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Strike Aviation Group

 

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BERLIN: January 27, 2016. Following an Oxfam report released at the World Economic Forum claiming 80 people are worth US$1.9 trillion - equaling the wealth of the planet’s poorest 3.5 billion inhabitants – the latest Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International (TI) says Denmark again tops the list while Brazil has seen the greatest decline.

Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries on TI's 2015 index scored below 50, with 0 perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 viewed as very clean. Brazil dropped seven positions to 76th place because of the unfolding Petrobras scandal that caused widespread protest in 2015.

IndonesiaTI says public sector corruption is not just about missing taxpayer money but also about broken institutions and corrupt officials that fuel inequality and exploitation – thereby “keeping wealth in the hands of an elite few and trapping many more in poverty”. According to the watchdog, more than six billion people live in a country with a serious corruption problem.

TI says the countries that saw a rise in corruption and a corresponding drop in the index in the past four years include Libya, Australia, Brazil, Spain and Turkey - while those that have seen a marked improvement include Greece (58th place), Senegal (61st) and the UK (10th).

“The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption,” declared José Ugaz, chairman of TI.

In Indonesia TI demonstrated against a Regional Elections Bill which called for direct elections to become indirect ones. Protesters (right) wore face masks depicting politicians who were supporting the Bill.

With news that Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak will not be prosecuted for corruption, according to the country’s attorney general, following a reported gift of US$681 million from Saudi Arabia, the TI report comments: “If there was one common challenge to unite the Asia Pacific region, it would be corruption. From campaign pledges to media coverage to civil society forums, corruption dominates discussion. Yet despite all this talk, there’s little sign of action.

“The Malaysian prime minister’s inability to answer questions on the [money] that made its way into his personal bank account is only the tip of the iceberg,” it adds. Malaysia took 54th place on the latest TI index with a score of 50 points. Saudi Arabia was six points higher at No.48 with 52 points.

TI says top-of-the-index performers share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor and are truly independent from other parts of government.

WASHINGTON, DC: January 06, 2016. The World Bank is forecasting a rise in global GDP from 2.4 percent in 2015 to 2.9 percent this year as advanced economies gain speed to offset weak growth among major emerging markets.

Spice Jet ADeveloping economies are forecast to expand by 4.8 percent in 2016 - less than expected earlier but up from a post-crisis low of 4.3 percent in the year just ended. Growth is projected to slow further in China, while Russia and Brazil are expected to remain in recession in 2016, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report.

The bank says South Asia, led by India, is projected to be a bright spot this year with growth rising to 7.3 percent from 7.0 in 2015. The region is a net importer of oil and will benefit from lower global energy prices.

The report notes the recently negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “could provide a welcome boost to trade” - a view echoed by the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which has declared its support for the TPP: “Open markets encourage cooperation and prosperity among nations and governments, rather than conflict,” said NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons.

“We recognize this agreement is not perfect, and there are some principled objections to the TPP, so the NAM will continue to work closely with its members to address remaining barriers, to raise standards, to promote the rule of law and to further level the playing field for all. Ultimately, the TPP is a significant improvement over the status quo—for manufacturers and for the broader economy,” added Timmons.

NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the U.S., representing a sector that employs more than 14 million people, contributes US$2.09 trillion to the country's GDP, and accounts for more than 75 percent of private-sector research and development.

BEIJING: January 05, 2016. China’s state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has approved a proposed no-cost acquisition of Sinotrans and CSC Holdings by China Merchants Group.

China Merchants, controlled by SASAC with a capitalization of ¥13.75 billion, opSinotrans 1erates in three business areas: transportation (ports and related services, toll roads, energy shipping and logistics); finance (banking, securities, funds, insurance); and property development.

SASAC said the Sinotrans acquisition by China Merchants is designed to establish a leading global operator in logistics, energy and bulk shipping, property development, ports and marine and offshore engineering.

The move coincides with an announcement by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) of the launch of China Insurance Investment, supported by 45 insurance companies and capital of ¥1.2 billion.

CIRC said the aim of the new company is to encourage a strategy of using state-owned logistics facilities to import energy.

CIRC noted an initial ¥40 billion would be used to finance port acquisitions and construction in Sri Lanka, Turkey and Djibouti by China Merchants, and the building of liquefied natural gas vessels for the US$27 billion Yamal LNG project in Russia - a joint venture between Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and the China National Petroleum Corporation.

PARIS: December 16, 2015. Following last week's adoption by representatives from 195 countries of a proposed agreement on CO2 reduction, the French government has launched L'Appel de Paris, (the Paris Pledge for Action), to maintain support.

So far 400 businesses, 120 investors controlling US$11 trillion in assets, plus 150 cities and regions worldwide have signed up to implement the agreement – should it be ratified at the UN next year.

The signatories include companies such as Acciona, Allianz, Mars, Kellogg's, Tata Group and Unilever; Lloyd's and Aviva from the world of insurance; the cities of New York, Johannesburg, Quezon City, Hong Kong, Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City; and regions such as thEK  S-Ge Cross River State in Nigeria, Scotland, Chiapas, Mexico and California.

Look who has signed up so far: http://www.parispledgeforaction.org/whos-joined/?filter=-1

Despite being significant CO2 emitters, there's no sign of Air France-KLM, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Lufthansa or any other airline on the list; nor Maersk, CMA-CGM, Hapag-Lloyd or any other ocean carrier.

Launching L'Appel de Paris, the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, president of COP 21 declared: "Non-state actor leadership is key to the success of COP21 and to the effective transition to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future. The world needs you to step up and rise to the challenges of climate change and sustainable development. This is why I strongly encourage you to take bold actions and make ambitious commitments, both individually and collectively... to make sure the commitments made in Paris by governments are achieved or even exceeded."

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change added: "COP21 was a landmark, and not just for the Paris Agreement by governments. The extraordinary momentum witnessed before and during the UN conference by cities, provinces, regions, companies and citizens was also a hallmark.

"The Paris Pledge for Action is about taking that momentum to the next level in support of nations as they work towards raising ambition up to 2020 and well beyond—it is about building ever more support by non-state actors who are aligning with government policy as never before," she added.

L'Appel de Paris is managed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. You, and any airline, can join the Pledge here: www.ParisPledgeForAction.org/sign

 

LUXEMBOURG: December 03, 2015. Eight multilateral development banks have pledged US$175 billion by 2022 to mitigate transport emissions. The sector accounts for about 60 percent of global oil consumption, 27 percent of all energy use, and 23 percent of world energy-related CO2 emissions.

In a joint statement the banks say they will provide more money for climate change adaption; increase their focus on low-carbon transport solutions; and develop a systematic approach to mainstream climate resilience in transport policies, plans and investments.

Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank noted: "We believe that climate change is a defining challenge of our time. Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize warming at 2 degrees Celsius will fall short if they do not include the transport sector."

The eight banks are the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank.

AC 787 runwayAccording to Enrique Garcia, president and CEO of CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, the region's engagement is critical given the high rate of motorization: "Latin America is suffering the most challenging impacts of climate effects; today not 2050 or 2100. Our countries, emerging economies, carry greater challenges and responsibility into building faster solutions [as we become] a larger player in emissions."

Laura Tuck, World Bank vice president for Sustainable Development added: "Transport must be a significant piece of the climate solution. We have the opportunity to transform transportation services so they are low-carbon and resilient to climate impacts. Now is the time to turn our commitments into action and we stand ready to work with countries as they develop low carbon and climate-resilient transport activities."

In a related move Boeing, Canada's University of British Columbia (UBC) and SkyNRG want to turn leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel.

The consortium, which also includes Air Canada, WestJet and Bombardier, will assess whether forest waste could also be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel using thermochemical processing.

A study by UBC has discovered that biofuel made from forest waste could meet 10 percent - about 46 million gallons - of British Columbia's annual jet fuel demand and save about one million tons of CO2 emissions per year.

SkyNRG, based in the Netherlands, has supplied biofuel to more than 20 carriers worldwide. Boeing has active biofuel projects in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, Middle East, South Africa and Southeast Asia.

Julie Felgar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes managing director of Environmental Strategy & Integration, commented: "Canada is in a terrific position to leverage its sustainable forests to make environmental progress for its aviation industry and other transport sectors."

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using sustainably produced biofuel reduces lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to conventional petroleum fuel.

PARIS: December 15, 2015. L'Autorité de la concurrence, France's Competition Authority (FCA) has fined 20 logistics companies and their trade association, L'Union des Entreprises de Transport et de Logistique de France (TLF), a total of €672 million for alleged price fixing between September 2004 and 2010.

Express finesIn announcing its decision, the FCA claimed the companies met regularly at the TLF to agree prices they would charge their customers: "The discussions were secret and were not subject to any official record," it said, adding that "instead of playing its role of vigilance in compliance with competition rules, [the TLF was] actively involved in the organization of illicit trade and the protection of confidentiality."

The companies fined by the FCA are: Alloin, BMVirolle, Chronopost, Exapaq (now France DPD) Ciblex Dachser France, DHL Express France, FedEx Express France, Gefco, Geodis, GLS France, Heppner, Lambert and Valletta XP France, Norbert Dentressangle Distribution, Normatrans, Jewel-Schenker, TNT Express France, Transport Henri Ducros and Ziegler France.

Geodis topped the list of fines at over €196 million followed by Chronopost with €99 million and DHL Express France at €81 million.

In calculating penalties, the FCA said it had taken into account behavior duration, severity and the damage caused to the French economy - particularly SMEs which it said were the main "victims" of the alleged price fixing.

The TLF responded saying the fines, 10 years after the fact, were "particularly heavy" and didn't reflect the possible damage done to the market. It added that because of declining prices and revenue over the past 15 years, bankruptcies in the logistics sector have multiplied with more than 15,000 jobs lost.

Noting that large companies will be able to survive the fines and the two unnamed whistleblowers will gain a competitive advantage, the TLF concluded "SME's will come out very weakened [and] penalties imposed today will further exacerbate the structural crisis facing the industry."

In a statement, TNT said it had been ordered to pay €58 million for "alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the French parcel delivery sector". The company, which is due to merge with FedEx Corp. next year, said the case relates to activities that took place before 2010 and it had cooperated with the FCA to reach a settlement during the third quarter of 2014. TNT added it would review the merits of today's decision.

Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) has also responded to the FCA fine of the Alloin Group, a groupage operation it acquired in 2009. K+N said €31 million of the €32 million penalty (see table) is attributable to the period before it purchased Alloin: "Kuehne + Nagel dissociates itself from such business practises, has a comprehensive compliance programme in place, which is continuously improving, and has been cooperating with the French Competition Authority since 2010," it declared. The company added it is considering an appeal and possible action against the Alloin family, the previous owners.

BRUSSELS: December 02, 2015. The European Commission (EC) has published its revised proposals to encourage EU Member States to adopt a circular economy which it claims will save companies €600 billion, create 580,000 jobs, and reduce carbon emissions by 450 million tonnes a year.

The proposals cover the 'cradle-to-cradle' lifecycle from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The goal is to extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste.

The EC said it will make €6.15 billion available in new funding in order to halve food waste by 2030; develop quality standards for secondary raw materials; promote standards for reparability, durability and recyclability of products, in addition to energy efficiency; revise the regulation on fertilizers to recognize organic and waste-based material; launch a plastics strategy to address issues of recyclability, biodegradability and the presence of hazardous substances; significantly reduce marine litter; and propose the minimum requirement for the reuse of wastewater.

Frans Timmermans on the left and Jyrki Katainen"These proposals give a positive signal to those waiting to invest in the circular economy. Today we are saying that Europe is the best place to grow a sustainable and environmentally-friendly business," declared EC vice president Jyrki Katainen, the commissioner responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.

"This transition towards a more circular economy is about reshaping the market economy and improving our competitiveness. If we can be more resource efficient and reduce our dependency on scarce raw materials, we can develop a competitive edge. The job creation potential of the circular economy is huge, and the demand for better, more efficient products and services is booming," he added.

The EC said it wants a common EU target to recycle 65 percent of all municipal waste and 75 percent of all packaging waste by 2030; and a binding landfill maximum of 10 percent of all waste by 2030.

In making the announcement, Katainen and Commission first vice president responsible for sustainable development Frans Timmermans (left of picture), called on the European Parliament to prioritize adoption and implementation of today's legislative proposals.

Earlier this year a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, produced in conjunction with McKinsey and the Endowment Fund for Environmental Economics and Sustainability (SUN), suggested Europe could create an annual net benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030 if it applies circular economy principles.

The study provides new evidence that a circular economy, enabled by the technology revolution, would allow Europe to grow resource productivity by 3.0 percent annually and generate as much as €0.6 trillion per year by 2030. In addition circularity would produce €1.2 trillion in non-resource and externality gains, bringing total annual benefits to €1.8 trillion.

PARIS: December 12, 2015. At the end of what could prove to be an historic UN climate meeting, representatives from nearly 200 countries have agreed to hold the increase in global average temperatures "to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C".

Assuming government leaders adopt the draft proposal, they will have from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017 to sign and ratify the legally binding agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

However the 29-article agreement will only be applicable in international law if there are at least 55 signatories accounting for at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

COP 21 plenaryAnd even if a country does sign the document, under Article 28 it has three years to make up its mind whether to withdraw from it and, if so, a further year before such a withdrawal takes effect.

The UN climate meeting in Paris was country rather than sector specific and therefore air and sea transport emission reduction remains the responsibility of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively.

Acknowledging this, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched a new partnership with Nestle, Scania and UPS to tackle emissions from road freight transport under its Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative.

According to the WBCSD, the world's transport sector produced 7.0 billion tonnes of CO2e of direct GHG emissions in 2010 – or approximately 23 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions.

In 2013, air transport produced 12 percent of all transport-sourced emissions and in 2012 international maritime shipping accounted for approximately 2.1 percent - with box ships producing 25 percent of that total.

With road freight producing 74 percent of the transport total in 2013, the WBCSD says it is one of the fastest growing sectors - particularly in emerging and developing economies.

The organization's new initiative aims to demonstrate the potential of road freight collaboration to help meet a 48 percent reduction in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.

The solutions being proposed includes improving the accessibility of cutting edge fleet optimization tools to small and medium sized enterprises, co-optimizing multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and sharing distribution centers and truck assets.

PARIS: December 01, 2015. Government leaders from France, Chile, Ethiopia, Germany, Mexico and Canada plus the heads of the World Bank and IMF, have called on companies and countries to put a price on carbon.

President François Hollande of France said his country had already moved in this direction with a price of €22 per tonne next year and a projected €100 by 2030. "Very quickly, a company consuming less CO2 should gain a decisive competitive advantage," he said.

ship recyclingAhead of the Paris climate talks, more than 90 developed and developing countries, including the European Union, announced plans to use international, regional, or domestic carbon pricing schemes to provide an incentive for businesses and investors to reduce their exposure to carbon, while accelerating investments in clean energy, clean transport and clean technologies.

Earlier, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) had called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) "to act urgently in establishing the timely and progressive frameworks required that will deliver a carbon strategy which enables shipping to confidently and effectively play its part in achieving the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) global CO2 reduction targets".

The SSI said current IMO goals would not meet the UNFCCC target according to research by University College, London.

Alastair Fischbacher, CEO of the SSI said: "The challenge faced by the industry on CO2 is clear. It would be unacceptable for shipping to increase its share of global emissions and not play its part in the global reduction. Importantly, the longer the delay in implementing reductions, the further behind we fall and the harder it will become. It is crucial that there are progressive targets and timeframes set now for the industry to work towards, where it contributes fully to reducing global CO2 emissions".

The SSI members, who include ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel, American Bureau of Shipping, Bunge, Cargill, Carnival Corporation, China Navigation Company, Gearbulk, IMC, Lloyd's Register, Maersk Line, Namura Shipbuilding, Unilever, U-Ming Marine Transport Corporation and Wärtsilä, want the global shipping industry to recognize climate change as a business risk and act accordingly: "It is not commercially, environmentally or socially sustainable for the industry to continue on a business as usual carbon emissions pathway," they declared.

BRUSSELS: December 07, 2015. The European Commission (EC) says the main challenge to the growth of European aviation is the fragmentation of its airspace that costs "at least" €5 billion a year and produces up to 50 million tonnes of CO2; and capacity constraints at EU airports that could cost up to 818,000 jobs by 2035.

In publishing its new aviation strategy the EC says it notes the importance of completing the Single European Sky project, optimizing the use of its busiest airports, and monitoring intra-EU and extra-EU connectivity to identify shortcomings.

The plan coincides with an announcement by Britain's Conservative government to delay any decision until mid-2016 on building a third runway at Heathrow until completion of another environmental impact study.

AN225 LeipzigThis provoked the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce John Longworth to describe the move as "gutless" before adding: "Business will question whether ministers are delaying critical upgrades to our national infrastructure for legitimate reasons, or to satisfy short-term political interests.

"Businesses across Britain will be asking whether there is any point in setting up an Airports Commission – or the recently-announced National Infrastructure Commission – if political considerations are always going to trump big decisions in the national interest."

The EC says it has earmarked €430 million a year until 2020 to implement a single air traffic management system in Europe – a goal older than the European Union itself due to a lack of political will as EU commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc noted: "European aviation is facing a number of challenges."

According to the new aviation policy, innovation and digitalization would act as a catalyst for a sector that employs almost two million people and contributes €110 billion to Europe's economy. Apparently one solution would be to "unleash the full potential of drones".

Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) said his association doesn't believe the EC's plan will increase the long-term competitiveness of the industry: "Many of the strategy's action points lack substance and will not tackle some of the underlying weaknesses of the industry. For example, the imminent lack of hub airport capacity in Europe threatens ERA's members' access to Europe's largest airports and risks a loss of connectivity to Europe's regions."

BCC's Longworth echoed this view, saying: "Expansion at other (UK) airports is needed too. Ministers need to stop prevaricating and get on with doing what the country sorely needs."

LONDON: November 16, 2015. A new study of business leaders, governments, academia and civil society actors from 69 countries says 92 percent of respondents think this month's UN climate summit in Paris will result in agreement, although reaching a 2C emissions ceiling is considered "virtually non-existent".

The Sustainability/Climate Group/Globescan survey predicts corporations will be key to the success of climate change action after the summit ends in December, although only 32 percent of respondents believe any agreement will have binding powers.

apple singaporeOver 600 experts were asked which companies are leaders in climate change with Unilever seen as having made the largest contribution to advancing solutions to climate change in the last five years.

Some 82 percent of the respondents think removing fossil fuel subsidies is the most effective economic instrument to contain global warming.

Eighty-six percent of experts say the private sector will play an "important" or "very important" role, and 90 percent believe the same to be true for national governments.

Eric Whan, Sustainability director at GlobeScan said the U.N. membership is not expected to deliver a result that scientists say is needed: "Meanwhile, expectations are high that solutions will flow from the private sector almost as much as from national governments post-Paris, whatever the outcome."

Aiste Brackley, research manager at SustainAbility noted: "The landscape of corporate leadership is dominated by technology and consumer companies that have been at the forefront of investing in renewable energy and low carbon solutions – and being vocal about their initiatives on the global stage."

Greenpeace added that Apple will power its data center, offices and upcoming store in Singapore with 100 percent solar energy beginning in 2016. Singapore is a rapidly growing hub for data centers, making Apple's solar deal an important breakthrough for the whole of Southeast Asia, said the activist.

CSAFE Global

 

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