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Updated: 11 hours 34 min ago

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."
 
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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.
 

Project Extraordinary: A novel challenge to 'make sustainability sexy'

23. February 2018 - 1:00
The word 'sustainability' may bring a lot of adjectives to one's mind but 'desirable' or 'sexy' is rarely one of them. Sustainability is not often seen as a 'must have' and yet as we use and consume resources as if we had 1.7 earths, there is an urgent need for each of us to rethink how we can feed, fuel and power our society differently.

On 21 February 2018, WWF-New Zealand and WiLD Studios (the short-film division of award winning international documentary filmmakers NHNZ, otherwise called Natural History NZ) launched a global video challenge to encourage the world's best creative teams to do just that.

Project Extraordinary is an unprecedented competition inviting creative agencies around the globe to develop a short-form video concept that demonstrates how sustainability can be desirable, and sexy. The project aims to harness the full potential of creative genius to give sustainability a mainstream appeal and encourage one billion consumers globally to make more than 50 per cent of their purchases based on sustainability as one of the top three decision triggers by 2020.

WWF-New Zealand CEO, Livia Esterhazy says, "When I worked in the advertising world, it constantly surprised and inspired me how creatives approached a problem and developed ideas to solve them. The degradation of our planet is the single-most pressing problem facing our very existence. This project is a bold idea to harness creative power globally to help build a future where people live in harmony with nature."

Running from now until 12 April 2018, the competition is open to all registered creative, advertising or communications agencies around the world. Three concepts will be shortlisted as 'highly commended' by a distinguished and diverse jury to be subsequently filmed and produced by WiLD Studios in collaboration with the respective agencies. The Winner of The Extraordinary Award will be chosen from the three Highly Commended finished films, by Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International and the panel members of the 'How to Make Sustainability Sexy' forum taking place in Cannes in June 2018.

Marco Lambertini says, "We know what we need to do; the science is there. The challenge is to make sustainability of our planet desirable. Inspirational. Let's get personal and real. We need to stop talking in generalities and show every consumer in every corner of the globe exactly how they can be part of the solution."
With experts estimating only one percent of the materials used to produce consumer goods are still in use six months after sale, there is an urgent need to shift consumer attitudes and make sustainability a priority choice for people everywhere.

WiLD Studios Executive Producer, Carolyn Managh explains, "This is a history-making opportunity for a creative agency. To go beyond the documentary format typically applied to this topic and find a sexy and relevant way to reinvent the way sustainability is pitched to global consumers is clearly no small feat. This is why we've opened the challenge up to the best creative minds around the world".

To learn more and participate in Project Extraordinary, visit www.projectextraordinary.org. The winning film will premiere on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 in the Grand Auditorium Louis Lumière at Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

Hong Kong Ivory Ban is Now Law: WWF Says it's Time to Close All Asian Illegal Wildlife Markets

1. February 2018 - 1:00
[HONG KONG – 31 January 2018] - A ban on the domestic ivory trade with no compensation by 2021 and an increase in the maximum penalty for wildlife crime offences to 10 years was approved today by the Legislative Council. WWF welcomes the new legislation and would like to thank all the supporters that helped to make this happen.

"A ban on ivory sales with heavier penalties in Hong Kong shows a clear commitment towards the future of African elephants. This will help reverse the trend of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trafficking." said Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime. Hong Kong is the largest ivory city market in the world and a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade due to low fines and sentences for traffickers and zero prosecutions of the criminal kingpins. 

China closed its legal ivory market at the end of 2017. All ivory trade in the country is now illegal, which may intensify Hong Kong's position as a preferred market for illegal ivory under the cover of remaining legal traders. The Hong Kong ban will help blunt this trend. There is also evidence that domestic ivory markets in Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Japan, and Myanmar are increasingly catering to visitors from China. Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director said, "This is the time to increase rather than to relax our efforts. With stronger sentences in Hong Kong, law enforcement should take a greater role in joint efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal wildlife syndicates. WWF calls on governments across Asia to follow China and Hong Kong's lead and close their ivory markets."

Since 2015, WWF-Hong Kong has been campaigning for a ban on the ivory trade and making wildlife crime a serious crime in Hong Kong. WWF's report, The Hard Truth, revealed several legal loopholes in Hong Kong's ivory regulations and published a Feasibility Study on the Ban of Hong Kong's Ivory Trade in 2016. Through these in-depth studies on the ivory trade in Hong Kong and various community engagement campaigns, we received enormous public support with 91,643 Hongkongers signing a petition in support of a ban. In response to calls from WWF and other NGOs, the government moved forward with the proposed five-year timetable to end the domestic ivory trade.

** WWF is happy to arrange interviews with our expert on this issue:
Cheryl Lo, Manager, Wildlife Crime
Gavin Edwards, Conservation Director

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For more information, please contact WWF-Hong Kong:Ms Connie Tam
Communications Manager
Tel:  2161 9634 / 9811 3804
E-mail: ctam@wwf.org.hkMs Rainy Siu
Assistant Communications Manager, Programmes
Tel: 2161 9624 / 9774 4959
Email: rsiu@wwf.org.hk

Bulgarian government silently moves to open almost half of Pirin National Park to construction despite public concerns

29. December 2017 - 1:00
Sofia, 29 December 2017 - In a surreptitious move, the government of Bulgaria approved on Thursday alarming new changes to the Pirin National Park management plan that could allow construction in up to 48 per cent of the park, a World Heritage site home to bears, chamois, wolves and centuries-old pine forests. The decision, announced a few days before Bulgaria takes over the Presidency of the European Council, comes a day after the closing of a public consultation on the proposed changes, launched on 22 November 2017, and offers no indication of its results.
 
The current management plan of Pirin National Park expired in 2014 but remains in place while the new draft plan awaits a court ruling on its roll-out. WWF and other NGOs of the For the Nature coalition filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria in March 2017 following the environment and water ministry's decision that the new draft management plan did not require a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment.
 
"The new draft management plan for Pirin National Park is bad and highly contentious, but the changes to the current management plan are worse. The draft plan, for example, envisages construction on an area that is 12.5 times larger than the currently permitted area while the changes to the current plan open up 80 times more area for construction," said Katerina Rakovska, protected areas expert, WWF-Bulgaria.
 
A letter sent by the Bansko Ski Zone concessioner Yulen AD as part of the public consultation for the new draft management plan, seen by WWF, outlined intentions for enlarging the ski zone to 333 km of runs and 113 km of ski lifts. While the current management plan only allows for construction in 0.6 per cent of the park's territory, with the new changes approved yesterday, such an extension could now be possible.
 
"These amendments allow for even bigger construction in Pirin than the draft plan," added Rakovska. "It is very concerning that the government has moved to approve these changes, without any transparency on the public consultation and while the new draft plan is blocked by the country's administrative court precisely over concerns on its potential environmental impact."
 
In November 2016, WWF launched an international campaign in support of Pirin National Park to highlight the importance of the site to people in Bulgaria and globally. Currently, over 108,000 people have signed the petition, urging Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to protect the World Heritage site and its pristine wildlife.
 
Pirin was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. However, in 2010, UNESCO excluded the ski areas above the towns of Bansko and Dobrinishte from the World Heritage site, identifying them as part of the buffer zone due to the damages and destruction caused by construction around the Bansko ski zone. The installation of the facilities led to the clearance of more than 160 ha of forests, including old-growth trees aged between 120 and 300 years.
 
Pirin is also a part of the Natura 2000 network of the European Union and WWF, together with other partner NGOs of the For the Nature coalition in Bulgaria, will signal to the European Commission the latest decision which violates European legislation on Natura 2000 areas. The coalition will also be appealing the decision in national courts.

In November 2017, an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report stated that the conservation outlook of Pirin National Park in Bulgaria is of "significant concern", just one step prior to the final, "critical" stage. The report underlined the threats of disturbance and fragmentation of the site associated with the exclusion of the skiing areas as incompatible with its World Heritage status.
 
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