Evian's reusable water bottles and VW's 'carbon-neutral' EVs: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

This weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development
Published every week, this series charts how businesses, city leaders and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their 'Mission Possible' across the campaign’s five key pillars - energy, resources, mobility, built environment and business leadership.

From Volkswagen’s pledge to deliver ‘carbon-neutral’ electric vehicles (EVs), to the launch of a $3m funding pot for green innovators, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses, local authorities and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

ENERGY: Kingspan installs wind turbine at North Wales factory
After having its carbon reduction aims rubber stamped by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) last October, building materials giant Kingspan has this week installed a 900kW wind turbine at its Holywell insulation factory in North Wales.

According to renewables firm EWT Direct Wind, which delivered and installed the turbine during a three-day shutdown at the facility, 90% of the energy generated by the array will be used to power the factory during its operating hours. The remaining power will be sold back to the grid.

The installation of the turbine marks a step towards Kingspan’s 2020 target of becoming a ‘net-zero energy’ business, sourcing all of its power from either onsite renewable arrays or through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The company is currently on track to meet this ambition, having reduced the carbon intensity of its operations by 77% since 2010.

RESOURCES: Evian unveils its first reusable bottles in bid to become ‘truly circular’
Building on its pledge to become a “truly circular” company and its moves to source more recycled PET (rPET) for its bottle manufacturing, French bottled water giant Evian unveiled designs for its first range of reusable drinks bottles on Monday (18 February).

Developed for New York Fashion Week as part of a partnership with designer Virgil Abloh, the bottles consist of a recyclable glass body, aluminium cap and a silicone sleeve. Each bottle is printed with the Evian logo and the slogan ‘Rainbow Inside’.

Through its advertising on Instagram, Twitter and other social media channels, Evian is framing the bottle as a limited-edition, luxury lifestyle product. Indeed, it will be sold exclusively through online luxury fashion retailer Matches Fashion.

The announcement from Evian comes shortly after its parent company, Danone, signed a contract with US-based rPET supplier Loop Industries to increase the percentage of recycled material it uses in its bottles. Currently, Evian ensures that its bottles are 100% recyclable and that they contain, on average, 25% recycled plastic.

MOBILITY: VW commits to carbon neutral lifecycle for its ID range
German automaker Volkswagen (VW) has featured heavily in this series in recent months, with stories including the launch of its renewable energy arm Elli Group and its collaboration on low-carbon mobility with rival Ford having hit the headlines over the past few weeks.

As concerns about how corporates can minimise the environmental impact of sourcing the materials they will need to build new electric vehicle (EV) technology continue to mount, VW this week made a new commitment of ensuring that its ID range will be carbon-neutral through its entire lifecycle – provided that users recharge it with renewable power.

The model is manufactured at VW’s Zwickau, Germany site, which already runs on 100% renewable electricity. But the new pledge will see VW purchase carbon credits equivalent to “all unavoidable” emissions throughout the vehicles’ lifecycle, including those associated with sourcing raw materials and transporting the cars abroad.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our times, and as the world’s largest car manufacturer, VW is assuming responsibility,” VW’s board representative for e-mobility Thomas Ulbrich said.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: 'Zero-carbon' business centre achieves Passivhaus Plus certification
Since this weekly series was launched last year, several innovative buildings which have received Passivhaus certification have featured in this segment - including a 19th century home in Central London and the University of Leicester's Centre for Medicine.

This week, an office on a business park in Elmsbrook, Bicester, became the first non-domestic building to receive the scheme's highest accolade - Passivhaus Plus certification. Developed by Cherwell District Council, the Perch Eco Business Centre Bicester features a number of built-in energy efficiency measures, including passive daylighting, LED lighting and passive heating and cooling systems. It also boasts extensive bicycle storage facilities and a biodiversity garden.

The three-story building is set to play host to up to 125 employees, once a suitable operator and tenants are found.

"This building has been carefully designed to maximise natural resources, provide a healthy environment and be as energy efficient as possible, presenting new opportunities for small businesses," Cherwell District Council's lead member for estates and the economy Lynn Pratt said.



BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: United Arab Emirates launches $3m prize to spur green innovation
After providing funding for four SMEs and six schools to help them scale-up their sustainable innovations last year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government is once again providing $3m (£2.3m) to organisations working on projects which aim to decarbonise energy, secure food systems, prevent water scarcity and make healthcare more accessible.

Under the Zayed Sustainability Prize, SMEs across five sectors – renewable energy, agrifood, water and healthcare - are being encouraged to compete for their share of the funding, with $600,000 as a prize for each category. The scheme will also see six schools receive a $100,000 share of the pot each, in order to deliver education and training programmes on one or more of these sustainability topics.

The funding is available worldwide, with the winner of last year’s renewable energy prize being BBOX, a UK-based firm which provides pay-as-you-go solar power, solar microgrids and domestic solar solutions to communities in developing nations.

“To have been recognised in this way is a testament to the way we are making a meaningful difference to people’s lives around the world,” BBOX’s chief executive Mansoor Hamayun said.

“The recognition is also practical, and the prize funds will further accelerate our ability to provide reliable energy to communities in an off-grid setting.”

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/7/Evian-s-reusable-water-bottles-and-VW-s--carbon-neutral--EVs--The-sustainability-success-stories-of-the-week/

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Ikea's air-purifying curtains and solar space stations: The best green innovations of the week

Each week, numerous eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations that could help businesses and nations deliver on resource efficiency, low-carbon transitions and combat climate change emerge. And each week edie rounds-up six of the best.

This week's innovations could spur sustainable change within the logistics, mining and energy sectors
It’s been an exciting week in the edie office, largely due to the unveiling of our first ever 30 Under 30 class – a cohort of young sustainability, CSR and energy professionals who have either already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise.

With representatives from across the UK’s largest industries, from retail and hospitality, to food and drink and Formula E, the group will now have the opportunity to develop their sustainability skills and knowledge throughout the year through bespoke content and events.

While each of the 30 will have their own success story to tell already, talks of sustainable business leadership are always underpinned by a knowledge that we are now facing environmental and social sustainability issues on an unprecedented scale.

The good news is that creative young minds are already beginning to develop ambitious and innovative solutions to the challenges at hand, from water scarcity and rising carbon emissions, to getting women into education. And innovators are continually developing new concepts, systems, products and services which could help them on their mission.

With this in mind, this week’s roundup lists six innovations which could help businesses and nations accelerate their progress towards creating a sustainable future, today.
As the nation which plays home to more than two-thirds of the world’s solar jobs and is the world’s biggest investor in renewable power generation, China undoubtedly stands at the forefront of solar innovation. But while professionals in this space may be used to seeing developments like panda-shaped solar parks or solar-powered car chargers from China, solar arrays in space have, until this week, remained a widely unexplored avenue.

Chinese media outlets recently announced that work has begun to build the world’s first solar station intended for space, which the China Academy of Space Technology Corporation believes could generate power during 99% of the day. The array works by capturing light energy using rigid photovoltaic (PV) panels before converting it to a microwave or laser and beaming it down to an energy receiving station on earth. The energy can then be fed into the local grid.

It has been reported that the first solar station - a small-to-medium sized device - will be launched into the stratosphere between 2021 and 2015, with a 1MW facility set to be deployed by 2030. The researchers behind the technology are aiming to launch a 1GW facility by 2050.
Shortly after the UK's Clean Air Summit came to a close in London last week, home improvement retailer Ikea unveiled plans to launch an innovative new curtain which removes particulate pollution from the air.

Called Gunrid and earmarked for launch later this year, the curtain is coated with a mixture of minerals known to trap airborne pollutants when exposed to light. The process, which is designed to mimic photosynthesis, is activated by both indoor and outdoor light.

Ikea claims this is the first time this technology has been integrated into a product for the mass market. It is due to be rolled out across Ikea’s US and Asia stores by the end of 2020, following further collaborative research with universities in these regions.
Also on the topic of air pollution, workplace safety technology firm Trolex has this week released an air quality monitoring system which maps pollutant levels in real-time.

The technology, called the Air XD, uses highly advanced particulate sensor laser technology to monitor multiple sizes of dust or silica particles at once and track their movements. Data is then relayed to the user by a separate screen.

The system has been designed to help companies in the industrial and tunnelling sectors ensure that their employees are not exposed to dangerous levels of airborne particles while they work. According to Trolex, a further benefit of the technology is that it removes the need for engineers to be sent into workplaces to manually monitor pollution levels, minimising costs and safety risks.
From mobile car charging stations to domestic ‘smart-energy’ systems, several eye-catching and potentially transformative innovations have emerged within the energy storage sector of late, with many targeted at members of the general public.

Continuing this trend, automaker Nissan and camper trailer manufacturer OPUS have collaborated to develop a camper trailer fitted with end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The waterproof battery unit, called ROAM, is designed to deliver up to a week’s worth of off-grid power- mitigating the need for carbon-heavy diesel generators at campsites.

Each ROAM unit has a storage capacity of 700Wh and a power output of 1kWm. It can be used to power small appliances and is fitted with one 230v plug and four USB ports.

The device is also compatible with most small-scale solar technologies, meaning those who want to extend their trip beyond a week without using diesel generation methods can generate and store their own clean power.
Hydrogen has proven something of a hot topic in the transport sphere over the past 12 months, with Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), ordering 800 hydrogen-electric semi-trucks last May, private hire firm Green Tomato Cars taking up 50 new Toyota Mirai hydrogen electric saloons and Nikola Motor unveiling plans for its first hydrogen-powered lorry.

Building on this progress, South Korean drone company MetaVista has successfully developed a 100% hydrogen-powered drone, which is capable of staying airborne for almost 11 hours using just 390g of liquid hydrogen.

The quadcopter device is powered by a 650W fuel cell and an ultra-lightweight liquid hydrogen storage tank, both developed by UK-based innovation firm Intelligent Energy. It works by feeding compressed hydrogen gas from the tank into the fuel cell, where it is combined with oxygen from the air in a process that produces water as well as electricity.

Given that the UN estimates that around 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050, the drone – and other similar technologies – could have extensive applications in the logistics and retail industries, proving last-mile deliveries to consumers without any greenhouse gas emissions.
Taking inspiration from the porous nature of wood and coral, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a method of altering nickel sheets to make them stronger yet more resource-efficient.

The research team worked meticulously to build pores into the metal at a nano-scale level, making it less dense and more resilient. Around 70% of the material is empty space, giving it a density similar to water and making it around four times lighter than titanium – but just as strong.

Titanium is the current metal of choice for products ranging from aircraft to tennis racquets because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. But the innovative metal ‘wood’ would be just as strong while being more resource-efficient and cheaper.

The researchers behind the project believe the material could be harnessed for a number of applications, from the manufacture of handheld electronics to the development of large structures like bridges and skyscrapers.

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/8/Nissan-s-portable-battery-storage-and-solar-power-in-space--The-best-green-innovations-of-the-week

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UK homes jeopardising national climate targets, report warns

The UK will not hit its legally binding carbon reduction targets unless the Government acts now to address the "increasing uncomfortable and unsafe" national housing stock, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The report criticises the withdrawal of key low-carbon policy frameworks, notably the zero carbon homes scheme

The CCC’s 'UK housing: Fit for the future?' report warns that the UK Climate Change Act target of reducing emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050 will not be reached without the “near-complete elimination” of emissions from UK buildings.

The report claims that Government U-turns and suddenly policy changes have created a skills gap in housing design and construction, which has led to emissions from the UK’s 29 million homes to stall rather than shrink.

At the same time, the UK housing stock is unprepared for future climate impacts, the report notes. Around 4.5 million homes suffer from overheating, while 1.8 million are located in areas of significant flood risks. The report warns that water scarcity and increased temperatures could create unsafe and detrimental living conditions for UK citizens.

The CCC’s chair, Lord Deben, said: “Simply put, there is no way in which the UK can meet the legally binding climate change targets that Parliament has determined unless we take the measures outlined in this report.”

Energy use in homes increased in 2016 and accounts for 14% of total UK emissions. However, the report claims that existing technology could deliver high-quality, low-carbon and climate-resilient homes, if new policies can plug the existing skills and knowledge gaps.

The report criticises the withdrawal of key low-carbon policy frameworks, notably the zero carbon homes scheme. The CCC claims that policies that boost uptake of low-carbon technologies could save households in new homes between £70 and £260 on annual energy bills.

On the home stretch

The report also recommends that energy efficiency measures, like insulation, should be a priority for the existing housing stock, while new homes should be built to be low-carbon, water-efficient and climate-resilient. By 2025, no new homes should be connected to the gas grid.

In fact, the report urges the UK Government to secure funding for low-carbon heating beyond 2021 and for local authorities to be given greater resources to plan and design new homes.

The Green Finance Taskforce’s recommendations to promote green mortgages were also welcomed by the CCC’s report.

The Government should also launch a nationwide training programme as part of the Industrial Strategy’s Construction Sector Deal, the report notes. The £420m deal provides a framework for the built environment sector to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

The CCC’s Adaption Committee’s chair Baroness Brown added: “The Government now has an opportunity to act. There must be compliance with stated building designs and standards. We need housing with low-carbon sources of heating. And we must finally grasp the challenge of improving our poor levels of home energy efficiency.

“As the climate continues to change, our homes are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and unsafe. This will continue unless we take steps now to adapt them for higher temperatures, flooding and water scarcity. Our report shows that this work has barely begun.”

 Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/11/UK-homes-jeopardising-national-climate-targets--report-warns/

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Government unveils deposit return scheme blueprints as part of waste management revamp

The UK Government has launched a 12-week consultation to explore how a "world-leading" tax on plastic packaging, standardised waste collections across the country and varying deposit return schemes for single-use items could overhaul and modernise the national waste management system.The Government estimates that an overhaul to the EPR system will raise between £800m and £1bn annually for recycling and disposal

The UK Government has announced plans to drastically modify waste management systems through a new consultation launched today (18 February). The consultation outlines details on plans to address existing collection and manufacturing incentives to improve recycling rates for plastics packaging.

The 12-week consultation will invite insight on a plethora of new recommendations that will feature in the Government’s upcoming Environment Bill, set to be issued early in the second session of Parliament.

A notable aspect of the consultation is that of a national deposit return system, which sees consumers pay an up-front deposit between 8-22p when purchasing cans or bottles, which is redeemed on the return of the empty drink container.

The government is exploring two variants of the system, which will operate for cans and plastic and glass bottles. An “all-in” model would focus on all beverages placed on the market, irrespective of size, while the second, “on-the-go” model would restrict drinks containers that could operate in the system to less than 750ml and sold in a single format.

It is hoped that implementation of a deposit return system will help boost beverage container recycling from 57% in the UK to upwards of 95% - mirroring successful systems found in Germany and the Netherlands.

Already in the UK, numerous supermarkets have embarked on deposit return trials, with Iceland having captured more than 300,000 bottles in under 12 months.

Standardised waste collection

Another key focus of the consultation is the introduction of a consistent set of materials collected across England from households for recycling. While waste collection varies from council to council, the Government hopes to standardise what materials can be collected from households for recycling.

The consultation outlines steps for what materials should be included for collection, including plastic bottles, pot, tubs and trays, glass bottles and jars, paper, card and metal packaging. Free garden waste collections have also been mooted as part of the 12-week process.

Household recycling rates in England skyrocketed from 11% in 2000 to around 45% in 2013. However, the following five years have seen recycling rates plateau, with England lagging behind other home nations.

--- EXPLORE THE UK’S WASTE RECYCLING FIGURES HERE ---

In order to fund these new resource measures, the Government is also consulting on its “world-leading” tax on plastic packaging, as outlined in the Resources and Waste Strategy late last year.

The tax will impact any packaging that does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content by 2022. Proposals will suggest that producers will be forced to pay full net-costs of disposal of packaging they place on the market – up from just 10% now - through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system.

The Government estimates that an overhaul to the EPR system will raise between £800m and £1bn annually for recycling and disposal.

The Government is seeking views on how the tax will work, including creating access to a market of recycled content and which businesses should be liable for the tax. The Government will also explore the viability of EPR systems for cars, electrical goods, textiles, vehicle tyres, fishing gear and construction materials in the future.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are committed to going further and faster to reduce, reuse, recycle and cut waste. That’s why we are leading the way to move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society and drive up domestic recycling.

“Through our plans we will introduce a world-leading tax to boost recycled content in plastic packaging, make producers foot the bill for handling their packaging waste, and end the confusion over household recycling. We are committed to cementing our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, so we can be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/5/Government-unveils-deposit-return-scheme-options-as-part-of-waste-management-overhaul/

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Carbon Brief: UK's emissions could have doubled since 1990 without renewable energy

The UK's total carbon footprint has decreased by 38% since 1990 - but could have doubled if the renewable energy revolution had failed to gain traction, new analysis from Carbon Brief has concluded.

The organisation’s latest analysis on the UK’s shrinking carbon footprint, published today (4 February), reveals that progress regarding emissions reductions over the past ten years has remained steady, despite a period of decreased investment in low-carbon technologies following the financial crash of 2008.

Overall, it claims, the UK has reduced its total carbon footprint by 38% since 1990, – a slight increase on the 37% reduction recorded in 2016. According to official Government figures, the UK’s total carbon footprint stood at 600m tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) in 1990 and 367MtCO2 in 2017.

The shift away from coal power generation has been the key driver of this decarbonisation, Carbon Brief claims, accounting for 36% of the reduction. Within the past 27 years, coal has gone from accounting for 67% of the UK’s energy mix to just 5%, the analysis states, as more renewable and nuclear arrays have come online.

The second-biggest contributor to reductions was found to be lower energy use among the industrial and residential sectors, as businesses and individuals turned to energy-efficiency measures like LED lighting and electric heating to reduce their bills. This shift was responsible for almost one-third (31%) of the UK’s progress, Carbon Brief claims, with savings from industry being greater than those from homes.

Carbon Brief claims that without these sizeable shifts towards renewable power generation and energy-efficiency, the UK’s overall carbon emissions could have been twice as high today as they were in 1990. In this scenario, the proportion of emissions related to electricity generation would also have been four times that of present levels.

“Without the factors that have driven major shifts in recent years, coal would have remained king, with gas, wind, bio-energy and solar all remaining negligible,” the report states

“Nuclear generation would have remained largely the same, with somewhat higher output in recent years.”

The publication of the analysis comes shortly after EnAppSys released a new outlook report predicting that renewables will overtake fossil fuels in 2020 to become the "dominant" source of power in Great Britain. This followed a reveal last November that the installed capacity of renewables had already surpassed that of fossil fuels.

Carbon Brief is predicting that the UK Government’s plans to remove coal from the electricity mix by 2025 is likely to spur further reductions in this area, but has warned that “additional and rapid” progress will be needed in the transport and farming sectors, if the UK is to meet the aims of its Fifth Carbon Budget. These forecasts come at a time when transport is the most carbon-intense sector in the UK and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is lobbying for a “fundamental reform” of the farming industry’s approach to sustainability.

Embodied carbon

Carbon Brief’s analysis additionally highlights the fact that products imported to the UK over the past decade have, largely, had a lower carbon footprint than their predecessors.

It states that the CO2 generated when making and transporting goods which are imported into the UK had largely canceled out the nation’s decarbonisation progress before 2007, largely due to sourcing products from coal-intensive nations such as China.

This trend began to turn in late 2007 to early 2008, according to Carbon Brief, with emissions embodied in imported goods making up just a small portion of the amount of carbon negated in the energy and transport sectors. Over the past decade, both domestic and consumption emissions have fallen by similar amounts, the analysis notes.

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/10/Carbon-Brief--UK-s-emissions-could-have-doubled-since-1990-without-renewable-energy/

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Shell's green energy plan and edie's Plastics Hub: The sustainability success stories of January 2019

As the first month of 2019 comes to a close, edie rounds up some of the most-read sustainability stories and standout pieces of content from the past 31 days - from Shell's decision to boost its investment in low-carbon technologies, to the launch of edie's own Mission Possible Plastics Hub.

Despite the freezing weather outside and the fact that Christmas 2018 now seems like it was a lifetime ago, action within the sustainability sphere has shown no signs of slowing down this month.

Big announcements and ambitious commitments were rolling in well before this year’s World Economic Forum kicked off in Davos and have continued to land on the edie newsdesk ever since the event came to a close last week.

From the UK Government unveiling funding for innovative, high-tech concepts aimed at tackling food waste, to the launch of a huge new collaborative refill and reuse service by 24 companies – including the likes of Nestle and PepsiCo -  there is much to reflect on when looking back at the past month in both policy and corporate terms.

As this round-up proves, businesses are bracing for the polar vortex and charging ahead with new ideas, frameworks and innovations. So, take a look through all of the month's most-read news stories

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Business models for UK fashion industry unsustainable, MPs warn

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has today (31 January) criticised major fashion retailers, including Sports Direct, Amazon and Missguided, for "failing to take action" to protect workers and promote environmental sustainability.

In autumn 2018 the (EAC) wrote to 16 UK fashion retailers, requesting information on the environmental and social impacts of their products. Having collated the responses, the EAC has today ranked the retailers based on their responses.

While companies like ASOS, Marks and Spencer (M&S), Tesco, Primark and Burberry were defined as “most engaged” for sourcing sustainable cotton, using recycled material and enrolling in collaborative initiatives, JD Sports, Sports Direct, TK Maxx, Amazon, Boohoo and Missguided were the “least engaged”.

Specifically, none of the “least engaged” retailers have signed up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan– a voluntary collaborative agreement to reduce carbon, water and waste footprints – or to the Action, Collaboration, Transformation (ACT) labour rights and living-wage agreement.

The EAC’s chair Mary Creagh MP said: “We want to see a thriving fashion industry that employs people fairly, inspires creativity and contributes to the economic success of the UK. It’s shocking to see that a group of major retailers are failing to take action to promote environmental sustainability and protect their workers.

“By publishing this information, customers can choose whether they want to spend money with a company that is doing little to protect the environment or promote proper wages for garment workers. We hope this motivates underperforming retailers to start taking responsibility for their workers and their environmental impact.”

Exploitative and unsustainable

According to the British Fashion Council, the UK fashion industry contributed £28.1bn to national GDP in 2015, up from £21bn in 2009. New research has revealed that UK residents are consuming new clothing at a faster rate than their counterparts in mainland Europe, purchasing an average of 26.7kg every year.

The EAC report concludes that the “current business model for UK fashion industry is unsustainable” and calls on the industry to end exploitative practices. The least engaged retailers were all highlighted for a failure to champion resource efficiency; of the six, only Boohoo and Sports Direct use recycled material in their products and only TK Maxx offers an in-store take back scheme.

Fortunately, some of the retailers’ responses have highlighted visible improvements for both working standards and environmental stewardship. ASOS, M&S, Tesco, Primark and Burberry use organic or sustainable cotton and some form of recycled material in their products. All except for Burberry are signed up to the SCAP initiative.

The EAC, additionally, welcomed Burberry’s announcement that it would end the incineration of unsold stock, after it was revealed that the brand had burned more than £28m worth of stock over a 12-month period.

The Committee welcomed Burberry’s commitment to end the incineration of unsold stock and acknowledge that the company is engaged with a range of other sustainability initiatives to reduce environmental impact.

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/7/Business-models-for-UK-fashion-industry-unsustainable--MPs-warn/

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Investors press fast food giants to 'urgently' improve supply chain sustainability

A coalition of investment firms with more than $.65trn in assets under management have called on six of the world's largest fast food companies to take more ambitious action to tackle the climate and water risks within their supply chains, as a "matter of urgency".

The call to action has been sent to Domino's, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Yum! Brands, Restaurant Brands International and Wendy’s

Convened by non-profit Ceres and Coller Capital’s FAIRR initiative, the group of more than 80 investors is urging the likes of Domino’s, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Wendy’s to publish detailed plans on how they will mitigate environmental sustainability risks like deforestation and water stress throughout their supply chains.

In an open letter to the food-to-go chains, which also include KFC’s parent firm Yum! Brands and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International, the investors state that “animal agriculture is the world’s highest-emitting sector without a low-carbon plan,” urging recipients to bolster the sustainability requirements of their respective meat and dairy supply policies by March.

Specifically, the investors are urging the brands to publish quantitative, time-bound targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their supply chains and publicly disclose progress against these aims on an annual basis. In order to do this, brands should adopt a supplier policy with clear requirements on carbon emissions and freshwater impact, the coalition claims.

The letter additionally recommends that all fast food brands should adopt the reporting recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD), including its scenario analysis approach. This involves disclosing what impact different environmental scenarios – including the 2C pathway of the Paris Agreement - would have on their operations.

 “Fast food giants deliver speedy meals, but they have been super slow in responding to their out-sized environmental footprints,” Ceres’ chief executive Mindy Lubber said.

“Investors are eager to see more leadership from these companies to reduce the mounting climate and water risks linked to their meat and dairy suppliers. From eliminating deforestation to reducing water waste, cleaning up their supply chains will have enormous impacts on the animal agriculture sector as a whole, and dramatically increase our ability to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Signatories of the open letter hail from around the world and include BMO Global Asset Management, Aviva Investors and Aegon Asset Management.

Emissions gap

The publication of the letter comes shortly after the FAIRR initiative unveiled new research highlighting the environmental impacts and sustainability practices of some of the global fast food sector’s largest dairy and meat suppliers.

The research, produced specifically for investors, states that carbon emissions from the agriculture sector could eat up 70% of the global carbon budget by 2050 – the date by which the global population is forecast to surpass 10 billion for the first time.

This increase in emissions alone, aside from growth predicted in other sectors, will create an 11-gigaton GHG mitigation gap between reality and the target level required to limit global temperature increase to 2C, the research concludes.

As for water, FAIRR claims that agriculture will use around 10% of global water flows by 2050, exacerbating existing water stewardship challenges.

“Farsighted investors cannot ignore the headwinds facing the meat and dairy sector – increased environmental regulation, rising consumer demand for plant-based food and fears over water pollution from intensive farms are all ingredients in the rising threat to the long-term value of the fast food multinationals,” BMO Global Asset Management’s co-head of responsible investing Alice Evans said.

“This research is further evidence that capital markets are putting sustainable environmental management on the menu for the fast food sector.”

The steaks are high

The global meat sector is widely classed as a key contributor to climate change – and one of the worst-prepared industries for climate challenges such as droughts, floods and heatwaves in the world.

According to FAIRR, none of the industry’s major corporates have aligned themselves with the Paris Agreement’s flagship goal of limiting the world’s temperature increase to 1.5C, with only 28% of the world’s largest 60 intensive farming firms having to set any plans for climate risk mitigation.

Away from emissions, large-scale deforestation, fires, and human rights abuses in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco region have been linked to meat producers across the globe.

These issues, compounded by ethical and human health concerns surrounding the meat, dairy and seafood sectors, have served to place the sustainability of existing food systems under the public spotlight.

A report released yesterday by the Lancet Commission, for example, concluded that an international treaty would be necessary to help the “Big Food” industry tackle three of the key problems it has contributed to – obesity, hunger and climate change.

Similarly, Dame Ellen MacArthur last week unveiled research revealing that, for every dollar that is spent on food, governments and charities spend two dollars compensating for the negative effects these products have on health, the environment and the economy. This issue could be overcome by a global shift towards circular food systems, she argued at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/7/Investors-press-fast-food-giants-to-improve-supply-chain-sustainability/

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Consumer goods giants team up to launch 'zero-waste' refill service

Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and PepsiCo are among the 24 corporate co-founders of a new 'waste-free' retail platform, whereby businesses will provide product refills while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging.

The platform, called Loop and founded by recycling firm TerraCycle, will enable shoppers to purchase refillable versions of food and drink, health and beauty and cleaning products, as well as office supplies, online.

Once they have used the products, TerraCycle will collect the empty packaging from their homes for cleaning and refilling, with any damaged or end-of-life packaging sent for recycling. Transport will be undertaken by UPS’s fleet of low-carbon shipping vehicles, while waste management firm SUEZ will recycle any packaging waste.

Ahead of the unveiling of the scheme at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland today, the 24 companies taking part – P&G, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola, Mondelēz International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, RB,People Against Dirty, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Burlap & Barrel Single OriginSpices, Reinberger Nut Butter, CoZie and Preserve - have collectively designed more than 250 alternatives to their single-use packaging.

Innovative products and packaging designed for Loop include double-walled aluminium ice cream tubs from Haagen Daas, metal stick deodorant holders from AXE and P&G’s stainless-steel toothbrushes with detachable, fully recyclable heads. None of the designs contain any single-use plastic components.

The Loop-certified items will be available to customers for the first time when the scheme is made live in Paris and New York City in March, with TerraCycle set to roll the concept out to an undisclosed number of additional cities by the end of 2020. 

The recycling firm confirmed at the World Economic Forum in Davos today (24 January) that Tesco will pilot the UK scheme before the end of 2019. The supermarket is yet to reveal which products it will include in its refillable offering. 

Speaking exclusively to edie ahead of the unveiling of Loop, TerraCycle chief executive Tom Szaky said he hoped the platform would help make reuse the most “viable and desirable” option for consumers who typically buy products in single-use packaging.

“The root cause of waste is not any one material like paper or plastic, it’s the concept of single-use, which has created a culture of disposability,” he said. “From the 1950s, disposability began to win customers over very quickly, because it brings unparalleled convenience and affordability – factors which are more important to the average person than the waste crisis.

“But by designing ever-cheaper packaging and selling it to the customer as part of their product, companies are losing money and resources while consumers are losing trust. Refill is therefore having a little bit of a resurgence at the moment, but it hasn’t yet hit the mainstream nerve. We want major retailers, brands and the general public to embrace this model.”

Recycle vs reuse

The launch of Loop comes at a time when the plastics recycling industry is facing scrutiny from consumers and policymakers, largely due to China’s announcement last January that it would stop accepting 24 types of plastic waste imports. Countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Poland were initially touted as alternatives, but have since implemented import restrictions, exacerbating backlash. 

At the same time, the UK’s plastic recycling industry is estimated to be costing local authorities £500,000 per year and is now facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system. 

These events, compounded by research suggesting that only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled, have led several sustainability professionals and green campaign groups to tout reuse and refill as the only viable solution to the world’s plastic pollution problem. They include A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland and Reboot Innovation's director Chris Sherwin.

Despite the majority of TerraCycle’s consumer-facing schemes rely on recycling, Szaky told edie that he also sees recycling as “just one piece of the circular puzzle”. Such schemes include its UK-wide crisp packet recycling scheme, operated in partnership with Pepsico subsidiary Walkers.

“The model we are really known for is asking whether a certain object is recyclable and, if the answer is ‘no’, establishing national schemes to collect and recycle that waste stream,” he explained.

“This echoes a lot of the commitments businesses are making around resources, particularly in partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation or WRAP. But in several discussions with our corporate partners, we have been asked whether this approach is enough – whether it will truly be the solution to waste.

“Recycling and using recycled material are critically important, but are, unfortunately, not the solution to the idea of waste at the root cause. It’s one thing to dig out the plastic from the ocean, but another to stop it from going into nature to begin with – you need to do both.”

Soirce Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/12/Consumer-goods-giants-team-up-to-launch--zero-waste--refill-service/

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Sustainable food production must be the hot topic for 2019, says M&S

Amid new scientific studies outlining the climate impact of farming and increasing consumer demand for plant-based foods, land use for food production will face "unprecedented" scrutiny in 2019, Marks & Spencer's (M&S) director of sustainable business Mike Barry has claimed.

Speaking at an Aldersgate Group event in central London last week, Barry was asked to summarise how key events in 2018 – including the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) flagship report on global warming and the COP24 summit – had set the UK’s sustainability sphere up for the coming year.

He argued that such events had served to place land use “under the spotlight” in a way he had never seen before, with consumer pressure driving many businesses within the food and drink and consumer goods sectors to set ambitious targets on carbon, environmental stewardship and animal rights.  

The IPCC report, for example, states that limiting demand for greenhouse-gas intensive foods through shifts to healthier and more sustainable diets is “key” to limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5C, beyond which millions more people will be affected by issues such as water stress, heatwaves and droughts.

“I can see a pathway forward for decarbonising mobility and power because we can predict what the solution will be, but when it comes to the food system and deforestation– which account for 15-20% of global emissions - we simply don’t have that clear pathway,” Barry said.

“We’ve seen new scientific evidence on planetary diets and an explosive growth of vegan and vegetarian diets, plus lots of great pledges from individual businesses on this issue, but it’s still less than the sum of the parts.”

Barry specifically championed a shift in land use away from livestock – which currently accounts for 83% of all existing agricultural land use – and towards the production of lower-carbon, plant-based commodities. M&S’s recent actions in this area include the launch of its new Plant Kitchen range, which includes 60 vegan products, and the development of its digital supply chain maps for beef and dairy, he added.

Barry’s sentiments were echoed by IPCC Working Group member Joana Portugal Pereira, who emphasised the importance of this shift in meeting the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement.

“We need to include behaviour change in our efforts, rethinking our consumption patterns and individual choices – particularly in regard to urban mobility and dietary choices,” Pereira said.

“We must shift from carbon-intensive diets to low-carbon ones – this is not entirely to do with meat and will be trickier than it may seem on first sight, but is essential.”

 A planet-friendly plate

Barry and Pereira’s comments came on the same day that non-profit EAT, which works to help make the global food system more sustainable, published its flagship ‘planetary health’ diet report. 

The body claims that if everyone followed its framework, called the EAT-Lancet diet, the food system could sustain a population of 10 billion people while tackling issues such as hunger, rising obesity rates and environmental sustainability challenges.

Developed by a group of 37 scientists, the diet encourages participants to source most of their protein from nuts and legumes while minimising their meat and dairy intake and eating starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, less frequently.

Given that the global meat sector is widely classed as a key contributor to climate change – and one of the worst-prepared industries for climate challenges such as droughts, floods and heatwaves in the world – such recommendations come as no surprise.

Indeed, Oxford University recently dubbed veganism as the “single biggest way” for a person to reduce their negative impact on the planet in terms of water stewardship and biodiversity preservation, as well as carbon reduction.

Collaboration and competition

The good news is that growing consumer awareness of these environmental issues, coupled with greater scrutiny of the ethical challenges posed by the global meat, seafood and dairy industries, has led to a sharp uptake in plant-based diets in recent times. The number of people identifying as vegan in the UK has increased by 350% since 2008, according to research by the Vegan Society, with similar trends having been tracked across the US, China, Australia and mainland Europe.

With the vegan milk and alternative protein markets both forecast to undergo dramatic levels of growth in the coming years, companies producing and selling food and drink have begun to increase their vegan and vegetarian offerings.

This month alone, the likes of McDonald’s UK, Pizza Hut and Gregg’s have added new veggie dishes to their menus, with the latter having trended on Twitter for three days after the launch of its Quorn sausage roll.

Speaking exclusively to edie after The Aldersgate Group event, M&S’s Barry explained that this trend is an example of “collaboration at one end and competition at the other” for food retailers, with sustainability now serving as a "non-binary" issue which is both a pre-competitive and a selling point.

“When it comes to launching new vegan or vegetarian products, all food retailers are going to try and win – but by winning, you inspire other people to come into the market and trying to knock you off of that perch, spurring even more progress,” he said.

“What we need is an absolute commitment, behind-the-scenes, to work together on developing frameworks and tackling challenges like deforestation and food waste. But when it comes to low-carbon products, we want everyone else to be competing.”


M&S at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum

M&S's director of sustainable business Mike Barry will appear at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum to discuss the event's theme, "embracing the fierce urgency of NOW". Specifically, Barry will offer his insight into why seizing the potential of the digital revolution is not optional, and why collaborating to drive sustainability is more critical now than ever before. 

The two-day event, taking place 5 & 6 February 2019 at the Building Design Centre, London, will also include debates on how to solve the plastics crisis and the state of corporate action on sustainable packaging. 

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/9/Mike-Barry--Sustainable-food-production-must-be-the-hot-topic-for-2019/

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Firmenich's rise and the UK's fall: 5 key trends in CDP's 2019 A-list

CDP has named 140 corporates as leaders in the fight against climate change, water scarcity and deforestation in its new A List rankings for 2019. Here, edie rounds up the key sustainability trends which have shaken up the scores this year.

Founded in 2011, the CDP’s annual A List is considered the gold standard for corporative disclosure on sustainability ambitions and progress, ranking dozens of global businesses across all sectors on their efforts to become transparent in their approach to environmental issues.

The 2018 index, released today (22 January) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, names the likes of Sainsbury’s and Unilever as leaders in the corporate fight against climate change.

The index also gauges corporate progress on water stewardship, with big-name firms like Ford, Gap and L’Oreal leading the way. Businesses included are additionally ranked on their forest protection actions – a metric added to the league table in 2016 - with just six awarded the prestigious “A” grade in this field for 2018.

CDP assesses corporates which voluntarily disclose their carbon, water or forest footprints under its business initiatives before putting the league table together. Factors analysed include the comprehensiveness of their disclosure, their risk management framework and their demonstration of a best practice approach – for example, in setting ambitious or science-based targets.

With all this in mind – and with some of the usual suspects featuring highly in the index – edie has pored through the key facts and stats to pull out five key trends which have shaped this year’s league table.

1) UK businesses take up a smaller proportion of the table

In 2017’s league tables, CDP gave a total of 200 businesses an “A” grade in one or more areas, with 18 (9%) of them being UK-based.

In contrast, the 2018 rankings place just seven UK-based firms on the A List, which includes a total of 141 corporates. This equates to 4.9%.

Capital Counties & Properties failed to achieve an “A” grade for climate action after success in 2017, while Associated British Foods, Burberry, Centrica, GlaxoSmithKline and Mondi dropped off the water A List.

Unilever, the only UK firm to achieve an “A” for forest stewardship in 2017, also lost this accolade for 2018. AstraZeneca, BT, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), Diageo and Sky - all 2017 A Listers - are still undergoing final quality assurance checks.

However, there are two new UK-based additions to the climate ranking – mining and metals giant BHP Billiton and analytics firm RELX Group.

Companies dropping off the list have not necessarily done any worse in their environmental sustainability efforts – they may simply have chosen not to be graded by CDP this year. Similarly, new additions may have asked for a grade in one of the three areas for the first time.

2) New technologies help to drive new additions

In the same year that the rankings were launched, Google piloted Google+ for the first time, positing it as a viable alternative to Facebook; Blackberry was taken to court over its instant messaging model; Samsung launched its first Galaxy tablet and e-books were still considered a niche item. 

Therefore, several key technologies which are now being used by numerous big-name businesses to drive sustainability efforts would have either been in their infancy, or not yet have been conceptualised at all.

It is hardly surprising, then, that CDP has praised several A Listers for their innovative use of tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and automated equipment in its latest index.

Among them are Australian IT Firm Telstra, which has been awarded an “A” grade for climate action after creating a cloud-based greenhouse gas calculating tool, and Japanese technology giant Fujitsu, which has begun designing AI-led climate adaptation technologies. One such innovation is an AI-powered big data analytics tool, which aims to help businesses, cities and nations develop precise recovery plans for climate-related disasters.

3) Disclosure grows again, after a brief plateau

Back in 2011, just 210 firms were disclosing information on their climate impact to CDP, which was then known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. Fast-forward to 2016 and this number had increased more than tenfold to reach 2,488 businesses.

But as the number of businesses reporting their impacts on water and forests through CDP continued to climb steadily, climate-related disclosures hit something of a plateau in 2017, when 36 fewer firms disclosed their climate impacts through this platform than in 2016.

In 2018, however, disclosure skyrocketed once more. In total, 7,035 firms are now disclosing some form of environmental information through CDP, with 6,800 having been scored A-D across one or more of the three key areas in the latest ranking. Of this 6,800, just 2% made this year’s A List.

Nonetheless, CDP estimates that less than half (44%) of European corporates are currently tracking how climate challenges will affect their business models in the future or disclosing the full extent of their environmental impacts.

 4) Only two companies get straight A’s

Swiss perfume manufacturer Firmenich and French personal care firm L’Oreal are the only companies to have achieved three A’s in this year’s rankings.

Firmenich notably set an approved science-based target of cutting its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 39% by 2030 approved in November 2018. The aim builds on its 2020 target of reducing its overall carbon footprint by 20% - an ambition which has seen the company pledge to invest 10% of its annual turnover into R&D for low-carbon technologies.

As for water, Firmenich is targeting a 25% reduction in water use at facilities located in water-stressed areas and a 15% improvement in its overall water efficiency rates by 2020. The company recently invested in a large wastewater treatment plant at its factory in China – a move which will enable it to grow its business while reducing unit costs and water use by up to 10%.

Like L’Oreal, Unilever received straight-A’s in last year’s rankings. However, the consumer giant missed out on the accolade this year. It may be the case that the company did not request CDP’s feedback in all three areas this time around.

5) From a growth perspective, A Listers outperform their counterparts

As debates around how best to align sustainability and profitability grow amid rising consumer and investor demands for purpose beyond products, this year’s rankings help to build the business case for adopting a leadership position on environmental issues.

Companies listed on the STOXX Global Climate Change Leaders Index – which is based on the CDP A List – outperformed the global average, growing by an average of 5.4% per annum.

One of the leaders in this field is Unilever, which has consistently seen its ‘Sustainable Living’ brands outperform the rest of its brand portfolio. These brands accounted for a record 70% of Unilever’s turnover growth in 2017 and grew 46% faster than the rest of the business.

“Leadership on environmental issues shown by the A List goes hand in hand with being a successful and profitable business,” CDP’s global director of corporates and supply chains Dexter Galvin said.

“As the recent report from the IPCC showed, the next decade is crucial in our shift to a sustainable economy, and we believe corporates are at the heart of this transition.”

Source Article :- https://www.edie.net/news/7/Firmenich-s-rise-and-the-UK-s-fall--5-key-trends-in-CDP-s-2019-A-list/

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Veganuary: Why meat-free meals could be the key to tackling climate challenges

It may be the time of year for celebrations and resolutions, but this week also marked the start of Veganuary - a month-long campaign encouraging meat-eaters to switch to plant-based foods. With this in mind, edie explores the full environmental and social impacts of the animal protein industry, and what the global business community is doing to reduce our reliance on it.

After a month of indulging in festive fare, thousands of us will have set a resolution to eat healthier this year. Indeed, LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner has estimated that around seven in ten Brits will have resolved to diet this month.

For many, that will involve eating less meat and dairy and more fresh produce - but for others, January is a chance to ditch animal-based products altogether. Launched in the UK in 2014 by a team of environmentalists, the Veganuary campaign challenges participants to eat only vegan foods for 31 days, with a view that they will change their dietary habits in the long-term.

Never ones to miss a trend, business giants ranging from McDonald's to Marks & Spencer (M&S) have launched new product ranges to coincide with Veganuary, but will moving into an emerging market create environmental benefits as well as economic opportunities for business?

Carbon versus calories 

In a drive to encourage members of the general public to join in, green campaign groups often push the ethical case for veganism, displaying footage of cramped conditions in factory farms and inhumane practices at slaughterhouses. But there is also a climate case for making the switch to plant-based cuisine.

The need to tackle the climate impact associated with the human consumption of meat and dairy is significant, with GHG emissions from the livestock sector estimated to account for 15% of the global total. This figure is set to hit 80% of the planet’s carbon budget by 2050 as the global population grows to reach 10 billion people – who will need to be fed in in a more sustainable way than at present.

The global meat sector is widely classed as a key contributor to climate change – and one of the worst-prepared industries for climate challenges such as droughts, floods and heatwaves in the world.

Indeed, none of the industry’s major corporates have aligned themselves with the Paris Agreement’s flagship goal of limiting the world’s temperature increase to 1.5C, with only 28% of the world’s largest 60 intensive farming firms having to set any plans for climate risk mitigation.

Wider problems

Away from emissions, large-scale deforestation, fires, and human rights abuses in Argentina and Paraguay’s Gran Chaco region have been linked to meat producers across the globe.

Moreover, producing meat and dairy products is an extremely water-intense process. The IME claims that producing 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water, compared to around 500-4,000 litres of water for 1kg of wheat.

With water requirements for food production set to reach around 10-13.5 trillion cubic metres per year by 2050 - about triple the current amount used annually by humans for all purposes - reducing our reliance on animal-based proteins has been posited by several experts as an effective way to combat water scarcity and preserve natural resources.

Globally, meat provides just 18% of the calories consumed by humans each year – but its production takes up 83% of all existing farmland.

As for the social sustainability piece of the puzzle, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has estimated that the amount of diet-related deaths could be reduced by 5% in developed nations if citizens eliminated beef from their diets.

It is perhaps not surprising, then, that Oxford University has dubbed veganism as the “single biggest way” for a person to reduce their negative impact on the planet.

Planting the seeds for a new vegan era

The good news is that, as consumer awareness of the environmental and ethical challenges posed by the global meat, seafood and dairy industry rises across the globe, the number of people identifying as vegan in the UK has increased by 350% since 2008, according to research by the Vegan Society.

Similar trends in consumption have been tracked across the world, with veganism having grown by 600% in the US over the past three years and the amount of Portuguese citizens identifying as vegetarian and vegan having quadrupled since 2008.

In China, meanwhile, the government is encouraging citizens to halve their meat consumption – a recommendation that has led experts to predict that the nation’s vegan market will grow by 17% by 2020. And in Hong Kong, 22% of the population is already practising some form of a plant-based diet.

This shift in demand for plant-based food has led to a boon in the vegan milk market, which is estimated to have grown to reach $16bn in 2018, up dramatically from $7 billion in 2010.

The wider alternative proteins market is now on a similar trajectory, with Coller Capital’s FAIRR initiative estimating that the global market for alternative plant-based proteins could expand at an annual rate of 8.29% in the next three years and reach $5.2bn by 2020.

New demands, new dishes

 

Unsurprisingly, several big-name food and drinks companies have moved to cash in on this trend towards meat-free diets in recent months. KFC, for example, has moved to research meat-free chicken alternatives, while US-based fast food chains White Castle and Carl’s Jr have both added Impossible Foods’ Beyond Burger – a ‘bleeding’ alternative to beef patties – to their takeaway menus.

In the supermarket sector, most of the UK's key players have also launched new product lines, after Tesco predicted in 2017 that plant-based protein would be the fastest-growing food market of 2018. Since then, the retailer has launched a line of 30 plant-based meals called ‘Wicked Kitchen’ and recorded a 25% increase in sales of food-to-go products marked vegan or vegetarian.

Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, increased its vegan range by 10% last year, adding products such as beef-free mince and Tofurky – a tofu-based turkey substitute – to its portfolio. Similarly, Waitrose & Partners added dozens of new vegan lines to its stores in October 2018, including cashew-based mac and cheese, vegan fishcakes and egg-free mayonnaise.

Continuing on this trajectory, many businesses have unveiled new vegan-friendly dishes and drinks this week to coincide with Veganuary.

In the food-to-go sector, McDonald’s UK has begun selling a spicy veggie wrap as part of its main meal menu, with a smaller version available as a Happy Meal. The dish consists of a flour tortilla filled with salad and vegetable goujons, which are made using yellow split peas and tomatoes.

On Thursday (3 January), rival outlet Greggs launched a vegan version of its best-selling pastry – the sausage roll. The savoury treat, which is being sold for £1-1.20, had sold out in many of the brand’s 1,850 UK locations by lunchtime.

And after adding vegan cheese to its offering for the first time last year, Pizza Hut UK has debuted a vegan version of its BBQ pork pizza, which uses pulled jackfruit as a meat substitute.

As for supermarkets, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has launched a line of 60 plant-based chilled and frozen dishes to mark the start of the new year. Called ‘plant kitchen’, the own-brand line includes cauliflower-based popcorn ‘chicken’, mushroom stroganoff and pork-free sausages.

Waitrose & Partners has followed suit, adding ‘fishless fingers’ to its frozen product offering, while Sainsbury’s is now stocking a vegan prawn alternative made by gourmet brand Sophie’s kitchen.

The future of food - or just a fad? 

Looking to the future, the early signs suggest that veganism and vegetarianism are here to stay, with plant-based proteins on track to account for one-third of the protein market by 2054.

While veganism may seem widespread at present, the fact remains that just 1% of the US population - and 2% of the UK population - have sworn off of animal products for life. This means there is a huge scope for the trend to grow, as more social groups become informed about the environmental and ethical impacts of meat consumption. 

Historically, the majority of plant-based eaters will have returned to eating meat before their death, with 84% of US-based vegetarians admitting to quitting their boycott of meat after a few years. 

But the ongoing shift towards plant-based eating is now being driven by young consumers, with millennials aged 18-35 three times as likely to be vegan or vegetarian than their baby boomer counterparts. Moreover, individuals within this group are three times more likely to remain faithful to veganism than those who are older. 

If consumer habits are changing, business will likely placate demands in order to retain consumer loyalty and keep economic opportunities strong. But for the sustainability leaders within the corporate sphere, the rise of veganism is a chance to revamp product offerings that can drastically lower value chain impacts and drive the world to a more resilient, sustainable and resource efficient economy. 

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9 ways AI is enhancing sustainability for business

With Google announcing a new £19m fund for businesses using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address environmental and social issues, edie looks at nine projects that have already delivered notable benefits for business.

Google has today (30 October) issued a rallying cry to the tech-savvy businesses of the world. The technology giant has launched a $25m (£19m) Impact Challenge, where organisations of all sizes can submit concepts for how AI can be used to alleviate and address key societal and environmental challenges.

“We’re looking for projects across a range of social impact domains and levels of technical expertise, from organisations that are experienced in AI to those with an idea for how they could be putting their data to better use,” a Google blog post reads. “Since 2005, Google.org has invested in innovative organisations that are using technology to build a better world.”

Successful applicants will need to consider feasibility, scalability and responsibility of the AI concept, and will gain access to the funding pool and credit and consulting from Google Cloud.

While Google wants to use AI – which is a branch of computer science that utilises intelligent machines to work and react like humans – across the areas of environmental science, healthcare, and wildlife conservation, businesses are already using the technology to transform efficiency processes and deliver savings across key environmental footprints.

Here, edie takes a closer look at the AI projects that are delivering on key sustainability aims for corporates. Be sure to click on the links for in-depth details on each project.

Google 'taking AI to the next level' to cut data centre energy use

Data centres are vast consumers of energy and are a real problem area for tech companies looking to reduce their energy use. Google is now allowing its AI system - rather than its staff - to directly control its data centre cooling system as a way of lowering emissions and energy consumption.

Google’s AI system was developed using the DeepMind research company and was originally announced in 2016. The system had reduced energy consumption at its data centres by 40%. Now, the company has taken its AI approach “to the next level” by allowing the system to implement its own recommended changes, rather than those made by employees.

United Utilities rolls out AI across entire network after slashing energy usage

Announced earlier this week, water company United Utilities is set to roll out an energy flexibility platform which incorporates AI to cover its entire water network, after a three-month trial generated energy savings of 22%.

Called HARVI and produced by Canadian technology firm EMGAIN, the AI platform works by monitoring and managing electricity demand and generation within pumps, motors and biogas combined heat and power (CHP) engines to optimise energy use. During trial periods, the technology was successful at detecting burst pipes and minimising the risk of water discolouration, alongside the aforementioned energy savings.

Aggregate Industries to reap rewards from AI-powered flexible energy platform

In June 2018, heavy building materials firm Aggregate Industries announced plans to cut its annual electricity bills and energy intensity by 10% by installing an energy flexibility platform powered by AI.

The Dynamic Demand 2.0 system designed by Open Energi, will cover around 30 bitumen tanks across eight of the company’s UK sites to optimise electricity use in response to fluctuations in grid frequency, wholesale electricity prices and system imbalance prices. An ongoing target is in place to install the technology in 48 of its UK asphalt plants, representing up to 4.5MW of demand flexibility.

Stena Line turns to Ail to boost boat fuel efficiency

Last month, ferry firm Stena Line unveiled what it claimed was the world's first passenger boat that uses AI to determine the most fuel-efficient route. An AI platform, developed as part of a partnership with technology firm Hitachi, simulates different route scenarios before suggesting the optimal route and performance setup for fuel efficiency and emission reduction.

Stena Line has a target in place to reduce its fuel consumption by 2.5% annually. As it strives to achieve this aim, the company will use AI systems across its entire fleet of 38 ships by 2021.

Norwegian Air to cut CO2 emissions by 16,000 tonnes annually using AI

Last week, budget airline Norwegian Air revealed it was using AI technology to boost fuel efficiency on select flights – and would expand the use of the technology across its fleet. Trials of the technology proved promising, with each flight saving around 22 kilos of fuel.

The AI system is called Aventus Air and developed by Swedish firm AVTECH. The technology monitors wind and temperature information to enable pilots to alter flight paths to boost fuel efficiency. Once the data is collected, it is automatically sent to the aircraft’s systems, AI can optimise the flight path. If AI was used across Norwegian Air’s 160-aircraft fleet, carbon emissions could be reduced by 16,000 tonnes each year.

Anglian Water to boost onsite generation with AI-powered energy storage technology

In August 2018, water utility Anglian Water announced plans to install an energy storage system controlled by AI technology at one of its water treatment facilities, in a move it claims will increase the site's solar generation by 80%.

The 60kW/300kWh storage device, designed by energy storage firm redT, will be set up at the company’s ‘pathfinder’ site in Norfolk to bolster the performance of its existing photovoltaic (PV) array from 248kWp to 450kWp. The machine can store enough energy to power the facility for at least five hours and will enable Anglian Water to store surplus power generated by the array for use within its own operations. The AI software will provide real-time balancing and energy flexibility services.

Global Fishing Watch makes waves as new sustainable fishing data platform

Unsurprisingly, Google is a trailblazer when it comes to AI. In September 2016, the tech giant unveiled a new beta technology platform that utilises enhanced data collection and transparency to promote and improve policies and provide the "world's first global view" of sustainable fishing practices.

The Global Fishing Watch was launched in partnership with non-profit Oceana and satellite analysts SkyTruth to digest and relay more than 22 million points of information on shipping vessel activities across the global each day. It enables businesses and governments to examine data to digest vessel shipping habits, providing some much-needed transparency to supply chains.

Energy revolution underway for Isles of Scilly smart storage project

A £10.8m smart energy project testing how solar power, smart heating and electric vehicles (EVs) can be used to improve the energy system on the Isles of Scilly had its first batteries installed earlier this year, with more technology to follow.

In a bid to slash household energy use on the island by 40%, Moixa and home energy services company PassivSystems have developed smart control systems utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage and optimise the batteries, heat pumps and water heaters for householders, using AI to learn their patterns of consumption and maximise savings. The system is due to launch in November and will help balance the supply and demand of the energy system.

Auto giants launch EV-sharing platform in China

In February 2018, Chinese ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing (Didi) partnered with 12 automakers, including Geely Auto and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, to launch a new app-based, electric-vehicle-sharing platform.

The car-sharing platform will focus on vehicles that have proven safety and energy-efficiency track records and will predominately include electric vehicles (EVs). Didi will also work with other car-sharing firms and infrastructure operators to ensure that charge points and refuelling stations can match vehicle demand by integrating AI and autonomous network solutions.

A look ahead

Global management consulting firm McKinsey estimates that tech giants spent $20bn-$30bn on AI in 2016, with 90% of this spent on R&D and deployment

According to PwC, the global economy could see a potential contribution of $15.7trn from AI by 2030. The UK Government has recognised its far-reaching potential, setting aside funding for AI as part of a £1bn investment fund for cutting-edge technologies in 2017.

Projects are beginning to emerge that uses the technology to boost the productivity of supply chains in sectors such as fashion and mobility, while some research suggests that AI can be a powerful tool in unlocking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

edie will soon by publishing an Explains guide, sponsored by Ditto AI, which will outline everything businesses need to explore, understand and consider when investing in deploying AI to boost energy efficiency and drive sustainability.

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Northumbrian Water set to power treatment works with battery storage technology

Water utility Northumbrian Water has unveiled plans to install battery storage systems made using end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries at several of its water treatment works, in a move to store power generated using its onsite renewable arrays.

The company will install the storage technology, which is made using lithium-ion units recovered from Renault EVs, at several of its desalination and treatment facilities across Essex, Suffolk and the North East next year, after partnering with energy technology firm Argonaut Power.

Northumbrian Water will charge the batteries during the night, when grid demand is low and electricity prices are too, before using them to power the sites during peak evening hours. The technology will be installed behind the meter, in a bid to minimise the amount of power Northumbrian Water will need to purchase from the grid.

Work to install the storage arrays is expected to be completed by autumn 2019, with Northumbrian Water set to sign a revenue-sharing contract with Argonaut Power and investment manager Ingenious Infrastructure, which is partly funding the project, ahead of the completion date.

“Large-scale battery storage is going to be a major feature of the electricity industry going forward and this is a great opportunity for us to develop our understanding of these processes,” Northumbrian Water’s energy development manager Anthony Browne said.

“We expect that having batteries on site can also help us obtain more value from any renewable energy we generate on our sites.”

The move to install storage comes after Northumbrian Water switched to 100% renewable power for its entire estate in April. The company has been powering its 1,858 sites using power generated by renewable arrays since May, after signing a deal with Danish energy supplier Ørsted.

Northumbrian Water also owns several on-site renewable generation facilities, including a 931-panel rooftop solar array at its Bran Sands plant in Teeside and its flagship hydropower facility at Kielder Water.

Utility leadership

The move from Northumbrian Water comes at a time when several other utilities are choosing to use technology in order to improve their energy efficiency, reduce their waste footprint and source more renewable power.

Anglian Water, for example, installed an energy storage machine controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology at one of its water treatment facilities earlier this year. The company claims the move will increase the solar generation of its ‘pathfinder’ site in Norfolk by 80%.

Elsewhere, United Utilities is in the process of rolling out an AI-powered energy flexibility platform across its entire water network, after a three-month trial generated energy savings of 22%.

Battery boon

More widely, the global energy storage market looks to mirror the rapid growth the solar industry experienced between 2000 and 2015, with a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) report predicting that investment in the battery sector will reach $1.2trn by 2040.

In the UK specifically, new energy storage installations are expected to help create savings to the tune of £8bn by 2030.

The business community is beginning to take advantage of this technology, with Arsenal FC having installed battery storage at the Emirates Stadium last month and Kingfisher investing in solar panels, battery storage and air source heat pumps for its first ‘net-zero’ distribution centre. The likes of Landsec and Marks & Spencer (M&S) are now moving to explore how the technology could complement renewable generations across their estates.

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Solar households expected to give away power to energy firms

The Government has said households that install solar panels in the future will be expected to give away unused clean power for free to energy firms earning multi-million-pound profits, provoking outrage from green campaigners.

The mayor of Londonbig energy firms and environmentalists had urged ministers not to end the “export tariff” for solar panels under the feed-in tariff scheme, which is closing next year.

But officials confirmed that anyone who adds solar from April 2019 will not be paid for any excess power they export to the grid.

Climate change charity 10:10 said the decision was bizarre and urged a rethink to avoid pushing solar “off a cliff” next year.

“It’s hard to fathom the Government’s logic here. Solar has been a huge success story, seeing 1m homes and 1,000 schools taking clean energy and climate action into their own hands,” said Neil Jones, a campaigner at the group.

Green peer Jenny Jones said the step was a “very bad call”, while people took to social media to brand it “absolutely outrageous” and “shocking”.

The change will not affect the 800,000-plus homes that have already fitted solar panels since the feed-in tariff scheme launched in 2010.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it was ending the export tariff, which provides a guaranteed price for all unused solar electricity, to minimise costs to all consumers. The policy did not align with its industrial strategy, it added.

The Government is understood to be preparing to announce a market-based replacement to the export tariff early in the new year, which would write the rules for how energy suppliers could buy the excess power, though they would not be mandated to do so.

However, there is expected to be a hiatus between the export tariff’s demise at the end of March and any new regime, meaning new solar households will be giving power away for some time.

The Solar Trade Association said the move was a blow to the industry, and it was wrong the Government had made the decision before setting out its new plans.

Around 90% of people responding to a Government consultation had opposed the changes, arguing they were unfair, would setback climate change efforts and hurt industry.

The change is one of a double whammy for solar power in the UK, with energy regulator Ofgem also announcing measures on Tuesday that will see solar households pay more for their energy.

A BEIS spokesperson said: “It’s only right we protect consumers and adjust incentives as costs fall, with solar having fallen by 80%, and we will consult shortly on a future framework for small-scale renewable energy generation.”

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AB InBev signs deal to source 100% renewable electricity in UK

The owner of Budweiser and Corona has secured a deal to purchase 100% renewable electricity for its UK operations.

AB In Bev’s agreement with Europe’s largest solar energy Lightsoruce BP represents the largest unsubsidised solar deal ever in the UK. The 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) will rollout 100MW of solar power, generating enough electricity to power 18,000 homes.

The solar power is expected to be added and connected by the end of 2020. All Budweiser brewed and sold in the UK will begin to feature a new symbol to encourage consumers to choose a beer brewed with 100% renewable electricity.

AB InBev’s zone president for Europe Jason Warner said: “This deal is about driving positive change in what people buy in their weekly shop, order in the pub or drink with friends.

“We want to build a movement towards celebrating and growing renewable electricity, and are asking our consumers, customers, colleagues, business partners and fellow companies to join us – we are making our 100% renewable electricity symbol available for any brands who share these values.”

Green brewing

The move reinforces AB InBev’s 2025 sustainability target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by 2025 against a 2017 baseline – a reduction submitted through the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), covering scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

The brewer has also committed to source all electricity from renewables by 2025 – a pledge that would make AB InBev the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity in the consumer goods industry.

Earlier this year, AB InBev announced it would be rolling out what it claims is a greener way to put bubbles in beer and reduce its CO2 emissions by 5%.

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Aquila Capital pledges to offset emissions of residential developments

Alternative asset manager Aquila Capital has committed itself to offset all CO2 emissions related to its residential developments until 2025.

The arrangement covers all units developed by Aquila Capital’s Spanish subsidiary AQ Acentor, one of the country’s biggest residential developers.

Hamburg-based energy and climate protection agency KlimaInvest has been mandated to offset the emissions. A typical three-person household in Spain produces two tonnes of CO2 annually from gas and electricity, which Aquila Capital has pledged to compensate for up to two years per unit by funding renewable energy projects launched by KlimaInvest.

“We have been cooperating with KlimaInvest and other initiatives for years and are proud to have been working in a climate-neutral way since 2007,” said Roman Rosslenbroich, chief executive of Aquila Capital.

“Our ambition is to take it a step further by offering, for example, sustainable financing vehicles to our investors, as we did with our first green bond in the hydropower segment.”

Once the deal for the residential units expires, owners and tenants are free to extend the cooperation with KlimaInvest.

Offsetting projects

Carbon offsetting schemes have increasingly been used by individuals and companies as a way of balancing out their own carbon footprints by investing in environmental projects across the world.  

Heathrow’s recently launched carbon-neutral roadmap includes a pledge for the company to “develop and promote” new ways of offsetting carbon. The roadmap came shortly after the company partnered with Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Defra on its first peatland restoration project.

In October, Professional services giant PwC pledged to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations and to offset all emissions accounted for by flights taken by employees for business purposes.

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Why tree planting should be part of your climate change strategy

12 years. That's all the time we have to limit global warming to the 1.5°C target laid out by October's UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

In this time, anthropogenic CO2 emissions must drop by 45%. By 2050 they need to reach net zero, with any further emissions offset by deliberate removal of COâ‚‚ already in the atmosphere. Investment firm Schroders has warned the global economy could suffer annual losses of $23trn in the long term without rapid action. This permanent economic damage would be almost four times greater than that of the 2008 global financial crisis. 

The business world is already making great strides to reduce emissions and waste in a move towards a circular economy. But, if we are to achieve the UN’s targets, we need trees.

As chief executive of the Woodland Trust - the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity - the Committee on Climate Change’s recent call for a major increase in tree planting rates came as no surprise.

Up to 1.5 million hectares of new woodland is required by 2050 if our land is to become a more effective carbon store – that’s a total area greater than the size of Yorkshire.

These trees would form a natural emissions store, absorbing up to 18 million tonnes of carbon by 2050, creating a national landscape that is more resilient to the challenges caused by our warming world. Fail to plant these trees and we cannot hope to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement while maintaining the critical services we receive from the land, be it water and wildlife or food and fuel.

Taking the lead on trees

With current government planting rates well short of what’s required, we cannot wait for Westminster to take the lead on tree planting. We are one of the least-wooded countries in Europe, with current woodland cover of just 13% compared to the EU average of 37%. By planting trees in the UK, organisations can make a direct contribution to fighting climate change on their doorstep.

Planting helps businesses work towards Goal 13: Climate Action of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the benefits go far beyond carbon sequestration alone. Organisations that put trees in the ground can work towards achieving several other SDGS:

  • Goal 2: Zero hunger - Agroforestry has the potential to make food production more productive, resilient and environmentally-friendly.
  • Goal 3: Good health & wellbeing - More than one million visits are made to the UK’s woods and forests daily. Access to green spaces is proven to boost both mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation – Trees clean our water, filtering out harmful substances and preventing soil erosion. They also reduce flood risk, a growing threat in a warming climate.
  • Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities – Urban trees reduce air pollution, provide homes for wildlife and boost our health and wellbeing. There is even evidence that they can help to reduce crime.
  • Goal 15: Life on land – Trees and woods support a wealth of biodiversity. A single oak tree can support more than 350 other species

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/242/why-tree-planting-should-be-part-of-your-climate-change-strategy

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The best green innovations of 2018: VOTE for your favourite

From flying taxis and hydrogen-powered HGVs, to seaweed sachets and plastic-eating enzymes, edie rounds up 10 of 2018's biggest green innovations - but which was your favourite?

It has undeniably been a busy year for green innovations within both the public and private sectors, with new ideas, concepts, products and systems that could help nations and businesses accelerate sustainability commitments emerging every day. 

In July, the UK Government announced £22m of funding for a host of "world-leading" battery storage projects under its Faraday Challenge. Since then, it has committed £36m for new technology that will enable building materials to generate, store and release clean energy; £1m for disruptive plastics firm Polymateria and £20m for carbon capture, usage and storage technologies. 

And businesses have also ramped up their ambitions on the innovation front. From Marks & Spencer launching a digital traceability map and The North Face piloting 'climate-positive' wool, to Carlsberg's waterfall-powered pub and Diageo's edible straws- technology is now at the heart of the green industrial revolution. 

But what about the pre-commercial ideas? The innovators with the products that could disrupt entire markets and take corporate sustainability to a new level? After all, if we are to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C - a feat the IPCC claims we only have 12 years left to achieve - we will need new innovations to be scaled up. 

With that in mind, edie has rounded up some of the standout innovations that have featured in our 'green innovation of the week' round-ups throughout 2018. 

Scroll through the list below and select your favourite by clicking the 'Vote' button on the right of the innovation.

 

 

Plastic-eating enzymes​​​​​​​

One of edie's best-read summer stories covered how scientists created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles. Two years ago, researchers discovered bacterium in a waste dump in Japan that had evolved to devour plastic. This year, they moved to explore whether the plastic-eating enzyme could be transplanted into other micro-organisms.

Large-scale sea cleaners

The Ocean Cleanup has recently deployed the first two pieces of its ocean-cleaning technology. They each consist of a 600-metre-long “floater” that sits on the surface of the water, combined with a tapered three-metre skirt attached below. 
The device, which is solar-powered and runs autonomously, is designed to collect debris of all sizes – from microplastics to discarded fishing nets. The collected materials are then removed from the ocean by boat and taken ashore to be sent for recycling.

 

Evergen Systems’ Citytree

The CityTree, which has an air purifying capability of 275 natural tress, occupies the space of just one tree and can reduce harmful pollutants in its immediate vicinity by up to 30%.
It utilises a combination of mosses to absorb particulates, while plants provide shade to enable the moss to grow in an urban environment. Meanwhile, built-in watering and Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring mean it is largely self-sustainable. 

Hydrogen-powered lorries

Heavy transport has proven notoriously difficult to decarbonise, but innovations which could change that trend are beginning to emerge. This year saw Nikola Motor launch plans for a new autonomous, hydrogen-powered lorry with a range of up to 1,200km per 20-minute charge. The vehicle, which will come to market in 2023, is set to feature redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120kW hydrogen fuel cell.

Seaweed sachets

Several businesses - including Lucozade, Selfridges and Just Eat - have trialled Oohos this year. The innovative packaging, which can be used for drinks or sauces, is edible and made from seaweed protein. Developed by packaging company Skipping Rocks Lab, Oohos can be eaten, composted or disposed of in normal household bins. Once discarded, they take around six weeks to decompose.

Cityproof wind turbines

Traditional wind turbines can only capture wind travelling in one direction unless they are steered. Fortunately, a solution has been developed by two MSc students at Lancaster University, who have developed a ‘cityproof’ turbine that can capture wind from all directions. Called the O-Wind Turbine, the 25cm plastic device spins when the wind hits it from any direction. When wind energy turns the device, gears drive a generator which converts the power of the wind into electricity.

 

Carbon-negative fuel

At COP24 this month, NextFuel unveiled what it claims is the world's first carbon-negative fuel. The product is made by feeding dried elephant grass into a sealed rotary drum, where oxygen is removed from the air and the material is separated into fuel and waste – a process which takes 30 minutes. Waste gases emitted during this process are captured and used to generate renewable heat or power for the manufacturing facility.

 

Contactless coffee cups

This November, Costa unveiled an innovative new reusable flask with a contactless payment chip in a bid to encourage cup reuse. Developed in partnership with Barclays, the cup has a detachable silicone base with an integrated contactless payment chip, which customers can top-up like they would an Oyster Card or gift card.

 

'Recycled' jet fuel

As part of a partnership with LanzaTech – a firm which recycles industrial waste gases and other waste streams into ethanol-based aviation fuel – Virgin Atlantic this year debuted its low-carbon jet fuel. The airline is now calling for policymakers and other businesses to take action to help install the UK's first commercial LanzaTech low-carbon jet fuel plant, in order to roll out the fuel across its long-haul routes. 

Flying electric taxis

Following the successful test flight of a 750kg demonstrator aircraft, Bristol-based start-up Vertical Aerospace has unveiled a full-scale fully-electric air taxi. The company now plans to work with regulators to operate piloted short-range routes for the electric aircraft by 2022.

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/241/the-best-green-innovations-of-2018-vote-for-your-favourite

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Draft Environment Bill outlines vision for UK's post-Brexit green watchdog

The UK Government has published a partial draft for its anticipated Environment Bill, outlining the powers and limitations of the nation's new post-Brexit watchdog for green standards.

Published late on Wednesday (19 December), the 79-page document confirms that the green watchdog will be called the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – a body which will work alongside the Environment Agency and Natural England to uphold existing environmental and product standards once Brexit is complete.

Crucially, the draft bill confirms that the OEP will have the power to take businesses, public bodies and the Government to court over any breaches of environmental law.

However, it additionally states that the body will not be able to issue fines, call senior representatives to attend Government hearings or place non-compliant organisations into ‘special measures’ – a power currently held by Ofsted for educational facilities and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for healthcare bodies.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the “world-leading” OEP will "scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take action where necessary to make sure environmental law is properly implemented".

“Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it,” Gove said.

“We will keep building on our successes by enhancing our environmental standards and delivering a Green Brexit. We will explore options for strong targets to improve our environment, and provisions on air quality, waste and water resource management, and restoring nature.”

In order to ensure the OEP supports the Government in meeting the goals outlined in its 25-year Environment Plan, the body will be required to produce an annual progress report to Parliament, the draft plan states.

The document additionally notes that Gove should "pay to the OEP such sums as [he] considers are reasonably sufficient to enable the OEP to carry out its functions".

A watchdog with teeth?

The publication of the draft strategy comes after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed this Summer that a new environment bill would be published in 2019, following concerns from Ministers who argued that environmental standards would not be upheld post-Brexit.

Around 80% of the UK’s environmental laws have been forged in partnership with other nations in Europe and, if the UK Government flouts environmental laws while within the EU, it will be taken to court by the European Commission. 

Dozens of ministers, NGOs, businesses and green campaign groups have therefore called on Defra to create a “watchdog with teeth” in recent months – a move they claim will uphold standards and ensure the Government can still be held to account.

Such “teeth” include the power to hold Government to account, the power to summon leaders to hearings and the power to issue fines.

The publication of the draft bill has therefore been met with a mix of cautious optimism and disappointment from the UK’s green economy, with many expressing concerns that the watchdog’s bark may be worse than its bite.

WWF’s director of advocacy and campaigns Tony Juniper said there was still “much more” to be done to make the environment bill “world-leading”, as May promised it would be.

"We need to see an overarching duty to restore nature, an environmental watchdog that has both a fiercer bite and a longer leash and an obligation to reduce the UK's global environmental footprint,” Juniper said.

"If this bill is improved during the coming months, it could mark an act of real leadership at a time when our seriously threatened planet needs it most."

Environmental law firm ClientEarth has also published a statement on the draft environment bill, claiming it will not be “world-leading” without “boldness” from the Government before the final policy papers are published.

“This bill is a step in the right direction and we are pleased that the government has listened to some of our concerns – but there is still a long way to go before the new watchdog has the strong legal teeth needed to protect our environment,” ClientEarth’s environmental law and policy advisor Tom West said.

"We need a watchdog that can stand up for people and work with them to ensure the Government doesn't get away with neglecting our environment."

Core clauses

Elsewhere in the draft bill, Defra has confirmed that several EU principles – including the “polluter pays” principle – will be enshrined into UK law after Brexit.

It also includes a proposal for policies requiring the Government to always have a plan for improving the environment in place. If this proposal is confirmed, Defra will be legally required to monitor and report annually to Parliament on progress and update its policy at least every five years.

The full draft bill is set to be published early next year, and to include further information about air quality, soil quality, land use and chemical regulations. It will be debated by Ministers after Easter.

While the draft bill does not include any information on climate change, Defra has confirmed to the BBCthat the full draft bill will include measures the UK will take to help limit the global temperature increase.

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/240/draft-environment-bill-outlines-vision-for-uks-post-brexit-green-watchdog

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European Coca-Cola bottler to pioneer carbon capture technology

A Swiss-based Coca-Cola bottling company is set to introduce air-captured CO2 use to the beverage industry to help reduce costs and achieve its long-term climate targets.

Coca-Cola HBC, the subsidiary of major bottling firm Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, will use a CO2 removal solution created by Swiss technology provider Climeworks.

The beverage industry is one of the world’s largest user of CO2 feedstocks, using 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, and is therefore well-placed to benefit from filter-based CO2 capture, Climeworks insists.

Climeworks’ co-founder and CEO Christoph Gebal saidd: “We are very happy to be entering the beverage market together with Coca-Cola HBC. During the last years, Coca-Cola HBC has been an exceptionally supportive partner and invaluable in moving the application of DAC in the beverage industry forward - something we are very thankful for.”

In order to guarantee the highest purity standards required for using CO2 in beverages, Climeworks works with Pentair Union Engineering, a world leader in purification and liquefaction of high-quality CO2. The two companies have worked together since 2016 through an EU-funded project-  to develop a containerised product providing beverage-grade CO2 from Climeworks air-captured CO2.

Capturing carbon

Earlier this year, energy group Drax announced entered talks with the British Beer & Pub Association to explore whether the CO2 captured during its bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project could be used to tackle CO2 shortages in the beverage industry.

The talks between Drax and the British Beer & Pub Association came as a response to the major CO2 distribution problems across the UK and mainland Europe this summer. At least five major European CO2 producers, which sell the gas to drinks manufacturers, went offline for maintenance.

CCS is the most cost-effective way of meeting climate change targets and needs to be deployed sooner rather than later, according to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The organisation has previously highlighted that the UK has "more than enough" potential CCS sites to meet legally binding 2050 carbon targets in a cost-effective manner, which apparently could save up to £2bn annually throughout the 2020s.

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/239/european-coca-cola-bottler-to-pioneer-carbon-capture-technology

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WRAP: UK fashion industry moving quickly to improve environmental footprint of clothing

The UK's fashion industry is moving at a pace to reduce carbon emissions and water waste within its supply chains, although far slower progress is being made on research efficiency, new research from WRAP has concluded.

The organisation has this week published a progress report on its Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), which was founded in 2012 in a bid to help big-name fashion brands minimise their waste, water and carbon footprints while sourcing more sustainable materials.

More than 80 companies have signed up to the plan to date, according to the report, with signatories such as ASOS, Next and Primark having made “significant” progress towards its 2020 goals.

By selecting more sustainably-produced fibres such as cotton and viscose, SCAP signatories have reduced the lifetime water footprint per tonne of clothing they produce by 15%, against a 2011 baseline. This is the equivalent of 42,000 bathtubs full of water per tonne of product, according to WRAP, and means that the group has met its 2020 water savings goal two years early.

As for carbon reductions, the report notes that SCAP signatories have reduced their collective carbon footprint by 11.9%. Per tonne of clothing, this reduction is akin to a regular petrol car driving 24,000 miles, the report states, with signatories on course to overshoot the 2020 goal of a 15% reduction.

Signatories have also made moves to become more resource-efficient, such as redesigning their approach to pattern cutting or donating factory offcuts to be upcycled, the report states. However, the group’s collective waste footprint has fallen by just 3.5% over product life cycles since 2012, making this a key area where higher ambition is required.

“Compared with the wider sector, SCAP signatories continue to set the bar high for improving sustainable practices - and it’s important that they do, because while clothing might only be the eighth largest sector in terms of household spend, it has the fourth largest environmental impact behind housing, transport and food,” WRAP director Peter Maddox said.

“As the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) inquiry into fast fashion has shown, there’s a lot more work to do on clothing and I believe that initiatives like SCAP have an important role to play.”

a bid to drive further action on waste among SCAP signatories, WRAP has recommended that participating companies and charities undertake more thorough research into their waste footprints.

It is also urging SCAP signatories to begin developing recycling solutions for clothing and to encourage consumers to buy less, warning that the UK’s charity sector is at capacity for clothing reuse.

Fast fashion footprint

The publication of the progress report comes at a time when the UK Government is carrying out its first full-scale inquiry into the environmental and social impact of the nation’s fast fashion problem, which is beginning to pique public interest following the launch of documentaries such as The True Cost and Stacey Dooley Investigates Fast Fashion.

Carried out by the EAC, the inquiry has heard evidence from designers, academics, garment workers and green campaigners, in addition to representatives from luxury fashion, high-street and online brands.

Evidence heard to date has suggested that the buying practices of some online fashion retailers may be putting British clothing manufacturers in a position where they can only afford to pay garment workers illegally low wages.

Ministers have also heard much evidence surrounding the fashion industry’s waste problem, which has reached such a scale that 300,000 tonnes of clothing is now estimated to be landfilled every year.

The EAC’s own research recently found that UK residents are consuming new clothing at a faster rate than their counterparts in mainland Europe, purchasing an average of 26.7kg every year. The World Wear Project similarly estimates that the average household generates more than 35kg of waste clothing annually, with 85% being sent to landfill.

On a global scale, the fashion industry is now estimated to be producing more than 100 billion garments and 20 billion shoes per year. The sector currently accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and employs around one in every seven people worldwide, with the majority of employees being women working in garment factories. 

Source article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/238/wrap-uk-fashion-industry-moving-quickly-to-improve-environmental-footprint-of-clothing

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Supermarket shoppers urged to serve 'wonky' Christmas dinner

Supermarkets have increased their efforts to reduce the national food waste mountain at Christmas by offering shoppers edible produce nearing the end of its shelf life, as well as "wonky" sprouts, carrots and parsnips.

The wonky or “ugly” lines were being offered at cheaper prices in an effort to stop the rejection or waste of fruit and veg that was misshapen, had growth cracks or was much smaller or larger than average.

Morrisons has launched a £1 Too Good to Waste box, containing 1kg of assorted seasonal fruit and vegetables at the end of their shelf life but still good to eat.

Each item was “condition checked” and stores would stock at least 75 varieties of fruit, 80 types of vegetables, and 50 types of salad – any of which may appear in the box.

“We’ve listened to our customers who said they don’t want to see good food going to waste” said Drew Kirk, the fruit and vegetable director at Morrisons. “So we’ve created these boxes and every day we’ll fill them with a wide selection of produce at risk of being thrown away.

“Because produce may be unusual and varied, customers can also try some new and exciting dishes at home without having to spend a fortune.”

The box is the latest initiative in Morrisons’ campaign against food waste. The retailer buys whole crops from farmers and has launched nearly 40 wonky varieties of fruit and vegetables, from pomegranates and pears to sprouts and sweet potatoes.

Last week, it added a line of stubby sprout stalks for 75p, compared with £1.50 for a standard stalk. Growers had warned of a sprouts shortfall at Christmas after a prolonged dry spell in the summer.

Meanwhile, shoppers can stock up on Waitrose’s established Less than Perfect fruit and vegetables, which are slightly cheaper than their standard equivalents. Waitrose, which sold 2.4m packs of sprouts last year, has launched a line of baby sprouts in an attempt to shift as much of the crop as possible.

“Sprouts have had a tricky time this year,” said Hannah Stewart, the technical manager of fresh produce at Waitrose. “But our suppliers have worked incredibly hard and the quality this year is superb.”

Meanwhile, Tesco’s Perfectly Imperfect range has been bolstered this week by strawberries, apples, pears and carrots, with more to come before Christmas.

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/237/supermarket-shoppers-urged-to-serve-wonky-christmas-dinner

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Plastics action, energy storage and climate warnings: The top sustainability stories of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, the edie team reflects on the key stories which defined corporate sustainability and drove new levels of action in 2018.

It’s undeniably been nothing short of a hectic year for the UK’s sustainability and energy professionals, with plastics action gathering pace at an unprecedented rate, Ministers moving for the first time to scrutinise the fashion industry’s environmental impact and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that we have just 12 years left to limit catastrophic climate change.

But it’s also been a time of great progress, with the business community moving to harness the benefits of low-carbon energy innovations like battery storage and hydrogen, embedding purpose within their operations and seeing waste as a resource.

This year has been a busy one for edie, too. The beginning of the year marked the launch of our Mission Possible campaign, which has since spurred dozens of big-name businesses to make new sustainability commitments. Since then, we’ve launched our first networking club for energy professionals, the Energy Leaders Club, and unveiled plans for a similar platform for the nation’s rising sustainability stars – the 30 Under 30 campaign.

With all this in mind, edie has highlighted some of the standout news stories readers were particularly keen to read and shout about throughout the year. Take a look through 2018’s most-read news stories and click the links in the descriptions below to read them for yourself.

Lidl launches 'Too Good to Waste' fruit and veg discount box to cut back on food waste

You’d be forgiven for thinking edie’s most-read news story would be one focusing on plastics, but readers were particularly keen to find out how budget supermarket Lidl UK was working to reduce its food waste output. In August, the company unveiled a range of discounted boxes containing produce considered ‘past its best’ – a move which received positive attention from the media and the general public.

Ex-BT chief Niall Dunne on a mission to create the 'Tesla of plastics'

At the beginning of the year, BT's former chief sustainability officer Niall Dunne was appointed as chief executive of Polymateria – a disruptive plastics firm aiming to develop and scale innovative solutions to the global plastic pollution problem. This exclusive interview summarises Dunne’s vision for the company and his take on the public’s plastics awareness moment.

UK businesses make world-first pact to slash plastic packaging

Another stand-out plastics story of the year comes from WRAP, which this April unveiled the UK Plastics Pact for the first time. The Pact, which requires signatory companies to eliminate single-use packaging through redesign by 2025, has been signed by 69 businesses to date.

Why now is the time for corporates to set long-term targets for renewables

edie readers were particularly keen to find out how to build the business case for switching to renewable power this year, either through the sourcing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) or using onsite arrays. This article covers the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) predictions on the future of corporate energy sourcing and the role renewables will have to play in decarbonising the private sector.

UK's largest battery storage facility comes online in Hertfordshire

The topic of energy storage always generates a lot of debate, so it comes as no surprise that one of 2018’s most-read news stories covered the unveiling of a 50MW installation in Bishop's Stortford, in Hertfordshire. The facility was completed in July.

How sustainable was the FIFA 2018 World Cup?

Although it may seem like a long time ago now, the FIFA 2018 World Cup was the hot topic of what was a swelteringly hot summer. In this article, edie explores whether the actions taken by FIFA in managing the sporting event of the year lined up with the global low-carbon transition.

Science Based Targets initiative to support businesses with 1.5C goals in wake of IPCC report

The launch of the IPCC’s landmark report on climate change will no doubt still be fresh in the minds of edie readers, with the study laying bare the shocking consequences of a 2C global temperature increase, compared to a 1.5C trajectory. A day after the report launched, a WWF official confirmed that the Science Based Targets Initiative would develop new resources to help corporates set verified 1.5C targets in light of its findings.

From Amazon to PwC: Meet the companies to have made Mission Possible Pledges

There was optimism and ambition to be seen in November, with edie partnering with the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to launch the UK’s first Green GB Week. During the week, 67 businesses made fresh sustainability commitments via edie’s online Pledge Wall, with a further seven having posted commitments since the event.

 

World's biggest container shipper commits to carbon neutrality by 2050

This year, edie readers were particularly keen to find out how and why container shipping giant Maersk had pledged to become a carbon-neutral business by 2050 - the first commitment of its kind from the global maritime shipping sector. The commitment comes at a time when the international shipping industry is currently responsible for about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions

Thinking forward: 20 business leaders define the next 20 years of sustainability (part 1 and 2)

As edie celebrated its 20-year anniversary as a business media brand in August, this two-part feature was published. We asked 20 sustainability professionals and political activists to discuss what will define the next two decades of corporate sustainability and business leadership. What better to end a look back at 2018, than with a look to the future?

Source Article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/236/plastics-action-energy-storage-and-climate-warnings-the-top-sustainability-stories-of-2018

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Sugarcane shoes and silicon energy storage: The best green innovations of the week

A number of eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations have emerged that could help businesses and nations deliver on resource efficiency, low-carbon transitions and combat climate change. Here, edie rounds-up six of the best.

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking this week was a quiet time for sustainable business action. Amid political uncertainty in the UK, with Prime Minister Theresa May having faced a vote of no confidence on Wednesday (12 December) and slow progress from the US, with the nation having hosted a session at COP24 promoting fossil fuel use, there was seemingly little time left for positive business announcements.

Nonetheless, corporates have continued to move at a pace to raise sustainability ambitions before the end of 2018. A coalition of 31 fashion brands have committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, for example, while the world’s biggest palm oil supplier has bolstered its deforestation commitments.

When striving to decarbonise businesses, cities and nations while reducing their waste, water and energy footprints, it is always worth looking at the green innovations of today that could become mainstream in the coming months and years. With this in mind, this week’s round-up covers six products and systems that could help nations and businesses accelerate sustainability commitments and achieve a sustainable future, today.

Low-carbon motors

As the electric vehicle (EV) shift begins to grip the car industry, with brands such as Volkswagen, Daimler and Volvo all moving to electrify their models and invest in battery technologies, progress in the truck sector has been somewhat slower.

In a bid to spur the creation of greener truck fleets, US-based food firm Tyson has this week moved to install an innovative, low-carbon engine across its fleet of 7,300 trailers and 2,800 tractors. Developed by engineering firm Achates Power, the engine is designed to use 20% less fuel than a traditional model, emitting 15% less CO2 per journey in the process.

Achates Power also claims that the engine generates just one-tenth of the amount of nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions as the average truck motor. Tyson will retrofit trucks at nine of its distribution centres with the technology by the end of 2019.

Film that tackles food waste

Around one-third of all food produced globally is wasted, and in the UK, this translates to around £700 of wasted food per family annually. Various supermarkets have signed voluntary commitments to tackle the issue, but the thick end of the food waste mountain comes from homes and does not occur at a shop or supply-chain level.

A stand-out innovative solution to the challenge comes from food tech company It's Fresh!, which has developed a range of flexible packaging that absorbs ethylene – the natural hormone which causes fruit, vegetables and flowers to ripen. During trials using blueberries and strawberries, the packaging technology was found to improve product lifespan by up to 50%, resulting in a 40% reduction in food waste. Other trials have proved that the technology can improve the lifespan of cherries and flowers by around three days.

After three years of development, production of the packaging, called Infinite, was scaled up earlier this year. In 2019, Morrisons will begin trialling the solution for its berry packaging, with a view to a wider rollout among its own-brand produce line of the pilot proves successful.

Silicone as storage

In the wake of a landmark Bloomberg NEF report predicting that the energy storage market will double six times by 2030, a string of innovative solutions including ultra-light EV battery packsliquid air facilities and ammonia-based storage have hit the headlines recently.

Another fresh development in the field comes from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who have developed an energy storage system that can capture and store power generated from renewable arrays using molten silicon.

The system involves using surplus energy to power to heat large tanks of molten silicon, which becomes white and begins to glow as it reaches high temperatures. Solar panels are then positioned above the tanks, capturing the light generated by the silicone and using it to produce more clean power.

The concept is currently in the prototype stage, but the researchers estimate that the system could be used to “power a small city” if produced at scale. The solution additionally mitigates the environmental impact of sourcing metals and other natural materials for the development of batteries, according to the research team.

AI-powered ‘farmbots’

As the WWF claims that the agricultural sector can provide up to 30% of the solutions needed by 2030 to tackle the global climate crisis, an innovative solution to green the industry has emerged in the form of a robot powered by an artificial intelligence (AI) platform.

Called Tom robots and designed by the Small Robot Company, the device is fitted with cameras and will get the lay of the land by gathering topographical data. This data is then used to help farmers optimise their harvesting technique to reduce costs, fuel and food waste, with the robot itself capable of cutting crops. 

The Small Robot Company has also designed a similar robot programmed to pick weeds with minimal use of weed-killer and pesticides, and a further device designed to plant crops efficiently. The three kinds of robots are currently being trialled by John Lewis & Partners at the company’s wheat fields in Leckford, Hertfordshire, with the retailer set to use them at scale if the pilot proves successful.

Sugarcane shoes

In response to the fashion industry’s resource challenge – which has reached such a scale that 100 billion garments and 20 billion pairs of shoes are now believed to be made each year – the likes of adidas, Reebok and Marks & Spencer have unveiled footwear made from innovative materials in recent months.

Following this trend, US-based sportswear brand Allbirds has launched a line of plant-based, biodegradable trainers called the Tree Toppers. The shoe has soles made from sugarcane-based cellulose and an upper manufactured using a blend of sustainably-sourced Merino wool and eucalyptus fibres.

The shoes went on sale in the US for the first time this week, priced at $115 (£91) per pair. Allbirds will now begin redesigning the rest of its footwear lines to include plant-based soles.

Off-grid solar tents

The UN estimates that 1.2 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, either due to a lack of a connection in their home, or due to homelessness. This leaves them reliant on diesel generation or kerosene gas for cooking and lighting unless they can access a local microgrid.

In a bid to drive progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 7: Clean energy for all among the homeless community, a group of teenage researchers in Los Angeles have developed an off-grid tent with solar-powered lighting and heating systems. The prototype tent, developed by a group of 12 high school students, is capable of sleeping two people and rolling up to be stored in a backpack, making it ideal for those sleeping rough or wishing to travel without using kerosene gas. The fabric shell of the tent is 3D-pinted, minimising waste during manufacture.

The innovation was this week recognised by MIT and the Lemelson Foundation, with the two organisations jointly investing $10,000 to help the team scale up production.

Source Article ;- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/235/sugarcane-shoes-and-silicon-energy-storage-the-best-green-innovations-of-the-week

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Regulation 'not fit' for emerging decentralised energy model

The current system of energy regulation is not fit for the more decentralised and digitalised energy that is emerging, Alan Whitehead has said.

The Labour party’s energy spokesman told the House of Commons launch of the new report, “ReDesigning Regulation: Powering from the Future”, that current regulatory arrangements look “very creaky and outdated” given the rapid changes that the industry is undergoing.

Stressing that his comments were not intended as criticism of the “dedication” and “hard work” displayed by Ofgem, he said: “The bigger question is whether that arrangement of regulation is fit for the system described now.

“It’s very clear that it isn’t and therefore we need to start with the fundamentals of what we regulate and how we regulate.

“We need to get the most out of every electron that is generated or transmitted rather than the substantial redundancy we see in the system today.

“We can gain ourselves a great deal of benefit as far as security and resilience of the system is concerned. If we can achieve all of those things through a reform of regulation it would be a great stride forward.”

He added that the energy system’s increasing reliance on very “fine grain” data means that there should be “open and transparent” access to data.

Dr Jeff Hardy, a senior research fellow at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London and one of the report’s authors, explained the study’s backing for replacing supplier licensing with a risk assurance framework that he claimed would give new business models greater scope to flourish.

He said the existing system of licensing suppliers is “not fit for purpose to unleash this kind of innovation in the market”.

Source article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/234/regulation-not-fit-for-emerging-decentralised-energy-model

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UK network operators unveil new measures to boost flexibility

The UK's six local electricity network operators have jointly committed to set new requirements for all new network infrastructure to include "smart" flexibility services, as more renewable arrays come online nationwide.

The pledge, which has been made today (13 December) by Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, SP Energy Networks, UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution, will see all new “relevant projects” of “significant value” designed in a way that will build more flexibile capacity in.

Under the new requirements, the installation of services such as on-site generation, demand-side response and energy efficiency measures will become a pre-requisite for project investment.

Once the mandates are implemented next year, the grid operators will test the market for these services, comparing the costs associated with their installation and maintenance to those required to build traditional energy infrastructure.

The commitment is being orchestrated by industry body the Energy Networks Association (ENA), which will publish a forecast of contracts tendered by network companies for flexibility services by the end of March 2019.

“Like so many other parts of our world right now, the public is starting to see that their energy system is undergoing an important digital transformation,” the ENA’s chief executive David Smith said.

“Our energy networks are committed to operating an efficient, smart, clean energy system that is fit for the British public, and this commitment will enable new energy markets across the country, creating new opportunities for people to further benefit from the latest smart technologies being used in their homes and businesses.”

The commitment comes after research from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) concluded that “smart” flexibility technologies could, if installed at scale, reduce the cost of new energy infrastructure by £8bn annually by 2030.

Similarly, the value of the EU’s demand-response measure market is anticipated to rise from its current level of £680m ($0.9bn) to more than £2.6bn ($3.5bn) by 2025.

Flexibility first

The new joint pledge comes shortly after UK Power Networks (UKPN) announced it would adopt a “flexibility first” approach to the delivery of extra grid capacity, in a drive to bring renewable energy onto the network at a price parity with traditional generation methods. 

The company claims that if flexibility services were made available to the 8.2 million buildings it serves, new markets for distributed renewable generation would open across London, the South East and the East of England. It speculates that such increased competition would result in a higher proportion of renewable power being bought onto the network, at a lower cost.

Since adopting this approach, the network operator has begun the UK’s first trial of Faraday Grid technology – innovative hardware designed to balance the intermittency and volatility of renewable generation.

It has additionally released details on how it will roll out 25 "flexibility first" zones across its distribution networks in London, the South East and the East of England – areas where demand for flexibility could collectively exceed 200MW by 2023.

Source article :- https://www.erthie.com/site/article/233/uk-network-operators-unveil-new-measures-to-boost-flexibility

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Daimler and Hyundai bolster low-carbon vehicle investments

Car giant Daimler has confirmed it will purchase more than £18bn worth of electric vehicle (EV) battery cells by 2030, in the same week that Hyundai pledged to spend £5.3bn on developing hydrogen-powered systems for cars, drones and ships.Daimler is working on next-generation batteries to reduce its reliance on costly rare earth minerals such as cobalt, which is sourced primarily from war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

It will help the Mercedes-Benz owner in its bid to launch 130 electric and hybrid vehicles by 2022, as well as a range of larger vehicles.“With extensive orders for battery cells until the year 2030, we set another important milestone for the electrification of our future EVs,” said Wilko Stark, executive vice president Mercedes-Benz Cars procurement and supplier quality.Daimler did not specify the suppliers it would purchase its batteries from. One of the companies it currently deals with is AG Chem, which develops what it claims will be Europe’s largest electric car battery factory.

‘Hydrogen society’

Meanwhile, Hyundai’s pledge will see the firm commit £5.3bn over the next 10 years to boost production of fuel-cell systems and engines to 700,000 units. Hyundai current has a production capacity of 3,000 hydrogen cars.

The South Korean firm is investing in fuel-cell technology to help boost its long-term competitiveness, after criticism that the company was too slow to adopt battery-powered EVs.

“We will expand our role beyond the automotive transportation sector and play a pivotal role in global society’s transition to clean energy by helping make hydrogen an economically viable energy source,” said Chun Euisun, the de facto head of Hyundai Motor.

The company launched the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen car, the Tucson Fuel Cell, in 2013, but only a little more than 1,000 of the cars have been sold to date.

Hyundai is part of the Hydrogen Council, which will pledge $10.7bn towards hydrogen projects over the next five years. Oil giant Shell is another council member and earlier this year launched a new hydrogen refuelling station at one of the UK's busiest service stations.

Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) convert the gas into electricity to power the engine and only produce heat and water when driven. They can travel up to 700km on a single tank and can be refuelled in a few minutes.  

Source article :-  https://www.erthie.com/site/article/232/daimler-and-hyundai-bolster-low-carbon-vehicle-investments

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Nine ways to raise your company's sustainability ambitions in 2019

 12-Dec-2018  Published in Sustainable Lifestyle

 

During a sustainability leadership webinar hosted by edie last week, representatives from Canary Wharf Group, Ball Corporation and PwC gave their advice for professionals looking to transform their approach to CSR in 2019, increasing actions as well as ambitions. Here, edie rounds up their key takeaways.

edie hosted its last hour-long webinar of the year on Thursday (December 6), covering business leadership in the fields of CSR, sustainability and energy to help readers hit the ground running and bolster their environmental and social commitments in 2019.

 

--- VIEW THE ‘PREPARING TO LEAD’ WEBINAR HERE ---

Hosted in association with GridBeyond and the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Forum, this interactive webinar heard from some of the leaders of the low-carbon revolution, who are igniting new thought-processes, behaviours and initiatives across their business in a drive to decarbonise operations and embed sustainability within the heart of their respective companies.

During the ‘power hour’ webinar, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe’s sustainability director Ramon Arratia, PwC’s director of sustainability Bridget Jackson, Canary Wharf Group’s (CWG) head of sustainability Martin Gettings and GridBeyond’s managing director Wayne Muncaster outlined how businesses can ramp up their sustainability efforts and take up leadership positions.

Topics discussed throughout the session ranged from science-based targets and single-use plastics, through to purpose-led business and 100% targets. Here, edie rounds up the speakers’ key takeaways.

Nine ways to raise your company's sustainability ambitions in 2019

1) Ditch incremental action and set bold targets

During the webinar, panellists concluded that businesses they regard as sustainability leaders all have something in common – namely that they have moved away from setting ‘incremental’ goals regarding waste, water and carbon and begun to set bold, long-term commitments.

In terms of resource efficiency, leading businesses are beginning to undergo a “double” paradigm shift, Ball Beverage Packaging Europe’s sustainability director Arratia argued – firstly from resource efficiency to partial circularity, and then from partial circularity to ‘true’ circularity. This move, Arratia said, will require businesses to rethink their targets and business models.

“We used to talk a lot about resource efficiency, which, at the end of the day, meant making things less bad,” Arratia said. “Now, we are fast moving towards a more demanding paradigm. On top of that, we are facing a new business model - how can we deliver stuff without stuff or services without stuff? How can we deliver products without packaging?”

2) Know your markets and work to boost the ambitions of policymakers within them

Arratia emphasised the importance of fully understanding the political framework, culture and infrastructure systems which exist in the company’s markets – knowledge which has helped Ball to design recycling and resource management strategies on a “country-by-country” basis and avoid greenwash in its definition of "recyclable". 

“We are the biggest manufacturer of aluminium beverage packaging and all the countries we cover have different collection systems and regulations for recycling,” Arratia said. “Everything we produce has to be designed for recycling and we really need to align proper design, collection, sorting and recycling systems.”

Arratia urged listeners to use market analysis to lobby for change from peers, policymakers and consumers, citing Ball’s decision to produce a roadmap to 90% recycling rates for aluminium cans in the EU as an example of this form of activism.

 3) Harness the benefits of the energy transition

As the UK’s energy system becomes increasingly decarbonised, decentralised and democratised, businesses are in a prime position to explore new “smart” solutions and set bold renewables targets in order to decarbonise their operations.

That is according to GridBeyond’s managing director Wayne Muncaster, who explained that energy efficiency technologies, demand-side response technologies andrenewable energy sourcing are not “one-size-fits-all” and that businesses should explore the solutions right for their size and sector.

“Balancing our network requires more and newer participants to get involved, and there is an increasing number of ways in which to participate,” Muncaster explained. “There is a huge amount of complexity as to how you can participate in these markets, but there is a huge amount of opportunity.”

4) Identify your ‘most material’ areas of action and start there, today

PwC’s director of sustainability Bridget Jackson explained that most corporate journeys to sustainability leadership begin with a focus on the issues most material to that particular company, as this is a “pragmatic” approach to achieving internal buy-in and engagement.

“Do the big stuff,” Jackson said. “Obviously, everyone wants to do what’s material – but the lesson isn’t so much about that one thing.  Sometimes, the way to achieve is to align your ambitions to where the momentum already is within the company.”

For Jackson, who started working for PwC almost 10 years ago, this meant “riding the technology wave” and helping businesses adopt innovative low-carbon technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and automated transport.  

5) Go beyond conformity

While acknowledging that it is important for sustainability professionals to understand the national, local and corporate culture in which they work, CWG’s head of sustainability Martin Gettings urged listeners not to be fearful of adopting a different approach to other organisations in their sectors.

“Our story started in the 1980s and the world had a very different set of values back then,” Gettings explained.

“But at CWG, we did actually have some very telling founding principles and one of the underlying ones which has helped us think differently and innovate is a notion that we are not about conformity. The mindset here has always been that of innovation and thinking slightly differently, which has allowed us to look at more ambitious sustainability targets.”

6) Keep your eyes on the horizon for the next big issue

Ball’s Arratia emphasised the importance of ‘horizon scanning’ for issues that are likely to become important to policymakers and consumers in the near future, noting that doing so would help companies to adapt more holistically before others begin making reactionary changes.

“The paradigm for the packaging sector is changing because of the whole plastic issue,” he said. “People are saying plastic is pollution, and recycling it is not good enough. Society is shifting the responsibility from citizens to companies, saying it is them who has to redesign.”

“Build a reputation for being the team that anticipates and puts in place what they don’t know they need yet,” PwC’s Jackson added. “Every planetary boundary is something you’re going to have to worry about not overshooting in the future.” 

7) Talk to consumers in a language they understand…

All of the webinar panellists agreed that consumer engagement is a key part of sustainability leadership and noted that driving behaviour change among customer bases is a significant way in which businesses can drive change outside of their operations.

However, as Arratia pointed out, communicating your sustainability strategy in a way which engages consumers is not always simple, as much jargon has to be “translated”.

“We’ve learned that consumers don’t like to be patronised – they want to have fun and you need to talk their language,” Arratia said. “Ask how you can relate to them, and the engagement will follow.”

Arratia noted that Ball’s interactive “voting” recycling bins at large-scale music and sporting events – in which users deposit a can in one of two sides in order to “cast a vote” – has proved particularly successful in this respect.

8) …And think outside of the box when it comes to internal communications

PwC’s Jackson added that sustainability professionals should always “break down” big issues when communicating with their staff and adopt a “show don’t tell” approach to storytelling around sustainability challenges, in order to drive maximum engagement with key challenges.

She cited a training session held under the firm’s ‘Going Circular’ resource programme as an example of this, as members of PwC’s procurement team were shown and taught how to dissemble end-of-life items.

“These staff have gone on feeling empowered to apply the principles they’ve learnt that day into many projects since,” Jackson said.

“It’s really important that you know your own company culture,” CWG’s Gettings added.

9) Accept that you can’t go it alone

As the webinar drew to a close, CWG’s Gettings emphasised the importance of collaboration in making progress towards bold sustainability targets.

British property giant CWG has partnered with Surfers Against Sewage in a bid to make its 16.5 million sq. ft London estate the first plastic-free zone in the capital, for example, and last year joined forces with paper cup recycler Simply Cups and biomass recycler Bio-Bean to launch its closed-loop 'Clean Coffee Zone'.

“It’s all very well and good doing these things as a business, but what you really have to do is enable others,” Gettings explained. “What we are doing is going beyond our own initiatives and campaigns and helping sustainability become embedded in not just our day-to-day operations, but those of our tenants and customers.”

Source article :- https://www.edie.net/news/7/9-ways-to-raise-your-company-s-sustainability-ambitions-in-2019/

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A number of the biggest companies within the UK's built environment sector, including JLL, Landsec and Wilmott Dixon, have jointly formed a new task group aimed at creating an industry-led framework for net-zero buildings.

Launched on Wednesday (28 November) and convened by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the group will see representatives from the coalition of companies examine and debate what the term “net-zero carbon” should mean for new buildings in the UK.

Specifically, the group will debate whether carbon-neutral construction and supply chains should be a requirement for a building to be classed as net-zero, in addition to direct operational emissions.

“The construction and property industry is ready to make its contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement and start delivering net-zero carbon buildings, but there is still a lack of clarity about what a net-zero carbon building means in practice,” UKGBC’s policy director Richard Twinn said.

“We are therefore seeking to create an agreed, industry-led definition for net-zero carbon buildings in the UK, to ensure we are all working towards the same outcomes.”

The group has been set up by UKGBC in a bid to move the industry from discussing specific tools and policies in an abstract manner, to taking ambitious action to achieve “genuine” carbon-neutrality, Twinn added.

In total, the task group consists of representatives from 30 companies, including housebuilders, local authorities, real estate management firms and consultancies.

It has additionally received financial support from 11 trade associations, non-profits and industry bodies, including the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and the British Property Federation (BPF).

An industry consultation on the task group’s proposals will open in February 2019, with UKGBC hoping to publish the finalised definition later in the spring.

Building a low-carbon future

The launch of the task group comes after the World Green Buildings Council (WGBC) this summer made its first call for businesses and policymakers to eliminate carbon emissions for building portfolios by 2030, in order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.

The call to action came shortly after Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to halve the energy use from new buildings by 2030 and to halve the energy costs from the existing building stock - both domestically and commercially. Heat and power for buildings currently account for 40% of national energy usage.

More recently, the Government published its £420m construction sector deal, outlining a course for halving building energy use and emissions by 2030. 

Progress towards decarbonisation in the business community has also gathered pace in recent months, with edie’s own Sector Insight report concluding that almost two-thirds of businesses operating in the construction industry are now more committed to taking action on sustainability than they were 12 months ago.

https://www.edie.net/news/6/Big-name-businesses-collaborate-to-form-task-group-for-net-zero-buildings/