Google’s clean energy for cities and ‘greener’ litigation: 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: Google pledges $1m for 24/7 clean energy schemes in capital cities

Given the concerns around the credibility of renewable energy generation certificates and how unreliable certificates could slow the pace of the clean energy transition, Google is working on a tool enabling energy players to track renewable generation and consumption in real-time.

The technology giant this week announced a partnership wit C40 cities to launch a Carbon-Free Energy for Cities programme, debuting in London, Paris and Copenhagen. The programme will develop and implement strategies, practices and tools for reaching 24/7 clean energy generation and ensuring that energy accounting is credible.

The Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Sophie Haestorp Andersen, said: “This new partnership between C40 and Google will enable us to advance our energy procurement and use clean energy at peak hours. Ultimately this will enable running our municipal operations on clean energy sources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – setting a path for others to follow.”

RESOURCES: Dulux recycles one million paint cans

Most local councils in the UK do not collect empty paint tins for recycling from homes. Tradespeople have also reported challenges with recycling cans. To help avoid cans from, therefore, ending up in landfill, Dulux has worked with Veolia to launch a return scheme.

The scheme enables tradespeople to bring empty cans to stores or arrange for collection from the sites they are working on. They are then recycled by Veolia, and the customers receive a certificate each year tracking their recycling. Partially empty cans are recirculated through the Community Repaint initiative so all of the product can be used before recycling.

Dulux and Veolia this week posted that the initiative has surpassed the one million can milestone.

“By recycling high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) paint pots up to 88% of the carbon emissions are saved compared with using virgin materials, and using recycled steel and tin saves around 60% of the emissions against extracting new resources,” said Veolia UK’s chief operating officer Donald Macphail. “This is just the beginning of the journey and I encourage all in the industry to utilise this service as together we can make a huge difference.”

MOBILITY: BMW partners with National Parks UK for charging infrastructure drive

The rate of electric vehicle (EV) charger installations in the UK – as in many other markets – is being outpaced by the rate of growth of the national EV stock. It has been said many times that range anxiety in Britain is now less a case of the vehicle range and more a case of charging access.

With this in mind, and with nine in ten visitors to the UK’s 15 National Parks travelling by car, BMW UK has partnered with National Parks UK to improve charging infrastructure. The two organisations announced the partnership on Thursday (27 October), also selecting Pod Point as the charging point provider.

Over the course of three years, BMW UK will support National Parks UK to add charging infrastructure to all of its parks. The Lake District is the first to benefit, as it is the most-visited. Charging points will be installed at Snowdonia, Dartmoor and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs in 2023.

“In the Lake District, we are aiming to be a net-zero National Park by 2037 and one of the best ways to achieve this is by reducing carbon emissions from visitor travel,” said the Lake District National Park’s chief executive Richard Leafe. “Our partnership with BMW is a significant step towards this, giving visitors and communities a wider choice of sustainable travel options, meaning we can all play a part in continuing to protect and enhance this special place.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: WorldGBC launches climate resilience guide

We often use this section of the success stories to spotlight a particularly innovative building or development – but, this week, we’re highlighting the newest industry guidance report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC). Published on Wednesday (26 October), the report provides practical steps that urban planners and developers can take to build climate adaptation into their projects.

The guide emphasizes how many urban areas across the world will face rising temperatures and more extreme weather events in the coming decades, as well as the impacts of coastal and river erosion and flash flooding. Supporting the Council in the development of the guide were Buro Happold, Multiplex, Saint-Gobain and Shaw Contract.

“This principle-based resource will support the much-needed transition towards people-centric infrastructure solutions considering different urban scales,” said WorldGBC’s chief executive Cristina Gamboa.

“It’s time to scale low-carbon, highly resilient and equitable built environment solutions for everyone, everywhere. And it’s time for impactful policy responses from local and regional leaders, to enable this much-needed transformation.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Greener Litigation Pledge launches in Italy

Did you know that, out of all the podcast episodes edie has published so far this year, our most popular has been this special edition about the relationship between the legal system and the net-zero transition?

And, with that shameless plug, we segway smoothly into the news that Greener Litigation has launched in Italy, with Pavia e Ansaldo as its first signatory.

Greener Litigation first launched in 2020, with its co-founders seeing the carbon emissions benefits of the shift to remote hearings that resulted from Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The aim is to help the courts system align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature pathway by accelerating decarbonisation.

After securing more than 75 signatories in the UK, the organisation has this month launched its Pledge in Italy. Signatories are required to limit their emissions by taking steps like avoiding hard-copy documents and reducing business travel – particularly international travel.

Greener Litigation steering committee member Olivia Wybraniec said: ”Climate change is a borderless issue so we’re naturally excited that has Pavia & Ansaldo chosen to make this important commitment and become our first Greener Litigation Pledge for Italy signatory, leading the way in engaging the Italian legal profession to reduce the carbon impact of dispute resolution.”

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