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What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

CSR as defined by UNIDO is:

A management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives (“Triple-Bottom-Line- Approach”), while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders.

Responsible Companies in the age of globalization

How a company perceives its societal responsibility depends on various factors such as the markets in which it operates, its business line and its size.

In recent years CSR has become a fundamental business practice and has gained much attention from the management of large international companies. They understand that a strong CSR program is an essential element in achieving good business practices and effective leadership. Companies have explored that their impact on the economic, social and environmental sector directly affects their relationships with investors, employees and customers.

Photo taken from: www.opal-rt.com

De La Rue, for instance, is a UK-based commercial banknote printer and security paper maker with over 200 years of history. They understand CSR well and are reporting their performance since 2011. You can visit their website for additional information at: http://www.delarue.com/corporate-responsibility.aspx

Sources:

http://www.unido.org/en/what-we-do/trade/csr/what-is-csr.html

http://en.reset.org/knowledge/corporate-social-responsibility-csr-%E2%80…

http://www.delarue.com

www.totalcustomer.org (Main photo)

Further Reading:

http://www.mallenbaker.net/csr/definition.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_social_responsibility

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4679-corporate-social-responsibility.html

Future sustainability scenarios for universities: moving beyond the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Writer(s): 

Ali Beynaghi, Gregory Trencher, Fathollah Moztarzadeh, Masoud Mozafari, Reza Maknoon, Walter Leal Filho

Language:

English 

 Location: 

Journal of Cleaner Production

Detailed Report and “Final Statement” on Water Resources Policymakers’ Sustainable Productivity and Governance of Water Resources

Water Resources Policy Makers Conference on “Sustainable Productivity and Governance of Water Resources” was held on January 25, 2014 at Amir Kabir University of Technology at the Ministry of Energy Conference Center.

Hamshahri online:

We need to recognize the drought and remove it from the list of crisis headquarters and unexpected events,” said the head of the country’s Environmental Protection Agency. According to IRNA, Masoumeh ebtekar at the first Water Resources Policy Makers Conference held at the Ministry of Energy’s Conference on Sustainable Water Resources Productivity and Governance said: Forecasts of global scientific centers indicate a continuing drought and drought in various parts of the world, especially the Middle East. she said that drought should be considered as a reality in all macro and strategic plans of the country, stating that this is a situation for those countries that are thinking about good governance and essential role in the future development and environment of their country. Great alert. The low-carbon economy is under development.

He said global warming is another warning, saying global warming is projected to rise by one degree, and that all countries are required to come up with strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in our country a low-carbon economy is at hand. Editing. The initiative emphasized the need to formulate and implement solutions to tackle the effects of global warming, she added: “We have dealt with less in the scientific foundations and executive and strategic policies while one of the principles of strategic management is defining the vision and planning for the future.” she said that the ground should be prepared for the people not to worry about the future, stating: In the eleventh government there is a view that while dealing with immediate crises, we cannot neglect the strategic perspective of the future.

Referring to the existence of a water crisis in a large part of the country, Initiative said: Coping with the water crisis in the country requires a shift in attitude towards water management and holding such conferences will help this intellectual revolution and formulate executive policies. she announced the drafting of the Wetlands Bill in the Eleventh Government and said: “Fortunately, in addition to the critical view of water and the environment, the Council of Ministers has received special support from these sectors, and is working to modify the implementation policy by formulating the Wetlands Bill.” One-way water transfer designs help preserve wetlands. she described the right of nature to provide natural services to supply water to the agricultural, industrial and drinking sectors, adding that this right should be considered sustainable so that nature can continue its services. The Vice President emphasized the need to protect the wetlands of the country and said that with the positive view of the government next year, a good credit line will be allocated to the wetlands of Hamoun, Bakhtegan, Parishan and especially Urmia Lake, which reflects the government’s special focus on water and environment. Is life. The initiative emphasized that we must move the evolution of the water sector to all levels of economic and decision-making in the country, she said. “We must start from the beginning of science and keep this evolution in policies and programs, because this is a cycle. Is interconnected. He described environmental assessment as the main strategy for development adaptation to the environment and continued: “The bill is on the government’s agenda and has been passed in its entirety.” The first national conference of water resource policymakers on “Sustainability and Sustainable Governance of Water Resources” was today (Thursday) attended by Minister of Energy Hamid Chitchian, President’s Cultural Adviser Hassamuddin Ashna, Masoumeh Initiative Chief of Environmental Protection, Mahmoud Hojati Minister of Agriculture Jihad, Morteza Shahidzadeh, Managing Director of Agricultural Bank and Sayyid Ahmad Motamedi, President of Amirkabir University of Technology, held a conference at the Ministry of Energy. The conference aims to work together to resolve the water crisis to identify challenges in the country’s water resources and to provide practical solutions for use in the Sixth Development Plan, with the support of the Amir Kabir University of Technology and Sustainable Development Research Center, in collaboration with the Ministry. Energy, Ministry of Agriculture Jihad, Environmental Protection Agency, Tehran Municipality, Agricultural Bank and Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Tehran and Iran have been arranged. Water resources management, economic aspects of water, social aspects of water, environmental aspects of water, institutional, legal and structural aspects of water, and aspects of culture, education and information are key drivers of this thinking.

The full report of the conference and its closing statement are available from the link below.

گزارش تفصیلی و بیانیه نهایی

Attachment:

  • Water Governance Meeting.pdf

Last News On Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

You could find the link and news in this page, it will be updated by time.

– Check out a Global Webinar from Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN) with Professor Jeffrey Sachs and Siamak S Loni on the topic of Youth and Sustainable Development.

 

–  Check out this amazing TEDTalk: Michael Green: How we can make the world a better place by 2030

 

– Check out this amazing TEDTalk: Mary Robinson: Why climate change is a threat to human rights

– Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals

– Click on goals to show targets and topics related to the Sustainable Development Goals as defined in Transforming Our World – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Replacement of biodegradable packages instead plastic packages in Amirkabir University of technology’s dining room

Have you ever thought how your role in environmental protection? Think about how much food packaging you throw out every day?!
Plastics play an important role in almost every aspect of our lives. The largest amount of plastics is found in containers and packaging that we use them just for once, in the meantime polystyrene foam packaging is a proven hazard to the environment in several ways.
Plastic products persist in the environment long after use, creating one such hazard. The widespread use of plastic within households make congestion a larger problem for landfills everywhere. one of the principles of waste management is reducing the production of waste at source. Waste management refers in part to diverting post-consumer waste from landfills, but it also refers to practices that prevent or minimize the use of certain materials in the first place. Several biodegradable alternatives have been created to reduce and eventually replace plastic waste. Biodegradable packaging plays an important role in the packaging industry due to the ever increasing consumer awareness and importance of using eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging materials instead of conventional non-biodegradable ones.
AUT office of sustainability with Amirkabir University Authorities cooperation in order to solve this problem decided to remove the polystyrene packaging from the waste stream generated in Amirkabir University’s dining room. For this purpose, sustainable waste management committee want to implement alternative plan of the containers for one month in dining room to be established in the event of acceptance by students.

Armed Conflict Versus Global Sustainable Development as Functions of Social Change

Language:

English

Writer(s): 

Marta Botta, Aliasghar Abbasi

Location: 

Journal of Futures Studies

Date: 

June 2015

Abstract:

This paper offers a futures analysis of armed conflicts and its detrimental impact on the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It draws on macro history to contextualize war along its socio-political and psychological drivers and explores alternative options for conflict resolution. The macro history perspective offers an alternative view of armed conflict, as a vehicle of social change, due to its disruptive action on stagnating social conditions. War, as a feature of the dominator society, is a barrier to sustainable development.

Attachment:

  • JFS19-4-Article4.pdf

(Future of Food: In Vitro Meat (Meat without Livestock

In vitro meat, also called victimless meat, cultured meat, tube steak, cruelty-free meat, shmeat, and test-tube meat, is an animal-flesh product that has never been part of a living animal with exception of the fetal calf serum taken from a slaughtered cow.

Photo taken from: TheGuardian.com (Meat Grew in Lab)

In the 21st century, several research projects have worked on in vitro meat in the laboratory.[1] The first in vitro beef burger, created by a Dutch team, was eaten at a demonstration for the press in London in August 2013.[2]
There remain difficulties to be overcome before in vitro meat becomes commercially available.[3] Cultured meat is prohibitively expensive, but it is expected that the cost could be reduced to compete with that of conventionally obtained meat as technology improves.

Differences from conventional meat

Health
Large scale production of in vitro meat may or may not require artificial growth hormones to be added to the culture for meat production.[30][37]
Researchers have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids could be added to in vitro meat as a health bonus.[8] In a similar way, the omega-3 fatty acid content of conventional meat can also be increased by altering what the animals are fed.[38] An issue of Time magazine has suggested that the in vitro process may also decrease exposure of the meat to bacteria and disease.[1]
Due to the strictly controlled and predictable environments of both in vitro meat farming and vertical farming, it is predicted that there will be reduced exposure to dangerous chemicals like pesticides and fungicides, severe injuries, and wildlife.[39]

Artificiality
Although in vitro meat consists of natural meat cells, consumers may find such a high-tech approach to food production distasteful. In vitro meat has been disparagingly described as ‘Frankenmeat’, reflecting a sentiment that it is unnatural and therefore wrong.[40]
If in vitro meat turns out to be different in appearance, taste, smell, texture, or other factors, it may not be commercially competitive with conventionally produced meat. The lack of fat and bone may also be a disadvantage, for these parts make appreciable culinary contributions. However, the lack of bones and/or fat may make many traditional meats like Buffalo wings more palatable to small children.[41] Colorful in vitro meatball products specially tailored to their dietary needs could allow children to get accustomed to eating in vitro meat.[42]

Environmental
Research has shown that environmental impacts of cultured meat are significantly lower than normally slaughtered beef.[43] For every hectare that is used for vertical farming and/or in vitro meat manufacturing, anywhere between 10 and 20 hectares of land may be converted from conventional agriculture usage back into its natural state.[44] Vertical farms (in addition to in vitro meat facilities) could exploit methane digesters to generate a small portion of its own electrical needs. Methane digesters could be built on site to transform the organic waste generated at the facility into biogas which is generally composed of 65% methane along with other gasses. This biogas could then be burned to generate electricity for the greenhouse or a series of bioreactors.[45]
A study by researchers at Oxford and the University of Amsterdam found that in vitro meat was “potentially … much more efficient and environmentally-friendly”, generating only 4% greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the energy needs of meat generation by up to 45%, and requiring only 2% of the land that the global meat/livestock industry does.[46][47] The patent holder Willem van Eelen,[12] the journalist Brendan I. Koerner,[48] and Hanna Tuomisto, a PhD student from Oxford University all believe it has less environmental impact.[49] This is in contrast to cattle farming, “responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases”[50] and causing more damage to the environment than the combined effects of the world’s transportation system. Vertical farming may completely eliminate the need to create extra farmland in rural areas along with in vitro meat.[51] Their combined role may create a sustainable solution for a cleaner environment.[51]
One skeptic is Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who speculates that the energy and fossil fuel requirements of large scale in vitro meat production may be more environmentally destructive than producing food off the land.[15] However, it has been indicated that both vertical farming in urban areas and the activity of in vitro meat facilities will cause very little harm to the species of wildlife that live around the facilities.[52] Many natural resources will be spared from depletion due to the conservation efforts made by both vertical farming and in vitro meat, making them ideal technologies for an overpopulated world.[53] Conventional farming, on the other hand, kills ten wildlife animals per hectare each year.[52] Converting 4 hectares (10 acres) of farmland from its man-made condition back into either pristine wilderness or grasslands would save approximately 40 animals while converting 1 hectare (2 acres) of that same farmland back into the state it was in prior to settlement by human beings would save approximately 80 animals.

The role of genetic modification

Techniques of genetic engineering, such as insertion, deletion, silencing, activation, or mutation of a gene, are not required to produce in-vitro meat. Furthermore, in-vitro meat is composed of a tissue or collection of tissues, not an organism. Therefore, it is not a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). Since in-vitro meat is simply cells grown in a controlled, artificial environment, some have commented that cultured meat more closely resembles hydroponic vegetables, rather than GMO vegetables.[54]
More research is being done on in-vitro meat, and although the production of in-vitro meat does not require techniques of genetic engineering, there is discussion among researchers about utilizing such techniques to improve the quality and sustainability of in-vitro meat. Fortifying in-vitro meat with nutrients such as beneficial fatty acids is one improvement that can be facilitated through genetic modification. The same improvement can be made without genetic modification, by manipulating the conditions of the culture medium.[55] Genetic modification may also play a role in the proliferation of muscle cells. The introduction of myogenic regulatory factors, growth factors, or other gene products into muscle cells may increase production past the capacity of conventional meat.[55]
To avoid the use of any animal products, the use of photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria has been proposed to produce the main ingredients for the culture media, as opposed to the very commonly used fetal bovine or horse serum.[56] Some researchers suggest that the ability of algae and cyanobacteria to produce ingredients for culture media can be improved with certain technologies, most likely not excluding genetic engineering.[57]

Ethical considerations
The Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu said “Artificial meat stops cruelty to animals, is better for the environment, could be safer and more efficient, and even healthier. We have a moral obligation to support this kind of research. It gets the ethical two thumbs up.”[58]Animal welfare groups are generally in favor of the production of in vitro meat because it does not have a nervous system and therefore cannot feel pain.[15][25][31] Reactions of vegetarians to in vitro meat vary,[59] some feel the in vitro meat presented to the public in August 2013 was not vegetarian as fetal calf serum was used in the growth medium.[60]
Independent inquiries may be set up by certain governments to create a degree of standards for in vitro meat.[61] Laws and regulations on the proper creation of in vitro meat products would have to be modernized to adapt to this newer food product.[61] Some societies may decide to block the creation of in vitro meat for the “good of the people” – making its legality in certain countries a questionable matter.[61]
In vitro meat needs technically sophisticated production methods making it harder for communities to produce food self-sufficiently and potentially increasing dependence on global food corporations.[62]

Religious considerations

Jews disagree whether in vitro meat is kosher (food that may be consumed, according to Jewish dietary laws).[63] Some Muslim scholars have stated that in vitro meat would be allowed by Islamic law if the original cells and growth medium were halal.[64]

Economic
The production of in vitro meat is currently very expensive – in 2008 it was about US$1 million for a piece of beef weighing 250 grams (0.55 lb.)[1] – and it would take considerable investment to switch to large scale production. However, the in Vitro Meat Consortium has estimated that with improvements to current technology there could be considerable reductions in the cost of in vitro meat. They estimate that it could be produced for €3500/ton (US$5037/ton),[5] which is about twice the cost of unsubsidized conventional European chicken production.[4][5]
In a March 2015 interview with Australia’s ABC, Mark Post said that the marginal cost of his team’s original €250,000 burger was now €8.00. He estimates that technological advancements would allow the product to be cost-competitive to traditionally sourced beef in approximately ten years.[65]

As “2012 State of the Future Report” states:
It is estimated that growing pure meat without growing animals would generate 96% lower GHG emissions, use 45% less energy, reduce land use by 99%, and cut water use by 96% compared with growing animals for meat. Therefore, it is of high importance to the environment if we could successfully make it commercially available to the public.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=In_vitro_meat
http://www.futurefood.org/in-vitro-meat/index_en.php
http://www.millennium-project.org/millennium/2012SOF.html

3D-Printed Houses, A Revolution in Sustainable Architecture

Have you ever thought, how would the future buildings be?
Well, the Europe’s first 3D-printed house located in Amsterdam, Netherlands may be close to what it will look like.
The structure is made of a bio-plastic heavily based on plant oil and reinforced with microfibers, which the project’s founders say is waste-free and eco-friendly.

For More:

http://www.euronews.com/2015/04/06/visit-europe-s-first-3d-printed-home-in-amsterdam/