Tesco's EV charging network and Sweden's ice hotel: 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 a commitment to align the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to Tesco’s bid to install the largest retail-based network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers in the UK, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
ENERGY: Huge new solar farm comes online in Brazil
It’s been a great month for solar power in the southern hemisphere, with the largest solar farm in the world having come online just days ago in Australia’s New South Wales Region.
Following this trend, work to bring a 162MW solar project in Brazil online was completed earlier this week. Called the Apodi Solar plant and located in Quixeré in Ceará, the array is expected to produce enough energy to power 170,000 local homes and reduce the region’s carbon footprint by 200,000 tonnes of emissions annually.
The facility is jointly owned by renewable energy firm Apodi, gas and oil giant Equinor and Scatec Solar, which will act as operator.
“The Apodi project was our first step into the solar industry,” Equinor’s executive vice president for new energy solutions Pål Eitrheim said. “This shows that we are well underway on our journey to become a broad energy company turning natural resources into energy for people and progress for society.”
RESOURCES: Corona launches plastic-free, biodegradable six-pack rings
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB INbev) frequently appears in this weekly roundup, for reasons ranging from its water stewardship initiatives to its moves to electrify its delivery fleet. In a further sustainability success story, the world’s largest brewer this week announced that it will replace the plastic six-pack rings on its Corona beer with a biodegradable alternative, beginning with a trial of the plastic-free packaging in Mexico.
Developed in partnership with non-profit Parley for the Oceans, the packaging is made from plant-based fibres derived both from organic waste and virgin crops. AB InBev claims that the packaging will biodegrade naturally outside of industrial composting conditions, and that it is safe for consumption by animals.
“The beach is an important part of Corona’s DNA and we have been working with Parley to address the issue on the frontlines where plastic is physically accumulating,” Corona’s better world director Evan Ellman said.
“We also recognize the influence a global brand like Corona can have on the industry, and with the support of Parley, are pursuing scalable solutions like plastic-free six-pack rings that can become a new standard to avoid plastic for good.”
MOBILITY: Tesco to roll out UK’s largest network of retail-based EV chargers
This week has seen a flurry of promising EV news hitting the headlines, from Marston’s move to install 400 rapid chargers across its estate of pubs and breweries, to an initiative aimed at bringing 3,000 new EVs to London receiving £16.6m in funding from Ofgem.
Similarly, retail giant Tesco this week unveiled a partnership with automaker VolksWagen in a bid to create the UK’s largest retail-based network of EV chargers. The companies will work together to install more than 2,400 EV charging bays across Tesco forecourts – a move they are aiming to complete by the end of 2021.
The bays will enable customers to choose between a standard 7kW charger for free or a rapid 50kW charger for a small fee.
“We want to be the leading EV energy provider and to support our customers with more sustainable solutions,” Tesco UK’s chief executive Jason Tarry said.
“Our EV network provides a sustainable choice for our customers and charging while they shop is another little help to make their lives easier.”
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: ICEHOTEL in Sweden awarded new sustainability certification
A hotel made entirely from snow and ice is perhaps not something which would immediately spring to mind when thinking about efficient energy use – but green building certification scheme Nordic Swan has this week awarded Sweden’s famous ICEHOTEL with its top sustainability certification.
Founded in 1990, a substantial proportion of the hotel’s rooms melt away at the end of spring each year – posing unique sustainability and commercial challenges for its operators. Nonetheless, Nordic Swan has heaped praise on the facility for its low energy and waste footprints, water stewardship efforts and sustainable purchasing policies – as well as the fact that the structure is made entirely from the natural resources of the nearby River Torne.
“A certification like this, it helps us in communicating our day-to-day sustainability within the within the organisation and sends a clear message for our clients and partners about our partners about our commitment,” ICEHOTEL’s senior quality advisor Kerstin Nilsson said.
“I hope we can inspire other companies to follow our lead, even if you have a unique product and have to find new ways as you go.“
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Tokyo 2020 committee pledge to align event with the SDGs
With its 3,000-vehicle EV fleet and commitment to be powered by 100% renewables, Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics is no doubt shaping up to be one of the most exciting sporting events for sustainability boffins to date.
In a further display of sustainability leadership, the event’s organising committee this week met with the UN in order to pledge that they would align the event’s environmental and social impacts with the aims of the SDGs.
The committee has additionally committed to using the event’s online and social media channels in order to promote awareness of the 17 Global Goals to the Japanese public and to visiting tourists, in a bid to drive sustainable behaviour change beyond the Games.
Tokyo 2020’s chief executive Toshiro Muto said the commitment would help to “bequeath a sustainable society to the next generation” while raising global awareness of pressing issues such as climate change, world hunger and extreme poverty.