The TreeZero News July 9-15, 2018

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Global quadrupling of cooling appliances to 14 billion could see staggering increase in world’s energy consumption – the University of Birmingham report authors forecast that the 14 billion devices needed by 2050 will consume five times the amount of energy currently predicted for cooling usage. The report – A Cool World – Defining the Energy Conundrum of ‘Cooling for All (PDF)’  https://bit.ly/2KYLoBt

Apple announces $300m China Clean Energy Fund to help power greener supply chain – https://bit.ly/2Ne7a0G

US household energy use falling as homes become more energy efficient – U.S. household energy use fell by more than 10 percent between 2009 and 2015, despite a 4 percent increase in the number of households over the same period, according to analysis of data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. https://bit.ly/2Li4sKo

Journey to the Pole – The South Pole Energy Challenge – Video from Shell – Discover the physical and mental strength it takes to walk to the South Pole using only renewable energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izAoe2iBDLo

How Much Renewable Power Does the World Use? – Modern renewables achieved a growth rate of 5.4% of total energy consumption across the globe, representing its biggest ever increase.

https://bit.ly/2Lg91kS

Kenya’s ban on charcoal production affects millions – Extraction of wood to be used as fuel has contributed to deforestation in the east African country, forcing the government to ban production of charcoal. But, this has left millions of people without an important source of energy.  https://bit.ly/2uz5t6o

California Beat Its 2020 Emissions Target Four Years Early – In 2016, California’s greenhouse gas emissions were lower than in 1990, despite a larger population and booming economy, the state’s air resources board reportedhttps://for.tn/2uvQda8

New York Announces Plan Of Action For Procuring Offshore Wind – New York has a goal of 2.4 GW of new offshore wind generation by 2030, enough to power 1.2 million New York households. https://bit.ly/2LfNKrN

New investor-backed campaign targets a trillion dollars for US renewables – ACORE has introduced a new campaign to get investment in U.S. renewables and related grid infrastructure to a cumulative $1 trillion by 2030. https://bit.ly/2mgAVCI

Introducing Climate Innovation 2050 – In a new initiative we call Climate Innovation 2050, C2ES is bringing together companies in key sectors to look collectively at plausible pathways to decarbonizing the U.S. economy. https://bit.ly/2un6q27

London’s zero carbon city plans kick-started with £500 million energy efficiency fund – https://bit.ly/2J7fYTp

Ireland will be the first country to divest from fossil fuels – Ireland passed a bill in its lower house of parliament that will require the country’s national investment fund to sell all of its investments in oil, coal, gas, and peat. The fund currently holds investments worth more than $400 million in 150 fossil fuel companies.  https://bit.ly/2me9Xvr

More than 45,000 businesses could be hit with fines of up to €1 million (£0.88m) if they fail to comply with EU energy efficiency reporting rules. Organizations with at least 250 employees or annual revenues of more than €50 million (£44m) must conduct energy audits. That includes calculating their total energy consumption and identifying saving opportunities across their estate every four years, with the next deadline on 5th December 2019.  https://bit.ly/2NedZiQ

 

DEFORESTATION

Take a Walk in the Woods. Doctor’s Orders – Last June the Northside Hospital Cancer Center in Atlanta began to formally offer forest therapy as part of a pilot project in collaboration with the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Twelve patients with newly diagnosed cancers recently signed up for a session, according to Christy Andrews, the executive director of Cancer Support Community Atlanta. “It was a four-hour session that seemed to have an impact on the patients,” she said. https://nyti.ms/2JhhN0p

Explainer: Drought creates a perfect storm for wildfires in U.S. West – The number of wildfires larger than 25,000 acres on U.S. Forest Service land in the West nearly quadrupled in the decade to 2014, compared with the 1980s, according to data from the Department of the Interior. An expected 1.8 Fahrenheit (1C) temperature rise by mid-century is expected to double or triple the annual acreage burned from a current 7 million acres average, according to a study by the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Agriculture. https://reut.rs/2mgxRGB

 

RECYCLING

Nearly 1,000 recycling centers in California have closed in the last two years, about 40% of the total, leaving consumers in many communities with no local place to leave their bottles and redeem their nickels.  https://lat.ms/2uhwjzD

Solar panel recycling to reach new highs thanks to Veolia’s dedicated plant – The state-of-the-art facility is located in Rousset, France, which is currently the 4th biggest solar panel market in the entire EU. The new solar panel recycling centre will process approximately 1300 tonnes of solar panels this year. https://bit.ly/2NzPXj4

Starbucks to scrap plastic straws globally by 2020 – https://usat.ly/2KY7dQC

ALDI Adds How2Recycle Label to All Exclusive Brand Products https://bit.ly/2m57KSH

How San Francisco sends less trash to the landfill than any other major U.S. city – the city diverts about 80 percent of its waste from landfills, or more than 1.5 million tons every year. https://cnb.cx/2NSQSeD

IFIXIT– The free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.  https://www.ifixit.com

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

Synthesis Report Highlights Challenges in Meeting Global Water Goals – The world is not on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), according to an UN-Water Report based on the latest data available for the 11 SDG 6 global indicators. Preliminary estimates suggest that, in high to middle-income countries, 59% of household wastewater flows are safely treated. https://bit.ly/2m9YBZm

Emerald invests in HydroPoint – Emerald Technology Ventures is pleased to announce an investment in HydroPoint Data Systems Inc. HydroPoint helps commercial, government, education and community sites maximize water savings, reduce operating costs and minimize risk.  https://bit.ly/2KOui9o

LifeStraw, a global leader in developing innovative filtration and purification products for safe drinking water, today released its first responsibility report highlighting 13 years of global safe drinking water efforts. LifeStraw is now supporting over one million kids in 1,621 schools where 10,677 purifiers are installed, and over 10,000 follow-up visits have taken place and continue monthly.  https://bit.ly/2Nev9wy

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Krill fishing firms back Antarctic ocean sanctuary – companies responsible for 85% of krill fishing in Antarctic waters announced a “voluntarily permanent stop” to their operations in key areas, including the proposed sanctuary and “buffer zones” around penguin breeding grounds. https://bit.ly/2NFkHzd

When will “socially responsible investing” become just “investing”? https://bit.ly/2L1KZxq

General Mills Utilizes SDGs as ‘Common Language’ for Global Sustainability Initiatives 

https://bit.ly/2J7s6E1

Air pollution is triggering diabetes in 3.2 million people each year – The new estimate, reported in July in The Lancet Planetary Health, holds air pollution responsible for about 14 percent of new cases of diabetes worldwidehttps://bit.ly/2u6Ryor

Raymond James has boosted its model portfolio offering with the launch of its first ever environmental, governance and social (ESG) model portfolios. https://bit.ly/2N2zfIk

How Laundry Is Reducing America’s Carbon Footprint – About 60 percent of the energy used by an item of clothing happens after its purchased, when it enters the home and it’s washed, worn, and washed again.  In 2005, only 11 percent of U.S. households had washers that meet EnergyStar criteria; that number rose to 41 percent in 2016. According to the Department of Energy, replacing all washers in the U.S. with EnergyStar models would save 11 billion kilowatts of energy and 550 billion gallons of water per year.  https://thebea.st/2L9j8rX

Joint Statement Calls on UK Government for Central Modern Slavery Registry – Of the 25 million people estimated to be in modern slavery around the world today, 16 million are thought to be working within the private sector. https://bit.ly/2ueymFh

The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 Edition – The National Restaurant Association is committed to helping members move forward on their sustainability path. Additional tools and resources can be found at Restaurant.org/Conserve.  https://bit.ly/2sBONeg

Recruiting Top Talent For Your Company Begins With Social Impact – https://bit.ly/2mhbUXL

Companies Can Improve The World: How CSR And Marketing Tie The Knot https://bit.ly/2LdjVen

FOUR BIG FOOD COMPANIES LAUNCH SUSTAINABLE FOOD POLICY ALLIANCE – Danone, Mars, Nestle and Unilever, have launched a new trade organization, the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, focused on driving progress in public policies that shape what people eat and how it impacts their health, communities and the planet. https://bit.ly/2umhhts

HP links $700 million in revenue to sustainability strategy – https://bit.ly/2uiZp1o

PepsiCo Reports Waste Diversion and Packaging Progress – By the end of 2017, the company diverted 95% of their waste from landfill, up two percentage points from the 2016 rate.  For 2025, the company also aims to design 100% of their packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. PepsiCo’s new report highlighted progress toward their packaging and waste reduction goals. https://bit.ly/2udWCaM

 

THIS COMING WEEK IN HISTORY…

July 19, 1799 – Rosetta Stone found.

July 20, 1969 – Armstrong walks on the moon.

July 21, 1861 – First Battle of Bull Run.

July 22, 1862 – President Lincoln tells his cabinet about Emancipation Proclamation

The TreeZero News July 2-8, 2018

Video of Key Sustainability Headlines For This Week – (1 min 36 sec) https://bit.ly/2J5wjIg

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Nations Urged to Raise Emission Targets and Policies Ahead of COP24 – A group of some 23 nations has just signed an agreement, Declaration for Ambition, to raise climate commitments and to increase efforts to get other nations to do the same – by 40 percent of the 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. https://bit.ly/2No3kmj

According to Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), a global switch to LEDs across the private sector could avoid 403 million tons of CO2 emissions while generating US$94 billion in cost savings.  https://bit.ly/2NrMd3d

China has launched a trading scheme to improve fuel efficiency among car manufacturers – https://carbon-pulse.com/55108/

Cummins Announces Acquisition of Electric and Hybrid Powertrain Provider – Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), which designs and produces hybrid and fully-electric power solutions for commercial markets. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180702005572/en/

Masdar and Norway’s Oil Giant Launch First Battery Storage System Linked to Offshore Wind –  https://bit.ly/2Kz5ql1

The production of renewable energy in Germany has hit a new record, providing more than 40 per cent of the country’s power supply in the first half of 2018.   https://bit.ly/2tT877l

Renewables provide 60% of Portugal’s electricity – https://bit.ly/2NkqD0u

Scientists listen to ocean bubbles – The Earth’s atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150 percent since 1750, and it accounts for 20 percent of the total global greenhouse gases.  https://bit.ly/2tXIG4p

Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef could happen every two years, report finds –  https://bit.ly/2NqdlzB

Rising sea levels are forcing those living in the Outer Banks to grapple with the impacts of climate change – Already, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says, about six feet of costal land erodes every yearhttps://on.natgeo.com/2u5cbAT

Bill includes $1M for clean energy tech research at UMass https://bit.ly/2Ni3dZK

More Efficient with Fewer Emissions: Cement Factory Finds Sugar-Based Biomass a Sweet Solution – biomass pellets cost about $80 to $100 per ton on the global market, depending on required quantities and quality and have brought a 20% reduction in the plant’s use of coal—along with a 10% drop in CO2 emissions and about a 15% reduction in SOx emissions. https://bit.ly/2tKHp0M

US emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – are 60% higher than EPA thinks – The new study estimates the current leak rate from the U.S. oil and gas system is 2.3 percent, versus the current EPA inventory estimate of 1.4 percent. Although the percentages seem small, the volume represents enough natural gas to fuel 10 million homes – lost gas worth an estimated $2 billion. https://usat.ly/2tnqgtC

The Startup Aiming to Wipe Out Blockchain’s Carbon Footprint – Singapore-based New Era Energy has developed a blockchain-based framework called Carbon Grid Protocol that is intended to help other blockchain players offset emissions. In the case of bitcoin, these are estimated to equal more than 500 kilos of carbon dioxide per transaction. https://bit.ly/2J0lyqD

UK publishes latest results in tackling global climate change – The 2018 International Climate Finance (ICF) results, Supported 47 million people to cope with the effects of climate change – equivalent to the population of Spain; Provided 17 million people with improved access to clean energy; Reduced or avoided 10.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (tCO2e) – approximately equivalent to the yearly emissions of 2.5 million cars; Installed 590 MW of clean energy capacity; Mobilised 3.3 billion pounds public and 910 million pounds private finance for climate change purposes in developing countries.  https://bit.ly/2KY6rjm

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict – https://bit.ly/2IZgyCD

Experimental Solar Road in Georgia Is Paving a New Way – The first solar roadway in the U.S. debuted on an 18-mile stretch of I-85 in southwestern Georgia. It’s called the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, and the asphalt is a living laboratory now known as The Ray. A small section of the roadway leading to the Visitor’s Center is paved with solar panels and serves as a testing ground for solar roadway technology.  https://bit.ly/2ufhxcv

 

DEFORESTATION

Innovation Forum is partnering with TFA 2020 to host a complimentary webinarThe sprint to 2020: Partnerships in action to end commodity-driven deforestation. The webinar will take place on Wednesday 11th July at 14.00 BST / 9.00 EDT. If you can’t make the time, register anyway and we’ll send you a recording. You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/2tWSa02

The State of the World’s Forests 2018 (SOFO 2018) analyses the role that forests and trees – and the people who use and manage them – can play in helping countries achieve their objectives and bring about a brighter future. The world’s forest area decreased from 31.6 percent of the global land area to 30.6 percent between 1990 and 2015, but that the pace of loss has slowed in recent years.  http://www.fao.org/state-of-forests/en/

Investing in indigenous communities is most efficient way to protect forests, report finds – https://bit.ly/2KtRV6M

Colombia’s Serranía de Chiribiquete becomes world’s largest tropical rainforest national park – https://bit.ly/2KFHMU1

Largest US Reforestation Carbon Credit Issuance – GreenTrees recently completed its latest verification for 1,273,866 metric tons on the American Carbon Registry (ACR). https://bit.ly/2N0bGQd

Pakistan has just planted over a billion trees – https://bit.ly/2IODbJV

New report: New ideas for better rainforest protection – There are three important reasons for the world’s failure to protect the remaining rainforest: Increasing demand for products leading to deforestation, fragmentation of intact and primary forests, and finance flows leading to deforestation. After ten years of high-level talks about forest protection, a new report from the Rainforest Foundation Norway gives recommendations for how the world can be more successful in its battle against forest destruction.  The report can be downloaded here.  https://bit.ly/2zfSBYq

 

RECYCLING

Your county-by-county guide to recycling in metro Atlanta –  https://on-ajc.com/2lUWsjU

For restaurants, tracking food waste, costs ‘could be the difference between succeeding and going out of business’ – SimpleOrder, an inventory management system, was founded in 2012 as a way to help restaurants run more efficiently. https://trib.in/2NjgNw2

Recycling Disruptions Hit 75% of the US Market – https://bit.ly/2L29uae

THE NEW NATURAL: FINDING FABRIC INNOVATION IN FOOD WASTE AND FARMING – From oyster, coconut, and macadamia nut shells to coffee grounds and scraps of cotton literally rescued from the cutting room floor, the next generation of outdoor product innovation isn’t invention—it’s reuse.  https://bit.ly/2IVYY2w

Blue recycling bins now a big billing in Central New York https://bit.ly/2MLXb2z

Japan fans still stayed to clean the stadium after heartbreaking World Cup loss –   https://usat.ly/2MJyUKf

Japan team leave World Cup dressing room spotless with ‘thank you’ note in Russian despite devastating loss https://bit.ly/2KKe5Or

Coke Piloting Kiosks That Reward Recycling With Charitable Donations – at the 2018 Special Olympics. Attendees can stop by the two recycling stations in Seattle to deposit PET bottles or aluminum cans. Each recycled package triggers a $.05 donation to Special Olympics Washington. https://bit.ly/2KHlqOv

Charlotte’s recycling ‘is broken.’ Could your plastic, paper be headed for a landfill? –  https://bit.ly/2u9FMZZ

Amazon, H&M and other multinationals pressing to soften Indian state’s plastic ban –  https://reut.rs/2lPtRwl

Four Million American Anglers Mobilized in Crowdsourced Effort to Collect Data and Trash from U.S. Waters This Independence Day – Keep America Beautiful is partnering with Fishbrain, the world’s most popular mobile app and social network for people who love fishing, to ask the app’s over 4 million US users to undertake the largest-ever one-day crowdsourced audit of litter in the US. https://bit.ly/2u6KwPN

What Happens to the Plastic We Throw Out – How a piece of trash can travel from land to Henderson Island, an uninhabited, remote island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.    https://on.natgeo.com/2k60lSs

NPR – China’s Retaliatory Tariffs Hit Small Recycling Business – https://n.pr/2u47s2V

UGA Study: The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade – An estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will be displaced with the new Chinese policy by 2030.  https://bit.ly/2Kyd383

Adidas vows to clean up oceans with UltraBOOST Parley push – The sportswear brand teamed up with TBWA\NEBOKO to push the new UltraBOOST running shoe — made from 11 plastic bottles gathered from the ocean by Parley for the Oceans. https://bit.ly/2KOrl7U

Recycle Across America TV Commercial, ‘You Recycle, Right?’ Featuring Kristen Bell – https://bit.ly/2u1aYLG

E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity – In the United States, which generated an estimated 6.9 million tons of e-waste in 2016 (42 pounds per person), most e-waste probably goes straight into the trash. By one account, e-waste makes up just 2 percent of the total volume in American landfills — but more than two-thirds of heavy metals.  https://nyti.ms/2KWxBu8

Researchers race to make bioplastics from straw and food waste – New bioplastics are being made in laboratories from straw, wood chips and food waste, with researchers aiming to replace oil as the source of the world’s plastic. https://bit.ly/2zdMlA9

What is the true cost of the fruit & veg you waste? Calculate your impact on the environment and how much money you could save.  http://www.itsfresh.com/food-waste-calculator/

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

An Ode to The Toilet, A Water Conservation Champ – The toilet is the single largest user of water in the home. Each day the average toilet will use about 33 gallons of water. https://bit.ly/2u6PiNn

GLOBAL PRECIPITATION & TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK JULY 2018 – HTTPS://BIT.LY/2NOIVLV

Enormous Potential of Brackish Groundwater Desalination – New research ​suggests ​there’s a ​large untapped ​resource for ​many of the ​increasingly ​water-limited ​regions of the ​U.S. and around ​the world: ​brackish ​groundwater, ​which, in ​theory at least,​ would require ​much less ​energy to ​desalinate than ​seawater. ​https://bit.ly/2zgOjzY

At Staples arena, they’re making ice from thin air – Staples Center will be able to reduce energy consumption by more than 8.2 million kilowatt-hours a year and water consumption by more than 500,000 gallons a year, he estimated.  https://bit.ly/2KCVKa0

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Towards a New Materiality: A review of the current practices of FTSE 100 & a possible path ahead – by Sancroft Team – In this report we share our findings and collective ideas with two objectives in mind: firstly, to assess the state of current practices among the FTSE 100, including common challenges and innovative solutions; and secondly, to inspire new thinking and start the conversation with the broader community of sustainability professionals.  https://bit.ly/2IUGbVh

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform) announces a new vision and mission to drive nine strategic priorities designed to deliver protection, resilience and value to members and the sustainable agricultural sector. https://bit.ly/2zmRDK3

Morgan Stanley IM bolsters ESG offering for $40 bn equity team – The fund aims to offer a concentrated, high-quality global equity portfolio with a low carbon impact, which scores well on ESG factors as measured by third parties.  https://bit.ly/2IV0bqY

CAN WE DEFEAT THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION? – In the last 50 years, humans have done so much damage to the environment that it might be impossible to make any tangible recovery, according to a report, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), published by the UN. Currently the rate of extinction of both plants and animals is much higher than normal. Although extinction of one species in a million per year is considered normal, conservation ecologist from Duke University, Dr Stuart Pimm, and curator of palaeonology department of American Museum of Natural History, Dr. Michael Novak, believe the rate of extinction of different species will be 1000 times the natural rate within the next few decades; and 50 percent of the world’s species will be lost forever within the next century. https://bit.ly/2zcDGOI

Kroger’s 2018 sustainability report, which reflects their environmental and corporate responsibility efforts for 2017.   https://bit.ly/2KSW57Q

Home Depot – Issues 2018 Responsibility Report – https://thd.co/2zjY3cv

 

THIS COMING WEEK IN HISTORY…

July 10th 1985 – French foreign intelligence agents blow up the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor, New Zealand to prevent it interfering with French nuclear tests in the South Pacific

July 12th– 1859 Paper bag manufacturing machine patents by William Goodale, Massachusetts

July 13th– 1568 Dean of St. Paul’s London, Alexander Nowell perfects a way to bottle beer

July 14th– 1789 Bastille Day – the French Revolution begins with the fall of the Bastille Prison

 

The TreeZero news June 25 – July 1, 2018

JOIN THE CLIMATE FORCE CHALLENGE

I recently had a wide-ranging conversation with Robert and Barney Swan, of The Climate Force Challenge, discussing polar expeditions, climate change, inspiration and the importance for individuals and businesses to work towards carbon neutrality.  Below are highlights and a few of my observations from that conversation.

In the early 1980’s, the famed French Oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau, personally inspired a young English Cab Driver, Robert Swan, to adopt a long-term vision to preserve Antarctica.

Monsieur Cousteau convinced Robert that humankind still had a chance to leave one continent natural and unspoiled.  There was just enough time to ensure that the home of 70% of the world’s freshwater, millions of penguins, whales and seals would not be exploited, but could be preserved and conserved for the good of all, if people were inspired to take action.

Antarctica could be forever dedicated to advancing science and education.  No bloody mining, no colonization, no war.  Full stop.

To achieve this vision, Cousteau inspired Rob to create a series of expeditions and to engage thousands of young people, businesses and industries to become part of the story.  Connecting Cousteau’s advice to their recent ground-breaking South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC) expedition, Robert said, “The basis of success is to have a great story.  In a world of over communications and too much information, what people actually want today is inspiration not more information.”

Rob went on to say, “What young people, corporate leaders and educators need to do is show leadership.  Inspire.  Take a risk. In the Antarctic, we are in a survival situation.  A survivor does not see a problem and do nothing about it.  Leaders need to take risks to solve problems and do things that captures their people’s imagination.  Take bold action that creates inspiration, not more information.”

Driven by mission madness, Rob became the first person to walk to both the South and North Poles, earning him the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).  For more than 35 years, Rob has hatched and successfully completed a series of missions, inspiring thousands of diverse individuals across the globe to raise awareness and help save Antarctica.  With each new far-flung adventure propelling Rob’s vision for saving Antarctica into clearer focus – to leverage his efforts to safe Antarctica to inspire others to take action.  “The Greatest Threat to Our Planet Is the Belief That Someone Else Will Save It.”

I first met Rob in June of 2002 and later that year helped staff his Mission Antarctica exhibit at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Shortly thereafter, I had the honor of helping organize and participate in the first two of ten annual, Inspire Expedition Antarctica (IEA) leadership and teamwork missions, partly sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company.

Now, at the age of 61, Rob, this time inspired by his 23-year-old son Barney, decided to see if it could be possible to walk across the Antarctic continent without using fossil fuels for cooking or heating.  Why?  To set an example for the world, that if a small group of explorers could survive a 600-mile trek to the South Pole relying solely on renewable fuels, people back home surely could successfully transition from fossil fuels.

Dozens of sponsors, large and small, helped outfit, orient, fuel and feed the team.  With the help of NASA, build solar devices to melt snow, bio-fuel made from waste materials from Shell and tons of intestinal fortitude, Rob, Barney, Kyle O’Donoghue and Martin Barnett set out on the South Pole Energy Challenge on November 15, 2017.  One interesting culinary innovation was a tasty energy bar made by Atlanta based CSM Bakery.  Packed with 1,000 calories and designed to stay soft even at minus 40 degrees C, the CSM bars were a safe and convenient snack, providing a blast of energy without risk of a broken tooth from biting a frozen slab of nutrition.

The first fortnight or so of the journey was typical Antarctic stuff.  Minus 45-degree Celsius temperatures, frequent wind blasts of over 50 miles per hour, hauling 300-pound sledges 8-9 miles per day under a night-less sky, touches of frostbite, and massive chafing that comes from enduring ice in your underpants.

But as the days rolled on, the team was falling behind their hard and fast goal to cover at least 10 nautical miles per day, due to a nagging hip injury that reduced Rob’s speed and endurance.   Rob knew physically and mentally, he could make it to the Pole, but deadlines would be missed, supply lines strained and an important rendezvous with several expedition sponsors, scheduled to march the final 60 miles with the SPEC team to the Pole, would be blown.

Rob was forced to make a key leadership decision.  “I realized I was becoming weak, because of a hip injury, I was slowing the team down.  I came to the conclusion that making it to the South Pole was not about me, it was about the team being the first expedition attempting an assault on the South Pole surviving solely on renewable energy.”

So, Rob flew back to base camp to rest and recuperate for several weeks before rejoining the team and sponsors for the final 60-mile push to the Pole.  “While this was the hardest decision of my life, I realized this was now becoming Barney’s story, not mine.  At the time it felt like failure.  But now, reflecting on it, clearly, it was the best decision I ever made.”

Rob added, “The lesson for corporate people and NGOs is you don’t always have to lead.  Sometimes you have to support.  Sometimes you have to be a servant leader, not the leader that’s out there.  The impacts of climate change are creating risks to business and commerce and corporate leaders are starting to get that we are facing a survival situation.  Customers are beginning to truly make some choices.  Reducing your carbon footprint, using renewables is now a serious business opportunity.”

Two years of maniacal physical, mental and operational preparation by the SPEC team enabled them to successfully reach the South Pole on January 15, 2018.  I asked Barney if there was any key decision they made that ensured success.  “In our planning, not leaving anything up to an assumption was the rule.  We tried to avoid as much assumption as possible.  Relentlessly double and triple checking systems, supplies, savage organization and to do lists was key to making it all happen.”

Looking back on the journey, Barney pointed to: Day 45, as a pivotal moment.   “It was the toughest day of my life.  I had frost bite on my feet and face, mega bleeding in my crotch from chafing.  It was minus 45 degrees C.  But I realized I was there by choice, not circumstance.  This was my idea.  I chose to walk to the South Pole using only renewables and I was going to finish it. People in life forget that they are often in their situation by choice.  I was thinking of all of those people that suffer hunger, homelessness, or dehydration, due to circumstance, and don’t have a safety net.  Focusing on the bigger purpose of fulfilling promises to sponsors and completing mission got me through.  The greater goal drove me – and has now become the spring board for the next seven years.”

Barney added, “I am really proud we designed and made this expedition net positive from an emissions standpoint.  It is a model I want to help adventurers, small business, and families replicate.  People need to feel like they can have attainable solutions to balance out their emissions and work toward a carbon neutral future.   We really need to make it happen a lot faster than 2070 if we want to have any hope of keeping our planet’s temperature rise under 4 degrees.”

I asked Barney what was next for Climate Force Challenge? “We proved it was possible to survive with renewables to get to the South Pole.  Now we are setting out on a journey to scale what we achieved.  Over the next seven years, we are going to create and promote a series of projects and convenient solutions, that added together, will be responsible for cleaning 326 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.”

“We are working with individuals and organizations to set goals to reduce their carbon footprints.  First step is to identify and commit to a series of simple changes to reduce your footprint.  Like using efficient light bulbs, planting trees, reducing consumption of meat, carpooling or purchasing paper made from sugarcane waste.  Then progressing to more difficult and impactful efforts, such as buying green power from utilities, installing renewable energy systems, starting kelp and algae farms.”

“During the summer of 2019, we will be taking 90 people from around the world to the Arctic.”  Base camp will be Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.  “We will take Industry leaders, blend them with a mix of students and educators, and create a shared vision of doing a bit more for the planet.  Integrating an experience with commitments – inspiring folks to become ambassadors – creating an incubator to bloom and scale.  Two weeks of leadership, teamwork and setting goals for sustainable solutions.”

“We want to help folks set and achieve goals. Promote sustainable business solutions that make meaningful contributions to reducing CO2.  If you can’t join us in the Artic, we will be visiting many locations across the US over the next seven years where you can join us in setting convenient goals and implementing simple solutions and impactful innovations to save our planet.”

For more information on SPEC checkout this CBS documentary:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/expedition-antarctica-cbsn-originals/

 

DEFORESTATION

Meet Mike Nilan of TreeZero – http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-mike-nilan-treezero-vinings/

CDP’s 2017 Global Forests Report – Up to US$941 billion of turnover in publicly listed companies is dependent on commodities linked to deforestation, including soy, palm oil, cattle and timber. https://www.cdp.net/en/research/global-reports/global-forests-report-2017

Urban trees can store almost as much carbon as tropical rainforests  https://bit.ly/2yL4ghG

2017 Was the Second-Worst Year on Record for Tropical Tree Cover Loss – according to new data from the University of Maryland, released today on Global Forest Watch. In total, the tropics experienced 15.8 million hectares (39.0 million acres) of tree cover loss in 2017, an area the size of Bangladesh. That’s the equivalent of losing 40 football fields of trees every minute for an entire year. Colombia faced one of the most dramatic increases in tree cover loss of any country, with a 46 percent rise compared to 2016, and more than double the rate of loss from 2001-2015. https://bit.ly/2KifxLH

 Going green with Wildlife Works! – As part of Wildlife Works’ commitment to increasing the forest cover, Wildlife Works has been providing local farmers with tree seedlings and potting bags. This provides a valuable source of income for some community members and also reduces the tendency to exploit forests and animals for economic gain. https://bit.ly/2MkwvWi

International Day of the Tropics is observed on June 29 – According to the UN, the tropics account for 40 per cent of the world’s total surface area and are host to approximately 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity and much of its language and cultural diversity.  https://bit.ly/2MCENsI

 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

CDP – 115 organizations, including CVS Health, Target Corporation, Tesco and Walmart representing over US$3.3 trillion of spend, request environmental data from more than 11,500 global suppliers to cut supply chain emissions. https://bit.ly/2N1dpFF

 Allergies, Glaciers, Pikas: Climate Change in Action – Seas rising, wildfires spreading, allergies increasing: Climate change is measurable globally.  https://bit.ly/2tBtclS

Bloomberg’s annual New Energy Outlook (NEO) report has been released, and projects that the global energy mix will be 50% renewables by 2050 https://bit.ly/2KwuyFE

US Renewables Nearly Tied with Nuclear At 20%, Coal Falls To 27% Renewable energy sources accounted for a fifth of US power generation over the first third of 2018 according to new figures from the US Energy Information Administration ‘Electric Power Monthly‘. https://bit.ly/2MxIgJ8

Land O’Lakes, Inc. and California Bioenergy, LLC (CalBio) have launched a first-of-its-kind collaboration to support the financing, installation and management of on-farm methane digesters to generate renewable compressed natural gas (“R-CNG”) fuel in California. https://prn.to/2tMag4T

Volvo Trucks and FedEx Successfully Demonstrate Truck Platooning on N.C. 540 (Triangle Expressway) – The tractors and trailers traveled at speeds of up to 62 mph while keeping a time gap of 1.5 seconds, maintaining a closer distance than what is typical for on-highway tractors. Drag accounts for up to 25 percent of a truck’s total fuel consumption, and the closer the trucks drive to each other, the greater the fuel-saving potential. Reducing the traveling distance between vehicles also allows for greater highway utilization, helping alleviate traffic congestion.  https://bit.ly/2KhD9zQ

Housing and car industries should be ‘ashamed’ of climate record – according to Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC’s annual report, published on Thursday, found the UK is on track to miss its legally binding carbon budgets in 2025 and 2030, due to lack of progress in cutting emissions from buildings and transport. https://bit.ly/2KdEIih

Climate predictions should include impacts of CO2 on life –   https://bit.ly/2NdBKbJ

 

RECYCLING

Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for a New Economy is a first-of-its-kind multi-stakeholder pilot project aimed at increasing the current EPA-reported 34% recycling rate in the U.S. https://bit.ly/2yIHFSQ

New Polymer Ups the Ante for Recycling  A team of chemists have produced a polymer that apparently has all the benefits of today’s plastic but can be recycled an immeasurable number of times. https://bit.ly/2NdbXA2

Morrisons Supermarkets to reintroduce paper bags for fruit and veg –  https://bit.ly/2KoeRn2

China’s Recycling Ban Costing North Texas Cities Millions – Last year The City of Fort Worth’s recycling program netted $999,000. This year Fort Worth’s program is projected to lose $465,000, and next year the recycling program is expected to cost the city $1,668,000.  https://cbsloc.al/2Kzoxs1

Think you know how to recycle? Take the quiz – https://bit.ly/2IGQYSX

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

MillerCoors, Global Water Center achieve firsts in water stewardship – SCS Global Services (SCS), a leading international third-party certifier of environmental claims, has certified that MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery and the Global Water Center conform with the requirements of the Alliance for Water Stewardship International Water Stewardship Standard (AWS Standard), the first-ever comprehensive global standard for measuring responsible water stewardship across social, environmental and economic criteria. https://bit.ly/2yKVLDb

The World Heritage Committee decided to remove the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger.   https://bit.ly/2tQebfU

Argentina’s economy shrank 0.9 percent in April from the same month the year before – Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne has said the drought will reduce 2018 growth by 1.5 percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) and reduce the country’s exports by hundreds of millions of dollars. https://bit.ly/2lFOqvj

Federal report: Americans conserving water like never before – In per capita terms, domestic water use has plummeted from 112 gallons per day in 1980 to just 82 gallons in 2015, a 27 percent decrease. https://bit.ly/2Kwwhyc

 

SUSTAINABILITY

The Chartered SRI Counselor (CSRIC) designation is ideal for financial professionals seeking fundamental knowledge and pertinent skills related to SRI investing and impact portfolios, in order to serve a broader network of clients as well as strengthen existing client relationships.  http://www.cffpinfo.com/web/csric.html

Will ESG Die with the Bull Market? – https://bit.ly/2lBnXiq

HOK Partners with BRE to Launch BREEAM New Construction Standard in USA – https://bit.ly/2Kkj3o0

Webinar: Reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals Thursday July 12th | 2pm BST | 3pm CET – http://events.ethicalcorp.com/reporting/webinar/

Office Depot launched their 2018 Sustainability report – Sustainability A Way of Business for Us A Resource for You.  https://bit.ly/2MssAXm

The GRI Standards on occupational health and safety (OHS) and water and effluents have been updated – https://bit.ly/2KxqfNM