Millennium Consumption Goals for the Willing!

The MCG approach is action-oriented, pluralistic, multi-level and transnational. Anyone who is willing can make a start and contribute NOW. While the initiative is pursued at the UN and international levels, progress can be made more rapidly at the grass roots.

Many communities, companies and cities have already announced targets for carbon emissions, energy and water conservation, etc., which constitute their own form of MCG. Those who take early action will be at a competitive advantage, as we enter a future constrained by resource shortages.

Individual action can also make a difference. I have already set out one personal MCG – to ensure that my (considerable) international travel is fully carbon neutral in 2011 and thereafter. Air travel is the cause of the great bulk of my GHG emissions. Here is my plan. First, I am reducing my air travel to the minimum possible, by substituting for it with videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other types of electronic communication.

Second, for the irreducible overseas travel I have to undertake, the resulting carbon emissions will be offset by planting trees. A carbon calculator is used to estimate the greenhouse gases from my air travel. I am a stakeholder in a small carbon offset company, which will then plant trees to absorb the appropriate amount of carbon from the atmosphere. I am able to personally inspect the growth of “my” trees.

Finally, there are many other benefits. The whole process helps to make development more sustainable in Sri Lanka, in environmental, economic and social terms. The trees provide environmental benefits like watershed and soil protection, nutrient recycling and other ecosystem services. Economic and social gains also occur, because the tree plantation is managed by several small farmers. They now have sustainable livelihoods that help them emerge from poverty, and support families with young children who need food, clothing, shelter and school supplies.

Join us today!

Mohan Munasinghe
January 2011.

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2 Responses to Millennium Consumption Goals for the Willing!

  1. Morton Deutsch says:

    I am a social psychoogist who has been much honored for my work in the areas of: cooperation-competition, conflict resolution, social justice, and peace. I am currently writing a chapter on forming a global community for a book that I am coediting on the psychological components of a sustainable, humane peace. The approach that you outline is consistent with our emphasis on a bottom-up aproach to bring about change.

  2. Novozymes says:

    75 MT CO2 reductions in 2015 together with our customers
    The world should be seen as interconnected and of course business and consumers should be seen as interconnected. Products should be considered in context all the way through steps of production and consumption – in the whole product life cycle.

    When Novozymes a few years back decided on the target of “enabling a 75 million ton reduction in CO2 emissions in 2015 through our customers’ application of our products” ( it was a consequence of a simple fact: The only way we can really make a difference is by means of our products together with our customers. We are steadily approaching the target and for 2011 the target is a 45 million ton emission reduction. The Novozymes target is a voluntary Millennium Consumption Goal (MCG) that supports the recently launched global Millennium Consumption Goals Initiative (MCGI).

    Documentation of carbon footprints
    The figures above – 75 or 45 million ton CO2 – represent Novozymes’ ambition of having a negative “carbon footprint” of a significant size. Such claims call for documentation, and considering products in context and making assessments of environmental impact of products takes product life cycle assessments (LCA).

    For about seven years, the majority of Novozymes’ product groups have undergone life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a scientifically based study of a product’s positive and negative environmental impacts throughout its life cycle: from extraction of resources through production to use and final disposal of the product.

    Significant change takes innovation
    Development and improvements call for insights, overview, and management. In Novozymes all pipeline discovery and development projects in R&D are passed through a “mini life cycle assessment,” known as a pipeline LCA. All pipeline LCAs are based on assumptions concerning the production of the enzyme together with its impacts and effectiveness during use.

    Impact takes cooperation
    Results of LCAs are used in our dialogue with Novozymes’ customers concerning both enzyme technology and product quality. However, it has to be even broader – sustainability calls for inclusivity. In August 2010, Novozymes became a founding member of The Sustainability Consortium, a new global organization aiming at improving the consumer products with regard to not least environmental impact. The consortium represents a diverse group of stakeholders with the mission of promoting a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic issues. The aim is to drive research and develop standards for product sustainability from a life cycle perspective. The consortium’s goal of changing the consumer market supports Novozymes’ ambition of changing the world together with our customers and partners, and driving the world toward sustainability. Novozymes decided to be a founding member of the consortium to help develop new standards and strategies that will create more sustainable consumer products for the future.

    For further information about LCA studies conducted by Novozymes during the year, please see our Annual Report: