: CTF US $10M

Background

In 2009, recognizing their region’s enormous potential for tapping into CSP, they had agreed on an unprecedented Investment Plan for regional CSP development to generate 1 Gigawatt (GW) power and triple worldwide capacity, and had received a commitment for US $750 million by the CIF’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF). The Investment Plan was designed around deployment of about 10-12 commercial scale power plants to be constructed over a three- to five-year time frame. Now, in light of subsequent political and technological developments in the region, the countries and their partners have come together again to update and revise the Plan to better suit their countries’ current circumstances and consider advances in solar technology.


 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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THE AfDB Gender Forum « Changing the state of Gender Equality in Africa » Ramada Plazza Hôtel Gammarth, Tunis-Tunisia, May, 10 2013

Posted on 07 May 2013 by Africa Business

About BAD:

The African Development Bank is the Group’s parent organization. The Agreement establishing the African Development Bank was adopted and opened for signature at the Khartoum, Sudan, conference on August 4, 1963.

This agreement entered into force on September 10, 1964. The Bank began effective operations on July 1, 1966. Its major role is to contribute to the economic and social progress of its regional member countries – individually and collectively.

As of 31 December 2011, the African Development Bank’s authorized capital is subscribed to by 77 member countries made up of 53 independent African countries (regional members) and 24 non-African countries (non-regional members).

 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will host Friday, May 10th, 2013 “THE AfDB Gender Forum” with the presence of several internationally renowned personalities at the Ramada Plazza Hotel Gammarth.

This first edition organized by the African Development Bank will be held to promote the advocacy of the first development finance institution on the continent in this sector.

The participants, including African Ministers in charge of gender, representatives of international institutions, the private sector, and experts from civil society will discuss the content of institutional and economic reforms to promote more equality and to improve the legal status of the African women. In addition, the meeting will focus on highlighting the best practices observed in recent years on the continent as in the private sector, civil society and governments.

The Forum will be held all day on Friday, May 10, 2013 with three panels of discussions:

1-Promoting Sustainable Reforms for Improved Gender Equality in Africa

2-Advancing the legal status of women

3-Highlights of Good Practices

The African Development Bank places the promotion of gender equality at the heart of its development strategy on the continent for the next ten years, a strategy based on green and inclusive economic growth.

It should be noted that in recent years, many African countries – such as the African Development Bank, have taken important steps in integrating gender issue in their national strategies and programs.

However, efforts are still needed; the key obstacle remains the insufficient capacity to translate these political commitments into concrete actions.

“THE AfDB Gender Forum” will allow participants to think and discuss the processes aiming to improve the current diagnosis of gender equality in Africa.

Information Note on the AFDB GENDER FORUM – ENGLISH May 7 (Microsoft Word)

Medias Contact :

Dimitri Lucas : dimitri.lucas@agencepublics.com +216 50 77 92 46

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Standard Bank uses sustainable strategy to mesh commercial reality and social relevance

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Africa Business

2012 Sustainability Report proves that Standard Bank’s strategy and sustainability programmes are mutually reinforcing and have served the company well in the past 12 months

Johannesburg, 2 May 2013 Standard Bank Group’s 2012 Sustainability Report indicates that the Group’s repositioning several years ago to focus on Africa and, therefore, linking its own sustainability with that of the people and businesses of the continent is paying dividends – for both the Group and its markets.

By embedding sustainability thinking and sustainable business practices at every level of the business, the Standard Bank Group (SBG) has, among others:

· Prevented fraud to the value of R1,1 billion

· Created R60 billion in wealth

· Banked more than 661 000 SMEs across Africa

· Enabled Standard Bank South Africa (SBSA) to spend R125 million in corporate social investment

· Increased SBSA’s Inclusive Banking customers to 6,2 million (2011: 5,4 million)

· Increased the number of women managers to 47% (2011: 46%)

· Increased training spend from R484 million in 2011 to R609 million in 2012

· Increased black representation at senior management level from 35% to 37%

· More than doubled the number of participants in leadership development programmes from 1 101 in 2011 to 2 498 in 2012

· Committed R9,4 billion to renewable energy projects in South Africa

· Enabled financing of 16 Equator Principle projects (2011: nine)

· Abated 19 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions through carbon financing.

“Only a banking group that is organisationally and financially healthy can deliver these kinds of sustainability results for its internal and external stakeholders,” says Karin Ireton, Head of Sustainability Management for Standard Bank. “So, our sustainability priority is to ensure that we operate in a way that makes business sense for us.

The maturing of our sustainability reporting gives us the ability to articulate and assess the value that sustainability management has for the Group. Making a commitment to better reporting to our stakeholders has the potential to improve the business.”

An example of the objectivity of Standard Bank’s reporting is the fact that this year’s report shows that the CO2 emissions for Standard Bank South Africa were 412 089 metric tons in 2012 as against 180 403 in 2011.

This is not because the bank’s carbon footprint has worsened but because its measure of energy usage has improved. The bank has designed an innovative methodology by means of which it can understand the costs of energy in an organisation running hundreds of sites, most with different energy suppliers, all billing in different ways.

“The information we now have enables us to make better decisions about reducing our carbon footprint across both our ATM network and our multiple branches and offices all with different lighting configurations and different levels of computer, air-conditioning, and photocopier usage,” Ms Ireton says.

SBG not only ensures that all strategic decisions incorporate sustainability related insight and analysis as well as intelligence gained from its stakeholder engagement activities, it also focuses on instilling an inclusive business culture and leadership style through its operations.

As a consequence, some of the success stories in the 2012 Sustainability Report include advances in transformation, inclusive and responsible banking products and services, and infrastructure, renewable energy, affordable housing, and agriculture financing.

“One of the reasons SBG has reached the venerable age of 150 years, is that it has always been responsive to the issues of the times,” Ms Ireton says. “In the modern era, sustainability is the issue, and the Group is responding to it holistically and in an integrated way.”

Local and international acknowledgement of SBG’s sustainability strategy includes:

· Corporate Knights Inc. 2013 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World – SBG was the only African company included, ranking 98th

· Newsweek Green Rankings – of the largest 500 publicly traded companies globally, SBG ranked 21st in the financial sector category and 64th overall

· Bloomberg New Energy Finance Clean Energy & Energy Smart Technology League Tables – SBG ranked as the seventh international lead arranger for renewable energy financing

· 2012 JSE Socially Responsible Investment Index – Standard Bank was identified as a best performer, for the sixth consecutive year.

Standard Bank Africa footprint (Acrobat Reader, .pdf)

Standard Bank Rosebank (Acrobat Reader, .pdf)

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New technology for harvesting energy from low velocity ocean and tidal currents multiplies the potential for marine energy

Posted on 01 May 2013 by Africa Business

by Anders Jansson, CEO, Minesto

Anders Jansson is co-founder and CEO of Minesto, an energy technology company in the field of marine energy, with a patented and proven technology (Deep Green) to harvest energy from low velocity tidal and ocean currents. He has eight years of experience from developing and commercialising marine energy technology, both as an entrepreneur and business leader with a background from Chalmers University of Technology. See http://www.minesto.com/.

 

Marine energy – for instance energy from tidal and ocean currents – is the ‘best of the best’ amongst green energy sources: it has the greatest potential (in theory, the planet’s oceans could supply the entire world with renewable energy), tidal and ocean current  power plants are under water and therefore completely invisible, they produce electricity from 100 per cent renewable energy sources (the water in the globe’s oceans will always move around, well, at least until the sun swallows the moon), they are safe, and the icing on the cake is that they actually have positive environmental effects. Positive? Yes, studies have shown that marine life thrives in marine energy installations.

The UK and Irish waters are especially promising for marine energy, due to the islands’ geographical location. UK and Ireland can provide 25-50 per cent of total European marine energy, according to a new report from RenewableUK. The marine energy industry has been forecast to be worth £6.1 billion to the UK economy by 2035, and displacing up to half a million tons of CO2 every year by 2020.

The total amount of wave and tidal stream energy in UK and Irish waters is estimated at 935 TWh/year. Of this, some 98 TWh/year of marine energy resource has been assessed as being economically recoverable with today’s technologies. The current UK annual electricity demand is about 350 TWh/year. No wonder the UK and Ireland are frequently called “the Saudi Arabia of marine energy”. Other countries with great marine energy potential and political or commercial marine programmes already under way are the USA, Canada, China, France, Portugal, Spain, Chile, New Zealand, Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa.

So why isn’t marine energy more developed and used, and more talked about amongst politicians, decision-makers, environmental movements and the general public? Well, as with all emerging technologies, there are a series of obstacles to harvesting cost-efficient marine energy:

· Capital costs of marine energy projects are currently relatively high compared with e.g. wind projects.

· Lack of funding for research, development and demonstration on technology, to both academies and private companies (many of them start-ups). The development of marine energy needs support from both private investors and governments.

· Regulatory issues. For instance, it can take up to two years to get a site permit for offshore testing.

· Market challenges like long development timescales, grid connections (or lack thereof), and lack of performance assessment standards.

· Challenges in offshore operations: the sea is a tough environment in which to install, operate and maintain marine energy power plants. The offshore operations are made when the tide turns, i.e. during slack water, and that time period is usually shorter than 30 minutes at many tidal energy sites.

· Limited locations where tidal and ocean currents are strong enough to be technologically and economically viable to harvest.

Let us take a look at the last two of these obstacles. They can be overcome with new developments in marine energy technology. The fact that most marine energy power plants developed so far can only operate efficiently in currents that are really strong reduces the number of good locations for marine energy parks and complicates offshore operations for installation, service and maintenance. After all, it is not easy to work in strong currents.

Just recently, an ‘underwater kite’ was launched in the waters off Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The ‘kite’ consists of a three meter long wing and a turbine which is secured to the seabed with a tether and moves fast in an 8-shaped path in the tidal or ocean current. The hydrodynamic principle on which this technology is based allows for the kite to move at speeds of up to ten times that of the flow of water it is operating in. This marine power plant is the only available solution to cost-efficiently produce electricity from slow tidal currents.

Why is this significant? Well, there are many more sites with low velocity tidal and ocean currents than there are with strong currents. So the possibility to operate cost-efficiently in slow currents extends the total potential for renewable marine energy significantly. In the UK, the amount of energy which is possible to harvest from tidal currents is doubled when low velocity currents are included.

Slow currents are also much easier and less costly to work in; For instance, installation and maintenance can be carried out in ordinary small vessels rather than giant DP (dynamic positioning) vessels. The kite’s robust anchorage system means that no tower is needed. Only attachment and detachment of the kite needs to be done offshore. All this reduces maintenance costs and operating expenses, and results in a cost-efficiency that is comparable with conventional energy sources.

Even sheer physics is on the underwater kite’s side: it operates 30-60 meters above the seabed, i.e. higher above the seabed than a power plant fixed on the seabed. 75 per cent of the marine energy is in the upper 50 per cent of the water column (and only 25 per cent is in the lower half). So a power plant that operates higher up in the water will capture more energy than a conventional marine energy power plant.

In conclusion, many or all of the obstacles to efficient marine energy can, and will be, overcome given enough time and funding. New power plants that can operate cost-efficiently in slow currents is one big step forward. There will be other important steps. Marine energy is simply too clean and too potentially beneficial to the planet and its inhabitants to be ignored by politicians, investors and the global energy industry.

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U.S. Ranks First In ‘KPMG Green Tax Index,’ Tops Countries Using Tax Code To Shape Sustainable Corporate Activity

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Africa Business

About the KPMG Green Tax Index

The KPMG Green Tax Index focuses on 21 major economies around the world that KPMG International believes represent a major share of global corporate investment activity. A high ranking in the Index does not necessarily mean that a country is “greener” than others. It means that the government is more active than others in using the tax system as a tool to influence corporate behavior and achieve green policy goals.

A lower ranking does not mean that a government has no green tax or incentive instruments in place. Every nation listed on the KPMG Green Tax Index uses green taxes and incentives to an extent worthy of investigation by corporate tax and sustainability professionals. Countries in which the government does not use green taxes or incentives at all, or does so only minimally, have not been included in the sample of countries selected for review in the Index.

Scoring has required some discretion and judgment to be used and so scores should be taken as indicative, not absolute, in providing a view of those governments with the most active and developed green tax and incentive systems in place. Full details of the scoring methodology can be found at www.kpmg.com/greentax.

About KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (www.kpmg.com/us), is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s member firms have 152,000 professionals, including more than 8,600 partners, in 156 countries.

 

NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — The United States ranked first among 21 countries most actively using the tax code to influence sustainable corporate activity, according to the inaugural edition of the KPMG Green Tax Index, reflecting the country’s extensive and long-established program of federal tax incentives for energy generally, including specific incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy and green buildings.

Japan, the United Kingdom, France, South Korea and China were also among the leading countries using tax as a tool to drive sustainable corporate behavior, according to the index. Key policy areas explored in the index include energy efficiency, water efficiency, carbon emissions, green innovations and green buildings.

“The KPMG Green Tax Index provides important directional insight for corporate sustainability decision makers, CFOs and board members into how countries are using taxes to influence corporate behavior,” said John Gimigliano , principal-in-charge of sustainability tax in the Washington National Tax practice of KPMG LLP. “Japan, for example, tops the rankings in its promotion of tax incentives for green vehicle production, while the United States favors a comprehensive system of renewable energy tax incentives. As a result, we’re seeing more green cars coming out of Japan and dramatic growth in the U.S. renewable sector.”

“These activity-based rankings can be of value to corporate sustainability decision-makers as they allocate budgets and evaluate investments around the world,” said John Hickox , advisory partner and U.S. practice leader for Climate Change & Sustainability Services at KPMG LLP.

The KPMG index identified over 200 individual tax incentives and penalties of relevance to corporate sustainability. At least 30 of these have been introduced since January 2011, reflecting the quickening pace of green investment globally.

The KPMG Green Tax Index – Overall Country Rankings

U.S.

1

Netherlands

8

Finland

15=

Japan

2

Belgium

9

Germany

U.K.

3

India

10

Australia

17

France

4

Spain

11=

Brazil

18

South Korea

5

Canada

Argentina

19

China

6

South Africa

13

Mexico

20

Ireland

7

Singapore

14

Russia

21

*Scoring: The KPMG Green Tax Index attributes scores to green tax incentives and penalties according to arguable value and potential to influence corporate behavior. Scores should be taken as indicative, not absolute, in providing a view of governments with the most active and developed green tax systems in place.

U.S. Ranking
The United States tops the KPMG Green Tax Index ranking primarily due to its extensive program of federal tax incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy and green buildings.

According to the KPMG Green Tax Index, the U.S. tax code provides a range of tax credits, including a production tax credit on renewable energy and tax incentives construction of efficient buildings.

The United States uses green penalties less than other Western developed nations apart from Canada. When green tax penalties alone are considered, the United States drops to 14th.

“The KPMG Green Tax Index demonstrates how important it is for corporations to make sure their head of sustainability and their head of tax are talking,” said KPMG’s Gimigliano. “At many companies these functions may have never met. One critical lesson from the Green Tax Index is that for companies to enhance the return from its green spend, the tax and sustainability functions should collaborate before the investment decision is made.”

“Green investment continues to gain momentum globally and the KPMG Green Tax Index provides a greater understanding of the entire financial picture of green investments, pre- and post-tax,” added KPMG’s Hickox.

Ranking of Additional Global Economies

Japan is ranked 2nd overall but, in contrast to the United States, scores higher on green tax penalties than it does on incentives. Japan also leads the ranking for tax measures to promote the use and manufacture of green vehicles.
The United Kingdom ranks 3rd and has a green tax approach balanced between penalties and incentives. The United Kingdom scores most highly in the area of carbon and climate change.
France occupies 4th place in the overall ranking with a green tax policy more heavily weighted toward penalties than incentives.
South Korea ranks 5th, and like the United States, has a green tax system weighted toward incentives rather than penalties. South Korea leads the ranking for “green innovation” which suggests that South Korea is especially active in using its tax code to encourage green research and development.
China ranks 6th with a green tax policy balanced between incentives and penalties and focused on resource efficiency (energy, water and materials) and green buildings.

“The very investments that can drive change and secure competitive advantage may never be made if green tax systems are not fully understood and used,” said KPMG’s Gimigliano. “Investments that struggle to make a case on a pre-tax basis can flourish after green tax analysis. Companies should not underestimate the potential of green tax incentives to deliver efficiency and productivity benefits, drive innovation and contribute to the bottom line.”

SOURCE KPMG LLP

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