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edie at 20: How did sustainability become so business-critical?

edie's 20th anniversary as a sustainable business media brand is an ideal opportunity to remind ourselves of the past two decades of corporate sustainability, which have seen it evolve from an environmental add-on to a fundamental aspect of growth.

The Climate Coach: Renewable Energy

I have a dream, of a society where children play safely outside in green, common areas, where there are no cars. People travel to work in electric powered trains, buses and through electric car share. They walk and cycle to school, to the local shop and to meet friends. A dream where renewable energy sources provide all the power we need - for heating, electricity and transport - in businesses as well as in homes.

The initiative aims to tackle issues like coral reef degradation, marine litter and overfishing

Businesses team with UN to plot course for 'healthy' oceans

Oil and gas firm Total, insurance giant Gard AS and Norwegian maritime conference Nor-Shipping are among the six corporations which will lead a new United Nations (UN) initiative to help the private sector tackle ocean issues including overfishing, marine litter and acidification.

The LDC group voiced frustrations over having to adapt to a changing climate, all while striving to lift their people out of poverty

Developing nations call for 'urgent' action to develop Paris Agreement rulebook

A network of some of the least developed countries in the world has called on developed economies to turn "concepts into action" by accelerating the implementation of a 'rule book' for the Paris Agreement through increased climate finance.

Why the retail industry is taking a leading role in delivering the SDGs

Last month saw a landmark moment. Better Retail Better World, a retail industry initiative to tackle global challenges highlighted by the UN, including modern slavery and decent work, sustainable economic growth, inequalities, climate change and responsible consumption and production, commenced.

The authors estimate land degradation costs more than 10% of annual global GDP in lost ecosystem services

Land degradation threatens human wellbeing, major report warns

Land degradation is undermining the wellbeing of two-fifths of humanity, raising the risks of migration and conflict, according to the most comprehensive global assessment of the problem to date.

Introducing the Climate Coaching Blog Series

Climate change is the most pressing and critical challenge humanity has faced in its history. We don't have the time to rely on regulators to pass appropriate climate mitigation and adaption legislation. Climate action from across all industry sectors, whatever the size of organisation is essential, required and indeed increasingly demanded by customers and consumers. To address this, I am writing a sequence of blogs called the Climate Coaching Series, here on edie.net, where I will be exploring climate action and answering the questions of what organisations can do to benefit people, profit and planet.

Don’t look back in anger: Top sustainability trends in 2017

Some of us might look back on 2017 as another eventful, if somewhat discouraging year for sustainability. 2017 has seen the inauguration of Trump, which has led to the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and more recently, has led to removing climate change from the list of USA national security threats. Meanwhile, closer to home, Brexit brings fears that the 1,100 EU environmental laws will become watered down in the UK among the effort to ensure Britain remains a great trading nation. Amid all this, you would be forgiven for thinking that 2017 has been a dismal year for sustainability.

More than eight in 10 people on Earth are covered by broadband signal and the population of 7.4 billion has 7.7 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions

Global e-waste climbs 8% in two years, but disposal discrepancies remain

More than 44 million metric tonnes of electronic waste were generated in 2016, but only 20% has been documented as being collected and recycled, a new report launched today (13 December) has found.

Three-quarters of the world’s mega cities are coastal, creating considerable risk and impact on water systems

Global support group launched to ease water pressures related to urbanisation

The United Nations has convened a host of organisations including the World Water Council (WWC) and the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) to create frameworks that enable cities to overcome political, financial, technological and behavioural barriers associated with water.

So, what now for sustainability reporting?

As a CSR and Sustainability professional, reporting is one of the most significant issues to be addressed in this field.

Not a single developed country has outlined a detailed plan to tackle livestock emissions as part of an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the Paris Agreement

Put 'cows alongside cars' at COP23, investors urge

With COP23 set to start in Bonn next week, an investor network is calling on developed countries to prioritise the "elephant in the room" at the UN talks, by tackling livestock sector emissions.

Students need the 'sustain' ability

Iain Patton, CEO at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), talks to representatives from the education, business and sustainability sectors about megatrends in education.

How to expand your business sustainably: it all starts with your supply chain

The 2016 CEO Study published by Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact boldly claims that a "staggering 97% of CEO's interviewed believe that sustainability is important to the future success of their business". Despite being reminiscent of the 97% of scientists that agree on climate change, clearly, we are at a point in time where the question around business expansion is not can, but rather how, does a business grow sustainably and where should it focus its efforts?

The science behind sustainability

At Mars, we've always been conscious of making decisions deeply rooted in science. And when it comes to sustainability, the science couldn't be clearer. Global warming is real, we're seeing its effects all around us, and we must act now.

Why the SDGs are a big thing for SMEs

Did you know that the UK has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? If you do, you are one of few - just one in 10 UK citizens know about the SDGs. Why do so few people know what they are?

Supply chain management has never been more important

Businesses should have environmental credentials at front of mind when beginning to build supplier relationships, seeking to link with companies that are open to new dialogues as to how sustainability can be enhanced across the value chain.

The circular economy: an answer to the hourglass economy?

As a sustainability professional, I am immersed in many aspects of sustainability. But even if you are someone who doesn't, the phrase that is being heard all too often right now is "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

Speaking out on sustainability

Recently, my son's school invited me to come in and give a presentation on what I do as the global sustainability director at Mars. I've spoken with business leaders inside and outside of Mars, policy makers, NGOs and journalists on multiple continents. But I've never had to tell that story to 30 kids between the ages of 8 and 13 (with my son watching, no less...)

Companies such as Adidas, eBay, Mars, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Ikea, Twitter and Unilever have joined with more than 120 towns and cities to sign the declaration

'We are still in': US cities and businesses launch 'societal' commitment to the Paris Agreement

More than 900 companies, including Nike, Tesla, Google and Microsoft, have joined former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's declaration of defiance against Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, with a vow to achieve and exceed the original commitment.

The role of big business in addressing the unseen threat to climate change

The role of big business in climate change mitigation is one which has been heavily documented, and in a positive step last week we saw businesses acknowledge their role in this by calling for the introduction of a worldwide carbon pricing system, led by the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

If we’re to protect vital peatlands, we must also protect peatland communities

There is now a global scientific consensus that the world is in a race against time to halt catastrophic and irreversible climate change. The incoming UN secretary general has said it's the biggest crisis facing humanity and the biggest curse we could bequeath our children.

UN chief Antonio Guterres stressed that the business community was readily equipped to take on the mantle should the US withdraw its support for the Paris Agreement

UN chief: Climate-aware businesses will dominate economy of tomorrow

The new Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) has said that businesses that invest in low-carbon technologies to reduce emissions will become the future leaders of the global economy.

Beware false sustainability solutions

It is inescapable and undeniable that we live in a finite world. It is also becoming widely accepted that we are using resources and polluting air, land and water at unsustainable levels. That's why the term 'sustainability' is pervading many aspects of government policy, locally, nationally and internationally, and prompting business and industry to radically change the ways they operate.

The success of Mission 2020 hinges on key milestones, such as the ability of renewables to outperform fossil fuels by 2020

Christiana Figueres: Peak emissions by 2020 'crazy but achievable'

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres remains "stubbornly optimistic" that market trends are already in place to hit ambitious three-year targets as part of her Mission 2020 campaign, but only if the "climate conversation" is extended to a wider range of stakeholders and investors.

Factors behind the UK’s success include the switch from coal to gas for generating electricity and energy-efficiency schemes cutting demand

UK leads G7 on 'decoupling' emissions reduction from wealth creation

The UK has been more successful than any other G7 nation at decoupling emissions growth from that of the economy over the past 25 years, according to a new report.

How to avoid wasting wastewater

On the 22nd of March, the world celebrated World Water Day. This year's theme was wastewater and to mark the day, UNESCO and UN-Water (the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater related issues, including sanitation) released their annual World Water Development Report. A report entirely dedicated to wastewater; a neglected resource that has huge potential to reduce water scarcity.

The report argues that global climate frameworks have lacked a near-term focal point for action

Climate Turning Point: 2020 identified as 'game-changing' year for global action

A new report has highlighted 2020 as the year to "bend the curve" on global emissions that can set into a motion a series of transitions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and reach net zero carbon by 2050.

Trump’s attack on the clean power plan will not produce instant results. It faces bureaucratic wrangling and legal challenges that could take years

EU leads attacks on Trump's rollback of Obama climate policy

The European Union has led criticism of Donald Trump's effort to unravel Barack Obama's measures to combat climate change, suggesting that Europe will now take the lead in global efforts.

The report calls for stronger legislation to highlight the “phenomenal cost of inaction” in relation to water treatment

Circular wastewater systems 'underexploited', says United Nations

As companies link up with charities to raise awareness of World Water Day, a new report from the United Nations (UN) has suggested that the "vast potential" of using wastewater as a resource remains "underexploited".

World Water Day: the ongoing mission to provide access to clean drinking water

Today (22 March) marks the 25th anniversary of World Water Day, an annual date to encourage action to tackle the global water crisis. For Procter & Gamble (P&G), this means providing clean drinking water to those who need it most, increasing safe sanitation and hygiene behaviours, and reducing water use.

The 17 SDGs were introduced in September 2015 with an aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and justice and combat climate change by 2030

Lack of collaboration hindering UK uptake of Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are increasing in prominence amongst UK businesses, although siloed working conditions are still impacting the ability for the private sector to deliver social and environmental change.

COP22 proved that governments and responsible businesses across the world stand ready, willing and able to deliver bold climate action

An unstoppable force: Seven things we learned from the COP22 climate talks

As political and business leaders board flights home from Marrakesh after two weeks of proactive discussions, edie looks back at some of the highlights of the UN's COP22 climate talks.

Was COP22 the success everyone had been hoping for, or did Trump's Presidential triumph stall proceedings? (Photo: UNclimatechange/Flickr)

The Sustainable Business Covered podcast: Episode 15 - Fresh from Marrakesh

The Carbon Trust's chief executive Tom Delay and Asia Pulp & Paper's director of sustainability Aida Greenbury are the special guests on this week's podcast episode, which reviews the the UN's two-week COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh.

COP22 also dedicated time to prioritising climate justice. Coupling up with the water agenda, the topic of climate justice led to the introduction of the “Water for Africa” initiative

COP22: Water and climate justice share the spotlight with Trump

Wednesday was water day at COP22 in Marrakesh, and while the mood in Morocco was one of "sink or swim" in regards to an unprecedented US election, business took to the stage to call on governments to introduce a "speedy implementation" of the Paris Agreement.

Hermes Investment Management chief executive Saker Nusseibeh (centre-left) urged firms to focus on the environmental and economic impacts of investment decisions

Ignoring sustainability in favour of short-termism will cause financial ruin, warns major investor

EXCLUSIVE: Companies that fail to realise the long-term benefits of sustainable investment will see their financial returns collapse, one of Britain's biggest investment groups has said.

UN climate chiefs celebrating the introduction of the deal in Paris photo: UNClimate/Flickr

Paris Agreement officially enters force: what happens next?

In the early hours of this morning (4 November), vision turned into reality as the Paris Agreement officially came into force, ushering a new era of climate action. But what does this actually mean for the global green economy?

Marrakech, Morocco, which plays host to the two-week COP22 event. The Conference offers an opportunity to set a clear strategy to emulate the Paris Agreement

UN: Paris Agreement still not good enough to avoid serious climate change

Less than 24 hours before the Paris Agreement formally enters into force, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned that governments and the private sector must together scale-up climate ambition to reduce an additional 25% from predicted 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The report outlines that more than 30 governments, including the US, UK and Japan had pledged new funds in 2015

Developed nations 'confident' of hitting $100bn climate action pledge

Developed countries are "confident" that $100bn will be financed annually to aid climate actions in developing countries by 2020, a new report compiled by the UK and Australia has revealed.

A total of 55 nations representing at least 55% of global emissions need to sign up for the deal to come into force. The first of these thresholds has now been reached

Paris climate agreement poised to come into force

The Paris climate agreement is on the brink of coming into force after 31 nations officially joined the landmark accord, with the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, predicting it will be fully ratified by the end of the year.

May’s announcement is expected to be followed by a raft of ratification announcements, with up to 20 countries ratifying the deal on Wednesday (21 September)

UK to ratify the Paris Agreement this year, says Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed that the UK will have officially ratified the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016, although it is believed the ratification process could be finalised within a matter of weeks.

In order to accelerate action on the SDGs, the report notes that companies will increasingly have to embrace the “age of digitalisation”

'Fruits of the fourth revolution' key for business to tackle struggling SDGs

Leveraging the power of connectivity and digitalisation will be key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the "fruits of the fourth industrial revolution" inspiring large-scale action, a new report has found.

With United Nations heavyweights calling for the Paris Agreement to be delivered by the end of 2016, countries need to start practicing what they preach

From the US to the Marshall Islands: Global climate action is on the march

COP21's frantic, last-minute climate deal bookmarked a new era for global sustainability, and as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) evolve into tangible action, edie looks at six recent instances where national action is speaking louder than words.

Ki-moon called on Governments to intensify voluntary efforts and engage with the business sector to drive change

Businesses urged to 'think differently' and adopt Sustainable Development Goals

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) has called on business, governments and local authorities to adopt new ways of thinking that align the "critical challenges of our time" with operational models and frameworks.

Figueres was hailed as

Christiana Figueres receives UN Secretary General nomination

United Nations (UN) climate change chief Christiana Figueres has today (July 7) received the nomination for the post of UN Secretary General.

The EU is thought to have the world’s largest body of environmental legislation

UN calls for post-Brexit UK to link with EU on environment policy

The UN's new environment chief has called for a post-Brexit Britain to link up with the EU on environment policy, adopting key bloc climate laws and maintaining its nature directives.

UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres spoke at the Business and Climate Summit in London's Guildhall earlier today (28 June)

Climate action provides 'thread of certainty' for post-Brexit Britain, says Christiana Figueres

The UN's soon-to-depart climate chief has quashed claims that the UK's impending departure from the European Union (EU) could derail the Paris Agreement, instead claiming that a concerted effort to tackle climate change could be the "thread of continuity" that the UK needs during this "uncertain and volatile" period.

Originally established in 2013, the standard looks to encourage consistency and transparency in quantifying and reporting food waste issues to reap economic benefits

Global standard launched to tackle swelling food waste issues

Companies and countries have been urged to ramp up efforts to prevent food waste, through a new global standard that outlines reporting requirements on food management for business and governments to adhere to.

The report lists 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries that are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, rising seas and intensifying weather events

QUIZ: How could climate change destroy World Heritage Sites?

Why is New York's Statue of Liberty under threat of destruction from global warming? How could extreme weather destabilise the masonry at Stonehenge? Find out which of the world's official Heritage Sites are most at-risk of being destroyed by the effects of climate change in our latest flip-card quiz.

Patricia Espinosa has been the Ambassador of Mexico to Germany since September 2013, before which she worked in several positions in the foreign ministry

Patricia Espinosa nominated to replace Christiana Figueres as UN climate chief

Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa looks set to replace Christiana Figueres as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after receiving the nomination in a selection process led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The UK's Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Lord Nick Bourne, signing the Paris Agreement last week

Paris climate deal: countries with about half of global emissions to join this year

The White House has said countries accounting for about half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions would join the Paris climate agreement this year, bringing the agreement "within striking distance" of entering into force.

The official signing ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York breaks the record for first-day signatures held by any international treaty

175 countries sign Paris climate agreement on Earth Day

Political leaders from more than 170 countries - including the China, the US and the UK - came together at the UN headquarters in New York to officially sign the Paris Agreement on Earth Day (22 April).

The UN headquarters in New York, where more than 130 countries are expected to ratify the Paris climate change deal

COP21 signing ceremony: 100 corporations call for clear policies and swift actions

IKEA, Starbucks and Unilever are among more than 100 global companies that have expressed support for the Paris climate change agreement to be enshrined into national law as a matter of urgency, on the eve of the official COP21 signing ceremony in New York.

Beyond borders: an international road to the new climate economy

In New York, the United Nations prepares to welcome more than 130 global heads of state and political leaders to its headquarters for the official signing ceremony of the Paris accord.

An earlier start date could also turbo-charge the agreement, providing momentum for deeper emissions cuts

US and China lead push to bring Paris climate deal into force early

The US and China are leading a push to bring the Paris climate accord into force much faster than even the most optimistic projections - aided by a typographical glitch in the text of the agreement.

The new mapping system could provide researchers with an effective platform to differentiate between forest destruction caused by climate change and deforestation

UN and Google forge 'eye-in-the-sky' forest mapping partnership

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has turned to tech giant Google to implement a high-resolution satellite-based data mapping system which could usher in an "unprecedented level of environmental literacy" for the forestry sector.

Christiana Figueres’ optimistic predictions about the Paris Agreement follows a series of positive announcements on climate change made by national governments and big businesses

Christiana Figueres expects Paris Agreement to take effect in 2018

The UN's soon-to-depart climate chief has said that the Paris climate change pact agreed last December could come into force two years earlier than the originally planned date of 2020.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will frame the UN's policies and agenda over the next 15 years

UN Global Compact seeks 'change agents' to accelerate action on SDGs

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) has launched a 'pioneers programme' to accelerate grassroots leadership on the new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Figueres stated that she was ‘highly inspired’ by the UN’s continuous battle against climate change

"Hard act to follow": Christiana Figueres to step down from UN climate post

Christiana Figueres has been hailed as "one of the great leaders of our time" as the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change announced today (19 February) that she would be stepping down from her post.

Ban Ki-moon stated that the investor community is of critical importance to the success of the Paris climate deal

Ban Ki-moon calls for doubling of clean energy investment

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for global investment into clean energy to be doubled by 2020 in order to keep global temperature increases below 2C as set out in Paris.

The report found the middle class is becomingly increasingly aware of the risks posed to them by climate change

Global middle class can drive climate action, says UBS

The global middle class could hold the key to mobilising climate action, a new report from financial services firm UBS has claimed.

What key environmental and human rights trends can we expect in 2016?

2015 was in many ways a seminal year globally in relation to environmental and human rights issues. It was a year where the world witnessed unprecedented environmental issues related to climate change.

2015 could mark the first time that emissions have declined during a period of strong economic growth

Global carbon emissions could fall in 2015

Global carbon emissions are projected to stall with a possibility that they might actually decline by more than 0.6% in 2015, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

The draft document handed to the French on Saturday has refined 50 pages down to just over 20

Paris climate change talks yield first draft amid air of optimism

Negotiators paving the way for a global climate change agreement in Paris have cleared a major hurdle, producing a draft accord in record time and raising hopes that a full week of minister-led talks can now clinch a deal despite many sticking points.

US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said that any climate deal in Paris is 'definitively not going to be a treaty'

Paris climate deal must be legally binding, EU tells John Kerry

The EU has warned the Obama administration that a global climate deal at the Paris summit must be legally binding, after the US secretary of state John Kerry said that it "definitively" would not be a treaty.

The oil and gas giant said that solar PV generation in North America in 2050 will cost around $107/MWh

BP: Solar and wind won't overtake gas without carbon price

The cost of wind and solar energy will continue to fall rapidly between now and 2050, but will remain more expensive than gas unless a global carbon price is imposed.

Time for the use of lead compounds to come to an end in all paints

The negative health effects from exposure to lead are well known, the most severe being lifelong irreversible effects on children's brains, yet in some parts of the world lead compounds are still added to paints as coloring pigments and drying agents.


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