Leveraging Business Partnerships for Sustainability

Question: Will governments and non-profits lead the drive towards a more sustainable global economy or is that the role of the private sector?

Mary Robinson:  I think it’s the role for partnerships in the 21st century and the good news is, that there’s much more willingness to partner now between governments, often a UN agency like Unicef and WHO if it’s health issues, and businesses that are progressive, and NGO’s, the **** firms, the Care’s, the Mercy Corps, the Irish Concerns, they’re all more than willing now to be in innovative partnerships, then you have the role of the foundations and the Rockefeller, Gaits, and the big players who have a big role to play. 

And my interest in the work we’ve been doing is to constantly capacity build local civil society groups, NGOs locally, because they’re the sustainable ones, they’re the ones that carry on in the future.

Question: How can we align people, planet, and profits?

Mary Robinson: I actually think that having a rounded approach in a corporation that takes into account human rights responsibilities is part of corporate sustainability, not part of corporate social responsibility, as if it’s a sort of public relations social add-on.  And we work very closely with the special representative of the Secretary General on business and human rights, Professor John Ruggie, and he is drafting guidelines now and asked to do that by the Human Rights Council to explain what he means when he recommended to the council, and they accepted, that all corporations have a responsibility to respect all human rights.  And he’s saying, “It’s not just do no harm and don’t think about it, it’s a due diligence responsibility, you must know what your company is doing and what your supply chain is doing.”  Are you having child labor or terrible conditions of labor and no health and safety?   Are you depleting the habitat of indigenous peoples, are you using military to protect your corporation in a developing country and they’re using terrible human rights abuses against the local population?  These are all now very clear responsibilities of corporations.

But on the positive side, more and more companies are saying, “We understand that if we’re going to be trading in the future in countries that are still trying to become more developed, it’s in our interests to be involved as good, corporate citizens and it’s part of our sustainability.”  And that’s where I think you have the alignment.  There is now a new commission on global sustainability, that as a number of people, **** and others on it, who will be recommending to the Secretary General, a kind of global balance for sustainability in our world.  And I’m sure it will include a large segment on corporate sustainability.

Recorded September 21, 2010
Interviewed by Victoria Brown

Creating a sustainable global economy in the 21st century will require partnerships between governments, businesses, and NGOs. The good news is that there’s increasing willingness to cooperate.

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First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

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