From consumer trends to climate change: Why SE Asia is shifting to a ‘green economy’

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Bruno Vander Velde at b.vandervelde@cgiar.org
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President Yudhoyono to deliver keynote address at Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta on May 5

29 April 2014 — The President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will join a who’s who of VIPs from across Southeast Asia and beyond at the Forests Asia Summit in Jakarta next week.

President Yudhoyono will deliver the keynote speech on 5 May, kicking off two days of discussions, during which more than 120 speakers and 1,700 participants will explore ways to better manage the region’s forests and landscapes in the pursuit of green growth.

Southeast Asia’s recent economic growth has come largely at the expense of natural resources. Even now, each month in Southeast Asia, an area of forest three times the size of Jakarta is stripped of its trees. But with natural capital dwindling, climate change looming and the population growing, countries are looking for alternative strategies for development.

“Green growth” breaks away from the “environment vs. economy” dilemma, by seeking development strategies that are good not only for the economy but also for the environment and society — at a time when consumers are increasingly demanding that companies and governments look at more than the financial bottom line.

Consider:

  • One global NGO campaign against environmentally unsustainable practices cost a Southeast Asian corporation five multimillion-dollar contracts.
    Banks and businesses must think differently to achieve sustainability and manage new risks. What should investors do? What are some innovative ideas for financing?
  • In 2011, Norway cut its palm oil consumption by two-thirds following a campaign linking palm oil to deforestation.
    Can Southeast Asia’s massive palm oil industry make good on recent “no-deforestation” pledges? Can governments make sure they honor these pledges?
  • In the past decade, more than 100 companies have stopped purchasing from a leading Southeast Asian paper pulp company on environmental grounds.
    How can businesses and governments support the paper pulp industry — a pillar of the regional economy — while minimizing damage to the environment?

Among the 120+ speakers at the Forests Asia Summit at Jakarta’s Shangri-La Hotel are:

  • 10 Ministers and Deputy Ministers from across Southeast Asia
  • Executives from 25+ companies, including Golden Agri-Resources, APP, Nestle, Cargill
  • Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr. Rajendra Pachauri
  • World-renowned scientists in the fields of forestry, agriculture and development
  • Leading NGOs and indigenous groups
  • Top donors, including the World Bank, ADB, Norway, USAID

Media register for free: www.forestsasia.org

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