Deforestation monitoring and £50m EV investments: The sustainability success stories of the week
As part of our 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 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.
From Aston Martin’s £50m investment in its Welsh electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility, to a new range of outdoor clothing made from littered plastic bottles, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
ENERGY: World’s ‘most powerful’ offshore wind turbines unveiled off the coast of Scotland
Just days after the largest offshore windfarm in the world opened in the Irish Sea, the UK celebrated another renewables success story with the unveiling of a new 93.2MW facility off the coast of Aberdeen.
The 11-turbine wind farm includes two 8.8MW turbines which the facility’s operator, Vattenfall, claims are the most powerful operating anywhere in the world. Taking the generating capacity of these two 191-metre-tall turbines into account, it is estimated that the wind farm will produce the equivalent of more than 70% of Aberdeen’s annual domestic electricity demand.
The facility took just six months to complete and was installed using an innovative type of turbine foundation known as a suction bucket jacket foundation. The method involves pressing upturned steel buckets into the seabed and pumping the water out of them to form the foundation of the wind farm.
“This project is a great example of modern offshore wind energy infrastructure being built here in UK waters,” RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said.
“These turbines, foundations and cables are state-of-the-art pieces of big kit which help developers to build projects faster and produce more power, more cheaply.”
RESOURCES: The North Face launches clothing line made with recycled plastic bottles
From Adidas’ ocean plastic trainers to Corona’s recycled beach bottle shirt, more and more companies are moving to design garments incorporating a high proportion of recycled content. Outdoor fashion brand The North Face has this week joined the trend after unveiling a range of products made from recycled PET bottles, collected by litter-pickers from national parks across the US.
Called the Bottle Source range, the line includes a variety of tote bags, sweatshirts and T-shirts made with bottles littered in the Yosemite, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The North Face has already collected and recycled more than 72,000kg of plastic under the Bottle Source scheme and will donate $1 from the sale of each Bottle Source product to future projects at the three national parks.
“Bottle Source is a fitting next step in our materials innovation,” The North Face’s director of sustainability James Rogers said. “This collection helps fund sustainability efforts in our national parks as more and more people enjoy these stunning places.”
BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Business and city leaders pledge to deliver net-zero building sector by 2050
Following on from the World Green Building Council’s (World GBC) call for the global built environment sector to eliminate carbon emissions for building portfolios by 2030, a group of 38 business and city leaders have this week committed to delivering net-zero carbon portfolios by 2050.
During talks at the Global Climate Action Summit in California on Thursday (13 September), the leaders of 12 businesses, 22 cities and four regions made the commitment. If all pledges were to be met in full, the World GBC estimates that 192 million tonnes of carbon emissions will be avoided by 2050 – the equivalent to removing 41 million cars from the road for annually.
Among the businesses to have made the commitment are lighting company Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), property developer Berkley Homes and cloud computing firm Salesforce. Meanwhile, London, New York City, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo are among the city signatories.
The World GBC’s chief executive Terri Willis said the joint commitment had enabled the network of almost 70 national Green Building Councils to “convene the world’s most pioneering organisations in net zero carbon buildings”.
“Taking this leap has taken a phenomenal effort from the founding signatories, and we applaud them for their leadership and compel others to join us on this exciting journey,” Willis added.
MOBILITY: Aston Martin to expand Welsh manufacturing plant ahead of EV launch
Shortly after the publication of new research revealing that there are now more than one million EVs in Europe after sales soared by more than 40% in the first half of the year, Aston Martin this week confirmed it will invest £50m in expanding its Welsh manufacturing plant to accommodate the production of its EV lines.
The luxury carmaker claims the investment will enable it to employ 750 staff at its St Athan manufacturing hub in Glamorgan, ahead of the launch of its new line of 100% electric cars called the Lagonda range. The first vehicle from the range is set to start production in 2021, after Aston Martin unveiled a concept for the model at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones welcomed the investment, claiming it would see St Athan serve as the “home of electrification” for the UK’s luxury car sector.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Nestlé to monitor all palm oil supply chains with satellites in bid to curb deforestation
As part of a commitment to source all raw materials from deforestation-free suppliers by 2020, food and drink giant Nestlé this week announced it will monitor 100% of its palm oil supply chains using satellite technology.
The company has partnered with Airbus and The Forest Trust (TFT) to launch the first satellite equipped with Starling – a piece of software that uses a combination of high-resolution radar and optical satellite imagery to provide year-round monitoring of land cover changes and forest cover disturbances. The software is also able to differentiate between production forests that include palm plantations, protected forests and other areas.
Nestlé is hoping to use the software to monitor 100% of its palm oil sites by the end of 2018, 100% of its paper and pulp supply chains by the end of 2019 and, at a later date, its soy supply chains.
“Nestlé has always been committed to source the raw materials we need to make our products in a responsible manner,” Nestlé’s executive vice president Magdi Batato said. “In order to accelerate this journey, we have worked with Airbus and TFT since mid-2016 to embark on a pilot project over the Perak landscape in Malaysia. Starling satellite monitoring is a game-changer to achieve transparency in our supply chain.”