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Updated: 10 hours 26 min ago

Multi-stakeholder platform to drive excellence in sustainable finance across Asia

8. June 2018 - 2:00
5 JUNE 2018, SINGAPORE – To shift Asia's financial flows towards sustainable economic, social and environmental outcomes, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has announced the launch of the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI). Based in Singapore, this multi-stakeholder platform will bring together industry, government, civil society and academia to develop and coordinate science based best practices in sustainable finance across Asia. The initiative is supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

This was announced by Masagos Zulkifli, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the ASIFMA 2018 Green Finance Conference today. In a keynote speech, Minister Masagos highlighted the role of ASFI in aligning a common vision amongst the diverse base of stakeholders, including industry, government, NGOs and academic institutions.

Building on the strengths of all parties, ASFI addresses the need for more resilient, climate smart, and resource efficient regional economies in Asia by ensuring that capital flows support environmentally sustainable economic activity. Singapore's asset managers face a unique opportunity in this regard with 78% of funds sourced from overseas and 66% invested in Asia Pacific. The region's banks too, play a pivotal part in shaping business behaviour across all sectors through their lending practices.  

WWF's Head of Asia Sustainable Finance, Jeanne Stampe says, "By creating the conditions to guide financial flows towards sustainable businesses, ASFI aims to elevate the resilience and therefore competitiveness of Singapore's economy. ASFI will cement the country's status as a leading and innovative sustainable finance centre that plays a crucial role in developing the region by creating positive economic, environment and social impacts."

ASFI will kick off with an online knowledge hub in 2018 to house the latest research, tools, and best practices on sustainable finance. Moving ahead, the collaboration will build capacity on sustainable finance across Asia; co-develop green financial solutions with financial institutions (FIs); support the development of regionally relevant standards and guidelines, and help FIs to engage meaningfully with portfolio companies on sustainability risks and opportunities.  

ASFI will build on the strides that have been made thus far in developing an ecosystem for sustainable finance in Asia. In Singapore, these include the introduction of banking sector guidelines for responsible financing, sustainability reporting listing requirements for companies, and the announcement of MAS's Green Bonds Scheme. Regionally, pension funds in Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea are now integrating sustainability into their investment requirements, while the rise in national stewardship codes calls for more purposeful engagement with the corporate sector. 

Southeast Asia's high appetite for pet otters supplied online

7. June 2018 - 2:00
The online pet trade has emerged as a pressing threat to otters in Southeast Asia with a new TRAFFIC-IUCN Otter Specialist Group (OSG) study revealing hundreds of the animals for sale on Facebook and other websites over a four-month period. 
 
The Illegal Otter Trade in Southeast Asia, released today, revealed a high demand for juvenile live otters in the region, with over 70% of the animals offered for sale online under a year old. 
 
A monitoring effort of only one-hour per week in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand turned up a minimum of 560 advertisements in which traders offered a minimum of 734 and a maximum of 1189 otters for sale between January and April 2017. 
 
"The fact that so many otters can be so easily acquired and offered for sale to thousands at the click of a button and subjected to little or no regulation, is a serious problem," said Kanitha Krishnasamy Acting Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.
 
Indonesia accounted for most of otters for sale in this study — an average of 711 of all otters observed for sale — followed by Thailand with 204.
 
The two countries stood out again when researchers analysed the total of 13 otter seizure records in the region between August 2015 and December 2017, involving the confiscation of 59 live otters. Coupled with the online trade figures, they found Indonesia and Thailand to be the most active source and demand countries for otters in the region.
 
"The online commerce of very young otter cubs for the pet trade adds a new dimension of concern. The appeal of these cute animals is undeniable, but otter cubs are difficult to hand rear and susceptible to the same diseases as cats and dogs. We hope that this report will alert the authorities and help curtail this regrettable new development," said Nicole Duplaix, Chair of the IUCN-SSC Otter Specialist Group.
 
While much of the trade in Indonesia and Thailand was apparently to meet local demand, both countries were implicated in the trafficking of otters to Japan. Seizure records showed Japan as the destination for 32 live Small-clawed Otters smuggled from Thailand.
 
Problems with legislation in many of the countries studied was identified as a major contributor to the uncontrolled exploitation of otters for trade. 
 
Southeast Asia is home to four species of otters—Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra, Hairy-nosed Otter Lutra sumatrana, Small-clawed Otter Aonyx cinereus and Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata. Not all are protected by national laws and even where they are, often without adequate regulation.
 
"Weak national laws hinder enforcement action and widespread trade in otters online throws the survival of remaining wild populations in Southeast Asia into question," said Krishnasamy. 
 
The Small-clawed Otter is especially vulnerable as it was the species most frequently encountered during the study. At least 700 individual animals were observed for sale during the online survey period.
 
The report urges Southeast Asian governments fully to protect all otter species from exploitation, punish online wildlife crime and work with conservation groups to pursue avenues to educate consumers and reduce the demand for otters as pets.
 
The study also recommends authorities investigate reports that otters are being captive bred for commercial trade, to determine if this is indeed permitted and is regulated. The authors said this would help address the large unknown as to what proportion of otters are being sourced from the wild.
 
The report was undertaken after a previous TRAFFIC-IUCN OSG study highlighted the paucity of information available on otter trade in Southeast Asia. 
 
As part of the study, country information cards were also produced to provide quick and easy reference on otters for frontline enforcement officers and the conservation community.
 

Mountain gorilla numbers climb upwards

5. June 2018 - 2:00
Results from a two-year survey in the transboundary Virunga Massif, one of the two remaining habitats of the mountain gorilla, show numbers of the critically endangered species are on the rise.

Released last week, the latest estimates from the Virunga Massif put mountain gorilla numbers at 604 from an estimated 480 in 2010, including 41 social groups, along with 14 solitary males in the transboundary area. This brings the global minimum count for the species to an approximate1,004 individuals when combined with comparable figures from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where the rest of the sub-species is found.
 
Conducted over 2015 and 2016 by the Protected Areas Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, the survey results are an encouraging sign for conservation efforts with the mountain gorilla being the only great ape in the world considered to be increasing in population.

Margaret Kinnaird, Wildlife Practice Leader, WWF, said:  
"This is fabulous news for mountain gorillas and shows what we can do for wildlife when NGOs, governments and their communities work together. However, the high number of snares encountered and the numerous other threats they face including climate change indicate that the battle is far from won. The three gorilla range countries and their partners must continue to work together to safeguard the Virunga Massif  - not only for the protection of these incredible creatures but also for the welfare of the local people with whom they share the landscape. The mountain gorilla story can be a model for how to restore and maintain our earth's precious biodiversity."
During the surveys, the teams found and destroyed more than 380 snares, which were set for antelope but can also kill or harm gorillas. One of the snares discovered by the teams contained a dead mountain gorilla. Other threats looming on the horizon include climate change, infrastructure development and disease, which has the potential to devastate the remaining populations.
 
The findings are the result of intensive surveying coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaborationand supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme(IGCP – a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora Internationaland WWF). IGCP works in partnership with state and non-state actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda to help secure a future for mountain gorillas. Read more here

Mountain gorilla numbers surpass 1,000 despite challenges

31. May 2018 - 2:00
Rubavu, Rwanda, 31 May 2018 - Numbers of critically endangered mountain gorillas are on the up, following conservation efforts in the transboundary Virunga Massif, one of the two remaining areas where the great ape is still found.

Survey results released today reveal that numbers have increased to 604 from an estimated 480 in 2010, including 41 social groups, along with 14 solitary males in the transboundary area. This brings the global wild population of mountain gorillas to an estimated 1,004 when combined with published figures from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (where the rest of the sub-species is found) and makes it the only great ape in the world that is considered to be increasing in population.

The findings are the result of intensive surveying coordinated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration and supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP – a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora International and WWF) along with other partners.

Despite this good news, the survey found that direct threats from wire or rope snares persist. During the surveys, the teams found and destroyed more than 380 snares, which were set for antelope but can also kill or harm gorillas. One of the snares discovered by the teams contained a dead mountain gorilla. There are also new threats looming large on the horizon, including climate change, infrastructure development and the ever-present spectre of disease, which has the potential to devastate the remaining populations.

Ongoing conflict and civil unrest in the region also present an ongoing risk, impacting people and wildlife. A number of rangers have been killed in recent weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park.

Margaret Kinnaird, Wildlife Practice Leader, WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature) said:  
"This is fabulous news for mountain gorillas and shows what we can do for wildlife when NGOs, governments and their communities work together. However, the high number of snares encountered and the numerous other threats they face including climate change indicate that the battle is far from won. The three gorilla range countries and their partners must continue to work together to safeguard the Virunga Massif  - not only for the protection of these incredible creatures but also for the welfare of the local people with whom they share the landscape. The mountain gorilla story can be a model for how to restore and maintain our earth's precious biodiversity."

Alison Mollon, Director of Operations for Africa at Fauna & Flora International (FFI), said: 
"Since FFI first began working to protect mountain gorillas in the 1970s, we have seen a remarkable transformation in the fortunes of this great ape, which at that time was on the very precipice of extinction. This turnaround is thanks to the extraordinary efforts of all those who have persisted through immense challenges – sometimes even risking their own lives – to protect these great apes. Today, mountain gorilla numbers are looking much healthier, but this is no time for complacency. We need to remain extremely vigilant, particularly in light of the ever-present and growing threat posed by the transmission of human-borne diseases that are relatively innocuous for us, but potentially fatal to other primates."

The census involved twelve teams - comprising people from more than 10 institutions – which covered over 2,000 km of difficult, forested terrain systematically searching the mountain gorilla habitat for signs of the animals, recording nest sites and collecting faeces samples for genetic analysis. The teams also looked for evidence of threats to gorillas and other wildlife.

Reacting to the news, Fauna & Flora International vice-president and WWF-UK ambassador, Sir David Attenborough said:
 "When I first visited the mountain gorillas in 1979, the situation was dire; the number of these remarkable animals was dreadfully small. It is incredibly heartening therefore to see how the efforts of so many different groups – communities, governments, NGOs – have paid off. The threats to mountain gorillas haven't disappeared entirely, of course, so now the challenge must be to ensure that these achievements are sustained long into the future."
The survey results underscore the need for continued attention and action by government agencies, protected area staff, tourism operators, tourists and communities alike, to ward off these threats and keep mountain gorillas safe in the long term.

- ends -

For more information please contact:
Marsden Momanyi | WWF | tel: +254 798 484 940 |email: mmomanyi@wwfint.org
Sarah Rakowski  | Fauna & Flora International |tel: 01223 747659 | email: sarah.rakowski@fauna-flora.org
 
Notes to editors:
  1. The Virunga Massif is a 451 km2 area spanning the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda  - including Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in DRC, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda - and is just one of just two places on earth where mountain gorillas can still be found. The other is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, contiguous with Sarambwe Nature Reserve in DRC.
  2. The previous mountain gorilla census in the Virunga Massif took place in 2010 resulting in an estimate of 480 individuals in 36 social groups and 14 solitary males. The data and samples for this more recent survey were collected between October 7 – December 6, 2015 and March 22 – May 23, 2016.
  3. The mountain gorilla is currently classified by IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Critically Endangered. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39999/0  
  4. The 2015/2016 Virunga Massif mountain gorilla census was conducted by the Protected Area Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda (l'Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, the Rwanda Development Board and the Uganda Wildlife Authority) under the transboundary framework of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration. The census was supported by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora International and WWF), the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Gorilla Doctors, and the North Carolina Zoo. The census was funded through generous contributions from Fauna & Flora International, WWF, and Partners in Conservation at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Additional financial support to the census science committee provided by Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe.
About WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) (http://www.panda.org)
 
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
 
About Fauna & Flora International (FFI) (www.fauna-flora.org
 
FFI protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and that take account of human needs. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide, FFI saves species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world's longest established international conservation body and a registered charity.
 
About the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) (www.igcp.org)
 
IGCP is a coalition programme of Fauna & Flora International and WWF with a mission to secure the future for mountain gorillas. IGCP achieves this through working in partnership with State and non-State actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. Its Directorate is located in Kigali, Rwanda.
 

A seachange needed in fisheries to give dolphins, whales and porpoises a chance

21. May 2018 - 2:00
Dolphins, whales and porpoises (cetaceans) are fascinating animals that continue to capture the imagination of humans as evidenced by the increasing number of whale watchers taking to the seas in search of a glimpse of these majestic creatures. They are amongst the most intelligent animals on our planet and play a critical role in maintaining marine ecosystem health and therefore human health.  Yet, a dolphin, porpoise or whale is accidentally killed in fishing operations somewhere in the world about every two minutes.

Today as the world marks the International Day for Biological Diversity, a report launched by WWF in collaboration with the Convention on Migratory Species, reveals the steep challenges scientists and policy makers are grappling with as they struggle to reduce bycatch in fishing gear the world over, to guarantee the survival of cetaceans and other endangered marine life. It further highlights the need to step up public pressure for enhanced management measures by the fishing industry to protect cetaceans for generations to come.

Cetaceans have a strong influence on their associated ecosystems and their removal in large numbers is likely to have catastrophic knock-on effects on the ecosystems in which they occur. As large predators, cetaceans are ecologically significant since they store and move nutrients (carbon and nitrogen especially) and energy within and between ecosystems. Each year, over 300,000 cetaceans are entangled and drown in harmful fishing gear such as gillnets. In Peru alone, 15,000 to 20,000 dolphins and porpoises die every year as a result of being trapped in fishing gear.

According to the report, the most promising solutions are fisheries-based and include the development of alternative gear to replace current fishing methods such as gillnets and the establishment of effectively managed marine protected areas and time-area closures. However, the case studies presented in this report highlight only a few examples where successful mitigation strategies have been effectively implemented. This challenge is further compounded by the dearth of data globally on fisheries, cetacean populations and their depletion rates as well as the overall impact of fishing on individual populations.

On the positive side, countries like the US are now taking a strong stand to bring an end to cetacean bycatch. New US regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) require any country exporting fish to the US to have marine mammal protections equivalent to those in the US— particularly measures against bycatch. Because the US is one of the world's largest seafood import markets, the new rule could positively influence fishing standards in major exporting countries including Canada, Chile, China, Japan, and Mexico (see "Investigations into Cetacean Bycatch Reduction Measures of Countries Exporting Seafood to the US").

With clear and present dangers growing for cetaceans worldwide, government and industry leaders must abandon unsustainable fishing practices, in favour of bold, effective action and scaling solutions that reduce bycatch.   This will determine how each future International Day for Biological Diversity, and every other day, can change from being a steady march of the decline of dolphins, porpoises and whales, to a genuine marker of progress.

- END -

Comments:

Margaret Kinnaird, Wildlife Practice Leader, WWF:
"This report acknowledges that there are few existing methods and technologies with the potential to significantly reduce the huge numbers of cetaceans caught and killed in fishing operations the world over. ​It however lays the groundwork​ for  scaling up tested solutions and reiterates the urgency to spark technical and social innovations to dramatically reduce mortality, working alongside fishing communities. We hope this report helps to draw stronger political attention to this vital issue which has widespread implications for the planet's biological diversity. We have no time to lose."
 
Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary, CMS:
"Bycatch remains the number one threat to many species of whale, dolphin and porpoise, and the deaths of such animals are a tragedy both for conservation and welfare reasons. Governments have long recognized this, and have committed themselves to taking measures to minimize incidental mortality. We are pleased to present this publication in partnership with WWF. It shows how civil society and the Convention can work together to support policy-makers and industry in reducing the risk of cetacean bycatch and entanglements."

Notes:
 
WWF and CMS commit to assisting fishers and governments around the world in addressing bycatch by:
  • Collaborating with fishers, gear specialists, technical experts, funding bodies, and managers to foster the development, implementation and scaling of alternative sustainable gears and practices that reduces impacts on threatened species such as cetaceans..
  • Sharing lessons learnt and available information on mitigation measures with authorities and regional governance bodies to develop guidelines to reduce bycatch of endangered species through alternative fishing gear or changes in fishing practices.

'Business unusual' must be the mantra in Bonn as UN climate talks resume next week

25. April 2018 - 2:00
BERLIN, Germany (25 April 2018) - As the 2018 climate talks kick off under the auspices of the UN next week, 'business unusual' must be the mantra delegations need heard resoundingly in Bonn, says WWF.
 
Speaking ahead of the start of the meeting, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF's global climate and energy programme leader, said the window of opportunity to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C if fast closing.
 
"It will take an unprecedented effort by governments, non-Party actors and people to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5°C. That's why 2018 has to be the year we step up our climate action. We can no longer afford to keep doing things at the pace and scale we've been doing. Now we need 'business unusual' tactics to drastically scale up our efforts to reduce emissions," he said.
 
The Talanoa Dialogue being championed by the Fiji Presidency during this year's climate talks is important because it should inspire countries to look at new ways they can enhance their efforts, said Pulgar-Vidal. This is particularly critical as countries must agree to table revised national climate action plans with the UN by 2020 under the Paris Agreement. The national decision-making processes to do so should start now.
 
Pulgar-Vidal also highlighted the role of non-Party actors in contributing toward 'business unusual' action. Cities and business, among many others, are making incredible efforts to align themselves to the Paris Agreement goals and we hope the momentum we are seeing, including for the Global Climate Action Summit, taking place in September in San Francisco, triggers deeper commitments from national governments. Already, more than 389 global companies have committed to take action and set science-based targets, he said.
 
The entry into force of the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol in January next year offers countries another opportunity to scale up action through targets to phase out super greenhouse gases and short-lived pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons.
 
Another indication that countries are serious about their climate action ambitions would be if the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (called the Doha Amendment) could enter into force by COP24. It commits developed countries to reducing emissions in the period before 2020.
 
"The strong take-up of these actions by countries in the coming months will send a clear signal that there is the necessary commitment by governments to step up and do more to reduce emissions," said Pulgar-Vidal.
 
Notes for Editors:

1. WWF's expectations for the negotiating session taking place in Bonn next week are:
  • Ensuring pre-2020 implementation and ambitions are fulfilled, including the entry into force of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by COP24; spurring efforts of non-Party actors to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goals; and to ensure that the committed financial support of $100 billion per year by 2020 is delivered in full.
  • Ensuring the Talanoa Dialogue sends a clear political signal that countries will step up and revise their climate action plans to be aligned with the Paris Agreement targets;
  • Ensuring that the rules being negotiated under the Paris Agreement include an effective and durable review and ratchet mechanism to ensure Paris Agreement climate goals are met.
2. COP24 takes place in Katowice, Poland in from 3-14 December this year.
 
For further information, contact:  Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org  

Hope for critically endangered Mekong river dolphins as population increases for first time

23. April 2018 - 2:00
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 23, 2018 – After decades of seemingly irreversible decline, results from a WWF and Government of Cambodia census released today show that the population of critically endangered river dolphins in the Mekong has risen from 80 to 92 in the past two years – the first increase since records began more than twenty years ago.
 
Effective river patrolling by teams of river guards and the strict confiscation of illegal gillnets, which accidentally trap and drown dolphins, are the main reasons for this historic increase. Over the past two years 358 km of illegal gillnets – almost double the length of the dolphins' remaining home range – have been confiscated from core dolphin habitat.
 
"After years of hard work, we finally have reason to believe that these iconic dolphins can be protected against extinction – thanks to the combined efforts of the government, WWF, the tourism industry and local communities," said Seng Teak, Country Director, WWF Cambodia. "The tour boat operators are the secret ingredient in this success story as they work closely with law enforcement to report poaching and help confiscate illegal gillnets."
 
The first official census in 1997 estimated that there were 200 Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong, a figure that fell steadily due to bycatch and habitat loss until there were only 80 left in 2015. But now the decline appears to be on the mend.
 
Along with the 10 per cent increase in dolphins, the surveys also point toward encouraging signs for the long-term health of the population, with an improvement in the survival rate of dolphins into adulthood, an increase in the number of calves and a drop in overall deaths. Two dolphins died in 2017 compared with nine in 2015, while nine new calves brought the number of dolphins born in the past three years to 32.
 
"River dolphins are indicators of the health of the Mekong River and their recovery is a hopeful sign for the river and the millions of people who depend on it," said Teak. "We celebrate this good news, but now is not the time for complacency. As threats to their survival persist, we need to re-double our efforts to protect the dolphins both for their future and that of the river and communities that live alongside it."
 
"The Mekong dolphin is considered our country's living national treasure and the results of this census reflect our many years of continuous efforts to protect this species," said His Excellency Eng Cheasan, Director General of Fisheries Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. "We will continue our conservation efforts to rebuild its population by eliminating all threats to the survival of this species."
 
The surveys covered 190 km of the main channel of the Mekong River from Kratie in Cambodia to the Khone Falls complex in Laos. Surveys were done in both directions with teams photographing dolphins and comparing the distinctive marks on their backs and dorsal fins against a database of known dolphins.
 
###
Notes to Editors:
Photos available here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4vhf2fnyk4ynthr/AABIGCciGgVgT393r4OiMJmPa?dl=0
 
For more information, please contact:
Un Chakrey, Communications and Marketing Manager, WWF-Cambodia; +855 17 234 555; un.chakrey@wwfgreatermekong.org
Lee Poston, Communications Advisor, WWF-Greater Mekong; +66 9188 32290; lee.poston@wwfgreatermekong.org
 
About WWF-Cambodia
WWF was established in Cambodia in 1995 as a part of the WWF Greater Mekong Programme. WWF's mission in Cambodia is to ensure that there will be strong participation and support from all people to conserve the country's rich biological diversity. Through the encouragement of sustainable use of natural resources, WWF-Cambodia promotes new opportunities for the benefit of all people, enhancing local livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Go to cambodia.panda.org for more information.

Global Shipping Sector Steps Up, Sets Climate Targets And Bans Use Of Heavy Fuel Oil In Arctic

13. April 2018 - 2:00

LONDON, UK (13 April 2018) - In a landmark step forward for the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) today agreed to climate targets for the sector, as part of its first comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction strategy. The global maritime regulator also agreed to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, a region on the frontline of the impacts of climate change, and to tackle the growing problem of ocean plastics.
 
Climate Targets
The agreement on climate targets comes after years of negotiations in the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee, and two years after the world lauded the approval of the Paris Agreement, which did not regulate shipping emissions.
 
The IMO agreement calls for a strategy for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from the global shipping sector, with a target of 50 per cent emissions reductions by 2050 from 2008, and efforts to achieve complete decarbonization of the sector. While it is short of the 70-100 per cent emission reductions that the Pacific islands and many other countries called for, the goal marks a promising step forward by the shipping sector to play its part in limiting warming to 1.5°C.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said: "This is very welcome news, a good first step and an important policy signal. Shipping is responsible for more than 2 per cent of global emissions, and this is growing. The agreement today is an opportunity to bend this curve to align with the Paris Agreement, but it needs to translate into urgent action - now."
 
Mark Lutes, WWF senior global climate policy advisor, said the decision sends a strong signal to the shipping industry and fuel suppliers that they need to scale up investments in new technologies and their rapid deployment, including alternative fuels and propulsion systems.
 
"The next five years are crucial, and action must start with bold decisions at the next IMO meeting later this year. They must agree on measures that can be implemented immediately, like upgrading efficiency standards for new ships, sourcing low and zero emission fuels, and stimulating a reduction in ship speeds, which translates directly to greater efficiency and low fuel use."
 
Heavy Fuel Oil
Another area of progress was the IMO's move towards a ban of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic. Given the severe risks a heavy fuel oil spill poses to polar environments, the IMO has already banned its use and carriage in the Antarctic. Member states committed to take into account the impacts of a ban on communities in the Arctic.
 
Andrew Dumbrille, WWF-Canada sustainable shipping specialist, said: "It's not a question of 'if' but rather 'when' a ban on HFO should be put in place. With the Arctic facing growing risks from oil spills and black carbon emissions from ships, the marine sector needs to quickly transition away from polluting fuels like HFO. WWF calls on member states to make every effort to adopt and rapidly implement a ban by 2021, without burdening communities with the costs."
          
Ocean Plastic
The IMO also agreed to take action on shipping's contribution to the increasingly severe issue of global plastic and microplastic pollution.

Dr. Simon Walmsley, WWF's Senior Advisor, Arctic Sustainable Development, said: "Although this is a global issue, significant amounts of plastic end up in the Arctic due to the Northerly converging currents. We are pleased that fishing vessels are included to address things like abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear. It is critical that the IMO is successful in ending shipping's contribution to this significant pollution source. Through this action plan on plastics the IMO is acknowledging the important role it plays in helping achieve global sustainable development goals."
 
---ends---
 
FOR EDITORS

  1. Global shipping and aviation emissions are not controlled by the Paris Agreement as they are not included in national targets. They are included in its emission and temperature objectives.
  2. If the global shipping sector were a country, it would be the world's 6th largest emitter, responsible for over 2 per cent of global emissions.
  3. At its next meeting on greenhouse gas emissions later this year, the IMO must agree on measures that can be implemented immediately, like upgrading efficiency standards for new ships and stimulating a reduction in ship speeds, which translates directly to greater efficiency and lower fuel use and emissions.
  4. HFO is one of the world's dirtiest fuels and produces higher levels of air and climate pollutants than other marine fuel.
  5. As part of the agreement by IMO members on an HFO ban, an impact assessment will be conducted to ensure a ban does not place an unnecessary burden on Arctic communities.

 
For further information and to request interviews, contact:
 
Mandy Jean Woods
WWF International Climate & Energy Practice mwoods@wwfint.org (based in Berlin)
 
Leanne Clare
WWF- Arctic Programme lclare@wwfcanada.org (based in Ottawa)

 

Unprecedented collaring effort aims to protect Tanzania's threatened elephants

4. April 2018 - 2:00
DAR ES SALAAM – In Tanzania, the government, with support from WWF, has launched the country's largest ever elephant collaring effort to protect its dwindling elephant population. With almost 90 per cent of the elephants lost over the last 40 years in the Selous Game Reserve, a World Heritage site, enhancing rangers' ability to guard the remaining ones from poaching is essential to rebuilding the population.

In a project spanning 12 months, 60 elephants are expected to be collared in and surrounding the Selous. This will enable reserve management and government rangers to track elephant movements, identify and act against threats in real-time. The use of satellite collars is a proven effective measure to monitor wildlife movements and provide enhanced security.

The data collected through the collars will help teams predict where the elephants and their herds are moving to anticipate the dangers they may face, such as the risk of encountering poachers. It can also alert teams if the herd is heading toward community settlements to help move them away from farmlands and reduce the risk of human-elephant conflict.

"In a landscape as vast as Selous where poaching continues, better information on the whereabouts of elephants is critical to anticipate the risks they may encounter, including fatal attacks by poachers," said Asukile Kajuni, Deputy Programmes Coordinator for the Elephant and Ruvuma landscape programmes, WWF-Tanzania. "The collars mark an important first step in the zero poaching approach we are taking by enabling wildlife protection teams to be on the front foot against poaching attacks."

"The key to the success of elephant collars is ensuring all relevant teams have access to the data to help inform decision making. The project will provide secured elephant movement data on a mobile phone to enable key security and research personnel to access the data.

"WWF is also working with local communities, training village game scouts, and with wildlife crime investigators and prosecutors to ensure they are appraised of the severity of crimes and perpetrators are handed appropriate sentences."

In the past 40 years, rampant poaching of elephants for ivory has seen the population in Selous decimated, with numbers plunging to around 15,200 from 110,000. In 2014, UNESCO placed Selous on its List of World Heritage in Danger due to the severity of elephant poaching.

WWF is working with the government to adopt a zero poaching approach using a tool kit to protect the country's elephants and ecosystems in one of Africa's last wilderness areas. Zero poaching involves not just tackling poaching incidents but identifying the signs of poaching activities like snares and poachers' camps. On the ground, it involves action on several key areas; from ensuring there are enough properly equipped rangers to working closely with the local communities surrounding the protected area. It also includes working with prosecutors and judges to ensure that when poachers are brought to trial they face penalties that can act as a deterrent.

"Achieving a world free of poaching is an ambitious goal but just the kind of commitment we must deliver if we want to tackle the world's biodiversity crisis and ensure our future generations know and admire elephants and other species in the wild," said Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader. "Every year, on average, 20,000 elephants are killed for their tusks in Africa – this is unacceptable and must stop now."

Last week, two elephants from the Selous Game Reserve population were collared in the adjoining Mikumi National Park. To collar an elephant, the animal is first sedated by an immobilisation dart. When the elephant is sedated, the team moves in to attach the collar while gathering health data about the elephant. This takes a total of up to 30 minutes, following which the elephant is given an antidote to revive and join its herd.

Ongoing since 20 March, the elephant collaring activity will continue until November 2018.

---ends---

Notes to editors:
Photos and video footage from the first week of the collaring effort are available here.

For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF | sedwards@wwfint.org | +44 7887 954116 

Earth Hour 2018: Globe unites to celebrate people's connection to our planet

25. March 2018 - 1:00
SINGAPORE, 25 March 2018 – Individuals, businesses and organizations in a record 188 countries and territories worldwide joined WWF's Earth Hour to spark unprecedented conversation and action on stopping the loss of nature, a day after 550 scientists warned of a 'dangerous decline' in global biodiversity.

Close to 18,000 landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity as people across the globe generated over 3.5 billion impressions of #EarthHour, #connect2earth and related hashtags to show their concern for the planet. The hashtags trended in 33 countries.
 
"Once again, the people have spoken through Earth Hour," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. "The record participation in this year's Earth Hour, from skylines to timelines, is a powerful reminder that people want to connect to Earth. People are demanding commitment now on halting climate change and the loss of nature. The stakes are high and we need urgent action to protect the health of the planet for a safe future for us and all life on Earth."

From Colombia to Indonesia to Fiji, Earth Hour 2018 mobilized people to join efforts to protect forests and mangroves. In Romania, hundreds of people showed their commitment to safeguarding nature by writing symbolic letters to rivers, forests and wildlife. In Africa, 24 countries celebrated Earth Hour to highlight the most pressing conservation challenges they face such as access to renewable energy, freshwater resources and habitat degradation.

This Earth Hour, for the first time, people across the globe also joined the conversation on connect2earth to share what nature means to them, in the places they live in and care about. The platform, created in partnership with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity and supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative, aims to build mass awareness on the values of biodiversity and nature to our lives, health and well-being.

"The science is clear: the loss of nature is a global crisis. Wildlife has declined by close to 60 per cent in just over 40 years. Our planet is at a crossroads and we cannot have a prosperous future on a depleted, degraded planet. Together as a global community we can turn things around. People must mobilize and join governments and companies toward stronger action on biodiversity and nature - the time to act is now," added Lambertini.

The impacts of accelerating biodiversity loss and climate change on the planet are profound, as are the consequences for humanity. As President of France Emmanuel Macron stated in a special message for Earth Hour, 'the time for denial is long past, we are losing our battle against climate change and the collapse of biodiversity'. If this trend continues, our planet's ecosystems will collapse, along with the clean air, water, food and stable climate that they provide.

To drive further global awareness and action on nature and the environment, WWF has also joined forces with the World Organization of the Scout Movement this Earth Hour. The energy and voices of 50 million Scouts worldwide send a resounding message to decision-makers worldwide that the time to act on nature, for nature is now.

As the hour rolls to a close in the Pacific Ocean's Cook Islands, WWF and Earth Hour teams around the world will continue to empower individuals, communities, businesses and governments to be a part of environmental action. In his video statement for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the need for people to work together to build a sustainable future for all. Strengthened by the support shown this weekend, teams will renew the charge to tackle issues such as sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastic pollution and ocean conservation across continents.

Earth Hour 2018: Facts and figures (based on initial estimates on 25 March 2018, 7:30 a.m. GMT):
  • 188 countries and territories focused on environmental action and issues such as protecting biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastics and stronger climate policy;
  • lights out at around 17,900  landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), the Pyramids of Egypt (Cairo), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi), Christ the Redeemer statue (Rio de Janeiro) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
  • 3.5 billion + impressions of official campaign hashtags between January and March 2018. Related hashtags also trended in 33 countries;
  • Around 250 celebrities and influencers worldwide also raised their voice for the planet including Andy Murray, Jared Leto, Ellie Goulding, The Killers, Amitabh Bachchan, Li Bingbing, Park Seo-joon, Claudia Bahamon, and Roger Milla;
  • Earth Hour partners include Zinkia Entertainment Ltd, creators of popular cartoon character Pocoyo, and crowdsourcing platform Userfarm.
Since 2007, Earth Hour has mobilized businesses, organizations, governments and hundreds of millions of individuals to act for a sustainable future. Earth Hour 2019 will take place on Saturday 30 March 2019 at 8:30 p.m. local time.

---ends---

Notes to Editors:
Images from Earth Hour events around the world can be found here and please contact news@wwfint.org for any additional video footage request.

You can also find Earth Hour videos on the links indicated below:To know more about WWF's work on biodiversity, please visit: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/

What is connect2earth? Read more here.

Connect2earth.org was created in partnership with the secretariat of the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity and supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative.

For more information, please contact:
Julien Anseau, WWF International, Singapore: news@wwfint.org; +6590601957
Rucha Naware, WWF International, Brussels: news@wwfint.org; +32465751339 

Half of plant and animal species at risk from climate change in world's most important natural places

14. March 2018 - 1:00
LONDON - Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked. Even if the Paris Climate Agreement 2°C target is met, these places could lose 25 per cent of their species according to a landmark new study by the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and WWF.

Published today in the journal Climatic Change and just ahead of Earth Hour, the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, researchers examined the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 of the world's most diverse and naturally wildlife-rich areas. It explores a number of different climate change futures – from a no-emissions-cuts case in which global mean temperatures rise by 4.5°C[1], to a  2°C rise, the upper limit for temperature in the Paris Agreement[2]. Each area was chosen for its uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there.

The report finds that the Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs, south-west Australia and the Amazon-Guianas are projected to be some the most affected areas. If there was a 4.5°C global mean temperature rise, the climates in these areas are projected to become unsuitable for many of the plants and animals that currently live there meaning: 
  • Up to 90 per cent of amphibians, 86 per cent of birds and 80 per cent of mammals could potentially become locally extinct in the Miombo Woodlands, Southern Africa
  • The Amazon could lose 69 per cent of its plant species
  • In south-west Australia 89 per cent of amphibians could become locally extinct
  • 60 per cent of all species are at risk of localized extinction in Madagascar
  • The Fynbos in the Western Cape Region of South Africa, which is experiencing a drought that has led to water shortages in Cape Town, could face localised extinctions of a third of its species, many of which are unique to that region.
As well as this, increased average temperatures and more erratic rainfall could become be the "new normal" according to the report - with significantly less rainfall in the Mediterranean, Madagascar and the Cerrado-Pantanal in Argentina. Potential effects include[3];
  • Pressure on the water supplies of African elephants – who need to drink 150-300 litres of water a day
  • 96 per cent of the breeding grounds of Sundarbans tigers could become submerged by sea-level rise
  • Comparatively fewer male marine turtles due to temperature-induced sex assignment of eggs.
If species can move freely to new locations then the risk of local extinction decreases from around 25 per cent to 20 per cent with a 2°C global mean temperature rise.  If species cannot they may not be able to survive. Most plants, amphibians and reptiles, such as orchids, frogs and lizards cannot move quickly enough keep up with these climatic changes.

Lead researcher Prof Rachel Warren from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA said:
"Our research quantifies the benefits of limiting global warming to 2°C for species in 35 of the world's most wildlife-rich areas. We studied 80,000 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and found that 50 per cent of species could be lost from these areas without climate policy. However, if global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, this could be reduced to 25 per cent. Limiting warming to within 1.5°C was not explored, but would be expected to protect even more wildlife." 
 
Overall the research shows that the best way to protect against species loss is to keep global temperature rise as low as possible. The Paris Agreement pledges to reduce the expected level of global warming from 4.5°C to around 3°C, which reduces the impacts, but we see even greater improvements at 2°C; and it is likely that limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C would protect more wildlife.

This is why on 24 March millions of people across the world will come together for Earth Hour, to show their commitment to protecting biodiversity and being a part of the conversations and solutions needed to build a healthy, sustainable future – and planet – for all. The global mobilization sparked by Earth Hour also sends a clear message to business and government that there is a global will to change this trajectory.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF-UK commented:
"Within our children's lifetime, places like the Amazon and Galapagos Islands could become unrecognisable, with half the species that live there wiped out by human-caused climate change. Around the world, beautiful iconic animals like Amur tigers or Javan rhinos are at risk of disappearing, as well as tens of thousands plants and smaller creatures that are the foundation of all life on earth. That is why this Earth Hour we are asking everyone to make a promise for the planet and make the everyday changes to protect our planet."

-Ends-

For further information, please contact
Alexander Stafford
+44 (0)1483 412332
07742 093510
astafford@wwf.org.uk
 
For questions about the Climatic Change paper, contact Rachel Warren, +44(0)1603 593912 r.warren@uea.ac.uk 
 
For questions about the full WWF report, contact Jeff Price, +44(0)1603 592561 jeff.price@uea.ac.uk
 
Case studies
 
What individual species will experience:
  • Orang-Utans have a solitary life-style which allows them to move to cope with reduced food availability due to changing climates. However, females are strictly bound to their territories, which will prevent them from moving, and can put them at risk as there is a general reduction in available forest habitat due to deforestation, climate change and other human pressures
  • Snow leopards already live under extreme conditions with very little margin for changes which makes them particularly sensitive to changes in climate. Their habitat will shrink by 20 per cent due to climate change and will put them into greater direct competition over food and territory with the common leopard, which will likely lead to a further decline in numbers.
  • Tigers live in highly fragmented landscapes and will be greatly impacted by further climate-induced habitat loss. For example, projected sea level rise will submerge 96 per cent of breeding habitat for the Sundarbans tigers, and Amur tigers are unlikely to persist to the next century if the size and quality of their habitat is reduced.
  • Polar bears are among the most sensitive to climate change because they depend on sea ice to live and eat. Younger polar bears that are not as practiced hunters are particularly affected by food shortages due to shrinking sea ice. Polar bears in some areas are already in decline - for example, the population in Hudson Bay has been already reduced by 22 per cent - and are predicted to sharply decline by the end of the 21st century due to climate change.
  • Marine Turtles are highly sensitive to climate warming. While adults have been known to move to avoid too warm waters, a changing climate will impact greatly on their offspring. Tortoises and turtles are among the species with temperature-dependent sex determination. Warmer temperatures will produce more females resulting in a dangerous sex bias. Also increased flooding will increase egg mortality and warmer sand will also produce smaller and weaker hatchlings.
 Notes to the editor 
  1. The research has been peer-reviewed and published 14 March 2018 in the academic journal Climatic Change.  The reference is The implications of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change for Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas by Warren, R.1, Price, J., VanDerWal, J., Cornelius, S., Sohl, H. 
  2. WWF has produced a summary report of the research titled 'Wildlife in a Warming World'
  3. The research published in Climatic Change was summarised from a 5-part report commissioned by WWF and led by Dr. Jeff Price.  This report includes a literature review on the effects of climate change on individual species led by Dr. Amy McDougall (formerly UEA).
  4. The models used in this research come from the Wallace Initiative (http://wallaceinitiative.org), a near decade long partnership between the Tyndall Centre at UEA (UK), eResearch at James Cook University (Australia), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and World Wildlife Fund. 
  5. Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment inspiring millions across the world to take action and make a promise to protect our brilliant planet, our home. Right now we're facing some of the biggest environmental threats ever seen, including staggering biodiversity loss. - We're seeing our oceans suffocated by plastic and over-consumption decimate our forests, the lungs of the earth. Earth Hour shows what we can achieve when we all come together. Last year in the UK over 9 million people took part, along with over 6,000 schools, 1,700 youth groups, 300 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Brighton Pier, Cardiff Castle and many more joined the global switch off. Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 187 countries and territories took part in the world's biggest Earth Hour yet. The support for Earth Hour and WWF's work more broadly has influenced climate policy, facilitated climate-friendly laws, such as a ban on plastic in the Galapagos Islands and supported the world's first Earth Hour forest in Uganda.
  6.  Follow WWF-UK on Facebook, Earth Hour Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest 
  7. WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @wwf
  8. The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a UK Top 15 university. Known for its world-leading research and outstanding student experience, it was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework. UEA is a leading member of Norwich Research Park, one of Europe's biggest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science. www.uea.ac.uk 
  9. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is an active and expanding partnership between the Universities of East Anglia (headquarters), Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Sussex, and recently Fudan University in Shanghai. It conducts research on the interdisciplinary aspects of climate change and is committed to promote informed and effective dialogue across society about the options to manage our future climate. www.tyndall.ac.uk
 [1] Relative to pre-industrial times[2] Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, was an agreement signed by 175 countries in 2016[3] Based on the Climatic Change report, scientific literature and expert knowledge from WWF

Cape Town water crisis: Michael Bloomberg on Ground Zero as Day Zero is pushed back

8. March 2018 - 1:00
In recent months, all eyes have been on Cape Town as the city copes with a water crisis of unprecedented scale. It has been billed as the first major city in the world to run the risk of its taps running dry and though latest news reports indicate that Day Zero may be pushed back, the city's four million residents have become the face of the 'new normal' the world appears to be heading toward.

Not surprising then that in his first trip as U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, decided to visit the Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam supplying water to the Western Cape of South Africa, on Wednesday.

At the site, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City said: "The extreme drought here in Cape Town should be a wake-up call for all who think that climate change is some far off threat. It's already here, it's making droughts and storms more dangerous, and we've got to do more to keep it from getting worse. Cities and businesses are helping to lead the way, but all levels of society in all countries - on all continents - must take bolder actions. We cannot let droughts like this become common around the world."

Christine Colvin from WWF-South Africa accompanied Mr Bloomberg on the visit along with other prominent environmental and water experts to discuss how, given the intensification of extreme weather due to climate change around the globe, cities can accelerate their preparations for an uncertain water future.

Colvin said: "The current Cape water crisis has had a dramatic impact not just on water availability, but also our relationship with water. Water has suddenly become everybody's business as households and the private sector have scrambled to secure alternate, off-mains supplies and improve their levels of water-use efficiency and independent water security. A 'New Normal' is going to require a diversification of water sources and a rethink of our current infrastructure. Catchments, aquifers and our water source areas are a critical component of that infrastructure. They require direct attention and investment as part of our future economic development. The natural links in our water value chain can no longer be allowed to fall through the administrative gaps between national government and water service providers. As we move to more decentralized use with thousands of individuals managing boreholes, recycling systems and rain water, we need to find a new model that enables us all to be both consumers and custodians of this our shared water resources."

To find out more about how citizens, companies and decision-makers have taken actions to push back Day Zero in recent months, visit wwf.org.za

Mondi joins WWF's Climate Savers business leadership programme

7. March 2018 - 1:00
Global packaging and paper group adopts 2050 science-based targets to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C.  

Vienna, Austria  – Mondi Group has joined the ranks of global climate leaders by signing up to Climate Savers, WWF's climate leadership programme for businesses. The packaging and paper group commits to reduce its specific production-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 0.25 t CO2e/t production by 2050. This commitment and others made as part of its participation in the flagship programme are in line with climate science targets required to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C. 
 
Mondi's participation in Climate Savers is an extension of a strategic global partnership between Mondi and WWF that started in 2014. The partnership focuses on promoting environmental stewardship in the packaging and paper sector. In joining Climate Savers, Mondi commits to working to further reduce GHG emissions across its entire value chain and to taking actions to positively influence the packaging and paper industry as well as policy makers. Climate Savers members aim to transform businesses into low-carbon economy leaders.
 
Peter Oswald, Chief Executive Officer, Mondi Group says, "As a global player in the packaging and paper industry, we are part of an energy intensive sector. We've managed to reduce our specific CO2 emissions by 38% since 2004 by focusing on operational efficiency and energy efficiency. We join the WWF Climate Savers programme to reinforce our long-standing commitment to climate change mitigation and to demonstrate to the rest of our industry that using energy efficiently is not only necessary for the environment, but also good for business. We are proud to confirm our commitment to the science-based target needed to keep global warming well below 2°C for our production-related emissions."
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice says, "Climate change is one of the biggest threats of our future, with fundamental impacts on places, species and people everywhere.  To change things for the better, we need to start acting now. We welcome Mondi's efforts toward helping build a more sustainable business world and are happy to have them join the Climate Savers programme."
 
To achieve its climate goals, Mondi has developed an ambitious programme to improve energy efficiency, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, sustainably manage its forests and associated ecosystems, and source its raw materials responsibly. Mondi is also active in developing packaging and paper products that help its customers and consumers reduce their own carbon footprints.
 
Mondi's Climate Savers agreement will run at least until the end of 2020, concurrent with phase two of its global partnership with WWF.
 
###
 
Notes for Editors:
Mondi's Climate Savers commitments and climate targets:
  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions*: Mondi commits to reduce production-related, absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with evidence- based climate science targets to keep global warming below two degrees. This requires a reduction of specific production-related GHG emissions to 0.25 tonnes CO2e per tonne of saleable production by 2050. 
  • Reduce scope 3 emissions*: Mondi commits to improve data collection for its indirect GHG emissions along the value chain (Scope 3 emissions) and to set ambitious reduction targets in the field of its supply chain and transport of raw materials and products.
  • Increase renewable energy: Mondi will investigate opportunities to increase renewable energy in a sustainable way and implement them where feasible. 
  • Be an agent of change: Mondi will work actively to positively influence the paper and packaging industry to join the movement and commit to keeping their production-related greenhouse gas emissions in line with the international target to stay well below 2°C temperature increase.
* Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organization. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam. Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions, such as those produced through extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, or through outsourced, transport-related activities.

For further information please contact:
 
WWF:
Theresa Gral, Media Officer, WWF Austria, theresa.gral@wwf.at, +43 676 834 88 216
Mandy Jean Woods, Communications Manager, WWF Climate & Energy Practice, mwoods@wwfint.org
 
Mondi:
Jennifer Buley, Group Communication & Marketing, Mondi, jennifer.buley@mondigroup.com
 
About WWF Climate Savers - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Climate & Energy Practice is WWF's global programme addressing climate change. It includes Climate Savers, aimed at engaging the private sector nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development. www.climatesavers.org
 
About WWF - WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org/news for latest news and media resources.

About Mondi - Mondi is a global leader in packaging and paper, employing around 26,000 people in over 30 countries. We are fully integrated across the packaging and paper value chain – from managing forests and producing pulp, paper and flexible plastics, to developing and manufacturing effective industrial and consumer packaging solutions. Sustainability is embedded in everything we do, with clearly defined commitments across 10 action areas. We delight our customers with our innovative and sustainable packaging and paper solutions. Our major operations are in central Europe, Russia, North America and South Africa.

Mondi has a dual listed company structure, with a primary listing on the JSE Limited for Mondi Limited under the ticker MND and a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange for Mondi plc, under the ticker MNDI. We are a FTSE 100 constituent, and have been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2008 and the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index since 2007.