SustainableQatar’s 52 weekly challenges – one challenge per week for a whole year themed by month – are Qatar-specific and Qatar-relevant opportunities for all residents to take actions in personal life, work and within our communities. Read more
Challenge #25 ~ Value-based Spending
Read the blog post on the August Theme – Finance
If the global economy wouldn’t have collapsed in 2008 …
In 2007, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative published a report titled Green Financial Products and Services: Current Trends and Future Opportunities in North America. The report evaluates the drivers for green financial products and services, assesses the demand and products on offer, and outlines the potential and opportunities for more green financial products and services. It listed green car loans, energy efficiency mortgages, alternative energy venture capital, eco-savings deposits, and “green” credit cards as some of the green financial products that were on offer at that time.
“In an age where environmental risks and opportunities abound, so too have the options for reconciling environmental matters with lending and financing arrangements.”Green Financial Products and Services: Current Trends and Future Opportunities in North America
While many of these green financial initiatives took a back seat to other issues during the financial crisis, it is still true today that “A principal challenge for banks will be to create effective and far-reaching market-based solutions to address a range of environmental problems, including climate change, deforestation, air quality issues and biodiversity loss, while at the same time identifying and securing new business opportunities that benefit customers,” according to the UNEP.
Ignoring our planet’s peril is no longer an option. A longer term perspective is needed if we want to see our future prosper. No matter how much money we have, if we don’t have a future we won’t be able to make any use of it.
Do individuals have a Choice and a Voice?
YES, we do!
Every time we shop, we vote with our wallet. By thinking about our purchases not only in terms of what we need or want, but how those purchases impact the planet, we can have a positive, sustainable impact. Shopping based on our values sends a strong message to providers of goods and services that their values and practices matter.
We can amplify our impact by paying attention to what our money is supporting when shopping. For example, we can choose local produce to reduce the amount of fuel needed to deliver it from the farm to our plates.
As employees and shareholders
Previously unthinkable, in the 2017 annual meeting ExxonMobil shareholders demanded answers about the company’s risks from climate change and pressured the board into action to reduce the risks to the company’s assets and shareholders’ returns. Stakeholders can have a positive influence on companies’ sustainability strategies.
Inform ourselves about our employer’s sustainability strategies and policies, show our support, and learn how we can contribute.
As students and parents
In May 2016 University of Massachusetts Amherst became the first public US university to announce that it would divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. In 2016 Australia’s La Trobe University also committed to divest from fossil fuel companies within five years. According to the vice-chancellor, “At La Trobe, we believe economic profitability and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive.”
And more recently, youth activists of all ages have become increasingly vocal in demanding urgent climate action from their educational institutes, from primary school to future colleges. We are witnessing a powerful surge in individual climate action in education, from Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s call for #FridayForFuture school strikes to urgent wakeup calls for colleges.
As fee paying parents, we can choose to support educational institutes that pay attention to their sustainability credentials.
Encourage our schools, colleges, and universities to make sustainability an integral part of not only the curriculum, but their operational planning as well.
New tools to quantify environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment actions are becoming available. Arabesque, referred to as the Tesla for Finance, quantifies economic efforts of sustainability with a new AI-and big-data-based tool called S-Ray™. The ambition is that S-Ray™ will be as important to the finance industry and ESG Investing as X-Ray was to the medical and health industry. The tool allows anyone to monitor the sustainability of more than 4,000 of the world’s largest corporations over 200 ESG metrics and look beneath a company’s surface by assessing its extra financial performance to help better understand its value to society. It is the first tool of its kind to rate companies on the normative principles of the United Nations Global Compact of Human Rights, Labour Rights, the Environment, and Anti-Corruption.
To make an impact through our investment portfolio, we can ask our financial advisor to invest according to Environmental, Social and Governmental (ESG) principles and divest from fossil fuels.
- North American Task Force (NATF) of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, Green Financial Products and Services: Current Trends and Future Opportunities in North America, Aug 2007
- The Wall Street Journal, Exxon Shareholders Pressure Company on Climate Risks, 31 May 2017
- Teen Vogue, For My Future College, Fossil Fuel Divestment Is a Must-Have So the Climate Crisis Doesn’t Make My Education Useless, 21 Jun 2019
- #FridaysForFuture, Accessed 6 Aug 2019
- Truthout, Colleges Have a Responsibility to Divest From Fossil Fuels, 1 Oct 2018
- United Nations Global Compact, Accessed 6 Aug 2019
- Financial Times, ESG investing sparks race in tech and hiring at asset managers, 10 Aug 2019
- Arabesque.com, Accessed 18 Aug 2019
Take a photo of your weekly action and post it on social media using hashtags #SustainableQATAR #52Challenges.
Challenge #24 ~ FINANCES: Green Banking
Understanding financial products and services (loans and bonds) for impact and driving market demand climate solutions.
Challenge #23 ~ FINANCES: Green Investment
Future-proof your financial assets
Challenge #22 ~ FOOD: Eating for Brain Health
Eat REAL food for a healthy brain
Challenge #21 ~ FOOD: Cancer Fighting SuperFoods
Lower your risk factors for developing cancer
Challenge #20 ~ FOOD: Growing Our Own
What beats locally grown organic food? Your own-grown organic food!
Challenge #19 ~ FOOD: Choose Local
Eat local? In Qatar?
Challenge #18 ~ FOOD:
Eat to Become a Centenarian
We can all be centenarian!
Challenge #17 ~ HOLIDAYS:
Sand & Sea, Culture & Malls – without Stress or Emissions
Challenge #16 ~ HOLIDAYS:
Is responsible travel even possible?
Challenge #15 ~ HOLIDAYS: Agritourism
Thrill on a Farm: Homestays and Farmstays save your health and time
Challenge #14 ~
Take Direct Flights
Save your health and time by taking direct flights
Challenge #13 ~
CLOSE THE LOOP: Innovation
We are all Entrepreneurs
Challenge #12 ~
CLOSE THE LOOP: Beyond Recycling
Reduce, Reuse, Remake, Refuse, Respect, Repair, Restore, Recycle, Remember
Challenge #11 ~ CLOSE THE LOOP:
Feed Others, Not the Landfill
Follow the Food Recovery Hierarchy
Challenge #10 ~ CLOSE THE LOOP:
Say No To Packaging
Simple ways to reduce the amount of packaging used once and thrown away
Challenge #9 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Electric & Hybrid Cars
It’s fast. It’s cool. It’s electric.
Challenge #8 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Smart Driving
Can you really be more sustainable while driving in Qatar?
Challenge #7 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Avoiding Idling
Idling your car engine releases as much pollution as a moving car.
Challenge #6 ~
TRANSPORTATION: Walking & Biking
Walk and bike for more human connection and less stress.
Challenge #5 ~
TRANSPORTATION: Ride Sharing
Sharing a ride, whether in your own car or a taxi, reduces the environmental impact of your ride by at least half.
Challenge #4 ~
Every Drop Counts
Turn the unconscious conscious and look for daily water savings!
Challenge #3 ~
Did you know that even a slowly leaking fixture can waste as much as 12 lattes worth of water in a single day?
Challenge #2 ~
The Power of a Shorter Shower!
Challenge #1 ~
You enjoy gardening and are desperate to green your backyard. Grow your dream garden sustainably.
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