GALLERY: Top 10 sustainability stories in November 2015

November was a HUGE month for sustainability. While many of us have been gearing up for the Paris climate talks with a few last-minute announcements and pledges, others have been celebrating excellence at edie's own Sustainable Leaders Awards.

All of the past month’s news has culminated in November being the biggest month ever for edie in terms of visitors to the website. The increase in traffic coincided with a brand new website design, giving our sustainability news and features a head-to-toe makeover.

The month was dominated by edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards – a record-breaking night which saw companies large and small walk away with prestigious green gongs. Meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower got closer and closer in the build-up to the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris, which kicked off on the last day of the month.

And the big green news stories didn’t stop there. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and the UK Government sent out some mixed signals, with the former announcing plans to ‘reset’ the nation’s energy market, but with the latter slashing at energy department budgets.

Take a look through all of November’s most-read news stories in our gallery, and click the links in the descriptions below to read them for yourself.

1) Hugh’s war on food waste: Are supermarkets doing enough?

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall went to ‘War on Waste’, with a new TV show highlighting the food waste caused by exacting supermarket standards. But the retailers were quick to tell edie about the steps they’re taking to tackle the problem.

2) Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 winners revealed

National Grid, Willmott Dixon and M&S were among the big winners of edie’s 2015 Sustainablity Leaders Awards, announced at a glittering ceremony in London.

The Grand Connaught Rooms were at full capacity for the ninth year of the Awards which celebrate the individuals and organisations that are setting the standard when it comes to doing business better.

3) How Veolia has paved the way for a circular economy

Veolia’s executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff discussed her biggest achievements, challenges and secrets to success in a revealing on-stage interview with edie.

Brachlianoff explained how the resource management company has adopted an operation-wide ethos to put sustainability at the heart of its operations, through its new ‘Resourcing the World’ strategy.

4) Rudd’s ‘reset’ speech: 12 things you need to know…

Energy Secretary Rudd delivered an historic speech, laying out a new direction for UK energy policy – including a target end-date for coal generation, plans for more gas-fired power plants and potential subsidy auctions for offshore wind.

5) Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015: Green budgets cut, RHI reform

“Going green should not cost the earth” proclaimed George Osborne in his Autumn Statement as the Chancellor confirmed plans to reform the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and slash budgets for DECC and DEFRA.

6) Top tips: 5 ways to create an effective behaviour change programme

Three-quarters of energy managers surveyed in a recent edie report claimed that employee engagement and behaviour change was a top priority this year. But they also listed it as one of the biggest barriers to getting their energy efficiency schemes off the ground.

Implementing behaviour change programmes is evidentally still fraught with difficulty for managers whose backgrounds are more likely to be in energy and environment matters, rather than psychology. Here, we spoke to behavioural expert Dr Phillipa Coan for her top five tips on behaviour change.

7) Football star Flamini unveils secret biofuel company

In a surprise announcement, Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini revealed an eight-year secret plan that has seen him set up a market-leading biofuel technology firm in a sector worth up to £20bn. According to the Sun on Sunday, the French footballer set up GF Biochemicals in the Italian province of Caserta in 2008.

8) Unilever to be carbon positive by 2030

Just ahead of the Paris talks, global consumer goods firm Unilever announced a new target to be carbon positive across its operations by 2030. The Dutch firm says it will achieve the target by eliminating coal from its energy mix and sourcing all grid electricity from renewable sources by 2020. By 2030, it plans for all energy to come from renewable sources.

9) World’s largest solar-powered boat sets sail for Paris talks

The world’s largest solar-powered boat was en route to Paris for the COP21 climate conference, where it has been moored up as an ‘ambassador vessel’ to draw attention to the key issues of ocean plastic waste and maritime emissions.

10) What I want from Paris: 21 climate leaders on COP21 – Part one

And finally, the COP21 climate conference kicked off at the end of the month. In a two-part feature, edie brought you the voices of sustainability professionals, politicians, businessmen and environmental activists on what they wanted to see from the Paris climate talks.

Matt Mace

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