Scottish wind turbine recycling and Nissan’s EV pledge: 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 sustainable business success stories of the week. In this week's edition, Camden Council's ecocide declaration, and much more.
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: Scottish wind turbine blades to get a new lease of life
The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently convened its first international summit on critical minerals for the clean energy transition. Participants emphasised the need for a rapid scaling of systems enabling related components to be recycled and reused, so the valuable materials they are made from do not go to waste.
One example of circular economy processes being adopted in the renewables sector concerns the partnership between developer Thrive Renewables and Scottish start-up ReBlade.
The former has partnered with the latter to enable the reuse of 22-year-old blades from its Sigurd onshore wind turbine, on the island of Orkney. The fiberglass and composite materials from the blades will be used to make outdoor furniture such as bus shelters and benches.
The turbine itself will be able to continue operating once new blades and a new rotor are fitted.
ReBlade’s director Steven Lindsay said: “This turbine is arguably one of the most productive in the UK and while the blades have been maintained exceptionally well, after eight million miles of flight, it’s time for these blades to find a new purpose.”
RESOURCES: Coca-Cola invests €12m in returnable glass bottles in Europe
Given that only 9% of all plastics ever produced have been recycled, calls are growing for more concerted efforts to scale reusable alternatives to plastic packaging.
Coca-Cola bottler the Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) is doing just that. It has opened a new high-speed returnable glass bottling line at its plant in Edelstal, Austria, which will bottle drinks in 400ml formals for sale to retailers and food-on-the-go vendors.
A €12m investment from Coca-Cola HBC, plus a €4m grant from the Austrian government’s circular economy fund, made the installation of the new bottling line possible. It is the first bottling line for refillable glass across the HBC’s 29 markets.
Coca-Cola HBC’s chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said: “Austria is already one of our fastest-growing markets for reusable packaging and this new line will further accelerate this packaging type, which is in demand by our customers and consumers alike.
“As returnable packaging options offer a reduced carbon footprint, this new line in Austria further supports our 2040 net-zero goal.”
MOBILITY: Nissan pledges fully electric portfolio by 2030 for Europe
It made the commitment late on Monday (25 September), just days after the UK delayed its ban on new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035.
Pure EVs currently represent around 16% of Nissan’s total sales in Europe. Hybrids account for a further 34%.
“EV is the ultimate mobility solution. More than a million customers have already joined our journey and experienced the fun of a Nissan electric vehicle, and there is no turning back now,” said Makoto Uchida, Nissan President and CEO.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Built4People launches new network to share green innovations
Built4People (B4P) was launched in 2021 as part of a partnership between the European Commission, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and the ECTP. It was created with the aim of leveraging €800m for research and innovation in the sector this decade.
Now, B4P has launched a new network of innovation clusters, designed to streamline R&D work regarding sustainable solutions for the sector and to enable knowledge sharing across the continent. It believes this approach will increase productivity and enable the market for next-generation construction and building operation solutions to scale more rapidly. It should also result in more robust, local supply chains.
Organisations including businesses and universities are currently being invited to join the network.
The European Builders Confederation’s secretary-general Fernando Sigchos Jimenez said: “We welcome the formation of this new network of innovation clusters for the opportunity it offers construction SMEs to get closer to the innovation community, to generate ever more useful synergies to meet the challenge of massive renovation of Europe’s built environment and buildings.”
SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP: Camden Council becomes UK’s first local authority to advocate for criminalisation of ‘ecocide’
The illegal felling of a famous tree next to Hadrian’s Wall this week has captured the hearts and minds of many, sparking fresh calls for stricter measures to conserve nature. The EU is notably set to include ‘ecocide – the most serious environmental crimes – within a new directive that will increase penalties for crimes that damage the natural world.
Post-Brexit, the directive will not apply in the UK. But there are several organisations advocating for the UK to adopt its own version, also including the ‘ecocide’ definition and mention.
In late September, Camden Council became the first UK-based local authority to support such a move. A motion on the matter was unanimously agreed upon in a cross-party vote.
Camden is notably home to Professor Philippe Sands, co-chair of the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide. He said it was “a vote for future generations and for hope: it links the local to the global, a strong signal of political support that will lead to changes in The Hague and beyond”.
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