Baileys’ B Corp certification and NatWest’s huge EV charging car park: 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 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: AIB signs power purchase agreement to support two new solar farms

Irish banking group AIB confirmed on Monday (17 October) the signing of a new power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy developer and operator NTR. The deal will see the company supporting the construction of two solar farms, collectively representing 21.4GW of generation capacity.

Once the solar farms, at Enniscorthy and Gorey, are operational, they will provide some 80% of AIB’s electricity needs across its retail and office buildings. AIB is notably aiming to source 100% of its electricity requirements from renewables by 2030, meaning the new PPA marks a significant step towards this ambition. The PPA has a 15-year duration.

The Irish Government is notably aiming for renewable generation, contracted under corporate PPAs, to account for 15% of national electricity demand by the end of this decade.

“Corporate PPAs such as this are an integral part of the solution to drive the clean energy transition across our European markets, but it is particularly gratifying to sign a PPA in our home market with AIB, who are leading the charge for Irish companies in embracing this way to access clean affordable power,” said NTR’s chief executive Rosheen McGuckian.

RESOURCES: Lidl GB shifts to clear milk bottle caps

It’s Recycle Week, meaning that many businesses operating in the UK have announced new measures and targets to improve packaging recyclability over the past few days. The occasion has also reignited the debate around greenwashing in recycling conversations and the need to scale up reuse systems.

To coincide with the occasion, Lidl GB has confirmed that it will permanently remove green colour caps on semi-skimmed and organic milk, after trails of a clear alternative were found to improve bottle recyclability. The change should improve the recyclability of some 60 tonnes of packaging per year by the supermarket’s estimates.

Lidl GB has worked with dairy supplier Muller to implement the change. Shoppers will begin to notice the new caps from the end of October.

MOBILITY: NatWest installs EV charging at Edinburgh office

We have another bank-related story to bring you this week. In what is believed to be one of the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging projects at an office block, banking giant NatWest has worked with Equans to install 264 charging sockets in the car part for its Edinburgh office.

The charging sockets can be used by NatWest staff, as well as its customers and visitors. The chargers are hosted on the public GeniePoint charging platform. They will play an important role in NatWest delivering its commitment to ensure that 15% of all parking spaces associated with its buildings have EV charging by 2023.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is NatWest’s parent company. The firm’s chair for Scotland, Judith Cruickshank, said: “. Having been a principal sponsor at last year’s COP26, it is important that we continue challenging ourselves to do more, and that includes looking at the support we can offer at our Gogarburn campus.

“Realising our ambition for net-zero requires a systemic shift in energy use, in sustainable thinking and action. With this investment at Gogarburn, we are supporting our colleagues to be able to make those changes as stress-free as possible.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: LEED Gold certification for new automotive campus building in the Netherlands

We’re turning to mainland Europe for this week’s fourth success story, which comes from power and thermal manufacturer and solutions provider Delta. The company is celebrating being awarded a LEED Gold certification for a new building at its Automotive Campus in Helmond, the Netherlands.

The new facility is expected to use less than half of the electricity, annually, that similar, non-LEED-certified buildings would consume. It is fitted with a digital building energy management system that automatically adjusts heating, cooling and lighting in line with the number of people in each part of the building.

Other built-in features include ultra-efficient lighting and streetlighting; EV chargers and 3360 on-site solar panels. The building’s electricity needs will be met entirely using renewables.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Baileys becomes world’s biggest B Corp spirits brand

Keen edie readers will have seen, on Tuesday (18 October), that Diageo-owned cream liqueur brand Baileys has been certified as a B Corp, making it the largest brand in this category to achieve the certification.

The business achieved 83.3 points on its B Impact Assessment out of a possible 200. A minimum score of 80 is needed for certification. The worker category and environment category are the areas where the brand recorded the highest scores, contributing and 29.4 points and 21 points respectively.

B Corps need to recertify every three years and, as such, Baileys’ global brand director Jennifer English has noted that “there is more [the brand] can do” in all five areas of B Corp assessment.

English added: “As the largest global spirits brand to join the B Corp movement, we are looking forward to working with the B Corp communities across global markets and ensuring that we are using the scale of our business to deliver positive impact.”

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