Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week
As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.
Published every week, the new series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business leadership.
This edition of the ‘Achieving Mission Possible’ round-up highlights some of the tremendous progress we are now seeing right across the globe. From a huge net-zero holiday resort to a fleet of electric street sweepers, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (25-29 June 2018)
ENERGY: Olympic committee pledges to power 2020 event with 100% renewable electricity
As the FIFA World Cup continues in Russia, questions are being asked about just how sustainable large-scale, global sporting events can be.
Looking to 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has this week announced that it will source 100% renewable power for the Tokyo games in two years’ time, securing the electricity through a combination of onsite renewable arrays at stadiums and green power contracts.
The renewables goal, which was announced on Tuesday (June 26), along with a commitment to ensure 99% of products sold at the game will be reused or recycled, will also pertain to the event’s main press centre, the international broadcasting centre and the village where the athletes stay during the games.
A spokesperson for the IOC described the targets as “unprecedented”, adding that the Committee considered it “crucial” to pass on a “legacy of sustainability” from the event.
RESOURCES: Costa, Roadchef and Shell back England’s first motorway recycling reward machines
At present, just 43% of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled and 700,000 are littered every day, leading MPs to believe that a deposit return scheme could help to boost the UK’s plastic recycling rate to 90% and help businesses repurpose plastic waste streams.
In a bid to help the general public view waste streams as resource streams, Costa has teamed up with Shell, Roadchef and Highways England to sponsor special roadside recycling reward machines, which offer drivers 5p off food and drink if they deposit empty coffee cups or plastic bottles.
The machines, fitted by charity Hubbub, are being trialled on the M20 near Maidstone after the scheme received backing from the corporations. If the six-month pilot proves successful, Hubbub hopes to expand the initiative and potentially roll out the recycling reward bins across England’s 1,800 miles of motorways.
“Litter by our motorways is an eyesore, harms wildlife and is expensive and dangerous to remove,” Hubbub’s chief executive, Trewin Restorick, said. “The campaign brings together a unique partnership of organisations exploring whether we can change habits and cut littering.”
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Plans for net-zero energy tourist resort in Cancun approved
As World Green Building Week came to a close, developers in Mexico posted their own sustainability success story when plans to build America’s first net-zero-energy tourist resort on the coast of Cancun were approved.
The Grand Cancun resort, which will be built as a platform instead of an artificial island to minimise the impact it has on marine ecosystems, has been designed to be completely energy efficient, sourcing the power needed for its hotels, shops, restaurants and bars entirely from onsite solar and hydropower arrays.
The huge structure will also help to remove pollutants from the surrounding ocean, with filter technology that separates water from hydrocarbons and floating solids set to be installed on the underside of the platform.
MOBILITY: Veolia to roll out five electric street cleaning vehicles in London
As carmakers push to electrify their models and businesses strive to cut fleet emissions, the EV revolution has just begun within the heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) sector, with Volvo unveiling its first electric truck designed for heavy-duty roles in May and Greenwich Council last week retrofitting a refuse collection vehicle at the end of its normal working life with an electric motor.
This week saw waste management firm Veolia purchase five fully-electric road sweepers in a bid to cut its annual carbon emissions by 78 tonnes – the equivalent of removing 33 cars from the road.
The vehicles, which are the first electric street cleaning vehicles purchased by Veolia, will be rolled out across the company’s household waste collection routes in Lambeth by the end of this year after a trial of the sweepers in the borough confirmed that they produced no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while maintaining the same performance as diesel alternatives.
The trial additionally showed additional benefits such as less maintenance, lower noise output and a 70% reduction in water use.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: HP used eight million ‘ocean-bound’ plastic bottles in products last year
With public, media and business attention firmly fixed on the damaging build-up of plastics in our ocean, HP this week posted a sustainability success story after revealing that it had diverted 170 tonnes of plastic from the oceans over the past 12 months, following its 2017 pledge to recycle “ocean-bound” plastic bottles for use in its range of ink cartridges.
The technology firm’s latest sustainability report, published last Friday (June 22), revealed that HP used more than 18,000 tonnes of PCR plastics in its cartridges in 2017, including 8.3 million plastic bottles sourced from Haiti as part of its partnership with Thread International and the First Mile Coalition.
The move means that 80% of HP ink cartridges now contain 45-70% recycled content and all toner cartridges contain at least 10% recycled content. In total, more than 8.3 million “ocean-bound” plastic bottles were used for HP products in 2017.
HP’s chief executive, Dion Weisler, said the company’s plastics actions and its wider sustainability goals would form a “reinvention” of its business models going forward.