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 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

The TreeZero News June 18-24, 2018

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

How to save 60% more CO2 in the fresh supply chain– Reusable containers for fruit and vegetables result in no less than 60% lower CO2 emissions than cardboard packaging. https://bit.ly/2ynoNbG

10 Tips for an Energy-Efficient Home – According to This is Money, it is possible to cut between more than $100 and $250 a year off fuel bills without losing warmth or comfort – simply by using energy efficiently and effectively.  https://bit.ly/2Kd0jn3

Hytch Makes Carpooling Pay in Tennessee – Hytch pays people to carpool. Since launching in February of this year, the company has logged an impressive 2 million miles of shared rides in the state of Tennessee and signed up more than 6,000 participants. Hytch initially launched with Nissan as a sponsor. Nissan and their staffing agency signed up to offer anyone in the state of Tennessee a penny a mile if they teamed up with someone for a ride. They offer five cents a mile during certain commute hours. https://bit.ly/2IohhNu

Biz Group Vows $1T Renewables Investment in 12 Years – Nonprofit group, The American Council on Renewable Energy, or ACORE, includes Amazon, BlackRock, Deloitte, Google, IBM, Morgan Stanley, NRG Energy, Consolidated Edison, Salt River Project, Wells Fargo, universities and advocacy and research organizations, among more than 100 members. https://bit.ly/2K2SIvr

This Florida Utility Has Become a Global Leader in Renewables Investment – NextEra’s recent success demolishes claims that the switch to renewables can lead to a cleaner environment at the cost of higher electric bills. The company says that its principal subsidiary, Florida Light & Power, bills its air conditioning-hungry customers 25 percent lessthan the national utility bill average – and has the lowest bills overall in the Sunshine State.  https://bit.ly/2InjbhC

Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – Sea level rise driven by climate change is set to pose an existential crisis to many US coastal communities, with new research finding that as many as 311,000 homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years. https://bit.ly/2tfiPUo

Looking to the long term, UPS boosts fleet with CNG trucks – UPS announced it’s investing $130 million in five new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and 730 CNG vehicles, a move that will help reduce CO2 emissions and boost the company’s renewable natural gas use. https://bit.ly/2tpisqy

Climate Change to Become ‘Greatest Pressure on Biodiversity’ by 2070 https://bit.ly/2toNij7

 

DEFORESTATION

DNA Database to thwart Deforestation – Project is a collaboration between the Norwegian government and the United States Forest Service’s international program. Initially, the project will focus on building a database for the bigleaf maple tree on the west coast. While the experts are gathered to create the DNA Database, it relies on volunteers and citizen scientists as well. And the best part is, you can also help gather samples for DNA testing. All you have to do is complete an online training course on how to collect samples and pass the test. https://bit.ly/2MUhiMP

Deforestation for fashion: The cost of rayon – According to TextileWorld, 5.2 million tons of rayon and related cellulose-based fabrics were produced in 2015.   Patagonia explains that the chemical processing is a concern: “The solvent used for this process is carbon disulfide, a toxic chemical that is a known human reproductive hazard. It can endanger factory workers and pollute the environment via air emissions and wastewater. The recovery of this solvent in most viscose factories is around 50%, which means that the other half goes into the environment.” According to non-profit Rainforest Action Network’s Out of Fashion campaign, 120 million trees are cut down annually to make our clothes.   https://bit.ly/2MQ3kvr

Plant trees in refugee camps to stop forest loss and conflict, U.N. says – https://reut.rs/2togQ1f

Of forests and floods: Devastatingly high water raises clear-cut questions https://bit.ly/2I2T6Eo

Certification ‘making no difference’ to supply chain labour abuses – https://bit.ly/2JPjwPu

A Renewed View of Some of the World’s Oldest Trees – After a three-year restoration project, the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park has reopened, with less asphalt and more concern for the health of the trees. https://nyti.ms/2JLvolr

Opinion – We Need to Talk About How Logging in the Southern U.S. is Harming Local Residents – Deforestation in the American South is four times that of South America’s rainforests — and it’s disproportionately hurting low-income people and people of color. https://bit.ly/2wwH1qf

 

RECYCLING

EACH 2018 NIKE NATIONAL TEAM KIT IS MADE WITH AT LEAST 12 RECYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLES – For both Nike’s Fast Fit Vaporknit kits (worn by BrasilCroatiaEnglandNigeriaPoland and Portugal) and Nike’s Match jerseys (worn by AustraliaSaudi Arabia and South Korea), the process involves melting down 12 or 18 recycled plastic drinking bottles, respectively, to produce a fine yarn. See picture below. https://news.nike.com/news/sustainability-football-kits

UK Recycle Now Campaign 2018-19 – Included in this collection is a host of adaptable campaign assets which have been designed for partners to start using from Recycle Week onwards. Recycle Week 2018- 24 September to 30 September 2018  https://bit.ly/2hiBZGR

 Video – Turning beer and food waste into electricity  https://bit.ly/2tsbAsx

 UK to have nationwide food waste collections – https://bit.ly/2tB8jaz

 U of W student starts organic waste pickup service – https://bit.ly/2KdNf0N

 Dr. Gupta: After all my years of reporting, this haunts me – I promise you that our children and grandchildren will rightly hold us accountable for this tragic misuse of food that has led to a plundering of our land, an accumulation of greenhouse gases and the loss of precious water used to grow and produce that wasted food.  https://cnn.it/2tr4EMp

Investors Demand Nestle, Pepsi and Others Cut Plastic Use – https://bloom.bg/2tkQpt2

Video – It’s not you. Date labels on food make no sense. Food labels don’t mean what you think they mean. https://bit.ly/2KbC1tx

 ShareWaste is an app that uses a digital map to connect individuals with food scraps to nearby neighbors who have a compost system like a heap or a bin. HTTPS://BIT.LY/2K2KN12

New Study Finds Recycling Bags Better than Carts at Reducing Contamination and Program Costs – York University study, “Thinking Beyond the Box” https://bit.ly/2tzB9YH

New technology to reduce food waste at grocery retailers – Apeel Sciences has developed a coating, made from leftover plant skins and stems, that it claims could more than double the shelf life of the fruit.  https://bit.ly/2ly9vb4

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

 Coral reefs ‘will be overwhelmed by rising oceans’ –  https://bit.ly/2MR2bUc

 USAID and Coca-Cola work with Ohio State’s Global Water Institute to improve water access in Tanzania.   https://bit.ly/2MPGMuA

 This Tech Makes It Easy To Conserve Water In Your Home – Lōtik created a high tech water monitoring solution that acts like a Fitbit for water pipes. The device collects useful details like flow patterns which can help pinpoint problems like disastrous water damage lurking behind seemingly innocent walls.   https://bit.ly/2yBitO4

Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low – A government report released on Thursday said that India was experiencing the worst water crisis in its history, threatening millions of lives and livelihoods. Some 600 million Indians, about half the population, face high to extreme water scarcity conditions, with about 200,000 dying every year from inadequate access to safe water, according to the report. By 2030, it said, the country’s demand for water is likely to be twice the available supply. https://nyti.ms/2liNb50

 How to Extract Clean Water from the Ground: We’re No Longer Stumped! – In an article in Advanced Sustainable Systems, Professor Liangbing Hu and co-workers from the University of Maryland, USA, develop carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as a means to efficiently extract ground water via the roots of tree stumps by means of vaporizing the water under sunlight. https://bit.ly/2HXPovC

 Why Bogotá Should Worry About Its Water – Colombia’s capital Bogotá relies on a unique ecosystem called páramosfor its water. The tropical plants and moss in the páramo act like a sponge, trapping moisture from the foggy air, storing it in the soil during the dry season, and releasing it gradually. HTTPS://BIT.LY/2JZB4SE

National temperature and precipitation maps are available from February 2001 to May 2018. https://bit.ly/2tlnBzJ

 

SUSTAINABILITY

CBS Documentary – Expedition Antarctica – A father and son journey to save the planet – Robert and Barney Swan.  https://www.cbsnews.com/video/expedition-antarctica/

Morgan Stanley Survey Finds Sustainable Investing Momentum High Among Asset Owners – For more information, please see Sustainable Signals: Asset Owners Embrace Sustainability and reporthttps://bit.ly/2JXGZKr

 Harvard Business Review – How Marketers Can Connect Profit and Purpose – https://bit.ly/2tjpjBF

 Asics plans to cut 55% of its supply chain carbon emissions –  https://bit.ly/2I0WHm1

 Soil Health Educational Resources Now Online –  https://bit.ly/2MdkP7I

Corporate Knights seeks nominations for 4th annual Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders list – Accepting nominations until Wednesday, July 18, 2018.  http://www.corporateknights.com/us/30under30/

 Mars leads call for advertisers to donate percentage of ad spend to conservation projects – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s ‘The Lion’s Share’ fund was set up with the ambition of raising $100m a year within three years, with the money being invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs. “Animals are in 20% of all advertisements we see. Yet, they do not always receive the support they deserve. Until now,” said the fund’s special ambassador Sir David Attenborough. https://bit.ly/2KdM01v

 Majorities See Government Efforts to Protect the Environment as Insufficient – HTTPS://PEWRSR.CH/2ICQOOQ

 Hermes launches carbon ESG tool – The $60 billion global manager will launch a tool to calculate a fund’s carbon performance and carbon risk as a part of its ESG toolkit to help fund managers make better decisions about investments.   https://bit.ly/2IkmjuF

 Honey Bees Swarm to Cox Campus – Bee Downtown partners with businesses in cities to collaboratively rebuild healthy honey bee populations by installing and maintaining honey bee hives on corporate campuses. In June, Bee Downtown delivered and installed four honey bee hives to Cox’s Atlanta campus. https://bit.ly/2IiQCBV

 Measurabl, Green Sports Alliance Announce Partnership to Elevate Sustainability in Sports Culture – Measurabl is creating a first of its kind sustainability benchmark that accurately compares sports stadiums around the world, allowing them to evaluate individual performance relative to their peers. https://www.greenbuildermedia.com/green-builder-magazine-may-june-2018

Investors Are Right to Consider ESG Risks, Says New Report By Corporate Governance Association – https://bit.ly/2K651qH

 Sustainability Career Report – CSR/Sustainability Jobs Embedded in all Departments – Recent research identified that 87% of CSR/Sustainability professionals are embedded throughout different departments with multiple portfolios. https://bit.ly/2MgzaQP

Arbor Day: A Celebration and Appreciation of Trees

Let’s celebrate trees this Arbor Day. Trees do so much for us.  They provide shade, reduce energy costs and increase our property values. Along our streets, they reduce storm water runoff that can carry pollutants to our waterways. Throughout our communities, they improve the mental and respiratory health, break up heat islands, create jobs and boost the economy.

In forests, they restore critical wildlife habitat, provide opportunities for recreation and maintain healthy watersheds to protect drinking water resources.  And no matter where they’re planted, trees are working hard to combat climate change, clean the air and shield us from ultra-violet rays.  Trees filter pollutants out of our air and water. They absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air.  Trees provide food for humans, birds and wildlife, alike.  One apple tree can provide 15 to 20 bushels of fruit a year.

Trees provide immeasurable beauty and serenity that feed the human soul. At times, they can take our breath away.  This Friday, April 28th, is Arbor Day.  Take notice. Observe. Celebrate and be grateful for the trees around you.  TreeZero invites you to plant a tree and make a positive impact in your community.

Visit us at TreeZero.  Learn more about how choosing our tree free paper helps the environment and your business or organization to be more sustainable.

Ready to go tree free? Email us and we’ll get you started.

Now is the Time to Make Earth Day Everyday

In a recent blog post, Jason Clay of World Wildlife Fund made some interesting historical references to the conditions of our world dating back to the first Earth Day – April 22, 1970.   Since 1970 the human population doubled.   The non-human vertebrate species’ populations declined by an average of 58 percent.  The global average temperature increased by about one degree Celsius. In 1970, the US imported about $54 billion worth of goods and services.  That number rose to $2.7 trillion in 2016.

Manhattan skyline

Manhattan skyline in 1974, photographed by Alexander Hope for Documerica. Courtesy of the National Archives

By 1970 millions of Americans were fed-up with the state of the natural environment.  Civil society was ripe for activism and government solutions. They were ready for business and commerce to clean up their acts.

Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI (D)) understood this disgust along with the rising demands of citizens.  He proposed a national event to galvanize action – Earth Day.  “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”

NYT first Earth Day

A throng of thousands along New York City’s 5th Ave., as far as the eye could see, came out for Earth Day 1970 demonstrations receiving front page coverage the next day

Clearly, we’ve made great progress since the first Earth Day. But so much still needs to be done.  I’d venture to say, focusing on just one day falls short of the vision of the father of Earth Day.

Our reliance on fossil fuels and the inefficient use of most, if not all, energy continues to make the most significant impact on the environment. Energy is the life blood of our economy.  But extraction, refining, generation and transmission of most of our energy sources creates enormous amounts of waste, emissions of particulate air pollution and heat trapping greenhouse gases.  Yet, many of these externalities are not accounted for on the cost ledger of our businesses or personal budgets.

What does the American public think?  According to a March 2017 Gallup Poll, 59% of Americans believe the environment should be prioritized over energy production.   This is not an unreasonable expectation.  Just think about the amount of solar energy hitting the earth each day. If properly collected, stored and transmitted, solar energy could provide more than is needed to meet our daily energy needs.

LED bulbs avoid the use of significant amounts of energy.  They reduce maintenance costs and eliminate mercury associated with fluorescent bulbs.

Imagine if procurement officials from colleges and universities gave preference to recycled materials and low carbon commitments in setting selection criteria for goods and services?

Would energy efficiency and use of renewable energy increase significantly if fossil fuel energy use by industry and commerce were listed on the loss side of balance sheets?

Senator Nelson said, “The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, and biodiversity…that’s where all economic activity and jobs come from.”

This Earth Day, by all-means, plant a tree, organize a clean-up, recycle.  Better yet, organize efforts to make long-term commitments to reduce the impact of your organization.   What material impact does your company have as a result of the use of energy, water and waste generation across the entire supply chain?  Do you measure it?  Do you set expectations for your suppliers to reduce natural resource use? Can you meet and exceed the environmental expectations of your customers?

If not, I encourage you to set stretch, time-based goals. Work to make the change you want to see in your organization and the world.  Look for opportunities to embed sustainability measurements, goals and requirements across all functions of your organization and with all your suppliers and customers.

If you don’t do it.  Who will?Gaylord Nelson quote

Weekly Round-Up: Water Stewardship – Some, for all, forever

Access to clean water and sanitation services are human rights.  And, yet, according to Water for People, 1.8 billion people around the world still don’t have access to safe water. 2.4 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation, and more than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases.

Each of us lives in a watershed.chickencreek watershed sign The US Geological Survey defines a watershed as the area of land where all of the water that falls in it and drains off of it goes to a common outlet. Watersheds can be as small as a footprint or large enough to encompass all the land that drains water into rivers that drain into a bay, where it enters an ocean.

Often it seems we waste water by design.

We flush our toilets with drinking water.

54% of urban water use in the US is for landscape irrigation1.

Water lost due to aging infrastructure in the US is 1.7 trillion gallons annually2.

The estimated cost of upgrading infrastructure: $2 trillion over 25 years2.

As much as 70% – 90% of the world’s fresh water is contained in the ice that cover the Antarctic continent.

As much as 43 gallons of water is used to produce a pound of paper3.

A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers4.leaky water faucet

Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on water bills4 .

The Food Service Technology Center has tools and calculators to help estimate the cost of leaks in restaurants and food service operations.

Stormwater pollution is the #1 source of water pollution in the United States; and the # 1 pollutant in stormwater by volume is sediment.  One gallon of motor oil can contaminate one MILLION gallons of water.

Thirsty business: CDP 2016 Annual Report of Corporate Water Disclosure.  The report and underlying data analysis aim to shine a light on the linkages between water, energy and private sector efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The report, written on behalf of 643 investors with $67 trillion in assets, revealed water-related impacts cost business $14 billion, a five-fold increase from last year.  Additionally, 24% of greenhouse gas reduction activities depend on a stable supply of good quality water with 53% of companies reporting that better water management is delivering GHG reductions.

Liquidity crisisAs water becomes ever more scant the world needs to conserve it, use it more efficiently and establish clear rights over who owns the stuff . “NOTHING is more useful than water,” observed Adam Smith, but “scarcely anything can be had in exchange for it.” The father of free-market economics noted this paradox in 18th-century Scotland, as rain-sodden and damp then as it is today. Where water is in ample supply his words still hold true. But around the world billions of people already struggle during dry seasons.

Drought and deluge are a costly threat in many countries. If water is not managed better, today’s crisis will become a catastrophe. By the middle of the century more than half of the planet will live in areas of “water stress”, where supplies cannot sustainably meet demand. Lush pastures will turn to barren desert and millions will be forced to flee in search of fresh water. But putting food on their tables requires floods of the stuff. Growing 1kg of wheat takes 1,250 liters of water; fattening a cow to produce the same weight of beef involves 12 times more. Overall, agriculture accounts for more than 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. And as the global population rises from 7.4bn to close to 10bn by the middle of the century, it is estimated that agricultural production will have to rise by 60% to fill the world’s bellies.

This will put water supplies under huge strain.  Overall about 41% of America’s withdrawals go towards cooling power stations. Climate change will only make the situation more fraught. Hydrologists expect that a warming climate will see the cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation speed up. Wet regions will grow wetter and dry ones drier as rainfall patterns change and the rate increases at which soil and some plants lose moisture. Deluges and droughts will intensify, adding to the pressure on water resources. Late or light rainy seasons will alter the speed at which reservoirs and aquifers refill. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture (the water content of air rises by about 7% for every 1ºC of warming) increasing the likelihood of sudden heavy downpours that can cause flash flooding across parched ground. This will also add to sediment in rivers and reservoirs, affecting storage capacity and water quality.

US Drought Monitor.  Established in 1999, the US Drought Monitor is a weekly map of drought conditions produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The map, which comes out every Thursday based on data through the preceding Tuesday, is based on measurements of climatic, hydrologic and soil conditions as well as reported impacts and observations from more than 350 contributors around the country. Eleven climatologists from the partner organizations take turns serving as the lead author each week. The authors examine all the data and use their best judgment to reconcile any differences in what different sources are saying.

Watering Restrictions Currently in Effect in Atlanta Area – Drought conditions across Atlanta and most of Georgia have worsened.  52 counties have moved from Level 1 to Level 2 Response, requiring outdoor water use restrictions. In the City of Atlanta, outdoor landscape watering is only allowed two days a week, determined by odd- and even-numbered addresses. Even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and Saturday before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursday and Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Even on allowable days, it’s encouraged that watering be limited to when plants are showing stress.

Drought and forest loss cause vicious circle in the Amazon – If dry seasons intensify with man-made climate change, the risk for self-amplified forest loss increases even more and could put the Amazon rainforest further at risk, an international team of scientists found. Researchers at the German Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) found the Amazon rainforest could be exposed to higher risks of dieback if dry seasons intensify and rainfall decreases. This could lead to a vicious dieback circle, they said in a study published in Nature Communications.

no water - drought

The dramatic effects of drought.

“The Amazon rainforest is one of the tipping elements in the Earth system,” said lead-author Delphine Clara Zemp, who conducted the study at PIK. “We already know that on the one hand, reduced rainfall increases the risk of forest dieback, and on the other hand, forest loss can intensify regional droughts,” she said.  “So more droughts can lead to less forest leading to more droughts and so on.” The researchers found the close relationship between deforestation and drought could put the Amazon further at risk. When it rains, trees absorb water through their roots and then release it back to the atmosphere. Tropical forests produce most of the water they need themselves: they pump moisture which then rains back to them.

ISCIENCES: Global Water Monitor & Forecast monitors fresh water resources worldwide and forecasts changes with their Water Security Indicator Model.  Each month they document current anomalies and provide forecasts with lead times from 1-9 months.

The Coca-Cola Company is the first Fortune 500 Company to replenish all of the water it uses globally. Being a steward means holding something in trust and taking care of it. And that’s really what everyone does with water. Water is a finite resource, but it’s infinitely renewable. And that’s where stewardship becomes very important. At the end of 2015 Coke met its 2020 goal to replenish 100% of the water used across its entire system by replenishing 337.78 billion liters of water to nature and communities. Working with a whole host of different charities and conservation organizations, Coke supported 248 community water partnership projects in 71 countries and over 2,000 communities, which focused on safe water access, watershed protection and water for productive use. In many cases, these projects also provide access to sanitation and education, help improve local livelihoods, assist communities with adapting to climate change, improve water quality, enhance biodiversity, engage on policy and build awareness on water issues.

Beer giant AB InBev’s former water guru offers some advice – By Hugh Share – There’s no single definition of “water stewardship.” My view is that it is something to be continually strived for, not something that can be simply achieved, and I’d challenge any company that claims to have achieved it.  When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) talks about stewardship, it uses the words progression, improvement, direct operations, value chain and commitment. The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) states that its members are aiming to continually improve and to act, engage and influence on matters related to water stewardship. Much like our health, we can’t simply lose weight or apply an intervention and declare we’ve achieved “health.” We must continue to eat well, exercise and maintain ourselves if we’re to stay healthy.  We need more pragmatic thinking that generates real-world results. I’ve seen the same case studies for years, examples that are force-fitted into different guidance documents, over and over again. The bottom line is we all need to talk less, act more and work together — quicker, more efficiently and to scale. See the great tips on water stewardship Hugh has for NGOs, businesses and governments.

Sources:

  1. Hydro Point Data Systems
  2. US Council on Competitiveness: Leverage: Water and Manufacturing.
  3. Environment Canada
  4. US EPA