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Economic exclusion and radicalisation linked
Regional economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to grow by at 2.3% this year, half a percentage point lower than last year. This is mostly as a result of low projected oil prices (estimated at $50-$60 a barrel) and conflict in oil-exporting countries (Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya), the World Bank states in its latest assessment of the region. The report recognises the impact of violent extremism on poor economic performance. In 2014, for instance, more than half (57%) of all attacks occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria.
Policies that promote job creation are instrumental in driving inclusion and reducing radicalisation, the World Bank theorises. The Bank’s assertion is based on an examination of the education achievements of a sample of 331 foreign recruits to the extremist group ISIS. The data suggests 43.3% have a secondary education and 25.4% have studied at university. When a country’s male unemployment rate is high there is a strong propensity for that country to supply ISIS foreign recruits.
Energy demand ‘could double by 2060’
Per capita demand for energy – including transport fuels, heating and electricity – should begin to fall after 2030, a new report from the World Energy Council predicts. However the disaggregated figures indicate that total electricity demand could double by 2060 due to the growth of the middle class, rising incomes and more electricity-enabled appliances. The required investment in infrastructure to meet this rising demand stands at an estimated $35-43tr between now and 2060.
On the positive side, solar and wind will make up a large proportion of future power generation – from 4% at present to possibly as high as 39% in 2060. The largest additions will be seen in China, India, Europe, and North America. Hydro power and nuclear are also predicted to grow, although less quickly. The Council’s prediction for CO2 emissions range from a reduction of 61% to a rise of 5% depending on which of the policy options that governments adopt, which are presented in three broad scenarios. The report says: “More stringent regulatory requirements for a low-carbon future will force companies everywhere to make significant changes in their business models or face collapse.”
Growing focus on total cost of ownership
Some of the world’s largest companies and institutions are beginning to push their suppliers to calculate and disclose their environmental impacts as notions of “total cost of ownership” (TCO) expand, according to a new report by non-profit advocacy group CDP. A sustainability-focused understanding of TCO is pushing firms to consider the energy and resource use (among other factors) throughout their value chain and not just in their immediate operations, CDP says.
A headline finding suggests that more than three-quarters (77%) of Global 500 companies are currently engaging with their suppliers on climate change strategies. This is up from from 67% three years ago. Of these companies, 58% are also engaging with their customers on climate change, a more than threefold increase on three years ago. To put the importance of TCO in perspective, manufacturing and consumer use can account for 95% of the impact of products, dwarfing that of a company’s own operations.Social mobility renewable energy World Energy Council CDP