Climate action, net-zero advice and edie Live: Top 10 sustainability stories of May 2019
As May draws to a close, we take a look back at May's biggest sustainability and energy stories. The round-up includes Theresa May's resignation, Unilever's black plastic strategy and all the key takeaways from edie Live 2019.
It's been the biggest month of the year so far for the edie editorial team, with thousands of energy and sustainability professionals flocking to our flagship annual conference - edie Live. During the two-day show at Birmingham's NEC, more than 200 expert speakers took to the stage in a bid to help attendees turn their green ambitions into action.
The show couldn't have been more well-timed, with climate protests and school strikes escalating across the UK and the Government's green watchdog publishing its advice on legislating for net-zero carbon emissions nationwide by 2050.
It would be hard to argue that the low-carbon transition isn't now top-of-mind for policymakers, business leaders and the general public alike - and success stories such as the UK's first coal-free fortnight are giving us a glimpse of how it will play out. This round-up therefore explores how businesses, NGOs and policymakers are charging ahead with new sustainability ideas, frameworks and innovations. Take a look through all of the month's most-read news stories, and click the links in the descriptions below to read them for yourself.
Our most-read story of the month covered how Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever has developed a new, innovative kind of black plastic free from the carbon pigment which usually makes it hard-to-detect in recycling infrastructure. The company claims that by using the new material across its Lynx and TRESemme lines, it will divert 2,500 tonnes of black plastic from landfill and incineration every year.
During Day One of edie Live 2019, a panel of expert speakers gave their top tips for businesses looking to "ride this green wave" and become more resilient climate leaders during an era of unprecedented public awareness. This article rounds up key takeaways from renowned environmental broadcaster and columnist Lucy Siegle; WSP’s UK director of sustainability David Symons; The Climate Group’s director of corporate partnerships Mike Pierce and Green Alliance’s strategy director Belinda Gordon.
Along the same vein of thought, a panel discussion at edie ENGAGE on 2 May focused on how businesses could better communicate their role in combatting climate change through an array of reporting frameworks. Readers were keen to see what experts from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and Carbon Credentials had to teach on the topic.
After weeks of calls to resign from all sides of the House, Theresa May has this month confirmed that she will step down as Prime Minister next month after three years in power. Here, we put her approach to green policy under the microscope, exploring whether May’s actions match her ambitions, or her Government’s green policies have failed to live up to her rhetoric.
An event which seems to have carried as much weight as May’s resignation across the UK’s green economy this May has been the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC’s) long-awaited advice to the Government on legislating for net-zero emissions by 2050. This article rounds up how key figures across the fields of conservation, sustainability, energy, CSR and resource efficiency have reacted
One of the first businesses to respond to the CCC’s advice was Ecotricity, which this month pledged to become a carbon-neutral business by 2025 – the same deadline which has been touted by campaign group Extinction Rebellion. The company’s founder Dale Vince claims the move is a global first for the business community.
During the course of edie Live, content editor Matt Mace hosted two live Sustainable Business Covered Podcast episodes from the Sustainability Keynote Theatre. In the first of the two-part series, he discusses how business leadership on green issues is transforming in an age of low consumer trust, digitisation and the so-called death of CSR with Marcela Navarro, chief executive and co-founder, ProjectXGlobal, Mike Hanson, head of sustainable business at BaxterStorey, Simon Graham, head of innovation at De Courcy Alexander and Jamie Hall, operations Director of Mitie Energy.
In this exclusive interview, Procter & Gamble's principal scientist and packaging technologist, Gian De Belder, outlines the company's five-pillar approach to improving the recyclability of its packaging through science-based studies and "Holy Grail" collaborative projects.
Also on the topic of resource efficiency, edie readers were particularly keen this month to explore our new 'edie explains' guide which breaks down everything there is to know about achieving a zero-waste world. The free downloadable document, produced in association with Helistrat, comes at a critical time for the circular economy, with key resource efficiency challenges such as plastic packaging, fast-fashion and food waste all rapidly rising up the corporate agenda.
Last but by no means least in this roundup is edie reporter Sarah George’s exclusive interview with Rolls Royce’s sustainability manager for engineering and design Andrew Clifton, who gave readers insight on how the company will use low-carbon products, services and systems to reach – and, indeed, go beyond – its 2030 target of zero-carbon operations.