Realizing the challenging transition to a low carbon planet depends on developing and developed nations’ actions. The policies and regulations taken forward by developing nations have the potential of not only addressing climate change but also laying the foundation for a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.
Asia-Pacific’s Race to ZeroAs Asia-Pacific Climate Week gets underway, discover how Race to Zero members, from financial institutions to urban centres and healthcare services, are blazing a path to a net zero emissions world.
Cities Race to Zero member: Nagpur
Nagpur is on a transformative journey towards sustainability, having already laid the groundwork for energy-efficient housing and comprehensive energy audits under the Building Energy Accelerator project. The city is now pushing forward with the ambitious Zero Carbon Buildings Accelerator initiative, aiming to convert all buildings to ‘Net Zero’ status by 2050. This forward-thinking roadmap is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions; it’s a holistic approach that considers the lifecycle of building materials, from construction to deconstruction, ensuring every phase is environmentally conscious.
In a collaborative effort to turn this vision into reality, key local bodies and international organizations convened in Nagpur for a pivotal Stakeholder Consultation Meeting. This gathering was a melting pot of ideas, with contributions from city officials, experts, and industry stakeholders, all focused on shaping a future where buildings are not just structures, but sustainable entities. The commitment to pilot projects, policy actions, and the development of clear, climate-adapted guidelines underscores Nagpur’s dedication to creating a built environment that harmonizes with nature and sets a benchmark for cities worldwide.
Cities Race to Zero member: Ahmedabad
Indian city, Ahmedabad’s foray into municipal bonds has proven to be a groundbreaking step in funding climate-resilient urban development. By successfully raising significant capital through these bonds, the city has demonstrated the vast potential of this financial instrument in supporting sustainable infrastructure projects. A key to this success is a strong credit rating, which hinges on the city’s operational performance, financial health, and robust governance. These elements are crucial for local governments to attract investors and secure the funds necessary for transformative urban projects.
The city’s strategic use of municipal bonds, supported by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), has set a precedent in India for market-based fundraising. This approach not only enhances urban development but also promotes transparency and financial performance. With the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) easing regulations and opening doors for foreign portfolio investments, Ahmedabad’s green projects like waste management and water supply initiatives are well on their way to fruition, marking a significant step towards a net zero emissions world.
Health Care Without Harm member: Hunter New England Health
Hunter New England Health, the largest health service and employer in its region with an extensive network of facilities and a $2.5 billion budget, is leading the charge in Australia’s healthcare sector to combat climate change. Recognized as the largest emitter among government agencies, contributing to seven percent of the nation’s CO2 emissions, the organization has set an ambitious vision to become carbon and waste neutral by the year 2030.
To drive market change, Hunter New England Health is focusing on sustainable purchasing practices. They are actively engaging the community by presenting a compelling case for change through their website, articles, and videos. The organization has established clear sustainability goals with specific timelines and performance measures, including annual targets. They are committed to transparency, regularly collecting and reporting data on their processes.
Governance at Hunter New England Health now includes a focus on sustainability, rewarding excellence in this area, and fostering communities of interest where like-minded individuals and organizations can collaborate. Leadership roles now encompass sustainability titles, reflecting the importance of this initiative.
The health service has identified six key areas for improvement: energy, water, transport, infrastructure, procurement, and waste, with dedicated projects for each. From a 2020 baseline of 105,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, they aimed to reduce emissions by twenty percent within two years. Impressively, they surpassed this goal, achieving a twenty-four percent reduction by 2022. In water conservation, they aimed to capture twenty percent of rainwater by 2022 and exceeded this target by reaching twenty-nine percent. Their recycling and water reuse efforts also beat targets, with a twenty-three percent increase compared to the baseline goal of twenty percent.
Waste management, particularly reducing landfill waste, remains a challenge. Despite aiming for a twenty percent reduction by 2022, they achieved a fourteen percent decrease. However, they have installed the world’s largest solar panel system across their facilities, saving 2,844,625 kilograms of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of planting 55,000 trees.
Paris-Aligned Asset Owners (PAAO) member: New Zealand Superfund
NZ Superfund has worked closely with the Treasury and the other Crown Financial Institutions (CFIs) to develop the Crown Responsible Investment Framework that was announced by the Minister of Finance in late 2021. This Framework includes a commitment to reporting against common carbon metrics. NZ Superfund has reported on progress against their own commitments in detail through its 2022 Climate Change Report and has signed the 2022 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis.
In joining the PAAO, and committing to net zero emissions by 2050, involves a multifaceted strategy. This includes setting clear interim targets for 2030 to reduce scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions in investment portfolios, increasing investments in climate solutions, and using offsets only when necessary. The approach also encompasses advocating for policies that support net zero objectives, engaging with stakeholders across the investment chain to align services and products with these goals, and reducing operational emissions. Transparency is key, with plans to disclose targets and progress annually, guided by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.
Keep an eye out for more leadership stories like these at COP28 where Race to Zero will be launching its annual Progress Report showcasing how non-state actors around the world are accelerating climate action.
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Over the past few years, the global movement for climate and health justice has achieved significant wins. Discover how Race to Zero partner, Health Care Without Harm is leading a charge to develop climate-resilient, low emissions and sustainable health systems.