Mars claims palm oil is ‘deforestation-free’ after ditching hundreds of suppliers

October 7, 2020 by  
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Mars claims palm oil is ‘deforestation-free’ after ditching hundreds of suppliers Cecilia Keating Wed, 10/07/2020 – 00:15 U.S. confectionary, food and pet care giant Mars claims to have eliminated deforestation from its palm oil supply chain after shrinking the number of mills it works with from 1,500 to a few hundred, it announced this week. The adoption of shorter, more transparent palm oil supply chains and working exclusively with suppliers that meet specific environmental, social and ethical standards has made it easier for the company to keep track of its palm oil supply chain, which the company said is no longer contributing to the destruction of tropical forests as a result. Mars said it had reached its goal after a concerted effort to trim the number of mills it works with from 1,500 last year, and it expects to be working with less than 100 in 2021 and under 50 in 2022. The destruction of rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations is a major contributor to climate change and nature loss, due to the crucial role of richly biodiverse tropical forests in sequestering carbon dioxide, absorbing rainfall and releasing water into rivers. But while many food companies, including Mars, have pledged to reduce deforestation through their supply chain to net-zero by the end of this year through a 2010 commitment to the Consumer Goods Forum, environmental groups have warned the progress remains slow and the large majority of companies are on track to miss their target. Business can — and must — be powerful change agents for social and environmental change in order to have resilient, reliable supply chains and a more equitable and sustainable world. Mars chief executive officer Grant Reid said the pandemic had underscored how global supply chains were “broken” and stressed that there was an “urgent need for business to transform buying and supply strategies and practices” if the world was to address environmental and social challenges.  “Business as usual will not drive the transformational change that’s needed,” Reid said. “Business can — and must — be powerful change agents for social and environmental change in order to have resilient, reliable supply chains and a more equitable and sustainable world.” Mars said it had achieved the milestone using satellite mapping to monitor land use with third-party validation from sustainable production consultancy Aidenvironment and its Indonesian spinoff Earth Equalizer. Barry Parkin, chief procurement and sustainability officer at Mars, said that the firm was hoping that its achievement would have a ripple effect across the palm industry. “We at Mars have reached a significant milestone — but in order to extend this impact beyond our own supply, we are asking our suppliers that they apply these principles to all the palm oil that they source not just the material they supply to us,” he said. “Through this action, and if adopted by others, we can reach a tipping point to drive systemic change across the entire palm industry.” Mars’ efforts to simplify its supply chain builds on the company’s ongoing effort to eliminate deforestation and degradation from the beef, cocoa, palm oil, soy and pulp and paper supply chains through its work with the Consumer Goods Forum. Tropical Forest Alliance executive director Justin Adams commended the multinational for achieving net-zero deforestation in its palm supply chain, but warned that collective action would be needed to takle problems across the global sector. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the company over the last 10 years, and we need to see more companies embrace the logic of the three-M model — map, manage, monitor — that they have laid out,” he said. “But Mars’ success today also highlights the limits of individual leadership. We can only stop deforestation by working collectively in key production landscapes and across the entire sector.” Pull Quote Business can — and must — be powerful change agents for social and environmental change in order to have resilient, reliable supply chains and a more equitable and sustainable world. Topics Forestry Food & Agriculture Deforestation BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Palm fruits by tristan tan via Shutterstock

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Mars claims palm oil is ‘deforestation-free’ after ditching hundreds of suppliers

How transforming the mica supply chain transforms lives

October 6, 2020 by  
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How transforming the mica supply chain transforms lives Joel Makower Tue, 10/06/2020 – 02:11 Second of two parts. Read Part One here . For those coming from the western world, visiting Jharkhand and other towns in India’s mica belt can be a jolting experience. For one thing, mica is everywhere. “If you visited these places where mica is plentiful, the ground is literally shimmering. You can dig a hole anywhere with your hands and start to come upon big chunks of this very pretty, very shiny rock,” according to Leonardo Bonnani, founder and CEO of Sourcemap. He explained to me how mica moves through the community. “Effectively, they will mine as much as they can either informally, anywhere that they find it, or working in and around mines that are ostensibly closed or off-limits. They get on the property and they start digging a hole about as big as a person or as big as a family. And then they take the mica to a local warehouse. This can be a very small operation, the size of a single-family home, where people are basically sorting it out into different grades and qualities, cleaning out the impurities and then bagging it onto trucks to be transported to factories where it’s actually refined. Being on their ground is incredibly powerful and humbling, and really makes you understand the true impact of the work and why it’s important to be doing it. “That’s where they do the grinding and coloring; sometimes they fire-treat it. They do all sorts of things to get the right colors and textures that industry is looking for. And it’s those surprisingly small operations that are aggregating the mica, not far from where it’s mined, that have not yet been really mapped or audited.” Setting foot in Jharkhand was an eye-opener for Sasha Calder, director of sustainability at the cosmetics company Beautycounter. “There’s a lot of jargon or technical ways of thinking about some of these challenges, but being on their ground and seeing the personal impacts on folks’ lives is incredibly powerful and humbling, and really makes you understand the true impact of the work and why it’s important to be doing it.” Among her first impressions: “We were traveling down the streets, which are glittering with mica, and seeing really young kids walking, carrying mica home on their heads. And realizing and how different of a world it felt compared to how growing up in California was for me.” Most of all, it was the extreme poverty. Jharkhand has made great strides in bringing down the number of poor, reducing the incidence of poverty from 75 percent to 46 percent in the 10 years ending in 2016, but the state has lagged behind other Indian states in reducing poverty, according to the World Bank . It notes: “Poverty is among the highest in the country today, particularly in the state’s southern and eastern districts,” which includes the mica belt. Making connections On the ground in Jharkhand, Calder set out to understand the human impact on the communities themselves. “We interviewed workers at the mines to understand how different communities are structured and what matters to them, what are their challenges and opportunities, and how they are organizing for change. We wanted to get a better understanding of the local government’s role in providing critical infrastructure, electricity, water, education and nutritional needs.” One factor she encountered there was climate change. “There have been increasing storms and droughts over the past years, and farmers have been pushed off their land, which isn’t as productive as it used to be,” Calder explained. “And so they’re turning to illegal mica mining to put food on the table. Many more folks are having their kids — who used to be supporting them in the fields — working in very harmful mica mining conditions to be able to purchase the food that they used to be producing in their own backyards. It was hard just seeing how this cycle continues to perpetuate itself.” To address the child-labor issue, Beautycounter forged a partnership with the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation , a nonprofit founded by the longtime human rights advocate, who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for advocating for children’s rights for more than three decades. The Nobel committee cited Satyarthi’s “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” Kailash Satyarthi, via Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation The partnership aimed to help Beautycounter better understand the local politics and to support a comprehensive plan for the legalization of mica mining, which would increase supply-chain transparency and traceability. The company also committed to supporting the foundation’s Child-Friendly Villages model, which empowers young people to protect themselves from trafficking, forced labor and child marriages. All told, traveling to Jharkhand can be a tough experience for westerners. As Sourcemap’s Bonnani put it: “I go to some rough raw-material sourcing locations and this was by far the worst I’ve ever seen in terms of clear evidence of malnutrition and child labor.” But there can be moments of joy. At one point, Calder visited a local school and met with the children in the community. As she tells it: “We were sitting around in kind of a formal setting. We were asking questions about their daily lives and you could just tell that there was both excitement but also nervousness and uncomfortableness in the room. So I shifted the conversation instead to things that matter most to kids. What do you like to do? What games do you like to play? Beautycounter sustainability director Sasha Calder plays games with the locals in Jharkhand, India, courtest Beautycounter “Immediately, the whole room’s energy shifted. And they told me about this game that they play out in the fields and I said, ‘Great, let’s go.’ And so the whole community — probably 100 of us — walked down the road together and they showed us how to play this game. And we went from not being able to speak the same language to laughing and giggling and poking fun at each other. It was just this beautiful reminder of the connection between all of us.” Opening the curtain As Calder began engaging with local mica miners and sellers, she was similarly met with initial resistance. “It’s really intimidating for folks to open up there, to open up their books or have you talk to their employees or go into their mines. It meant building trust early on by being completely transparent as a brand — of where we are in the journey, how we’re going to share that information. That was super critical, because once you have that trust, things move quickly.” “It’s all about building relationships,” she continued. Eventually, “People are inviting you into their homes, into their communities, and also opening the curtain behind their business. At the same time, there’s an angle of trying to understand and make sense of what has been historically a very complicated and secretive industry. So, it’s a delicate dance, but it really works best when there’s complete transparency.” It’s a delicate dance, but it really works best when there’s complete transparency. There’s no substitute for being there, she said. “When you’re on the ground, you see how mica mining impacts every part of these communities’ lives. And you get to connect more deeply as humans. It gets rid of thinking of people as statistics as you hear the stories of what matters to them, and how they want their families to be safe. And how connected we are.” Getting to transparency One result of the November 2019 trip to Jharkhand was the creation of a proprietary blockchain-based traceability tool, in which suppliers share their sourcing data with Sourcemap. Through the process, Beautycounter can then track consistency or inconsistencies in the volume of the supplier. Changes in volume or gaps of information raise red flags about how the mica is being produced. And because the blockchain creates an immutable record of each transaction, it can prevent illegally mined mica being passed off as legal. The blockchain solution “is a technology that has historically worked with both the coffee and chocolate industry to help create traceability in those supply chains,” Lindsay Dahl, Beautycounter’s senior vice president of social mission, added. “And they’re working with us in partnership with our suppliers to help us be able to tell a story that a consumer can understand.” Sasha Calder and Leonardo Bonnani in Jharkhand, courtesy Beautycounter The blockchain solution is helping Beautycounter move closer to its first goal: physically visiting and auditing all of its mica mines and working with suppliers to implement responsible sourcing program goals. “By the end of this year, we will have audited all of our current mica suppliers and are currently in the process of phasing out a few products that have old suppliers that we’ve moved away from,” Dahl told me. “So, we’re kind of in that transition right now. And we have realistic expectations around what a fully traceable mica supply chain looks like, which is the next step after we have our audits done.” She acknowledges “that’s probably several years down the road just given the complexity.” Talking the talk Earlier this year, Beautycounter began to talk to its consumers — and, by extension, the world — about its mica initiatives. It was hardly the first company to do so. A range of other brands, from L’Oréal to Lush , have pages on their websites dedicated to answering frequently asked questions about mica and child labor. Beautycounter’s mica page goes beyond FAQs, offering information and resources not just to consumers but also to suppliers and public officials. It encourages visitors to “ask your elected officials to stop the importation of products produced using forced labor.” It also features a 12-minute video , much of it taken during Calder’s November trip to Jharkhand, about the company’s work in India. “We use the video to tell the story in the same way Patagonia has for apparel and other companies are trying to do,” Dahl said. “It’s just to say, we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. The fact of the matter is we’re starting to ask the questions. And hopefully, that can start to normalize this kind of transparency journey for other brands. So, it feels less scary because the fear has been holding brands back for decades. And the fear and secrecy is what allows human rights abuses to perpetuate.” One goal of the company’s outreach on mica is to ensure that efforts to eliminate forced labor in mica supply chains is more than a check-the-box activity for other companies. I’m sure there’s a handful of companies that don’t want to ask the questions because they don’t want the answers. Because once you get the answers, you have to deal with it. “I think some brands think they are going deep,” Dahl explained. “And they just are taking their suppliers’ word for it. ‘Oh, you’re the expert, you’re the supplier, you’ve given me this thing that looks official. So why would I even need to dig even deeper?’ I think a lot of brands are just making assumptions that the information they’ve received is credible, and it gives them the confidence to feel like they’re making good decisions. And I’m sure there’s a handful of companies that don’t want to ask the questions because they don’t want the answers. Because once you get the answers, you have to deal with it.” She added: “At the end of the day, you’re never really sure who’s going to be struck by or be moved by a story and then change their consumer behavior as a result.” The power of one Among the things that Beautycounter has demonstrated is that the power of even one company — a small, privately held company at that — can be significant. “Beautycounter was very helpful,” Bonnani told me. “It helped get other industry stakeholders to start talking about mica. We’ve seen an uptick in interest from the auto industry, for example, even though they’re just buying paint that has mica in it. We’ve heard from half a dozen auto companies since Beautycounter made that documentary.” “We definitely get an uptick of requests or inquiries about mica sourcing after there’s a big headline about it,” Erin Turner, business development manager, Effect Pigments for Cosmetics, at BASF, told me. For a growing number of cosmetics companies, responsibly sourced mica is true to brand. “You see the little guys start to differentiate using mica sourcing,” said Turner, who works with Beautycounter on the final leg of mica’s journey: processing it into the form that’s needed to go into various cosmetics recipes. “We definitely see an uptick — not only questionnaires but requests for audits on site. “I think Beautycounter has been very brave in taking their customers along for the ride. And they say upfront, this is a messy journey. But we have to start somewhere. I think it’s very authentic the way that they’re bringing their customers along.” For Beautycounter, its mica journey is also part of this particular moment, as Lindsay Dahl explained. “I think in general, the cultural conversation around equity that’s happening across the country is asking people to think differently about the brands that they’re supporting. It’s also having people think about equity in very new ways. It feels more relevant for people to think, ‘Oh, wait, I actually do care about a family I’ve never met in India.’ It does kind of continue the conversation of caring about people at a very human level. It’s as simple as that.” 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 Being on their ground is incredibly powerful and humbling, and really makes you understand the true impact of the work and why it’s important to be doing it. It’s a delicate dance, but it really works best when there’s complete transparency. I’m sure there’s a handful of companies that don’t want to ask the questions because they don’t want the answers. Because once you get the answers, you have to deal with it. Topics Supply Chain Consumer Products 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 Mica, through a child’s eye. All photos courtesy Beautycounter.

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How transforming the mica supply chain transforms lives

Rare dolphin species spotted in the Adriatic Sea

August 26, 2020 by  
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The Delphinus delphis , an uncommon dolphin species, has been repeatedly spotted in the Adriatic Sea. According to recent research led by marine scientists at the University of St Andrews, the rare dolphin has been observed multiple times off the coasts of Italy and Slovenia. The research was done in collaboration with Morigenos Slovenian Marine Mammal Society with a goal to determine the occurrence of common dolphins in the Gulf of Trieste and the Northern Adriatic Sea. The findings of the study, published in the journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems , came as a shock to many scientists, given that Delphinus delphis was considered regionally extinct in the Adriatic Sea. The decline in Delphinus delphis numbers in the Adriatic Sea can be traced back to misinformed policies put in place by Italy and former Yugoslavia in the mid-20th century. At the time, this species of dolphin was considered a pest to the fishing industry. The two countries encouraged people to kill these dolphins for monetary reward to reduce competition for fish. In the 1970s, the number of Delphinus delphis dropped significantly, leading to the species being listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Besides the direct killing of the species, increased fishing activities have also led to a reduction in the number of dolphins in the Adriatic Sea. Related: Lapsed fishing moratorium endangers Amazon river dolphins Over the past 30 years, Delphinus delphis have been very rare in this area, leading to speculations that they might be regionally extinct . However, the recent findings show that Delphinus delphis are showing up more regularly, with four animals spotted repeatedly over a 4-year span. The research, conducted through photo-identification, also shows that some of the dolphins spotted in the Adriatic Sea had traveled as far as 1,000 kilometers. “Unfortunately, the species continues to be rare in the region. It is difficult to say if the species is likely to make a comeback to the Adriatic Sea,” said Tilen Genov, leader of the research team and member of the Sea Mammal Research Unit for University of St Andrews. “The chances for that are likely slim, as there is currently no evidence of any increase in common dolphin abundance or sightings anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea. But hopefully, this contribution can serve as a baseline and encourage potential future cases to be reported, in order to provide further insights into the occurrence of common dolphins in the region.” + Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems Image via University of St Andrews

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Rare dolphin species spotted in the Adriatic Sea

Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers

July 14, 2020 by  
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Workplace EV charging: Lessons from sustainability trailblazers Marsha Willard Tue, 07/14/2020 – 01:30 Businesses are reaping the environmental and social benefits of providing electric vehicle charging for employees. That’s according to research published last week by Presidio Graduate School (PGS) and ChargePoint, providers of the world’s largest EV charging network. Last fall, a research team from PGS conducted a study on workplace electric vehicle charging practices. In addition to a review of the current literature, the team interviewed sustainability leaders in 24 organizations across the United States. The findings reveal that while still most common in Europe and in U.S. coastal states, the speed of EV adoption makes creating the charging infrastructure an imperative for both the public and private sector. Leading organizations have made a solid business case for providing workplace charging and other EV related employee incentives or benefits. Below are some key findings of the study: Employers recognize that demand for charging will only grow; in many cities such as Portland and San Francisco EV charging in workplace parking lots is already both an expectation of employees and a city mandate. Business plays an important role in facilitating EV adoption; providing EV charging to employees is increasingly easy to justify to corporate executives.  Providing charging at the workplace increases employee satisfaction and makes it easier to attract and retain workers. Supporting EV commuting and investing in EV fleets help organizations meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets.  Employers are worried less about upfront costs and are thinking long-term about strategies to optimize their investment.  Key strategies to maximize benefit To get the most out of the investment in workplace charging stations, the corporation and other organizations participating in this research study focused on these four key implementation strategies: 1. Assure availability What the study participants learned is that while you may not see a lot of EVs in your parking lots now, they are coming and they catch on faster once workplace chargers become available. Bank of America, for example, saw a 50 percent increase in the number of EV commuters in just one year after installing chargers, reinforcing the theory that EV adoption is mostly hindered by a concern about being able to charge away from home. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Once available, chargers become an important amenity to employees. Study participants reported not only increased satisfaction with the workplace, but ncreasingly, an expectation that chargers be available making them part of nearly all our participating organizations’ recruiting and retention packages. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Some progressive cities such as Salt Lake City and Duluth, Minnesota  are beginning to mandate chargers in all new construction. The required number varies from 1 to 5 percent of spaces depending on the jurisdiction. Forward-thinking businesses, such as those in our study, believe these requirements are conservative and plan to expand the number of available chargers. LinkedIn, for example, which covers about 10 percent of parking spaces with EV chargers, is building toward a target of 20 percent. 2. Allow dynamic pricing Most study participants saw value in providing free charging for employees. What they have learned is that it not only builds employee satisfaction, but also encourages EV adoption. While there is a strong commitment to providing free charging, an increasing number of organizations are opting to charge fees for lingering at the stations. In an effort to optimize the use of the charging stations, it is common to assess a fee after a car has been parked at a charger for more than four hours. This is made possible by using “smart” chargers — chargers connected to a network that allows managers to not only tailor fee structures but to send alerts to users as well as monitor usage and capture greenhouse gas-related data.  3. Optimize energy management Study participants understood that the expected increase in demand for workplace charging will require more attention to power management. In addition to meeting the extra demand without over-tapping their capacity, they also want to assure the most efficient use of the charging infrastructure. Power management features available on some chargers enable site managers to maximize the number of charging ports before having to upgrade existing wiring or panels. These systems also enable management to assure that charging EVs never exceed the maximum aggregate electrical load, thus avoiding potential peak load charges. These systems also enable managers to control when and how much energy is being tapped to maximize consumption during those times of the day when renewable power is most plentiful. Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. 4. Source from renewable power Most study participants power their chargers with lines from their existing building panels, so the electricity comes from the same generation source as their buildings. This is the most cost-effective method for powering the chargers, but it links the carbon impact to the generation source provided by the region’s utility. If the local utility is powered mostly by coal generation plants, the carbon savings may be negligible.  Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. Amazon, for example, plans to increase its renewable energy usage from 40 percent to 100 percent by 2030 . Bank of America already sources 91percent of its energy from renewable sources and will be rolling out on-site solar generation at more than 60 of its locations in the next two years. A number of the research participants already have invested in their own on-site generation, and 55 percent report that they are looking to add or expand this capability in the future. When self-generation is not feasible, organizations have increasing opportunities to source renewable energy through their utilities.  Electrification of vehicle fleets will markedly reduce greenhouse gasses. Employers have much to gain and much to offer in this transition. Offering on-site, electric vehicle charging not only will contribute to the infrastructure needed to speed this transition, but also benefit companies that offer this amenity.  To hear a fuller story from one of our study participants, visit the recording with Erik Hansen of Workday. Pull Quote Organizations serious about using an EV program to lower their carbon footprints may find an increasing need to invest in renewable power. In trying to determine how many chargers to provide, the participating organizations often underestimated the demand and recommended thinking ahead when planning. Topics Transportation & Mobility Infrastructure Electric Vehicles ChargePoint Collective Insight Thinking in Systems Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Herr Loeffler Close Authorship

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Beavers could be contributing to warming in the Arctic

July 6, 2020 by  
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A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests that beavers’ actions could be contributing to climate change. The study, which involved analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery, has shown that beavers are constructing dams and lakes in the Alaskan tundra. The actions of these beavers are transforming the Alaskan landscape in a way that is dangerous to the environment. When they form new bodies of water, they contribute to the thawing of frozen permafrost, which is a natural reservoir for methane and carbon dioxide. When lakes are formed, these greenhouse gases are likely to leak into the atmosphere. There has been a sharp increase in the number of beavers in the Alaskan tundra in the last two decades. According to the research, scientists have spotted increasing numbers of beavers over a very small area. These beavers carry dead trees and shrubs to create dams, resulting in new lakes that flood the permafrost soil and release methane. Related: Climate change could lead to dramatic decline in narwhals The sudden rise in the number of beavers in the Arctic region has lead to more of these dams. Ingmar Nitze, a researcher from the Alfred Wegener Institute and author of the study, said, “We’re seeing exponential growth there. The number of these structures doubles roughly every four years.” The study found that the number of dams in a 100-square-kilometer area around Kotzebue increased from two in 2002 to about 98 in 2019. This is a staggering 5000% increase in the number of dams. Nitze said that although the lakes can drain themselves and leave dry basins, the beavers are smart enough to block the outlets and refill the basins. CNN reported that the Arctic permafrost is melting at an alarming rate. These natural methane and carbon dioxide reservoirs are releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Several studies are now underway to determine the amount of carbon dioxide being released from such reservoirs. “There are a lot of people trying to quantify methane and CO2 emissions from lakes in the Arctic but not specifically yet from beaver lakes,” Nitze explained. The researchers now fear that similar beaver actions may be happening in other areas as well. Nitze warned that the same could be happening in the Canadian tundra and Siberia among other places in the world. + Environmental Research Letters Via CNN Image via Jan Erik Engan

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Top 5 sustainable products from IKEA to add to your home

July 6, 2020 by  
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IKEA has become a household name because you can buy just about everything you need for your home there. Not only does this company make every piece of furniture you could want, IKEA actually makes many amazing sustainable products. IKEA’s commitment IKEA has taken big steps to encourage sustainability. There are many products available at IKEA that are made with renewable and/or recycled materials as part of IKEA’s commitment to creating a sustainable future. All IKEA products are designed to be repurposed, recycled, reused, repaired and resold in order to generate as little waste as possible. It also gives DIYers lots of opportunities to get creative. IKEA has been working toward completely phasing out all single-use plastic products and using 100% renewable energy for all IKEA operations and direct suppliers.  Popular sustainable products at IKEA IKEA is already using wood that comes from recycled sources and cotton that comes from more sustainable sources. Meanwhile, the use of natural fiber materials like cork and rattan has increased at IKEA. The company has also implemented the IWAY standard, which specifies requirements that suppliers must meet in order to maintain certain environmental and animal welfare conditions. IKEA has a huge catalog of sustainable items, but these are the top five that customers love. GUNRID air-purifying curtain Made with a mineral-based coating, this air purifying curtain actually improves the air quality of your home. When exposed to sunlight streaming through the windows, the curtain breaks down indoor air pollutants. The fabric itself is made from recycled PET bottles. Unlike so many other air purifiers, this one isn’t powered by electricity and doesn’t need you to turn it on. Any time the sun is shining on your curtains, they are working to make your home healthier. Related: IKEA’s new air-purifying curtain will decrease indoor pollutants SOARÉ placemat The vivid SOARÉ placemat is handwoven with water hyacinth. This plant grows in abundance along the Mekong River, where it must be regularly harvested in order to keep the waters passable. This placemat helps continue the tradition of hand-weaving that has existed in this region for decades and provides work for those who harvest, dry and weave the plant fibers together. Water hyacinth is extremely fast-growing and it is mainly harvested and woven by women, who earn a living by working with this plant. Often, several women gather together to weave the plants while they laugh and socialize. Each purchase of these handwoven mats supports economic opportunities for women. TÅNUM rug Made entirely out of leftover fabric, the TÅNUM rug is another handwoven offering from IKEA. It is made completely from fabric scraps and leftovers from IKEA’s bed linen productions. Weavers in organized weaving centers in Bangladesh create these beautiful rugs to grace the floors of homes around the world. This methodology helps reduce waste and gives you the chance to brag to all your friends that your rug is made completely from recycled materials. Each of these rugs is handcrafted using different fabric scraps. That means every TÅNUM rug you place in your home is completely unique. ISTAD resealable bag ISTAD resealable bags are made almost completely from plastic that comes from the sugar cane industry. This material is both renewable and recyclable . The bioplastic is expected to save around 75,000 barrels of oil every single year. That’s a big step toward reducing the damage that has been done to the planet. SOLVINDEN light The SOLVINDEN lantern is a bright, solar-powered LED light that does not require cords or plugs. It has its own solar panel that converts sunlight into electricity. Solar energy is completely clean and renewable. The lightweight, eye-catching light comes in multiple styles to fit every decor. Because it also catches the sun’s rays and converts them into energy, this is a highly popular sustainable product from IKEA. This lantern lasts 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and consumes up to 85% less energy .  Living sustainably There are many small ways to do big things to help the environment. Purchasing sustainable items from companies that take strides to maintain environmentally friendly standards is a great way to do more to help the environment. Buying beautiful, sustainable products made by a company that takes its responsibility to the world seriously is a great way to put your money toward a brighter future. + IKEA Images via IKEA

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Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin

July 6, 2020 by  
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As the newest member of the Hello Wood cabin family, the Workstation Cabin offers the perfect tranquil retreat designed specifically to inspire creativity. Described as “the future of meeting rooms,” this unique workspace has a modern interior made of Scots pine wood and complemented by large windows. Prefabricated using state-of-the-art technology, this  modular  cabin was designed on the computer and built using a computer numerical control machine. With 15 sides, the structure looks different from every angle. Insulation  protects the compact structure’s occupants from harsh weather and helps the cabin adapt to the changing seasons. The home also features designated spaces for built-in air conditioning, electrical outlets and wifi capabilities. While the unique cabin primarily functions as an  office space , it can also transform into a meeting area, children’s playroom or even a guest room. Related: Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people While each  minimalist  cabin is delivered turn-key and includes a built-in workbench and electrical outlet, Hello Wood also offers several customizable add-ons and services. Usual features include heating and air conditioning, but customers can also choose to incorporate mood lighting, a sound system or television inside. Outside the cabin, customers can even add landscaping and a terrace. The gross floor area measures about 107 square feet with an interior area of about 86 square feet, and the total height, including legs, measures in at just under 12 feet.  Thanks to the modular  prefab  design, installation only takes a few days. Potential owners need only have about 14.2 x 11.1 x 11.8 feet of space. Even better, any module can be easily replaced if necessary, meaning if one portion gets damaged, repairs can take place without demolition work affecting the rest of the structure. The cabin achieves its low environmental footprint through its small size and low energy consumption, as well as its use of renewable materials. + Hello Wood Photography by Zsuzsa Darab

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Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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The time for electric trucks and buses is now

Boards must put sustainability at the top of their agenda to thrive

April 27, 2020 by  
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Amidst the global COVID-19 crisis, there have also been glimmers of hope. A significant one is its impact on climate change. It’s estimated that global carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry could fall by 2.5 billion tonnes in 2020. U.K. road travel has fallen to 1955 levels and the number of flights operating worldwide has fallen by about 40 percent.

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Boards must put sustainability at the top of their agenda to thrive

6 of the best corporate climate action announcements from the last week

April 27, 2020 by  
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From Google to North Face, companies used Earth Day to share big plans. Here are the ones that stood out.

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6 of the best corporate climate action announcements from the last week

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