Posted on

Coca-Cola European Partners ditches plastic shrink-wrap

A mock up of the cardboard wrapping for Coca-Cola multipacks | Credit: CCEP

Plastic shrink-wrap to hold multipack cans together is to be be replaced with sustainably sourced cardboard

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the bottler and distributor for Coca-Cola across Europe, is scrapping its plastic shrink-wrap in favour of cardboard packaging, it announced today.

Coca-Cola owns brands such as Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt, and sells more than 30 million multipacks in Great Britain every year.

Over the next 18 months all multipack packaging will be shifted to cardboard, which CCEP said is recyclable and 100 per cent sustainably sourced.

CCEP said although the current plastic shrink-wrap is recyclable, only 10 per cent of local authorities will collect it.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to recycle our packaging after they’ve enjoyed our drinks,” explained Leendert den Hollander, vice president and general manager at Coca-Cola European Partners GB. “By replacing shrink-wrap with cardboard, which is collected by virtually every household system in the country, we are eliminating a hard-to-recycle material from our supply chain.”

The move follows in the footsteps of other drinks brands ditching plastic wrapping from multipacks.

Last year Carlsberg unveiled its ‘Snap Pack’, where a multipack of cans are connected with small glue dots instead of plastic. Similarly, fellow beer brand Corona last year launched plastic-free beer rings to hold its six-packs together.

Further reading

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading Coca-Cola European Partners ditches plastic shrink-wrap

Posted on

SDG10: Green must be fair – or it will fail

Without tackling inequality, achieving the rest of the Sustainable Development Coals will be almost impossible, argues Ben Martin at the Green Economy Coalition

It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of how radical the Sustainable Development Goals really are. Consider what achieving the SDGs would actually entail: a world with no poverty and no hunger, carbon reduced to net zero, a restored and rejuvenated natural world, whole sectors – energy, transport, food, construction – transformed almost unrecognisably. We at the Green Economy Coalition believe the SDGs are a roadmap to a genuinely different world.

But achieving this vision won’t be easy. Legislative tweaks around the margins or a light dusting of CSR won’t get us there. To achieve any one of the SDGs – clean and cheap energy for all, say, or reversing the ongoing extinctions of millions of species, or decarbonisation fast enough to stay under 1.5°C – will require new economic structures, big social changes, and seriously ambitious legislation. To achieve all 17 together will require transformation on an almost unprecedented scale. Existing industries, jobs, and communities will be impacted heavily. And vested interests will put up quite a fight.

So how can we achieve these ambitious, profoundly transformative SDGs, without alienating a significant chunk of voters, employees and shareholders? Turns out, the answer was in the question all along. SDG 10 – reducing inequalities – is the key.

If it’s not fair, it won’t fly

It’s a commonplace to say the SDGs must be achieved all together or not at all. So far, however, most governments and businesses are cherry-picking the goals that they’re already doing the best on, and de-emphasising those that they feel are less relevant. SDG10 is a particular victim of this. After all, when compared to ending poverty, zero hunger, or climate action, merely “reducing inequalities” can seem a bit B-list. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s why. First of all, pro-SDG policies are not automatically popular with the public. It’s not hard to find examples of new environmental and social laws struggling for support – ‘gilet jaunes’ protests against green fuel taxes, Australia’s tussles over carbon pricing, endless Obamacare conspiracy theories, the election of Bolsonaro, Trump, Orbán et al and promises to roll back action on climate, environment and development. As environmental crises mount, and the scale of change ratchets up, these political struggles will only intensify.

Some profess bewilderment at this. Why would voters reject better healthcare, cleaner air and water, a safer world for their children? Are they ignorant, selfish, less educated? Shouldn’t green leaders just ignore these dupes and press ahead regardless?

In fact, these voters are articulating an entirely rational position, based fundamentally around inequality. They are asking – forcefully, repeatedly, and reasonably – that since it is the high carbon, high consumption lifestyles of rich elites that are creating the problem, why should the costs of climate and environmental action fall mostly on the poor?

Tackling inequality to unlock sustainability

Globally, the more unequal societies strongly correlate with those most damaging to the planet, while the world’s richest 10 per cent are responsible for more than 50 per cent of global carbon emissions. Inequality drives envioronmental destruction, but the suffering this causes is distribuited unequally too. 

Air and water pollution is worse in the poorest neighbourhoods while climate disasters, extreme weather and environmental damage disproportionately harm the poor and vulnerable

People have an instinctive sense of fairness. They want environmental action to benefit everyone, not just elites, and they want the costs of that action to fall equitably on the shoulders of those most responsible. It’s a simple argument, but an unanswerable one.

Yet all too often, economic policies that are “good for everyone” in the long run still fail to deliver real benefits to those people whose lives will be most affected in the near term. If green politicians  shutter the only job you’ve ever had, its cold comfort to be told that it was based on a brown economic model that couldn’t last anyway.

Pressing ahead with a green agenda without addressing justice, equity and inclusion will always be counterproductive. Affected communities – be they coal miners, farmers, or car workers – will reject policies that sacrifice their livelihoods for distant, abstract objectives like “biodiversity” or “decarbonisation”.

Yellow vests and green hearts

The quintessential example here is France’s gilets jaunes protests.  The immediate triggers were a fuel tax hike and a lower motorway speed limit, both presented by the Macron government as necessary for France’s “ecological transition”. A narrative quickly took hold in the press that the protesters were reactionary rural bumpkins, addicted to fossil fuels and fast driving – especially when the government dropped the fuel tax in an unsuccessful attempt to restore calm.

But dig a little deeper, and it’s clear that the protesters were motivated mainly by outrage at the economic injustices and inequality of modern France, as well as personal antipathy to Macron. Opposition to the fuel tax was driven, at least in part, by how regressive it is.

A flat fuel tax overwhelmingly hurts struggling workers in rural areas, while the benefits of lower air pollution would mainly be felt by wealthy city-dwellers. The majority of gilet jaunes protestors come from a world of insecure employment, rural poverty, and increasing inequality. It’s not hard to see why the fuel tax became the straw which broke the camel’s back.

SDG10: the key to unlock the transition

The gilets jaunes protestors are a powerful symbol of why social justice must always be at the heart of environmental justice. Green policies must also address equality, or they will be rejected. Unless we achieve SDG10 – not as an afterthought, but as the central plank of any green agenda – then we are dooming ourselves to a “fast yet fragile” technocratic transition, opposed by many and easily undone.

Luckily, policymakers are waking up to the power of a bottom-up approach. Macron dropped the fuel tax, but launched instead a Citizens’ Convention for the Climate, a people’s assembly of 150 randomly selected voters charged with overhauling France’s climate and environmental policies; the Canadian province of British Colombia invests the profits of its carbon tax into social care; community forestry schemes in Nepal, Indonesia and Korea have reduced deforestation while generating income for the poorest. Many more examples can be found in our Green Must Be Fair report.

Corporate leaders too see the writing on the wall. “Business with purpose” is an idea whose time has come, with a new wave of B-Corps, co-ops and social enterprises aiming to benefit people and planet, as well as achieving profit. Representation of employees and even young people on corporate boards is moving from a fringe idea to the mainstream. And the ever-increasing ratio of CEO to worker pay – arguably the defining inequality issue of our time – is coming under increasing public and political scrutiny.

Savvy politicians and professionals alike would be wise to start grappling with the issue of inequality. People need to believe that new policies or business decisions will benefit them, their families, their communities. They need to see that they are valued and represented in the boardrooms and ministries that guide this transition. And they need to know that the green transition’s benefits and costs alike will be shouldered fairly by both rich and poor. Inclusion is how sustainability gets to scale.

No-one said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was going to be easy. But without tackling inequality, hitting the rest of these radical, laudable goals will be almost impossible.

Ben Martin is communications editor at the Green Economy Coalition.

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading SDG10: Green must be fair – or it will fail

Posted on

Brexit: ‘Lack of faith’ between UK and EU threatens to derail climate action, study warns

Concerns remain over the impact of Brexit on environmental standards

Troubled Brexit negotiations could result in weakening green standards and reduction in Europe’s diplomatic influence on climate action, new study warns

Brexit threatens to derail both the UK and the EU’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis, with a “lack of faith” between both parties during current exit deal negotiations putting future cooperation and alignment on environmental standards at risk, a new academic study has warned.

The paper released today by the University of Sheffield highlights the UK’s crucial role as a counterweight to EU member states that have traditionally lobbied against bolder climate action. It argues the UK has in the past helped push the bloc towards stronger environmental, climate, and renewable energy targets and regulations.

It also points to the UK’s recent adoption of its 2050 net zero emissions target, which made it the first major economy in the world to lay down such a level of ambition in law, arguing the country had set a “positive example” to the rest of the world on climate action.

But author of the paper, Professor Charlotte Burns, warned the current “lack of faith” between Brussels and London during difficult Brexit negotiations was putting future climate action at risk.

Moreover, Burns, a professorial fellow in the University’s Department of politics and international relations, said the UK’s efforts to secure a trade deal with the US – which under Trump has sought to exit the Paris Agreement – could further jeopardise relations and cooperation with the EU.

“The climate emergency demands urgent action,” said Burns. “The UK and EU should be working together to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement and set out roadmaps to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the continent by 2050. But Brexit has created uncertainty and raised the risk that the climate crisis will be pushed off the political agenda at this critical moment.”

Boris Johnson has on several occasions stated his support for the UK’s 2050 net zero goal and has repeatedly insisted the government is committed to “world class” environmental standards after leaving the EU. 

However, reports have emerged in recent weeks of the Prime Minister seeking to break away from EU environmental standards after Brexit, despite previous commitments from his predecessor Theresa May to maintaining a ‘level playing field’ with Europe on environmental and social standards.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, yesterday also appeared to confirm that the UK’s negotiating team has been seeking to revisit level playing field commitments on the environment.

Burns said she was concerned by such signals from Downing Street since Johnson became Prime Minister earlier in the summer, and warned a potential no-deal Brexit would mean there was nothing to stop the UK weakening its own climate regulations after Brexit.

Moreover, she said pursuing a trade deal with the US would further increase pressure on the UK to reduce green standards on goods and services. “Ongoing uncertainty about the Johnson government’s positioning on the environment raises questions about future trade deals and their environmental implications,” her study states.

“As we move towards an election, it is important that the environment and climate breakdown should be high up the political agenda,” said Burns. “Crucially, the risks of a no-deal Brexit for the climate need to be explained and the scope for no-deal to prompt weaker EU climate ambition should not be ignored.”

Environmental groups have long warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the UK’s environmental standards and regulations, given 80 per cent of domestic green laws estimated to derive from the EU.

Concerns have ratcheted up in recent weeks as proposed legislation such as the Agriculture Bill and the Environment Bill – which were due to set out UK’s future green protections and farming subsidy framework – have both been shelved due to the government’s recent decision to prorogue Parliament.

Ministers have repeatedly insisted they remain committed to deliver a “green Brexit”, but at the same time some of their colleagues have publicly and privately made the case for greater environmental deregulation. 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was considering a request for comment at the time of going to press.

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading Brexit: ‘Lack of faith’ between UK and EU threatens to derail climate action, study warns

Posted on

BusinessGreen Leaders Summit: COP26 President Claire Perry to deliver keynote speech

Former Energy and Clean Growth Minister to give one of her first major speeches since UK was confirmed as co-host for the crucial COP26 Summit in Glasgow

Claire Perry is to provide the opening keynote address at this year’s BusinessGreen Leaders Summit on October 23rd, delivering one of her first major public speeches since she was appointed as President of next year’s crucial COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

The former energy and climate change minister will provide an audience of over 200 leading sustainability executives and green economy stakeholders with an update on the government’s plans for the 2020 UN Climate Summit, which is to be co-hosted by the UK and Italy.

She will also discuss how the business community can engage with the high profile Summit and maximise the economic opportunities on offer, while driving forward their own climate plans.

Perry is one of host of high profile speakers scheduled to appear at the third annual BusinessGreen Leaders Summit, including Dr Alice Bell, Quorn CEO Kevin Brennan, Centrica’s Jim Rushen, IKEA’s Hege Sæbjørnsen, Solarcentury founder Jeremy Leggett, and Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson.

The Summit, which is supported by headline sponsor Centrica, will take place at The Crystal venue in London’s Docklands. The theme for this year’s Summit is “preparing for a decade of disruption” and through a series of keynote addresses, panel debates, and streamed workshops on clean energy, the circular economy, and the net zero transition delegates will be able to explore how leading businesses are positioning themselves for the most exciting and eventful decade in the green economy’s history.

“We are delighted Claire Perry will join us for what promises to be a fascinating Summit at a crucially important time for the green economy,” said BusinessGreen editor-in-chief James Murray. “As President of COP26 she will be right at the heart of a critical 18 months for the UK and the world’s net zero ambitions and will be able to offer invaluable insights on how the business community can help accelerate decarbonisation efforts and support the landmark UN Summit in Glasgow next year.”

Thanks to the support of our sponsors Centrica and Orsted, the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards is free to attend for sustainability executives and key green economy stakeholders. However, the event is close to being fully booked, so delegates are advised to register their place as soon as possible.

The news comes just days after BusinessGreen also confirmed that chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt is to deliver the keynote address at the inaugural BusinessGreen Technology Festival and Awards on December 5th.

The deadline for entering the BusinessGreen Technology Awards is September 27th. Now in their fifth year the awards offer a unique opportunity for companies from across the burgeoning green technology sector to showcase their cutting edge projects and innovations.

The awards ceremony will take place at the close of the day-long BusinessGreen Technology Festival, providing shortlisted firms with a unique opportunity to hear from agenda-setting speakers, network with top investors and prospective partners, and potentially present their technology through the BusinessGreen Technology Challenge.

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading BusinessGreen Leaders Summit: COP26 President Claire Perry to deliver keynote speech

Posted on

Tackling the ‘supertanker’: Are investors starting to get twitchy over worsening climate risk profiles?

Investors cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball in 2019

There is serious uncertainty in the investment community about how to co-ordinate a response to the climate threat

Top financiers urge companies to align lobbying efforts with Paris Agreement, as markets struggle to price in climate risk

Institutional investors are struggling to chart a course that safely navigates the “supertanker” trends sparked by climate change, with many unsure how to protect against the risks arising from policy…

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading Tackling the ‘supertanker’: Are investors starting to get twitchy over worsening climate risk profiles?

Posted on

Fab City, the global circular economy movement centered around local makers

Asia Tamaoki, 18, admits he doesn’t know much about Fab City, an initiative challenging cities around the world to produce everything they consume by 2054. Tamaoki, a physics student at the College of Alameda in Oakland, California, has other things to focus on, such as doing his homework, getting good grades and being accepted into a four-year university. However, despite his unfamiliarity with Fab City’s larger efforts, Tamaoki is very much a part of them. 

In December, while he was casually looking for a part-time job, Tamaoki stumbled across a posting by the college’s Fab Lab to be a maker-in-residence. The position sounded intriguing, and Tamaoki was hired. Since January, he’s learned how to operate high-tech machinery, expensive tools and cutting-edge computer programs. 

“This is the coolest place,” Tamaoki said. “I’m learning all the time, and without the Fab Lab, I wouldn’t have the chance to access this stuff.”

 That’s the point. 

As the idea of Fab Labs and Fab City continues to gain traction on a global scale, what’s emerging aren’t ground-breaking technologies, fix-all machines and earth-shattering inventions. Rather, Fab City’s organizers are striving to build an international platform that invites makers, planners, thinkers, designers, students — everyone — to the table to share place-based best practices regarding urban design, workforce development, manufacturing, food production and more.

Given that humans have spent over 200 years developing global industry, Fab City understands that societal shifts won’t happen overnight; however, by empowering global citizens to make local changes, Fab City is connecting people around the world to transform the cities of today into the circular cities of tomorrow.

Formalizing a movement

Tomás Díez, director and co-founder at Fab Lab Barcelona, helped launch Fab City in 2014. According to him, it was an aspirational “weekend project” that quickly grew into a much bigger reality.

That’s the short story.

Fab City was set in motion more than 10 years before it officially launched, when the first “fabrication laboratory,” or Fab Lab, was created by MIT in 2001. MIT’s Fab Lab became a place where students could learn to design and make, as it was pitched to students, “almost anything” using digital means. The concept took off, and an open-source network of makerspaces spread across the globe, doubling in size about every 18 months. As of 2018, there were over 1,300 Fab Labs worldwide, in places such as university campuses, developing countries, trade schools, disaster sites, traveling buses and the College of Alameda, where Tamaoki gets to play with cool tools as part of his work-study program.

In 2014, the City Council of Barcelona, Spain, pushed Fab Labs to new heights. With support from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, MIT and Fab Lab Barcelona, the city’s mayor made a commitment (PDF) to have Barcelona produce everything it consumes within 40 years. Organizers, including Díez, called it Fab City, and other cities were invited to make the 2054 pledge to transform their cities into fully circular economies. Today, with about 34 years left to shift away from the industrial, product-in, trash-out paradigm that we live in, 34 cities, countries and regions are signed onto the global Fab City initiative.

From the very beginning, one of Fab City’s biggest challenges has been its rapid growth. According to Díez, Fab City’s organizers didn’t anticipate other cities to follow Barcelona’s lead so quickly. “The growth has surprised us, and our challenge has been to make it grow sustainably and to make it grow in a distributed, [team-oriented] way,” he said.

Therefore, Fab City relies on seemingly basic technology tools such as email and instant messaging, as well as in-person events, to bring people from across the movement together to coordinate larger initiatives, exchange experience-based best practices, share methodologies and find better ways to live in cities without compromising the future of the planet.

Although Fab City hosts a number of small, targeted events throughout the year in cities around the world, Fab City’s biggest event is its annual summit. In 2019, the summit was hosted in Amsterdam, and over the next three years, it’ll be held in Montreal, Canada; Seoul, South Korea; and Mérida, Mexico, respectively.

Besides its quick growth, Fab City’s other major challenge is that it’s not technically a formalized organization — it’s an organized movement. However, that’s about to change.

Within the next couple of months, the Fab City Foundation officially will launch, thus making Fab City a fully operational organization that’s able to funnel private funding and public dollars (primarily from the European Union) into supporting a number of local projects. The foundation will be based in Estonia, and its main office will be in Barcelona.

“The foundation will help us to develop stronger Fab City consortiums in each one of our cities so we can work more consistently on deploying agenda-related actions,” Díez said. “Funding is needed in order to make that happen, so the foundation will be able to channel funds coming from organizations like the United Nations and World Bank to support cities at the local level.”

When asked to highlight an exciting invention or an innovative best practice “at the local level” that’s emerged out of the global Fab City movement, Díez stressed that Fab City isn’t about “moon shots,” as he calls them: it’s about building a platform. Therefore, rather than pursuing quick-fix solutions that he sees as feeding into society’s need for instant gratification, Díez says Fab City is more about surfacing known inventions that haven’t been sufficiently exploited and connecting people to put those ideas into practice at the community level.

Made in Oakland

One community actively involved in Fab City’s larger efforts is Oakland, California.

Oakland Fab City’s programs are coordinated by Elevator Works, a micro-manufacturing hub in West Oakland started by Sal Bednarz and Danny Beesley, who together have decades of experience working within Oakland’s small business, Fab Lab, green building and education scenes.

For years, the two wanted to explore how they could close the gap between local education and regional entrepreneurs, manufacturing, innovation and jobs. After a series of meetings with Fab City leaders, the two decided Fab City had the potential to “knit these things together,” as Bednarz phrased it. In July 2018, the two makers pitched Fab City to Oakland Mayor Libby Shaaf, and she signed the pledge, thus plugging the East Bay into Fab City’s larger global coalition.

Soon after Shaaf signed the pledge, Bednarz flew to Paris to represent Oakland at Fab City’s 2018 annual summit. He was expecting a conference centered around technological advances and new machinery; however, that wasn’t his experience.

“What I saw at the Fab City conference was a lot of projects that were really prototyping an idea that was relevant to the local community around a Fab Lab,” Bednarz said. “The Fab Lab was just a platform on which those conversations could happen. It wasn’t a technology story. It was a people story.”

Bednarz and Beesley returned to the East Bay with a new level of clarity of how they wanted to grow Fab City in Oakland: They wanted to include everyone. Over the past year, Oakland Fab City has cast a wide net aimed at capturing the city’s history of social justice, inclusivity and innovation, and Oakland Fab City organizers are working with everyone from formerly incarcerated youth to business associations to college students to architecture firms to start a conversation about what Oakland 2054 looks like.

“I like to say this to people,” Bednarz said. “It’s 2054, we built a different city, we achieved our goal: tell me what you did to help us get there.”

Bednarz isn’t looking for silver bullets, and similar to Díez’s comments about moon shots, Oakland Fab City isn’t trying to solve today’s major challenges tomorrow. Instead, Bednarz and Beesley want to build momentum by attracting investors, forging public-private partnerships and creating community.

“The unique thing about the Fab City initiative is it’s an idea that invites everybody to the table,” Beesley said. “It’s a catch-all. When we talk to educators about Fab Labs and maker spaces, everyone agrees they’re valuable. Fab City fits right into that. If we’re talking about sustainability or climate change or producing things locally, Fab City is a core solution that can involve everybody.”

2054 is far in the future for Asia Tamaoki, the 18-year-old College of Alameda student. However, knowingly or not, Tamaoki is helping to push Oakland Fab City toward its 2054 goal each and every time he steps into the Fab Lab. That’s because he’s doing his part to bring more people into the larger conversation. In the past nine months, Tamaoki has welcomed his entire family and many of his friends into the College of Alameda’s Fab Lab so they can see the machines, the makerspace and the community for themselves.

“Part of it is finding this awesome thing and wanting to share it with people,” Tamaoki said. “The more people that come in the better.”

Author: Continue reading Fab City, the global circular economy movement centered around local makers

Posted on

Leading mobile operators pledge collective, consistent disclosure of climate impacts

Back in February 2016, shortly after the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals officially were adopted, the worldwide trade association representing most of the world’s leading mobile companies launched an industry-wide push to encourage corporate action supporting them.

Now, responding to pressure from investors all around the globe, the group, GSMA, is kicking off a coordinated effort aimed at improving and standardizing how they disclose climate risks.

This week, more than 50 of the largest wireless network carriers representing two-thirds of mobile connections globally — including AT&T, BT Group, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Orange Group, SoftBank, Vodafone, Verizon and a who’s who list from around the world — collectively agreed to report information about climate impacts, energy transition plans, greenhouse gas emissions and other ESG concerns using the CDP global disclosure system.

What sorts of concerns should investors have? A vivid illustration comes from California. Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission requested information about the contingency plans of cellular service providers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon in cases where the state’s utilities are directed to switch off power during periods of high wildfire risk. According to coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, towers can operate for four to 72 hours on existing backup systems. Some providers, via the organization Green Touch Consortium, worked on a five-year project toward the goal earlier this decade. As carriers build out next-generation 5G wireless networks, making sure they run as efficiently as possible and that the sources are increasingly cleaner are central concerns.

Being more transparent is just the first step. GSMA is also coordinating the development of what it calls an “industry-wide, climate action roadmap,” aligned with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), for achieving net-zero emission GHG emissions by 2050, the goal set out by the Paris Agreement. Many individual companies plan to use this initiative as the foundation of dialogues and meetings next week during the climate meetings in New York, including the United Nations General Assembly, as well as at the Mobile World Congress Americas conference in Los Angeles in October.

Inspired by investors

By choosing one platform for disclosure, the mobile operators are seeking to make it simpler for investors to compare the plans of companies across the wireless communications sector, something they increasingly have been requesting, said Mats Granyrd, director general of GSMA, during a conversion with GreenBiz. 

“A lot of investors are keen to understand individually how companies are doing but want to see it done in a consistent way,” he said.

Granyrd said many operators that agreed to join the initiative — some have opted out for now, citing resource issues or strategic timing or other concerns — will be reporting for the first time as part of this collaborative push.

They’ll be asked to respond in detail about Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, as well as issues such as energy intensity, renewable energy strategy, the use of carbon pricing and scenario analysis, emissions reduction targets, investments in low-carbon equipment and technologies, and how climate is considered as part of broader business strategy, according to a briefing document in detail.

The bulk of emissions related to a mobile operator’s own operations lie in Scope 1 (for things such as fleets, buildings and back-up generators) and in Scope 2 (mainly related to the power to run networks and data centers). But GSMA estimates that the large majority of operators’ total GHG emissions are Scope 3 in nature, embedded across suppliers and other members of the value chain.

There’s much that carriers can do to influence climate action there, the organization believes. That includes connecting corporate buildings and facilities for energy management, supporting vehicle telematics for reducing fuel consumption, diverting emissions that would have been expended on travel and commuting, enabling precision agriculture, empowering rural economies and so on. Those new solutions also will drive additional mobile traffic across wireless networks, so many companies across the industry are focusing on how to ensure that each new generation of connectivity is more energy-efficient than the last.

“The mobile industry will form the backbone of the future economy and therefore has a unique opportunity to drive change across multiple sectors and in collaboration with our suppliers, investors and customers,” Granyrd said in the press release for the initiative.

A history of industry-wide collaboration

To be clear, not every company in the GSMA’s membership is part of this initiative, at least for now. The group includes more than 750 operators, as well as 350 other companies that are part of the industry such as software developers, handset and device manufacturers, internet companies and network equipment providers.

But the operators that have signed up represent about 5.2 billion mobile connections, out of the 7.8 billion reported worldwide at the end of second quarter. (That doesn’t include internet of things links.) GSMA expects at least 60 operators to be involved by February, when the organization expects to unfurl a decarbonization pathway framework with the SBTi; to date, a sector-related framework of this sort hasn’t been available for companies to consult.

The initiative was borne out of a call to action launched earlier this year, one that recognized that the sorts of technologies that the mobile industry provides writ large could be vitally critical to climate solutions — and that the sector needed to focus on how to scale up their businesses quickly without exacerbating the problem.

The energy footprint of mobile networks is estimated at about 130 terrawatt-hours annually, with a footprint of about 110 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. That’s about 0.2 percent of global GHG emissions. If you add in the impact of mobile phones, the impact is about 200 MtCO2e, according to GSMA, or about 0.4 percent of global GHG emissions.

The forthcoming decarbonization pathway will allow companies to set their own targets, as well as a timeline for delivery; renewable energy isn’t as readily available in some remote or off-grid locations as others, for example. Right now, those transmission sites may run on diesel generators and until broader transmission investments are made, the industry needs to find workaround solutions.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), which represents information technology and digital infrastructure companies, and International Telecommunications (ITU) are collaborating on the development of the framework. “We’re very excited with the pickup and interest of the mobile operators,” Granyrd said. “Their reaction has been great.”

GSMA considers the disclosure pledge and commitment to science-based goals to be an extension of the industry’s intense focus on committing to the SDGs, Granyrd said. The group scores progress on all 17 goals based on how well the industry is delivering on its potential impact.

According to the report, based on GSMA analysis, so far the mobile sector is making the biggest contribution toward SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). For example, as of 2017, almost 600 million have access to mobile internet services, most in low-income and middle-income countries, and more than 250 million globally have access to mobile financial services. As of that timeframe, 5 million people had used services offered as part of the mNutrition Initiative, which supports farmers looking to improve their productivity and income. But even then, that work only gets a score of 51 out of a possible 100 for achieving its potential. Two other areas where the industry gives itself a relatively good grade: SDG 4 (Education) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

The areas in which the sector believes it made the most progress between 2017 and 2018 were on SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). During 2017, for example, mobile operators involved with the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter supported more than 30 million people recovering from natural disasters and other crises. (You can find the latest SDG impact report here; the 2019 edition is due in coming weeks.)

“We have discrete targets around almost all of the targets,” Granyrd said.

Author: Continue reading Leading mobile operators pledge collective, consistent disclosure of climate impacts

Posted on

So long diesel cars, hello micromobility

This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here

Twenty-four European cities — from London to Paris to Madrid — are planning to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles in various ways from their city centers over the next decade. Those urban areas account for 62 million people who eventually will live in zones that no longer will accommodate yesterday’s diesel-burning cars.

How absolutely awesome is that? The transition not only will reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, but it’ll give a boost to an emerging market: micromobility. The term covers shared e-scooters and bikes, and also new types of owned cargo and commuter e-bikes, as well as some of the funkier mobility ideas out there. 

These major European cities could move pretty swiftly to the point where micromobility, combined with solid public transit, emerges as the backbone of urban transportation. Bikes are already a major transportation option in many European cities, and these cities are continuing to build out some of the world’s best biking infrastructure.

“Thirty-four percent of trips [in the EU] are made by biking or walking, compared with 3.5 percent in the U.S.,” says Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and co-founder of Tier, one of Europe’s largest homegrown scooter operators in a conversation with the Micromobility Podcast last month.

Folks such as Leuschner say this spells out the end of the reign of the car in Europe’s biggest cities. “In about five to 10 years, the dominant vehicles on the roads will be micromobility vehicles like scooters and bikes, and cars will not be the dominant vehicle on the streets anymore. Europeans are really looking forward to it,” Leuschner says.

Oh, and so am I. Cities in the United States, such as Oakland, California, have been thoughtfully deploying their own city-vetted micromobility options, but they’re nothing like Europe’s biking network. For that to happen, there needs to be systemic change that helps develop the state-of-the-art mobility infrastructure over many years and a deployment of myriad restrictions on cars.

For the founders of media company Micromobility Industries, it’s not just diesel cars, but all similarly sized traditional cars, in general, that won’t have a place in tight urban settings. “Cars (not just fossil-fueled) are being squeezed through a reduction in access. This is in the form of reduced parking, increases in parking fees, congestion pricing, reduced refueling options, lane restrictions and overall zone bans,” says Micromobility Industries co-founder Horace Dediu.

Dediu and his team are hosting the world’s largest event dedicated to Europe’s “minimal mobility” Oct. 1 at Radialsystem in Berlin, Germany, for a full day of programming and addressing all of the BHAGs of 21st-century transport, from car-free cities to self-driving scooters. It’s OK, I’ll wait for you to Google BHAG.

From now until Sept. 24, Transport Weekly readers can claim a 55 percent discount to attend Micromobility Europe (a savings of $487). Go forth and learn, my friends, and try to get to Berlin in the first week in October.

Author: Continue reading So long diesel cars, hello micromobility

Posted on

How the hospitality industry plays a vital role in relief efforts when disaster strikes

Hotels are more than a place to stay while on vacation. They are also critical for destination disaster relief and recovery.

When major hurricanes strike, relief organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross are usually seen at the heart of the disaster response. Less publicized are the essential roles hotels play in aiding and supporting the efforts of first responders and residents.

We saw this earlier this month when hotels in the Bahamas offered shelter to families after Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands. They also gave millions of dollars to aid the recovery, offered food to survivors and encouraged guests to donate clothing and other supplies.

To better understand their role in relief efforts, my colleagues Jennifer L. Schneider, Muhammet Kesgin and Sarah Dobie and I interviewed over 40 hotel general managers in Florida and collected online survey data on 156 more to study what they did during and after Hurricane Irma struck two years ago.

We were impressed by the range of roles hotels said they take on in a disaster.

Preparing for the storm

Hotels in the vicinity of a hurricane are in a unique position to help, because unlike other first responders, they are already physically there with large and fortified buildings.

Our interviews showed that Florida hotels take steps every year to mitigate the impact of hurricane season. This annual preparedness involves continued education, planning and sharing of best practices through local hotel associations, such as the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West.

“There is no way FEMA could set up temporary housing as fast as hotels in providing immediate places for people to stay in impacted areas,” one general manager told us.

Hotels mitigate the potential of being closed by signing advance contracts for diesel fuel to run generators in case electricity is lost. They also line-up contractors ahead of time to repair any damage that might occur.

One manager even reported taking out $5,000 in cash just before the storm arrived to make sure she could buy groceries for local residents in need, because the lack of electricity was forcing stores to accept cash only.

Offering shelter and aiding recovery

During Hurricane Irma, residents and visitors were forced to evacuate certain parts of the state and sought shelter from the storm wherever they could, including at hotels, some of which are resilient to Category 5 hurricanes.

How much a hotel can help with disaster response can depend on how severely its own infrastructure is damaged. But even when there is damage and no electricity, hoteliers reported that lodging was the key resource they were able to provide victims of Irma, whether they were local residents who fled homes or insurance adjusters and response teams trying to get things back up and running.

Managers told us they offered discounted room rates for people trying to get out of the way of the oncoming storm and waived their usual pet policies to help those fleeing the hurricane with animals.

Some managers said their hotels transformed from four-star resorts to simple shelters where first responders or power repair workers could find a safe and free place to sleep. One manager reported setting up dozens of cots in a ballroom for a National Guard command post.

Hotel employees who felt unsafe in their homes were allowed to ride out the storm with their families for free. In some cases, they provided housing for months after the storm.

Beyond lodging, in some cases hotels sent out engineers to inspect employee homes to determine whether they were habitable while they waited for official inspections.

Whether in Florida or the Bahamas, hotels serve as critical hubs for disaster relief and recovery. As such, policymakers should be aware of their dual role as both private sector business and community resource.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Author: Continue reading How the hospitality industry plays a vital role in relief efforts when disaster strikes

Posted on

Amazon Fires: Why a new economic model must come from the ruins

To fight the Amazon fires we need more than water cannons and law enforcement – we need a new economic model, writes Forum for the Future’s Roberta Iley

The fires raging in the Amazon have been covered extensively by the media and labelled an environmental disaster. But does this label tell the full story? What we are really talking about is a complex…

Source: – Business Green
Author: Continue reading Amazon Fires: Why a new economic model must come from the ruins