UPS's e-bike fleet and Nike's circular footwear drive: 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 website offering sustainable accommodation to travellers, to Nike’s move to incorporate its factory waste into new yoga equipment, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.
ENERGY: Anglian Water to power Cambridgeshire reservoir operations with onsite solar
Following in the footsteps of United Utilities, which last month began building a floating solar farm on the surface of a reservoir in Lancashire, Anglian Water this week secured planning permission to install a solar farm on operational land at its Grafham Water reservoir in Cambridgeshire.
The company says the installation will generate more than a quarter of the energy used at the site - which includes a water treatment works as well as a nature reserve and public park - each year, in a a move that will reduce carbon emissions by 4,500 tonnes annually.
The project, which forms part of Anglian’s bid to become a carbon-neutral business by 2050, is expected to be completed by spring 2019.
“The east of England is one of the fastest-growing regions in the UK and one that is at risk from climate change,” Anglian Water’s head of energy and carbon David Riley said. “Our challenge is to address this increasing demand for services sustainably, and it’s that challenge which underpins our ambitious renewable energy strategy.”
RESOURCES: Nike forges partnership to close the loop on footwear factory waste
Sustainable footwear has been something of a hot topic this year, with Adidas pledging to use 100% recycled plastic in its footwear by 2024 and Reebok having launched bio-based sneakers made with cotton and corn.
The latest move to reduce the environmental footprint of the 20 billion shoes produced around the world each year comes from Nike, which this week announced that it will work with yoga startup YOGO to repurpose its end-of-life shoes and footwear factory waste.
As the winner of Nike’s circular innovation challenge, YOGO will be supplied with ground-up post-factory and post-consumer plastic and foam from Nike factories for free. The material will then be used to create new cushions, yoga mats and foam blocks, with YOGO receiving a cash prize from Nike to help scale up production.
MOBILITY: UPS incorporates e-Bikes into its Seattle delivery fleet
Having invested more than $750m in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and deployed more than 9,300 low-emission vehicles worldwide to date, logistics firm UPS is widely hailed as a business leader in the sustainable transport field.
Following on from its move to trial power-assisted trailers for last-mile deliveries in central London, UPS has this week incorporated e-Bikes into its US-based urban delivery fleet for the first time.
The electric bikes, which can be operated with human pedal power or battery power, are being used across UPS’s inner-city delivery routes in Seattle, Washington, with a view to a wider roll-out if feedback from delivery staff and customers is positive.
The bikes - similarly to those used in 30 of UPS’s urban fleets including Paris, Rome and Dublin - are equipped with a battery-powered electric motor and a detachable trailer capable of carrying 400lb of parcels.
“It’s exciting to return to our roots because UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company,” UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering Scott Philippi said.
“While we have launched cycle logistic projects in other cities, this is the first one designed to meet a variety of urban challenges. We’re looking forward to being able to offer these customizable urban delivery solutions to other cities nationwide.”
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Neste launches ‘AirBnB for sustainable accommodation’
In the wake of a string of scientific reports laying bare the climate impacts of aviation, road transport and the built environment, online travel agency Booking.com’s recent survey of more than 12,000 customers revealed that 87% now wanted to travel sustainably.
In a bid to help these customers choose low-carbon, energy-efficient accommodation, renewable diesel firm Neste has launched an online tool enabling “hosts” to list sustainable properties for guests to book, in a format similar to AirBnB.
Called ZeroBnB, the tool enables users to filter flats, houses, campsites, cabins and chalets by factors such as whether they offer recycling and composting facilities, how energy-efficient they are and if they are made from recycled materials. The aim of the tool is to encourage AirBnB to add sustainability filters to its own website and app.
“The demand for more sustainable travel is growing, but when you are not an expert, it can be very demanding to evaluate whether a certain accommodation is sustainable or not,” Neste’s marketing director Sirpa Tuomi said. “This is why it is important to make sustainable alternatives more accessible for everyone.”
LEADERSHIP: AB InBev pauses beer production to can water for extreme weather victims
With the US’s emergency water stocks left depleted by a string of climate-related extreme weather events, including Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the California wildfires, the world’s largest brewer this week took an unscheduled pause in its beer production schedule to can water for affected communities.
On Monday (29 October), Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB Inbev) paused beer production at its Cartersville brewery in Georgia in order to can eight truckloads of water for the Red Cross, which the water being given and transported free-of-charge, at a financial cost to the business.
The company, which owns Stella Artois, Budweiser and Bud Light, has worked with the Red Cross for more than 30 years, providing nearly 80 million cans of water since 1998. Additionally, AB Inbev recently installed water canning facilities at its Fort Collins brewery in Colorado for the first time.
“We’ve made a commitment to be there for American communities in times of need, and we are following through on that promise,” Ab Inbev’s vice president for community affairs Bill Bradley said.
The move follows on from AB Inbev's recent partnerships with WWF and The Nature Conservancy, established to accelerate water security initiatives in water-stressed areas around the world.