Ocean habitat restoration schemes and AI to tackle food waste: The sustainability success stories of the week

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, infrastructure, mobility and sustainability leadership.

Across the UK and across the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambitions into action. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: Lloyds Banking Group inks major solar PPA


Image: Low Carbon

Large businesses collectively announced a record 46GW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with wind and solar farm developers and operators in 2023, up 12% year-on-year.

Continuing this trend into 2024 is Lloyds Banking Group, which this week signed a ten-year deal to procure electricity from two British solar farms managed by developer Low Carbon.

The arrays, based in Hampshire and Staffordshire, will generate 50GWh of renewable electricity annually for purchase by Lloyds, starting in 2025. Lloyds already sources 100% renewable electricity but is looking to increase its share from PPAs and decrease its share from tariffs, to contribute to renewable additionality.

Low Carbon’s head of power management Marco Verspuij said: £Transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by developing different finance options is critical if we are to make progress on tackling climate change. Our partnership with Lloyds can help to address this challenge and offers a blueprint for what can be achieved when commercial banks and renewable energy developers work together.”

RESOURCES: Accor Group deploys AI-powered solution to slash food waste


Food waste accounts for at least 6% of global annual emissions and the UN puts the proportion closer to 8%. Many businesses have aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by pledging to at least halve food waste this decade.

As it works to reduce food waste by 60% by 2030, against a 2019 baseline, international hotelier Accor Group is implementing a digital tracking system with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The system, produced by Orbisk, identifies which ingredients are discarded, also noting quantity and time of day. This data can then be used to train kitchen teams to improve efficiency without impacting the guest experience.

Orbisk claims that each hotel implementing its technology will reduce its annual emissions footprint by at least 15,000 kilos. Trials at ten locations in Europe resulted in a 22% reduction in food waste.

Accor’s vice president for luxury, lifestyle and global partnerships, Amy Ferguson, said: ‘’At the hotels where we’ve implemented the technology, we observed that food waste became an important topic among the kitchen teams. The ecological and financial impact is substantial, especially as we roll out the technology globally.”

MOBILITY: FedEx adds dozens of EVs to its Spanish fleet


As it works towards ensuring that 100% of its new vehicle orders globally are fully electric by 2030, logistics giant FedEx has ordered 33 new Mercedes-Benz eSprinter vans for use across Spain.

It has also set about installing one new charging point for each of the new electric vehicles (EVs), which will operate out of FedEx Express stations in Madrid and Barcelona. 16 of the EVs are already in place at Madrid and the other 17 will be delivered to the Barcelona station in the coming weeks.

“These two locations are key in our network, and these new vehicles help us move towards more sustainable operations in both cities,” said FedEx Express Spain’s managing director of ground operations, Ian Silverton.

FedEx has already added Mercedes-Benz eSprinters to its fleets in London and Amsterdam. It also intends to add 28 to its Paris-based fleet this year.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Grosvenor retrofits a million square feet of buildings in London


The UK’s official climate advisory body, the Climate Change Committee, has repeatedly warned that the energy inefficiency of the nation’s building stock risks jeapordising its delivery of legally binding targets to cut emissions.

Taking proactive action is Grosvenor UK’s property business, which recently confirmed that it has successfully retrofitted a million square feet of space across its office space in a three-year period.

Retrofit projects have improved the energy efficiency of more than 360 buildings, 70% of which were commercial and 30% were residential. Interventions have included insulation, window glazing upgrades and transitions to low-energy lighting. Additionally, Grosvenor Property UK has decommissioned 55 boilers and replaced them with fossil-free alternative heating.

The business is now hoping to retrofit a further 250,000 sq ft of space this year.

Grosvenor Property UK’s sustainability director Ed Green said: “Simple cost-effective changes can significantly reduce energy demand and improve a building’s sustainability. Acting now to make straightforward low cost changes is a more effective approach than postponing activity until a full building refurbishment may be possible.” 

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Purina outlines ocean regeneration plans including seagrass and oyster reefs


Globally, seagrass meadows are being lost at a rate of around 7% per year, due to challenges such as pollution, industrial fishing and climate change. This is reducing the ability of oceans to sequester carbon, and is also fuelling wider biodiversity loss.

Pet food brand Purina has, in a bid to safeguard the habitats on which it depends for ingredients, set out a plan to restore 1,000 hectares of marine habitats across Europe by 2030. Sites have been confirmed in the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal with others under evaluation in the UK and Germany.

It will support local NGOs and innovators including the Seagrass Consortium to deliver key projects. Other focus areas aside from seagrass are constructing lost oyster reefs, in partnership with Oyster Haven, and preventing seaweed overgrazing by sea urchins, in collaboration with Urchinomics.

Purina Europe’s director of corporate communications and sustainability Kerstin Schmieduch said: “With marine biodiversity declining dramatically, collective restoration efforts are required. At Purina, we are committed to playing our part to help address the marine biodiversity loss in our extended supply chain. Therefore, together with our partners, we are taking an active role in helping restore marine habitats at scale in Europe.”

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