Tue, May

Nine water companies have joined with twenty NGOs to create shared principles for sustainable water.

Yesterday, the companies, which are part of an organisation called Blueprint for Water, signed an agreement intending for the shared principles to deliver “more effective joint working” on environmental and wildlife issues, including more on the ground projects.

They have committed to tackling pollution and working with farmers on more environmentally-friendly agricultural techniques.

Hannah Freeman of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Chair of Blueprint for Water, said: “This is the first time water companies and nature charities have agreed how to work together ahead of business plans being delivered. With our waters under increasing pressure it is essential that businesses and environmentalists are more joined-up in acting as their guardians.”

This news follows water companies submitting business plans to Ofwat, the body that is responsible for the economic regulation of the privatised water in England and Wales, in a bid to be more sustainable.

Notably, Thames Water, the UK’s biggest water and wastewater service provider, has pledged to invest £11.7 billion to improve infrastructure, service and efficiency over the 2020-25 period.

Steve Robertson, Thames Water Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our primary role, to provide resilient water and waste services to customers across London and the Thames Valley, touches the environment on multiple levels every single day. When planning our investment it’s hugely important to work closely with environmental groups to limit the impact we have and ensure we sustain a thriving environment for future generations.”

Read more: NGOs partner with water companies to protect the...

Today, the Zero Emissions Vehicle Summit, held in Birmingham, will be attended by PM, Theresa May.

Here, a £106 million funding boost will be announced for the research and development of zero emission vehicles.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: "I want to see Britain, once again, leading from the front and working with industries and countries around the world to spearhead change. That is why I have set this country an ambitious mission. To put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero-emission by 2040."

At the Zero Emissions Vehicle Summit, the new Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce, which was announced as a part of the ‘Road to Zero’ strategy in July, will be discussed. This is the first time that the energy and automotive industry has been brought together by the Taskforce.

Jesse Norman MP, Electric Vehicles Minister, said: “Bringing together government, automotive and energy sectors will help to ensure that Electric Vehicles become an integrated part of the UK energy system, and infrastructure upgrades can be planned in an efficient and sustainable way.”

The summit will gather leading transport visionaries in one place and provide an opportunity to meet and discuss important issues with senior government representatives from around the world.

However, the announcement has been met with some backlash. Speaking ahead of the summit, Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s chief executive, said:  “We can’t afford to wait until 2040 for most new vehicles to be zero-emission. Pollution from road traffic is a major cause of air pollution and climate change – industry must be challenged to clean up its act far sooner.”

Photo Credit: Alexander Popov

Read more: Theresa May set to announce funding for zero...

Global leaders have begun talks in New York this week to discuss the long-awaited UN ocean treaty, a decade in the making.

The intergovernmental conference to draft the first‑ever treaty to conserve and protect marine diversity on the high seas is of extreme importance because currently there is no global policy that protects our oceans.

Currently, 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, 100,000 mammals die each year from this plastic pollution.

Professor Alex Rogers from Oxford University, who has provided evidence to inform the UN treaty process, said: “The half of our planet which is high seas is protecting terrestrial life from the worst impacts of climate change. Yet we do too little to safeguard that or to protect the life within the ocean which is intrinsic to our collective survival.”

There are several organisations such as Parley for the Oceans and Outerknown that are raising awareness for the protection of marine life however, they do not have global power. Recently, influential figures such as the Swimmer, Lewis Pugh, have directed awareness at the government to protect our oceans.

Dr Sandra Schoettner, Greenpeace's global ocean sanctuaries campaign, speaking from outside the UN said: ““The fate of our oceans is in the hands of everyone in these negotiations. It's no exaggeration to say that the governments meeting today are making history as we speak. It is urgent they create a strong ocean treaty which allows us to create a global network of ocean sanctuaries.”

In 1982, the UN adopted the Convention of the Law of the Sea but the high seas were not included. Over the next two years the treaty is expected to provide and implement several proposes to protect the high seas.

Photo Credit: Greenpeace

Read more: World leaders meet to discuss United Nations...

Carlsberg are set to replace their multi-pack packaging in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

The plastic pack rings, known in the industry as hi-cones or yokes, are used to hold together multi-packs of canned drinks. However, they have become a real problem in contributing to ocean plastic pollution.

The Danish brewer are proposing to, instead, use recyclable glue that will hold the cans together but are designed to audibly snap when pulled apart.

This new ‘Snap Packs’ are proposed to reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1200 tonnes a year which is the equivalent to 60 million plastic bags. They will be available across Tesco’s in the UK from September.

Cees ‘t Hart, CEO of the Carlsberg Group, said: “It’s an important day for Carlsberg. We are working hard to deliver on our ambitious sustainability agenda and help tackle climate change. We always strive to improve and today’s launch clearly shows our ambition to follow in our founders footsteps towards a better tomorrow.”

Bo Øksnebjerg, Secretary General in WWF Denmark, said: “Our wildlife is drowning in plastic – and the problem is unfortunately growing considerably. That is why we consider it huge progress that Carlsberg is now launching solutions that significantly reduce the amount of plastic in its packaging.”

Carlsberg have previously pledged to become more sustainable with their ‘ZERO’ goal which involves an ambitious target to achieve zero carbon emissions at their breweries by 2030.

They have also committed to reducing their water usage by 50 per cent by 2030. This is significant as water is the main ingredient in beer.

The company join other global businesses, including Lego and Walkers, in a bid to reduce plastic pollution.  

Read more: Carlsberg to reduce multi-pack packaging by over...

Sony have joined the RE100 in a pledge of sustainability.

On Monday, the company announced that they aim to be 100 per cent renewable across all of their business sites by 2040.

Sony’s European sites have already achieved this goal, but by 2040 they promise the same globally.

They want to install solar panels at their manufacturing sites in Japan and Thailand. Japan sites have the largest amount of energy consumption and therefore there will be a focus within the country to work directly with RE100 to ensure the target is met.

Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO of Sony Corporation, said: “For many years, Sony has been an industry leader in actively addressing climate change and other environmental issues. As part of our “Road to Zero” initiative to eliminate our environmental footprint, we are pleased to join RE100 and contribute to the realization of a society that operates on fully renewable energy.”

Shiro Kambe, Sony Corporate Executive Officer, said: “Switching to green energy will temporarily raise costs, but it will add more value to our business.”

The RE100 are a group of over 140 members worldwide who are committed to promoting and utilising renewable energy.

Helen Clarkson, CEO of the Climate Group, said: “We are expected to welcome Sony aboard RE100. From PlayStation and image sensors to consumer electronics, music, and film, this is the largest entertainment and technology business in the world stepping up and switching its entire operations to 100% renewable electricity.”

Sony join tech giants Facebook and Apple who have also pledged to run on 100 per cent renewable energy in a bid to go green.

Photo Credit: Ian Muttoo

Read more: Sony to run on 100% renewable energy by 2040

This week is Zero Waste Week, a movement to encourage waste reduction.

Zero waste week started this Monday 4th of September 2018. It was founded in 2008 and since then has had a global reach of 56 million people.

The initiative is designed to involve the general public in a bid to reduce our waste habits, this year’s theme is ‘Plastic-Unwrapped’. Plastic waste is an ongoing problem that is threatening our oceans and marine life.

Currently, the average household wastes 20-30 per cent of the food they buy. Zero Waste Week aims to combat this. To support the campaign, all you have to do is sign up on their website to receive a newsletter with hints and tips on how to reduce your daily waste.

The movement, based in the UK, has participants from 72 countries. The website demonstrates the efforts made from people around the world to achieve zero waste.

The website said: “Zero Waste Week is a grassroots campaign raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste and empowering participants to reduce waste.”

Recently, global companies such as Coca Cola have pledged to reduce plastic waste. Zero Waste Weeks gives an opportunity for consumers to do the same.

The campaign has been promoted by some of the UK’s most powerful leaders. In a personally signed letter, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote: “Zero Waste Week is inspiring people around the world to dramatically reduce the waste they create for good. By sharing your own experiences as a family and suggesting simple ways people can recycle and reuse you are making it easy and fun for as many people as possible to get involved in your important campaign.”

Campaigners across the world have come out in force to promote the initiative, join the movement now at #zerowasteweek.

Read more: Zero Waste Week - ‘Plastic Unwrapped’

Today, Burberry have announced they will no longer destroy products that are unsalable in a bid to become more sustainable.

Last year, it was reported that the company destroyed over £28.6 million worth of unsold products to protect its brand. This followed a massive backlash from environmentalists prompting Burberry to respond.

Marco Gobbetti, Chief Executive Officer at Burberry, said: “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.”

The sustainability of the textile industry has been long debated, and the idea of renting clothing has been introduced to reduce the large amount of waste produced.

Burberry said: “We already re-use, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products and we will continue to expand these efforts.”

The brand has teamed with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse which means that over the next five years 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts will be transformed into new products.

The high-end fashion company have also committed to stop using real fur. There will be no real fur in Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for Burberry next month, and they will begin to phase out real fur products.

Fur in the fashion industry is beginning to diminish after continuous campaigns from animal-rights activists. Burberry join other global designers such as Gucci and Giorgio Armani who have also gone fur-free.

Burberry have set three targets to become sustainable by 2022; become carbon neutral and revalue waste, drive positive change through 100 percent of Burberry’s products and positively impact one million people.

Read more: Burberry to stop destroying unsold products

A supply ship has set sail in San Francisco in an attempt to clean up the ocean.

The ambitious project aims to clean up 50 per cent of the 80, 000 tonnes of plastic located in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch within five years.

The boat, which departed on September 8th 2018, is now on its way to a test stop, for a 2-week trial before continuing its journey toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 1,200 nautical miles offshore. Some of the plastic in the garbage patch dates back to the sixties.

The Ocean Cleanup, developed by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, is working with Maersk to complete this journey. Mr Slat, said: "The main mission is to show that it works, and hopefully then in a few months from now, the first plastics will arrive back into port, which means that it becomes proven technology.”

Once the plastic has been collected from the ocean it will be brought back for recycling and then sold, the profits will then fund future Ocean Cleanup projects.

Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk, said: “We are truly proud to be supporting the installation of the Ocean Cleanup’s first system. Large towing operations have been a part of Maersk’s Service Supply’s work-scope for decades. It is rewarding to see that our marine capabilities can be utilised within new segments, and to support solving such an important environmental issue.”

Global plastic production has risen steadily since the 1950’s, this has resulted in a number of problems for our oceans and, in particular, marine life.

This news follows the start of the United Nations ocean treaty conference, set to create policy for the high seas over the next two years.

To find out more about the Ocean Cleanup click here.

Photo Credit: The Ocean Cleanup/ Pierre Augier

Read more: World’s first ocean clean-up system launched in...

The cricket ground has introduced a number of measures to reduce plastic waste.

By installing water fountains and switching to reusable drinking vessels it has prevented roughly 690,000 pieces of plastic from being used at the venue.

This follows the year anniversary of its partnership with Sky Ocean Rescue, with the goal to slash the amount of single-use plastic used at the cricket ground and become plastic free by 2020.

Part of the scheme involved handing out 25,000 Sky Ocean rescue-branded reusable water bottles to reduce the need for disposable plastic bottles. They have also created the hashtag - #PassOnPlastic.

Fiona Ball, Sky Ocean Rescue's head of responsible business, said: "Single-use plastic is a huge issue. Trillions of pieces of plastic are floating around our oceans, with another eight million tons introduced to this ecosystem every year. It never decomposes and will remain there forever. Working with the Kia Oval team has not only helped us bring this issue to life for an army of sports fans but also helped them make simple life changes that collectively make a big difference."

Due to efforts from the surrey cricket ground, after this weekend’s final Test between England and India, 20,000 fewer plastic pint glasses will be taken to landfill.

Richard Gould, Surrey County Cricket Club's chief executive, said: "Increasing the sustainability of our operation is a major priority at the Kia Oval as we work towards our goal of becoming single-use plastic free by 2020. It is a difficult journey, involving work in every area of our business and initiatives like this with Sky Ocean Rescue really help move us in the right direction."

To find out more about Sky Ocean Rescue click here.  

Photo Credit: Sky Ocean Rescue

Read more: Kia Oval cricket ground significantly reduce...

A new, technology first, ‘spinning’ wind turbine has won the UK James Dyson award.

The O-Wind turbine was created by Nicolas Orellana, 36, and Yaseen Noorani, 24, both MSc students at Lancashire University.

The new design takes advantage of horizontal and vertical winds without requiring steering. This differs to traditional wind turbines which only capture wind travelling in one direction.

The turbine is of a spherical shape with a single axis of rotation going through it. Its dimensions and shape mean that it is very suitable for small-scale energy production by individual apartment dwellers.

The unique size and shape of the turbine mean that it can be placed in different types of environment compared to conventional turbines which require more space.

Mr Orellana said: “I’ve always been enthusiastic about helping people solving their problems in humanitarian and professional contexts. Sustainability is and will continue to be one of the biggest challenges for people around the globe, and it will require the commitment of us all to be solved. We expect the O-Wind to be a valuable contribution to help improving our chances of reaching sustainability one day.”

Wind power currently generates just 4 per cent of the world’s electricity but it has much more potential according to Mr Noorani.

The pair will receive £2,000 towards developing the project, production may take up to five years but the duo hope that the device can be scaled up to work on large structures such as the side of a building or balcony as this is where wind speeds are the highest.

Photo: Dyson. Cardboard prototype being tested in a real scenario at the Morecambe Bay, UK

Photo Credit: Dyson

Read more: New O-Wind turbine wins UK Dyson award

Australian National University (ANU) analysis has found that Australia is on its way to running on 100 per cent renewable energy by early 2030s.

Renewable energy in Australia is on the rise, this could also result in them reaching the half way goal of 50 per cent renewable energy, set at the Paris Agreement, by 2025.

The country is set to install over 10 gigawatts of new wind and solar power in 2018 and 2019. As a result, if the rate of growth in maintained, they report found that they should reach their target of running on 100 per cent renewable energy by early 2030s.

Australia had a record breaking last year, adding 2,200 megawatt capacity of renewable energy. However, the people who produced the report, although convinced that technology and the renewable energy industry will be able to meet the goal, have voiced concerns over how politics will interfere.

Recently, the newly appointed Australian Government have come under pressure from environmentalists about the fate of the country’s climate policy.

Professor Andrew Blakers, ANU Research School of Engineering, said: “Australia is installing wind and solar PV at a faster per capita rate than nearly every other country.”

Professor Ken Baldwin, ANU Energy Institute director, said: “Australian industry is proving it’s not difficult or expensive to make deep and rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. All the evidence points to Australia’s capacity to be a renewable energy superpower, with all the economic and environmental benefits that come with that.”

This follows news that Queensland are on track to be 90 per cent renewable by 2030.

Read more: Australia could run on 100% renewable energy by...

Tesco, along with several other companies, have joined forces to implement a clean van scheme.

16 of the UK’s largest fleet companies are set to launch the Clean Van Commitment, led by Global Action Plan, to signal their promise to the environment.

They have pledged to invest £40 million in rolling out zero emission models over the next two years as part of plans to replace 18,000 diesel vans over the next decade. The Commitment also involves switching a proportion of their fleet, 2,400 vehicles, to electric by 2020.

Research from the University of Oxford and the University of Bath has shown that the total health cost to the UK from vans is £2.2 billion each year. This has created a demand for tougher regulations on transport pollution.  

Jesse Norman, Roads Minister and MP, said: “The government's Road to Zero strategy outlines its intention to lead the world in the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles - delivering significant environmental, health and economic benefits.”

Electric vehicles in the UK are on the rise, with 7,500 being sold in August. Just this week, Mercedes-Benz unveiled their new production car, EQC.

Bex Bolland, Head of Air Quality at Global Action Plan said:  “Today marks a significant moment for the UK’s van sector. For the first time, we know just how quickly van fleet leaders aim to adopt electric vehicles. Their collective purchasing commitments show manufacturers that demand is thriving, and will help energy sector, local authority and central government planning. These 16 fleets will pave the way for the national fleet of 4 million vans to become zero emission, significantly improving the air we all breathe.”

Read more: UK’s largest van companies’ agree to go electric

Mercedes-Benz have revealed their new electric car which is set to launch in 2019.

The company is investing more than £9 billion in the expansion of its electric range. By 2022, they will offer 10 pure battery electric vehicles, this starts in 2019 with the launch of the EQC.

Mercedes said: “To support the shift away from fossil fuel powered vehicles to more sustainable alternatives, our eMobility range is growing year on year with a range of choice in hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

The EQC, the first series production vehicle to emerge from their EQ electric mobility programme, will have a power input of up to 300 kilowatt, a range of 450 kilometres and will be a serious competitor in the luxury SUV market. It can accelerate from 0-62 mph in under five seconds and can travel over 300 miles on one charge. Locally emission-free driving is achievable at all times, with an extensive range from a single charge.

The new electric car has undergone years of development, facing rigorous testing in the coldest parts of the world to the hottest.

Dieter Zetsche, Mercedes-Benz chairman, revealed that by 2025 he expects electric car sales to occupy 15 – 20 percent of the company’s sales.

Mercedes-Benz join other car companies such as Nissan and Tesla who have created electric cars for a competitive market.

To find out more about the Mercedes-Benz electric car production series click here.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Read more: Mercedes unveil new electric car, EQC

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