Carbon marketplace hawks credits in businesses that store CO2 with their products

August 31, 2020 by  
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Carbon marketplace hawks credits in businesses that store CO2 with their products Gloria Oladipo Mon, 08/31/2020 – 05:00 As corporate interest in carbon removal options grows, Puro.earth , a startup from Finland, is offering a twist on carbon marketplaces. Instead of selling and trading credits related to nature-based solutions, its exchange features industrial businesses that store carbon dioxide in products such as biochar, timber construction and other building materials. Puro.earth co-founder Antti Vihavainen said that unlike other carbon markets that focus on one primary method of storing carbon, Puro.earth “[represents] a broad scope of carbon capture and storage methodologies.” The model is entirely voluntary versus “marketplaces such as the EU emissions trading system (ETS) [that are] compliance-based,” allowing companies to take initiative on their own terms when it comes to achieving carbon removal goals.  The fight against greenhouse emissions is still a challenge facing our world today. Scientists across the world agree that carbon removal coupled with strategies such as emissions reduction and carbon offsetting are necessary to keep global warming within manageable limits.   Puro.earth supports this initiative by gathering suppliers that remove carbon from the atmosphere using various methods. The removed carbon is measured and verified by an independent third party; the removed carbon is then turned into CO2 Removal Certifications, also known as CORCs. These CORCs are bought by companies seeking to offset the impact of their own operations. Buyers can cancel CORCs so they cannot be resold, and reference them in sustainability reporting or when creating carbon-neutral products.  Vihavainen pitched the idea of Puro.earth to Fortum, a leading clean energy company in the Nordics; following the pitch, Fortum set up a team led by Puro.earth’s other co-founder, Marianne Tikkanen. Following dozens of iterations, the business model of matching carbon removal properties with environmentally conscious companies was created and named Puro.earth.  “We initially worked with 22 companies that helped us develop and test our carbon removal marketplace, thus helping us create our minimum viable product,” Vihavainen commented. “Now that we are entering the scale-up phase, we have a funnel of over 100 supplier candidates.” Examples of those supplier candidates include Ekovilla, a company that provides carbon-neutral Finnish insulation, and the Finnish Log House Industry. Prices are show in euros on the Puro.earth web site. As an example, it costs €2,060 ($2,452 based on current exchange rates) to purchase CORCs to offset 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The growth of Puro.earth has been attributed to a growing environmental consciousness among companies, many of which are interested in reaching a net-zero carbon output.  One early customer of the marketplace is Swiss Re , one of the world’s leading providers of insurance, reinsurance and other forms of insurance based risk transfer. Swiss Re has committed its operations to be carbon-zero by 2030 and its business to be carbon zero by 2050.  “As an insurer, we are very concerned about risks and one of the major risks is the climate risk, which is slowly becoming bigger and bigger,” said Vincent Eckert, head of internal environmental management. “One of the issues is that if the climate risk is too big, it will make normal risks that we insure like drought or flooding too big or too often occurring, thus uninsurable.” To meet sustainability goals of net-zero emissions, Swiss Re has implemented a number of solutions, including supporting carbon removal projects such as Puro.earth.  “When we learned about Puro.earth … we immediately thought, ‘Well, this is interesting.’ People are starting to develop marketplaces for these products, a commodity that doesn’t exist that’s supposed to be common,” Eckert said. “We wanted to learn more about it. We immediately contacted them and decided that we wanted to participate in their first auction ever.” Since that first auction, Eckert said Swiss Re has decided to continue purchasing CORCs with Puro.earth. “We have been in contact with Puro. We’re a part of their network … we will continue to work on our carbon removal purchasing strategy that has several elements. Puro is definitely in the picture, and this is one of the options that we have.” In the face of more businesses participating, Puro.earth continues to innovate, including new forms of carbon removal as a part of its program. “These carbon removal methods will be added in the coming months and will include, for example, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and other methods based on mineralization,” Vihavainen said.  Looking towards the future, Puro.earth has several plans to expand the presence of its business and reach more companies interested in carbon removal.  Vihavainen is confident in Puro.earth’s ability to expand by improving the marketplace to attract interested businesses. “Looking ahead, we work on a ‘if we build it they will come’ approach, and expect more suppliers to join us as customer demand to decarbonize businesses increases, and carbon net negative businesses attract greater government support and investment.” Topics Carbon Removal Innovation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Ekovilla insulation is one of the products for which Puro.earth buyers can purchase credits. Courtesy of Ekovilla Close Authorship

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Carbon marketplace hawks credits in businesses that store CO2 with their products

GRI and SASB are collaborating. Is that good news for companies?

July 13, 2020 by  
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GRI and SASB are collaborating. Is that good news for companies? Joel Makower Sun, 07/12/2020 – 17:56 For years, corporate reporters — those inside companies responsible for creating sustainability reports and reporting environmental, social and governance data to various other organizations — have been frustrated by what many refer to as an alphabet soup of standards and frameworks: CDP, GRI, IIRC, PRI, SASB, TCFD, UNGC and more. And while they grumbled at how those various organizations’ requests weren’t harmonized, they dutifully complied with their requests and mandates. Finally, help may be on the way. Today, two of those organizations — GRI, formerly the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, better known as SASB — are announcing a collaborative effort to help ease that confusion and, not insignificantly, position their standards as the most consequential. “Our basic SASB 101 pitch that we give to everyone we speak to talks about SASB and GRI as being complementary, but we never could break through into the public sphere with that message,” SASB CEO Janine Guillot told me. “It was always this conflict narrative, which was extremely frustrating.” The “conflict narrative” wasn’t without foundation. For years, the two organizations competed for attention and dominance among corporate reporters, NGOs and the mainstream investor community. Sometimes it got contentious. For example, at a sustainability reporting conference in Singapore last fall, the CEOs of GRI and SASB “traded barbs over whose was the superior standard,” according to one report  — a “showdown,” as sustainability reporting expert Elaine Cohen called it. For years, the two organizations competed for attention and dominance. Sometimes it got contentious. At the event, SASB’s then-CEO Madelyn Antoncic called GRI too difficult for investors to understand and for companies to compare their performance with peers. GRI CEO Tim Mohin pointed out that its standard is used by 75 percent of the world’s largest companies. “With those numbers, I don’t see how what SASB is saying can be true,” he said. But that was so last year. SASB has a new CEO — Guillot — who joined SASB five years ago after a decade on the investing side with Barclays and CalPERS, and who came to her CEO job with a strong working relationship with Mohin. Now, the two are in lockstep — baby steps for now — to help the customers of sustainability data “understand the similarities and differences in the information created from these standards,” according to a joint briefing document. The time may be ripe for such a collaboration, for several reasons. One is the growing focus on sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics by the mainstream investment community, creating a greater need for a set of dominant standards to emerge. If there was any question about this trend, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink cast away all doubts in his annual shareholder letter , which referenced SASB and TCFD, the reporting framework created by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Such harmonized metrics are needed even within companies, where sustainability departments are communicating with far more stakeholders. “You’ve got a much broader base of people who are interested in talking about these topics, coming from a much broader array of disciplines,” said Mohin, including “an investor relations person, a corporate secretary, a general counsel, a financial controller, a marketing communications person and an HR person. All of a sudden, you’ve got to bring together these multidisciplinary teams within both companies and investors. And that goes all the way up to the board, since boards of directors are now interested in these topics.” Of course, outside the corporation is another small army of interested groups — customers, employees, regulators, etc. — seeking easily understood and comparable data about companies’ sustainability performance. And then there’s COVID. “If the COVID-19 pandemic has showed us anything, it’s that nonfinancial disclosure is very meaningful from a global financial standpoint, and that the concept of what is financially material and what is considered not financially material is a very dynamic thing,” Mohin explained. “We went from the issues that are important in a pandemic being sort of down the list to being front and center overnight. And now we have the issues of racial justice and inequality front and center. We’ve seen how the events of the world can change that definition for a company very, very quickly, which I think is one of the very important messages here of why GRI and SASB need to work together.” The pandemic has put into sharper focus a number of aspects of corporate performance, including business contributions to biodiversity loss and the resulting increased potential for disease outbreaks; and the need for more resilient supply chains, especially for essential goods such as food and medicine, as Guillot pointed out recently on GreenBiz . Harmony and collaboration For now, the two organizations’ work together will focus on going into the marketplace with harmonized, complementary messages. One goal, Mohin said, is to “understand how the different standards are used by companies. And then take the next step, which is to show in practice companies that are using both standards.” Another goal is to “demonstrate with real live companies who are reporting to both sets of standards how the companies are doing it, why they’re doing it and what kind of information each provides for stakeholders,” Guillot said. She also suggested the possibility of doing some “mock disclosures,” pulling together best practices from across multiple companies. For now, the two organizations’ work together will focus on going into the marketplace with harmonized, complementary messages. Beyond that is a world of other collaboration possibilities, about which neither Mohin nor Guillot would speculate. Can the GRI-SASB hookup change the game? Mike Wallace thinks so. Wallace — who ran GRI’s North America operation from 2009 to 2014, and who remains laser focused on reporting standards and ESG ratings methodologies in his role as a partner at the consultancy ERM — believes that greater collaboration could especially help those just beginning the reporting “journey.” “It is a confusing space for new entrants when one considers the various options, requests and suggestions for how to address the growing demand for ESG information,” he told me, citing “at least a half-dozen disclosure options.” “We are regularly integrating a range of the frameworks, guidelines and standards together for clients,” Wallace added. “For those companies that are just getting started, the GRI and SASB collaboration will be greatly appreciated.” True, we’ve seen this movie before. The two organizations have long discussed the opportunities for collaboration. Two years ago, we reported on a Bloomberg-funded effort to bring the GRI and SASB standards “in line with each other wherever possible.” And then there’s the proposed reporting framework announced in January at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference in Davos. Created by WEF’s International Business Council in collaboration with the Big Four accounting firms and endorsed by the CEOs of 140 large companies, it recommends a set of core metrics and disclosures “to be reflected in the mainstream annual reports of companies on a consistent basis across industry sectors and countries.” But it doesn’t exactly see doing away with SASB, GRI and their kin. As reported by the Financial Times, the WEF framework “takes inspiration from existing disclosure frameworks such as SASB, the Global Reporting Initiative and the TCFD and will also include the EU’s new taxonomy that defines green instruments.” Confusing? It seems harmonization and simplification of corporate sustainability reporting may still be a ways off. Still, the SASB-GRI announcement is promising. Both organizations believe that transparency — and particularly performance metrics and comparable information — lead to improved societal outcomes. Said SASB’s Guillot: “If financial and nonfinancial stakeholders have access to information and can compare company performance on issues, then our theory of change is that companies will compete to improve performance and that at the end of the day leads to improved sustainability outcomes.” Which is, after all, the point. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote For years, the two organizations competed for attention and dominance. Sometimes it got contentious. For now, the two organizations’ work together will focus on going into the marketplace with harmonized, complementary messages. Topics Reporting Finance & Investing ESG Transparency Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Group

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GRI and SASB are collaborating. Is that good news for companies?

EIT Food Marketplace disrupts the industry with additive-free beverages, veggie milk and more

October 16, 2019 by  
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Earlier this month in Munich, new trends in sustainable food were featured at the annual Food Marketplace event hosted by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) . The future of food appears to emphasize clean, sustainable eating that boosts personal and planetary health. The EIT Food Marketplace serves as a venue for innovators to pitch their game-changing or disruptive ideas in front of investors and corporate partners to accelerate market entry. The recent event hosted 25 invited startups from across Europe. New ideas that were proposed by these startups included a new vegetable milk , a software that targets healthier nutrition and diets for hospital patients as well as fruit chips for breakfast cereal made from discarded bananas. Related: Climate fears affecting meat, bottled beverage and plastic production industries Ultimately, this year’s winner was “Air up Gmbh” for its innovative bottle, from which mineral water is sipped through a straw. “Taste” is given to the mineral water by aromatic sponges in the lid that provide a “pretend” taste, free of artificial flavors. As Air up Gmbh CEO and founder Jannis Koppitz explained, “While you suck through the straw and drink at the same time, our palate communicates the mix then as the taste. Thanks to the replaceable aroma sponges, this can be anything from mango to lime to cucumber.” In other words, with this method, drinks of the future will need no additives nor sugar, thereby providing a revolutionized, healthier beverage to quench one’s thirst. “In terms of healthy nutrition and new techniques, we want to offer a platform with a lot of publicity to young junior researchers. It is the responsibility of EIT Food, on behalf of the EU and as a transformer, to make the food system fit for the future with the help of innovations,” said Dr. Georg Schirrmacher, director of EIT Food in Germany. “ Sustainability , healthy nutrition and new ways of training at universities are crucial factors. But each and every one of us can help transform the food system worldwide with well-considered decisions on what to buy and what to eat.” Thanks to this year’s successful Food Marketplace, another is scheduled for next year. EIT Food, after all, strives to achieve its strategic agenda of “creating consumer-valued food for healthier nutrition, enhanced sustainability through resource stewardship and supportive food entrepreneurship” by integrating education, business creation and innovation. + EIT Food Image via Aline Ponce

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EIT Food Marketplace disrupts the industry with additive-free beverages, veggie milk and more

WilkinsonEyre gets green light for giant geothermal-powered biodome in Iceland

July 23, 2019 by  
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London-based practice WilkinsonEyre has just been granted planning permission for the Aldin Biodomes, a massive biodome complex that will showcase a rich tropical environment and local food production techniques in Iceland’s Reykjavik region. Designed for local consultancy firm Spor í sandinn, the ambitious development aims to be the “world’s first geo-climate biodome” that will also be carbon-neutral . Powered by Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy, the greenhouses are envisioned as a major city landmark in the same vein as Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, also designed by WilkinsonEyre. Spanning approximately 48,000 square feet, the Aldin Biodomes will consist of a Main Nature Dome and a Tropical Dome. Elevated on a hilltop, the domes are designed to be seen from the city skyline and will catch the eye with undulating forms and glittering glass facades. The complex will be located on the edge of the outdoor recreational area Elliðaárdalur in the center of the Capital region, where it will serve as a new gateway to the largest green area closest to Reykjavik. The domes are oriented toward the northwest for guaranteed views of Iceland’s midnight sunsets during summer and the Northern Lights in wintertime. Related: These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining The geothermal-powered Aldin Biodomes are envisioned as a year-round attraction offering more than just a welcome escape into a tropical environment during the harsh winters. In the lush Tropical Dome, visitors can enjoy a rich showcase of exotic plants as well as the Farm Lab, an educational environment on local food production. The Main Nature Dome will house a multifunctional space with a reception, an information area, a specialty restaurant, a visitors’ shop and a marketplace that emphasizes Iceland’s fresh products. “The unique and thought-provoking environments of the Biodomes are eye-catching visual landmarks on the city skyline,” said a statement on Spor í sandinn’s website. “Close attention is paid on the choice of materials, their aesthetic qualities and sustainability . Each structure catches and reflects the ever-shifting play of light from day to day and season to season — similarly to the burgeoning plant-life within. Striking colors, forms and textures of the vegetation, and the bustling throngs of visitors, will create a world of magic and a feast for the senses and the imagination.” + WilkinsonEyre Images via WilkinsonEyre

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WilkinsonEyre gets green light for giant geothermal-powered biodome in Iceland

Cyclo is the packable and sustainable helmet made from recycled plastic

July 23, 2019 by  
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Study after study shows that wearing a helmet saves lives and reduces injuries during an accident, yet some statistics detail a usage rate as low as 17 percent. Users report that a contributing factor to not wearing a helmet is the bulk and inconvenience of packing it around. Fortunately, the next generation of helmet is here, and the construction brings style, safety and a compact, portable design. Currently trending on Indiegogo, the Cyclo helmet was created by a few people who have been in the design realm for a while, with notable careers as engineers at Aston Martin and Boeing. The Cyclo offers users packability never before seen in a helmet. That’s because of the unique design that allows the rounded upper portion to flip over into the lower part of the helmet frame. Released with a durable clip, the movable parts stay securely in place during use. The helmet is built to exceed all U.S., European and Canadian standards. Related: DIY device emits a distinctive sound to keep cyclists safe While packability was a significant goal during the design phase, co-founders Josh Cohen, CEO, Dom Cotton, CMO and Will Wood, design engineer, felt the pull of corporate responsibility . With sustainability becoming a hot topic in every industry, the team decided to incorporate recycled materials into the helmet. By partnering with Plastic Oceans U.K., Cyclo supports efforts to clean up significant plastic pollution in the ocean. As a result, each helmet represents 20 water bottles removed from marine ecosystems. Sparked by a helmet-less ride Cohen experienced while cycling in London, the helmet is aimed at convenience to encourage a higher user rate. Environmentally responsible, portable and safe, the Cyclo can be worn when riding scooters, skateboards, bikes or segways. With the compact design, it easily slides into a backpack, gym bag or work bag. “Josh’s experience of riding in London highlighted a clear gap in the market,” Cotton said. “Helmets are really important but can be inconvenient, especially for urban riders. We’ve created something that will help more people to ride more often and protect themselves and our planet in the process.” Cyclo is currently offering a discount through the Indiegogo campaign , which is ending soon. The team is taking orders now with production set to begin in early 2020, and the first product shipments going out the following spring. + Cyclo Images via Cyclo

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Cyclo is the packable and sustainable helmet made from recycled plastic

Ecolab’s Doug Baker on the future of circular water

July 3, 2019 by  
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The host of Marketplace Tech, Molly Wood, and Ecolab Chairman and CEO Doug Baker have a conversation about the state of the world’s water and how industry can serve both the environment and the bottom line by getting smart about water.

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Ecolab’s Doug Baker on the future of circular water

Best Buy’s Alexis Ludwig-Vogen: Plugging into the circular economy

July 3, 2019 by  
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Alexis Ludwig-Vogen, Best Buy’s Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability shares how Best Buy has built the circular economy into its business model.

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Best Buy’s Alexis Ludwig-Vogen: Plugging into the circular economy

States take the wheel in drive for cleaner vehicles

February 19, 2019 by  
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From California to the Carolinas, states are implementing smart policies to rev up the marketplace for low- and zero-emission vehicles.

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States take the wheel in drive for cleaner vehicles

What investors need to know from companies about sustainability

February 19, 2019 by  
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When companies don’t engage effectively with investors on their sustainability efforts they miss opportunities to differentiate themselves from peers.

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What investors need to know from companies about sustainability

Here’s why only 1% of U.S. cropland is farmed organically despite voracious demand

July 29, 2016 by  
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Only around one percent of U.S. cropland is dedicated to organic farming even though consumer appetite for organic foods reached an estimated $13.4 billion last year. The reason more farmers haven’t converted to organic farming has to do with the high costs of getting certified , a process that takes three years before the U.S. Department of Agriculture can stamp a farm as meeting the requirements of being free of products such as certain synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. “When you look at the percentage of the marketplace, what consumers are buying versus what farmers are producing, farmers aren’t producing as much organic as consumers are consuming,” Alexis-Badden Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, an organics advocacy group, told The Guardian. Related: Benefits of organic food go far beyond vitamins and minerals, despite study results Food companies such as General Mills and Kashi are starting to help organic farmers financially during the three year transitional period. For example, General Mills recently teamed with dairy cooperative Organic Valley on a plan to pay a higher-than-market price for organic milk during the three year transition, with the extra money going into a fund to pay for the expenses accumulated. There are also efforts going on to create a transitional organic certification that would enable farmers to raise their prices in the second and third years of the transition before obtaining the official USDA seal of approval. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), California is the top state in organic sales. The 2014 Organic Survey found that the Golden State accounted for $2.2 billion in organic sales. According to the survey, the top commodity sold by U.S. farms was milk with $1.08 billion in organic sales. + USDA Organic Agriculture Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia

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Here’s why only 1% of U.S. cropland is farmed organically despite voracious demand

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