Unilever Americas just opened a sustainable plant in Mexico that will double their national production of deodorants into markets all over the world including Canada, Mexico, the US, Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia. The new plant will serve as a positive example for operational sustainability and… overall green business initiatives for a large number of plants globally. This sustainable plant will manufacture Axe, Rexona, and Dove. The plant located in Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos, contains solar energy photovoltaic panels, a state of the art rainwater capture system, permeable asphalt, and modern manufacturing technology to help reduce energy consumption. The senior vice president of supply for Unilever Americas stated, “In the next factory we design, we will use exactly the same elements.” The sustainable plant is 150,694 square feet and is in an extremely desirable location in Mexico, making manufacturing and distribution easier, more cost effective, and timelier. This venture intends to not only directly benefit the environment but also raise awareness on the current consumption of natural resources and reduce energy consumption.
Baja Sun Energy SRL announced that they will be investing more than $500 million over the next four years in the first solar energy business in Mexico. In addition to contributing to a move towards conscious environmental development and the expansion of renewable energy businesses in Mexico, Baja Sun Energy is… anticipated to provide a significant source of employment for some 2,000 individuals. The company is thought to develop a solar-panel factory at the Silicon Border CleanTECH Park in Mexicali, Mexico, and provide energy resources to Mexico and the United States. This development is part of an environmental project featuring Taiwanese company Arima EcoEnergy, Silicon Border, a technological park near Mexicali, and the Mexican development firm, Grupo Maiz. The plant is projected to produce 25-megawatts of electricity, with the anticipation to soon produce up to 100-150 megawatts of energy. Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan stated at a ceremony in Taipei, “Mexico has more sunshine per capita than most countries in the world.” He went on to say, “Mexico can be one of the world’s largest players in this process given our cost and location advantages.” This project is part of an imperative group of 335 other renewable energy businesses existing in North America and the Caribbean today, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. The opening of this solar energy business important not only for Mexico’s livelihood, but also for that of the entire global population. With regard to the development of the renewable energy business, Arima Group Chairman Steven Lee said, “We are very optimistic about this new venture that will expand our product reach to the Americas while we cover Asia and the rest of the world. While we are confident that the experienced team of Baja Sun can do the job with our support, we find that the Government support for this project and Arima Eco ensures the success of this exciting project.”
Mexico announced that it will ban shark and sting ray fishing, the largest single shark conservation effort ever made by one nation. Mexico has banned shark and stingray fishing in both its territorial waters and its exclusive economic zone, including the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of… Mexico. Mexico joins an international movement to stop illegal fishing joining such nations as Palau, Honduras and Colombia. In the United States, 5 individual shark sanctuaries have already been established.
The goal of these shark sanctuaries is to protect pregnant female and newborn sharks and stingrays. In many parts of Asia, shark fin is eaten as a delicacy, leading to overfishing that threatens the shark population. Conservationists estimate that about 73 million sharks are slaughtered each year, and that illegal fishing of sharks will drive 30 percent of shark species to the brink of extinction.
Mexico was praised by international environmental groups for taking this step. "I think that's a tremendous development," said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Environment Group. "Mexico is a big fishing nation, it's a very important nation globally, and that's a tremendous statement that was made."
Mexico City –The Global Resources Environmental & Energy Network (GREEN) Expo 2011 was held from the 27th to the 29th of September at the World Trade Center with more than seven thousand visitors –14 percent more visitors and 40 percent more companies present than last year.
"The importance of this event in Mexico is for businesses to become more responsible with the environment while at the same time, become more competitive and transfer its good practices to its production chains in order to boost small and medium enterprises," said Carlos Sandoval, President of the National Congress of Industrial Ecologists (CONIECO).
Organized by EJ Krause and CONIECO, the Expo received 250 different companies and more than 400 brands from countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada, France, China, Spain, United States, Italy and Czech Republic.
It brought together businesses from a variety of industries, environmental experts, government representatives, and civil society to share knowledge as well as products and services to shift towards a greener economy in Mexico.
At the Opening Ceremony, Mexico’s Environment Minister, Juan Rafael Elvira Quezada, emphasized that the private and public sectors need to unite their efforts to create further opportunities for a greener economy in Mexico.
"The three levels of government as well as the private sector need to shift towards a green economy in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, become more competitive and create green jobs," said Elvira Quezada.
This is why he announced that the Federal Government is opening in the coming months a Center for Green Economy, to generate more links with the private sector. This institution will be financed with federal capital together with financial aid from other countries.
"The purpose of this Center is to prepare the enterprises and our economy to become greener, so that the commercial balance is green, so that we consume less petroleum and that we align our policies towards a green economy," he stated.
The Minister also mentioned that this institution pretends to design public policies of development with low emissions as well as facilitate the adoption and transfer of sustainable technologies.
"Last December, President Calderon announced the creation of this Center which we have been working on. Its main purpose will be to create agreements together with the private sector in order to build a stronger green economy," he said.
Furthermore, The GREEN Expo hosted the XIX CONIECO International Environmental Conference, where leading national and international environmental experts presented their investigations on four subject matters: Enviro Pro (emissions management and waste; PowerMex Clean Energy & Efficiency; WaterMex and GreenCity with 100 conferences and more than 150 different speakers from both the private and public sectors.
At the Closing Ceremony, Martha Delgado Peralta, Environment Minister of Mexico City, reported the progress of the fourth year of implementation of the Green Program with regards to public spaces, clean water, climate change, transport, air quality, waste management, renewable energy and green roofs.
The goal is to reduce seven million tons of carbon dioxide by 2012 and she said that to this date, an amount of 5.7 million tons of carbon dioxide have been reduced.
The Minister also mentioned the Bicycle Mobility Strategy, which includes infrastructure construction for cyclists; the Education Program "Road Cyclist"; the Individual Transportation System ECOBICI and the Program "Move by Bike."
She added that the Green Plan is also a tool for achieving equality and equity conditions in Mexico City as more so today, "it shows that the economy is not at odds with the environment."
The costs of acquiring raw materials are already giving business opportunities and return on investment as a consequence of decreasing pollution: "More and more, Mexico City will be economically viable and must welcome all technological innovations," she concluded.
Next year, the Green Expo will be held from the 25 until 27th of September 2012.
For more information: http://www.thegreenexpo.com.mx/2011/02-infogral11.html
The Government of Mexico is making intensified efforts to bring a stop to habitat degradation. The Governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, was quoted stating at the opening of the Management, Regulation, and Forest Health Course in the Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada auditorium, in Jalapa, that all… branches and affiliates of the government and Mexican population need to work together in order to address certain environmental issues that have plagued the Mexican community, as well as the global community. He’s already personally taken steps to assure a positive environmental movement of conservation efforts, towards sustainability and green living by creating a Secretariat who will address environmental issues.
He claimed, “Our participation and the use of tools aimed to facilitate sustainable forest development are the keys to success in creating a better future for future generations.” He went on to say that, “If we all cooperate, we will achieve a greener Mexico, that looks after the environment, and as a result, we will live in a more prosperous country.” The variety of environmental and natural resources in Mexico makes it possible to use the environment to better society on both an economic level and a personal level. With a great diversity of natural resources in Mexico, the Mexican government has focused its attention on promoting a sustainable environment through conservation efforts that encourage a positive job market. In turn, these conservation efforts will help combat poverty and habitat degradation.
Duarte de Ochoa concluded, “Without water from the mountain forests, there would be no life, or irrigation and intensive farming. Without forests purifying the air, we would not have a very good quality of life. It is the vegetation of forest ecosystems that provides us with a better life and better air quality.” Taking care of the environment can not only lead to an improvement in the ecology of society, but can also benefit the health of society as a whole.
Members of the Fraternidad Sinaloense have returned to Mazatlán, a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, to be part of the 3X1 program. José Angel Barajas, one of the leading figures of the Fraternidad Sinaloense, lives in California and believes that his group can help rehabilitate… the Malecón. The repairs are estimated to take place between the Fisherman’s monument and Valentino’s.
The 3X1 program was created in order to provide an outlet for Mexican migrants to supply financial resources for their hometowns through public service and community-based projects. In essence, the program is a matching fund scheme that provides a positive link between Mexican migrants and the Mexican government, while strengthening Mexican populations abroad. Migrants donate money, time, and supplies and then in turn, the government donates funds to specific community-based projects. The Fraternidad Sinaloense project is projected to work with the help of SEDESOL (Federal Secretary of Social Development) and the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa.
Mexico is beginning to move towards the development of a more sustainable industrial economy. With efforts focused on a building low-carbon economy, sustainable investment in Mexico is looking favorable. Furthermore, Mexico-based multinationals will benefit from these positive environmental improvements. For example,… GreenTEK Ventures, based in Switzerland, recently created their Mexico Fund I with the hope of supporting efforts to combat climate change in Mexico.
The Director of GreenTEK Ventures Mexico, Jos Golffier stated, “We have seen some very interesting developments in energy efficiency.” He went on to claim that, “there are some great opportunities to be had because we’re not just talking about energy-saving light bulbs, we’re talking about ultra-efficient equipment to generate electricity.” He believes that there are a variety of opportunities for sustainable investment in Mexico, especially with its move towards a more green economy. Golffier concluded that, “We believe Mexico has what it takes to be one of the world’s leading players.”
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has initiated a movement to elevate the issue of global warming, which is intended to trigger conservation efforts on a universal level.
Gore recently stated, "The political process has been paralyzed by this strategy of creating false doubt." In order to fight against this misrepresentation of “global warming” by some individuals in the political and public spheres, Gore has decided to launch a venture called his Climate Reality Project. Today, Gore’s Climate Reality Project will start in Mexico City at 7 p.m. and will then move to a designated city in each time zone every hour. In each city, a 30-minute slideshow presentation focused on global environmental change, as well as a discussion with a live audience, will occur. The presentations have been made in 13 languages and will occur in 24 different cities throughout this 24-hour period. The presentation will conclude in New York City with an appearance by Gore himself.
The initiative’s launch in Mexico City is no coincidence. As a result of Mexico City’s geographical location, the city is incredibly prone to environmental disasters like flooding and droughts. Gerardo Pandal, a local resident of Mexico City and a consultant for a company called Environmental Consciousness, will present today, bringing attention to the need for conservation efforts and serving as a call to action for individuals across the world.
Solar power is becoming more prevalent throughout North America. Just ask the SunPower Corporation, a company responsible for designing and producing the highest quality solar panels and systems around.
SunPower Corporation announced plans on August 5 of owning and operating a solar panel manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico. The Industrial Development Commission of Mexicali assisted SunPower in choosing the facility location where SunPower decided to build a 320,000 square feet facility.
Products like the E18, E19, and E20 series solar panels will be manufactured at the new Mexicali factory. The facility will also produce the SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile system at the plant.
Mexicali Mayor Francisco Perez Tejada Padilla, explains, "Mexicali is rapidly becoming an industrial hub for high tech companies, offering an educated workforce and a growing manufacturing area." He adds, “We welcome SunPower to our city and are pleased that they have chosen Mexicali to establish its solar panel manufacturing facility."
According to a 2009 report, “The Economics of Climate Change in Mexico,” approximately 4 million people in Mexico live in 25 coastal towns susceptible to the effects of global warming. In addition to affecting local environments and economies, floods and other natural disasters have taken a toll on women in… the region, who are traditionally more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
"We have been seeing the negative effects of climate change for a long time now, along with problems in terms of gender equality and empowerment of women," said Itzá Castañeda, gender adviser at the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) Mexico country office.
However, there is hope when it comes to empowerment, women and the environment. Women in Mexico are working together to combat the effects of climate change. To combat the influence of climate change in Mexico on the local eco-system, women in San Felipe founded Mujeres Trabajadoras del Mar, a women’s cooperative, in 1999. Trained in mangrove ecology, the women from the collective played a vital role restoring mangroves in the area after Hurricane Isidore hit the region hard in 2002.
Like the fisherwomen of San Felipe, women in other coastal communities affected by climate change are banding together and taking up initiatives aimed at mitigating the effects of global warming.
With regard to women and the environment, Greenpeace Mexico spokeswoman Cecilia Navarro said, "Decisions that don't take women into account cannot be adopted, because women are the most exposed to the impact of climate change. They live in the most degraded ecosystems, on land where they face precarious soil conditions and scarcity of water.”
"By including a gender angle, we are going to bring about climate justice for the most vulnerable, and help tip the climate balance," she added.
A new study showcased on Science News reports that the national marine park in Mexico’s Gulf of California, has seen a total mass of its denizens more than quintupled, in the past 14 years. …
A 1.2-meter-long gulf grouper (Mycteroperca jordani) is among the large predators that have returned to Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park after a fishing ban. The park has also witnessed Pacific tunas, sharks visiting to dine on the park’s reef fish.
“People who object to marine protected areas, especially to strong protection like here, often say there is no proof that they work,” says Elliott Norse of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute in Bellevue, Washington. “Well, this is the proof.”
Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is situated where the Gulf opens into the Pacific. It is a tourist destination, known for its great diving and snorkeling. The Park has a beautiful coral reef. “Since 1995, 35 percent of the park’s waters have been off limits to fishing, but local communities informally extended the no-take zone to the rest of the park,” says Octavio Aburto-Oropeza of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.
Mexico is using the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning System (LEAP) and RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software to curb greenhouse gas emission and create 500,000 more green technology jobs, according to the global environmental watchdog Greenpeace. …
LEAP has already been so successful that it has hundreds of users, including consulting companies and energy utilities, in more than 150 countries worldwide. It is quickly becoming the de facto standard for countries undertaking integrated energy resource planning and greenhouse gas mitigation assessments like those in Mexico.
"The program enables a rapid assessment of the feasibility of these projects, given the decision-making tools for evaluating various options and focusing on the most viable," according to RETScreen engineer Kevin Bourque.
RETScreen Clean Energy Jobs has also been extremely successful and includes product, project, hydrology and climate databases, and has been adopted by more than 300,000 users in 222 countries and territories, with 1,000 new users a week. It is already used in 300 universities, including 19 in Latin America, and has been translated into 36 languages.
In 2010, the software had 2,661 users in Mexico, which ranked 19 among countries where RETScreen is used most frequently. For example, four students from Humboldt State University in the United States used it to assess the viability of building a mini hydroelectric dam in a community near the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.
For long-term planning, the Federal Electricity Commission of Mexico uses the MARKAL (Market Allocation) model, an analytical tool developed by the International Energy Agency.
According to the Environment Ministry, Mexico’s emissions of carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, total 709 million tons a year. Most of these emissions are produced by the generation and consumption of energy. Tools like LEAP and RETScreen can help jump-start the green economy, based on income-generating activities like creating more green technology jobs that contribute to the well-being of humans without harming the environment.
The blue agave plant is well known as the source of the Mexican beverage Tequila; but now it is getting known for another benefit as the plant may provide a solution to conquering our growing climate crisis. A new study reveals an advancement in biofuel technology in that blue agave can be transformed into… biofuels while enduring harsh environments.
"Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land," and therefore would not displace food crops, said Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford.
Unlike ethanol, which is derived from corn and has been criticized for driving up grain prices to record levels, the desert plants could cut emissions from transport without impacting the price of food.
Ina recent study, Inderwildi, head of low-carbon mobility at Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said the research published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science is the first comprehensive biofuel research on the life-cycle of the energy and greenhouse gas balance for agave-derived ethanol. The team found the production of agave-ethanol led to the net emission of 35g of carbon dioxide for each megajoule of energy, far lower than the 85g/MJ estimated for corn ethanol. In comparison, burning gasoline emits about 100g/MJ and some estimates of corn ethanol suggest it is worse than gasoline. The study considered every part of the production cycle, from fertilizer use, drying and even machinery lubricants, as well as the electricity generated by burning the crop residue.
Andrew Smith, a plant scientist at the University of Oxford and a member of the research team, added, “The characteristics of the agave suit it well to bioenergy production, but also reveal its potential as a crop that is adaptable to future climate change. In a world where arable land and water resources are increasingly scarce, these are key attributes in the food versus fuel argument, which is likely to intensify given the expected large-scale growth in biofuel production.”
Agave biofuel research trials are already taking place, in Australia for example. But some experts think abandoned agave plantations in Mexico and Africa could be reclaimed for biofuel technology. These agave plantations were used to produce the fiber sisal, used in rope and dartboards, but fell into disuse as it was replaced by plastics.
In the space of a couple of years, Mexico’s largely pro-recycling plastics industry has demonstrated that using plastic bags can still be environmentally friendly.
The Mexico City environmental minister, Martha Teresa Delgado Peralta, published a list of norms for the industry in the capital’s Official Gazette in late July. It is pro-recycling, in favor of using biodegradable processes.
“I’m very pleased because everything we proposed was accepted,” said De la Tijera, a co-owner of Grupo Texne, of Mexico City. “About 10 percent of the content of plastic bags distributed to shoppers in the capital must be recycled material, which is already a standard.” Morelia, Michoacan-based Hernández said Inboplast’s partners have raised the percentage of recycled material in their bags from 18 to 25 percent, more than half of their target of 40 percent, in just six months.
Inboplast, which has monthly sales of $93 million and 10,000 employees, according to Hernández, put a $2.1 million recycling plant in the municipality of Arandas, in the western state of Jalisco, in January. The norms, which also oblige store owners to promote garbage separation, will be applicable from next July.
As for the previous bag ban legislation, “it’s completely dead and there’s no chance that it will be revived, despite the resistance of some legislators,” De la Tijera said, describing it as a victory for Inboplast and Antad (Asociación Nacional de Tiendas de Autoservicio y Departamentales AC).
De la Tijera believes many state and municipal governments, that often follow the capital’s lead on legislation, will now change their anti-recycling attitudes in favor of using plastics bags.