One World Newsletter May 2005 Vol 2 No#4
Environmental, Social and Business Development Issues Facing Our World
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Welcome to our edition of our newsletter "One World". This is a monthly publication dedicated to providing you with knowledge and information to raise your awareness about sustainable development issues facing us in the contemporary world.
Most of the issues discussed are from within Australia, however as the theme is "One World" we will be providing information from all over the world.
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Canoes of the Marshall Islands
5. Survey of Franchise businesses in Australia
6. Three steps for avoiding e-mail viruses
Canoes of the Marshall Islands
As traditional cultural values are dieing in the Pacific, giving way to the “Coca-Cola” popular culture, that is prevailing throughout the world, WAM has proved to be an excellent program that links the new generation with the old, working together to keep this unique aspect of Marshallese culture alive, while simultaneously addressing serious social problems affecting youth in Marshallese society, with its high unemployment rate.
WAM uses the medium of canoe and boat building and sailing to provide more than vocational training as preparation for employment, it also addresses the sense of self worth that has disappeared from Marshallese youth, so that even in the absence of a vibrant labour market, they can still play a worthwhile role in their families and communities. WAM empowers the youth by teaching them traditional and modern sustainable skills which include outrigger canoe building, maintenance and repair,
Youth at Risk
Like most Pacific nations, over the last decade there has been high unemployment rate within communities. This combined with the decline in traditional cultural values has been one of the major contributors to the emergence of a youth crisis in the Marshall Islands.
There are two major causes of this situation. The first is that the generally low level of economic development leads to few employment opportunities. The second factor is the low level of education or youth, and corresponding lack of life skills. The combination is such that many young job seekers are largely unemployable.
Failure of the Education System
The overall dropout rate from the schooling system (number of students entering Grade 3 but not progressing to Grade 12) was around 67% in 2003. Given that almost 30% of students that complete elementary school do not progress to high school, a large proportion of young job seekers have only the most basic of education.
The WAM organisation is run by dedicated staff with support from the international development community, and intermittent support from the Marshallese Government. It has evolved in a dynamic manner, since its foundation in 1989.
WAM has introduced a range of training and development and cultural reinforcement programs, built up services, infrastructure, curriculum, and management systems for effective delivery of its mission.
It has captured the deep respect, enthusiasm and support of the Marshall Islands community, and is poised to deepen and widen its contribution to the social and cultural fabric of the country.
WAM has developed a powerful program that simultaneously addresses the cultural malaise across the community as well as empowering youth through life skills and vocational skills training in this context of cultural reinforcement.
In a report by the Asian Development Bank, Youth Social Services Project Interim Report March 2005 has stated that:
“Graduates from the program (alumni) were reported to have positive changes as a result of their engagement with WAM. With respect to relationship changes, most youth reported that the quality of their interaction with family members had improved dramatically.
One of the most significant changes reported by all alumni was in the area of improved self-worth and cultural pride. The process of building traditional canoes has changed their lives. These young people say they now feel good about “being Marshallese” and have much greater understanding and respect for their culture.
As a result of their experience with WAM, these young men and women now have goals for the future. To make these dreams a reality however, most alumni said they still need support from WAM, particularly in terms of finding employment or returning to school.
It represents a bright light in the not-so-bright future of Pacific nations and has reintroduced traditional culture to help maintain their unique identity while other cultures seem to be sinking in the face of threats and challenges facing indigenous cultures throughout the world.
2.A CSIRO triple bottom line (TBL) report on sustainability in the Australian economy was released
The 807 page report titled The Balancing Act was jointly published by the CSIRO and University of Sydney. It contains quite distinctive analysis and is a self described numerate TBL account of the Australian economy.
According to the authors, “the study provides a detailed scrutiny of the full production chain. It is able to show the full effects – both direct and indirect – of the production of an individual commodity or service”.
It also differs from other corporate social responsibility based indices and research because it is industry-wide and incorporates financial indicators in its 10 key sustainability indicators.
It examines 135 industry sectors of the Australian economy and quantifies their individual impacts and contributions across ten social, environmental, and financial indicators. These include:
Three of major industries scrutinised are:
The report states that banking, like most private service sectors, “has little primary impact on the environment with low requirements for water, energy, land and low greenhouse gas emissions,” announced co-author Barney Foran who is the program leader of the CSIRO's Resource Futures Program. It also scored low on export potential.
But “banks also occupy a pivotal position in decision-making in business operations, national affairs and lifestyles of people.” Banks could use this central influence to the advantage of the environment if they assessed a broader set of risk issues when they lent money, for example, by giving concessional interest rates to businesses that perform well across the triple bottom line, or domestic houses that had ten star energy and water ratings according to the report.
“Generally mining is not really thought of as particularly sustainable by the community at large”, says Foran. “In terms of the TBL, mining actually has amore positive impact across environmental and financial indicators than we would have thought.”
For mining, the financial indicators are “well above the economy wide average, while the environmental indicators are better than average for each consumption dollar”.
“The main challenge for basic mining is that some social indicators are well below average, which poses the question of whether the wider Australian community obtains sufficient social returns for the increasing volumes of raw resource exports,” says Foran.
Food and agriculture
Food and agriculture have high environmental costs which are not reflected in their price. They had a high water and energy cost, often leading to high land degradation.
Sustainability reporting is not mandatory in Australia and lies far behind world leading countries like Japan and the UK. This can be a major problem for Australia in the future, if we don’t adopt the paradigm that the rest of the world is shifting to. In Australia an international standard for accounting practices is required that also reflects social and environmental factors, not just profit.
In conclusion, the report states that the way ahead is through fundamental change so that different industries work together coherently. Australia needs to add more value to raw materials by turning them into more complex goods and services.
It also states that Australia faces major challenges to sustainability in the 21 st century as it tries to catch-up with the rest of the world. A “big picture” approach was required to enhance sustainability in industries operating in Australia.
In the mean-time, “this report will help government, industries, and even individual consumers to look at the sustainability of different goods and services in a whole new light”, say the authors.
All sustainability related effects are referenced back to a consumption dollar – roughly the dollar spent by a consumer in everyday life. It also shows that each consumption dollar is quite different – some dollars are positive and create employment, or send out exports or generate government revenue. Other dollars are less positive through their high use of water or production of greenhouse gas emissions.
[Source: CSIRO Sustainability report- “The Balancing Act”]
is Geothermal Energy?
A $40 million exploration and testing program is currently underway in the hope of finding an economic form of extraction.
There is a hope that a full scale commercial operation will eventually commence that will provide hundreds of Megawatts of power to the state's electricity grid, in the race to reduce Greenhouse gases.
The major investor Origin Energy has already committed to taking 50% of the output to put into their electricity grid once the commercial operation commences in the near future.
[Source: ABC News service]
4.Carbon Sequestration: Is it a new lease of life for coal fired electrical power plants?
New technology has been discovered to “catch” the carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the environment, thus helping reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. A power plant in Tampa, Florida U.S.A, has been established using this concept.
During the power producing process the CO2 gas is driven under heat and pressure. The CO2 is piped and then stored underground by drilling a bore into porous rock, such as sandstone. The hole is then capped by clay. This process is known as “Geologic Carbon sequestration”.
The U.S Department of Energy defines “Carbon sequestration” as: “a family of methods for capturing and permanently isolating gases that otherwise could contribute to global climate change”.
Affordable and environmentally safe sequestration approaches could offer a way to stabilise atmospheric levels of CO2 without requiring countries to make large-scale and potentially costly changes to their energy infrastructures.
Some power plants and other large emitters of CO2 are located near geologic formations that are suitable for CO2 storage. Further, in many cases, injection of CO2 into a geologic formation can enhance the recovery of hydrocarbons, providing value-added byproducts that can offset the cost of CO2 capture and sequestration.
Problems with Geological Carbon Sequestration
The problem with this concept is finding the right location to be able to drill into. A project is also planned in West Virginia as it has the suitable porous rock to drill into.
Australia also is looking into geological carbon sequestration research as a way of tackling Greenhouse Gas emission problems, with projects underway in South Australia along the “ Great Australian Bight”.
New coal-fired plants with this CO2 “catching” process are far more expensive than the traditional coal fired power stations, so there has been no rush to establish new plants at this stage unless politicians induce firms, to take on this technology. So far there is no indication that this will occur, so at this stage traditional polluting coal fired power stations are here to stay.
Other forms of Carbon Sequestration
Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration
Terrestrial carbon sequestration is defined as: “either the net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere or the prevention of CO2 net emissions from the terrestrial ecosystems into the atmosphere”. [Source: U.S Department of Energy]
Enhancing the natural processes that remove CO2 from the atmosphere is thought to be one of the most cost-effective means of reducing atmospheric levels of CO2, and forestation and deforestation abatement efforts are already under way.
R&D in this program area seeks to increase this rate while properly considering all the ecological, social, and economic implications. There are two fundamental approaches to sequestering carbon in terrestrial ecosystems:
This program area is focused on integrating measures for improving the full life-cycle carbon uptake of terrestrial ecosystems, including farmland and forests, with fossil fuel production and use. The following ecosystems offer significant opportunity for carbon sequestration:
Forest lands. The focus includes below-ground carbon and long-term management and utilisation of standing stocks, under-story, ground cover, and litter.
Agricultural lands. The focus includes crop lands, grasslands, and range lands, with emphasis on increasing long-lived soil carbon.
Biomass croplands. As a complement to ongoing efforts related to biofuels ,the focus is on long-term increases in soil carbon and value-added organic products.
Deserts and degraded lands. Restoration of degraded lands offers significant benefits and carbon sequestration potential in both below-and above-ground systems.
Boreal wetlands and peat-lands. The focus includes management of soil carbon pools and perhaps limited conversion to forest or grassland vegetation where ecologically acceptable.
[Source: SBS News Service & US Department of Energy ]
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5. Survey of Franchise businesses in Australia
Franchise businesses have a high success rate compared to normal businesses, because of the inherent proven systems, which lead to higher success rates than conventional businesses.
Currently, franchises contribute to 10% of Australia’s GDP and contribute over $80 billion per annum to the economy. They employ more than 650,000 in almost 50,000 franchise outlets, licensed by some 750 franchise systems across Australia. 160 new jobs are created every day through new franchises opening in Australia.
However, there are still some false presumptions among potential franchisees. There is a belief by franchisees that success in a franchise is instant and easy. Having a franchise is no guarantee of success. The franchisees still need to do all the hard work, to make it a success.
Kate Groom, General Manager of Signwave, agrees there's one common notion: "That it's easy running a small business in a franchise because the franchisor will provide a solution. A good franchisor will provide a good brand and excellent systems and exceptional training. But at the end of the day, the franchisee has to run and operate the business successfully and profitably and it's their responsibility to do that. If you want to get the outcomes you came into the business for, there is a lot of hard work. It will be a lot harder in many cases than the job you left, this will be the hardest thing you've ever done."
Brendan Greene, Managing Director of Hire-A-Hubby also ads: "Your chances are certainly enhanced there's no doubt about it, we've got a proven system of methodology that is a successful business model. But it requires input from the franchisee. It's not a case of buy a franchise rub your hands together and go cool, now these guys are going to look after me."
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number and variety of franchises, which have been keenly sought as tenants in shopping centres. This increase in competition has lead to dramatic rises in rents in these shopping centre, eroding profits, and leaving franchisees to work harder and harder.
However, the Franchise Council of Australia and Deloitte still consider franchises far more successful than normal businesses. They enjoy a success rate 2.5 times greater than stand-alone small businesses. Significantly, only about one percent of franchisees leave their businesses each year.
Noel Carroll of Michel's Patisserie offers this advice on buying a franchise: “Getting objective, independent opinions about a franchise is the best form of research before committing to buy. We always say to people when they come to us 'don't listen to us'. Convince yourself by other people, talk to franchisees, talk to marketing managers of shopping centres, talk to landlords, to other people in the industry, talk to other franchise systems and come to us when you've talked to everybody."
But while the franchising industry enjoys a steady growth period, it also faces some substantial reshaping in the next few years, due to these problems, grievances and perceived notions of “instant” success.
[Source: Franchise Council of Australia www.franchise.org.au & Deloitte ]
Three steps for avoiding e-mail viruses
What are Viruses?
Viruses (and their counterparts, worms and Trojan horses) are purposely malicious programs that run on your computer.
What do they do?
Some viruses delete or change files. Others consume computer resources. Some allow outsiders to access your files. One of the more ominous characteristics of viruses is that they can replicate (or copy) themselves. A virus can grab e-mail addresses from your contacts list and send itself out to those addresses. Virus-infections can spread throughout your computers and cause serious downtime and data loss.
Embedded viruses simply run when the page or e-mail is viewed, with users often having no idea what's happening. Sometimes users are lured into opening and running these programs through enticing or deliberately misleading messages.
Here are three things you can do to help thwart viruses:
How do you know if your computer is infected with a virus?
These are the signs that your computer maybe infected with a virus, worm or trojan:
[Source: Microsoft Business Network]
by SDS Consulting 2005