Forestry and forest products sector releases global sustainability progress report
The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has released its biennial Sustainability Progress Report which demonstrates progress in seven key areas of sustainability: sustainable forest management, renewable energy, greenhouse gas, and suplhur dioxide emissions, water use, health and safety, and recycling. The 2021 report also highlights the forest products sector’s global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 18 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations that encompass 28 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world. The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report shows progress on nearly all of the sector’s performance indicators, using the most recent data available (2018-2019).
“In the face of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, we are reminded that the global forestry sector has the potential to address some of our most urgent social, environmental, and economic challenges,” noted ICFPA President Derek Nighbor. Nighbor is President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. “Forestry workers and forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a lower-carbon world through sustainable forest management, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and recovering more paper and paper-based packaging for recycling.”
Key progress on ICFPA’s sustainability performance indicators include:
- In 2019, 52.6% of procured wood fibre came from third-party certified sustainably-managed forests, a 41 percentage point increase from the 2000 baseline year.
- Greenhouse gas emission intensity decreased 21% from the 2004/2005 baseline year.
- The energy share of biomass and other renewable fuels increased to 64.9%, a 12 percentage point increase since 2004/2005.
- Sulphur dioxide emission intensity from on-site combustion sources decreased 77% from the 2004/2005 baseline year and 38% from the previous report.
- Water use intensity decreased 12.5% from the baseline year.
- Investment in health and safety interventions yielded a 30% reduction in the global recordable incident rate from the 2006/2007 baseline with the number of recordable incidents falling to 2.88 per 100 employees annually.
- In 2019, 59.1% of paper and paperboard consumed globally was used by mills to make new products, marking a 12.6 percentage point increase in the global recycling rate since the year 2000.
“As a sector, both globally and locally, we continue to make a positive impact and meaningful progress in areas of sustainability, society and the economy, providing citizens with a renewable resource in the form of sustainably produced wood, cellulose and paper products,” said Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) and member of the ICFPA Steering Committee. “Wood in its various forms not only meets essential daily needs, it also provides a raw material for conventional and innovative alternatives for sustainable packaging.”
The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report also includes the 2021 International Finalists for the prestigious ICFPA Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The theme for the 2020-2021 Blue Sky Awards was “Boosting the Forest Bioeconomy: Nature-Based Solutions Toward a Lower Carbon Economy.”
To view or download the 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report, please visit: ICFPA 2020-2021 Sustainability Progress Report.View more
98% of adults in South Africa willing to take personal action on sustainability issues
- 81% of adults in South Africa are more mindful of their impact on the environment since COVID-19, with the trend being led by Gen Z (89%)
- Three quarters of South African respondents (76%) say companies behaving in more sustainable and eco-friendly ways is more important than before
CHEP unveils global 2025 Sustainability Goals with the ambition to pioneer regenerative supply chains
CHEP, one of the world’s most sustainable logistics businesses, and a pioneer of circular-economy principles, has unveiled its 2025 global Sustainability Goals, a roadmap for building regenerative supply chains that help repair damage to the planet.Continue reading View more
Overcoming the obstacles in the way of Africa’s female farmers
By Bonolo Sophie Maqeba, CEO of Black Women Empowered
Hailing from Ficksburg, a small town in South Africa’s Free State province, I come from very humble beginnings. Raised by parents who made enormous sacrifices daily, the value of hard work was instilled in me and my three siblings from a very young age. My parents used to say: “We are not rich and we can’t leave you any legacy, but we will give you the little that we have so that you can be educated, and in that way you will be independent enough to work your way up in life.”
Fast forward to today, and I hold a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and am the CEO of Black Women Empowered, an agriculture-focused organisation that I started, after coming to terms with South Africa’s unemployment crisis.
My inspiration comes from the love I have for my children and the fear that they should not suffer or be job seekers for the rest of their lives. It has always been my vision to leave a legacy for my children.
Venturing into the agricultural industry, I witnessed and experienced four main challenges.
I saw that Africa’s women farmers are faced with massive challenges when it comes to accessing land – a critical resource. Even when they do secure land, they face tough tenure systems that are often influenced by biased customary norms and traditions built on the basis of social differentiation and inequality. These systems hinder the growth of Africa’s agricultural production, exacerbate poverty, and contribute to the exclusion of rural women.
Weak access to finance is another major hurdle faced by women in agriculture. Credit is an effective tool that enables investments and expansion, and that allows farmers to overcome seasonal issues – a considerable lag occurs between the time they incur costs and the time that they are able to generate income from their produce.
The next challenge is access to information and training. The participation of women in training programmes tends to be low due to a lack of awareness, societal barriers in the form of discriminatory cultural norms, and transportation barriers.
Finally, the division of labour on the basis of gender is common practice in Africa’s agricultural sector. Women tend to be mainly involved in the production of lower-value subsistence crops. It could be because they have different preferences and concerns, or because they have limited access to land, inputs, credit, information, or markets. In many instances, those that have access to markets are exploited and fetch lower prices than their male counterparts.
With this in mind, I joined the UN Women- and Standard Bank-backed Climate Smart Agricultural programme (UNCSA). I was driven by the need to find solutions to these pervasive challenges, as well as new challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The UNCSA programme strengthened my belief that agriculture and digital technology are the backbone of the economy.
Prior to joining the programme, I was planting on two hectares of land, and was making small profits due to a lack of resources. A year down the line, my business has grown substantially. I have learned important tricks of the trade, from effective storage for export goods to ensuring that fresh produce is sold quickly to avoid losses. And I want to explore future business opportunities in agro-processing and exports as I grow the business and expand it into the rest of Africa.
The programme has further fuelled my passion for agriculture. I remain steadfast in my beliefs and continue to draw strength from those women in my family who have shaped me and enabled me to be where I am today.
My grandmother, Paulina Vollenhoven, raised me and looked after me when my parents were at work. She instilled in me the values and principles that I have today, and she taught me to challenge myself and male-dominated industries – because we can do what they can if given a chance.
My mother, Flora Vollenhoven, is my pillar of strength. She sacrificed everything to give me a good education and has been with me through my deepest pains and darkest times of struggle. She cheers me on, prays for me, and encourages me to do more every day. I am because she has been.
I am deeply grateful to them and to myself – Sophie Bonolo Maqeba. I have endured countless struggles and have worked hard to achieve my dreams. I have picked myself up every time I have fallen, I have been brave and outspoken, and I have relentlessly chased my dreams while also single-handedly raising my wonderful children. I plan to leave a legacy rooted in agriculture and the transformation of an industry.View more
Netcare and Standard Bank launch Africa’s first sustainability-linked bond
JSE-listed Netcare, which operates a network of hospitals and other healthcare services in South Africa and Lesotho, has launched Africa’s first sustainability-linked bond, in partnership with Standard Bank.
The coupon rate of these bonds is linked to the issuer’s achievement of certain pre-agreed sustainability performance targets. In Netcare’s case, the group aims to reduce its energy consumption, procure more renewable energy, reduce total carbon emissions, and further improve its water efficiency, partly by increasing its capacity to recycle grey water. In addition, Netcare is developing systems to ultimately convert all infectious healthcare risk waste (HCRW) produced on-site to inert products and achieve zero waste to landfill for waste, outside the HCRW stream, by 2030.
Dr Richard Friedland, Chief Executive Officer of Netcare says, “Our comprehensive environmental sustainability strategy developed in 2013 is firmly on track to meet our 10-year goals and targets. Netcare is delighted to be part of a global community of healthcare institutions leading the transformation to climate-smart healthcare, and this innovative sustainability-linked bond will further assist us in achieving our longer term goals”.
On 16 March 2021 Netcare, with Standard Bank acting as Sole Arranger and Sustainability Agent, executed on the continent’s debut sustainability-linked bond (NTCG01). The bond will be listed on the interest rate market of the JSE on the 19 March. Netcare raised a ZAR1 billion, 3-year, unsecured note priced at 5.4% (3 MonthJIBAR +175bps). If Netcare achieves its climate change mitigation and water efficiency targets linked to the bond, it will benefit from a step down in the coupon rate.
Carl Wiesner, Debt Capital Market Transactor at Standard Bank says, “Through the offering of the sustainability-linked bond, Netcare was able to access a deeper pool of liquidity at a compressed upfront pricing level, with the added incentive of a quantifiable future pricing benefit while investors are able to encourage positive forward-looking sustainable corporate behaviour..”
Netcare has already made significant progress with its sustainability programme. As of 2020, the company has solar installations capable of generating more than 20GWhof renewable energy, and had achieved a 24% reduction in energy intensity per bed since 2013 against a goal of 22% by 2023. In 2020, scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 37% from 2013.
The progress that Netcare has made towards being a leader in environmental sustainability within the healthcare sector in South Africa, and the world, was recognised when the company achieved the distinction of being the only healthcare institution globally to have received gold awards – the highest accolade – in each of the four categories in the international 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge Awards organised by Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH). The awards were for Greenhouse Gas Reduction [Energy], Renewable Energy, Climate Resilience and Climate Leadership.
Nigel Beck, Global Head Sustainable Finance at Standard Bank says, “Over the course of the last 12 months Standard Bank has been working closely with Netcare and institutional investors on a sustainability-linked product offering, advising on meaningful sustainability performance targets aligned to Netcare’s corporate strategy. “We are encouraged by the overwhelming level of interest and demand the market has expressed for sustainable product offerings which was evidenced by the extent to which the bond was oversubscribed.”
Sustainability-linked corporate financing facilities offer clients an opportunity to directly fund ESG improvements, or to refinance existing general corporate funding with a solution that also delivers an indirect socio-economic benefit for the communities and environments in which they operate. Investor demand is partly being driven by the recognition that companies that operate in a sustainable manner tend to have lower risk profiles and outperform over the long term.