EVs for London market traders and funding for e-waste recycling: 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. We are returning with this series after a two-week break around COP27.

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

ENERGY: Teemill adopts hourly renewable energy tracking tech

As ever more businesses commit to sourcing 100% renewable energy, many are striving to go beyond a traditional tariff-based approach and choose options that guarantee additional generation capacity is being added and that their energy supply chains are traceable. One way of doing this is by tracking energy generation and distribution hourly – an approach Google is striving to mainstream.

This week, apparel company Teemill, which already uses 100% renewable electricity for its operations on the Isle of Wight, confirmed that it is adopting real-time energy tracking technology. The firm is working with energy supplier Good Energy and software provider Granular Energy, to match its electricity usage to two renewable generation projects. These projects cover 95% of its electricity use.

Good Energy sources power from more than 1,700 locations and, with Granular Energy, it is able to source power in the form, of half-hour units. Teemill is the first business supplied by Good Energy to trial this approach.

“There is widespread agreement that the unit-based system we have now, where certificates can be traded without suppliers buying renewable power, is not fit for purpose,” said Good Energy’s chief executive Nigel Pocklington. “Moving to a time-based certification system is an essential part of cracking down on greenwashing and giving customers the true picture of where their energy is coming from.”

RESOURCES: Material Focus launches £2.5m fund to boost recycling for electrical devices

E-waste, comprising discarded electronics and electricals, is the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream. The UN estimates that the global recycling rate for e-waste is a mere 17.4%.

Not-for-profit Material Focus estimates that UK homes contain 527 million electrical items that owners want to dispose of, meaning that the general public is sitting on valuable materials. People often don’t throw these items away as they are not sure how to recycle them.

Material Focus has this week launched a new fund to help overcome barriers to e-waste recycling for British consumers. The £2.5m fund will support organisations looking to add household electricals collection services to their existing offering, and to organisations developing new systems for collecting these items.

Organiations have until the end of January 2023 to apply for grant funding and should be ready to implement their project during 2023. Eligible organisations include local councils, waste management firms,non-profits, retailers and startups.

MOBILITY: Brixton market traders benefit from new electric van loan scheme

Brixton’s Electric Avenue is known as one of South London’s busiest market streets and was the first street of its kind in the UK to switch from gas to electric street lighting.

Taking note of this history – and the challenges SMEs are facing in reducing their emissions – Ford has launched a new scheme whereby the trader community in Brixton can loan an E-Transit van. This can help them get to grips with the practicalities of operating an electric vehicle (EV), including charging. Ford is also offering free test drives in the market this month.

Reggae Reggae sauce founder and chief executive Levi Roots will be one of the first traders to test the van, alongside ingredient supplier K & N Fresh Meat and Jamaican restaurant Healthy Eaters. The businesses, alongside Ford, will work with local councils and will call on the UK Government to ensure that the nation’s EV charging infrastructure scales over the coming years and that SMEs are supported to make the switch.

Ford Britain’s director of commercial vehicles Mandy Dean said: “Many of these local businesses have been serving customers for decades, spanning multiple generations, and probably with the support of a Transit in the background. It is vital that these businesses continue to thrive as we shift towards an all-electric future together – we’re ready to support them every step of the way and are calling on councils and governments to get behind the switch too.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Pernod Ricard confirms a $250m investment to create carbon-neutral whiskey distillery in Kentucky 

Earlier this year, we covered Pernod Ricard’s confirmation of plans to create a new carbon-neutral distillery in East Cork, in a conversion of its existing Middleton distillery.

Now, the business has announced that it will invest $250m to upgrade its bourbon distillery and warehouses in Marion County, Kentucky, to create a new facility that will be carbon-neutral in operations. The buildings will be designed to be ultra-energy-efficient in their fabric and technologies. Electrified heating will replace fossil-fuelled boilers. Pernod Ricard will use the LEED certification scheme to accredit the building.

The project also includes the creation of a new visitor centre and the restoration of land fir nature.

Pernod Ricard North America’s chair and chief executive Ann Mukherjee said: “Our company is an agricultural company at its core and so it is vital that we lead the category forward – in partnership with our farmers and growers – and remain committed to the long-term sustainability of our people, our industry and our planet. This investment is the latest illustration of that belief.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Shortlist announced for edie’s 2023 Awards

Pictured: The winners of our 2022 Awards

We normally focus on just one individual, business or partnership in this part of the weekly Success Stories feature – but this week, we have a whole host of great stories to bring you. On Wednesday (7 December), we unveiled the shortlist for our 2023 edie Awards, recognizing excellence across the sphere of sustainable business.

The announcement came after our panel of 25 expert judges recently convened for a full day of judging where they whittled down almost 500 entries to a shortlist of around 200 finalists across 24 categories. This includes new categories such as the Net-Zero Innovation of the Year alongside returning favourites such as Partnership & Collaboration of the Year, and the coveted Lloyds Bank Sustainable Business of the Year.

Commenting on the announcement of this year’s finalists, edie’s content director Luke Nicholls said: “COP27 and COP15 have underlined just how important business leadership is when it comes to accelerating climate action and reversing biodiversity loss.

“Nowhere is this leadership more evident than on our edie Awards shortlist. Despite battling through the perfect storm of Covid-19, conflict and the cost of living crisis, all of this year’s finalists have shifted from talking about a net-zero carbon, just transition to actually delivering it – at scale and at pace.

“On behalf of the entire edie team, I would like to congratulate all of our finalists – we can’t wait to celebrate with you on 30 March at the Park Plaza London Westminster.”

Click here to read the shortlist in full. Click here to book your tickets to the awards ceremony in London on Thursday 30 March 2023.

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