Event topics

[Circular Economy] Walk lightly and don't leave a carbon footprint
Kind: Event topics  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2020-09-01 09:48
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When you buy a food product, do you take note of its total calories? How about its carbon footprint?

With extreme climate events becoming more frequent, climate change has become one of the most difficult problems of this century. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become the most important means of combating climate change, and the "carbon footprint" mark has come to be viewed with greater importance. The term "carbon footprint" refers to the total greenhouse gases caused by an individual, event, organization or product, and can be used to measure the impact of human activity on the environment. For a product, the carbon footprint includes the whole lifecycle, including all stages of production from raw material extraction to final product delivery, as well as the emissions generated when the product is used and also after it is discarded and recycled.

Have you ever tried Hey-Song sarsaparilla? It's been a favorite among Taiwan consumers since the 1950s, with total sales topping more than 5.5 billion bottles over its long history. The producers of this popular beverage have become the first organization in Taiwan’s food industry to receive BSI’s certification to PAS2050, the carbon footprint standard which was launched in 2008. With the rise of green tourism, surveys by global booking websites reveal that 65 percent of travelers are willing to choose environmentally-friendly green hotel accommodation. Within Taiwan, accommodation providers have responded to rising environmental awareness and can now calculate their "carbon footprint emissions," achieving "paperless rooms" and even creating "low-carbon buildings," and starting from water resources, energy and ecological protection. Fullon Hotel Taoyuan is the first star hotel with a carbon footprint label in Taiwan.

All sectors have been working toward climate change mitigation. In April 2019, Swedish fintech startup Doconomy, working with Mastercard, launched “DO Black,” the world’s first credit card with a carbon limit, with the aim of promoting more responsible consumption. The card enables users to track and measure their CO2 emissions, and also invites them to offset their carbon footprint through projects meeting the criteria of U.N. certified green projects.

Pursuing carbon reduction and low-carbon in our daily lives such as by choosing to commute by public transportation can contribute to climate change mitigation. According Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration, carbon emissions from transportation including airplanes and cars account for about 14 percent of the total. If we can change our commuting habits, by for instance instead taking the MRT or carpooling, this will help reduce emissions and air pollution. While choosing the option of walking or cycling to work has the added benefits of exercise. Energy-saving air conditioners can also make a difference. Using one of these instead of a conventional A/C to cool a room of 10 ping (1 ping equals about 3.305 square meters) in size for a full year results in 500-700 kW/h in electricity savings and a reduction in carbon emissions of 300-400 kg.

Over the past 50 years, global plastic production has increased more than 20-fold and now accounts for 6 percent of total global carbon emissions, equal to the aviation industry’s share. Reducing plastic use not only protects the environment and avoids harm of innocent creatures but also cuts carbon emissions and helps prevent intensification of climate change. Other environmentally-friendly practical actions to reduce emissions include using energy-saving lightbulbs, eating less meat, using local seasonal ingredients to reduce food mileage, and switching to environmentally friendly cups and chopsticks.

It is our hope that the world’s citizens will take more action to protect the environment that we depend on for survival and reduce environmental harm in order to leave a greener and more livable world for future generations.
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Update: 2020-04-17
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