Club of Amsterdam Journal, February 2022, Issue 240

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CONTENT

Lead Article

Understanding others’ feelings: what is empathy and why do we need it?
by Pascal Molenberghs, Monash University

Article 01

TikTok, a new learning platform?
by Peter van Gorsel

The Future Now Show

Regenerative Business
with Rudy de Waele

Article 02

The Hacking of the American Mind with Dr. Robert Lustig
University of California Television (UCTV)

News about the Future

> Space debris
> Plastic Bank

Article 03

Foodscaping
With Matt Lebon

Recommended Book

The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society
by Frans de Waal

Article 04

Applied Empathy
With Michael Ventura

Climate Change Success Story

Climate Neutral Group

Visionary Portrait

Rana el Kaliouby
pioneer of artificial emotional intelligence


Tags:
A.I., Artificial Emotional Iintelligence, Artificial Iintelligence,
Dopamine, Empathy, Foodscaping, Happiness, Healthcare,
LEARNING, Love, Nature, Pleasure, Primates, Serotonin,
Space, Tik Tok, USA







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Frans de Waal: "I think we need to start thinking about grounding our moral systems in our biology."

Michael Ventura: "With empathy, complex problems become more understandable, teams become more effective, and companies become more nimble."

René Toet: "We are optimistic about what we have achieved in terms of climate impact, the results that we can achieve in the future and the drive among organisations to move to Net Zero."

Lead Article

Understanding others’ feelings: what is empathy and why do we need it?
by Pascal Molenberghs, Monash University

 



Pascal Molenberghs


Many animals might show signs of mimicry or emotional contagion to another animal in pain. Fenix_21/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Pascal Molenberghs
,
Monash University



Empathy is the ability to share and understand the emotions of others. It is a construct of multiple components, each of which is associated with its own brain network. There are three ways of looking at empathy.

First there is affective empathy. This is the ability to share the emotions of others. People who score high on affective empathy are those who, for example, show a strong visceral reaction when watching a scary movie.

They feel scared or feel others’ pain strongly within themselves when seeing others scared or in pain.

Cognitive empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to understand the emotions of others. A good example is the psychologist who understands the emotions of the client in a rational way, but does not necessarily share the emotions of the client in a visceral sense.

Finally, there’s emotional regulation. This refers to the ability to regulate one’s emotions. For example, surgeons need to control their emotions when operating on a patient.


Those who show a strong visceral reaction when watching a scary movie score high on affective empathy. dogberryjr/Flickr, CC BY


Another way to understand empathy is to distinguish it from other related constructs. For example, empathy involves self-awareness, as well as distinction between the self and the other. In that sense it is different from mimicry, or imitation.

Many animals might show signs of mimicry or emotional contagion to another animal in pain. But without some level of self-awareness, and distinction between the self and the other, it is not empathy in a strict sense. Empathy is also different from sympathy, which involves feeling concern for the suffering of another person and a desire to help.

That said, empathy is not a unique human experience. It has been observed in many non-human primates and even rats.

People often say psychopaths lack empathy but this is not always the case. In fact, psychopathy is enabled by good cognitive empathic abilities - you need to understand what your victim is feeling when you are torturing them. What psychopaths typically lack is sympathy. They know the other person is suffering but they just don’t care.

Research has also shown those with psychopathic traits are often very good at regulating their emotions.

To be a good psychopath, you need to understand what your victims are feeling. Pimkie/Flickr, CC BY


Why do we need it?

Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation. It is typically associated with social behaviour and there is lots of research showing that greater empathy leads to more helping behaviour.

However, this is not always the case. Empathy can also inhibit social actions, or even lead to amoral behaviour. For example, someone who sees a car accident and is overwhelmed by emotions witnessing the victim in severe pain might be less likely to help that person.

Similarly, strong empathetic feelings for members of our own family or our own social or racial group might lead to hate or aggression towards those we perceive as a threat. Think about a mother or father protecting their baby or a nationalist protecting their country.

People who are good at reading others’ emotions, such as manipulators, fortune-tellers or psychics, might also use their excellent empathetic skills for their own benefit by deceiving others.

Empathy is associated with social behaviour. Jesse Orrico/Unsplash


Interestingly, people with higher psychopathic traits typically show more utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas such as the footbridge problem. In this thought experiment, people have to decide whether to push a person off a bridge to stop a train about to kill five others laying on the track.

The psychopath would more often than not choose to push the person off the bridge. This is following the utilitarian philosophy that holds saving the life of five people by killing one person is a good thing. So one could argue those with psychopathic tendencies are more moral than normal people – who probably wouldn’t push the person off the bridge – as they are less influenced by emotions when making moral decisions.

How is empathy measured?

Empathy is often measured with self-report questionnaires such as the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) or Questionnaire for Cognitive and Affective Empathy (QCAE).

These typically ask people to indicate how much they agree with statements that measure different types of empathy.

The QCAE, for instance, has statements such as, “It affects me very much when one of my friends is upset”, which is a measure of affective empathy.

If someone is affected by a friend who is upset, they score higher on affective empathy. eren {sea+prairie}/Flickr, CC BY

Cognitive empathy is determined by the QCAE by putting value on a statement such as, “I try to look at everybody’s side of a disagreement before I make a decision.”

Using the QCAE, we recently found people who score higher on affective empathy have more grey matter, which is a collection of different types of nervecells, in an area of the brain called the anterior insula.

This area is often involved in regulating positive and negative emotions by integrating environmental stimulants – such as seeing a car accident - with visceral and automatic bodily sensations.

We also found people who score higher on cognitive empathy had more grey matter in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex.

This area is typically activated during more cognitive processes, such as Theory of Mind, which is the ability to attribute mental beliefs to yourself and another person. It also involves understanding that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives different from one’s own.

Can empathy be selective?

Research shows we typically feel more empathy for members of our own group, such as those from our ethnic group. For example, one study scanned the brains of Chinese and Caucasian participants while they watched videos of members of their own ethnic group in pain. They also observed people from a different ethnic group in pain.

We feel more empathy from people from our own group. Bahai.us/Flickr, CC BY


The researchers found that a brain area called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is often active when we see others in pain, was less active when participants saw members of ethnic groups different from their own in pain.

Other studies have found brain areas involved in empathy are less active when watching people in pain who act unfairly. We even see activation in brain areas involved in subjective pleasure, such as the ventral striatum, when watching a rival sport team fail.

Yet, we do not always feel less empathy for those who aren’t members of our own group. In our recent study, students had to give monetary rewards or painful electrical shocks to students from the same or a different university. We scanned their brain responses when this happened.

Brain areas involved in rewarding others were more active when people rewarded members of their own group, but areas involved in harming others were equally active for both groups.

These results correspond to observations in daily life. We generally feel happier if our own group members win something, but we’re unlikely to harm others just because they belong to a different group, culture or race. In general, ingroup bias is more about ingroup love rather than outgroup hate.

In war it might be beneficial to feel less empathy for people who you are trying to kill, especially if they are also trying to harm you. DVIDSHUB/Flickr, CC BY



Yet in some situations, it could be helpful to feel less empathy for a particular group of people. For example, in war it might be beneficial to feel less empathy for people you are trying to kill, especially if they are also trying to harm you.

To investigate, we conducted another brain imaging study. We asked people to watch videos from a violent video game in which a person was shooting innocent civilians (unjustified violence) or enemy soldiers (justified violence).

While watching the videos, people had to pretend they were killing real people. We found the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, typically active when people harm others, was active when people shot innocent civilians. The more guilt participants felt about shooting civilians, the greater the response in this region.

However, the same area was not activated when people shot the soldier that was trying to kill them.

The results provide insight into how people regulate their emotions. They also show the brain mechanisms typically implicated when harming others become less active when the violence against a particular group is seen as justified.

This might provide future insights into how people become desensitised to violence or why some people feel more or less guilty about harming others.

Our empathetic brain has evolved to be highly adaptive to different types of situations. Having empathy is very useful as it often helps to understand others so we can help or deceive them, but sometimes we need to be able to switch off our empathetic feelings to protect our own lives, and those of others.



Pascal Molenberghs, Senior Lecturer in Social Neuroscience, M
onash University

 

 


This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


CONTENT

Article 01

TikTok, a new learning platform?
by Peter van Gorsel





Even pre-pandemic, the decline of traditional education was already its underway. With exorbitant costs and a focus on standardized test scores, the 19th century industrial education model has become increasingly disconnected from the needs of both students of all kinds, educators and employers. Little or no attention goes toward encouraging the skills and mentality needed for lifelong learning. . And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the disruption of education as kids and young adults have been forced to learn from home.

A recent Harvard study showed that students actually learn more when education is built on "active learning," which promotes working collaboratively on projects In the collective reckoning on what learning should look like going forward, I've found that the social media platform TikTok offers some surprising insights. Over the last few years, TikTok has become one of the largest learning platforms in the world: It's available in over 150 markets and is one of the most downloaded apps in 40-plus countries. On the app, which is available in 75 languages, creators make a variety of short-form videos on everything from cooking hacks to dance moves to crafts and math skills. The hashtag #LearnOnTikTok currently has more than 7 billion views. Why has TikTok become such a popular learning platform? It embodies the following trends:

Creators are empowered: Traditional education has been focused on institutions that limit and control access to teachers, regulating their relationship with their students. In contrast, TikTok is designed to make it easy for anyone to be a video creator, to share information, and to find an audience.
Teachers also empowers teachers of all kinds by giving them a platform independent from their institutions and a new way to meet their students where they are. For instance,
It @Iamthatenglishteacher began posting TikTok grammar lessons to help her middle-school students overcome common mistakes. She now has 1.5 million followers.
Influence is the new accreditation: The top creators on TikTok aren't there because of the school they went to or the certificate they have. It's their skills and ability to embody what they are teaching in a compelling way that gives them their authority and influence. It's a trend across the learning sector: People are looking for demonstrated mastery or recognition versus traditional institutional credentials.
Learning is fun, and learners are actively engaged:
Entrepreneur Seth Godin famously said that the focus of modern education can be summed up with one question: "Will this be on the test?" He believes that what's missing at the core of this mentality is "enrollment"-this is the idea that students are there because they want to be. TikTok captures this concept: It's fun, engaging, and people are showing up by choice, sparked by a love of the subject matter and not for a certificate or course credit.
The future of learning will be social: TikTok is a powerful tool for education because it is both a learning platform and a social network. People find their friends, scroll through content, and along the way find new groups with shared interests. TikTok's 500 million active users now put it ahead of better-known social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

But while TikTok illuminates many of the trends defining the future of learning, it also has its clear limitations:
The maximum video length it supports is 60 seconds, which makes a full education or deeper skills training impossible on the platform.
TikTok also doesn't provide live connection or accountability - two essential components that were also missing from the first generation of online learning. When online classes got their start, they mostly provided access to educational content, but struggled with follow-through: on average only 4% on of people will complete an online class, mostly because online classes lack a community. And it's the community that provides the accountability and peer pressure that helps keep people going.
It's not a sustainable revenue source. Still, TikTok is valuable for educators right now because it provides exposure.

"TikTok lets me capture and share these profound moments that showcase my work," says Rachel Weinstock, a TikTok creator, coach, educator, and activist who offers cohort-based courses and coaching cohort-based where she makes her revenue.
"TikTok is the surface area too to spread the message, but it doesn't offer an income source. But can be used use it to invite users into paid and deeper programs."

Educators and creators need more than TikTok can offer. A business-in-a-box solution could make it easy to build educational experiences that create sustainable income streams without needing millions of followers. This becomes possible when educational content goes deeper than what a platform like TikTok offers while still retaining some of that social, engaging ethos that people naturally gravitate to. In a live, online, cohort-based course, for instance, groups learn together; they give and receive feedback and are held accountable. Compared to the previous generation of solo, self-paced online learning, this model can create a true sense of belonging.

These are the educational experiences that work best for the teacher and learner and which can bring us into a golden age of learning - one that is accessible from anywhere, led by passionate creators and educators, and grounded in a connected community.

 



See also by Peter van Gorsel:
Homo Economicus
Chasing the dragon




About Peter van Gorsel

Publisher, gamification expert, brain & behaviour marketeer, education expert, strategist and free thinker

 


 

 

CONTENT

The Future Now Show

Regenerative Business
with Rudy de Waele


 

Are you still sleepwalking through the addictive and unsustainable consumerist nightmare trying to keep our ultra-capitalist scarcity-based systems intact? Or are you ready to lead with your heart?
In a recent WEF survey of nearly 21,000 adults in 28 countries, nearly nine out of ten people (86%) want the world to change significantly to become more sustainable and equitable.
Rudy de Waele: "We treat the world as we treat ourselves. We are the seeds of our impact. We become leaders when we take full responsibility, first of ourselves."

 

 







Credits

Rudy de Waele
Co-Founder Regenerate X and Conscious Learning Tribe
Keynote Speaker, Change Leadership, Conscious Leadership Development, Transformative Innovation,
Regenerative Business, Co-Creating the Future, Self-Awarenes
Ibiza, Spain
Regenerate X
medium.com/regenerate-x
Conscious Learning Tribe
www.consciouslearningtribe.com



Felix B Bopp
Producer of The Future Now Show

clubofamsterdam.com

The Future Now Show

https://clubofamsterdam.com/the-future-now-show



You can find The Future Now Show also at

LinkedIn: The Future Now Show Group
YouTube: The Future Now Show Channel



CONTENT

Article 02

The Hacking of the American Mind with Dr. Robert Lustig

University of California Television (UCTV)

The best-selling author and UCSF endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig explores how industry has contributed to a culture of addiction, depression and chronic disease. Always provocative, Lustig reveals the science that drives these states of mind and offers solutions we can use.

 






 

The Hacking of the American Mind:
The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains

by Robert H. Lustig



"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts."-- David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker

The New York Times-bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.

While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery--our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.

Dopamine is the "reward" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the "contentment" neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don't need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin--because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated -- with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last forty years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.

With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess, and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.

 



Robert H. Lustig, M.D., is an internationally renowned pediatric endocrinologist who has spent the past sixteen yers treating childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar on the central nervous system, metabolism, and disease. He is the director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital; a member of the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment; as well as a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society.


CONTENT



News about the Future


> Space debris
> Plastic Bank


Space debris

Solving the growing problem of space debris will require everyone who flies rockets and satellites to adhere to sustainable practices, which doesn’t always happen. Now there will be a way to recognise those who do.

We increasingly rely on satellites for every-day activities like navigation, weather forecasting and telecommunications, and any loss of these space-based services could have a serious effect on our modern economies.

Yet vital orbital pathways around Earth are becoming more congested with trash, such as abandoned satellites and rocket upper stages or debris fragments from old satellites that have exploded.

“There are numerous debris reduction and mitigation guidelines that can be applied at the design, manufacturing, launching, operating or disposal stage of any mission, but the challenge has been getting the global community to apply these in a consistent way,” says Holger Krag, Head of ESA’s Space Debris Office. “Applying these guidelines generally adds cost or reduces the useful life of a satellite, even if only slightly, so it’s always been a tough sell.”

See:
ESA’s 2019 Space Debris Environment report

 

Plastic Bank

Plastic Bank is a for-profit social enterprise founded and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that builds recycling ecosystems in under-developed communities in an effort to fight both plastic pollution in oceans, as well as high poverty levels in developing countries.

We build ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities, and reprocess the materials for reintroduction into the global manufacturing supply chain.

Collectors receive a premium for the materials they collect to better help them provide basic family necessities such as groceries, school tuition, and health insurance.

Collected material is reborn as Social Plastic® which is reintegrated into products and packaging. This creates a closed-loop supply chain while helping those who collect it.

Our proprietary blockchain platform secures the entire transaction and provides real-time data visualization: allowing for transparency, traceability, and rapid scalability.

 

 



CONTENT

Article 03


Foodscaping
With Matt Lebon


Backyard to Snackyard - Where to Begin with Foodscaping

 


 

Matt Lebon is a proud St. Louis native with over ten years of farming and gardening experience. Matt got his start with farming as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. He went on to study permaculture and work on several farms in Israel and Brooklyn, NY. Over the years, Matt has become a practitioner and instructor on edible landscaping, organic agriculture, orcharding, and permaculture design. For five seasons Matt worked at the EarthDance Organic Farm School until he left his role of farm manager in 2017. Now with Custom Foodscaping, Matt is most passionate about creating magical food moments in the everyday places we work, learn and play.




CONTENT

Recommended Book


The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society
by Frans de Waal

 





Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests? In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.

By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals – and humans – are "preprogrammed to reach out." He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer "reassuring rumbles" to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another.

De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance, and which seems to be evidenced by the current greed-driven stock market collapse. But he cites the public's outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective–one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy. Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature.

Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times.



Frans de Waal

Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

The morality of beasts | Frans de Waal
By Big Think

Frans de Waal has studied the behavior of primates for five decades. Some of his many important observations center around the evolution of morality and just how much we have in common with the animal kingdom.

The idea that animals are always in conflict with one another and competing for resources is “totally wrong,” de Waal says.

Other primates, specifically chimpanzees and bonobos, have demonstrated a range of traits and tendencies typically regarded as human, including empathy, friendship, reconciliation, altruism, and even adoption.

 


CONTENT

Article 04


Applied Empathy
With Michael Ventura




Michael Ventura is an accomplished leader, practitioner, and educator. As the founder of renowned strategy and design consultancy Sub Rosa, he's advised influential organizations from the ACLU, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, and Nike to well-respected institutions such as The United Nations and the Obama-Biden Administration. Alongside this work, Michael leads a private practice serving individuals seeking support and mentorship. His book, Applied Empathy (Simon & Schuster 2018) explores the intersectionality of these two worlds (business and personal development) through the practice of empathy for the self, and for others. He has served as a board member and advisor to a variety of organizations including The Burning Man Project, The Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and the United Nations' Tribal Link Foundation. He is a visiting lecturer at institutions such as Princeton University and the United States Military Academy at West Point. An ardent steward of personal and professional development, Michael is frequently engaged as an advisor to leaders, teams, and corporate boards at moments of transformation and change.

SSR (formerly Sub Rosa) a is a brand strategy and design practice helping organizations explore, learn and grow. We bring together research, strategy and design to clarify purpose and drive growth, engagement and awareness for brands. We are solution-agnostic thinkers, designers and builders.

Our work is grounded in Applied Empathy. We begin by understanding the realities and ambitions of the participants in each interaction, and we design and build solutions based on this understanding.

We create interactions that stimulate meaningful conversations, behaviors, relationships and memories. In this way, we solve challenges and unlock opportunities for clients and communities.

Michael Ventura: Empathy Is Your Best Creative Tool

Michael has dedicated his career to exploring how empathy can make us better leaders, collaborators, and contributors to society. In his 99U talk, He explains that the practice of empathy “isn’t about being nice” — it’s about deep understanding, and learning to apply that understanding to incredibly effective ends.



 

 




CONTENT

Climate Change Success Story

Climate Neutral Group




Climate Neutral Group (CNG) is dedicated to combatting climate change and supports organisations in achieving Absolute-zero emissions by mid-century, setting targets that are in line with, or more stringent than, the Paris Agreement.
CNG was founded 20 years ago and has since rapidly expanded to provide global impact. Our team of experts passionately supportsover 3,000 companies around the world to make real climate impact and improve the lives of millions of people. We are a foundingpartner of ICROA, a B-Corp Certified company and an ISEAL Community Member.



"We have been leaders in climate neutral entrepreneurship since 2002, when we emerged from two start-ups, backed by our founders: Triodos Bank and DOEN Participations BV. As a Founding Partner of ICROA and BCorp, Climate Neutral Group stands for qualitatively responsible offsetting in addition to insight, footprinting and reduction. As a B-to-B partner and a leader in the climate arena, we are, thanks to the confidence of more than 3000 organisations, firmly on the road from A to Zero CO2. We aim for a positive climate impact for and with our customers. That's why we continually invest in strengthening our team and our tools. We are passionately behind our mission: Net Zero CO2 by 2050."

"We are optimistic about what we have achieved in terms of climate impact, the results that we can achieve in the future and the drive among organisations to move to Net Zero. The world has accelerated its transition, partly due to COVID-19. We have seen this reflected in wonderful new partnerships with motivated companies and brands. The next step, our renewed Climate Neutral Certification standard for organisations, products and services, will be the catalyst. With the Climate Neutral Certified label you get a visible and independently verified confirmation of your organisation's work towards Net Zero CO2 and the results you have already achieved."


Featured cases



Vincent Doedee, International Sustainability Manager at Heerema Marine Contractors:
“During the implementation of our strategy and our roadmap to climate neutrality, Climate Neutral Group has helped us to formulate our goals, sharpened the roadmap and found suitable climate projects that fit with us as a company for offsetting our residual emissions. Climate Neutral Group has helped us a lot, both as a project manager and as a sounding board to help us on the way to climate neutrality. A very qualified partner who knows what they are talking about!”


Heerema Marine Contractors is investing in new technologies to support its sustainability measures. For example, the contractor has introduced the innovative sustainable vessel Sleipnir, which is propelled by LNG. This reduces CO2 emissions by 20% compared to conventional diesel and reduces nitrogen oxides, sulphur and particulate matter even more. Heerema has also developed a sustainable energy shore power (‘Shore Power’) connection at the Rotterdam mooring location.

Heerema Marine Contractors CEO Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven said earlier this year that its mission is to be the leading maritime contractor creating sustainable value: “Our decision to become climate neutral in 2020 is proof that we are acting on our words. We are proud of the commitment. We have brought the Sleipnir into operation and delivered shore power, which has significantly reduced our impact. Going climate neutral is the next step for our company.”




CONO Cheesemakers is the first climate neutral guaranteed dairy organisation in the Netherlands. And therefore the most sustainable cheese factory in our country!

The makers of the well-known Beemster cheese (among other things), follow a triple strategy: save as much energy as possible, generate as much green energy as possible and offset the last bit of emissions. “We have premium farmers who supply premium milk. Only a premium cheese factory fits in with that,” says Grietsje Hoekstra, Sustainability Manager at CONO Cheesemakers.
Climate Neutral Cheese Dairy

The production process at CONO has been climate neutral since 1 January 2020. CONO is the first dairy organisation in our country to be certified by Climate Neutral Group (CNG) as a climate neutral organisation (cheese factory). Attention is paid to people, animals and the environment throughout the entire supply chain, not just in CONO’s cheese factory. Together with partners in the chain (such as livestock farmers, transporters, customers) and civil society organisations, CONO is working towards sustainability. The leading sustainability program Caring Dairy is aimed at making dairy farming more sustainable. CONO rewards their farmers with a premium for participating in the program and also for achieving impactful results.

Cheese making is an energy-intensive process. It is impossible to consume no energy at all in a cheese factory that processes about 400 million kilograms of milk annually. Since ‘every little bit helps’, the cheese makers at CONO make smart choices every day. CNG is monitoring this progress. This makes it possible to ensure that the energy used is green, from renewable sources. Agreements have been made with farmers who are members of the CONO cooperative. Anyone who supplies CONO with the overproduction of electricity from solar panels on the roof of the farm will receive compensation for doing so. There are 440 dairy farmers who are members of the dairy cooperative. More than 34% of these companies now generate their own green electricity. “Our ambition is to eventually generate sufficient green electricity for the entire cheese chain through the members of our dairy cooperative,” says Grietsje Hoekstra.





Arla Foods is one of the five largest dairy companies in the world, selling products like milk, yogurt and cheese in more than 100 countries. Arla Foods Netherlands wants to make it easier for people to live healthier lives due to good nutrition and to do so in a way that is as sustainable as possible for the planet, the people and animals. The dairy cooperative is convinced that limiting global warming is crucial for the production of a nutritious and sustainable diet. Arla Foods Netherlands’ goal is clear: the consumer must be able to enjoy a glass of milk without having an impact on the climate. They are committed to a better future for tomorrow’s generation.

Completely Carbon Neutral

The climate is changing. The earth’s temperature is rising. Arla Foods is convinced that things must and can be done differently. That is why the dairy cooperative has been working for years on organic production and reducing its impact on the climate throughout the supply chain. The most recent example of this is the introduction of Arla carbon neutral organic products, the first dairy products on the Dutch market that are carbon neutral from cow to refrigerator. To get there, Arla is working with Climate Neutral Group. The new product line has also been positively evaluated against CNG’s Climate Neutral Certified Standard, which means that Arla carbon neutral organic meets the following conditions:

All greenhouse gases (CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) that Arla organic emits throughout the entire supply chain have been properly mapped; the footprints of the products have been externally verified.
Arla Foods has signed off on its goal to reduce emissions for Arla organic products by 30% in 2028, compared to 2015 emissions.
The goal to reduce Arla organic’s emissions has been translated into reduction plans. These are monitored in various ways, such as through Arla Climate Checks on dairy farms.
Remaining greenhouse gases are offset by projects certified according to the international Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
The above points are communicated in a transparent manner on both the Arla Foods website and on the packaging of Arla carbon neutral organic products, so that it is clear what the scope of the certification is: ‘from cow to refrigerator’.

  • Every year Arla's dairy farmers carry out a Climate Check and get advice from an external expert on how it is possible to reduce the production of greenhouse gases on their farm.
  • Arla's organic dairy farmers in the Netherlands only use green electricity.
  • Arla's plant in Nijkerk uses green electricity and biogas to produce Arla organic products. Biogas is extracted by fermentation of organic residual waste.
  • The dairy cartons are made of unbleached cardboard, are recyclable and have a sustainable PE layer in the cardboard packaging. The layer of renewable PE is made from European tall oil, a residual product from the European paper industry.



Small Windfarms in India


Thanks to our mix of small scale wind energy projects in India, in regions such as Karnataka and Gujarat, local families, often in remote areas, are able to use a stable supply of clean energy. The location of these wind farms is carefully chosen in areas with a high/average wind speed. The most modern wind turbine technologies are used to guarantee the highest efficiency and that as much energy as possible is generated. The infrastructure around the wind farms has been significantly improved. The combination of access to clean energy and good infrastructure creates new opportunities for the expansion of economic activities in the region. The low energy use by households in India means that a relatively high number of households can use the clean energy. The company that produces the wind energy informs the public about the effects and advantages of this green energy and energy efficient behaviour. They also contribute to ‘community care’ by establishing schools and setting up health facilities.


The Climate Neutral Group has chosen a mix of wind energy projects in India for several years because they are very efficient, because they significantly lower CO2 emissions and because they provide remote populations with clean energy. We find it important that the projects give a positive boost to the region and the local population. The projects are certified according to the VCS standard, which monitors the project and annually guarantees its quality and results.






Efficient Cookstoves in Uganda

This offset project invests in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales of efficient cookstoves in Uganda. The objective is to improve the access to cleaner, healthier, more cost-effective cooking methods amongst local households.

Over a third of the global population relies on open fires for cooking. This usually happens indoors. These fires produce a lot of smoke, which is dangerous to people’s health. Globally, four million people die from respiratory diseases caused by cooking over an open fire. This is more than the collective death toll of tuberculosis, malaria and Aids.

In addition, meal preparation on open fires has a huge impact on the climate, and on social development of women and children. It is them, after all, who tend to be responsible for the collection of firewood and meal preparation.

Climate Neutral Group works with the project by investing in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales of efficient cookstoves through the purchase of carbon credits. This allows the project to improve people’s access to cleaner cookstoves.

This initiative carries a Gold Standard certification. The Gold Standard certification guarantees that the effects, monitoring, and auditing of emission-reducing projects are done properly. In addition, Climate Neutral Group is a member of The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA).

  • The cookstoves improve the living conditions of women and children by reducing the time they spend collecting firewood and cooking. They, as a result, have more time for other things, including finding employment, studying, and being an active part of their family.
  • This project also contributes to local employment opportunities in manufacturing and sales.
  • Finally, using less wood and charcoal positively affects people’s disposable incomes. These savings can be invested in education and other crucial household expenses.

 

Our Climate Neutral Certification Standard





Our Climate Neutral Certification Standard uses a structured method
and various tools to achieve climate neutrality for your products and
makes the impact visible to your stakeholders.

All steps taken to reduce your CO2 emissions and offset the remainder are
independently verified against clear criteria. Climate Neutral Group follows the
Codes of Conduct and is an approved Community Member of ISEAL, the global
membership association for credible sustainability standards.


How

01 Calculate your product carbon footprint.
02 Define the annual reduction target; then Plan – Do – Check – Act.
03 Compensate or inset the emissions that remain.
04 Become certified via an audit by an independent Certification Body.
05 Communicate with the Climate Neutral Label

 




CONTENT

Visionary Portrait


Rana el Kaliouby
pioneer of artificial emotional intelligence

 



AI Thought Leader. Machine Learning Scientist. Deputy CEO at Smart Eye. Former Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva. Author of the book “Girl Decoded.” Disrupting industries and humanizing technology with Emotion AI.

Rana’s life work is about humanizing technology before it dehumanizes us. She is an Egyptian-American scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor, author, and an AI thought leader on a mission to bring emotional intelligence to our digital world. She is the Deputy CEO at Smart Eye and formerly, Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, an MIT spin-off and category defining AI company. Rana realized a successful exit for Affectiva in June 2021 when the company was acquired by Smart Eye, where she is currently focused on scaling the company to a global AI powerhouse. She is also an executive fellow at the Harvard Business School where she teaches about AI and startups. Her bestselling memoir, Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology (Penguin Random House, April 2020), follows her personal journey, growing up in the Middle East and moving to the United States to become an entrepreneur, juxtaposed against her work building Emotion AI.

Rana has raised $50M+ in venture capital from top-tier investors to bring Affectiva’s Emotion AI, built on deep learning, computer vision, speech science and massive amounts of real-world data, to 90+ countries and to several industries including the automotive industry and media analytics. She has a track record of translating technology innovations into products that address the needs of massive international markets and spearhead the application of Emotion AI to market research, automotive, mental health, autism, conversational interfaces, robotics and education.

She is extremely passionate about the ethical development and deployment of AI, including advocating for standards to ensure data privacy and to mitigate data and algorithmic bias. To help establish best practices and guidelines for AI ethics, Rana is part of industry organizations like the Partnership on AI and the World Economic Forum’s Council of Young Global Leaders.

As one of few women leading an AI company, she cares deeply about her role as an advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech and leadership. To help catalyze change and improve equity industry-wide, she is a member of the Boston Steering Committee for All Raise supporting female founders and funders, and a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) where she is serves on YPO’s New England board. Rana is also a venture partner of the MIT Media Lab E14 Fund, a Board Member of SIMPEDs at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a Board of Trustees member at the Mass Technology Leadership Council and at the American University in Cairo, the leading liberal arts university in the Middle East. A TED speaker, and co-host of a PBS NOVA series on AI, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate from MIT.

Rana believes in the power of human connection.




About Affectiva

Affectiva is on a mission to humanize technology. An MIT Media Lab spin-off, Affectiva created and defined the Emotion AI category. Built on deep learning, computer vision, speech science and massive amounts of real-world data, Affectiva’s technology can detect nuanced human emotions, complex cognitive states, activities, interactions and objects people use.

In automotive, Affectiva’s in-cabin sensing AI is enabling leading car manufacturers, fleet managers and ridesharing companies to build next-generation mobility that adapts to complex human states. Affectiva’s technology is also used by 25 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies to test consumer engagement with ads, videos and TV programming.

In June 2021 Smart Eye acquired Affectiva. The two companies are merging to create a transatlantic AI powerhouse that will lead and accelerate the growth and development of the rapidly evolving automotive Interior Sensing market, as well as the Media Analytics and Research markets.




About Smart Eye

Smart Eye is leading the way towards safe and sustainable transportation. Every year, 1.2 million people lose their lives in traffic-related accidents around the world, another 50 million are injured. Our firm belief is that science and technology can help turn this around.

For over 20 years Smart Eye has developed artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of eye tracking technology that understands, supports and predicts a person’s intentions and actions. By carefully studying eye, facial and head movement, our technology can draw conclusions about a person’s awareness and mental state. Our eye tracking technology is used in the next generation of cars, commercial vehicles and providing new insights for research within aerospace, aviation, neuroscience and more.

Smart Eye’s solutions are used around the world by more than 800 partners and customers, including the US Air Force, NASA, BMW, Audi, Boeing, Volvo, GM, and Harvard University.


The Future of Emotion AI & The Empathy Economy
By SXSW 2021

What if technology could understand people in the same way that we understand one another? In this inspiring session in conjunction with the paperback launch of her popular memoir, Girl Decoded, Affectiva co-founder and CEO Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D. discusses her groundbreaking mission to humanize technology with Emotion AI — technology that analyzes human expressions and reactions in context. She describes how its applications in automotive, advertising, mental health and autism research feed her mission to transform our relationship with technology, and by extension, with one another. Rana also explores how these applications will facilitate the shift towards an empathy economy: the ability for companies to truly connect on an emotional level with their clients and embody empathetic leadership to create an unparalleled sense of purpose.

 


 



CONTENT

 
 

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