Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week

Walmart's Project Gigaton and Costa's leadership on coffee cup recycling feature in the fourth 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 edition of the ‘Achieving Mission Possible’ round-up highlights some of the tremendous progress we are now seeing right across the globe. From a new energy-positive school in Norway to an environmentally-conscious approach to biofuel production, 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 (16-22 April 2018)…

ENERGY: Walmart is going all-out for renewables as part of ‘Project Gigaton’

US retail giant Walmart has just unveiled major plans to increase the use of renewable energy for its stores, alongside an aim to increase access to electric vehicle (EV) charge points for its customers. Announced as part of an annual sustainability report, Walmart revealed that renewables would form a big part of its emissions reduction plan.

The retailer plans to more than double its use of renewable energy in the US, by expanding onsite solar installations and purchasing more renewable energy from various US-based wind farms through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Overall, Walmart is aiming to source half of its energy consumption from renewables by 2025.

Walmart will work with suppliers to cut emissions by 20 million metric tonnes in the first year of its Project Gigaton initiative. As the name suggests, the project aims to reduce supply chain emissions by one gigaton – one billion metric tonnes – by 2030.

“In its first year, Project Gigaton has helped to inspire action that has led to the avoidance of millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has expanded into an international campaign that includes the participation of several hundred suppliers,” Walmart’s chief sustainability officer Kathleen McLaughlin said.

“The early success of Project Gigaton parallels ongoing progress in our operational efforts that seek to double our US renewable energy use and expand our customer electric vehicle charging hubs to retail outlets across more than 30 states.”

RESOURCES: Carrefour is now using insects to lower the environmental impacts of food production

Veganism, or at the very least ‘flexitarianism’, has become much more popular amongst consumers in recent years. Whether fuelled by concerns over animal welfare, or a growing understanding that the livestock sector is linked to deforestation and climate change, alternative food sources are an area of growing exploration for food companies.

Consumers in Spain, for example, could be set to join the two billion people across the globe who incorporate insects as part of a balanced diet. French supermarket Carrefour has just launched a new range of bug-based products in more than 300 of its Spanish branches in order to find more sustainable materials to be used for food.

Spicy chilli buffalo worms, energy bars made from dark chocolate, figs and powdered crickets, and pasta and granola all mixed with insects are on offer. Carrefour claims the production of insects suitable for eating reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99% while also limiting water use and pollution and land space and consumption.


THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: This energy-positive ‘Powerhouse’ scheme is gaining real traction in Norway

In Norway, architect Snøhetta, real estate firms Entra and Asplan Viak, and non-profit Zero Emission Resource Organization (ZERO) have teamed up to enable pupils at a school in Drobak to attend the country’s first ever Powerhouse education facility.

The companies formed the Powerhouse initiative back in 2014, with the ambition to construct buildings that can provide more energy over their lifetimes than they consume during construction, operation and demolition.

The school has been fitted with solar panels on a sloped roof and uses a geothermal well beneath the building’s foundations to provide heat and power. Another building has been retrofitted to Powerhouse standards and the group has just started construction of its first office building.

To comply with the Powerhouse initiative, the design of a building must be energy-positive, accountable at every stage of the lifecycle, including aspects like material transportation, steel production and its eventual demolition.

MOBILITY: Audi is gearing up for the low-carbon transition with these new biofuel trials

The sheer amount of EV announcements from automakers over the past few years suggests that electrification will dominate the future transport market. But, while manufacturers are striving ahead with EV rollouts, they are also focusing on alternative low-carbon fuels to reach out to nations that will still rely on fossil fuels for power in the future.

German carmaker Audi has partnered with French biotech company Global Bioenergies SA to explore how biofuel use can be accelerated in the transport sector, without worsening deforestation or eating into land set-aside for crop-based vegetation.

Global Bioenergies SA uses the non-edible parts of sugar beets in its biofuel mix. The biofuel was recently used by an Audi A4 around a circuit near the biofuel firm’s demo plant in Leuna, Germany. The company has 32 patents in place to develop bacteria which can transform sugars found in the stems of corn, wheat and straw into a hydrocarbon usually derived from oil.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Costa is taking its sustainability leadership to new heights with this bold pledge to recycle half a billion coffee cups

This week’s choice for the business leadership success story of the week was an obvious one: Costa has made an ambitious commitment to recycle the equivalent of its entire annual sales of takeaway cups – at a financial cost to the business.

Costa Coffee’s energy & environment manager Oliver Rosevear told edie that the retailer wants to drive cross-industry collaboration on coffee cup recyclingthrough this new pledge, which will see it recycle up to 500 million coffee cups a year by 2020, with at least 100 million set to be recycled this year.

“We’re really trying to stimulate the market and get more cups recycled in the UK,” Rosevear said. “We understand that this is a national problem, and therefore we need to engage with the waste industry to step up the waste infrastructure and attempt to guarantee that the cups are recycled… the intent of this investment is to help the waste industry invest in the right infrastructure.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone [to deliver better recyclability]. But, as the UK’s largest coffee shop, we must play our part, which is exactly what we’re doing today by making this announcement. It would be great to see other companies joining this scheme… we see this as a collaborative approach.”

The target accounts for a fifth of the 2.5 billion coffee cups that are currently being thrown away annually across the country. Well done Costa!

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 edie Live 2018 pass here.

Matt Mace

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