Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Scrap Lunch Event

Unfortunately I missed the Sustainability Day conference in Stockholm today. I really would have liked to go as it was so nice last year. However, I had obligations elsewhere today. Among other things with the Scrap Lunch project and we launched the marketing of the event which we will hold on the 4th May.

Get tickets here (it's for free but we have limited seats).

Are you a social entrepreneur?

I took part in a social entrepreneur event in Uppsala some weeks ago by Ashoka Scandinavia and Reach for Change, the two organizations had partnered up with CEMUS and Drivhuset to organize it. Ashoka and Reach for Change are both organizations that work to help social entrepreneurs who have great ideas to change society for the better.  They help them financially and by including them in their existing networks. The main difference between the two is that Reach for Change focuses on ideas on how to improve children and youth’s lives while Ashoka has a wider range of different entrepreneurs they finance.

We also got to hear two entrepreneurs who had become a “Change Leader” and an “Ashoka fellow” and how it had affected their entrepreneurship. Dennis Lennartsson works with his company Spread the Sign which helps translating text to sign language: did you know that sign language is different, just as every other language, in different countries? I didn’t! His idea is to make sign language more available for everyone. Hanne Finstad works with Forskarfabriken in Norway, she realized that the natural sciences were given too little time in schools so she started evening courses and summer schools for kids to get them engaged and interested in these subjects.
One thing that came up during the event was that many people don’t even realize that they are social entrepreneurs until someone else points it out. So, what makes a social entrepreneur different to a normal one? The main difference is that a social entrepreneur identifies a problem in society and starts up a business for changing that. Often the social impact of the business is just as important as the financial side of the business and this is why a social entrepreneur is usually very engaged in his/hers business.

So do you identify yourself in the description above?
If you feel you can use some support for your social business check out Ashoka, which is a global network. Reach for Change works in Sweden, Russia and Africa at the moment. In Finland you can join the SYY (Suomen Yhteiskunnallisten Yrittäjien yhdistys ry) Network for social entrepreneurship and there is probably a range of more initiatives globally.

Most of all congrats! You're doing a great contribution to society!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Go out and enjoy the day!

Earth Day Network has also a campaign called the Face of Climate Change where you can upload your own photo.

Hope you have a nice day!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Race for the Baltic

Through a friend I learned about this initiative called Race for the Baltic. They will basically bike around the Baltic during the summer to raise awareness about the state of the Baltic and names for a petition to the Ministers of Environment. I will hopefully join them in Finland at some point during the ride, if I am free, but I don't know quite yet. If you are interested to have the bike-ride of a lifetime or perhaps just join them for a while or even organizing an event with them, don't hesitate to contact them.

If you can't join them but want to contribute anyway, sign the petition and spread the world!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fair Travel Part 2

I completed the Fair Travel's ambassador education today so now I can have workshops/presentations or other activities about sustainable tourism. I have really enjoyed this education, it's a lot of difficult subjects and a lot of things I haven't even thought about, but all the more here is a lot of possibilities for change towards more sustainable tourism. If you are in Sweden and interested to learn more, and perhaps become an ambassador yourself, you can check when their next education days are on their webpage. If you'd like to have someone come talk to you school class or similar about Fair Travel you can contact the network. Feel also free to contact me if you have any questions or queries.

One of today's lesson. Pic from Fair Travel's FB page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lunch Seminar: How Climate Negotiations and Policy Interact

There was a lunch seminar at my department today again, this time with Bo Kjellén, who's been the head climate negotiator for Sweden and Miriam Munnich Vass, who has done research on the climate policies by EU and Sweden.

This was the second time I saw Bo, and I had to go back in my blog to see what he spoke about last time. Interesting the he had pointed out that it was important that the Kyoto protocol survives so we can have a long-term strength in our goal to decrease emissions. Today he mentioned that it was indeed good that the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol has been agreed on, so we are at least moving on in the process. Even if we're probably gonna have to increase our goals on emissions pretty soon.

Miriam went on to speak about the EU policies on climate change, which have been quite substantial compared to other countries. This is of course a little worrying for EU though if none of the other bigger economies follow as it might lessen EU's competitiveness in the world economy to have stronger environmental regulation and rules. Miriam went on to speak about the EU emission trading scheme called ETS, which is a Cap & Trade system. It seems however, that the effect of this system hasn't been all that effective as the allowances are given out on what the companies have emitted before and therefore the prices are still kept low as there is too many allowances on the market for the system to take effect. Bo was suggesting a system of Carbon Tax and Carbon Trading at the same time or possibly an action for all the allowances which would be more effective in pushing the industries to lessen their impact. On the other hand, companies are in many cases already ahead of governments when it comes to environmental issues.

Carbon retirement is an carbon offsetting scheme that tries to target these extra allowances on the market. Here you can see a video on how it works if you offset your carbon emissions through them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fair Travel

Took part today in a Fair Travel education day organized by On their webpage you can find a lot of tips on what to think about when you travel to do it in a more fair way for environment and people.

I haven't really been that interested in the tourism area before as a part of me have discarded the thought that tourism could be sustainable. However, I guess that tourism doesn't need to include flying and it could be done with respect, which were some of the things we talked about today. One good thing about travelling is that it broadens one's mind and respect for other cultures if done in the right way. However, that way needs to be a mutual exchange, also the local people should gain something from your trip. In many places tourism do contribute to economic development, however, at the same time, especially for all exclusive trips, the money spent by travellers goes to the international companies owning the hotels and not the local economy.

What was interesting for me as I am now in the process of writing my thesis about the cotton supply chain, it opened up to me that the main problem in the travel agancies' supply chains is not that different. They are lacking transparency and the main companies are lacking knowledge and insight about their suppliers and sub-suppliers. However, it seem the travel industry is still a step behind in the sustainability process, the first eco-labels for hotels are still doing baby-steps and many travel agencies still haven't got code of conducts.

All in all a very good day, even though I am tired now! Before I go to bed I still want to say I really enjoyed the food which was all vegetarian and mostly vegan, from Hållbart & Njutbart catering in Stockholm. And I want to share with you this list of the ten most ethical destinations 2013 (you can read how the list is created here, the list should probably be taken with a pinch of salt but still interesting)
  • Barbados
  • Cape Verde
  • Costa Rica
  • Ghana
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Mauritius
  • Palau
  • Samoa
  • Uruguay
I was happy to see two countries close to Finland (I don't need to fly to go to Latvia nor Lithuania). No need to travel far!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lunch seminar: Toward zero hunger

Sorry for the silence on the blog, I'm just all caught up with thesis work and the scrap lunch project. On Monday we went to an interesting seminar called "Towars Zero Hunger". We wrote about it in our prject blog, so you can read more about it over there.

People in Uppsala, on the 4th May you are more than welcome to join our Scrap lunch event at Kalmar nation, I will post some more info about it later on.