Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week

The UK’s largest solar power car port and a returnable coffee cup solution feature in the third edition of edie's new content series which rounds up some of the world's most inspirational sustainability initiatives that are transforming business, for good.

As part of our newly-launched 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 Sunday, the new series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energyresourcesinfrastructuremobility and business leadership.

This third edition of ‘Achieving Mission Possible’ highlights some of the great progress we are now seeing right across the globe. From the construction of a record-breaking solar power car port to the launch of a business-led campaign to protect the last wild rivers of Europe – each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses to achieve a sustainable future, today.

Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (9-13 April 2018)…

Resources: CupClub offers rental solution to combat coffee cup recycling dilemma

The coffee cup recycling conundrum is among the sustainability agenda’s top priorities – and it’s easy to see why. More than 7 million disposable cups are being used in the UK on a daily basis, with a tiny 1% being successfully recycled.

High-street chains and retailers are now on the search for solutions which can improve the UK’s record in this area. Enter CupClub: a returnable packaging solution designed to hold both hot and cold drinks.

This week marked the official launch of CupClub, which offers a tailored end-to-end service helping to reduce single-use plastic packaging by around 40%. The concept sees customer join the CupClub and pick up a reusable cup when they buy their coffee, which can be returned later to one of several collection points. CupClub is responsible for collecting washing and redistributing the clean cups to participating retailers.

Because the cups are tagged and registered to a person’s account – using RFID, the same technology that’s on an Oyster travel card – CupClub can text a reminder if people forget to return a cup and charge it they are kept keep it. The CupClub is starting with company offices and universities, but is aiming ultimately for a London-wide scheme.

ENERGY: Bentley Motors starts construction on UK’s largest solar power car port

In the wake of the high-profile VW diesel scandal and a flurry of worrying statistics around the vast carbon footprint of transport both in the UK and abroad, the car manufacturing industry has come under scrutiny over its role in building a sustainable future.

But progress in the past year has been encouraging – a range of commitments from top car makers including VWBMWFord and Jaguar Land Rover have ramp up their investment into battery and EV research and manufacturing. 

The sector has also turned to onsite solutions to further reduce its environmental impact. This week, Bentley Motors announced that construction has started on the UK’s largest ever solar power car port. The manufacturer’s factory headquarters in Crewe will house a 2.7MW solar array of 10,000 panels to take Bentley’s entire solar energy system to more than 30,000 panels. Expected to be completed in six months, the system could cover 24% of Bentley’s electricity needs and reduce CO2 by 3,300 tonnes each year.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Patagonia launches multimedia campaign to save Europe’s last wild rivers

For most of the firm’s existence, US-based outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has been at the leading edge of efforts to steer the clothing industry in a more sustainable direction. For more 30 years, the company has donated 1% of their annual sales to environmental charities and grassroots organisations. 

edie has provided much coverage of Patagonia’s sustainability efforts in recent times, from the donation of all Black Friday sales to environmental charities, to the launch of a new digital platform which connects customers with local environmental groups to encourage grassroots activism.

Now, Patagonia has turned its attentions to raising awareness and facilitating action to protect the last wild rivers of Europe. The firm is joining with local communities and NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia to put pressure on foreign developers and banks that are pouring over €700m to invest in 3000 proposed hydropower projects across the Baltic region.

Earlier this week, edie spoke with Patagonia at the Electric Cinema in East London for the pre-screening of the company’s documentary film Blue Heart, which depicts how the hydropower projects threaten to destroy the richly diverse culture, history and ecology of the region known as the Blue Heart of Europe. Watch out for the interview with Patagonia’s general manager for Europe and Middle East Ryan Gellert which will feature in edie’s next Sustainable Business Covered podcast episode.

MOBILITY: GreenPower’s electric bus range potential exceeds expectations

The future looks bright for Canadian electric bus manufacturer GreenPower Motor Company, whose new electric bus this week surpassed its initial range expectations by using only half of its battery power to complete a 205-mile trip. The zero-emission EV350 All-Electric Transit Bus drove through California from the San Joaquin Valley to Newport Beach, navigating its way through steep hills during a demanding route.

“This is a monumental achievement, not only for GreenPower, but for the industry,” the company’s president Brendan Riley said. “GreenPower has raised the bar for the whole industry as this range allows our bus to meet 98% of transit properties daily route needs.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Iceland’s MD leads the backlash against palm oil production  

Hot of the heels of its industry-leading pledge to remove plastic packaging from its own-brand food, frozen food giant Iceland has this week vowed to remove palm oil from all of its own-brand food products by the end of 2018.

Palm oil is found in more than half of all supermarket products, but the commodity is linked with environmental destruction in global supply chains. Expanding palm oil and wood pulp plantations are the biggest driver of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia, where many species including the orangutan are being threatened with extinction.

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker said he felt passionately about the importance of raising awareness of the issue, having recently been to Indonesia and seen the environmental devastation caused by expanding palm oil production first hand.

He said: “This journey has shown me that, currently, no major supermarket or food manufacturer can substantiate any claim that the palm oil they use is truly sustainable, as the damage being caused to the global environment and communities in South East Asia is just too extensive.”

Achieve YOUR Mission Possible at edie Live 2018

Whether you are an energy manager, a sustainability, CSR, or environmental professional, or business leader, edie Live 2018 will help you achieve your Mission Possible.

On 22-23 May 2018 at the NEC Birmingham, you will be inspired by thought-leaders, coached by industry experts, encouraged to collaborate with your peers, and shown the way by hundreds of innovative suppliers and solutions providers.

Find out more about the show and register for your free pass here.

George Ogleby

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