Published every week, the new 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 business leadership.

This edition of the ‘Achieving Mission Possible’ round-up highlights some of the tremendous progress we are now seeing right across the globe. From a solar project in the European Union’s (EU) most-polluted country to huge financial incentives for recycling plastics at UK attractions, each of these projects and initiatives is empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (23-27 July 2018)

ENERGY: Poland’s new solar park is first of many

Poland is the dirty man of the EU and currently holds the unenviable title of the Union’s most polluted country due to a dependence on fossil fuels. However, a new solar photovoltaic plant in the village of Gralewo, located in northern Poland, is a major step in decarbonising the nation’s grid.

The 2.2-hectare solar park has a peak power capacity of 998MW and is expected to provide an annual energy output of 1,040MWh and save 920 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It is the first of 43 solar parks set to be constructed by the summer of 2019 by Sun Investment Group – a Lithuanian investment management and development company – in partnership with energy group E-Energija and solar photovoltaic construction company I+D Energias.

The entire project portfolio will account for 15% of Poland’s solar market and will form a vital part of national energy goals, including increased energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and sourcing 20% of energy from renewables.

RESOURCES: Waitrose to offer home compostable coffee pods

Waitrose has announced it will become what it believes is the first major retailer to sell own-label coffee pods that are home compostable. The new products are set to go on sale in December 2018 and form part of a commitment to ensure that all Waitrose own-label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025.

Separating the capsules and coffee grounds has proved problematic for recycling facilities. With the coffee grounds suitable for fertiliser, Waitrose believes that a home compostable version offers wider benefits.

Four new Waitrose coffee capsules will launch that are compatible with Nespresso machines. They will all be Fairtrade certified and sold in widely recyclable cardboard packaging. Coffee within the pods will be sourced from Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

Waitrose’s coffee buyer, Polly Astbury, said: “Our customers love coffee and worry about the waste pods can create. By being the first supermarket to launch its own home compostable coffee pods we’re really happy to be able to offer a solution.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Schneider Electric attempts to push back Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day marks the day where humanity will have used more from nature than the planet can renew in an entire year. For 2018, Earth Overshoot Day will take place on 1 August – the earliest it’s ever been.

In a bid to push the date back, Schneider Electric is calling on companies to retrofit buildings, offices and data centres with energy efficiency and renewable technologies. The company has partnered with international research organisation Global Footprint Network, to examine CO2 savings from the built environment.

Schneider Electric has calculated that if 100% of existing building, industry and data centre infrastructure was equipped with active energy efficiency technologies – ideally those utilising the Internet of Things – and the electric grid was upgraded with renewable capacities, the world could move the Earth Overshoot Day back by at least 21 days.

“Operating on a planet with finite resources requires creativity and innovation,” Schneider Electric’s senior vice president of global environment Xavier Houot said. “We team up with our customers and partners to unlock the potential to retrofit existing infrastructure, adopting circular business models, and we measure how much this helps save resources and CO2. We work to see our growth path through the lens of the growing need of living within the means of our one planet.”

MOBILITY: Toyota to showcase self-driving electric vehicles at Olympic Games

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) envisages that electric vehicles (EVs) will account for 60% of new car and van sales by 2030, but as the next Olympic Games will prove, the technology could become a mainstream mode of transport much sooner.

Toyota will provide more than 3,000 passenger vehicles for use at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo and will use the events to showcase its latest innovations in zero-emissions and autonomous vehicles.

In collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Toyota will use the city as a testbed for its “Mobility for All” vision.

An undisclosed fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), such as the Mirai saloon and other Toyota and Lexus vehicles, will be used by athletes, staff and spectators during the 2020 events.

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments offer financial incentives for plastic bottle recycling

Coca-Cola Great Britain is offering 50% discounts to UK attractions such as Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Legoland in exchange for used plastic drinks bottles, in a bid to change consumer attitudes towards recycling.

Coca-Cola Great Britain will place onsite reverse vending machines – which enable automated collecting, sorting and handling of returned or used plastic bottles for recycling or reuse – at Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor in a bid to improve on-the-go recycling at the resorts.

In partnership with the resorts’ owner, Merlin Entertainments, Coca-Cola GB is offering 50% discount vouchers off entries to 30 Merlin-owned attractions. The vouchers equate to savings of around £27 when purchasing a Merlin attraction day pass – far higher than the original cost of the plastic bottle.

The two companies will trial the system between 25 July and 19 October this year. Visitors to the attractions can recycle any 500ml plastic bottle onsite by using the reverse vending machines and will instantly receive a 50% discount voucher.

Matt Mace

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