Photo: Texas Christian University

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Report: Clean energy technologies could save UK industry £540m on bills – The UK’s energy-intensive industrial and manufacturing sectors could save at least £540m on their energy bills by adopting clean technologies such as solar arrays and battery storage systems, according to a new report by British Gas owner Centrica – the report analyses a range of major manufacturing and production activities. https://bit.ly/2zpt7G0

Charting a Path to Cut Transportation Energy Use in Half  Alliance to Save Energy’s 50×50 Commission on U.S. Transportation Sector Efficiency released a report and launched a campaign to cut U.S. transportation energy use by 50 percent by 2050 (dubbed the “50×50” goal) while also improving mobility.   https://bit.ly/2InwwYG

Utilities Look Toward a Clean Energy Future, Yet the Administration Keeps Looking Back – Eli Kahan gathered data on more than 100 of the nation’s largest electric utilities and parent energy companies—more than 30 of which have set quantitative targets for reducing CO2 emissions, achieving higher percentages of renewable energy, and/or completely moving off of coal. Together, these companies, including 7 of the 10 largest electric utilities by market value in the country, account for nearly 40% of 2016 US electricity sales.  https://bit.ly/2Ici0To

Bill Gates-led $1 billion energy fund is expanding its portfolio of startups fighting climate change – Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) recently announced several of its investments including: QuantumScape: A startup building an all-solid-state battery, which many experts believe is key to the future of electric cars. Pivot Bio: A biotech company developing a microbial solution that can replace nitrogen fertilizers, reduce nitrogen runoff, and eliminate the related production of nitrous oxide—a greenhouse gas 300 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. CarbonCure: A firm working on trapping carbon dioxide in concrete blocks, while endowing them with greater strength than conventional concrete and thus enabling the use of less concrete in construction.  https://bit.ly/2QadXtH

Renewables set new records in first half of 2018 — Non-hydro renewable energy sources (such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy) set new U.S. records for both production and consumption in the first half of 2018, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data just released  by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).  https://bit.ly/2QeUtE7

The US Department of Energy has awarded a 3-year, $1 million grant to a team of researchers from the UMass Lowell, the University of Maine and Florida-based Mainstream Engineering Corp. to develop renewable fuel additives made from “woody biomass” – particularly sawdust from sawmills.  https://bit.ly/2QgQXcI

Registry of ENERGY STAR certified buildings and plants – https://bit.ly/2IrCjfU

PSE&G: Energy-efficiency plan will raise bills now, save you money later – If the proposal is approved by regulators, a typical residential customer who receives both electric and natural gas service would see their bill rise by 50 cents more a month beginning in 2019, a utility spokeswoman said. That would rise to about $7 a month by 2024.  The $2.8 billion plan, the largest part of PSE&G’s efforts, encompasses 22 energy-efficiency programs. It will help customers use upfront rebates and other financial incentives to purchase efficient appliances, smart thermostats and other equipment. Besides rebates, it will also fuel energy audits, reports, free and low-cost energy efficiency kits and installations.  Eventually, it will save enough electricity to power 5.5 million homes for a year and an enough natural gas to supply 675,000 homes for a year, said Dave Daly, PSE&G’s president and chief operating officer.  https://on.app.com/2OTu3HX

 

RECYCLING

14 EU Member States have been identified as at risk of missing the 2020 recycling target of 50%   https://bit.ly/2MSilLX

Workshop on Reducing Food Waste – On October 17th, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) program will host a workshop on reducing food loss and waste. Workshop participants will discuss the impacts of reducing food loss and waste on farmers, food prices, food availability and the environment. The workshop will also build on two previous workshops hosted by STS addressing the sustainability challenges associated with providing food security.   https://bit.ly/2ObVtMg

Role of plastics in decoupling municipal solid waste and economic growth in the U.S. – Analysis of data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on municipal solid waste (MSW) generation rates correlated to personal consumption expenditure (PCE) uncovers a decoupling event occurring between 1997 and 2000. A comparison of waste generation rates for each material category found in MSW reveals that plastics increased by nearly 84 times from 1960 to 2013 while total MSW increased only 2.9 times. The increase in plastic waste generation coincides with a decrease in glass and metal found in the MSW stream. In addition, calculating the material substitution rates for glass, metal and other materials with plastics in packaging and containers demonstrates an overall reduction by weight and by volume in MSW generation of approximately 58% over the same time period. A quantitative calculation of a scenario where plastics were not used in packaging and containers to replace glass, metal, and other materials demonstrates that MSW generation rate rises equally with PCE. https://bit.ly/2pzVMCB

The APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability is the most comprehensive resource outlining the plastics recycling industry’s recommendations in the marketplace today.  The intended audience is the package design engineer for use in designing packaging that complies with the capabilities of the recycling infrastructure.   https://bit.ly/2N9RHy7

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap shows actions that large businesses will take to address food waste in their own operations, support their suppliers in taking action and engage with consumers and innovate to reduce their food waste. https://bit.ly/2xCMZUA

Community Food Waste Programs Make Good Fit for Farmers’ Markets – In Lehigh Valley, Pa., the Easton Farmers’ Market launched a food scrap collection and composting program in July. Falls Church, Va., started its food waste collection program at the farmers’ market in 2015.  In the District of Columbia, residents can bring food waste to designated farmers’ markets in all eight district wards, free of charge. Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) Food Waste Drop-Off program on Earth Day in 2017.  https://bit.ly/2MZrQc0

Aldo becomes first fashion retail to be carbon neutral – https://bit.ly/2R00C8t

How NFL Teams Are Supporting Communities and Saving Dollars by Eliminating Food Waste – https://bit.ly/2Ongdk0

Food Waste Apps – Feedie turns food photography into a charitable donation. Users visit a participating restaurant in the U.S. or South Africa and take a photo of their meal.  Flashfood. re-sells grocery foods approaching their best-before date at a discount, and it saves “not good enough” retail items and ships them to customers. Food Cowboy arranges efficient communication between food donors and charities and fast delivery of excess food in the U.S. Delivery drivers, caterers, and anyone working with large volumes of edible but rejected food create alerts in the app.  Food for All eliminates last-minute restaurant food waste in Boston and New York City. It connects customers to restaurants one hour before they close, for meal discounts as high as 80 percent. The Food Rescue US app fights food insecurity by connecting food donors with hunger relief organizations. In New York City, goMkt connects restaurants that have unsold food with customers looking for discounts.  With a 24/7 service in Atlanta, Goodr picks up excess food from businesses and delivers it to nonprofits. ImpactVision combines the topics of food safety and food waste to enable a transparent food system. NoFoodWasted aims at reducing food waste in the Netherlands by 50 percent in the next five years. No Food Waste crowd-sources data on hunger spots in India to facilitate surplus food donations. OLIO taps into the conscious consumer mindset to offer a food-sharing platform, connecting people with neighbors and local shops all over the worldTransfernation diverts 1.8 to 2.26 metric tons of food per week from landfills to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and church feeding programs in the New York City metro area.  Winnow seeks to minimize kitchen food waste through smart meter technology attached to a food waste bin. https://foodtank.com/news/2018/09/apps-preventing-food-waste/

Cities should offer compost services to reduce the impact of America’s waste problem – According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, food waste makes up 15.1 percent of municipal solid waste in the U.S., but only 5.3 percent of food scraps are recovered or diverted for composting. Yard trimmings, paper and wood are also compostable under the right circumstances and make up another 45.4 percent of municipal solid waste.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2016, landfills were the third largest anthropogenic emitter of methane in the U.S.. https://bit.ly/2DtzdsX

What gets measured gets managed’: Tesco suppliers commit to sharing food waste data – 25-Sep-2018 By Katy Askew – Tesco CEO Dave Lewis is calling on the global food industry to be more transparent about food waste by publishing food waste data – and some of the retailer’s largest suppliers have already signed up to the initiative.

HTTPS://WWW.FOODNAVIGATOR.COM/ARTICLE/2018/09/25/WHAT-GETS-MEASURED-GETS-MANAGED-TESCO-SUPPLIERS-COMMIT-TO-SHARING-FOOD-WASTE-DATA 

SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2018 Progress Report – https://bit.ly/2DyYJNs

The Food Waste Atlas allows governments, companies and countries to understand how much, where, and why food loss and waste is occurring so they can measure and manage it, playing their part in creating a more sustainable food system.  https://www.thefoodwasteatlas.org/about

 

DEFORESTATION

TROPICAL FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE: THE LATEST SCIENCE FROM WRI – Conservation, restoration, and improved management of tropical forests, mangroves, and peatlands could provide 23 percent of cost-effective mitigation action needed by 2030 to limit global warming to 2°C.This is nearly two-thirds of the combined cost-effective mitigation potential of forests and other natural climate solutions in the land sector globally. https://bit.ly/2Q9PF3d

Seeing the Forest – Natures Solution to Climate Change – Includes 6 infographics – including estimate of emissions from US forests; a single mature tree can sequester up to 48 pounds of carbon per year; and how restoration, emission reduction and stopping deforestation can lead to zero emissions. https://bit.ly/2xxLasf

NORWAY HAS BECOME THE FIRST COUNTRY TO BAN DEFORESTATION  The Norwegian Parliament pledged on May 26th that the government’s public procurement policy will be deforestation-free. In addition to this, any product that contributes to deforestation will not be used in the Scandinavian country. The Norwegian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy and Environment recommended the plan as part of the Action Plan on Nature Diversity.  https://bit.ly/2xAoK9K

Carbon stocks of the Amazon mangroves were over twice those of upland evergreen forests and almost 10-fold those of tropical dry forests.  https://bit.ly/2OduQ9x

The Other Deforestation Crisis in Brazil – Spanning more than 1.2 million square miles, the Cerrado is the largest savanna in South America and the most biologically rich in the world. It’s also one of the most endangered, with less than two percent protected by national parks and conservancies. This, combined with global demands for agricultural products, has led to rapid deforestation. Since 2008, the Cerado has lost more than 105,000 square kilometers of foliage—50 percent more than the Amazon in the same period. And, like the rainforest, the savanna is essential for storing greenhouse gases and curbing climate change. At the 2017 COP23 Climate Summit, Brazil’s former Minister of Environment Jose Sarney Filho proposed an international plan to compensate landowners who preserve native habitats. The proposal has yet to attract any major backers, but it will take a worldwide effort to save the Cerado.  https://bit.ly/2py3sFt

 

WATER STEWARDSHIP

Lowe’s Reduces Water Use at 900 Stores, Saves Millions with Smart Irrigation Tech – The home improvement giant installed AT&T HydroPoint technology to reduce water use for store landscaping and is saving about 650 million gallons of water per year, for a total annual reduction in water costs of about $5 million. And, because water treatment and pumping is so energy intensive, the technology is reducing carbon emissions by almost 750 metric tons a year, the company says. AT&T adds that it has saved millions of gallons of water at its own operations by using the technology. The company says the technology leads to average water use reductions of 16% to 59%.  https://bit.ly/2Nby3SB

Colgate launched its save water campaign in 2016 with a “turn-off-the-faucet-while-brushing” message. Today, nearly three out of four (70%) Americans who were aware of the Save Water campaign said it influenced their personal actions with regard to saving water, according to a YouGov survey1 fielded for Colgate. Fifty-eight percent of those influenced reported turning off the faucet more often while brushing their teeth after hearing the campaign’s message.  Globally, the turn-off-the-faucet campaign can lead to a potential reduction of 50 billion gallons of water per year. Since water and wastewater treatment systems are energy intensive, every drop of water saved means less energy used.  So the projected global water savings comes with an additional benefit of approximately two million metric tons of greenhouse gas saved. “Nearly five percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are associated with water and wastewater treatment,” said Colgate-Palmolive’s Global Director of Sustainability Vance Merolla. “That’s 45 million tons of emissions a year, so conserving water can make a difference on many fronts.” https://prn.to/2Neq7ja

 

SUSTAINABILITY

The quick and easy way to clean your smartphone – the University of Arizona found that phones contain 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. According to the study, the bacteria found on phones are quite dangerous, such as Streptococcus, MRSA and even E. coli. Without a doubt, the worst place to use a phone is the bathroom. Do note that when you’re flushing the toilet, germs will spread everywhere and end up on your phone, including fecal bacteria like E. coli.  So what are the safest ways to clean your smartphone?  Mix water with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol in a small spraying bottle, using a 60:40 ratio. Spray a little bit of the mixture onto a non-furry microfiber cloth. Use the cloth to wipe the entire front and back area of the phone. Let the phone’s surface dry entirely for at least 15 minutes before you turn it on or operate it again.   https://bit.ly/2O1modx

Webinar on: ‘Sustainable commodities: Is the landscape approach the future?’

10th October at 15.00-16.00 BST. Through an hour’s interactive discussion with Unilever, Olam and The Coca-Cola Company, we’ll discuss the latest methods in sustainable commodity sourcing and how these can be adopted into a landscape approach.  You can sign up here.

The FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) will develop voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders. The Task Force will consider the physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change and what constitutes effective financial disclosures across industries. The work and recommendations of the Task Force will help companies understand what financial markets want from disclosure in order to measure and respond to climate change risks, and encourage firms to align their disclosures with investors’ needs. https://www.fsb-tcfd.org

Is Greenwashing Prevalent?  Primary Findings: Firms that made announcements of environmental efforts beyond compliance significantly reduced their overall releases of chemicals and thereby improved their environmental performance compared to firms that did not make such announcements. The research suggests that so-called “greenwashing,” or exaggerating a firm’s commitment to green environmental performance, does not appear to be prevalent.  https://b.gatech.edu/2OGRmoa

Assessment of Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting by Large Health Care Organizations – In this cohort study of 49 large US health care organizations – 12% of all health care corporations published a sustainability report compared with 78% of Fortune 500 and 82% of S&P 500 corporations.  The health care industry represents 18% of the US economy, employs more people than any other economic sector, and is responsible for 10% of US carbon emissions. Conclusions and Relevance – The health care delivery sector lags behind other US economic sectors in sustainability reporting. Publicly reporting sustainability activities would provide HCOs with an incentive to quantify and reduce their environmental impacts, lower costs, and protect human health.  https://bit.ly/2MkLU9D

This bird’s eye view of America’s most polluted sites will break your heart – For his new book, Waste Land, photographer and activist David T. Hanson captured stunning aerial images of 67 of the country’s Superfund sites, the most dangerously polluted sites in the U.S.  https://bit.ly/2xGuDCk

EcoVadis has published the second annual edition of its Global CSR Risk and Performance Index. The report provides an updated look at the corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance of more than 33,000 companies evaluated by EcoVadis, across the calendar years 2015 through 2017. index.ecovadis.com

Hormel Foods Corporation has launched a new podcast series called Our Food Journey™. The first season of the Our Food Journey™ podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play Music, and has launched with 10 episodes. The series is hosted by esteemed American journalist and author Ethan Watters and Certified Master Chef Ron DeSantis. https://prn.to/2xOzyB9

Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network – Given the demonstrable failure of corporate social responsibility schemes and multi-stakeholder initiatives, Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) is the only existing model with the proven potential to afford protection for the most vulnerable and lowest-wage workers in global supply chains. In 2015, a multi-disciplinary WSR Network was created to develop and implement a strategy to expand the model into other sectors and regions. The Network’s goal is to build understanding of the model among a wide range of relevant actors, provide support and resources for worker-led efforts to replicate the model, and shift the paradigm to establish the model as the baseline for workers’ rights programs within global supply chains.  https://wsr-network.org/about-us/mission/

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) – connects businesses and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability. Financially Material: SASB’s mission is to help businesses around the world identify, manage and report on the sustainability topics that matter most to their investors.  Market Informed: SASB standards are developed based on extensive feedback from companies, investors, and other market participants as part of a transparent, publicly-documented process.  Industry Specific: SASB standards differ by industry, enabling investors and companies to compare performance from company to company within an industry.  https://www.sasb.org