Beijing sees increase of 17,000 battery electric vehicles in H118, leading other China cities
China Knowledge Online
Aug 08, 2018

Aug 02, 2018 (China Knowledge) - Beijing saw an increase of 17,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the first half of 2018, according to, China's national online news service. By the end of June, a total of 188,000 BEVs had been sold in Beijing, accounting for 11.6% of the country's total. Of that, 140,000 were sold to individuals and companies and 48,000 were used in the public sphere.

Beijing's new energy automobile industry is also developing quickly. In the first half of this year, automaker BAIC BJEV sold 53,598 new energy vehicles, up 79% year-on-year. There are 130,000 charging stations all over the city, including 93,000 privately installed for home use, 20,000 accessible to the general public, and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.

Beijing government took the lead nationwide in abolishing the pre-registration system for new energy vehicles. In July 2018, the Beijing Municipal Finance Bureau and other relevant authorities jointly issued a new notice to subsidize new energy vehicles (including BEVs and fuel cell vehicles).

Under a draft version of the "Action Plan for the Promotion and Application of New Energy Smart Vehicles in Beijing (2018-2020)," by 2020, the total number of new energy vehicles sold in Beijing is to exceed 400,000.

To achieve that goal, Beijing will increase the usage of electric vehicles in key fields such as taxis, public transport, and logistics. By the end of 2020, the capital aims to expand the demonstration scale of battery electric taxis, and raise the proportion of newly-added taxis that use new energy to 80%.

The city will continue to promote the electrification of public transport, and all buses used in central urban areas and the sub-center will all be replaced by electric vehicles. In the fields of logistics, vehicles for postal services, express delivery (under 4.5 tons) and logistics distribution (under 4.5 tons) will be largely replaced with electric vehicles.

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Time to Say Goodbye to Plastic Straws, but What's the Best Alternative
Aug 06, 2018

Companies in Taiwan and the world are phasing out the use of plastic straws in the name of protecting the environment and marine life. How much impact could banning plastic straws really make? What is the best replacement for plastic straws?

The once ubiquitous and popular item has become a symbol of our throw-away culture and the proliferation of non-recyclable materials. In the US and UK alone, 550 million plastic straws are thrown away every day, according to Plastic Oceans Foundation.

Along with single-use carrier bags and disposable cups, the plastic straw’s fall from grace has gone hand-in-hand with an increasing awareness of the damage they are causing, particularly to marine life. Around 8 million tons of plastic waste end up in the world’s oceans each year, according to the United Nations Environment Assembly.

After the BBC television programme Blue Planet 2 underscored the devastating effects plastic can have on sea creatures, and millions of people watched a video of researchers extracting a straw from the nostril of a sea turtle, companies and governments have started to take action.

Starbucks is one example. The global coffee chain said it plans to phase out the 1 billion plastic straws it uses each year by 2020. Demand for straws had been increasing alongside the popularity of cold drinks, it said, with cold beverages making up half of all sales in 2017, up from 37% five years ago. Soon, when you visit Starbucks for a cold drink, you’ll be offered a recyclable lid you can sip through.

The company joins other high-profile brands moving away from straws. McDonald’s is replacing plastic straws with paper ones in all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland and plans to start testing alternatives the US, France, Sweden, Norway and Australia.

IKEA will ban plastic straws in the UK and Ireland later this year and plans to remove single-use plastics from its global product range by the end of the decade. And Hyatt Hotels Corporation said that from September plastic straws and drink picks will be offered “on request only and eco-friendly alternatives will be provided where available.” Even the Queen of England has turned anti-straw.

But not everyone is happy about the straw’s demise, since they are helpful for people that can’t raise a cup to their mouth to drink. And while Starbucks has responded to these concerns, saying anyone who needs a straw can request one made of “alternative materials,” the benefits may prove difficult to match.

Others have questioned how much banning plastic straws will actually help. Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist estimates that straws make up a relatively small proportion of all plastic waste in the oceans and argues that clamping down in other areas, for example reducing how much old fishing gear is dumped and lessening company waste, would be more effective than banning straws.

For disabled people and the elderly, plastic straws are flexible and can withstand the temperature of hot coffee, tea or soup, making them useful for eating and drinking. And campaigners say the alternatives -- which include paper, glass or stainless steel -- are unsuitable for use because they either disintegrate or conduct heat.

The World Health Organisation estimates that there are more than 600 million people with disability in the world, and while not all of those will need to use straws to eat and drink, it does give some idea of the scale of the issue.

In Seattle, where a ban came into effect on 1 July, the law says companies can make exceptions for people who require plastic straws. Even so, disability rights groups said firms don’t fully understand that they can still offer straws to those that need them, and the alternatives offered aren’t adequate replacements.

Some campaigners complain that companies and governments are acting in response to their concerns -- changing policies after they’ve been implemented -- rather than proactively considering disability needs when shaping legislation. Scotland’s government wants to outlaw plastic straws by the end of 2019 and has appointed a disability adviser to its expert panel to help make sure “the actions taken do not disproportionately affect disabled people.”

Putting the onus on disabled people to remember their own straws or wash a reusable alternative isn’t a viable or fair solution, campaigners say, as in many cases they may not be able to do so and if they forget to carry a straw with them the consequences of dehydration could be severe.

In a blog post on Greenpeace’s web site, Jamie Szymkowiak, the co-Founder of disability rights group, One in Five, called on manufacturers to produce an environmentally friendly flexible non-plastic straw that is suitable for hot and cold drinks.

Paper is unsuitable because it becomes soggy and a choking risk, he says. Silicone alternatives are not flexible enough and metal, glass and bamboo present dangers for people who have difficulty controlling their bite.

While in their current form, plastic straws can take between 100 and 1,000 years to decompose, biodegradable plastics may offer a viable alternative, since they can break down in as little as 12 weeks under the right conditions. Shunned so far because they cost more than double traditional plastic and because they can’t be easily distinguished from their non-biodegradable cousins, they may yet become part of the way forward.

“We must all work together to demand an environmentally friendly solution that meets all our needs, including those of disabled people,” Szymkowiak says.

“As we move to ridding our oceans, beaches and parks of unnecessary single-use plastics, disabled people shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat by large corporations, or governments, unwilling to push suppliers and manufacturers to produce a better solution.”

By Emma Charlton

Edited by Shawn Chou

NTU Team Develops Novel Carbon Adsorption and Conversion Technology
Aug 03, 2018

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has recently carried out several strategic projects, including the National Energy Program and the Circular Materials Program, to achieve energy conservation and carbon mitigation. A research team from the NTU Department of Chemical Engineering has collaborated on these two projects and successfully developed the world-leading innovation: "Hollow Metal Fiber Supported Sorbents for Carbon Dioxide Adsorption/Catalytic Conversion System." The technologies have received several global recognitions. The patented technology of carbon dioxide adsorbents secured the gold medal in the 2016 Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX), Pittsburgh, the United States. The key technologies of the carbon separation and conversion process were also granted the 14th National Innovation Award in 2017.

Furthermore, the research team headed by Prof. Kuo-Lun (Allan) Tung (童國倫) has established a startup company, ExtreMem Ind. Co., operating it under circular economy principles. The ExtreMem Co. mainly focuses on the manufacturing of membranes and other related products as well as the development of technologies for liquid treatments. In the future, the second startup company, BrightMem Co., will adopt new technologies from academia to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture modules and catalyst conversion technologies.

The massive production of carbon dioxide cannot be avoided due to the extensive use of coal power plants and the rapid growth of industries. Nowadays, as circular economy concepts become widespread, the carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies have been increasingly regarded as the best strategy to address carbon pollution. In light of this, the NTU research team pioneered the development of the Hollow Metal Fiber Supported Sorbents, which will be further applied in the CCU process. The spun fibers contain a high content of uniformly dispersed porous silica adsorbents with enormous specific surface areas (>500 m2/m3 ). With this feature, the sorbents can rapidly adsorb a large amount of carbon dioxide, producing high-concentration carbon dioxide and then allowing further utilization of this greenhouse gas. This innovative design has successfully overcome the shortcomings of conventional adsorption devices, including poor thermal efficiency and short lifespan. Moreover, the design is flexible and scalable. With this design, system throughput can be enhanced simply by connecting the devices in series/parallel arrangements, making this technology readily feasible for industrial applications.

For various CCU technologies, the desorption stage often takes up more than 70% of the operating costs. However, through system optimization, we can integrate and reuse waste heat produced from industrial plants, and thus significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture, making the whole process more economical and cost-effective.

Regarding carbon dioxide utilization, the NTU team has been developing novel nanoporous metal-organic framework materials that have both high catalytic power and high surface area, and can thus significantly speed up the reaction rate. This catalyst is used to start the reaction of propylene oxide and high-purity carbon dioxide captured in the previous stage to produce propylene carbonate (PC). The conversion rate can reach up to 75% within 24 hours. PC is one of the raw materials for producing high-value chemicals such as polypropylene carbonate (PPC), which is extensively used to manufacture bio-degradable foams, plates, disposable medical/food packaging materials and so forth. Hence, overall, this newly-developed integrated system can dramatically reduce carbon mitigation costs and facilitate the development of circular economy and circular materials.

SOURCE / National Taiwan University

Renewable energy summer school: a fruitful trip
Aug 03, 2018

Conor, one of the nine international students who were admitted into the first ever Renewable Energy Summer School, has enjoyed his time at ZJU working with the researchers here.

"I came to this program to do research but also to learn a little bit about China. I've really enjoyed that. Different people in my lab are incredibly inclusive and we've done a lot of good research together, which is important to me," said Connor from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Organized by ZJU’s College of Electrical Engineering, the summer school lasts from July 1 to July 21 this year. Nine students from five countries enjoyed the 20-day journey of renewable energy research and traditional Chinese culture experience on and outside campus.

"This is the first time that the College has held summer school program. We hope to establish a sustainable research platform and expand research cooperation with top universities through the program," said XU Wenyuan, the program leader.

Students were divided into several research groups based on their research interests. Topics they have been working on include "Intelligent System Security Research", "Fundamental Study on Wireless Charging System for Electric Vehicles", "Friendly Interactive Systems between Power Grids and Urban Electricity Consumers", etc.

Six professors, SHEN Jianxin, XU Wenyuan, DING Yi, LI Wuhua, MENG Jun and WU Lijian from College of Electrical Engineering serve as their instructors. Local graduate students from the labs of these instructors also joined the groups to work together with the international students.

"I got a lot of creative ideas from my instructor and I also learnt about interdisciplinary research from the lecture 'Hardware based Lightweight Authentication for IoT Applications in the Smart World' delivered by Prof. QU Gang." said Sharaf, a student from University of South Carolina.

Upon their arrival, the students were attracted by the beautiful scenery on Yuquan Campus, which is just located in the West Lake Scenic Area. Do Tuan, a student of Sorbonne University Association of France, went climbing Laohe Mountain near the campus on the first day.

I really enjoy the scenery while standing on top of the mountain and I like the traditional Chinese buildings, said Do Tuan. Last year I attended a summer school in France, but this year's summer school in China is very different. I not only had some scientific research, but also attended many cultural activities. And I was surprised at Chinese tea culture. It was interesting to learn how to make tea.

Byung Hoon, a student from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, has once lived in China for a few years. However, the cultural expedition is still quite informative for him. "We went to silk museum, sword museum, food museum in Hangzhou, and also went to the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Although I have lived in China for several years, I didn't know much about Chinese culture and history. This time I really learnt a lot."

The program also includes visits to Hikvision and Alibaba, two leading Chinese companies based in Hangzhou. In Alibaba, students experienced face recognition, 3D shopping, and cash-free shopping technology. One of the students, Batuhan Hangün, even experienced cooking dishes. There are so many good things in China that I didn’t expect to see. The company is developing fast and I am interested in future cooperation with Chinese companies, said Batuhan.

“We hope the program will help the students to learn about Chinese culture, understand Chinese value and promote cultural exchange among different backgrounds,” said SHEN Jianxin, associate dean of the College. “It also aims to develop their research skills and make connections with potential academic partners from their universities and countries, and even more, to attract more international students to join our campus for further studies.”

SOURCE / Zhejiang University, China

Semtech's LoRa Technology Creates Smarter Streets in India
Jul 26, 2018

Ahoy Systems smart street light solutions offer ultra-low power capabilities to save cities on utility costs

CAMARILLO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Semtech Corporation (Nasdaq: SMTC), a leading supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, announced that Ahoy Systems, an electronic design house and OEM for several smart city devices, incorporated Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) into its smart street-lighting products.

“Our smart street lights are built to ensure city efficiency and sustainability, without compromising the safety of streets for pedestrians and drivers. Smart cities leverage our smart lights to reduce their energy footprint and cut down on maintenance costs,” said Neel Maharaj, CEO at Ahoy Systems. “Semtech’s LoRa Technology provides the ideal IoT platform for cities to drastically reduce their electricity costs without compromising infrastructure quality and community services.”

Ahoy Systems provides smart street lighting solutions for municipalities, network operators, LED companies, residential managers, and parking lots. The LoRa-enabled street lights offer “ultra-low” electricity consumption that pays for itself in less than four years, important as electricity consumption by street lights constitutes a huge portion of an average city’s budget. Ahoy Systems smart street lighting solution is easily incorporated into preexisting LED streetlamp infrastructure, offering a low deployment cost. The smart streetlamps automatically dim according to programmable schedules, detect moonlight and dim accordingly, and can send automated messages to managers upon malfunction detection.

“With Semtech’s LoRa Technology and smart city IoT networking, Ahoy Systems can offer street light solutions that increase energy efficiency and reduce city operating costs. LoRa solutions are easy to implement into existing infrastructure and allow smart monitoring of the grid over a LoRaWAN network,” said Vivek Mohan, Director of IoT, Wireless and Sensing Products Group at Semtech. “With hundreds of global cities adopting LoRa Technology for smart city solutions, it’s clear the technology is the ideal IoT platform for smart cities to create a smarter planet while enhancing community services.”

About Semtech’s LoRa® Devices and Wireless RF Technology

Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology is a widely adopted long-range, low-power solution for IoT that gives telecom companies, IoT application makers and system integrators the feature set necessary to deploy low-cost, interoperable IoT networks, gateways, sensors, module products, and IoT services worldwide. IoT networks based on the LoRaWAN™ specification have been deployed in over 100 countries and Semtech is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance™, the fastest growing IoT Alliance for Low Power Wide Area Network applications. To learn more about how LoRa enables IoT, visit Semtech’s LoRa site and join the LoRa Community to access free training as well as an online industry catalog showcasing the products you need for building your ideal IoT application.

About Ahoy Systems

Ahoy systems is focused on smart cities, LoRaWAN, and e-surveillance systems to improve operational efficiency of companies, cities and countries in a short time and with the lowest costs. To learn more about how Ahoy Systems can make your city smarter, visit the website.

About Semtech

Semtech Corporation is a leading supplier of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms for high-end consumer, enterprise computing, communications, and industrial equipment. Products are designed to benefit the engineering community as well as the global community. The Company is dedicated to reducing the impact it, and its products, have on the environment. Internal green programs seek to reduce waste through material and manufacturing control, use of green technology and designing for resource reduction. Publicly traded since 1967, Semtech is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol SMTC. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements

All statements contained herein that are not statements of historical fact, including statements that use the words “will,” “designed to,” or other similar words or expressions, that describe Semtech Corporation’s or its management’s future plans, objectives or goals are “forward-looking statements” and are made pursuant to the Safe-Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual results of Semtech Corporation to be materially different from the historical results and/or from any future results or outcomes expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors are further addressed in Semtech Corporation’s annual and quarterly reports, and in other documents or reports, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ( including, without limitation, information under the captions “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors.” Semtech Corporation assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release, except as required by law.

Semtech, the Semtech logo and LoRa are registered trademarks or service marks, and LoRaWAN is a trademark or service mark, of Semtech Corporation or its affiliates.


Semtech Corporation
Ronda Grech, 805-250-1263

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

HKCEC kicks off "Think Before Plastic" Cutting out over 1,600,000 disposable plastic cutlery items and plastic straws annually
Jul 17, 2018

Hong Kong, 17 July 2018 --( ASIA TODAY )-- Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”) is committed to sustainability, and strives to be at the forefront of a more sustainable event industry. To this end, HML has introduced a new sustainability initiative under the slogan “Think Before Plastic”, with a series of new measures being rolled out from the start of its new fiscal year on 1 July 2018.

One such measure is the replacement of plastic disposable cutlery with non-plastic alternatives at all HKCEC restaurant outlets and concession stands. Plastic straws are also no longer provided, with paper straws available upon request. As a result of these measures, HML expects to cut out the use of over 1,300,000 pieces of plastic disposable cutlery and more than 330,000 plastic straws in 12 months.

HML has also discontinued the sale of plastic bottled beverages from all vending machines for staff members and contractors working in back of house areas.

Community engagement is important to the success of any sustainability initiative. HML is therefore encouraging visitors and event attendees to bring their own bottles when attending events at the HKEC, and to make use of the 18 water fountains in the HKCEC for free refills. Of these water fountains, 13 are located inside the exhibition halls, four are in the corridors of meeting rooms, and one is located in the back of house area for the use of staff members and contractors. To promote the water fountains, prominent signs have been added in exhibition halls and meeting room corridors.

Ms Monica Lee-Müller, HML’s Managing Director and also the primary driver of the “Think Before Plastic” initiative, said, “All of us – venue operators, event organisers, exhibitors, buyers, visitors, event attendees, dining guests – have a responsibility towards our environment. HML is striving to be at the forefront of a greener event industry, and one way we are doing this is by encouraging our customers, event organisers, contractors, suppliers and stakeholders, as well as other event industry players, to think before using disposable plastic items.

“Cutting out disposable plastic cutlery and plastic straws is only the beginning, though,” she added. “We are continuing to work on sourcing non-disposable plastic alternatives for various other items, such as meal boxes and cup lids.”

HML was the first organisation in Hong Kong to achieve ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System recognition. This certification recognises that HML has fully incorporated the concept of “sustainability” into the entire event management cycle, including its operation procedures and guidelines.

Photo caption / HML Managing Director, Ms Monica Lee-Müller, and ExhiBit, the HKCEC Buddy, promote “Think Before Plastic” at one of the HKCEC’s restaurant outlets – Stop using plastic disposable cutlery and plastic straw.

About the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

This award-winning 306,000 sqm building, first opened in 1988, offers 91,500 sqm of rentable space. An iconic Hong Kong landmark, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (‘HKCEC’) is located on a prime waterfront site in the central business district of Hong Kong. It is owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

About Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (‘HML’) is a professional private management and operating company responsible for providing day to day management for the HKCEC, where it oversees administration, marketing, booking, scheduling, event co-ordination, maintenance and security. It also manages food and beverage operations at the HKCEC, including restaurants and catering services. HML provides world-class services for users, visitors and guests of the HKCEC, a venue which has been consistently awarded the title of ‘Best Convention and Exhibition Centre in Asia’ by leading industry professionals. Over 1,000 events are held at the HKCEC every year, including exhibitions, conferences, corporate meetings, entertainment events, seminars and banquets. These events contribute significant economic benefits to the city, and help raise the international image of Hong Kong.

HML is a member of NWS Holdings Limited. NWS Holdings Limited ("NWS Holdings", Hong Kong stock code: 659) is the infrastructure and service flagship of New World Development Company Limited (Hong Kong stock code: 17). It has diverse businesses and investments predominantly in Hong Kong and Mainland China, comprising toll roads, environmental management, port and logistics facilities, rail container terminals, commercial aircraft leasing, facilities management, healthcare services, construction and public transport. Please visit for details.

# # #

Issued by Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited
For further information, please contact:
Miss Gloria Fong
Senior Manager – Corporate & Marketing Communications
Tel:+852 2582 7918

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

One in Three Fish Caught is Thrown Away, According to a New UN Report
Jul 14, 2018

According to the latest report published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, while fish consumption is at an all-time high, the state of fisheries is becoming increasingly unsustainable.

A third of the world's oceans are overfished and fish consumption is at an all-time high, raising fears over the sustainability of a key source of protein for millions around the world, the United Nations warned in a report on Monday.

Overfishing is particularly bad in parts of the developing world where many people already struggle to get enough nutritious food to eat, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report said.

"There's too much pressure on marine resources and we need significantly more commitments from governments to improve the state of their fisheries," said Manuel Barange, director of the FAO fisheries and aquaculture department.

"We predict that Africa will have to import fish in the future," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that shortages could lead to higher prices, disproportionately affecting the poor.

Barange said Africa had great potential for aquaculture, but needed support in terms of finance, feed and supply of fish.

Fish farming or aquaculture - the fastest growing agricultural sector for the past 40 years - has been largely responsible for making more fish available, said the report.

As catches from the open sea continue to dwindle, more countries are turning to fish farms. In Algeria, the government is encouraging farmers in the Sahara desert to grow fish to increase their income and boost fish production.

Critics say it can damage the environment and put disease and invasive species into the wild, but Barange said the solution was to have "proper regulation, legislation and monitoring and control".

Traditional fishing nations are also promoting the potential of fisheries to improve nutrition and end hunger.

Globally, the percentage of stocks fished at unsustainable levels increased to 33.1 in 2015, from 31.4 in 2013 and 10 in 1974.

Fish consumption reached an all-time high of 20.2 kg (44.5 lb) per person from 9 kg in 1961, said the report, and further rises are expected as health-conscious consumers turn to fish.

Currently, 3.2 billion people rely on fish for almost 20 percent of their animal protein intake.

Shakuntala Thilsted, research programme leader at international nonprofit WorldFish, said reducing losses and waste would go a long way towards making fisheries sustainable, with an estimated 35 percent of catches thrown away.

"Fish heads, fish bones are (the) parts that are most nutritious. Why aren't we using innovative solutions to turn this into nutritious, palatable food?" she said.

By Thin Lei Win
Edited by Shawn Chou

Photo by Duangphorn Wiriya on Unsplash

5 Clever Ways to Create an Environmentally-Friendly Business
Jul 04, 2018

It is essential people across the world start living up to their environmental responsibilities, which should be on both a domestic and business level. At present, landfills are growing in size, and the world’s oceans are filling with harmful materials, which are impacting the planet and its sea life.

If you are running a business, it is imperative to develop a greener mindset to have a positive impact on the Earth, and to encourage both companies and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. To get started, here are five clever ways to create an eco-friendly business.

1. Change Your Office Supplies

Nations across the world are needlessly damaging planet Earth, as US companies alone are responsible for throwing away more than four million disposable pens each day.

If you want to have a positive impact on the environment, you should focus on changing your office supplies. For example, you should replace disposable pens with reusable alternatives. This will not only help to protect the planet, but it could also save your business money.

2. Switch Your Lighting

Your business will most likely use a considerable amount of lighting each day. For example, if you’re the owner of a business park, the chances are you’ll need to install both indoor and outdoor lighting. You must switch from indoor incandescent lighting or metal halide lights to LED options. Find out more about the best exterior LED lighting from Sompor.

3. Green Procurement

Practice green procurement to create a more eco-friendly business. For instance, you should choose a supplier that offers products or services that are sustainably produced and do not feature excess packaging. It’s also important to choose goods that do not include any toxic or harmful substances that can damage the environment, and the products should be recyclable, reusable, and created from renewable materials. Also, aim to find a supplier near you to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

4. Eco-Friendly Postage

While the digital era has transformed many business operations, there will be still be a time when your company will need to send out letters, which will require the use of envelopes. You can, however, help to protect the environment by investing in reusable envelopes, which a recipient can simply reverse to send a letter or document back to your business. It can ultimately help to reduce waste while providing an easy, eco-friendly experience that your customers will appreciate.

5. Office Furniture

Billions of pounds of office furniture is sent to landfill each year. The waste usually accumulates due to business renovations, branch closures, or relocating to a new office. It’s important to realize the impact throwing away an item of furniture will have on the planet. For example, an average office chair has been created using many different materials and chemicals. While other furniture will be created from wood, plastic or metal that have a long lifespan and could potentially be repurposed for another product. So, ask yourself whether you can save, upcycle or repurpose an item before placing it in the trash.

Top UNESCO Official Endorses Chengdu's Practice of Sustainable Development
Jun 19, 2018

CHENGDU, China, June 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The 12th annual meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was held in Krakow and Katowice, Poland. Themed "Creative Crosscroads," and built on the idea of cross-sector cooperation among the UCCN members, the event started on June 12 and concluded on June 15.

The opening ceremony saw the attendance of more than 350 delegates representing the 180 UCCN members from 72 countries across the globe, including 40 mayors. Mr. Ernesto Renato Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture, when addressing the ceremony, expressed his appreciation to Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, for its strong support to the organization and great practice of sustainable development.

At the meeting, a delegate from Chengdu made a presentation on the city's "Eat. Clean. Care." initiative, and shared its experience of eco-energy retrofit in the catering industry.

Chengdu, having long been troubled by the environmental pollution in the catering industry, launched a city-wide eco-energy retrofit program a couple of years ago. Through the common efforts of local governments at different levels and industry practitioners, so far, most local restaurants have used clean fuel.

After the opening ceremony, Mr. Ramirez received an exclusive interview with, a major city portal website on Chengdu. He spoke highly of Chengdu's effort and achievement in the sustainable development, from which other cities can learn a lot.

"Chengdu contributes remarkable experience to the world which is highly helpful for the cities in South America and South Africa," said Mr. Ramirez.

He also expressed his great interest in what else Chengdu had done to improve its environment and ecosystem. He had planned to visit the city in August or September, he said.

Chengdu's "Eat. Clean. Care." initiative had been published on, which says that "Chengdu's approach to reducing air pollution is praised for not only improving the environment and living conditions for the residents of Chengdu, but also for making vital steps in helping China achieve its goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

At a sub-meeting for the 12th annual meeting of UCCN, Chengdu shared its experience of building "Slow Villages" with the delegates from 26 UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy. It called on more cities in the world to join in a "Slow Village Co-building Plan," which promotes a rural development model focusing on environmental protection and bio-diversity conservation.

UNESCO attaches great value to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Chengdu's "Slow Village" program perfectly reflects the vision of UNESCO and provides a new model for other cities in China to revitalize rural areas. It was highly recognized by all the delegates at the meeting.

For more details, please visit


Is Taiwan's Famed Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival an Environmental Plague?
Jun 15, 2018

This article is a reader’s contribution to Crossing. It explores the environmental pollution caused by the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, one of Taiwan’s most famous tourist attractions. What can be done to create a win-win situation for the environment and the tourism industry?

Sky Lanterns Have Put Taiwan on the Global Tourism Map

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival counts among a handful of events that have truly become world famous festivities, making Taiwan an international travel destination. The scene of these floating lanterns filling the sky might be the first impression many foreigners have of Taiwan.

There is a reason for this. Taiwan has long used sky lanterns, released into the sky to wish for good luck and blessings, in international image campaigns such as for the Taiwan Pavilion at Expo 2010, in the 2011 movie You're the Apple of My Eye, or the Tourism Bureau's promotional video Meet Colors of 2016. The faint glow, hopefulness, unity and grandeur featured in these images have become a strong advertisement for our country.

As a stark cultural image, sky lanterns represent the collective memory and generational scars on Taiwanese soil. On the other hand, Pingxi District has dedicated great efforts to Taiwanese tourism in a more substantive manner. During the period from 2010 to 2016, for instance, Pingxi District saw a total of 6,41 million visitors. In 2016, it was picked as the third most popular sightseeing spot in Taiwan by international travelers, beating the Taipei 101 skyscraper.

Moreover, the Sky Lantern Festival, which takes place once a year, has not only been voted as the world’s second-biggest New Year’s Eve celebration by the Discovery Channel, the American cable TV network CNN has included it on its list of 52 Things to do Around the World, while National Geographic Magazine and the travel guide publisher Fodor’s have both listed the festival as a must-see event.

Sky Lanterns, while no doubt beautiful, have triggered controversy over the environmental hazard they pose.

Looking back, many Taiwanese people haves experienced releasing sky lanterns to some extent. I sent my first sky lantern into the air when I was in fifth grade. Back then, my parents and I, each of us holding a brush, very cautiously wrote our deepest wishes on the thin, translucent rice paper. After finishing, we stood on both sides of the railway track, and once we let go, the sky lantern, containing a gently flickering flame, slowly rose up into the sky. At this moment, my face glowing as red as the lantern, we prayed for all our wishes to be fulfilled once they were high enough to be heard in heaven.

However, in the past few years, these sky lantern memories have begun to make me feel guilty since the environmental controversy regarding sky lanterns came to light. Many groups have come forward, charging that the lanterns, after falling from the sky, are generating an endless amount of waste for mountain towns, and that residual dyes and heavy metals could endanger the lives of animals in the mountains. Each year, when the Lantern Festival draws to a close, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival triggers an avalanche of criticism and dismay, and never-ending calls for a ban on the release of sky lanterns or even the abolishment of the festival itself.

Each time I see the deluge of comments left by readers under news articles, such as: “Why don’t we abolish such a bad custom?” or “I hope that the government prohibits their release sooner rather than later!” I can’t help but feel extremely sad. The sadness comes from the fact that I understand that all these people deeply love this piece of land and that their motivation is to make Taiwan a better country. Sky lanterns do have some bad effects. However, can it be that one side must be sacrificed if culture and progressive values clash with each other?

Sky Lantern Culture and Environmental Protection Should not be a Zero-Sum Game

I believe that in this day and age we don’t have to accept a “choose one or the other” zero sum game scenario when we face new challenges and value conflicts. More and more examples show that we can find compromises when facing these problems, as long as we are willing to use creative thinking in combination with modern technology – this is probably not a perfect or sufficiently thorough approach, but it is more hopeful than just maintaining the status quo forever.

Take for example the thorny issue of the “million square meter garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean” – How can several hundred thousand tons to several million tons of plastic waste and other garbage floating in the oceans be cleaned up? When everyone said this was impossible, a 19-year-old Dutch man, Boyan Slat, decided in 2013 to courageously tackle the challenge, proposing the concept of an “ocean vacuum cleaner” which was projected to clean up the great Pacific garbage patch in five years.

Another problem that has received widespread attention over the past decade is the “surplus food problem,” which German youngsters sought to solve with the help of the convenience of the Internet. In 2012 they founded the platform, setting up a food saving map and food sharing model that have meanwhile been expanded to Switzerland and Austria. By 2016, the site had reportedly gotten 2,500 supermarkets and restaurants onboard to provide surplus food, as well as 15,000 registered users. Altogether, 4,000 tons of food have been saved from being thrown away, an astonishing result.

Getting back to Taiwan, we are facing environmental challenges regarding the sky lantern culture. Fortunately, we also have a bunch of young people who are willing to work to solve the problem. From 2016, a group of students at National Chiao Tung University formed a team to try to develop biodegradable, environmentally friendly sky lanterns to upgrade this Taiwanese cultural tradition and make it sustainable.

Expert Team Develops Zero Carbon Sky Lantern

Simply speaking, the environmentally friendly sky lantern developed by that team burns up completely in the air without leaving any waste. This means it will not become an environmental burden for the mountain towns, and flora and fauna in the mountains won’t be threatened by pollution as a result.

While the waste problem is solved, what about the carbon emissions caused by the burning of the sky lanterns?

Data show that one tree can absorb the CO2 emissions of about 8.6 sky lanterns in a year. Should mass production of the environmental sky lanterns go according to plan, a certain ratio of income per every sky lantern sold will be paid into a tree planting fund. The team plans to cooperate with the Wutong Foundation, entrusting experts with the selection of tree planting sites and looking after the newly planted saplings for over three years. It is hoped that the carbon emissions caused by the burning of sky lanterns can be balanced and absorbed as much as possible.

In the long term, they expect to collaborate with environmental technology engineering to conduct a complete carbon footprint calculation and assessment to truly understand the environmental impact of sky lanterns. Furthermore, they will invite expert consultants and a certification body to develop a carbon footprint management plan to achieve carbon neutrality under the international specification PAS 2060. Finally, they will allocate a certain amount of funds to buy enough carbon units to reach carbon neutrality by offsetting all of the greenhouse gas emissions caused during the entire sky lantern lifecycle, from procurement of raw materials to its release into the sky. They hope to keep promoting sky lantern culture and environmental sustainability from a professional, scientific perspective.

Environmental Sky Lanterns not Mere Fundraising Tool but Opportunity to Take Taiwanese Culture to a Higher Level

The late film director Chi Po-lin once said: “Why do so many people love sky lanterns? Seeing a wish lantern brings hope to people’s hearts. Sky lanterns are very comforting, and important for passing on our cultural heritage, too. I really don’t think that this event should be completely eradicated.”

Establishing a culture and developing it is definitely a lengthy and arduous process. Any progress constitutes precious and important national assets. As times change, a growing number of customs and cultural traditions will probably be challenged by modern values. When we face such situations, we should not wantonly abolish or discard them, but rather seek to find sustainable possibilities for harmonious coexistence. We should take advantage of emerging technologies and use creative thinking to find balanced approaches to improvement – We should seek a new high ground with regard to many similar controversies, imagining more possibilities.

We should lead this land forward while at the same time preserving our precious traditional culture.

By Hsin-rung Teng/Contributing Reader

Translated from the Chinese Article by Susanne Ganz

Edited by Shawn Chou

Photo / Shutterstock