50 countries pledge to conserve 30% of land and water

January 12, 2021 by  
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The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People has made a pledge to protect 30% of the land and water on Earth by 2030 to slow destruction of nature and species extinctions. The pledge was made public last Monday during the One Planet Summit in Paris. HAC is a coalition of more than 50 countries that was formed in 2011 to encourage internal action on the climate crisis prior to the Paris Agreement. The coalition is currently co-chaired by three countries: France, the U.K., and Costa Rica. It was formed in Durban in 2011 and has been at the forefront of encouraging international action on the climate crisis. The coalition is promoting actions against biodiversity loss and hopes that the pledge will lead to a successful conservation agreement during the Cop15 2021 summit in China. Related: Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists In their pledge, the countries have agreed to reserve at least 30% of the planet’s land and water as natural habitats. While making the announcement, HAC noted that protecting 30% of the planet by the turn of the decade is necessary to prevent mass extinction of plant and animal species. On Monday, several world leaders met at the One Planet Summit in Paris to discuss the biodiversity crisis and promotion of archeology as well as to examine the relationship between human health and nature . The event was addressed by various world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Besides the pledge to protect 30% of the planet, several countries in the coalition also made pledges to fund nature conservation projects. The coalition has pledged to invest billions of pounds in the  Great Green Wall of Africa  project and the launch of the new  Terra Carta  by Prince Charles. The coalition’s pledges have been applauded but also met by some criticism from various environmentalists. Many emphasized that the commitment needs to be met with actual efforts and delivery. Greenpeace U.K.’s head of politics Rebecca Newsom explained that there are also concerns about the source of funds being pledged by countries such as the U.K. Newsom argued that the funds should not be cut from budgets already allocated for other environmental projects. “Increasing funds to protect and enhance nature is critical to help secure success at the global biodiversity conference in China this year,” Newsom said. “Siphoning off cash from funds already committed to tackling the climate crisis simply isn’t enough.” Via The Guardian Image via Pauline Bernfeld

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Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

January 12, 2021 by  
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The U.K. government is reversing a ban on a dangerous pesticide. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Sugar lobbied hard to get a product containing neonicotinoid thiamethoxam sanctioned for emergency use on sugar beets. Not only is this chemical thought to kill bees, but rainwater will wash it from fields into rivers. Last we heard, fish weren’t requesting neonicotinoid thiamethoxam any more than were insects, many of which already face serious declines. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the conservation group Buglife, was one of many environmentalists unhappy with the decision. “In addition, no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet,” Shardlow said . “Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment .” Related: Flea treatments are poisoning England’s rivers Beet yellows virus is carried by aphids and has a ruinous effect on sugar beet crops. The U.K. has tracked this disease with national surveys since 1946, charting the effects of chemicals, farm hygiene and other factors on the changes and developments in virus yellows disease. Treating sugar beet seeds with neonicotinoid thiamethoxam is one approach used to control this disease . “Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorization is desperately needed to fight this disease,” said Michael Sly, chairman of the NFU sugar board. “It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain’s sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses.” He emphasized that pesticides would be used in a limited and controlled way. In 2018, the EU decided to protect bees by banning outdoor uses of thiamethoxam. But now 11 countries, including Spain, Denmark and Belgium, have signed emergency authorizations to use this controversial chemical. Via The Guardian and Pest Management Science Image via Kurt Bouda

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Bee-killing pesticide approved for emergency use in the UK

Why collaboration is the missing ingredient in food system reform

January 8, 2021 by  
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Why collaboration is the missing ingredient in food system reform Jim Giles Fri, 01/08/2021 – 01:30 One of the most exciting things about food and ag right now is the potential for change. The industry’s environmental problems — waste, greenhouse gases, biodiversity loss — are real. But so are the solutions. Multiple studies have shown that new farming techniques, low-carbon foods and other advances can create a radically more sustainable food system. As we kick off 2021 and await a new U.S. administration, I’m wondering how — or if — one of these possible futures can become an actual future. The ingredients for new food systems have been rigorously detailed in reports from the World Resources Institute , the EAT-Lancet Commission and others. But building futures is a far more messy business than identifying solutions.  “These reports treat these systems as something we can program,” said Chris Barrett, an applied economist at Cornell University, when we talked this week. “As opposed to massive systems of billions of people that make decisions that none of us can control.” I’d called Barrett and his colleague, plant scientist Rebecca Nelson, to talk about a report from the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and the journal Nature Sustainability, which they and others published last month . Yes, another report. But this one is different, because it examines the messy problem of turning potential into reality. This intrinsically social process, the authors conclude, “demands cooperation that is in shorter supply than are brilliant scientific insights.” To see what the authors mean, let’s go back to an earlier problem in food. The early 1970s saw increasing consumer interest in healthy food, but packaged food sold in the United States didn’t then include reliable nutrition information. Through a collaborative process involving the Food and Drug Administration, food companies and later the United Nations, industry and regulators developed the nutrition facts labels that we’re familiar with today — and that are mandatory in 58 countries. This kind of collaboration just isn’t a feature of U.S. food policy. These kinds of processes aren’t pretty. They involve countless meetings and technical reports and lobbying and conflict. But they can result in trusted systems that underpin structural change. We almost certainly need more of them if we’re to fully realize the potential of regenerative agriculture, alternative proteins and other promising technologies in food and agriculture. Let’s go back to labeling for an example. Last year, Unilever committed to adding emissions information to each of 400 brands, which reach 2.5 billion people every day. Other companies are pursuing similar goals. This could lead to competing emissions labels that confuse consumers and blunt the ability of food companies to translate emissions reductions into higher sales. A collaborative process involving the private sector, regulators, scientists and others could produce a unified, trusted label that would drive real change. There’s another great example in Barrett and Nelson’s report: China’s Science and Technology Backyard program . In 2009, scientists at the China Agricultural University moved their research to a village in Hebei province. Working from a local backyard, they spread the results of their research by working with the local farming community. Farmers who participate in the Backyards program, which has expanded to include other villages, local government and private companies, have increased yields while reducing environmental impact. It’s no coincidence that these examples come from another time and another country. This kind of collaboration just isn’t a feature of U.S. food policy. The closest the country has to the Backyards program, for instance, might be the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The service helped U.S. farmers recover from the Dust Bowl, but its ranks have been depleted in recent decades. That’s just one reason why I hope the ag experts on Joe Biden’s team have read the Cornell report. Pull Quote This kind of collaboration just isn’t a feature of U.S. food policy. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems Public-Private Partnerships Featured Column Foodstuff 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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O2 Treehouse to launch a treehouse-based hospitality company

January 4, 2021 by  
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Treehouse design and construction company O2 Treehouse is expanding to include large-scale hospitality. The Oakland-based firm is already well-known for its custom, modular treehouses and has raised more than $180,000 (at the time of writing) from hundreds of investors for the new franchise, called Treewalkers, through StartEngine . Treewalkers will become a worldwide network of rentable treehouses, enabling investors to provide any number of treehouses for rent from just one single unit to entire treehouse villages. “Our state-of-the-art technology and modular design offer investors a low-risk opportunity with a great return on investment,” said Dustin Feider, founder of O2 Treehouse. “We provide everything for the nature host to have beautiful glamping treehouses, designed for the modern ecotourist.” Related: How building a treehouse led to a career in arbortecture Feider has created a one-size-fits-all design called Tetratuss that can be modified based on the location to provide lower costs and an elevated platform technology that helps expand a tree’s real estate. Treewalkers will use the O2 Treehouse design methodology to allow guests the opportunity to make a unique connection to nature. The company has 85 custom-designed modular structures under its belt already. While luxury treehouses offer an excellent way to reconnect with nature and disconnect from the stresses of everyday life, owning one isn’t practical or economical for the average person. What’s more, the eco-tourism industry is on the rise, valued at $265 billion worldwide in 2018 and projected to grow 14% each year, according to O2 Treehouse. The proposed local host rental company (think of it like an Airbnb for the eco-tourism industry) will address all of that. Those who want to experience the treehouse life temporarily will have an organized rental service dedicated solely to treehouses, while potential franchisees looking for a unique investment opportunity will have the experience and expertise of O2 Treehouse to back them up. The company plans to start with five to 15 locations using Airbnb as a renting platform before eventually releasing its own O2 Treehouse platform for exclusive access to more than 20 locations. Long-term, O2 Treehouse has plans to also create corporate-owned, sustainable, residential housing developments. + O2 Treehouse Images via O2 Treehouse

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4 alternative protein trends to watch in 2021

January 4, 2021 by  
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4 alternative protein trends to watch in 2021 Jesse Klein Mon, 01/04/2021 – 01:30 It is highly probable your children will be vegans eating a Christmas ham Dec. 25, 2050. Alternative proteins will be the norm very soon and we might look back at this decade as the time when real shift in diets occurred.  Don’t believe me? Here are a few stats. Venture capital invested $1.5 billion in alternative proteins in 2020. The plant-based meat market is predicted to grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021 . And by 2040, 60 percent of meat sales will be plant-based or cultured meat products.  Every movement has the trends that significantly shape its future and others that quickly die and are forgotten. Here are four trends for 2021 that are expected to last beyond the initial excitement.  1. Fermentation is king  Fermentation, using genetically engineered microbes to mass-produce plant-based proteins, is on the verge of dramatically altering our protein food system. The value of fermentation lies in the system’s simplicity, effectiveness and flexibility to be used across food categories. Perfect Day uses fermentation to make dairy-like products while startups such as Clara Foods are focusing on egg substitutes . And there is about to be even more competition. According to a Prepared Foods report , 44 new fermentation companies launched in late 2019 and early 2020, a 91 percent increase compared to 2018.  But it looks like there will be plenty of money to go around. Even as COVID-19 upended global markets, alternative protein companies focusing on fermentation raised $435 million in venture capital by July, 58 percent more than in 2019. High-profile investors such as Al Gore and Bill Gates got in on the 2020 action, leading an $80 million investing round for Nature’s Fynd in March. And in December, Nature’s Fynd added $45 million from Oxford Finance and Trinity Capital. The company uses microbes found in Yellowstone National Park’s famous geysers to grow a protein with all nine amino acids. As we move to 2021 and beyond, fermentation technology likely will become a pillar of the alternative protein supply chain.  2. A move to direct-to-consumer In early 2020, some premier alternative protein companies had restaurant-only strategies. Impossible Foods had chefs such as David Chang serving the burger at its trendy restaurants. Soon after, the focus expanded into fast-food chains. But when the pandemic shut down restaurants, it expedited a shift to grocery stores and even direct-to-consumer purchasing.  You can buy Impossible’s ground “beef” at 15,000 Safeways, Krogers, Trader Joe’s and many other grocery stores across the country. Beyond Meat, which was in grocery stores before Impossible, can be shipped directly to your door. Impossible Foods also created a shop section on its website, bypassing the grocery store middlemen completely.  Eclipse , a vegan ice cream company based in the Bay Area, shifted from partnerships with popular ice cream shops such as Salt & Straw to chef collaborations on limited-edition pints ice cream lovers can buy directly from Eclipse online. Next year, alternative protein companies will continue to take the pandemic’s lessons to heart by giving consumers the convenience of direct purchasing while the companies get to rake in dollars without the help of restaurants or grocers. Atlast and Meati are two companies using precise mushroom cultivation to produce whole cut substitutes that taste and act like the real heterogenous meat versions. Photo by  Ksenia Lada  on Shutterstock. 3. An opportunity in whole cuts  While the alternative protein industry has made huge strides in the areas of ground beef and processed products such as chicken nuggets or fish sticks, a huge section of the meat market that has yet to be successfully tapped into is whole cuts. In fact, according to a USDA agricultural marketing and economic report , about 80 percent of meat purchases are whole cuts such as chicken breasts, steaks and loins. In 2021, the alternative protein industry will need to focus on innovating in this very valuable part of the market. Some are already doing it and planning on coming to market with consumer products next year. Atlast and Meati use precise mushroom cultivation to produce whole cut substitutes that taste and act like the real heterogenous meat versions.  “The way we make bacon is the equivalent of making mushroom pork belly,” said Eben Bayer, CEO of Atlast. “We grow this blob of mushroom like a big piece of meat, and we run it right through a conventional pork slicer.” To create bacon that has different layers and doesn’t act like a standard mushroom, Atlast tightly controls and changes environmental factors such as airflow and temperature during the growing process to create mushroom sections that taste fattier and other sections that get crispy to create that true bacon experience. While the industry inches towards whole cuts in 2021, the companies that figure out how to make convincing plant versions of steaks, chicken breasts and hams at scale will have cracked the alternative protein market wide open. 4. A focus on non-allergenic substitutes  Many standard ingredients for alternative proteins are soy, oats, legumes and nuts. These are also some common allergens. One percent of the U.S. population is allergic to nuts. And estimates suggest up to 6 percent of the population has a gluten sensitivity, along with the many who have jumped on the trend of cutting out gluten without any intolerance. Legume allergies, such as peanuts and soy, are also frequent. In 2021, the industry will need to start creating products that cater to this demographic. Going vegan or vegetarian for people with allergens can be extremely difficult and limiting. Soy and gluten-free vegan options such as Sophie’s Kitchen seafood products or Atlantic Natural Foods’ Neat Meat will be important in making alternative proteins accessible to everyone.  Topics Food & Agriculture Alternative Protein Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The plant-based meat market is predicted to grow from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021 . Photo by Line Tscherning for  LikeMeat on Unsplash .

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Welcoming Winter Wildlife

December 31, 2020 by  
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Watching butterflies and birds or spotting a rabbit contribute as … The post Welcoming Winter Wildlife appeared first on Earth 911.

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Organic and conventional meat production cause equal amounts of emissions

December 24, 2020 by  
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Research published in the journal Nature Communications  has revealed that the environmental impact caused by organically farmed meat is equal to that caused by conventionally farmed meat. The research was carried out to determine the exact cost of foods if their climate costs were accounted for. According to the researchers, the analyzed data should be used to set food prices and taxes that reflect the true costs of food. The research shows that the emissions caused by organically produced meat is similar to those from conventionally farmed meat. This is especially true for cattle and sheep. The researchers found the climate-related damage of raising organic chicken to be slightly worse than raising conventional chicken. On the other hand, organic pork was found to be slightly better in terms of emissions as compared to conventional pork. Related: Will gene editing and cloning create super cows that resist global warming? The research further revealed that if all climate-related costs were considered per food item produced, there would be a 40% increase in shop prices for conventional meat. At the same time, there would be a 25% increase in organic meat . This is not because organic meat causes less pollution but because it is already more expensive than conventional meat. The prices of conventional milk would rise by about 33% while that of organic milk would increase by at least 20%. The study, led by Maximilian Pieper of the Technical University of Munich, analyzed German food production alone. But researchers say that the results would likely be replicated in many other European countries. “We expected organic farming to score better for animal-based products but, for greenhouse gas emissions, it actually doesn’t make much difference,” Pieper said. “But in certain other aspects, organic is certainly better than conventional farming.” Meat produced either organically or conventionally pollutes the environment in many ways. Overuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and mishandling of manure are some of the ways in which food production is problematic. Meat consumption can also lead to health complications. Research carried out in 2018 revealed that a  20% tax increase  on red meat would be necessary to cover its associated health effects. + Nature Communications Via The Guardian Image via Pen Ash

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French court persecutes noisy frogs in Grignols

December 16, 2020 by  
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A French judge has sentenced a pond full of frogs to capital punishment. Their crime? Being too noisy. The judge decreed the pond must be drained within 90 days. The legal battle over the frogs of Grignols, a village (population: 587) in the Dordogne area of southern France , has a long history. The frogs live in the backyard pond of Michel and Annie Pécheras. Twelve years ago, Michel re-excavated the 300-square-meter pond and moved it farther from the property line of his neighbor, Jean-Louis Malfione. Things seemed fine for a few years. But in 2012, Malfione brought legal action due to the amphibians’ cries of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” during the mating season. At times, their amorous ribbits reached 63 decibels from Malfione’s open window. Related: First fluorescent frog in the world found in South America The case was thrown out by a judge in 2014 but later upheld by a judge in Bordeaux. Since then, several legal jurisdictions have heard the case. French environmentalists have become increasingly agitated. Some campaigned for the frogs to be relocated to another pond, but that appeal failed. The environmental group Société pour l’Étude et l’Aménagement de la nature dans le Sud-Ouest is appealing to France’s highest court. The Association Cistude Nature has stated that six protected frog species make their home in the pond. This isn’t the first noise complaint heard in rural French courts. Other cases have been heard about roosters crowing, ducks quacking, church bells pealing, crickets chirping and cowbells clanging. One farmer even had to pay 8,000 euros because a neighbor thought his cows smelled bad. Threatened with fines and even prison, Michel and Annie have started emptying the pond. Not only will the frogs be left homeless and probably die, the fish and ducks that live in the pond will be out of luck, and passing wildlife like wild boar, herons and deer might have to start carrying reusable water bottles. Many people around the world are lending their support to the frogs and other wildlife that the pond supports. More than 95,000 people had already signed this petition within days of its appearance online. Via The Guardian Image via Jill Wellington

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VF Corp leans in to the circular economy and regenerative ag

December 16, 2020 by  
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VF Corp leans in to the circular economy and regenerative ag Deonna Anderson Wed, 12/16/2020 – 09:58 With about 20 brands such as The North Face, Vans and Timberland under its umbrella — including its recent acquisition of popular streetwear brand Supreme — VF Corporation is big. The company had approximately 48,000 employees at the end of its 2020 fiscal year, which ended on March 28, according to its most recent annual report , and revenue during that year was $10.5 billion.  With that much reach, VF Corp has the opportunity — and responsibility — to be intentional about how it manages the lifecycle of the garments it designs, produces and sells. “Because of our scale, we know it’s our responsibility to address textile waste and then overall be thinking about how to keep products in use for the long term, and to design out waste from the beginning,” said Jeannie Renne-Malone, who has served as the vice president of global sustainability at VF Corp since Sept. 2019. In November, I met up with Renne-Malone on Zoom to chat about how the apparel and footwear giant works with all its brands to zero in on opportunities to deepen their work toward the collective sustainability goals, how VF Corp is thinking about its 2030 science-based targets and its focus on improving how it sources its materials. For example, back in May,  Timberland announced that it planned to introduce a collection of boots using regenerative leather sourced from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranches, which have 600,000 acres that have been transitioned to regenerative practices. “One of our biggest opportunities is regenerative agriculture,” Renne-Malone said. “We’re really looking at regenerative agriculture as a way to scale opportunities across all our brands, and then possibly partnerships with other industries as we move forward.” Following is a transcript of our conversation. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Deonna Anderson: I want to talk about your science-based targets at VF Corp. You set those about a year ago now. Can share some insights about the process of setting the targets and if there’s been any progress working towards those in the last year? Jeannie Renne-Malone: It’s been a full year since we announced them. We took a couple of years to develop a really in-depth baseline. Our baseline is from 2017, and that covers our entire value chain. We collected data from across our Scope 1 and Scope 2 sources, all of our energy consumption and so forth. And then, for our Scope 3 emissions, which is our largest impact, we collected data from our contracted factories, from logistics and across our entire value chain. We worked [with] the consultant, the Carbon Trust, to develop our baseline and to develop the modeling used to help us set up the targets themselves. Because of our scale, we know it’s our responsibility to address textile waste and then overall be thinking about how to keep products in use for the long term, and to design out waste from the beginning. Since last December, we’ve continued to develop our roadmaps across all of our emission sources, and some of them, our Scope 1 and Scope 2, are really a small percentage of our overall impact, really only 1 percent. And we have clear roadmaps to how we will meet all of those targets for Scope 1 and 2. Those are easier, just generally speaking, across all sectors, all industries. Ninety-nine percent of our impact is in our Scope 3 emissions, and of that, we’ve identified that 42 percent comes from raw material extraction, production and manufacturing. And so that’s really where our focus has been over the past year: developing a vision around sustainable materials. At the time that we announced our science-based targets we also announced a bold new sustainable materials vision that by 2030, 100 percent of our top nine materials will originate from recycled, responsibly-sourced renewable or regenerative sources. So that’s really where we’ve been collaborating with the brands to identify some of the long-term innovations, short-term investments that we can make, [and] what kind of partnerships and collaborations we need to invest in to really move us towards that goal. We’ve looked quite a bit at regenerative agriculture… We’re looking at advanced recycling and just to find recycled polyester and different recycled materials. Across all of these different material types, we are working on developing a roadmap that will outline, first in the next two to three years, what we can do in the near term that will really move the needle to get us to that 2030 goal.  Thinking from an apparel perspective, we really only have 20 seasons until 2030 … So we’re thinking about it from that perspective — what material substitutions do we need to make in the next two to three years that will truly start moving that needle that we need to move towards 2030? Anderson: How does VF Corp work with its brands to work toward the collective sustainability goals? It sounds like you touch base with one another and figure out where the opportunities are.  Renne-Malone: Absolutely. Each brand has a sustainability lead, and we collaborate as we are developing both the enterprise-wide initiatives to make sure that the work that is being done at the brands and the strategies and initiatives and goals of the brands ladders up to the overall enterprise-wide strategy. We see VF as really enabling the brands to succeed with their sustainability strategies.  What we’re doing now is leaning in on sustainable raw materials. We’re also really focusing on circularity as one of our major opportunities, and one of our major strategic initiatives. When we think about take-back programs, or recycling infrastructure that needs to be in place to advance us towards our goals, we think about it collectively, of how we can create scalable, enabling opportunities for our brands to succeed in our individual goals. Anderson: Can share about the importance of VF Corp leaning into the circular economy, and why it’s important for an apparel brand, or a company that has a bunch of different apparel-related brands, to be doing that kind of work?   Renne-Malone: I think there’s a couple of reasons. Because of our scale, we know it’s our responsibility to address textile waste and then overall be thinking about how to keep products in use for the long term, and to design out waste to the beginning. From a responsibility perspective, we know that that’s part of our long-term sustainability goal and vision.  We also think about the emerging conscious consumer that not only wants to know where products are made, what was the environmental impact along the way, who made those products, but also what will be done with those products at the end of the day. So when we think about circularity, we think about it in terms of the materials that go into the product initially, the design of the product, designing out waste, and then what will happen to that product at the end of its life. Will it be put back into a re-commerce type of business model? That’s something that we’re testing out with some of our brands. Or can it be designed fully for recyclability?  Like our brand Napapijri was the first apparel brand to get Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold recognition for its circular jacket series . Some of our research shows that 67 percent of Gen Z and Millennials are already making purchasing decisions based on climate change, and that generation of consumers will comprise, I think, two-thirds of the apparel and footwear consumers by 2027. That’s only six years away, so we know that we need to be thinking about the materials, again, that go into our products and designing for circularity from beginning to end to really meet this emerging consumer need.  And there’s also the conscious consumer that is really buying less stuff. We want to make sure that we’re designing with durability and also with providing options to sell on the re-commerce market such as our North Face Renewed platform. Designers from The North Face at a workshop at the Renewal Workshop in October 2019. Media Authorship The North Face Close Authorship Anderson: Pivoting a bit, I know you were on the2020 GreenBiz Badass Women’s List earlier this year. The mini-profile about you mentions the circular economy experiments that your brands are doing, your public policy efforts and the science-based targets, which we’ve already talked about. But I’m curious about what VF Corp’s public policy approach looks like. Renne-Malone: Our brands have been engaged with policymakers for some time. The North Face has been doing quite a bit around policy. And what’s exciting is more recently we’ve developed a set of guardrails at the VF level to really think through what kind of policies are under development or that we would like developed that we can use our voice to encourage that they move forward. And we’ve identified those that really align with our publicly-stated goals. We’re thinking about policies around sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, circularity, recycling infrastructure … what we would see as incentives to advance our programs across not just the U.S. but also in Europe. We see the EU New Green Deal as an opportunity to really see incentives for many of the programs that we’re advancing globally. And then, of course, there’s the side benefits of job creation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions …   We have an established government affairs program that engages with us to identify those opportunities for direct engagement but also to kind of keep tabs on what policies are emerging, and where we can lean in and we’ll use our voice to help hopefully this even come to fruition.  I would just add that overall what we’re really trying to do is help advocate for a climate-resilient recovery from COVID and just, moving forward, it’s so important in that we think that our advocacy efforts could really lend to that effort.  Anderson: That is a good segue to my next question, which is about the pandemic. How has the pandemic made an impact on VF Corp’s sustainability strategy? Renne-Malone: If anything, we see that it’s almost helped us accelerate our strategy, and we’re really doubling down on our commitment during and after the pandemic. And this is a result of a couple of things. One, we’re a people-first company, or a purpose-led company, and we’ve had a people-first approach to addressing COVID. And that’s actually caught the attention of investors.  There was a Barron’s most sustainable corporations list that was released in February, and we were 21 on the original list. And then they reissued it based on social factors. And then we ended up number one on the list after they reevaluated their criteria and their weighting. We were super excited about that, and I think it really lends to the fact that from a sustainability and ESG perspective our investors are really listening to us. That’s one stakeholder that I think has really caught the attention of what we’ve been doing through the pandemic. Anderson: You mentioned that VF Corp has a people-first approach. What does that look like in practice when it comes to your stewardship and social responsibility efforts? Renne-Malone: A couple of different things — we have a deep tie to the environment because of the nature of our brand. Having a set of outdoor, activewear brands really gives us that deep connection to the environment. And I think that’s really evident with our brands like The North Face and Timberland, for example, that all of them have a deep connection to ensure a sustainable future for next generations. And then I’ll add that we’re purpose-led and performance-driven, and what I mean by that is the better we perform as a company, the more resources we’ll have to activate our purpose, which creates value for our stakeholders. So I start there to kind of paint the picture that performance is super important to us too, and it all ties together.  We have a foundation that, over the course of the pandemic, has donated over $10 million to different organizations [focused on the] outdoors. We have a deep tie to the environment because of the nature of our brand. Having a set of outdoor, activewear brands really gives us that deep connection to the environment. And then we also have a program that’s primarily focused on our supply chain. It’s called the Worker and Community Development Program, where one of our colleagues leads an effort to identify projects that will benefit the workers and the communities around our contracted factories.  And so one example — which I love this one — it’s called Vision Spring. And it’s a program in India where we’ve identified a nonprofit that will give eye exams to factory workers and then provide eyeglasses if needed. And so that’s a real benefit improving a quality of life, not only for their work within the factory, but also overall when your vision is improved, it just improves your quality of life overall. So we really look at different opportunities to invest in our communities. Anderson: What do you feel is your most important priority as the vice president of global sustainability right now?  Renne-Malone: My scope of my work is really focused on environmental sustainability … but there is such a connection between people and planet that everything we do to address climate change and environmental stewardship really ties to creating benefits for people. And I just feel this sense of urgency — not to get on my soapbox, but we can’t ignore what’s happening around us in the middle of this climate crisis and an ecosystem crisis and a health crisis. I really think this is our opportunity and our responsibility to continue to amplify the work that we’re doing in an even more focused way, and to really look for opportunities for partnership, collaboration, innovation, not only within our own industry but across other industries.  I do think now it’s even more important to think about the intersection of the climate crisis, environmental justice, social equity, racial equality and health. I think the solutions we’ve identified will really address those issues as we are also trying to reduce our impacts. So as we’re thinking about circular economy, waste, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, we know there are all these ancillary benefits to people along the way.  I guess overall I’m very passionate and focused on our action around climate change, and really it’s my own personal purpose to look at those intersections between the social responsibility and environmental stewardship. And so super-proud to work for a company that has a purpose of betterment of people and the planet. Pull Quote Because of our scale, we know it’s our responsibility to address textile waste and then overall be thinking about how to keep products in use for the long term, and to design out waste from the beginning. We have a deep tie to the environment because of the nature of our brand. Having a set of outdoor, activewear brands really gives us that deep connection to the environment. Topics Corporate Strategy Circular Economy Fashion Apparel Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Lambertt Close Authorship

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VF Corp leans in to the circular economy and regenerative ag

IUCN’s latest Red List update comes with good and bad news

December 14, 2020 by  
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The latest IUCN Red List has declared 31 more species extinct, and about 30% of plant and animal species on the Red List are at risk of extinction. While much of the news is grim, there were a few bright spots, with several species showing signs of recovery for their populations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature regularly updates the list to reflect ongoing changes in plant and animal populations. The newly declared extinct species included three species of Central American frogs, which have been decimated by chytridiomycosis disease. Seventeen kinds of freshwater fish endemic to the Philippines also made the list. These fish were lost due at least in part to human errors: introducing predatory fish species to the lake and overfishing. The lost shark joined the list this year as critically endangered (possibly extinct). This rare species dwelled in the extensively fished South China Sea and hasn’t been recorded since 1934. It may have already been extinct for decades. Related: Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species “The growing list of extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand,” said Bruno Oberle, director-general of the IUCN, in a statement. “To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture , and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy.” Last Thursday’s release showed more than 35,700 species as threatened with extinction. This includes more than 30% of oak trees. A whopping 45% of the protea family — plants with massive, prehistoric-looking flowers that grow mostly in the Southern Hemisphere — were listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Every type of freshwater dolphin is also now classified as endangered. On the plus side, populations of at least 26 species have increased. The European bison was upgraded from vulnerable to near threatened. The IUCN emphasizes that when people commit to conservation, it makes a difference. “The conservation successes in today’s Red List update provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets,” said Jane Smart, global director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group, in a statement. “They further highlight the need for real, measurable commitments as we formulate and implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.” + IUCN Via Huffington Post Image via Fernando Trujillo / IUCN

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IUCN’s latest Red List update comes with good and bad news

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