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 pledge to phase out plastics from a world-famous Spanish resort to plans to make the capital of Columbia a haven for energy-efficient buildings, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

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 huge net-zero holiday resort to a fleet of electric street sweepers, each of these projects and initiatives are empowering businesses and governments to achieve a sustainable future, today.

Achieving Mission Possible: The sustainability success stories of the week (1-5 October 2018)

ENERGY: Britvic switches to 100% renewable energy

Britvic has this week announced that every UK manufacturing site will be powered by 100% renewable electricity from October 2018. The move will save the soft drinks giant more than 17,000 tonnes CO2e each year – the equivalent to taking more than 3,300 cars off the road.

The majority of Britvic’s manufacturing sites are based in the UK, Ireland, France and Brazil. Britvic’s operations in Ireland and Brazil are already powered entirely by renewables, while the French arm uses low-carbon energy sources across all sites.

As well as focusing on renewables, Britvic is also backing other low-carbon fuels to reduce its carbon footprint. In Brazil, for instance, the company uses waste cashew shells from its Cashew Juice product to generate power in its factories.

RESOURCES: PortAventura vows to eliminate plastics by 2020

The corporate community has been awash with plastic commitments over the past year or so. This week, it was the turn of Spanish leisure resort PortAventura, which pledged to phase out plastic used in the resort by 2020.

From January 2019, the plastic straws and bubble wrap used by consumers in the park shops will be replaced with paper. The company will also gradually replace disposable material used in its self-service restaurants in favour of more sustainable alternatives.

“The corporate responsibility of PortAventura World is based on a responsible leadership that always balances economic social and environmental objectives,” said Fernando Aldecoa, general manager of PortAventura World.

“We set ourselves a goal to be the first European park that eliminates all the plastic in our destination resort.”

PortAventura already sources its energy from 100% renewable sources, and has aligned its business strategy with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MOBILITY: Hermes rolls out 100% renewable biomethane fleet

Parcel carrier and delivery firm Hermes has announced new investments into its distribution fleet in order to push towards a 50% carbon reduction target set for 2020. The company has placed the largest initial order of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles in the UK, which release 80% less emissions on average than conventional units.

Hermes will operate the CNG fleet, which runs on 100% renewable biomethane, later this year. The Iveco tractor units will be supplied by CNG Fuels, which worked with Waitrose on a similar initiative last year. A total of 30 units will be introduce to delivery routes near Rugby, which is located near a refuelling station.

The company will also introduce 32 fully electric vans into its London-based delivery fleet. The fleet will be located and stored at Beckton and will operate inside the capital’s low-emission zones, saving Hermes money on congestion charges.

Herme’s chief executive, Martijn de Lange, said: “We’re proud of our strides forward in sustainability as we become the first parcel carrier to invest in biofuels for our fleet. This, plus the additional investment in our electric vehicles, will not only support our clients in achieving their sustainability goals, but also ultimately benefit people across the UK as we all look to reduce our carbon footprint.”

BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Bogotá looks to slash energy and water usage in new buildings

Bogotá is Colombia’s largest city and one of the highest in the world. Earlier this week, the city outlined a new policy for more energy-efficient construction that is expected to reduce energy and water use in new buildings by 20% and 30%, respectively.

Bogotá’s new pledges are the result of a two-year process of stakeholder engagement and technical analysis with the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a public-private collaboration that turns global expertise into action to accelerate local government implementation of building efficiency policies and programs.

The pledges are expected to set a precedent across cities in Colombia, where building energy use makes up around 45% of national emissions.

Commenting on the announcement, Jennifer Layke, global energy director, World Resources Institute (WRI) said: “We are so pleased that Bogotá will be expanding its efficiency practices through the BEA. Efficient buildings offer huge opportunities to make the city more livable and economically competitive, and we’re thrilled to work alongside Bogotá’s government as they unlock this enormous potential.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Virgin Atlantic completes historic flight using low-carbon jet fuel

It’s been a big week for Virgin Atlantic. The airline finally showcased its innovative new jet fuel that has the potential to revolutionise and accelerate low-carbon transport in the aviation sector. Virgin Atlantic finally used its innovative new fuel on a flight from Orlando to London Gatwick this week (2 October).

Developed as part of a partnership with LanzaTech – a firm which recycles industrial waste gases and other waste streams into ethanol-based aviation fuel – Virgin Atlantic claims that the fuel generates up to 70% less emissions than regular fossil jet fuel.

LanzaTech claims that the gas-capturing technology could be scaled up and retrofitted at 65% of the world’s steel mills, giving it the potential to meet 20% of the global demand for aviation fuel. Around 150 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be cut globally if gases from the steel industry were used to manufacture ethanol.

The innovative firm also notes that it could have three UK plants running by 2025, producing up to 125 million gallons of sustainable fuel per year. This would be enough to fly all UK outbound flights for Virgin Atlantic as part of a 50:50 fuel mix. It would also reduce lifecycle-fuel emissions by one million tonnes. The technology appeared on edie’s “Horizon Scanning” feature earlier this year, which outlines the six innovations set to shake-up sustainability. 

George Ogleby

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