A sustainable Super Bowl and Ikea China's EV deliveries: The sustainability success stories of the week
Published every week, this series charts how businesses, city leaders and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their 'Mission Possible' across the campaign's five key pillars - energy, resources, mobility, built environment and business leadership.
From a US beer advert which promotes wind power, to the unveiling of closed-loop uniforms for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses, local authorities and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
ENERGY: Denmark set to build renewable power ‘islands’ near Copenhagen
Denmark has long been seen as one of the leaders of Europe’s low-carbon energy transition, largely due to its extensive network of wind farms and ambitious goal of souring all power for energy and transport from renewable sources by 2050.
As part of its bid to meet this target, the Danish government revealed this week that it is planning to build nine artificial islands south of Copenhagen, which will play host to a range of low-carbon energy facilities. Plans for the cluster of islands, called Holmene, include an energy from waste (EfW) plant, an offshore wind farm with five turbines and a nature reserve.
In total, the islands are expected to generate more than 300,000MWh of green energy annually, which is equivalent to the power consumption of a quarter of the Copenhagen population. Construction is set to begin in 2022.
RESOURCES: International Olympic Committee unveils recycled uniforms for Tokyo 2020
The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have featured heavily in this series several times in the past – and for good reason. The event will play host to a fleet of innovative electric vehicles (EVs), powered by 100% renewables and operate in line with the aims of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a further sustainability success story for the Games, Japanese sportswear brand Asics this week revealed the designs for Team Japan’s uniforms, which will be made from 100% recycled materials. The clothing will be made from end-of-life sportswear from a range of brands, which Asics is encouraging the Japanese public to donate through its Reborn Wear Project.
Several Olympians have donated their old kits to the project and taken to social media to encourage fans to do the same, urging them to help create closed-loop garments which are “sustainable, innovative and rich with memories”. Supporters include wrestler Saori Yoshida, sprinter Chisato Fukushima and former marathon runner Kenji Kimihara.
MOBILITY: Ikea achieves ‘net-zero’ deliveries in Shanghai
After joining the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative in 2017, Ikea made a pledge last year to electrify all of its home deliveries across five major cities - Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai - by 2020.
On 23 January, the furniture retailer revealed that it had achieved its 100% carbon-neutral delivery goal in Shanghai, ahead of schedule, delivering all packages within the city region using fully electric vehicles for the first time.
Ikea was largely able to switch its Shanghai fleet for EVs through partnerships with warehousing and distribution firm Beiye New Brother Logistics and DST, which have both granted the retailer access to their shared electric fleet. The retailer has also funded the development of a new EV charging network across the local area, to support its own fleet and encourage others to make the switch.
"For us, it's crucial to grow our business in a sustainable way - that's why we're speeding up the transition to EVs in five inner-city areas," Ikea’s chief executive Jesper Brodin said. “It’s not only about Ikea shifting one vehicle to another, but it’s a systemic shift.”
BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Super Bowl stadium dubbed ‘most sustainable yet’
Every winter, more than 100 million people across the globe watch as two US football teams battle it out to take home the nation’s most prestigious title in the sport – the Super Bowl.
But while public and media attention is likely to remain firmly fixed on the moves made by the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, the venue for the sporting event also deserves some of the limelight. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the first sports stadium in the world to achieve a LEED Platinum designation, and has received praise for its built-in energy, waste and water efficiency measured.
Opened in 2017, the 85,000-seater stadium boasts 4,000 rooftop solar panels, 82,500 feet of energy-efficient LED lighting and a stormwater storage tank capable of holding two million gallons. Due to its extensive water-saving measures, including waterless urinals, high-efficiency toilets and rainwater harvesting system, Mercedes-Benz estimates that the venue uses 47% less water than comparable venues.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Budweiser uses Super Bowl advert to champion renewables
Aside from the football, another key element of the Super Bowl is the advertising. Every year, consumer goods giants and food and drinks firms will battle it out to create the most viral advertisements, with most positioning humour as the key focus.
Among them is brewer Budweiser, a Super Bowl staple famed for its cult ‘Whassup?’ and cute ‘Puppy Love’ commercials. This year, the brand has taken a slightly different approach, using its one-minute slot to promote the fact that it now runs on 100% renewable energy, sourced from wind farms in Oklahoma.
Its 2019 advert is called “Wind Never Felt Better,” and shows a Dalmatian riding a beet wagon. Midway through the short film, the camera pans out to reveal that the dog is being transported through an onshore wind farm, before the phrase “now brewed with wind power, for a better tomorrow” appears on screen.
The launch of the advert comes shortly after Budweiser’s parent company, AB In Bev, also secured a deal to purchase 100% renewable electricity for its UK operations. The firm has committed to source all electricity from renewables by 2025 – a pledge that would make AB InBev the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity in the consumer goods industry.