Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week

A solar-powered sports stadium and a recycled plastic playground feature in the fifth edition of edie's new content series which rounds up some of the world's most inspirational sustainability initiatives that are transforming business, for good.

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

As part of our newly-launched 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 Sunday, 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 an EV-powered carsharing service in Los Angeles to a recycled plastics playground in the North of England, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses to achieve a sustainable future, today.

Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (23-27 April 2018)...

ENERGY: Sacramento Kings to secure all of its energy needs from solar panel roof this summer

The sporting world has taken a host of measures to become more sustainable in recent times. Indeed, only this week, Sky teamed with the Premier League to eliminate single-use plastics from the organisation by 2020, while encouraging football clubs and fans to stop using certain plastics.

This week also saw Californian-based professional basketball team Sacramento Kings post its own sustainability success story, with news that a 700kW solar array installed on the roof of its Golden 1 Center arena – a LEED Platinum facility –  will provide all of the stadium’s electricity needs for ten days this summer. During select days, the arena will minimise its energy needs and utilise the facility’s innovative passive cooling system, relying more on natural lighting and reducing additional loads.

“We believe sports teams have an opportunity and the responsibility to drive meaningful change in their communities by showing how innovative thought and leadership can create progress,” said Vivek Ranadivé, owner of the Sacramento Kings.

“Our hope is that basketball fans, Sacramento businesses, and communities around the world will be inspired by this to reduce their own environmental footprint in a meaningful way.”

RESOURCES: Triodos issues rally call for banking sector to adopt biodegradable cards

The plastics agenda has made us rethink our use of materials such as straws and disposable cups, but how about the polluting effects caused by our bank cards? There are 164 million payment cards in circulation in the UK, the vast majority of which are made from non-biodegradable plastic such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Expired cards contribute to an estimated 34 million kg of PV materials to landfill each year.

As a solution, sustainable lender Triodos has pioneered an eco-friendly chip PIN debit card made from PLA, a ‘natural plastic’ produced from biodegradable resources. The innovative new type of card was put through a rigorous testing process to confirm its suitability for use in a regularly handled debit card, with the result that the card is now believed to have the strongest environmental credentials of any card in the UK market.

This week, Triodos used the bank’s annual meeting to issue a rallying call to the rest of the industry: “PLA could be adopted by all banks and card providers and the more banks that adopt the material, the cheaper its production and supply will become,” Triodos’ managing director Bevis Watts said. “We are very willing to share our experiences of using the material with other banks to encourage greater use of more sustainable materials.”

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Febreze, Tesco and TerraCycle team up to raise awareness of recycling among young Brits 

With stagnating recycling rates across the country, the need to raise awareness among communities around the issue of plastic waste has never been greater. Last summer Febreze, TerraCycle and Tesco partnered to give schools in the UK a chance to win a playground made from recycled plastic, in the hope to show the possibilities of the circular economy.

The competition was won by Wooler First School after an impressive campaign to encourage local votes. It is perhaps no coincidence that the North East of England, where Wooler First School is based, has seen the largest fall in recycling rates over the past five years. Children at the school can now benefit from the recycled playground, which has been built mainly with parts made from 900kg kerbside recycling waste including milk bottles, plastic food trays and containers.

MOBILITY: EV carsharing service to benefit low-income LA residents  

The carsharing industry has taken off in recent times. Last week, major US ride-sharing service Lyft vowed to make all of its journeys carbon-neutral in a move calculated to appeal to its millennial consumer base.

Fast forward a week. Blue Solutions, which operates the world’s largest carsharing fleet exclusively composed of EVs, announced the launch of a unique new 100% EV carsharing service in Los Angeles. BlueLA Carsharing is the US’ largest service of its kind, focusing primarily on underserved areas in LA with specific rates for low-income residents.

“We all want a healthier planet for our children and our grandchildren,” said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “BlueLA will make our collective effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions more inclusive by providing underserved communities with an environmentally-friendly way to get around town — at an affordable price.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: UK businesses make world-first pact to slash plastic packaging

Major firms including Nestlé, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Unilever have this week made joint commitments to make unnecessary single-use plastic packaging "a thing of the past". The Plastic Pact includes signatories from 42 businesses that are responsible for more than 80% of the plastic packaging on products sold in UK supermarkets.

The likes of Asda, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have vowed to eliminate single-use packaging through redesign by 2025. The Pact will also see members ensure that 100% of plastic packaging can be reusable, recyclable or compostable. Backed by the UK Government and launched by not-for-profit WRAP, the Plastic Pact will look to stimulate new business models and build a new recycling system to tackle plastic pollution in the UK.

George Ogleby


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