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NAIROBI: December 06, 2017. According to an Assessment Report on Beijing Capital Airport, released during the third UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi this week, its overall carbon dioxide emissions were cut by almost 16 percent between 2014 and 2016.

Beijing Capital AirportChina's largest airport handled 94.39 million passengers in 2016 and has been adding roughly ten million a year since 2010, a growth rate that is comparable to the increase in Beijing's Gross Domestic Product.

"Beijing Capital International Airport (right) has shown strong commitment towards sustainability, balancing growth in air, cargo and passenger traffic with enhanced environmental performance," said Steven Stone, Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, Economy Division of UN Environment.

The airport contributes nearly 10 percent to Beijing's annual economic output and employs six percent of the city's working population directly and indirectly, making it a cornerstone of the city's growth and jobs.

"We have made some improvements in the past years, including energy and resource efficiency and pollution reduction. However, that's not enough," said Zhang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Capital International Airport Company. "This Assessment Report is just a start for us in the green airport journey."

The latest UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi brought together over 4,000 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, UN officials and civil society representatives to tackle global pollution.

BUENOS AIRES: November 20, 2017. A report from Oxford Economics says Argentina could be a "regional powerhouse" if the government invested in the country's infrastructure.

Commissioned by IATA, 2014 data shows that aviation and aviation-induced tourism contributes US$9.6 billion to Argentina's economy and supports 300,000 jobs, equivalent to 1.7 percent of the country's GDP.

IATA Argentina"Argentina's economy and people all benefit from the many contributions of aviation. Air transport supports international trade and commerce, foreign direct investment and tourism," said IATA regional vice president for the Americas Peter Cerda, speaking at an aviation meeting in Buenos Aires. "However, Argentina could be reaping far greater benefits from aviation if the right airport and air navigation infrastructure were in place and the country's taxes and charges were competitive with other countries in the region," he continued.

The Oxford Economics report determined Argentina has no direct air service to the world's 10 fastest growing countries: India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Angola and Nigeria.

Nor does it have any air links to the fastest growing cities: Surat, Ahmedabad, Ho Chi Minh City, Hà Noi, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kinshasa, Dhaka and Lagos.

This, according to the study, is due to years of underinvestment in Argentina's ground and air infrastructure that has resulted in unnecessarily long flight times, additional costs for travelers and airlines, and unneeded CO2 emissions.

"Argentina has all of the components to become a regional aviation powerhouse," said Cerda. "To start, its geography is vast, making internal air links vital. And the country has tremendous tourism potential with vibrant cities and cultural attractions, beautiful national parks and a growing economy. Argentina needs to allow aviation room to grow and deliver the many economic benefits that come from robust air connectivity."

A recent World Economic Forum survey indicated Argentina's air transport infrastructure quality ranks No.106 globally and 20 out of 23 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean for cost-competitveness.

Pictured left to right: Martin Eurnekian, president of ACI-LAC; Luis Felipe de Oliveira, executive director of ALTA; and Peter Cerdá, IATA regional vice president Americas with an MoU to improve air transport in Argentina.

SINGAPORE: November 21, 2017. Government enterprise agency IE Singapore has signed an MoU with South Korea's Gyeonggi province to collaborate in technology start-ups, wholesale distribution and logistics.

Gyeonggi, the catchment area around Seoul, is Korea's center for high-tech companies including Hyundai, Samsung and SK Group. In 2016 its GDP was S$393 billion and international trade totaled S$271 billion.

Changi SingaporeWith over 761,000 SMEs in Gyeonggi including many producing beauty, health supplements and textile products, IE Singapore says many want to expand into Southeast Asia but don't have the necessary marketing, distribution and logistics fulfillment expertise.

The MoU enables Singapore and South Korean companies to develop partnerships in their respective countries said IE Singapore Assistant CEO Tan Soon Kim: "Beyond looking at South Korea as a market, our companies could explore partnerships with their Korean counterparts to jointly access third countries by leveraging each other's strengths in areas such as technology and distribution network," he explained.

According to Wolfgang Baier, group CEO of Singapore-based Luxasia, his company sees "huge potential" in South Korean brands: "Through IE Singapore's in-market assistance and connections, we gained the first-mover advantage to partner promising Korean brands such as Clio. We hope that IE Singapore's partnership with Gyeonggi province will open more doors for us."

Luxasia provides an omnichannel for beauty distribution, retail and e-commerce on behalf of many leading brands including Beiersdorf, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Clarins and Ferragamo. The company also has joint ventures with Coty, LVMH, PUIG Group and Elizabeth Arden.

IE Singapore said it has already helped Singpost connect with Interfashion Planning, a Korean lifestyle and fashion company, as well as eCommerce business Café 24, to provide both with logistics and marketing expertise to reach consumers in Southeast Asia.

The agency said it expects the Asia Pacific eCommerce market to be worth over S$1.6 trillion by 2022.

RIYADH, Saudia Arabia: October 26, 2017. Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative this week, DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem expressed his support for plans to build a US$500 billion business and industrial zone linking Saudi Arabia with Jordan and Egypt.

DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin SulayemAccording to Saudi Crown Prince and deputy Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, the initiative will establish a new urban ecosystem stretching 21,500 sq. km. along Saudi Arabia's northwest Red Sea coast and will be as transformative to cities as the smartphone was to telephones.

Entitled 'NEOM' - an acronym derived from the Latin word for 'new' and the Arabic word 'Mostaqbal' or 'future' - the region will be powered by wind and solar energy and, according to the Crown Prince, provide many opportunities for businesses to participate, "but we will work only with the dreamers - people who want to create something new in the world," he declared.

Bin Sulayem (center of picture) said DP World's plans for Jeddah Port would support the project as 10 percent of world trade will pass through NEOM.

"As the first major investor in Jeddah Port for almost 20 years now, we are committed to supporting the Kingdom's effort to leverage its resources and investment capabilities."

He said making the port a semi-automated facility to create skilled jobs for Saudi nationals would transform it into an important gateway to markets serving 500 million people.

"Trade and infrastructure are key pillars in diversifying economies supported by technology and automation as we've seen at our Jebel Ali Port and Freezone, which together contribute to over 20 percent of Dubai's GDP. Logistics corridors are another way of making life easier for business," he added.

Jeddah Port is currently Saudi Arabia's main trade gateway, handling 59 percent of its ocean imports by volume.

Backed by more than $500 billion by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and international investors. NEOM 's contribution to the country's GDP is projected to reach US$100 billion by 2030.

WASHINGTON, DC: June 05, 2017. Ignoring Donald Trump, 1,219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, colleges and universities in the U.S. have declared they will continue to ensure America remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.

Jerry Brown and XiParticipating cities and states in a "we are still in" declaration represent 120 million Americans and contribute US$6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy. Additional endorsements from the business and investor community, with total annual revenues of US$1.4 trillion, include Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Nike, in addition to hundreds of SMEs.

In a statement they say Trump's announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change [and is] out of step with what is happening in the United States.

The signers agree the Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity and that accelerating the U.S. transition to clean energy is an opportunity - not a liability - to create jobs, spur innovation, promote trade and ensure American competitiveness.

Since Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the international accord on June 01, over 200 mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities, 13 governors have formed the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, and 17 governors have released individual statements standing by Paris.

One of them is California's Jerry Brown who has also signed an agreement with China to combat climate change following a meeting with president Xi Jinping in Beijing (right), and opening the Under2 Coalition Clean Energy Forum in Sichuan Province.

The Coalition is made up of 170 jurisdictions on six continents committed to limiting the increase in global average temperature to below two degrees Celsius. The members represent more than 1.18 billion people and US$27.5 trillion GDP - equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the global economy.

They include 10 U.S. states and eight U.S. cities that account for nearly one-third of America's population and GDP and are major contributors to the dramatic decrease in the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

"In the absence of leadership from Washington," added the "we are still in" group, "states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions."

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BONN: October 26, 2017. As the official logistics partner for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn next month, Deutsche Post DHL has shipped a traditional Fijian canoe, or drua, to serve as a symbol of resilience and unity for the expected 20,000 attendees.

Peniana Lalabalavu, deputy secretary in the Office of Fiji's prime minister and coordinator of the country's presidency for COP23 explained: "The drua connects Fijian culture and traditions with Bonn and with international climate change negotiations. It symbolizes that Fiji will be leading the world to look for solutions, and to step up climate action."

"The drua is also a symbol of how the whole world really is in the same canoe when it comes to climate change," she added.

cop23-druaDeutsche Post DHL said it is providing attendees climate neutral shipping and logistics services, helping to facilitate the conference with meeting areas, and offering exhibitions of its e-fleet and activities promoting sustainability.

"Since we are in the logistics business, we are a major player in creating greenhouse gas emissions," said Christof Ehrhart, head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability. "We are aware that we have a responsibility."

Ehrhart added that supporting Fiji was the "natural" thing to do and so arranged transport of the drua from Britain's National Maritime Museum to Bonn by truck. Fiji is already experiencing the impact of climate change including rising sea levels and stronger storms.

Speaking ahead of COP23, UN deputy secretary-general Amina Mohamed commented: "The Paris Agreement is not a chain that can be broken by a weak link, but a web of ever deepening and widening influence in terms of realizing a better, safer and more secure future for every one on Earth."

Mohamed noted that cities and regions, businesses and investors are providing crucial support and new levels of creativity to help governments "fast-forward" their climate action plans.

She cited the work of the Under2 Coalition that now includes 187 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.2 billion people and US$28.8 trillion dollars of GDP – equivalent to more than 16 per cent of the global population and 39 percent of the global economy.

The coalition originated from a partnership between California and the German state of Baden-Württemberg with the goal of ensuring the level of global warming was kept under two percent. Despite Trump Administration opposition at the federal level, 23 U.S. cities and states have already joined the coalition.

LONDON: April 27, 2017. Valuation and strategy consultant Brand Finance says British brands have lost 6.0 percent of their value since the Brexit vote last year led to the devaluation of Sterling.

In its latest index of 140 leading British brands, the company said 88 have seen a fall in value with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic dropping 7.0 percent and 15.0 percent respectively.

Brand Finance said the fall in Sterling has left British brands vulnerable to takeover, citing the recent failed bid by Kraft Foods for (Anglo-Dutch) Unilever, and the successful acquisition of chipmaker ARM by Japan's SoftBank.

Company CEO David Haigh noted: "While the impact of Brexit on the broader economy has not lived up to the doomsday scenarios, British brands are clearly vulnerable to takeover by foreign firms. Management and shareholders [should] be fully aware of both the saleable value of their brands and the value that those brands contribute to the overall business. This way, hasty sales for less than fair value that endanger British jobs might be avoided."

LHR VirginBrand Finance helped craft the ISO 10668 standard on Brand Valuation that defines a brand as "a marketing-related intangible ...creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits/value."

Publication of the new brand index coincides with a warning to politicians from Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the UK's business group CBI, that Britain and the rest of the EU business community want an agreement with as few barriers as possible, adding that without one everybody loses.

In a speech to business leaders at Cambridge University, the former alumnus declared: "We have an overwhelming shared interest in building the trading relationships which will define our shared future.

"Take a look at the numbers and you see that our long-term trading relationship is the real prize – dwarfing any potential divorce settlement: A one-off EU divorce bill of, some suggest, tens of billions of euros, compared to EU-UK trade worth well over €600 billion every year.

"This is not a zero-sum game. In today's inter-connected economy which relies on supply chains crossing borders and nations, our fates are intertwined," she continued.

Noting the forthcoming meeting of European leaders to agree a common response to Theresa May's Article 50 letter, Fairbairn said it would be good for the members of the Bundestag to know that German firms supply 60 percent of the electronics in yachts built by a firm in Norwich, or French Senators to know that small and medium-sized firms in Paris have been building robots that fix wind turbines with an engineering company in Cambridge.

"In these discussions it's vital that the economics cuts through the politics. So our message to European firms and policy makers is 'keep on talking, keep on listening'. We need to make sure politicians in all EU countries understand just how much we have all benefited," she added.

HANGZHOU, China: September 06, 2017. The Alibaba Group has signed an MoU with Mexico to provide the country's SMEs with global e-commerce, digital payments and logistics services.

Mexico Alibaba MoUAlibaba said it would share best practices in the operation of its logistics and payment platforms to improve cross-border e-commerce operations and also provide training in consumer analytics and product innovation.

(Pictured left to right: Mexico's undersecretary of Industry and Commerce José Rogelio Garza; Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto; Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma; and Alibaba president Mike Evans.)

"Alibaba is one of the world´s largest technology companies with a sophisticated e-commerce ecosystem and a remarkable reach of more than 500 million active annual consumers globally," Nieto said in a statement. "By partnering with Alibaba, we can expand Mexico's export options in China and Asia more broadly, while enhancing Mexican SMEs' knowledge of e-commerce and cross-border trade."

In March this year Alibaba signed a similar MoU with Malaysia to encourage a more inclusive global economy; in May it did the same with Argentina to expand food and wine exports to China; and in 2014 with Brazil and its national postal service Correios.

"Alibaba is committed to inspiring, motivating and enabling SMEs from around the world to grow and thrive through e-commerce and the use of technology," Ma said. "We are delighted to help promote cross-border trade with Mexico through this MOU. We view our cooperation as a way to energize economic development in both countries."

China is Mexico's second-largest trading partner globally, and Mexico is China's second-largest trading partner in the Americas. Mexican exports from agricultural products to packaged food and tourism packages are already sold on Alibaba's e-commerce platforms.

LUXEMBOURG: April 22, 2017. The European Union's non-profit European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €150 million loan agreement with Dutch bank ABN Amro to reduce the carbon footprint of marine vessels through the use of clean fuel technology.

The deal is underwritten by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a central pillar of the Juncker Commission's 'Investment Plan for Europe', that has already approved €183 billion for potential project financing in support of over 425,000 SMEs across 28 Member States.

umingThe new guarantee agreement ensures that sustainable projects in maritime transport can benefit from the EIB's AAA rating for both retrofitting existing shipping as well as newbuilds, and applies to both inland and ocean operators said the EIB.

"The Bank received a clear signal from the market that there was a financing gap for the greening of shipping fleets," said EIB vice-president Pim van Ballekom. "By allowing the EIB to take more risk, the Investment Plan for Europe enabled us to create a new instrument

"This is the second agreement under a €750 million EFSI green shipping program which was set up after numerous discussions with Dutch counterparts from the public and private sector. We are really looking to ship owners to make use of it so that we can implement it in other countries as well," he continued.

Daphne de Kluis, Commercial Clients CEO for ABN AMRO added: "We are very happy we can support the Juncker plan through this initiative. The EIB facility is an extra stimulus for ABN AMRO shipping clients to look for sustainable solutions. It fits perfectly with our other efforts to promote sustainable solutions in this important sector."

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Financing the transition to more sustainable transport systems and networks requires a commitment to invest. Today's agreement demonstrates that the Investment Plan can play an important role in mobilizing private finance to support this transition."

Owned by the Member States, last year the EIB provided €12.5 billion in long-term finance for EU transport projects.

LONDON: August 28, 2017. The British government is offering £22 million to develop low carbon waste-based fuels to power commercial aircraft and trucks.

The government's Department of Transport says it has already had interest from 70 groups bidding for the funding.

Green-Sky-LondonIn April 2014 British Airways and Solena Fuels announced they would develop the world's first facility to convert landfill waste into jet fuel on a former oil refinery site in Thurrock, Essex (pictured).

The goal was to take 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning aviation fuel using Solena technology. BA made a long-term commitment to purchase 50,000 tonnes per annum of the new product.

Speaking at the launch of the project IAG Group CEO Willie Walsh said: "We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry. The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road."

Two years later the two companies abandoned the £340 million 'Green Sky' project citing lack of UK government support. Solena filed for bankruptcy in late 2015.

The latest government plan now claims low carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could add £600 million a year to the British economy by 2030 and support "up to 9,800 new jobs".

UK Transport minister Jesse Norman commented: "We are making funding available to innovative businesses which will lead the way in developing alternative fuels that are efficient, sustainable and clean.

"We want every new car and van in the UK to be zero emission by 2040, but we know lorries and aeroplanes will rely on more traditional fuels for years to come so we must promote environmentally friendly alternatives," he declared.

The government says its latest low-carbon competition is part of a "modern industrial strategy".

KUALA LUMPUR: March 23, 2017. Alibaba is to partner with the state-run Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to host what company executive chairman Jack Ma describes as an Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP).

His idea is to create digital free-trade zones in various parts of the world to provide SMEs with lower barriers of entry into new eCommerce markets, via simple regulations and access to financing.

Malaysia airlinesIn 2016 the eWTP was included in the official communiqué of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered: "I laid out the vision for eWTP last year, and we, as a company, have taken on the responsibility to make this a reality," Ma said. "The first e-hub under the eWTP outside of China will go a long way towards making global trade more inclusive and provide much needed support to a hugely important constituent: SMEs and the younger generation."

Alibaba says Malaysia had been looking for ways to position itself as a fulfillment and logistics center, expand its Internet economy and attract foreign investment. This led to the agreement last October between Ma and the country's prime minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak to set up the e-hub.

"Alibaba Group is at the forefront of private-sector development of e-commerce solutions, and their ambitions to enable trade, particularly for SMEs, make them the perfect partner in this new initiative," Najib said. "This is an exciting development for the country, and to be an early participant in eWTP will provide a plethora of opportunities for Malaysian organizations."

In addition to Alibaba and its Cainiao Network, e-hub partners will include Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAH), Ant Financial and the Malaysian banks CIMB and Maybank. The group will provide Customs clearance and warehousing via a fulfillment hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport; an online cross-border trading platform link with the original eWTP in Hangzhou; e-payments and financing for BtB trade; and training programs for startups.

Alibaba and Malaysia expect to extend their partnership to include logistics, cloud computing and online finance with Cainiao working with MAH to set up an e-commerce and logistics hub at Kuala Lumpur airport.

"With innovation throughout the supply chain, support from governments and important private sector collaborations, we will achieve our aim of enabling SMEs and young people to thrive and enjoy in the fruits of the next phase of globalization," Ma declared.

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