Monthly Archives: September 2022


Palm oil firms not acting fast enough on no-deforestation vows: Report

Only 22% of companies sourcing or producing palm oil in Indonesia have public and comprehensive no-deforestation policies, a new report by London-based nonprofit CDP says.카지노사이트

The report also finds that only 28% of companies have robust public no-deforestation commitments that cover 100% of production and include a cutoff date before 2020.

In light of the report, experts are calling for more companies to adopt robust no-deforestation policies that incorporate social elements including remediation, restoration, compensation of past harms, and/or commitment to protect rights and livelihoods of local communities.

JAKARTA — Less than a quarter of companies producing or sourcing palm oil from Indonesia have forest-related policies in line with best practices, a new report says.

The report, by CDP, a global nonprofit that promotes environmental reporting and risk management by companies and cities, analyzed data provided by 167 firms.

While 86% of companies had set a forest policy, only 22% were in line with best practices, which the organization defines as committing to eliminate deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems; not plant on peatlands; conduct restoration and/or provide compensation for past harms; and protect rights and livelihoods of local communities.

“The low number of companies with robust policies aligned with best practice suggests a concerning absence of intention to eradicate forest loss from corporate value chains,” the report says.

While the figure was up from 14% in 2021, the progress isn’t fast enough to meet Indonesia’s target of turning its forests into a carbon sink by 2030, according to Rini Setiawati, senior manager for forests at CDP.

“If we have a target of having forest positive future by 2030, we need this at scale,” Rini told Mongabay. “We need 90% of companies, not 22%, to have robust policies, and not just policies and commitment, but also ambitious target and robust implementation.”

Over the past several decades, palm oil has been a major driver of deforestation in Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of the ubiquitous commodity. A recent study found the industry was responsible for nearly one-third of the nation’s forest loss from 2001 to 2019, though deforestation related to palm oil last peaked in 2016 and has fallen in recent years.

As a result, many companies that own oil palm plantations or process, trade or use palm oil have pledged to break the link between deforestation and their supply chains.

“Whilst companies are moving in the right direction, more action is needed to maintain this trend,” said Thomas Maddox, the global director of forests and land at CPD.

Despite a checkered record, corporate zero-deforestation policies have shown some success, according to Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“Our study in South Sumatra province shows that commitments from the public sector could decrease deforestation significantly, but if they’re coupled with commitments from the private sector, it could [further] lower deforestation significantly,” he told Mongabay. “So commitments do matter and they need to be amplified, widened, monitored and given rewards and incentives.”

Company response

The vast majority of companies were unable to track the origin of their palm oil supplies, an important prerequisite for making good on a no-deforestation commitment.

Only 9% of companies were able to fully trace their supply chains to the mill level, and only 4% were able to do so to the plantation level.바카라사이트

One firm that claims to have achieved full traceability is Golden Agri-Resources, an arm of Indonesia’s Sinarmas conglomerate, one of the first business groups to issue a zero-deforestation pledge after years of being one of Indonesia’s most prolific deforesters.

“From our side, the complication [that comes from implementing a zero-deforestation policy] is not too huge. We don’t have any plan to open [new] plantations in Papua and other places,” Agus Purnomo, one of Sinarmas’s top palm oil executives, told Mongabay on the sidelines of a recent event in Jakarta. “Therefore, if our buyers demand [zero-deforestation], we can fulfill that. But this can’t be applied for [other companies] whose plantations and mills are located in troubled places.”

Further progress in the sector, he said, would rely on government policy and law enforcement.

“If it’s voluntary commitment [to adopt zero-deforestation policies], then what we have now is the maximum,” Agus said. “We can’t ask more companies to volunteer [in adopting zero-deforestation policies] because each has their own problems.”

Even if companies lack capacity to fulfill their commitments, simply adopting the policies would create opportunities for forest protection, according to Mardi Minangsari, head of Indonesian NGO Kaoem Telapak.

Having NDPE commitments is the first step,” she said, using an acronym that stands for “no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation.”

“I really support [the adoption of such policies] because this means we also can help them by providing reports” on deforestation, conflicts, and other issues, Mardi said. “Sometimes, companies themselves don’t have enough capacity, especially with vast plantations, to see what’s happening in their concessions.”

Rini of CDP said the government could issue regulations that require more transparency and accountability from companies so that they’re driven to adopt or strengthen their NDPE commitments.

“If companies are performing better in sustainability, this can contribute to the achievement of national environmental targets,” she said.온라인카지노


7 Destinations That Are Trending This Fall—in the U.S., Caribbean, and Beyond

As the summer travel crowds fizzle and temperatures mellow out, fall emerges as one of the most ideal—and strategic—times of year to book a dream getaway. This autumn, U.S. travelers seem eager to venture far from home.카지노사이트

“The spike in searches for places like Munich, Ho Chi Minh City, and Barbados point to travelers being excited to pack their bags for places that were previously harder to visit due to travel restrictions, testing requirements, or high airfare prices,” says Christie Hudson, head of U.S. public relations for Expedia. “Now that most Covid-related travel restrictions have loosened, these destinations are back on the table and made even more appealing by factors like the favorable dollar-to-Euro exchange rate and shoulder season deals.”

Here are seven destinations that are seeing surges in interests from travelers this fall—according to data from travel search sites.

Ho Chi Minh City
Asia has also seen a spike in interest this fall as more countries have opened their borders—Priceline has seen four times more searches for flights to the continent this fall. According to metasearch site Kayak, Vietnam’s biggest city has seen a 46 percent increase in search compared to 2019, while Expedia reported a 630 percent growth in searches from last fall.

“Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign travelers on March 15 with immediate excitement,” Hudson says. “Ho Chi Minh City is very affordable for the fall months, so your travel dollars go a long way.” She noted that she found five-star hotels in September and October starting at around $50 a night.

Generally warm year-round, fall marks the end of the rainy season as temperatures cool, making it a good time to visit the city’s landmarks like the Cu Chi Tunnels, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and Ben Thanh Market.

Major European cities saw some of the biggest increases across all the search engines, with the British capital notching 290 percent growth since last year, and was one of the most searched cities on and Priceline.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II may have sparked more interest in recent days (be sure to check for closures during the mourning period), but royal interest had already been strong with events honoring Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year. Still on view are Buckingham Palace’s special exhibit on the Queen’s Ascension through October 2 and Kensington Palace’s Life Through a Royal Lens through October 30.

With fewer crowds and milder temperatures, fall makes a prime time to stroll through Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill or Old Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch; catch a classic West End show like Les Misérables, a new favorite like Six, or an immersive experience like The Burnt City (from Punchdrunk, the team behind Sleep No More) through December; or see the city from above on the London Eye or the Sky Garden.

Punta Cana
As the temperatures cool, the more sunny island vacations come into focus, with Punta Cana topping Kayak’s list of top international destinations for fall travel, with a 147 percent spike over pre-pandemic 2019 searches.

The early part of fall is sunny and humid, marked by showers in the afternoons and evenings as hurricane season tapers off and officially ends in November. While the chance for passing rain is always there, fall is still an opportune time to relax along the Dominican Republic’s 30-mile stretch of white sand, whether it’s diving to see shipwrecks, fishing, boating, or simply kicking back under a coconut palm with a drink in hand like at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana or Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino.

New York City
All eyes are on the Big Apple domestically, as New York City topped Expedia’s list with a 75 percent growth from last year, and came in second on both and Skyscanner. It’s no surprise that the City That Never Sleeps has roared back from its pandemic pause.

New York will see the opening of its first museum Museum of Broadway in November, as well as buzzed-about new shows like Almost Famous with previews starting October 3 and KPOP starting October 13 alongside staples like The Lion King celebrating its 25th anniversary in November.바카라사이트

Recently opened new viewpoints include Summit One Vanderbilt with an Instagram-worthy mirrored spaced and Edge NYC (where daredevils can scale the side with City Climb), while the digital art space Hall des Lumières opened today. And of course nothing beats a walk through Central Park immersed in the autumnal colors.

“Munich is a great example of a place that’s making a comeback for U.S. travelers, as the German city is hosting Oktoberfest for the first time after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic,” Hudson says, with searches increasing 180 percent compared to last year on Expedia. Priceline also saw the German city top its searches for both flights and hotels.

The celebration runs from September 17 through October 3, with guided tours available, as well as packages that include a seat at the Oktoberfest table to bypass the lines. But it’s not the only fall festival in town. The autumn edition of the nine-day Auer Dult (this year from October 15 to 23) carries on a folk tradition with rides, entertainment, shopping, as well as plenty of food, including roasted almonds and sausages.

It’s also a beautiful time to catch Munich’s fall colors in Perlacher Forst, the Allacher Lohe nature reserve, or Hofoldinger Forst, or enjoy the indoor swimming pool at Müller’sche Volksbad, or catch the final days of raising a glass outdoors at a biergarten. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Munich Olympics with its sites on full display.

“For a location that is a best-kept secret to beat crowds, Albania has seen almost double the number of bookings in 2022 than it enjoyed in the same period in 2019,” says Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner’s trend and destination expert. “Most people have yet to discover it, but flights and tourism infrastructure are in place, and thus there are fewer crowds.”

The Balkan Peninsula country shines in the autumn months with its mild climate inviting outdoor activities through November, whether it’s biking at the Grand Park of Tirana, hiking in the Accursed Mountains in the Albanian Alps, exploring the 2,500-year-old ruins of Butrint, or simply wandering around the village of around Korça.

The Caribbean island nation has seen a whopping 3,360 percent growth in Expedia searches between last year and this year for fall travel, likely tied to Covid-19 testing requirements being dropped in May. “From a price and availability standpoint, fall—or shoulder season—is a great time to visit Barbados which has a pretty low risk of hurricanes or heavy enough rainfall to impact your island getaway,” Hudson says. She notes average nightly rates for September are nearly $100 cheaper than August and $90 cheaper than the week of Thanksgiving.

“There are also several music, food, and surfing festivals that happen during the fall months, so you’ll have plenty to do in between relaxing on the beach.” Among the fall events are the Barbados Jazz Excursion and Golf Tournament October 6 to 10; Barbados Food and Rum Festival October 27 to 30, and the Run Barbados race, with distances from 3K to a marathon, December 11.온라인카지노


Singapore outlines financial services overhaul with eye on green finance boom

SINGAPORE, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Singapore announced plans on Thursday to overhaul its financial services industry by 2025 in a bid to cement its position in a “key battleground” to fight climate change, mobilising capital to support sustainable financing and green fintech.카지노사이트

The ‘Industry Transformation Map 2025’ plans released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank, will include measures to streamline corporate structures used by investment funds, including family offices, that offer tax breaks, and a S$400 million ($285 million) investment in local talent within the industry.

The broad plans, for which full details have yet to be announced, come with Singapore’s allure as a finance hub in Asia growing amid prolonged COVID-19 curbs and concern about mainland China’s growing scrutiny of rival Hong Kong.

“If we do this right, our financial centre will continue to stay relevant and competitive, and be a key global financial node that connects global markets, supports Asia’s development, and serves Singapore’s economy,” said Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Wong said during a media briefing that there was “growing interest” among high-net-worth individuals and family offices to do more in the field of philanthropy.

The MAS projects its new plans will see Singapore’s financial sector grow by an average 4% to 5% a year from 2021 to 2025, and create 3,000-4,000 net jobs on average each year.

The plans include a S$100 million fund over five years to support sustainability within the finance sector such as green fintech, new sustainable financing solutions and reinsurance.바카라사이트

Wong said Asia was a “key battleground” to fight climate change. “The financial sector must do its part – to mobilise capital through financing and investments that support the region’s transition to net zero,” he said.

Under the plans, the corporate structure used by investment funds including family offices called Variable Capital Companies (VCC) will be “enhanced”, though details on the enhancements won’t be announced until a later stage. VCCs were first introduced in 2020 and offer tax exemptions.

MAS said it had received requests to improve the VCC framework so more industry participants and asset owners can set up VCCs and convert of existing company structures into VCCs.

“The asset management industry in Singapore has continued to do well in recent years, and registered healthy growth in spite of the pandemic. We continue to see inflows from diversified sources outside Singapore, including North America, Europe, North Asia and Southeast Asia,” MAS said.온라인카지노


Moscow’s local allies were told ‘Russia is here for ever’. Now they flee Ukraine

Just weeks ago, Irina was working in the Russian occupation administration in Kupiansk, a large town in northern Ukraine that had been captured days after Vladimir Putin launched his war against the country.카지노사이트

But then, as Russian troops fled the city and the Ukrainian army retook occupied territories in the country’s north, she and her family fled what they expected would be swift punishment for collaborating with the Russian invasion force.

Evidence emerging from the newly retaken territories indicates that Russian troops regularly used violence to put down any local dissent and maintain control. At the same time, some have said they welcomed and helped the Russians. Others listened to the insistence by Moscow-installed officials that they were there to stay forever and decided to cooperate or simply try to live quietly under Russian rule.

For Moscow’s local allies, the sudden retreat of the Russian forces, who ceded some villages and towns with little resistance, was a turnaround bordering on betrayal.

“Everyone had told us we’re here now, we’re here, you have nothing to be afraid of,” said Irina, recalling promises from officials sent by Moscow. She had taken a job in the accounting department of the new local administration installed by Russia, she said. “Five days ago they were telling us they would never leave. And three days later we were under shelling … And we don’t understand anything [about the offensive].

“We don’t understand what the point of this is then,” she said of the Russian military operation.

For months, Russia told people in Ukraine’s occupied regions that it was there to stay. The rouble was introduced, retired people were told they would get Russian pensions, and pro-Russian residents were hired into the ranks of government workers.

“The fact is obvious that Russia is never leaving,” said Andrei Turchak, a leader of Russia’s governing United Russia party, during a visit to Kupiansk in July. “Russia will never leave here. And all the necessary aid will be provided.”

That vow, along with the threat of violence, was crucial to project Moscow’s power into the towns and villages of Ukraine by ensuring willing locals that they would never have to face punishment as traitors or collaborators.

Now Russia’s retreat has dealt a devastating blow to the image of the Russian armed forces and the Kremlin among some of their most willing supporters in Ukraine.

Ukraine has vowed to catch locals who collaborated with the Russian army or cooperated with Russian-installed governments. Cases can carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that Ukrainian forces were seeking to root out “remnants of occupiers and sabotage groups” in the reclaimed towns and villages of the Kharkiv region.

In Belgorod, a Russian region that borders Kharkiv, the governor’s office has said nearly 1,400 people are housed at a temporary camp after crossing the border from Ukraine. Many are families with children who have fled fighting. Hundreds more people are likely staying in rented apartments or with relatives.

At a small aid distribution centre in the city, a half-dozen Ukrainians who had recently fled to Russia said they were dumbfounded by Moscow’s inability to hold on to the Kharkiv region and withstand the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive that has retaken 8,000 sq km (3,100 sq miles) of territory in just several weeks.

“People there believed the Russian troops, they said we won’t leave you, that we lost so many people and we won’t leave you,” said Alexander, 44, who fled from a nearby village with his wife and son. “Then they suddenly retreated. They took several months to gather all this territory and then they abandoned it in two days. They don’t understand what happened.”

Alexander, a trained pipe welder, said that he had not worked for Russia and hadn’t been employed since the war began. He had wanted to leave his village, which quickly fell to Russia in the early days of the war, because he “didn’t have either work or a school, and I need to dress my child and send him to school”.

They had planned to join a brother in Poland, but then Alexander was wounded by a shell, and they fled to stay with a relative in Russia instead.

They left, he said, not because they opposed a return to Ukrainian rule, but because of the danger from the war. “It was driving us to hysteria,” he said. “We took it for as long as we could.”

Like others, he asked not to be identified by his last name. He feared he could be seen as a traitor for having fled to Russia. He said he still hoped to return home to visit his parents in Ukraine.

Moscow’s efforts to integrate the territories by publicly offering handouts while enforcing a culture of fear in occupied Ukraine was seen as a prelude to a formal annexation that could be held in some regions as soon as this autumn.

But the lack of security signalled by Russia’s sudden retreat has also shaken the trust that some had and makes that more difficult in the territories that Moscow continues to hold.바카라사이트

“We should have left earlier,” said Sergei, Irina’s boyfriend, who worked on the local railway. It was now difficult to find any place to stay in Belgorod, he said, where thousands of people have moved since the beginning of the war.

Irina and Sergei both said they still supported Russia in the war but had less faith that it could protect supporters in Ukraine.

“Now I’m worried for people in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia,” said Irina, referring to the regions in southern Ukraine also occupied by Russia. “They’re also being told ‘We’re not going to leave.’ But if you look at what happened near Kharkiv, then no one can say what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

By many accounts, Russian troops themselves and some of the Kremlin’s top boosters have come out saying that Russia is in danger of losing its supporters in occupied Ukraine.

“People here are waiting for us to get started,” said Alexander Sladkov, a Russian war correspondent, in a televised report. “For us to hit them so hard that they end up on their backsides. That’s to say a knockout. It’s very difficult to win on points. We’re losing a huge number of people, we have wounded.”

Catching himself, he added: “And we have great successes.”

Russia has not had much success lately. And its troubles may grow further as towns that have been held by Russia since the first weeks of the war begin to emerge from isolation and tell stories of life under occupation.

It also set off an exodus of people for the border. Earlier this week, Yulia Nemchinova, a local activist who delivers aid to Ukrainian refugees in Russia, filmed a video of some of the hundreds of cars that had fled from Kharkiv region at the Russian border.

A Ukrainian official described one such convoy from the Luhansk region as collaborators “packing their loot, packing their families, and leaving”. Nemchinova, who has pro-Russian views, confirmed that many inside feared being labelled as collaborators, although she described them as locals who she said were “just trying to live”.

“People were told that Russia is here for ever,” she said. “They were in shock. People were just black. They were literally the colour black. I asked people where are they going, they said: to Russia. Just nowhere. Just to cross the border.”

At the aid centre, most said they would only return to Ukraine if Russia retook the territory. Others said they would never return at all, even if Russia returns.

“We’ll never go back,” said Sergei, Irina’s boyfriend, who was carrying a small bag with shoes and sweaters from the aid centre. “There’s nothing for us to go back to.”

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Industrial mining’s tropical deforestation footprint spills beyond concessions

  • Indonesia, Brazil, Suriname and Ghana account for 80% of all tropical deforestation linked directly to industrial mining, a new study has found.카지노사이트
  • In two out of three tropical countries, large-scale mineral extraction leads to forest loss when effects over a wider area, beyond formal mining concessions, are considered.
  • “We have to look beyond the mine fence,” Stefan Giljum, the lead author of the paper, said. “What is needed is a forest conservation plan for a whole region integrating all the activities that are going on.”
  • It’s difficult to quantify forest destruction linked to the mining sector as a whole because both the indirect effects on surrounding areas and the impacts of artisanal mining are hard to pin down.
  • Industrial mining wiped out nearly 2,000 square kilometers, or 770 square miles, of forests in Indonesia between 2000 and 2019. The country is one of four worldwide where direct tropical forest loss from large-scale mining — 8 out of every 10 square kilometers — is concentrated.

“Indonesia alone accounts for 60% of forest loss among the 26 countries we investigated,” said Stefan Giljum, lead author of a newly published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers focused on countries that account for most of the deforestation (77%) occurring in the tropics.

Along with Indonesia, Brazil and Suriname in South America, and Ghana in West Africa accounted for 80% of all mining-linked direct deforestation in the tropics. Mining operations replaced around 3,300 km2 (1,270 mi2) of forest cover between 2000 and 2019 in the 26 countries, according to data from Global Forest Watch (GFW).

Brazil lost 330 km2 (127 mi2) resulting directly from the extraction of minerals. Ghana and Suriname reported deforestation of 213 and 203 km2 (82 and 78 mi2), respectively.

A 2019 World Bank report said that 45% of all active mines are in forested areas. However, industrial mines don’t just swallow forests within concessions; they transform entire landscapes. When effects over a wider area are considered, in two out of three tropical countries, large-scale mineral extraction leads to forest loss, the new study found.

Mines often become a hive of economic activity, triggering infrastructure development and spawning new settlements. A 2017 study from the Brazilian Amazon captured the impacts within a 70-km (43-mi) radius of mining concessions, and reported that deforestation rates in adjoining areas could be 12 times higher than inside the concessions.

However, it’s difficult to establish that the mining operation is causing this deforestation. Most corporate responsibility initiatives to curb deforestation focus exclusively on direct impacts. “We have to look beyond the mine fence,” Giljum said. “What is needed is basically a forest conservation plan for a whole region integrating all the activities that are going on.”

Quantifying forest destruction linked to the mining sector as a whole is complicated. One of the major reasons is a lack of information about artisanal mining, which is often informal, unregulated and dispersed. “Some studies show that artisanal mining might even have a larger impact than industrial mining,” Giljum said.

In Ghana, a gold-rich nation, both artisanal and industrial mining of coal is linked to forest loss. Daryl Bosu, an environmental activist with the Ghanaian NGO A Rocha, has been at the forefront of a campaign to stop industrial bauxite mining in Ghana’s Atewa forest. He told Mongabay that while artisanal mining provides much-needed employment in communities, unregulated artisanal mining, especially with newer tools, can cause real harm.

“Nobody is doing traditional mining with pickaxes anymore. They are now using mechanized excavators and bulldozers, so if that’s the scale, it also has a significant impact,” Bosu said. One study found that between 2005 and 2019, new mining areas were mostly being opened up by small-scale operators, and more than 7 km2 (2.7 mi2) of the mined land was inside protected areas.바카라사이트

While industrial mines are constrained by concession boundaries, small-scale mining operations are more mobile, bringing deforestation to new areas, leaving behind degraded landscapes. In some cases, large mines attract artisanal miners to the region by opening up remote areas.

The new study highlights the need to look at what is happening outside mining concessions but also beyond national boundaries. In Indonesia, deforestation in mining areas intensified between 2010 and 2014. The study authors suspect a surge in overseas demand for coal, mined extensively in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, during this period played a role. In 2011 alone, the province on Borneo Island produced 205 million metric tons of coal — more than 13 times France’s coal demand for that year.

Giljum said the team is now investigating which materials fuel forest loss and interrogating international supply chains for mining-dependent commodities. While direct losses from mining are smaller compared to other activities like agriculture and livestock, some countries are subject to disproportionate losses, so mitigation efforts can target those nations.온라인카지노