Latin American e-commerce giant invests in Brazilian ecosystem restoration

March 18, 2021 by  
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Latin American e-commerce giant invests in Brazilian ecosystem restoration Heather Clancy Thu, 03/18/2021 – 01:00 The tech sector’s fascination with tree restoration as a climate solution apparently isn’t unique to U.S. companies.  Latin America’s largest e-commerce marketplace — Mercado Libre, a company with roughly twice the market capitalization of eBay at $78 billion — is putting part of the proceeds from its $400 million sustainability bond toward two forest restoration projects in the remnants of the Atlantic Forest, which once covered 15 percent of Brazil. Those projects are both managed under Mercado Libre’s Renera America program, which aims to restore key ecosystems throughout the region as part of its climate action strategy, using technology from climate-tech startup Pachama to monitor and verify the progress of this work. The first two initiatives, which will receive $8 million in the first phase, aim to restore nearly 7,500 acres and more than 1 million trees. Why would an e-commerce company get involved on the ground with a reforestation effort of this scale? Why not just buy offsets from somewhere else? From an established forest carbon marketplace? “We like to do things that are tangible,” Pedro Arnt, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Mercado Libre, told me when we chatted about the project last week.  This company is a big deal in South America with 132.5 million active users and 649.2 million items shipped during 2020. It’s growing at a rapid clip. Revenue for the fourth quarter of last year was $1.3 billion, up almost 97 percent from the year earlier.  With that furious growth rate has come the realization that Mercado Libre needs to embrace a long-term, multiyear strategy not just to reduce its absolute emissions — especially for its logistics and shipping network, where it plans a substantial electric vehicle rollout — but also to invest in initiatives that could have a positive impact on its home turf. The bond proceeds also will be used to create a lending platform for underbanked small and microbusinesses, given that close to 85 percent of the company’s sales are related to these relationships. We liked to be able to choose and engage in the biomes that we were helping preserve, near our consumers, but also that might be impacted by our emissions. The forest projects were chosen after hours of internal debate, according to Arnt. “We liked to be able to choose and engage in the biomes that we were helping preserve, near our consumers, but also that might be impacted by our emissions,” he said. “We wanted to get into the mud and get dirty.” Of course, there’s also the expectation, with Pachama’s involvement, that these projects will originate new carbon offsets, which are in increasingly short supply as big businesses shower the world with net-zero pledges. That, of course, will benefit Mercado as its sales — and emissions — grow. “The big problem in this market is that there aren’t enough projects,” said Diego Saez-Gil, co-founder and CEO of Pachama.  Both Atlantic Forest efforts promise a big impact, not just in terms of restoration but also in terms of environmental justice. The first, the Mantiqueira Conservation Project managed by The Nature Conservancy, is focused on a mountainous region that supplies electricity for cities including Sao Paolo, Campinas and Rio de Janeiro. Among other things, the developers are exploring how to give landholders and Indigenous communities there economic credit for restoration activities, such as planting fruit or cocoa trees. The second, the Corridors for Life Project run by Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas, aims to recreate wildlife corridors important for regenerating biodiversity within coastal forests that have been encroached upon by farmland and ranches. “Part of what seduced us was that it had this element of working with small landowners and farmers,” Arnt said. By directly engaging with Pachama to monitor the work through its network of satellites and artificial intelligence technologies, Mercado Libre expects to have a much more real-time view into how its efforts directly affect the region’s restoration. “Hopefully it sets a new standard for companies,” Saez-Gil told me. Which body will be used to certify any credits that originated? That’s apparently a question for another day. What makes this initiative stand out for me isn’t just that it represents a relatively unique approach to corporate support of forest restoration but that it’s being made by an influential company within the region, one that could have the power to inspire behavior changes by other South American businesses. Pull Quote We liked to be able to choose and engage in the biomes that we were helping preserve, near our consumers, but also that might be impacted by our emissions. Topics Carbon Removal Tree Planting Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Latin American e-commerce giant invests in Brazilian ecosystem restoration

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free

October 4, 2019 by  
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RightWater, a mineral water distributor, is setting a new standard … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 4, 2019: RightWater Goes Plastic-Free

Earth911 Inspiration: Ed Mitchell — Look at That

October 4, 2019 by  
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“From out there on the moon, international politics look so … The post Earth911 Inspiration: Ed Mitchell — Look at That appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Inspiration: Ed Mitchell — Look at That

Snhetta completes LEED Gold-seeking crystal workshop for Swarovski

February 18, 2019 by  
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International architecture firm Snøhetta is breaking the mold for industrial architecture with its contemporary and light-filled production facility for Swarovski Manufaktur. Designed to meet LEED Gold standards, this “crystal workshop for the 21st century” offers a spacious environment conducive for collaboration between the departments of design, product development and production. Wrapped in glare-free glass, the building also features glazing throughout the interior to emphasize lightness and transparency. Located in Wattens, Austria , the 7,000-square-meter Swarovski Manufaktur was created as a new standard for creative work for the Tyrollean crystal manufacturer. The hybrid building not only caters to design and production needs, but also provides Swarovski an attractive and efficient place to work together with customers. Prototyping at Swarovski Manufaktur, for instance, has been cut down from an average of two weeks to six days, which allows the company to bring its clients’ ideas to life — as real crystal prototypes — in much shorter time. Swarovski Manufaktur is part of the firm’s larger 100 million-euro vision that includes the new design and innovation center Campus 311 and the crystal-cutting facility Crystal Factory of the Future, which is slated to open in 2019. Designed for energy efficiency, Swarovski Manufaktur relies primarily on daylight for lighting. In addition to the glazed facades, the building also features 135 skylights , also coated to prevent against glare. The interior is organized around a centrally located staircase that doubles as a meeting space. Related: Calgary Central Library is wrapped in a striking, snowflake-like facade “We tried not to interpret the physical properties of crystals in our building geometry,” explained Patrick Lüth, managing director of Snøhetta’s Studio in Innsbruck. “Instead, we have tried to understand what makes crystal so special and attractive, and to use these ephemeral qualities to create a specific atmosphere. The space has an incredible amount of daylight penetration, which we believe is unparalleled in the typical production facility context. Crystals only come to life with light, so for us it is the intense presence of that daylight that is the most important aesthetic aspect of this building.” + Snøhetta Images by David Schreyer via Snøhetta

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Snhetta completes LEED Gold-seeking crystal workshop for Swarovski

Natural Habitat Adventures launches world’s first zero-waste vacations

September 11, 2018 by  
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In a travel-industry first, Natural Habitat Adventures is spearheading a zero-waste vacation package. The groundbreaking trip will take place in summer 2019, when 14 travelers will visit Yellowstone National Park from July 6-12. The Safari America: Yellowstone Country adventurers will explore the sustainable travel industry as well as refusing, recycling, composting , upcycling and reusing at least 99 percent of all waste produced during the trip. Natural Habitat Adventures hopes to avoid landfill contributions or incineration, fitting all waste into a single small container by the trip’s end. Founder and president of Natural Habitat Adventures Ben Bressler said, “One way we’re dedicated to protecting the planet is to inspire the travel industry to become more sustainable,” of the initiative that is more about setting a new standard for travel than anything else. “Our goal is to continually raise the bar on conservation, and our first zero-waste adventure will show that it’s possible to reduce our environmental impact while providing an exceptional experience for our guests,” he continued. Related: 100% solar-powered Fiji resort combines 5-star luxury with sustainability Trip leaders have already devised plans to mitigate waste , including providing travelers with a zero-waste toolkit containing reusable items such as water bottles, mugs, cutlery and totes as well as digitizing all pre-trip forms and vacation itineraries. Travelers are encouraged to refuse potential waste items such as single-use straws or individually packaged condiments. The vehicles, lodges and camps throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will be stocked with bulk foods that will be transported as individual meals in reusable containers. Napkins and biodegradable foods will be composted by the team, while hard-to-recycle materials will be sent to TerraCycle , a world-leading company that specializes in recycling difficult outputs. There is no better company in achieving this mission than Natural Habitat Adventures, which just celebrated 10 years of being 100 percent carbon neutral — in 2007, the ecotourism pioneer became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company. Its  carbon offset program has thwarted more than 34.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions generated through the company’s global nature adventures. The company hopes to inspire and educate its guests to make an impact beyond the trips. For Natural Habitat Adventures, showing people how to make conscious decisions about daily waste production at home and at the office is a cornerstone of the trips. + Natural Habitat Adventures Images via Collective Retreats & Natural Habitat Adventures

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Natural Habitat Adventures launches world’s first zero-waste vacations

Here’s how Paris is building the eco-community of the future

June 20, 2018 by  
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The Clichy-Batignolles eco-district aims to set a new standard in sustainable urban design.

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Here’s how Paris is building the eco-community of the future

Perkins+Will designs LEED Gold-seeking academic building for York University

March 21, 2018 by  
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Perkins+Will has won a design competition for the Toronto’s York University School of Continuing Studies, an eye-catching building that will target impressive eco-credentials. The design, which beat out a shortlist of seven proposals, is expected to meet a minimum certification of LEED Gold with potential for net-zero energy and net-zero carbon. The $50.5 million School of Continuing Studies will break ground in 2019 on York University’s Keele campus. Proposed for a corner lot near the new York University TTC subway station, the 9,000-square-meter School of Continuing Studies will include 39 classrooms, student lounges, workspaces , and staff rooms. The dramatic building twists into a sharply angled geometric form informed by the campus public realm, existing circulation patterns, and solar studies. Solar panels integrated into the prismatic facade are placed for optimized solar orientation. Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario “The design balances the needs of the school itself, the larger campus , and the planet, setting a new standard for sustainability, design excellence, and student experience on Canadian campuses,” wrote Perkins+Will. Abundant natural lighting, glazing, and an emphasis on transparency throughout the building will help encourage students to interact. The building envelope is expected to meet Passive House standards with the goal of reducing embodied carbon and improving occupant health. + Perkins+Will Images via Perkins+Will

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Perkins+Will designs LEED Gold-seeking academic building for York University

California close to passing new legislation to set fierce climate change standards

September 8, 2015 by  
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Putting the words “California” and “progressive” together probably won’t blow any minds. But the Golden State is about to take it to a whole new level with a rigorous commitment to climate change that could set a new standard for other states. Mother Jones reports that a series of bills aimed at tackling climate change could soon pass in the state Assembly. The bills would address doubling the energy efficiency of state buildings; sourcing 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable energy; and cutting fuel consumption in cars and trucks in half. Read the rest of California close to passing new legislation to set fierce climate change standards

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California close to passing new legislation to set fierce climate change standards

Forget SB 722, California Sets Its Own Lofty Energy Goals

September 29, 2010 by  
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The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has taken matters into its own hands after Senate Bill 722 failed to pass last month. The ARB unanimously voted last week to set a new standard that mandates 33 percent of the state’s energy be..

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Forget SB 722, California Sets Its Own Lofty Energy Goals

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