Tharman: Collective leadership needed on sustainability

Chang Ai-Lien Straits Times 20 Nov 18;

The widespread adoption by the corporate sector of sustainable practices will not come automatically, or quickly enough, if this is left entirely to market forces, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam last night.

The companies that have moved beyond the rhetoric of sustainability, to actually alter business models and practices, are in the minority everywhere in the world, he pointed out.

There are two realities to contend with in virtually all economies, he said. One is short-termism - the trade-off between short-term returns, which drive many shareholder decisions, and long-term impact. The second is the trade-off between shareholder returns and those of all stakeholders in society.

"If we wait for markets to provide the incentives, we will lose a critical window of opportunity to address the looming challenges of climate change, depletion of natural resources and loss of biodiversity - all of which will threaten the next generation.

"This is why governments and regulatory bodies need to step in to implement policies that will incentivise sustainable practices; why all countries have to move together; and why there is a critical role for collective leadership through international and multilateral organisations."

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Indonesia: Dead whale had 115 plastic cups, 2 flip-flops in its stomach

Associated Press 20 Nov 18;

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A dead whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia had a large lump of plastic waste in its stomach, including drinking cups and flip-flops, a park official said Tuesday, causing concern among environmentalists and government officials in one of the world’s largest plastic polluting countries.

Rescuers from Wakatobi National Park found the rotting carcass of the 9.5-meter (31-foot) sperm whale late Monday near the park in Southeast Sulawesi province after receiving a report from environmentalists that villagers had surrounded the dead whale and were beginning to butcher the rotting carcass, park chief Heri Santoso said.

Santoso said researchers from wildlife conservation group WWF and the park’s conservation academy found about 5.9 kilograms (13 pounds) of plastic waste in the animal’s stomach containing 115 plastic cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags, 2 flip-flops, a nylon sack and more than 1,000 other assorted pieces of plastic.

“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” said Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation coordinator at WWF Indonesia.

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Indonesia: Flooding forces elephants to enter residential area

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 20 Nov 18;

Floods have forced a herd of 11 wild elephants to flee their natural habitat and enter plantation areas located near a residential compound in Tapung district, Kampar regency, Riau province.

The elephants had reportedly eaten and destroyed a cassava plantation, young oil palms and other plants before they went into hiding in the bushes located some 3 to 4 kilometers from the residential area.

The head of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA), Heru Sutmantoro, said the plantations were in what was originally the natural habitat of the wild elephants, which move from one place to another between Pekanbaru, Kampar and Siak.

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