Micro Utility Partners Permaculture Team visits Kim Foundation

Welcome Sign Selamat Datang
Our main partner in Bali – Alila Hotels & Resorts – regularly supports the Kim Foundation – who strive to increase awareness around mental health and suicide prevention – in various ways. Last week Alila have invited our permaculture team to join them in their visit to Kim’s, which was particularly relevant given the permaculture activities taking place at he foundation’s grounds.
Breakfast with Kim Foundation
Upon our arrival, the children and their Guru Sari (teacher and manager) welcomed us with a delightful natural and nutritious breakfast, which consisted of herbal tea and a selection of sweet potato, cassava and fruits.
Guru Sari of Kim Foundation
Guru Sari then took us for a walkabout around the property, which is quite sizable and extends to the river, with various gardens with different crops along the way. The foundation also has a a beauty shop, a workshop for clothing production, a play area for the children, as well as a nursery building.
Gardening 02
We were invited to plant some chili and green vegetables together. We were able to share some of our expertise in this space and made suggestions to plant the veggies in a raised beds. We also discussed usage of compost. Subsequently, we were invited to create a living fence consisting of trees and bamboo. After a few hours work, we shared a lunch in the lovely forested area and continued our discussion about the challenges related to growing various types of plants as well the foundation’s other work and challenges.
Living Fence Preparation
Living fence preparation

The Micro Utility Partners team like to extend a big Thank You to Silvina for coordinating the event!

A Green Finance Market is Slowly Emerging

Green Finance Bonds and Loans

Despite fast growth of environmentally-friendly projects and associated financing in recent years, there was no consistent and unified definition of what exactly constitutes Green Finance. This is now being addressed as an important body weighs in on the subject and proposes a framework to assess lending projects.

The Loan Market Association (LMA) with support from the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) has provided a framework for assessing deals, which will cover such aspects as management of proceeds, the process of project evaluation and selection, and reporting on the loan performance. The framework separately covers green loans (Green Loan Principles or GLP) and bonds (Green Bond Principles or GBP) and provides guidelines for external reviews (ie by an institution with environmental expertise, that is independent from the issuer).

GreenBondPrinciples

Green projects have to show clear environmental benefits – which should be assessed and ideally quantified – and cover projects that help mitigate climate change, prevent pollution and to conserve natural resources. What follows is an incomplete list of eligible green projects:

  • renewable energy (including production and transmission)
  • energy efficiency (energy storage, smart grids, appliances and products)
  • pollution prevention and control (reduction of air emissions, waste recycling)
  • environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources and land use (ie environmentally sustainable agriculture)
  • sustainable water and wastewater management (sustainable infrastructure for clean and/or drinking water, wastewater treatment)
  • eco-efficient and/or circular economy adapted products
  • green buildings (must meet recognized standards or certifications)

These standards will become increasingly important, especially, if cost of financing for these green projects proves to be lower than similar non-green projects. Indeed, initial signs of such differentiation can already be observed on French green debt issued in June 2018, which trades at a premium (ie lower yield) to non-green debt of similar maturity. A more significant drop in cost of debt for green projects could come about if regulators incentivized banks and possibly asset managers to favor green bonds. The European Commission has taken first steps towards such a “greener and more sustainable economy” with the publication of an Action Plan and recommendations for the financial sector “to support the transition to the low-carbon economy”.

The publication of Green Principles for bonds and loans by the LMA is an important stage in the development of Green Finance and will allow consistent assessment and labeling of projects. These principles might become a driver of credit provision over time, as regulators incentivize lenders (ie by adjusting leverage ratios and reserve requirements for banks) to prioritize environmentally-friendly financing.

Micro Utility Partnerts logo

Micro Utility Partners is the first organization in Singapore (and possibly in Southeast Asia) to issue uncertified Green Bonds. A major real estate developer – City Developments Limited  – followed shortly afterwards.

Being involved in several green projects in Indonesia and Australia, Micro Utility Partners welcome the new framework for assessing environmentally-friendly loans and look forward to being formally recognized as a green borrower.

NB: the Deal Street Asia article above is behind a paywall but you may find a copy here.

World Environment Day at Alila Seminyak

Waste to Wealth Seminar at Alila Seminyak
To celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th 2018, a VIP Seminar was held at Alila Seminyak  during which Micro Utility Partners (MUP) presented the integrated Sustainable Resource Recovery Facility (iSuRRF) – our Zero Waste solution currently implemented at Alila Hotels & Resorts properties in Bali. The seminar was followed by site visits to our iSuRRF processing facilities and organic produce gardens at Alila Seminyak and Alila Uluwatu. The seminar was part of the Waste to Wealth week-long initiative organized by the Australian Consulate-General to promote sustainable environmental practices in Bali and the West Nusa Tenggara province.
Opening remarks by Dr. Helena Studdert, the Australian Consul General for Bali and Lombok
Opening remarks by Dr. Helena Studdert, the Australian Consul General for Bali and Lombok
 It was a great opportunity for MUP to discuss the solutions to protect Bali’s ecosystem, with an audience consisting of government representatives, tourism professionals and local NGOs. These solutions do not only protect Indonesia’s prime tourist destination, but also create new and higher value chains as waste is segregated and transformed into valuable materials. Organic waste constitutes a significant share of the waste at hotels and restaurants and through the process of probiotic fermentation, MUP converts it into valuable animal feed, and is one of the many steps of Waste Transformation undertaken within iSuRRF.
Nigel Grier presents MUP's zero waste solution for the Alila Group
Nigel Grier presents MUP’s zero waste solution for the Alila Group
Site visit at Alila Uluwatu's iSuRRF facility
Site visit at Alila Uluwatu’s iSuRRF facility
Dr Martin Anda of Murdoch University in Perth, has presented current waste management solutions as well as future plans in his native city in Western Australia, where the share of the waste that hits the landfill is progressively being reduced, while more and more is recycled. In sustainable waste management the “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle” principle applies, waste is sorted at source and different types (paper, glass, metal, plastic, organic etc) are transported away for suitable treatment. Martin has also highlighted the importance of waste audits in order to focus on the right treatment types.
Fresh produce of the day from the onsite organic garden on the way to the kitchen at Alila Uluwatu
Fresh produce of the day from the onsite organic garden on the way to the kitchen at Alila Uluwatu
A number of local NGOs who help protect the oceans and rivers (Sayan Hidup!, LINI Aquaculture and Training center) and address the waste problem (Keep Bali Clean, Trash Hero) were also present at the event.
Trash Hero team with Alila Seminyak General Manager Pierre Lang
Trash Hero team with Alila Seminyak General Manager Pierre Lang
 We would like to personally thank Dr. Helena Studdert and her team at the Australian Consul General in Bali, for their tireless promotion of innovative solutions to the pressing environmental problems facing Indonesia.
World Environment Day Evening Reception
Waste to Wealth Seminar Evening Reception

Ocean Armageddon: National Geographic tackles the subject of plastic pollution

National Geographic has published a series of articles entitled “Planet or Plastic” in which the magazine provides an update on the ocean pollution crisis. Let us consider some of the key findings by the NatGeo team:

  • Plastic production took off in the 1950’s and and three-quarters of the plastic ever produced never found its way to a trash can
  • Estimates for plastic bio-degradation range from 450 years to never
  • Most of the plastic that finds its way to our oceans is not thrown off ships. It is initially dumped on land or in rivers and later blown into the seas.
  • The biggest single source of plastic is packaging.
  • Ocean plastic is killing millions of animals – some visibly and some invisibly as they involuntarily consume tiny bits of plastic that float around everywhere.
  • Nanoplastics (the tiny bits into which plastics degrade into) might pass into animal and subsequently human flesh.

And the punchline comes with this quote:

This isn’t a problem where we don’t know what the solution is. We know how to pick up garbage. Anyone can do it. We know how to dispose of it. We know how to recycle.

Indeed, caring about the planet is something we all can do.

We can not do justice to the original, superbly written and thorough articles with this summary, and would highly recommend them.

The Financial Times covers the topic of plastic pollution in oceans

The Financial Times featured a timely piece on ocean pollution by plastic trash in its week-end edition (Stop our oceans choking on a plastic overdose, 22nd of April 2018).

The author acknowledges the sad reality that it will not be “practical for the foreseeable future to remove more than a small fraction of the trillions of plastic pieces” that are already in our seas. The practical advice for authorities is to “focus their efforts on rapidly reducing the flow of fresh material into the ocean, by increasing recycling and restricting non-essential uses of plastics”. The article also talks about the circular economy or “making it simpler to separate different components at the end of their life and identify different plastic ingredients“.

Indeed, recycling plastic through effective methods, is the solution Micro Utility Partners advocates in Indonesia, where it is currently operating zero-waste facilities.

Bali’s Biggest Clean-Up 2018

Bali's biggest clean-up Pantai Melasti

As part of its continuous effort to address the garbage emergency in Bali, Micro Utility Partners participated in “Bali’s BIGGEST Clean-Up” on the 24th of February day organized by One Island Voice. Our team joined forces with other volunteers on the southern tip of Bali in Pantai Melasti and collected several truckloads of garbage on the beach and surrounding areas. The garbage has been subsequently transferred to our zero-waste facility, where all waste is segregated and converted into useful products (green building materials, compost, refined oil) or at least into environmentally neutral agents.

Micro Utility Partners have been working with their hotel partners in Bali since 2016, addressing head-on the waste problem, by providing effective solutions.

segregating-waste-bali segregating-waste-bali waste-trasnport

waste-truckload