Plastic-free supermarkets and lessons in leadership: This week’s top 5 sustainability success stories

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

This 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 supermarket to a “climate-positive” pledge, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (2-6 July 2018)

ENERGY: Nestlé to power energy needs through new Scottish windfarm

After recently announcing that it had switched to 100% renewable, grid-supplied electricity for its operations across the UK and Ireland, food and drink giant Nestlé this week opened a new wind farm in Scotland.

The nine-turbine facility, in Dumfries and Galloway, will enable Nestlé to meet half its energy needs across the nation with renewable power. It is also set to deliver enough surplus electricity back to the grid to power 30,000 homes for a year.

A spokesperson for Nestlé told edie that the opening of the wind farm means that the firm is now generating power using solar arrays, wind farms, hydropower plants, anaerobic digestion technology and biomass plants within the UK and Ireland, adding that the firm could expand these facilities in the future.

Nestlé UK and Ireland’s chief executive, Stefano Agostini, added that he is “proud” the firm is “directly contributing to the nation’s reduction of carbon”.

RESOURCES: Plastic-free mobile supermarket starts tour of Europe

As the war on plastic rages on, Theresa May wants supermarkets in the UK to create plastic free aisles as part of the 25-Year Environment plan. However, that vision is already a reality for Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

After making headlines when it committed to rolling out plastic-free aisles in its 74 stores earlier this year, the chain this week announced it was taking the concept on the road, driving a mobile plastic-free supermarket across Europe in a bid to drive behaviour change among a wider customer base.  

Ekoplaza’s chief executive Erik Does described the supermarket’s plastic-free aisles and new “Mobe-Aisle” vehicle as an “accelerator” which encourages other retailers to switch away from single-use plastic packaging.  

“They have inspired our customers to eliminate plastic from their weekly food shop,” he said. “We are proud to be working to create a truly plastic-free future for food and drink retail.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: UK Government targets 50% reductions for building energy and emissions

With the Committee on Climate Change’s annual report last week revealing that the construction sector could hamper the UK’s progress towards its 2030 carbon goals, it may seem like a time of slow progress towards a more sustainable built environment industry.

However, this week saw the publication of the Government’s much-awaited Construction Sector Deal, which provides a framework for the sector to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 and halve carbon emissions from the sector on an ongoing basis.

The deal, announced on Thursday (July 5) by Business Secretary Greg Clark, also targets the 120 million tonnes of waste produced in the building sector each year, which accounts for 60% of the UKs current annual waste output.

It details £170m of Government funding for innovations to green the sector while reducing construction times, with ministers expecting this investment to be matched with £250m of private sector funding.

MOBILITY: Supercar maker BAC pledges to become ‘climate positive’ using blockchain

As the EV revolution continues to gather pace, this column often focuses on the efforts of top carmakers to electrify their cars, with firms like Renault, VW and Volvo all ramping up investment into hybrid and fully-electric models.

However, this week saw a different kind of sustainability success story emerge in the world of supercars, as Liverpool-based manufacturer Briggs Automotive Cars (BAC) announced it will purchase carbon credits to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than it emits.

The firm said it will start its journey to becoming “climate positive” immediately, using a blockchain platform from the Poseidon Foundation to enable customers to purchase carbon credits for forest protection and restoration projects when they purchase a car or receive a service. The platform allows customers to pay a surcharge in exchange for carbon credits greater than the environmental impact of producing the vehicle or parts they have purchased. 

“We already implement measures that reduce our carbon footprint; through our UK-based supply chain, using lighter weight materials and a higher grade of material in a more efficient way – and working with Poseidon will allow us to protect the environment even more,” BAC’s co-founder and design director Ian Briggs said, claiming that the move is the first of its kind by any car manufacturer.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Capgemini offers key sustainability lessons after meeting 2020 carbon goals three years early

After inspiring many when it announced that it had hit its 2020 carbon reduction and energy saving targets three years early, global IT consultancy Capgemini has this week published the first of 10 lessons to help other firms follow suit.

Since launching its inaugural sustainability strategy in 2008, the company has continually hit sustainability targets ahead of schedule, and in 2016, become the first in its sector to set a verified science-based target. This year saw it set its most ambitious carbon target yet, aiming to help its clients save 10 million tonnes of CO2e by 2030 – 20 times its own annual GHG emissions.

The new takeaways for other companies, written by Capgemini’s global head of corporate sustainability James Robey, encourage other corporations to set bold targets, to use data to inform their sustainability strategies and to invest in innovators and entrepreneurs.

Sarah George


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Mission Possible | Corporate Social Responsibility | new business models

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