Achieving Mission Possible: 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.

This new weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development

This new weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development

Published every week, the new series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their 'Mission Possible' across the campaign’s five key pillars - energyresourcesinfrastructuremobility and business leadership.

This edition of the 'Achieving Mission Possible' round-up highlights some of the tremendous progress we are now seeing right across the globe. From a plastic-free shopping mall to electrifying a substantial fleet of delivery trucks, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

ENERGY: Mars Australia to match 100% of its electricity use with renewable energy by 2020

Businesses within the consumer goods sector have taken a host of measures to become more sustainable in recent months, with Procter & Gamble (P&G) pledging to purchase renewable energy to power 100% of its plants by 2030 and Nestlé aiming to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

This week, EXTRA gum and Pedigree dog food manufacturer Mars Australia posted its own sustainability success story with news that it will generate the equivalent of 100% of its estate’s electricity use from renewable sources by 2020, after signing a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA). The Mars PPA will facilitate the construction of the 350MW Kiamal Solar PV Farm near Victoria, which will become operational in 2019.

As part of its RE100 commitment, the company already purchases 100% renewable electricity to power all 12 of its UK factories and its US facilities, as well as its estate in nine other countries.

Mars Australia’s general manager, Barry O’Sullivan, said the brand’s growing investment in renewables demonstrates a “long-term commitment to a sustainable, greener planet that will benefit our customers, our consumers and the local and global community".

RESOURCES: Plastic-free supermarket opens in Scotland

Earlier this year, Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza made headlines by committing to rolling out plastic-free aisles in its 74 stores. Now, a new market in Scotland is joining the crusade against plastic pollution with an entirely plastic-free range.

Theresa May wants supermarkets in the UK to create plastic free aisles as part of the 25-Year Environment plan, but that vision is now a reality at Glasgow’s new Locavore grocery store, where all products are either not packaged or housed in recyclable, biodegradable or compostable alternatives, with many being offered in refillable containers. Goods on sale include pulses, nuts, grains, oils and vinegars as well as cleaning products and snacks.

The £100,000 independent store was jointly funded by Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), who hope the move will encourage other retailers to explore opportunities to reduce their single-use packaging.

“Shoppers are increasingly concerned about single-use packaging which is often not, or can’t be, recycled,” said Zero Waste Scotland’s resource efficiency programme manager, Warren McIntyre. “While packaging has a role to play in ensuring food and other products reach consumers in good condition, businesses such as Locavore show that it can be reduced – and that’s extremely popular with shoppers.”

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Net-zero carbon trade centre proposed for Sydney

This week saw plans for an $8bn net-zero carbon development on a similar scale to New York’s World Trade Centre submitted to the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Premier and Cabinet in Australia.

The planning application from Aerotropolis Group details four large towers for business use and several low-rise, mixed-use developments to be built in the 10,000-hectare greenfield site around the Western Sydney Airport, which is set to be completed in 2026. The project’s built-in sustainability features include onsite generation from renewable sources, internal light rail, an electric vehicle network and the potential for metro rail connection. As for cooling, the project proposes to harness water from nearby Bringelly Creek.

The energy produced onsite would be stored in batteries and shared among the buildings, with the proposed precinct large enough to enable energy sharing between different uses at different times of the day through a decentralised energy plant, development designers told The Fifth Estate.

MOBILITY: Milk & More orders 200 electric delivery trucks

As businesses move to electrify their fleet, several delivery companies have taken steps to decarbonise their deliveries to customers, with UPS trailing a pilot fleet of EVs in Paris and London alongside a power-assisted trailer, and Sainsbury’s integrating electric cargo bikes into its delivery service across south London.

Following this trend, grocery delivery company Milk & More has ordered 200 StreetScooter electric delivery trucks from German postal firm Deutsche Post in a bid to reduce the emissions caused by its 1.5 million daily deliveries to over 500,000 British households. The firm claims that the demand for milk delivery services is regaining popularity due to mounting concerns over plastic waste and air pollution.

Deutsche Post developed the StreetScooter for internal use to keep carbon emissions low as customers ordered more parcels due to the growing popularity of online shopping. Since then, it has started to sell the model to other companies due to the growing trend towards electric fleets. The vehicles, which are powered by 30kW electric motors, have a range of up to 80 miles and a load capacity of 710kg.  

LEADERSHIP: Canary Wharf unveils bold new collaborative sustainability strategy

British property giant Canary Wharf Group (CWG) has this week unveiled a sweeping new 2030 sustainability strategy that includes goals of becoming a circular economy leader, transforming its estate into the world's first 'SDG-compliant micro-city' and becoming net positive.

Headline pledges in the firm’s ‘Making Sustainability Real’ strategy include switching to zero-carbon vehicles on the 128-acre Canary Wharf Estate, ensuring all new developments are either carbon net-zero or net positive and “aspiring to establish the world’s leading circular economy”.

Speaking exclusively to edie, the group’s head of sustainability Martin Gettings explained that “true sustainability leadership” - evidenced in the strategy - lay not just in its ambitious goals, but in CWG’s commitment to collaborate with its competitors, supply chain and SMEs in the same sector.

“[Net positive] will be a business norm when there is a level playing field, so what we have to think about is ensuring we don’t create a breakaway set of corporates who perpetually congratulate themselves for being leaders,” he said. “Bringing the rest of the sector along is true leadership and I think we need to consider how leading businesses can establish ambitious targets while finding ways to encourage their peers to join the journey.”

Sarah George


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