Footprint Network Blog - 09/2011
Invitation to attend the launch of
Integrating ecological risk in sovereign credit ratings and government bonds
17 October 2011| 13.00 – 17.00 | Washington D.C.
Global Footprint Network and UNEP FI are working with a number of leading financial institutions to collaborate on a transformational project to investigate the linkages between ecological risk and country level risk in sovereign bonds.
The Ecological Footprint and biocapacity trends offer a new way of interpreting the financially material threats and risks that are currently not included in country ratings, investment strategies or risk management systems. The Ecological Footprint combined with biocapacity data provide a novel opportunity to better assess the risks to investments by analyzing resource dependency, trade relationships, commodity costing and risk-stability trends. This is a two-fold project, first it aims to assess the financial materiality of ecological risks relevant for the credit risk evaluation of government bonds; secondly, it will develop a methodology to explore how credit rating agencies, investors and financial information providers can integrate ecological data into their respective models.
Throughout the project a more comprehensive and risk-inclusive understanding of how to evaluate sovereign bonds will be developed. Investments risks can be decreased by gaining a better understanding of resource stability for both biocapacity creditors and national debtors. This project will enable those involved in sovereign bond markets to work towards better inclusion of financially-material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
We invite you to join the launch on 17 October in Washington D.C ahead of the UNEP FI Global Roundtable. The event is meant for financial institutions with an interest in sovereign bond markets that may consider joining the project, as well as those investors and banks that have already confirmed their participation.
Humanity is surpassing nature’s budget for the year, and is now operating in overdraft, according to Global Footprint Network calculations for 2011.
Earth Overshoot Day, which this year falls on September 27, helps conceptualize the degree to which we are over-budget in our use of nature. In approximately nine months, we are demanding a level of ecological services – from producing food and raw materials to filtering our carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to what the planet can provide for all of 2011. From an ecological standpoint, we have effectively spent our annual salary, with a quarter of the year still to go.
“From soaring food prices to the crippling effects of climate change, our economies are now confronting the reality of years of spending beyond our means,” said Global Footprint Network President Dr. Mathis Wackernagel. “If we are to maintain stable societies and good lives, we can no longer sustain a widening budget gap between what nature is able to provide and how much our infrastructure, economies and lifestyles require.”
Global Footprint Network regrets the passing of Ms. Wangari Maathai, Advisory Council Member and Green Activist
Dr. Wangari Maathai, Kenya’s 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate died in Nairobi while undergoing cancer treatment at age 71.
Prof. Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for starting a movement to reforest Kenya by paying poor women plant trees. She started the Green Belt Movement in 1977, working with women to improve their livelihoods by increasing their access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. She became a great advocate for better management of natural resources and for sustainability, equity, and justice. The Green Belt Movement has now planted more than 30 million trees in Africa and has helped nearly 900,000 women, according to the United Nations, while inspiring similar efforts in other African countries.
She was an elected Minister in the Kenyan government from 2002- 2008. She fought tirelessly for sustainable development, democracy and peace. “Wangari Maathai was a force of nature,” stated Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nation’s environmental program to the New York Times. He likened her to Africa’s ubiquitous acacia trees, “strong in character and able to survive sometimes the harshest of conditions.”
She was an extraordinary woman who stood up to authority for decades, as an activist and a champion for a greener world.
In her speech accepting the Nobel Prize, Ms Maathai said she hoped her own success would spur other women on to a more active role in the community. “I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership,” she said.
Former U.S. vice president Al Gore also paid tribute saying, “Wangari overcame incredible obstacles to devote her life to service—service to her children, to her constituents, to the women, and indeed all the people of Kenya—and to the world as a whole. She was a warm and devoted mother and I send my condolences to her family. She worked tirelessly both as an elected Member of Parliament and an Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources. She forged new ground for women in Kenya helping shatter what we would call the ‘glass ceiling’ in the United States.”
“Africa, particularly African women, have lost a champion, a leader, an activist. We’re going to miss her. We’re going to miss the work she’s been doing all these years on the environment, working for women’s rights and women’s participation,” said President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said to the BBC. There are calls for her legacy to live on.
Dr. Wangari Maathai was a member of Global Footprint Networks’ Advisory Board since it was formed in 2003. She will be sadly missed.
Global Footprint Network is pleased to welcome Stephen Groff to our Advisory Council. Stephen Groff is the Deputy Director of the Development Cooperation at the OECD in Paris, where he leads strategic policy analysis. Mr. Groff is responsible for strategic policy analysis on a wide range of development-related economic and political issues. He also plays a central role in the monitoring and evaluation of aid efforts, and serves as acting director of the “Partnership for Democratic Governance” – a new multilateral initiative focused on fragile states. He serves as OECD’s envoy to the G20 Working Group on Development, the G8 Accountability Working Group and the UN Secretary General’s High Level Task Force on Food Security. Mr. Groff is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council and is on the board of directors of the National Peace Corps Association.
Having spent the last 25 years working and living in over 30 developing countries around the world, Mr. Groff has extensive international development expertise.
Prior to joining OECD, Mr. Groff was Deputy Vice President for Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – a new U.S. bilateral assistance initiative, where he oversaw a broad range of MCC activities and advised the CEO on development issues, strategy and policy while playing a central role in ensuring quality, technical excellence and development impact in MCC operations.He has also served as a senior advisor at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila and as the deputy director and chief economist on a large USAID project designed to encourage private sector development in the southern Philippines. Mr. Groff holds a two-year MPA from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and a B.S. from Yale College.
Groff’s extensive development and policy experience will bring a valuable perspective to our work and research.
This year is the 50th anniversary of WWF’s short-film festival.
WWF is asking creative and innovative filmmakers to participate in this year’s short film festival: Life. Nature. You. Make the Connection.
The contest invites both aspiring and accomplished film-makers to produce an original two minute film.
The judging panel has now been selected and WWF will name two winning entries, one judged by a jury, the other judged by peers. The winners will receive a commission from WWF to produce a special short film that will inspire people to value and protect our environment, and an all expenses paid trip to India to attend the CMS Vatavaran environmental film festival.
To learn more about the rules and how to enter, visit WWF Short Film Competition.
The deadline is November 1st.