AI-assisted flights and SDG smart cities: 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.

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, 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 green buildings initiative in Singapore to a huge new energy storage plant in Scotland, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

ENERGY: Planning permission for huge battery storage facility in Scotland approved

 

A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance study predicted that the global energy storage market will double six times by 2030. Domestically, the early signs are encouraging, with the UK’s largest storage portfolio carried out in June by UK Power Reserve and energy storage firm Fluence.

In the latest storage success story, UK energy technology firm Pivot Power this week gained planning permission to build a new 50MW battery facility in Harker, near Carlisle.

Once complete in October 2019, the 25-container facility is expected to be able to store enough energy to power 6,000 homes for a 24-hour period on a single full charge. It will be co-located with an electric vehicle (EV) charging facility, which will have sufficient infrastructure to charge up to 100 vehicles at a time.

“Working with the local authorities, our plans will see Carlisle become a pioneering city for low carbon vehicle adoption, ensuring that the rural areas it serves are not left lagging in the electric vehicle revolution," Pivot Power’s chief technical officer Michael Clarke said.

RESOURCES: Everlane launches closed-loop clothing line made from recycled plastics

 

From Adidas’ ocean plastic trainers to Corona’s recycled beach bottle shirt, more and more companies are moving to design garments incorporating a high proportion of recycled content. Following in the footsteps of The North Face, which last month unveiled a range of products made from littered PET bottles, US fashion retailer Everlane the week launched a range of outerwear made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.

The fleeces, jackets and coats, which went on sale in the chain’s US stores and on its website on Wednesday (24 October), each contain the equivalent of at least 15 recycled drinks bottles – with the full-length puffa jackets containing the equivalent of 60.

The launch of the range, called ReNew, comes after Everlane pledged earlier this year to remove all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021. In a bid to raise awareness of the importance of plastic recycling, Everlane has also launched a web page which tells customers how many virgin plastic bottles have been made in the time they spend on the site.

MOBILITY: Norwegian Air to cut CO2 emissions by 16,000 tonnes annually using AI

 

Sustainable aviation has proven to be something of a hot topic this month, with Virgin Atlantic showcasing its innovative low-carbon jet fuel made from recycled waste gases for the first time and Heathrow Airport moving to waive landing charges for the world's first electric passenger plane once it is developed.

The latest success story in the sector comes from budget airline Norwegian Air, which has started rolling out fuel efficiency technology across its fleet after a trial resulted in fuel savings of 22 kilos per journey.

Called Aventus Air and developed by Swedish firm AVTECH, the technology monitors wind and temperature information to enable pilots to alter their flight paths to boost fuel efficiency. Once the data is collected, it is automatically sent to the aircraft’s systems, where artificial intelligence (AI) is used to optimise the flight path.

Norwegian Air estimates that by installing the software across its entire fleet of 160 aircraft, it will reduce its carbon emissions by 16,000 tonnes each year. The company has already reduced its absolute emissions by almost one-third (30%) since 2008.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: 1,000 built environment sector professionals collaborate to help tackle smart cities challenges

 

Cities currently account for around 70% of the global energy demand and will be home to 2.5 billion more people by 2050 than they are today.

As cities around the world explore ways to integrate technological solutions and innovations that ensure they’ll remain fit for purpose as urbanisation continues, 1,000 built environment sector workers this week gathered to explore how cities could align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Meeting in Singapore for an event called the SDG City Challenge (SDGCC) and led by real estate firm City Developments Limited Group (CDL), participants from big-name corporations and governmental organisations debated how cities could best align their development with all 17 of the Global Goals, ensuring no residents were left behind by climate challenges or social inequalities.

“We believe that a sustainable built environment will provide high-quality spaces for people to live, work and play,” CDL’s chief executive Sherman Kwek said.

“Through SDGCC, we hope to encourage participants to adopt the SDGs in their daily lives and better understand how healthy lifestyles, green buildings and eco-friendly practices are intricately connected for a sustainable future.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Big-name businesses jointly pledge $500,000 to spur action on SDGs

 

In the wake of UN research revealing that there is currently a $2.5trn “investment gap” between the level of funding currently earmarked for clean growth in developing countries and the amount needed to achieve all 17 SDGs in full, nine corporations this week collectively pledged to invest $500,000 into projects which aim to accelerate global progress on one or more of the Goals.

As part of a new initiative called Lead2030 and led by UK-based non-profit One Young World, RB, AstraZeneca, Deloitte, Credit Suisse, BP, Standard Chartered, Mondi Group, KPMG and Bristol-Myers Squibb have each pledged to invest $50,000 in a project which is already working to address a Global Goal related to that firm’s sector.

One Young World co-founder Kate Robertson said that by pledging the investment, the corporates are “doing the right thing” ethically while “doing the smart thing for their business”. 

Sarah George 


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