Photo: Fort Frederica, St. Simons, GA

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Interface unveils goal of becoming carbon negative by 2040 – The new aim will apply to Interface’s supply chain as well as its direct operations, with the company claiming that it will “innovate” its approach to emissions across its raw material sourcing, supply chains and direct operations in order to remove more carbon from the environment than it generates. The company notably unveiled of its first carbon-negative carpet tile prototype in 2017. Earlier this year, the firm announced that it would only offer carbon-neutral products as standard to buyers, after its entire product range achieved Carbon Neutral Floors certification.  https://bit.ly/2poIqcb

Video – How big is the energy efficiency resource? – Amory B Lovins – “Oil deposits and ore bodies are finite assemblages of atoms; mining and dispersion deplete their negentropy…but energy efficiency resources are infinitely expandable assemblages of ideas that deplete nothing but stupidity — a very abundant if not expanding resource.” https://bit.ly/2NXnQNX

Reaching for a Zero-Emission Goal – The numbers behind Costa Rica’s progress. https://nyti.ms/2MSdHh1

Shell and NREL Launch Cleantech Incubator: the new Shell GameChanger™ Accelerator Powered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) (GCxN) will initially focus on technologies enabling the grid of the future through long-term energy storage and controls, leveraging the resources available through both Shell and NREL to help de-risk emerging technologies and accelerate their path to market.Upon successful application and review, companies selected for participation will be eligible to receive up to $250,000 in non-dilutive funding in the form of technical support and validation from both NREL and Shell GameChanger™ Accelerator experts, with the opportunity for future follow-on funding and beta testing with a strategic program partner. http://bit.ly/2xx6DS1

Boston University says it will buy power from a South Dakota windfarm to offset its carbon emissions in Massachusetts. The school announced Tuesday it will buy wind power for 15 years starting in 2020 as part of a plan to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2040. Although the power will be used in the Midwest, the school will receive legal credits proving it bought renewable power. https://bit.ly/2OGUNLI

Alliant Energy adding more wind in Iowa as it moves toward eliminating coal by 2050 – Alliant will invest more than $2 billion on renewable energy sources, doubling its Iowa-based wind sites from 6 to 12. The new wind farms will be owned by the utility and funded by rate basing. The farms will connect to existing transmission lines. Alliant notes that the moves will enable the firm to exceed voluntary goals for carbon reduction laid out by the United Nations Paris Accords but economic issues are also guiding the policy. While the accord calls for reducing carbon 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, Alliant’s plans are expected to result in a 40 percent reduction by that time. https://bit.ly/2NrQx67

31 Percent Of U.S. Households Have Trouble Paying Energy Bills – Nearly a third of households in the United States have struggled to pay their energy bills, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Wednesday. About one in five households had to reduce or forgo food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.  https://n.pr/2QN5kGM

SEMINAR: A Virtual Energy Audit for Commercial Building Energy Savings – October 3 Noon to 1 Pacific – Seminar Abstract – Conventional energy audits typically require invasive, expensive, and time consuming methods. In contrast, a virtual energy audit that conducts a robust analysis without setting foot in the building would bring the industry significant value. Join via web: Meeting ID: 420377542 https://bit.ly/2PT5CdD

In U-turn, Exxon, Chevron to join industry climate initiative – Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are joining a group of major international oil and gas companies in an initiative aimed at curbing carbon emissions in the sector, they said in a statement on Thursday.  The OGCI created a $1 billion fund to develop technologies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the sector as the world aims to shift toward a low-carbon economy.  https://reut.rs/2NZdhtH

Toyota enters $82 million partnership to roll out hydrogen trucks in Los Angeles port – The updated model can go 300 miles between hydrogen refills, rather than 200 for the initial truck.  https://bit.ly/2NrqdZW

Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record – The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer. This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.  https://bit.ly/2nRSGc6

Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Florence’s Wind and Rain – In North Carolina, the #2 solar state, Florence was the first extreme weather test for much of its renewable energy.   “What we’ve done this week just underscored what we’ve known for decades: generating assets are never the main vulnerability,” said Chris Burgess, projects director for the Rocky Mountain Institute, a research and consulting firm that specializes in clean energy issues. The most breakable parts are “the wires themselves, the overhead lines,” he said.”I know sometimes we think, ‘Oh it’s the wind, it’s the panels flying around.’ But we haven’t found that to be the case,” said Randy Wheeless, a spokesman for Duke, the largest electric utility in the state. “Our bigger worry usually is flooding.”  https://bit.ly/2pscIef

What If You Could Pick Your Renewable Power Source And Pay Less For It? – Imagine if you could buy your power directly from a renewable power plant of your choice and pay less for it than you currently pay for electricity from the grid. No longer would you need to install solar panels on your roof, or buy nonspecific green energy credits to get your renewable power. Instead, you could point to a specific wind farm or solar array and say conclusively that your power was purchased from that plant. It’s possible. And it’s happening right now in Texas, where a startup called RPD Energy connects local renewable plants with commercial customers. RPD has partnered with Intuit (maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, ProConnect and Mint) and a retail energy provider—Just Energy—to make it happen. The program, launched earlier this summer, is called Purely Green. By leveraging Intuit’s larger, corporate wind power procurement, the program will allow tens of thousands of residential and small business customers to purchase power from a specific wind farm—EDP Renewables’ Lone Star II wind farm located near Abilene, TX—at prices that are generally below prevailing market rates.  https://bit.ly/2Dh618i

Global Fossil Fuel Demand Could Peak In Only Five Years, Studies Find – Fossil fuel demand could peak as early as 2023, according to a pair of studies released this month.  Overall, Carbon Tracker expects a 1 to 1.5 percent annual growth rate in global energy demand over the next decade, while the global deployment of wind and solar power increases by 15 to 20 percent each year. If that happens, “fossil fuel demand will peak between 2020 and 2027, most likely 2023,” according to the study.  https://bit.ly/2QN5kpW

Toyota to chip in for $270m renewables fund – The Mirai Renewable Energy Fund will aim to raise 30 billion yen ($267 million) in capital, with Toyota supplying 10 billion yen. Sparx will manage the fund from November and solicit other investors.The fund will target a variety of facilities, such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power plants.  https://s.nikkei.com/2NXDTv8

Reducing Embodied Carbon and Operational Emissions in Buildings – Microsoft announced it is the first large corporate user of a new tool to track the carbon emissions of raw building materials. Microsoft is piloting the tool, called the Embodied Carbon Calculator for Construction, or EC3, in the remodel of its 72-acre Seattle campus. The open-source EC3, which is running on Microsoft Azure, was developed by Skanska with the University of Washington Carbon Leadership Forum, Interface and C-Change Labs. https://bit.ly/2xq3JP8

 

RECYCLING

California passes law barring restaurants from automatically offering plastic straws– California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law (AB 1884) barring full-service restaurants throughout the state from providing plastic straws, unless a customer asks for one. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Restaurants that violate the law will be given two warnings before being fined. Levied fines will be capped at $300 per year. https://bit.ly/2OJPBqi

Lord Deben: Businesses must avoid ‘knee-jerk’ plastic phase-outs – Specifically, Deben argued that sustainability professionals were likely to replace their company’s plastic packaging ranges with “potentially disastrous” alternatives due to a lack of clear policy guidance on the best solutions to the plastic problem. “Even the best of Governments is never properly joined up and always has to be dealt with in bits, which we tend to forget,” the former Environment Secretary said. “Without an integrated answer, people go rushing after what seems to be an easy solution. They think there is a silver bullet when, of course, it isn’t like that.” “It’s very easy to make knee-jerk decisions and to catch the headlines and, therefore, to decide to do things that simply don’t work. Plastic and packaging, on the whole, are there for a reason and have been an essential part of the overall change that we have seen in our lifestyles.” https://bit.ly/2MOR64Y

This Is the World’s First Flat Wine Bottle – Garçon Wines has developed a cool-looking flat wine bottle. The U.K. brand designed its wine bottles this way so they could easily slip through a letterbox slot; wine delivery is big thing in Britain, but problems like missed deliveries and smashed or stolen bottles persist.  “Using 100 percent post-consumer recycled [plastic] instead of glass significantly reduces shipping weight and cost, eliminates potential breakage in transit and offers a more eco-friendly packaging material solution than regular plastic or glass,” Dow wrote of the product. The brand is currently only available at a handful of retailers in the U.K. https://bit.ly/2ODu96w

Daily Digest: BioHiTech’s landfill alternative moving forward in New York – The Rensselaer City Planning Commission in New York recently gave unanimous approval for BioHiTech Global’s new $35 million High Efficiency Biological Treatment (HEBioT) facility. As described by the company, this process can convert about 40% of MSW into a solid recovered fuel for use in cement kilns, steel mills, power plants and “other industrial applications.” https://bit.ly/2xEdCI3

Research provides higher U.S. disposal estimates – A study published by the Journal of Industrial Ecology pulls from multiple data sources to calculate weights of different materials landfilled. It was conducted by Jon T. Powell and Marian R. Chertow, both from the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology. The researchers’ total 2015 landfill calculation, 230 million metric tons of municipal solid waste, is far larger than the EPA’s number for 2015: 124 million metric tons. For their study, the researchers used a new model to estimate disposal weights. According to their report, it triangulates measurements spanning 1,161 landfills and 15,169 solid waste samples collected and analyzed at 222 sites across the U.S.“The model provides major advances in the accuracy of estimates of just what types of waste are being created and where they end up,” said Reid Lifset, industrial ecology research scientist at Yale and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. In contrast, the EPA uses what’s called a materials flow methodology that relies on a mass balance approach. It relies on data gathered from industry associations, businesses and government agencies, supplemented by waste characterizations and research reports from governments, industry or the press. The researchers estimated total landfill costs at $10.7 billion, or about $47 a metric ton. They put a number to how much the lost paper, plastic and metal commodities may have been worth: $1.4 billion. And they estimated landfill methane emissions were 14 percent greater than the U.S. government’s estimate.  https://bit.ly/2NX6hNW

Global Waste to Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken: World Bank Report —according to the World Bank’s new What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 report. Driven by rapid urbanization and growing populations, global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016, the report finds. https://bit.ly/2DrBl4e

A new textiles economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future – This report outlines a vision for a new textiles economy based on the principles of a circular economy.   Globally, customers miss out on USD 460 billion of value each year by throwing away clothes that they could continue to wear. Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, representing a loss of more than USD 100 billion worth of materials each year. https://bit.ly/2PV9drR

Coffee cup recycling firm wins entrepreneurs’ award – Carbogenics uses an old technique called pyrolysis which involves heating such products to very high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. The cups can be broken down into gas and bio-oil which can be used to produce energy. It also leaves behind a carbon-rich solid, known as CreChar which can also be used as a fertiliser. https://bbc.in/2DkC5Iq

Wrangler Adopts the Denim Industry’s First ‘Dry-Dyeing’ Process – Mary Mazzoni – Wrangler confirmed an agreement to implement a new foam-dyeing process to give its jeans the same classic blue color without the water waste. The company will be the first to use the technology, which it says can eliminate 99 percent of the water typically used in the dyeing process. Researchers at Texas Tech University developed the new dyeing system thanks to early-stage funding from Wrangler and the Walmart Foundation.  https://bit.ly/2OI1MUJ

Two brothers want to revolutionize the food industry with maggots – The two brothers own a company in South Africa that gets flies to lay hundreds of millions of eggs on food waste every day. The larvae are then sold as animal feed. The Drews’ company, AgriProtein, says its maggot meals are an environmentally friendly alternative to fish meal, a widely used animal feed made with ground dried fish.  “We take waste and convert it into our three products — one of which is protein,” Jason Drew, the company’s CEO, told CNN. The others are an animal feed made using oil extracted from larvae, and a fertilizer made with a blend of larvae and garden compost.  Today, AgriProtein has fly factories in Cape Town and Durban. Each factory contains 8.4 billion flies, and takes in 276 tons of food waste every day. The company plans to roll out facilities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.  https://cnnmon.ie/2I8KsFG

Lagoons of Pig Waste Are Overflowing After Florence. Yes, That’s as Nasty as It Sounds – Because of the storm, at least 110 lagoons in the state have either released pig waste into the environment or are at imminent risk of doing so, according to data issued Wednesday by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. That tally more than tripled the Monday total, when the department’s count was 34. When a pig in a large-scale farm urinates or defecates, the waste falls through slatted floors into holding troughs below. Those troughs are periodically flushed into an earthen hole in the ground called a lagoon in a mixture of water, pig excrement and anaerobic bacteria. The bacteria digest the slurry and also give lagoons their bubble gum-pink coloration. North Carolina has 9.7 million pigs that produce 10 billion gallons of manure annually, mostly on large-scale farms and primarily in low-lying Sampson and Duplin counties. Both counties were affected by Florence. When storms like Florence hit, lagoons can release their waste into the environment through structural damage (for example, when rains erode the banks of a lagoon and cause breaches). They can also overflow from rainfall or be swept over by floodwaters.  https://nyti.ms/2D8h2c9

Most shoppers think supermarkets should do more to reduce food waste –  More than nine in 10 shoppers think supermarkets should play a larger role in reducing food waste, according to research commissioned by operational improvement specialists Newton. The YouGov survey of 4,000 consumers revealed that 92% of respondents felt that supermarkets can do more to combat food waste, with 69% of respondents citing the sale of imperfect fresh produce as the top method of preventing produce from being thrown away.  https://bit.ly/2xt417E

2018 G&S Business Communications Sense & Sustainability Study – Public perspectives on corporate social responsibility, environmental stewardship and institutional accountability.  After declining for several years, there is a considerable increase in the number of Americans who rely on news media for information about corporate social and environmental responsibility (49 percent in 2018; up from 43 percent in 2017, the five-year low). For the fourth consecutive year, the news media remains the top source, ahead of word-of-mouth (34 percent) and social media and blogs (33 percent). Significantly fewer Americans are staying uninformed (25 percent in 2018; down from 34 percent in 2017). There is a five-year peak among those who read sustainability reports (18 percent in 2018; up from earlier highs of 16 percent in both 2017 and 2014).   Conserving natural resources (57 percent), providing goods or services that are certified (53 percent), creating local jobs (52 percent) and supporting environmental or social causes (51 percent) are the top business attributes or activities that contribute to a company’s positive reputation for sustainability.  https://bit.ly/2OCBHpW

 

DEFORESTATION

Wildlife Works Elephant Protection Trust – In partnership with Wildlife Works, The Elephant Protection Trust raises funds to support the 100+ rangers who protect a vital area of 500,000 acres between Tsavo East and West National Parks called The Kasigau Wildlife Corridor in Kenya.. There are over 11,000 elephants and other endangered species in our eco system threatened by human-wildlife conflict.  The Kasigau Wildlife Corridor is located between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park and covers 200 square kilometers.The 14 group ranches that collectively make up this corridor provide an important habitat and dispersal area for wildlife between these two protected areas.There are approximately 11,000 elephants in the Tsavo ecosystem and roughly 2,000 of them rely on the corridor as part of their movements in search for food and water between the two national parks.The Kasigau Corridor is part of the protection area covered by Wildlife Works’ REDD + Project (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), which covers over 500,000 acres of dry land forest.  https://bit.ly/2IIVyjZ. Learn more about REDD+ and Wildlife Works at www.wildlifeworks.com

Greenpeace links forest destruction for palm oil to brands – Greenpeace says global consumer brands continue to buy palm oil from companies that are cutting down Indonesia’s rainforests despite repeated pledges to clean up their supply chains. The environmental group said in a report released Wednesday that 25 palm oil producing groups it has investigated destroyed more than 130,000 hectares of natural forest in Indonesia since 2015. It says that’s an area nearly twice the size of the island nation of Singapore. The report said all but one of those producers had supplied palm oil to consumer companies that are household names around the world in the past year. They include giants such as Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive.  https://bit.ly/2DhXORg

Rwanda Eyes Biogas to Help Curb Deforestation – In Rwanda, a small nation of about 12 million people, 82 percent of the population relies on charcoal or wood for cooking. “By promoting alternative cooking energy, the government of Rwanda hopes to halve the dependence on biomass,” or energy from plants and plant materials, “as the main source of cooking energy by 2024,” said Oreste Niyonsaba, manager of social energies at the Energy Development Corporation, the government agency leading efforts to promote alternative fuels. Much of sub-Saharan Africa relies on wood and charcoal, which is made by slow-burning trees in dirt-covered pits. The process has led to severe deforestation as growing populations boost the demand for cooking fuel.  https://nyti.ms/2NuDuRD

Mars aims to tackle “broken” cocoa model with new sustainability scheme – Under the new sustainability scheme – which will cost the company $1 billion over 10 years – all the cocoa it buys will be responsibly sourced by 2025, Mars said. This means the cocoa will fit the company’s internal criteria – including full traceability to ensure it doesn’t contribute to deforestation – and carry a stamp of approval from a third-party verifier. Mars had previously committed to buying 100 percent certified cocoa by 2020.  https://reut.rs/2pnrW3V

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

The Coca-Cola Company Signs Ocean Plastics Charter at G7 Meeting – Recognizing the threat of marine plastic litter, The Coca-ColaCompany joined with government representatives and industry leaders from around the world to sign onto the Ocean Plastics Charter in Halifax.  Originally adopted by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the EU at the 2018 G7 Summit, the Ocean Plastics Charter calls on governments, industry and the public to rethink their relationship with plastics. By advocating a lifecycle management approach to this valuable resource, the Ocean Plastics Charter aims to prevent waste and ensure plastics are designed to be recovered so they can be reused or recycled. https://bit.ly/2NxRkTh

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Wealthy U.S. Investors Slow to Adopt Sustainable Strategies – Most wealthy investors say that doing good for society and the environment are practices they live by, but only 39% globally are investing in sync with these values, according to survey results published early Wednesday by UBS. The real stunner in the UBS research: Just 12% of wealthy individuals in the U.S. have at least 1% or more of their portfolio assets in sustainable investments versus a majority of the wealthy surveyed in China (60%), Brazil (53%), and the United Arab Emirates (53%). For a copy of the survey: https://bit.ly/2xHOSP1 https://bit.ly/2xyg4Qc

How one beer company is ditching plastic six-pack rings – If you buy a six-pack of Carlsberg beer in a U.K. supermarket this week, it will no longer come with standard plastic six-pack rings. Instead, the cans will be held together with a new kind of glue. The company estimates that the switch will reduce plastic waste by more than 1,200 metric tons a year, or the equivalent of 60 million plastic bags. It can also help address the problems that the packaging causes when plastic rings end up in the ocean, potentially choking wildlife or breaking down into pieces of microplastic that can enter the food chain.  https://bit.ly/2NWtsrO

The Gates Foundation just released its Goalkeepers Report.  By one estimate, someone escapes from extreme poverty roughly every second.  To put it bluntly, decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else; more babies are being born in the places where it’s hardest to lead a healthy and productive life. If current trends continue, the number of poor people in the world will stop falling—and could even start to rise.  https://bit.ly/2PVx9eB

Is Tesla or Exxon More Sustainable? It Depends Whom You Ask – As investors back more companies based on social factors, questions arise about how to grade them.  The problem here isn’t the ESG ratings, but that they are used as though they were some sort of objective truth. In reality they are no more than a series of judgments by the scoring companies about what matters – and investors who blindly follow their scores are buying into those opinions, mostly without even knowing what they are.  The explanation comes down to what is measured, and how the measurement is affected by disclosure.  https://on.wsj.com/2MQCC4m

By 2050, Auburn will be climate neutral — or at least that’s the Office of Sustainability’s goal. Auburn University’s Office of Sustainability is making waves of green around campus as they lead the eco-friendly charge, and that’s a positive thing. Their quest is about more than just the environment; instead, their approach is an all-encompassing approach based on a four-point sustainability compass with nature, well-being, economy and society representing each direction. The office hosts initiatives and events on campus, usually raising awareness of various issues, but most of its efforts involve enabling other offices, departments, entities or groups on campus to succeed with their sustainable initiatives. This approach allows the campus’ green headquarters to have further reach and more favorable outcomes.  https://bit.ly/2Dq7Ik5