Just Eat's e-scooters and solar-powered smart homes: 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.
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, mobility, built environment and business leadership.
From the launch of a luggage range made from 100% recycled materials, to a scheme offering discounted e-scooters to more than 28,000 restaurants, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
ENERGY: Last turbines at Sussex's Rampion windfarm come online
Good news concerning British renewables has continued to land on the edie newsdesk this week, with the news that wind generated a record amount of electricity last Wednesday (28 November) arriving on Monday (3 November) and Merlin Entertainments having switched power at all its UK attractions with renewable electricity on Friday (7 December).
Elsewhere, the highly anticipated opening of the Rampion wind farm took place in Brighton on Monday, with Energy Minister Claire Perry leading the official ceremony. The 400MW facility is located around 13km off the Sussex coast at its nearest point and is expected to power 350,000 local homes. While the 116-turbine wind farm has been generating power since November 2017, this week marked the last of its turbines becoming operational.
“It’s great to see the south coast’s first offshore wind farm opening, creating hundreds of high-quality jobs and building on our reputation as a world leader in this sector,” Perry said.
RESOURCES: Samsonite launches luggage line made from recycled plastic bottles
While this trend has proven to be particularly pronounced in the fashion sector, with the likes of The North Face and Everlane debuting outerwear made from post-consumer (PCR) plastic in recent months, luggage brand Samsonite has followed suit, launching a range of suitcases and bags made with two recycled materials.
The first of the materials is Recyclex, a cotton-like fabric made from recycled plastic drinks bottles, while the second is made using waste polypropylene from industry. Samsonite unveiled its first range of luggage designed and manufactured using 100% recycled materials - which consists of two suitcases, a holdall and a handbag – last Friday (30 November).
“Being able to re-purpose post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste and incorporate it into new products is a great way of avoiding harm to our planet,” Samsonite’s global director of sustainability Christine Riley Miller said. “Through the launch of these collections, we intend to combine our thirst for innovation with our commitment to sustainability in order to pass on a better world for the generations to come.”
MOBILITY: Just Eat adds rapid e-scooters to its delivery fleet
Online food ordering firm Just Eat has become something of a regular feature in this weekly roundup, with its trial of seaweed-based sachets as an alternative to plastic condiment packaging proving popular among those interested in resource management. Indeed, the trial proved such a success with customers and Just Eat’s restaurant partners that it has since been expanded until the end of 2018.
Turning to mobility, the company this week moved to offer its 28,500 partner restaurants discounts on rapid electric scooters for the first time, after first introducing a discount scheme for electric vehicles (EVs) in April. While the scooters offered under the original scheme had a 15mph speed and a 50-mile range, the new Eskuta vehicles boast a top speed of 30mph and a 60-mile range. Partner restaurants will be able to buy them for £1,195 or less, compared to the market price of £1,550.
"We believe the partnership we have with Eskuta is an important step in tackling carbon emissions from takeaway food delivery, and with over 200 of the first model already sold, it's great to see initial positive results,” Just Eat’s business partnership director Robin Clark said.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Solar-powered smart home crowned house of the year
Several innovative homes have featured under this category in recent months, from hurricane-proof, carbon-neutral and climate-positive chalets in Florida to off-grid micro-homes in Connecticut. And it would seem properties with built-in sustainability features are coming into fashion, with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) this week naming a solar-powered Lochside home as its house of the year.
Designed by Cambridge-based architecture firm Haysom Ward Miller and situated near the West Coast of Scotland, the building is fitted with its own water supply, sewage treatment and rooftop solar facilities, meaning it can operate off of the water and power grid. The walls and cladding of the home are made from locally-sourced Scottish larch wood, enforced with dry stone walling.
RIBA president Ben Derbyshire described the property as “truly breath-taking”, adding: “With a highly sustainable, off-grid approach to energy and water, it leaves the surrounding environment as undisturbed as possible. Every detail has been fine-tuned to create an exceptional home and studio.”
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Diageo and LRS bolster agricultural stewardship commitments
With Wednesday (5 December) having marked World Soil Day, it seems only fitting to feature an agriculture-related success story in this week’s roundup. Over the past seven days, both Diageo and Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) have unveiled fresh commitments to environmental stewardship within their supply chains, with the latter having appointed an independent auditor and advisor to strengthen its Environmental Farm Stewardship Scheme.
Founded in 2014, the scheme requires staff at the 38 British farms which grow the blackcurrants used to make Ribena to conserve biodiversity in their local areas. Collectively, these farms produce 90% of the blackcurrants grown in the UK.
Diageo, meanwhile, has made a new pledge to improve the lives of 100,000 African farmers under its refreshed agriculture blueprint. The commitment builds on the beverage firm’s 2020 target of sourcing 80% of its raw materials locally, enabling greater transparency and minimising transport-related carbon emissions.
“We are a proud partner of our farmers in Africa, helping to create sustainable local businesses through our local raw material sourcing programme,” Diageo’s chief sustainability officer David Cutter said.“The wellbeing and vibrancy of the communities and our local suppliers we work with is our utmost priority.”