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 world-first carbon credit strategy in Peru to a football kit made from ocean plastics, 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 (21-25 May 2018)…


ENERGY: World’s first battery and rapid EV charging network to be built in the UK

To combat a potential charging infrastructure shortage as electric vehicle (EV) sales continue to gather pace globally, the National Grid and Pivot Power this week announced a £1.6bn project to install the world’s first 2GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid EV charging points across the UK.

The scheme will see 45 new battery sites developed nationwide at electricity sub-stations, forming the world’s biggest network of grid-scale 50MW batteries. The batteries will power the largest network of rapid EV charging stations in the world, with each station set to have a 20MW connection with the capability to support up to 100 rapid 150KW chargers.

Pivot Power aims to have operational batteries at 10 of the 45 sites, which are all near towns and major roads, within the next 18 months – but information on exactly when a full roll-out will be completed and the exact locations of the sites has not yet been revealed.

“We expect the use of electric vehicles to grow rapidly, so this innovative solution will help accelerate adoption by providing a network of rapid charging stations across the country enabling cars to charge quickly, efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible,” the National Grid’s project director for EVs, Graeme Cooper, said. 

RESOURCES: Adidas reveals Manchester United kit made with recycled ocean plastics

The mounting war on plastic waste undeniably focuses on ocean plastics, with several big-name brands including Procter & Gamble, Dell and HP incorporating ocean plastic in their products in the wake of a damning Ellen MacArthur report predicting there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.

After selling more than one million pairs of trainers made from 95% ocean plastic last year, Adidas has turned to the Premier League and revealed that its third strip for Manchester United next season will incorporate the equivalent by weight of 28 ocean bottles in each shirt. The design is part of the brand’s partnership with non-profit Parley For The Oceans, with the ‘Red Devils’ set to debut the kit on the pitch during the team’s summer tour of the US.

“We all need to change the way we think and act towards our oceans,” said Adidas’ category product director, Oliver Nicklisch. “By working with Manchester United to create new, stunning jerseys made with Parley ocean plastic, we hope that we can highlight the issue of plastic damaging our oceans and ultimately encourage and inspire football fans to join us in creating a better environment for everyone.”

The design builds on the Premier League’s recent pledge to eliminate single-use plastics from the organisation by 2020 through its partnership with Sky, which has already seen Tottenham Hotspur and Watford FC agree to explore ways to reduce plastic waste at their stadiums.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: London University builds water-saving measures into new law school

Water efficiency and savings measures often take a back seat in sustainability strategies and green building designs, as carbon reduction and electricity targets tend to steal the spotlight.

But City, University of London, has this month announced plans to install a rainwater harvesting system at its new £42m law school, in a move which could reduce its water costs by more than £4,500 each year and cut its mains water consumption by up to 30%.

The standalone rainwater harvesting system can produce one cubic metre of water using just 1.5kW/h energy. It will help the university meet the requirements of the London Plan, which states that all new residential buildings must incorporate water-saving measures and equipment in their designs so that mains water consumption can meet a target of 105 litres or less per head per day.

The City Law School, which is set to open in early 2019, has also been designed to include a car-free zone, secure cycle parking and tree planting.

MOBILITY: Arriva to power its bus and rail sites with 100% renewable electricity

As the electric vehicle (EV) revolution continues to gather pace with sales of EVs widely expected to account for over half of all new car sales globally by 2040, more and more transport firms are investing in E-buses as battery prices drop and manufacturers upscale. Indeed, a report published this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that the advance of e-buses will be even more rapid than that of electric cars, with 84% of new buses sold set to be electric by 2030.

But Arriva has gone one step further than electrifying its fleet and is moving to decarbonise the energy used in its buildings. This week, the transport firm announced that it will power almost all of its UK bus and rail sites with renewable electricity as part of a contract with SSE Business Energy – a move it claims will save 27,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions annually – the equivalent of 95 cars driving one million miles each.

The move has seen the UK Bus, Arriva Rail North and Chiltern Railways operator become the first major private transport operator in the UK to switch to a 100% renewable electricity supply, and forms part of the firm’s ‘Destination Green’ pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020 against a 2013 baseline.

“As well as the actions we’re taking to reduce the environmental impact of our vehicle fleets, the new contract helps us achieve our goals relating to our wider business impacts,” Arriva’s head of environmental sustainability, Andrew Clarke, said. “It’s a clear example of our commitment to decarbonising the transport sector and helping the UK meet its sustainability targets.”

LEADERSHIP: Peru becomes first nation to integrate carbon credits into its Paris Agreement strategy

Deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to be responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but until this week, no countries had integrated carbon credits generated by forest conservation projects into their nationally determined contribution (NDC) plans.

Peru has this week said it will include REDD+ carbon credits created through conservation efforts in the Tambopata-Bahuaja Reserve and Cordillera Azul National Park in its plan to limit the global average temperature rise to 2C, as per the Paris Agreement, in a world first.

The move by Peru demonstrates that projects which protect threatened high-conservation value and high-carbon stock forests are scalable and replicable, paving the way for other countries to follow suit.

Peru’s chief of the national service of protected areas, Pedro Gamboa, said: “It is absolutely vital that we conserve the carbon stored in our protected areas, conserve biodiversity, and protect the livelihoods of local communities in their buffer zones – this is the way that we will preserve for posterity the natural resources of our nation and our planet.”

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie