Africa’s green hydrogen alliance launches as Wolves promise first environmental strategy: The sustainability success stories of the week

Published every week, this 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.

Across the UK and the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambitions into action. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Six countries launch Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance

Much has been said in recent weeks about plans for scaling low-carbon hydrogen production in Europe, due to the increased targets detailed in the EU’s RePowerEU plan and the UK’s Energy Security Strategy.

But the low-carbon hydrogen transition is rapidly becoming global. This week, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, Morocco and Mauritania formally launched a new collaborative initiative intended to enable green hydrogen production and use to scale rapidly. The nations will work together to create an enabling environment for hydrogen investment and development, assessing how best to change public and regulatory policy, capacity building and approaches to financing. Like the UK has already done, the Alliance will also seek to develop a sustainability standard for new green hydrogen.

The six national governments will receive support from the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the Green Hydrogen Organisation, the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

UN Climate Change High-Level Champion Nigel Topping said: “With its huge renewable energy resource wealth and land space, Africa has a chance to become a frontrunner in this burgeoning green hydrogen industry, creating zero-emission jobs, domestic energy supplies and export revenues fit for a decarbonised future. But to get there, we need radical collaboration across the governments, the private sector and civil society – as the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance will foster.”

RESOURCES: Love Island to stop promoting fast fashion and spotlight second-hand clothes

Image: eBay

Each year, when summer rolls around and Love Island returns to TV screens in the UK, green groups express concern about the way the show encourages young shoppers to overconsume fashion. The show previously worked with online fast-fashion retailer I Saw It First to source all contestant clothing and has also partnered with BooHoo. Critics have pointed out that, according to Barnados, Brits are now buying 50 million summer outfits they plan to wear just once each year.

In a significant departure from this approach, Love Island’s exclusive partner for fashion this season will be eBay. Contestants will only have access to a shared wardrobe full of pre-owned clothes and celebrity stylist Amy Bannerman will be on hand at the Villa. On the eBay website and app, shoppers will be able to access a new ‘Shop the Show’ tab.

“As one of the original homes of pre-loved, we believe that by joining forces with this incredibly influential programme, we’ll inspire the nation to think differently and make more conscious choices when it comes to their wardrobes,” said eBay UK’s chief marketing officer Eve Williams.

MOBILITY: Scotland’s biggest rapid EV charging station opened

According to data released by BloombergNEF this week, no nation is installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the pace necessary to serve rapidly increasing numbers of vehicles. In 2020, nations involved in the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council were home to 10.2 EVs per public charging connector. In 2021, the ratio was 14.1 vehicles to one connector.

It is timely, then, that Scotland’s largest ultra-rapid EV charging station has come online this week. Operated by Fastned, the facility, in the Palace Grounds Retail Park in Hamilton, can charge up to eight EVs at a time.

Fastned claims that the chargers are able to add up to 300 miles of range to a pure-electric car within 20 minutes. They are being served by 100% renewable electricity, sourced using a mixture of tariffs and self-generation from the site’s solar canopy. The Scottish Government co-funded the project as part of its Low-Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.

Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth MSP said the new facility is a “fantastic example of what can be delivered by industry” to “to further encourage people to realise the benefits of driving an EV”.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Bruntwood Works invests in new low-carbon Manchester office development

Earlier this month, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) confirmed which expert organisations are contributing to the development of a new net-zero carbon standard for buildings, covering embodied and operational emissions.

One building which will be delivered in line with the framework is the Ev0 building in Greater Manchester. The project this week took a step forward with property company Bruntwood Works confirming a £30m investment. The six-storey office block, at Didsbury Technology Park, will be constructed using timber and low-carbon concrete to minimize embodied carbon.

Regarding operational carbon, the building is designed for energy efficiency and will be fitted with a smart building management system. It will feature onsite solar generation and energy storage and source all other electricity from Bruntwood’s wind farm cooperative.

Planning applications for the site will be submitted shortly and, should processes run to time, construction should begin in January 2023 and be completed in April 2024. As well as meeting the UKGBC’s standard, the building is set to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and NABERS 5.5-stars certifications.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Wolves and Football for Future partner to help club prioritise environmental action

Image: Wolves

The Premier League season is coming to a close this week, and, while many fans will be spending the weekend nail-biting and shouting at the TV, there has been some good sustainability-related news in the league this week.

Wolves have announced a partnership with environmental non-profit Football for Future, which is spearheaded by edie 30 Under 30 alumni Thom Rawson. The partnership will see Wolves producing its first club-wide environmental sustainability strategy. The club has stated that it felt compelled to take this step after members of the Wolves 1877 Trust passed a motion last year calling for a greater focus on climate action across the football community.

As a first step, the club will complete a comprehensive review of its environmental impact, which it is calling its ‘bootprint’. Appropriate targets will then be drawn up. To help with the delivery of the strategy, staff workshops will be delivered by the club and by Football for Future.

“We are delighted to embark upon this project, building upon the many positive steps already undertaken in relation to energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling,” said the club’s facilities, safety and security director Steve Sutton.

“We look forward to establishing a club-wide sustainability strategy, developing our understanding and improving our environmental performance to position Wolves as an industry leader, engaging with fans and stakeholders on this very important issue.”


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