Delegation from Asia visit Green Cross in Geneva

Green Cross International had the pleasure to welcome a special delegation from various universities and schools in Taipei (including Taipei University, Tamkang University, National Chengchi University, the Taiwan University of Arts, the Fu Jen Catholic University, the National Chiayi University and various other schools) to Geneva on Tuesday, 14 July. Adam Koniuszewski gave a lecture on global environmental challenges, green economy opportunities and the stakes of the Paris Climate Conference with a focus on food security and climate change.

An animated exchange followed during which the roles and responsibilities of developed and developing nations were discussed as well as ways in which the delegates could become active participants in building a better and more sustainable world.

Adam gave examples of enterprises and governments that are adopting a more sustainable approach to development, not because they are particularly conscious of environmental issues but because it is so profitable from an economic point of view. Reducing waste and inefficiency has become an important source of cost reductions and a way to improve competitiveness. “Forward looking organizations are driving innovations that are helping them reduce their environmental footprints while boosting profitability. The remanufacture of equipment by Caterpillar helps them reduce energy use by 85%, water use by 86% and carbon emissions by 61%. It also helps boost employment as remanufacturing is more labor intensive,” said Adam. “The development of remanufacturing is a great example of the move towards a more circular economic model,” he added.

In terms of food production and more sustainable use of water resources Adam illustrated that major improvements are possible that help reconcile environment and economy. In Senegal, Green Cross has developed organic farming on 60 hectares of abandoned land using a drip irrigation system powered by solar panels instead of the traditional diesel generators. This has helped reduce water extraction from the Senegal River by over 70%, carbon emissions by over 80% and allowed the production of organic vegetables at attractive prices. This created sustainable jobs for close to 1,000 people and helped illustrate how environment and economy can go hand in hand.

After visiting several other Geneva-based organizations, the delegation will head to Italy to attend the “Feeding the Planet” Milano 2015 Expo.

The session was closed with a special ceremony and exchange of gifts from Mr. Hsin-Tsun Yeh, Senior Executive Officer of the Division of Student Affairs and Security, Mr. Tsao Hsueh-Jen, Principal of the National Lan-Yang School, and Mr. Richard Huang who coordinated the visit.

The delegation was invited to attend the “Green and Inclusive Economy Conference” that will take place in Geneva on October 6-7.