Meet the artists creating sustainable artwork for Nespresso’s flagship cafes

April 7, 2021 by  
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Nespresso’s parent company, Nestlé, has certainly come under fire for things like bottling water in  California during historic droughts  and sourcing water  near Flint, Michigan  in the past. While the company attempts to offset the environmental impact of its coffee business via a recycling program, Nespresso will also highlight sustainability through art. Nespresso is bringing together four artists from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco to create sustainable works of art for its flagship cafes. The company has chosen an incredible group of local artists to showcase their work and inspire action. Pieces will be put on display in Nespresso cafe windows and will only use natural and/or sustainable materials. From  New York , sculpture artist and expert in reimagining discarded materials  Kim Markel  is creating a fully biodegradable and carbon-negative display. Markel’s award-winning “glow” collection uses reclaimed plastics to create functional objects like chairs and home decor with stunning sea glass-like translucent colors. Related: Psychedelic installation in NYC spotlights environmental issues with immersive art Tanya Aguiñiga  of  Los Angeles  is incorporating Nespresso’s coffee grounds into the boutique display, which will be the first work she and her studio partners have brought to life since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, Aguiñiga uses her artwork to inspire dialogues about identity, culture and gender, while also creating community. The artist’s style has helped museums and nonprofits throughout Mexico and the U.S. diversity their audiences. Miami -based  Morel Doucet  will be fusing his identity as a Haitian immigrant with his passions for environmental justice with a piece titled, “Paradise.” Doucet’s work focuses on ceramics, illustrations and prints to examine things like climate-gentrification, migration and displacement within Black diaspora communities. From  San Francisco ,  Joseph Alessio ‘s installation features Nespresso capsules and a variety of other recyclable items. The idea is to demonstrate the ability to create beautiful things while doing good work for the world at the same time. A typographic illustrator and animator, Alessio is also an accomplished art director and writer. Images via Nespresso

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Meet the artists creating sustainable artwork for Nespresso’s flagship cafes

Texas lawsuit fights environmental racism in highway expansion project

March 24, 2021 by  
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Starting in the years after World War II, Black neighborhoods around the U.S. were destroyed and replaced with highways in the name of urban renewal. But people in Harris County, Texas have had enough. The county is suing the state to stop an I-45 expansion that would displace more than 1,000 households and would mostly affect people of color and low-income residents. The plan is to elevate segments of the highway in North Houston and add several lanes. In addition to the 1,079 households affected, the highway widening would displace 341 businesses, two schools and five churches. Flooding, traffic and higher levels of air pollution pose additional concerns. Related: A Chinese highway becomes a vibrant, community-centered ‘livable street’ The Biden administration and the Federal Highway Administration have voiced their opinions supporting residents’ civil rights. “This is an opportunity for this new administration to really back up what it’s been saying regarding highway projects that perpetuate environmental racism ,” said Bakeyah Nelson of Air Alliance Houston, as reported by The Guardian . Nelson thinks it’s a mistake to build homes this close to highways in the first place. “These affordable housing units are in locations where they’re already being exposed to greater environmental hazards than if they were farther away from the highway,” she said. The state has stood by the $7 billion expansion plan, saying it needs to update the freeway and increase its capacity. But not all studies back the thesis that more lanes lead to less congestion. An analysis of an earlier highway widening project in Houston concluded that it wound up increasing the average commute time for about 85% of motorists using the highway (and that highway spanned a whopping 26 lanes at its widest point). “For a generation we’ve gone on building more lanes, putting down more concrete, thinking that somehow magically that’s going to reduce traffic,” said Lina Hidalgo, Harris County judge, in a March 11 press conference. “We cannot continue to support transportation policy that prioritizes cars over people.” Via The Guardian and Catalyst Image via Patrick Feller

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Texas lawsuit fights environmental racism in highway expansion project

NOAA predicts drought in the west, flooding in the east

March 24, 2021 by  
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Prepare for more drought in the West and flooding in the East, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s spring outlook report. Most of the western half of the country is already in moderate to exceptional drought conditions, which, unfortunately, is likely to expand into the most significant spring drought since 2013. The  drought  could impact about 74 million people. “The Southwest U.S., which is already experiencing widespread severe to exceptional drought, will remain the hardest hit region in the U.S., and water supply will continue to be a concern this spring in these drought-affected areas,” said Mary Erickson, deputy director of the National Weather Service. “This is a major change from recent years where millions were impacted by severe flooding. Nonetheless, NOAA’s forecasts and outlooks will continue to serve as a resource for  emergency  managers and community decision-makers as they navigate all potential extreme seasonal weather and water events.” Related: New study predicts 6-month summers by 2100 Why so dry? The failed 2020 summer monsoon, low  soil  moisture and warmer than usual temperatures are all reasons cited by the NOAA. Southern Florida and the southern and central Great Plains will see increased drought conditions. If there’s not enough spring rain, the northern Plains could also see its existing drought worsen. As for flooding, the NOAA isn’t predicting major or prolonged flooding. But a lot of minor to moderate floods will likely hit the coastal plain of the Carolinas and the Lower Missouri and Lower Ohio River basins. Many Midwestern streams are swollen from late-winter rainfall.  NOAA  publishes seasonal outlooks to help people prepare for what’s in store.  “Our national hydrologic assessment helps to inform the nation where there will likely be too much or too little water. This spring, we anticipate a reduced risk for flooding , and forecast significantly below average water supply where impacts due to low flow contribute to the continued drought,” said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Via NOAA Lead image via Pixabay Additional images via NOAA

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NOAA predicts drought in the west, flooding in the east

Get ready, Corporate America: The carbon disclosure mandates are coming

March 17, 2021 by  
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Get ready, Corporate America: The carbon disclosure mandates are coming Tim Mohin Wed, 03/17/2021 – 01:00 A slew of announcements earlier this month point to new regulations on carbon disclosure. Corporate America better get ready. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been particularly busy. Acting chairwoman Allison Herren Lee issued a public statement directing the SEC staff “to enhance its focus on climate-related disclosure in public company filings.” In a series of tweets , Lee also aligned with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) statement of an “urgent need to improve the consistency, comparability, and reliability of sustainability reporting, with an initial focus on climate change-related risks and opportunities.” Also earlier this month, the SEC hired its first senior policy adviser for climate and ESG . (See a partial transcript from Lee’s speech earlier this week here .) The message is clear: Carbon disclosure will be mandatory. It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. This is long overdue, but there can be no doubt that climate disclosure will become a fixture for publicly traded companies. Britain , New Zealand and Switzerland already have moved forward with unprecedented speed to require disclosures aligned with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TCFD, created by the G20 Financial Stability Board, issued its disclosure recommendations back 2017. Since then, thousands of companies, governments and others have lined up in support.  It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. T While coming mandates are clear, the required disclosures are still a bit murky. There is real momentum behind the IFRS Foundation’s move to develop international “sustainability reporting” standards . The trustees meeting this month may shed some more light, but don’t hold your breath; the IFRS already has stated that it will “produce a definitive proposal (including a road map with timeline) by the end of September 2021, and possibly leading to an announcement on the establishment of a sustainability standards board at the meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in November 2021.” With the slow pace of standards development, companies are facing uncertainty about what information to collect. While the requirements are unclear, carbon accounting procedures are well established. The greenhouse gas protocol has been around for many years and sets out a detailed process (more than 700 pages) for measuring corporate carbon footprints. While we wait to see what the required disclosures will be, companies can get a leg up by ensuring that their current carbon reporting is as aligned as possible with the greenhouse gas protocol. Accounting for carbon emissions from large enterprises is a daunting job. Complex multinational enterprises conduct thousands of carbon-generating transactions each day. Adding to the challenge is the Scope 3 problem: accounting for the carbon generated upstream (across the supply chain, for example) and downstream (products). Even for leading companies, creating assured carbon disclosures is hard work and will require new expertise, collaborations and enterprise-level technologies to streamline the process. Companies should start making those carbon finance hires today. Corporate leaders and boards also would be wise to get ahead of these regulations and take stock of their carbon management practices now. Having worked for three Fortune 500 companies, I can say firsthand that they won’t like what they find. Carbon management and disclosure is typically done on spreadsheets once per year and the data can be months old. This is not a management system; it’s a way to track annual performance.  Adding to these gaps is the carbon trading market. Carbon prices in Europe are skyrocketing  — surging 60 percent since November — on the news of impending regulation. Simultaneously, there are efforts in Europe and the U.S . to assign monetary value to each ton of carbon, with the Biden administration’s reinvigoration of the “social cost of carbon” initiative.   And if these developments weren’t enough of a wakeup call, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, made it very clear it would hold the companies it invests in accountable for their carbon management. With $8 trillion under management, this would touch just about every company. Just to make the signal clearer, BlackRock doubled down by signaling it would vote against the boards who fail to meet its standards. Alarm bells are ringing in the C-suite and boardrooms. Corporate compliance officers will be up late scrambling to develop their carbon disclosure strategy. While there is a lot of work to be done, new resources emerge every day to help companies navigate this challenge.   After a long career in the sustainability space, it is gratifying to witness the tipping point where sustainability enters the mainstream of global commerce. It’s about time.  Pull Quote It’s undeniable that climate risks and opportunities are material to corporate performance and must be included in audited financial statements. T Topics Finance & Investing Reporting 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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Make friends while saving money and the planet in Buy Nothing groups

March 16, 2021 by  
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Back in the pre-internet days, if you were cleaning out your cupboards and found five empty jars, a can of beans you were never going to use and some mystery kitchen tools, you’d have to decide whether you were going to add them to the landfill, transport them to a donation site, pawn them off on unsuspecting guests or leave them in the cupboard for another 5 years. But thanks to the Buy Nothing Project , people with excess stuff can conveniently rehome it to neighbors in an online group. Same goes for those in need of something. They can ask neighbors for, say, a pair of size seven rollerskates or a cat-climbing structure. As the official Buy Nothing website stresses, “The rules are simple: Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” Related: 6 of the best places to donate your things Behind the scenes in the Buy Nothing Project It all started when friends Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller started the first Buy Nothing group in their community, an island in the Salish Sea off the coast of Seattle . They wanted to focus on the “reduce” part of the three Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle, plus adding two more: rethink and refuse. Clark and Rockefeller soon witnessed the positive effects the group had on the community. “We saw this commitment to a single group help people build trust within a group that was made up of their real-life neighbors, and we saw people begin to understand that Buy Nothing groups are more about connections and trust between people than about the fast and anonymous transfer of free stuff,” they wrote on their website. They believe in the importance of coming from a place of abundance, rather than acting like a charity . People give, ask, share, lend and express gratitude. There’s strictly no bartering or money exchanged. Buy Nothing is about giving and sharing. As of now, Buy Nothing groups are set up through Facebook. There might already be one in your neighborhood. If not, you can start your own, with plenty of support from the Buy Nothing Project, as outlined here . This spring, the project is launching a sharing app in addition to its Facebook groups. Economic advantages of the gifting economy The most obvious advantage of a Buy Nothing group is saving money. Results from the project’s latest survey of over 2,000 members found that the vast majority saved money monthly by participating. To get some specifics about how Buy Nothing has helped members, I turned to my local neighborhood group in Portland , Oregon. Buy Nothing Laurelhurst/Sunnyside members proved as willing to share their stories as they are to part with their unused bikes and excess compost worms. People with fast-growing kids are especially enthusiastic about their groups. “I have two young children and it seems like they grow out of (or lose interest in) clothing and toys weekly,” Mandy Campbell said. “With Buy Nothing, I’ve received bags of barely worn, sometimes luxury brand clothing , for them and some of their favorite toys like the Black and Decker tool bench we gave to my 2-year-old for Christmas.” Another member, Maureen O. Morgan, gave high praises. “BN has been a pandemic godsend!” Morgan said. “We’ve received barn yard cookie cutters, costumes, expanded tinker toy sets , and a mountain of little people cars and figures which combine to a year of distractions.” Some cities even have Buy Nothing groups focused solely on kids’ needs, according to member Lesley Merritt. Parents also appreciate how Buy Nothing teaches children the joy of sharing. When Morgan’s toddler struggled to get his feet into shoes he’d outgrown, they decided it was time to pass them on to a smaller neighbor. “’That’s a sweet thing to share, Mom,’ he told me,” she said. Campbell appreciates the ease of Buy Nothing. “For working parents, it’s incredibly convenient to throw things on your porch rather than do regular trips to donation or junk facilities,” she said. “And on top of those great benefits, I love that we get to meet our neighbors and maybe even find neighborhood friends for our little ones.” The environmental benefits of sharing Members also like to keep from adding to landfills while also reducing demand for manufacturing more things. Kylie Jackson benefited from a Buy Nothing group with a very specific ask: old denim. “We were able to collect enough denim insulation from food delivery services to insulate our whole van!” Jackson said. “It was piles and piles of the denim and wool insulation.” People have especially turned to rampant online ordering during the pandemic. But those conscientious about emissions and packaging waste prefer walking, biking or driving (for heavy stuff) a few blocks to pick up used items from their neighbors. “I recently received a punching bag from the group for my son,” member Kirsten Burt said. “This saved me a lot of money, and saved me from ordering from Amazon, with all of the packaging and carbon emissions that would have been involved.” Helping others in need Some members are on the lookout for stuff for people they know are in great need. Kate Haas volunteers with a refugee family and has found items in a Buy Nothing group to help them out. “The mom can’t work because of COVID, so things are very tight for them financially,” Haas said. “Through BN I’ve found them a lovely rug, clothing, linens, a mixer, and most recently, a vacuum.” Campbell adopted a family in need for Christmas 2020. “I was able to give them just about everything on their list from Buy Nothing. From dolls to diapers to ceramic mugs, our neighbors were quick to drop things off for the family before the holidays, and the family we gave presents to was so grateful.” Community connections One of the best things about Buy Nothing groups is that people get to know their neighbors through sharing and lending, giving and receiving. Now, with most people staying close to home due to the pandemic , that seems more valuable than ever. “After being in this group and the larger group prior to this for almost 8 years, I have come to meet so many great neighbors,” said member Dev Ansel. “I am in a lot of free site groups and they all have their purpose, but only in these Buy Nothing groups have I made true connections, and that is priceless. I can make coffee and think of the neighbor that gave me the coffee beans and the cup. Even under COVID quarantine, I am having coffee with my neighbor.” + Buy Nothing Project Image via Adobe Stock

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Make friends while saving money and the planet in Buy Nothing groups

Electrifying everything should start with the masses

February 26, 2021 by  
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Electrifying everything should start with the masses Sarah Golden Fri, 02/26/2021 – 00:45 The case for electrifying buildings is a no-brainer. It makes buildings healthier , cheaper and is essential to addressing climate change (building operations account for 28 percent of emissions globally — more than all of the transportation sector). That doesn’t mean electrifying buildings will be easy. Beyond the coordination needed between building owners, contractors and occupants to retrofit buildings, electric appliances still have a higher upfront cost (although they are cheaper over the life of the appliance). That means the early adopters tend to be affluent individuals (think early Tesla owners) or companies with healthy profit margins (such as Google and Microsoft).  BlocPower , a New York-based startup, wants to flip that path to adoption upside down. Its vision is to finance all-electric upgrades for buildings in low-income communities to accelerate the speed and scale of deployments.  “We have to start with the mass market and communities of color, and offer them services and projects that make sense to their budget in order to reduce greenhouse gases on a time frame that makes sense,” BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird recently said on the podcast Watt It Takes . This week, the company announced a Series A funding round to the tune of $63 million, led by The Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. The fund will enable BlocPower to expand and scale its inner-city energy retrofits to projects across the nation, with $49 million going toward low-income residential buildings and $6 million dedicated to low-income small commercial buildings, houses of worship and other community buildings.  Core to this strategy is keeping the benefit of building electrification in these communities — creating jobs, improving health and saving households money. It also is a glimpse into financing models that can help commercialize technologies, while ensuring all communities have access to climate tech.  Financial innovations are as important as technological innovations There is a beautiful dance between finance and technology that can scale clean energy technologies: Prices fall when deployments increase; deployments increase when prices fall. The challenge is getting this virtuous cycle going. Early technologies are expensive and can have bugs, which can scare away early adopters. Financial innovations can help by jumpstarting the mainstreaming of clean technology and removing the risk from customers. The classic example of this in action is solar , where the innovation of solar loans and leases led to the proliferation of rooftop solar. This supported the rapid reduction of price, with utility-scale solar reaching 6 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 — three years before the Department of Energy’s ambitious SunShot goal , once seen as unrealistic.  Many clean energy technologies save money over time, so upfront finance can be a great investment. It’s one reason why there has been a rise in companies that offer energy upgrades as a service — the offtaker pays a subscription fee that is more than offset by energy savings, while the owner of assets gets a return on its investment.  BlocPower is taking this principle and applying it to low-income neighborhoods, often overlooked in financial innovations, and electric appliances, in need of rapid commercialization before they can scale to meet the climate challenge. Keeping economic benefits of clean energy local BlocPower’s model goes beyond bringing the energy savings to poor neighborhoods; it is also working to keep the wealth creation local.  According to Baird, the financial product developed with Goldman creates a holding company that owns the clean energy equipment available to low-income building owners. The twist is these holding companies could be co-owned by low-income community members and nonprofits, so they benefit from the dividends.  “So now the idea or concerns about, ‘How do you get people of color or low-income people in the climate movement?’ Well, we’re going to give you an economic stake,” Baird said on Watt It Takes. “We’re going to give you equity, not just in terms of, ‘Are we going to treat you fairly?’ Equity in terms of, ‘We’re going to give you stock in a new corporation that we’re co-creating so that you have financial incentive to participate in the clean energy economy.” Relatedly, BlocPower strives to create local jobs within the communities where building upgrades occur. While the details of job training aren’t spelled out in the company’s funding release, the idea is solid; workforce training uplifts communities and keeps people engaged in the clean economy.  And there will be enough jobs to go around. Rewiring America , a think tank that has done detailed accounting into what it would take to curb U.S. emissions, estimates that electrifying everything (buildings, transport and industry) would create upwards of 25 million jobs in America alone.  Building electrification is worth it From a climate perspective, electrification is an imperative . There just isn’t a path to a safe climate future without addressing natural gas in buildings. But even if that weren’t the case, electrification is great for building occupants. From a cost perspective, electrification will slash energy bills in new construction and in many retrofits today. Looking forward to the cost of electricity in the years to come, Rewiring America determined that the average American household would save an average of $1,900 per year by going all-electric — including financing to switch to electric appliances and cars.  This is especially valuable for communities of color, who disproportionately suffer from energy poverty, meaning they struggle to afford baseline energy needs. As a percentage of income, Black households pay upwards of threefold more than white households for energy. Relieving monthly expenses associated with inefficient and dirty energy is a natural way to uplift communities and help keep money local.  From a health perspective, a growing mountain of evidence shows natural gas appliances in homes can be dangerous, with research from UCLA showing they produce a range of air pollutants inside homes that can have acute and chronic health impacts. This is especially bad in smaller apartments — where low-income families tend to live.  Want more great analysis of the clean energy transition? Sign up for Energy Weekly , our free email newsletter. Topics Energy & Climate Featured Column Power Points Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Exterior view of new multifamily residential building facade under construction in San Jose, California. Image by Shutterstock/Michael Vi

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Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher

February 26, 2021 by  
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Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher Deonna Anderson Fri, 02/26/2021 – 00:30   Moving from a linear business model to a circular takes time, effort and trial and error. But it also has its hidden benefits. “It can help you with some operational efficiencies. It can also position you to be sort of a company of the future, and also, frankly, tackle the environmental challenges that we have of our consumption model,” said Tensie Whelan, director at New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business, at the end of a conversation that she moderated about circular business models at GreenBiz 21 .  Whelan led a conversation with leaders at REI, IKEA and Eileen Fisher, each of which are embracing circular practices in some parts of their businesses. For REI, transitioning to a circular model seems inevitable so it’s doing the work now. “REI, as a company, we believe that this broader kind of shift to a more circular economy is something that the world is really going to have to do over the next 10 years,” said Ken Voeller, director of circular commerce and new business development at REI. “And it’s also a shift that’s going to take many forms. There’s resale, there’s rental, there’s designing products with circularity in mind. It’s not really like there’s a silver bullet.” I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it. Here are four lessons about implementing and iterating circular business models from these retailers. 1. The nuts and bolts of resell sound simple on paper But they’re more complicated in action.  “There’s a lot to think about, as it relates to how do you want to build the infrastructure to support a more circular economy. And then how do you want to build the capability to support it,” Voeller said, noting that the effort aligns with the company’s broader business aspirations, including halving its carbon footprint by 2030. REI has been partnering with Trove (formerly Yerdle) to work out the kinks and operate its resell program in an effort to become more circular. “As we think about the things that we can do as a company to continue to grow revenue, without necessarily growing environmental impact, our circular businesses really hit that sweet spot of being able to do both of those things,” Voeller added. In order to make a circular economy work, a company needs a lot of partners. For REI, while Trove is one of those partners, in a sense, so are the customers that return items for the recommerce program. 2. Engaging customers before they step foot into a store IKEA, known for its flat-packed furniture, has launched buyback programs in select markets. Debuting on Black Friday 2020 , the program was temporarily launched in some countries where IKEA operates, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. And IKEA U.S. is looking forward to launching such a program in the future, after it’s able to wade through state regulations. The program is part of the company’s journey to become more circular. Here’s what the process looks like for a customer interested in selling furniture back to IKEA: Complete an online form about the piece of furniture Receive an payment offer from IKEA Drop off furniture at the store Receive payment from IKEA in the form of a voucher IKEA will sell item in its bargain section “We wouldn’t be asking a customer to lug in a big bookcase that maybe they have sitting in their basement that they haven’t used, just to see if we’ll buy it back from them,” said Jenn Keesson, sustainability manager at IKEA U.S., during the GreenBiz 21 discussion. At the time of the Black Friday announcement, the company noted that any items it is unable to resell will be recycled. “It’s really an end of life solution. … I’m sure that all of us can think of an item in our house that we haven’t gotten rid of, but we’re still not using. So we were excited to be able to offer this solution to our customers in the U.S.,” Keesson said. 3. Presenting customers with all their options Since clothing company Eileen Fisher launched its takeback and resale program Renew in 2009, it has collected 1.5 million returned garments, according to Cynthia Power, director of Eileen Fisher Renew. “I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it,” Power said. “It’s exciting to keep trying to figure out how to make it better and how to keep the most garments in use for as long as possible.” Since clothing company Eileen Fisher launched its resale program Renew in 2009, it has taken back 1.5 million garments. Photo by melissamn on Shutterstock. Eileen Fisher Renew has been experimenting with the larger main brand in some of its retail stores to display new products alongside used products, design samples and remanufactured products. “We’re really trying to give the customer a view into all the different life cycles of our clothes,” Power said. 4. A gateway for customers — new and old For both Eileen Fisher and REI, the recommerce work each company is doing seems to be getting the attention of people who’ve never shopped with them before. “We really see the renew program and resell in general as an opportunity to bring in a new customer who, whether it’s price point or environmental values, or whatever the customer likes, offers them a new way into the brand,” Power said. “We’ve definitely seen a significant percentage of new customers purchasing from Renew who haven’t necessarily purchased from the main line before.” A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up. Voeller of REI noted a similar trend at the outdoor recreation company and added that its resell program also offers an opportunity to develop a different type of relationship with existing customers. “We really view the supply side of our recommerce business as a really interesting retention tool to keep customers engaged with REI and continuing to turn to us for their outdoor purchases,” he said. “They’re able to say, ‘I’ve got this backpack that’s been in my closet for three years. I’ve used it twice. I really don’t need that. Why don’t I trade that into REI, and I’ll get credit to apply towards the thing that I really do want?’”  And while most of the conversations and strategies between these business leaders focused on resale, they know it’s not the only circular business model. Companies that want to be more circular likely will need and want to take multiple approaches to get there. “A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up,” Voeller said.    Pull Quote A circular economy will not just be resale, and it will not just be rental. It will be resale, and rental and circular products designed from the ground up. I think resale is still quite innovative and continues to morph and change and [there’s] still quite a limited number of brands that are doing it. Topics Circular Economy GreenBiz 21 Business Development Recommerce GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Ikea, REI and Eileen Fisher are banking on a circular model to propel them into the next era of commerce.//Images by  Graeme Dawes ,  Eric Glenn and  Helen89 on Shutterstock.

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Circular business model lessons from IKEA, REI and Eileen Fisher

Endangered black-footed ferret is successfully cloned

February 22, 2021 by  
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The birth of Elizabeth Ann, a black-footed ferret, on December 10, 2020, marked a major achievement in the recovery of the species. Elizabeth Ann is the first black-footed ferret to be cloned with the aim of increasing the genetic diversity of the species. The now 2-month-old ferret was created from frozen cells of a black-footed ferret that lived over three decades ago. Black-footed ferrets were once considered extinct , but a family of seven was discovered in 1981. The ferrets were captured to be protected by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Having been recovered from only seven ferrets, the current population of the species lacks genetic diversity. The recent cloning is important given that the clone parent, Willa, was recovered from the last wild black-footed ferrets and did not belong to the line of the recovered seven. Samples of the wild ferret were preserved at the San Diego Zoo Global’s Frozen Zoo from 1988. Related: San Diego Zoo successfully clones an endangered Przewalski’s horse To improve the species’ resilience to diseases, several organizations have come together. Among the partners involved in the process include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Revive & Restore, San Diego Zoo Global, ViaGen Pets & Equine and the Association of Zoos and Pets. “The Service sought the expertise of valued recovery partners to help us explore how we might overcome genetic limitations hampering recovery of the black-footed ferret, and we’re proud to make this announcement today,” said Noreen Walsh, director of USFWS, Mountain-Prairie Region. “Although this research is preliminary, it is the first cloning of a native endangered species in North America, and it provides a promising tool for continued efforts to conserve the black-footed ferret.” The journey to cloning has been long and with many obstacles, according to Ryan Phelan, executive director of Revive & Restore. “We’ve come a long way since 2013 when we began the funding, permitting, design, and development of this project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” Phelan said. “Genomics revealed the genetic value that Willa could bring to her species .” According to Walsh, while cloning is one of the ways to improve the genetic diversity of the species, the organizations are also paying attention to habitat-based threats in their efforts to recover the black-footed ferret population. + U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Images via USFWS

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Endangered black-footed ferret is successfully cloned

You can make this 3D-printed, bioplastic face shield at home

February 22, 2021 by  
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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues of waste into the spotlight, starting with the sheer quantity of petroleum-based personal protective equipment (PPE) used in the medical field and by everyday users gearing up to go to the grocery store or park. Designer Alice Potts homed in on this problem early, countering it with face shields made from food waste and flowers. These face shields required more than just a little research and development. Potts wanted to tackle the issue of plastic-based PPE but approached it by also addressing food waste . Potts said the face shields are biodegradable , because they are a product of food and flowers collected from local markets, butchers and households in the surrounding London area. The variety of organic materials affect the final product, meaning that each mask varies in unique ways. Related: Engineering student turns food waste into renewable energy “Every colour is completely seasonal depending on what flowers are blooming, what vegetables and fruits are growing and earth that is in and around London,” the designer said. Potts was initially inspired by her brother, a paramedic who reported a lack of PPE for himself and other first responders and medical care workers. So Potts set out to create a more sustainable option intended for the public, because the shields likely don’t offer the same level of protection as required in a medical care setting. With the recipe for the face shield and a design for the 3D-printed top section, Potts plans to make the template available to everyone via an open-source design. “I want to combine the advantages of technology with sustainability to form a template of the top of a face shield that can be 3D-printed from recycled plastic with a bioplastic recipe for the shield for people to make at home,” she said. The Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) Post COVID Facemasks, as Potts named them, will be on exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, an event that highlights art, design, and architecture and runs through April 2021. + Alice Potts  Via Dezeen   Images via James Stopforth and Sean Fennessy via Alice Potts

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You can make this 3D-printed, bioplastic face shield at home

Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance

January 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

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Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance Joel Makower Thu, 01/21/2021 – 01:30 Adapted from the premiere issue of GreenFin Weekly, a free e-newsletter focusing on trends in ESG and sustainable finance. Subscribe using this sign-up page . What a moment to launch a newsletter on ESG and sustainable finance. The topic has become front and center in sustainability and finance circles and, suddenly, in Washington, D.C. A vast ecosystem is in play. Investors have awakened to the notion that how companies manage environmental and social issues is nearly as key to their risk profile and profitability as are financial fundamentals. Banks and insurers are factoring climate risk and social issues into their products and portfolios, accelerating a shift that’s been gearing up for years. Companies are warming to a world of deeper transparency and disclosure demands by investors, lenders, customers and others, and are trying to keep up with the dynamic world of standards and frameworks with which they’re being asked to comply. Oh, and it’s the dawn of a new U.S. presidential administration that sees virtue in assertive action on a range of social and environmental issues. We’re entering a new era, one in which companies are less able to hide behind their pronouncements and good intentions. We’re entering a new era, one in which companies are less able to hide behind their pronouncements and good intentions. Accountability is the new watchword. Action, not announcements, is the currency. The arrival of Team Biden itself promises to be a game changer. By the time you read this, we already may have learned about some of the incoming president’s first moves in this arena. Suffice to say that the new administration’s ambitions are significant — and the expectations could not be higher. After years of spinning wheels and grinding gears, there’s renewed hope for moving forward. All of this is bringing new players to the table — those inside organizations whose remit up to now hadn’t included such things as climate risk and human rights. Those in finance, investor relations, government affairs and risk management are grappling with new kinds of disclosure, increased investor scrutiny, new regulatory regimes and stepped-up activist pressures (not to mention media enquiries) around a host of nonfinancial issues. Investors, for their part, are similarly finding themselves swimming in uncharted waters. Even job seekers are starting to scrutinize the ESG data of prospective employers. We’ve been covering many of these topics for years on GreenBiz.com. Now, we’re stepping things up, elevating ESG and sustainable finance across our portfolio, starting with this newsletter and the GreenFin 21 conference in April as well as through webcasts, podcasts and many other things we do. Each week, a member of GreenBiz’s stable of journalists will take the helm of GreenBiz Weekly on a rotating basis, offering a fresh perspective on ESG and sustainable finance, and point to key stories from across the Web. We won’t cover everything — just the important things. Here are just a few storylines we’ll be following in this newsletter: The convergence of standards: This is No. 1 with a bullet. The mélange — some would call it a morass — of ESG standards and frameworks has been a problem for years. Now, various efforts to align these disparate approaches aim to create harmony from this chaos. But even these harmonization efforts are competing with one another. Which one(s) will win out? It’s an open field. The secret life of ESG data: How it’s compiled and deployed isn’t always clear. As such data is used for everything from assessing creditworthiness to determining where the next generation of talent wants to work, understanding the data itself — how it is compiled and used — will be critical. It’s time to bring ESG out of the black box. The growth of sustainability-linked finance: Another year, another record in the issuance of green bonds, climate bonds, sustainability bonds and others, as well as sustainability-linked loans. But issuing such bonds can be fraught with complexity. How are companies managing? We’ll take you behind the scenes. Investor expectations on DEI: As diversity, equity and inclusion issues have grown inside companies, investors are struggling to understand how to assess company actions. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and other social movements are seen as both risks and opportunities for companies, and large institutional shareholders are starting to weigh in. Nature on the balance sheet: Biodiversity is an emerging area of investor interest and concern and is being integrated into ESG disclosures. What should companies be doing to prepare? The role of boards: Getting boards of directors on board with ESG issues is no small thing, and many boards aren’t prepared to provide adequate guidance and oversight. What are the competencies boards need to have? What are some key policies boards are adopting? That’s just a taste. As I said, it’s a fast-growing, ever-changing field. There’s no shortage of topics — and we’re just getting started. We look forward to joining you on this journey each week as we uncover and analyze new topics, interesting people, insightful reports, emerging trends and other useful resources to help you and your team move forward. To subscribe to GreenFin Weekly, published Wednesdays, click here . 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Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance

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