How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

November 9, 2020 by  
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How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets Holly Secon Mon, 11/09/2020 – 01:00 By 2050, nearly 10 billion people will be on the planet. That’s about 2 billion more hungry mouths to feed. Figuring out the best way to feed everyone so they receive enough nutritious food, while using the planet’s finite resources sustainably, is a growing challenge. Typically, as people’s incomes rise throughout the developing world, they consume more resource-intensive animal-based protein, as opposed to unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. An alternative to that consumption could exist. Alternative proteins, that is. Alternative proteins, which have gained more mainstream attention in U.S. supermarkets and direct-to-consumer models during the COVID-19 pandemic, include both plant-based or food-technology (so-called “clean meat”) alternatives to animal protein. The alternatives replicate the look, mouthfeel and taste of meat, but have a lower sustainability impact, advocates claim.  At GreenBiz Group’s virtual clean economy conference VERGE 20 late last month, representatives from two of the biggest alternative protein companies, plant-based Impossible Foods and cell-based Memphis Meats, discussed the ways in which alternative proteins could do just that. From providing a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while making sure consumers eat nutritious food, alternative proteins could make an impact.  Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. Each company has its own theory of change for full-scale market transformation. Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown is on the record saying that by 2035, he wants to eliminate the need for animal farming in and of itself. Meanwhile, Steve Myrick, vice president of operations at Memphis Meats, who spoke at VERGE 20, wants to “augment, not disrupt” the mix of food production methods in the next five to 10 years. Impossible Burger wants to eliminate the need for animal agriculture Impossible Foods has been one of the most hyped-up alternative protein companies, and one of the most successful. Impossible makes a plant-based burger designed to maintain a realistic taste and mouthfeel to beef, primarily using a soy-based version of the protein found in meat called “heme” plus oils and other ingredients. The company also offers plant-based pork and sausages. The products are sold in higher-end restaurants around the world, and recently entered grocery stores as well. Rebekah Moses, head of impact strategy at Impossible Foods, said during VERGE 20 that the key to Impossible Foods’ goal of replacing animal agriculture is “exponential growth.” “What we’re trying to do here even at our relatively small scale is figure out how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change,” she explained. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. “So knowing that livestock product consumption is driving climate change by occupying huge amounts of land that would otherwise be capturing carbon … we need to address the system,” she said. “It can’t scale anymore. It’s already scaled to a point where we’re seeing huge problems for climate change and ecosystem services reductions.” Moses believes that Impossible Foods can still scale, and that it can take away market share from traditional animal agriculture to alleviate these issues. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s exponential scaling,” she said. “We want to double or triple in size every year … The inherent economies of scale of plant-based meat are vastly superior to that of the livestock system — an incredibly environmentally destructive technology because of the amount of inputs required to sustain it.” At scale, Impossible is able to use 96 percent less land, emit 89 percent fewer greenhouse gases and use 87 percent less water, Moses claimed. “It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people,” she added. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. In addition, she pointed out that Impossible burgers can have slightly different ingredient compositions, making the product resilient to certain commodity shortages and logistical shipping backups. “Plant-based beef can be far more agile because we don’t really have to use the same ingredients all the time,” she said. “So now we use what we have, but there’s nothing saying we can’t use tahil or fava beans or any of a rich array of inputs that are out there. “You have to have binding proteins, you have to have high quality bulk to provide this chew-down, you have to have oils to provide this fat source, but ultimately you can get that from any number of different ingredients. Globally there’s such a diverse array of crop production that is going to provide things like proteins, fats and oils that what the Impossible burger is made of in the United States might be completely different than what it’s manufactured in other parts of the world with other supply chains, especially small local supply chains.” Memphis Meats wants to be a part of the large ‘food production’ tent Memphis Meats is at an even earlier stage of scaling than Impossible Foods, but the company also has generated a good amount of buzz. The company is piloting a new process of producing animal meat, without the animal. In a lab, scientists select specific types of animal cells that could become meat and put them in a cultivating tank, where they undergo a process similar to fermentation to grow muscle and tissue. The company hasn’t reached commercial scale yet, but has received cash infusions from investors including Bill Gates and Richard Branson, as well as industry giants such as Tyson Foods and Cargill. Myrick explained Memphis Meats’ value proposition: “The food system is almost more vast than any of us can really grasp … the world consumes hundreds of billions of pounds of meat and seafood a year. So five to 10 years from now, we think of it as augment, not disrupt. “We’ll still need a lot of different food production methods to keep feeding 8 billion people in that timeline. You can’t do it without large-scale intensive animal agriculture, small-scale subsistence farming, animal husbandry — we think cell-based meat will be a part of that picture, very quickly a bigger part. But I think what it means for us is that we have this philosophy of a big tent. We want to partner with existing industry, coexist, respect consumer traditions.”  Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. For now, the company is working on making the product the best it can be, while also considering how to scale to be a meaningful part of food production, according to Myrick. The question for the future is whether Memphis Meats wants to do manufacturing in-house and begin building out that capacity or find a manufacturing partner. “We feel really confident in our path, both to reduce the complexity and the cost of our inputs and also to build out our production system that’s at a scale where the cost makes sense to measure for unit economics that consumers will get,” he said. Once the product is established, in the future, Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. “It’s very much a goal to have our product have the identity of conventional meat products,” he said. “It’s very important from a chemistry point of view, from a nutritional point of view, to be within the frame of reference. We think of that as step one, to exceed the expectations of meat-eaters based on their current expectations. But we’re very excited about the next chapter to ideally start to adapt the nutrition profile and hopefully bring products to the consumers that have significant nutritional benefits over that.” Pull Quote Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems VERGE 20 Alternative Protein Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A plant-based Impossible Whopper from Burger King. Flickr Tony Webster Close Authorship

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How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

Chipotle reveals your Real Foodprint

November 2, 2020 by  
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For anyone who’s ever put a muffin back after seeing a posted calorie count in a restaurant, Chipotle’s new app helps further refine choices about what’s worth putting into your body. Real Foodprint tracks the environmental impact of adding a scoop of guacamole to your burrito bowl or saying no to the chicken. The new app assesses the impact along the lines of five metrics: savings in carbon emissions , measured in grams; water saved in gallons; soil health improvement in square feet; organic land supported in square feet; and milligrams of antibiotics avoided. Related: Chipotle debuts surprising new venture: sustainable clothing Independent research company HowGood is responsible for the data. HowGood drew on 450+ studies to compare conventional ingredients to the food available at Chipotle. This is the first time HowGood has partnered with a restaurant to provide the environmental tracking service. “Beyond asking people to make the right choice for the climate based on a carbon label, we are demonstrating the impact of our sourcing practices through data computed based on the ingredients in our guests’ orders,” said Caitlin Leibert, Chipotle’s head of sustainability, in a press release. “While our guests can make good choices for the planet by simply eating at Chipotle, the radical transparency provided by Real Foodprint also holds us accountable to improve our practices and source more sustainably over time. It is the combination of transparency for our guests and Chipotle’s commitment to higher standards that make Real Foodprint so impactful.” This is part of a trend among restaurants to provide customers with more environmental information. Panera recently started marking “Cool Food Meals” on menus, indicating choices with lower carbon footprints. Some parts of the app can be a little misleading. If you’re just going for a high score, you might choose Chipotle’s steak, which saves 150 milligrams of antibiotics compared to conventional meat. However, if you choose tofu — which doesn’t require antibiotics, conventional or otherwise — you won’t get those points. So customers still need to think a bit beyond the app about what’s really best for the health of their bodies and the planet. + Chipotle Via EcoWatch Images via Chipotle

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Amazon’s new eco-friendly shopping platform

October 29, 2020 by  
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During the pandemic, it seems like Amazon has come to dominate our world, especially during lockdowns when few vehicles save Amazon delivery vans traveled the roads. Many people have been relying on the website throughout the pandemic. But now, the e-commerce giant is trying to save the Earth by promoting eco-friendly shopping on its new platform. The new platform made its U.S. debut in September. This week, shoppers in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy will be able to browse more than 40,000 items certified by the Carbon Trust, Fairtrade International and other environmental certifying organizations. From bamboo toothbrushes to plant-based garbage bags, Amazon will display these products in a dedicated section of its website. Many small businesses across Europe are participating, including U.K. brands Kite Clothing, which sews sustainable kids’ clothes, and Faith in Nature, makers of shampoo bars. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping According to Doug Gurr, Amazon U.K. manager, customers will more easily discover sustainable products on the new platform. “With 18 external certification programs and our own new certification, we’re incentivizing selling partners to create sustainable products that help protect the planet for future generations,” Gurr said, as reported by The Guardian . But not everybody is impressed. Some large environmental nonprofits think the giant company is doing too little. “Amazon sells millions of products and this latest initiative covers just a tiny fraction of the total,” said Will McCallum, senior campaigner at Greenpeace U.K. “By certifying only a limited range of goods, Amazon is implicitly admitting that the rest of its business model isn’t up to scratch. The environmental and climate crises we are facing demand more than token gestures and piecemeal action.” Further, environmental campaigners also found some discrepancies within the new platform, with single-use items like cotton swabs, disposable wipes and novelty Donald Trump toilet paper all labeled with Amazon’s own sustainable certification. After being contacted, Amazon removed the label from these products, citing this as a mistake. In the perfect world, everybody in the supply chain would care about the planet, from the manufacturer to the seller to the end consumer. Here’s hoping that Amazon shoppers will make a point of purchasing sustainable products via the new platform, if not from local shops in their neighborhood. Via The Guardian Image via Christian Wiediger

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Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature

October 29, 2020 by  
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A “zero garbage” approach, recycled wood construction and low-impact energy systems combine at the Huemules Reserva de Montaña , a three-star geodesic dome hotel nestled inside a Patagonian nature reserve in Esquel, Argentina. Created with sustainability in mind, the eco-resort was built on a remote, 6,000-hectare site owned by the Estancia Huemules group. After converting the land into a mountain reserve, the family-owned company oversaw the development of low-impact geodesic dome suites constructed by local craftspeople with natural materials. Previously used as cattle pasture for over 100 years, the 6,000-hectare mountain reserve that is now home to Huemules Reserva de Montaña is celebrated for its magnificent canyons, valleys and prairies. In redeveloping the land for hospitality, the Estancia Huemules group chose geodesic domes for lodging due to the structures’ durability and resistance to the climatic extremes in Patagonia. The geodesic domes were also selected for their low impact — both visually and physically — on the environment and were strategically placed on natural clearings close to existing trails. Related: Explore the world’s driest desert at these eco-friendly geodomes As part of the eco-resort’s commitment to sustainability, the hotel uses an advanced sewage treatment system to clean waste before it is discharged into the environment as well as an energy system that follows the region’s eternal hydrological cycle. Locally sourced recycled wood was used for constructing decks, kitchen and furniture, while dead wood is used in energy-efficient, low-consumption stoves. Organic waste is composted onsite for use in the vegetable garden. Plastics are used as little as possible; preference is given to biodegradable products and recyclable containers. “We believe in Nature’s rhythms: That’s why your experience will be unique, in silence,” the eco-resort owners said in a statement. “But at the same time, it will be plentiful: plenty of activities and flavors, plenty of tones like the sound of the wind, the creeks and the birds, and plenty of movement and quietness.” + Huemules Reserva de Montaña Photography by Addison Jones via Huemules Reserva de Montaña

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Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature

DIY Halloween costumes for this year’s virtual parties

October 21, 2020 by  
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Halloween 2020 will likely look a bit different than past years, considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But even if your shindig is a virtual Halloween party, the costumes are still at the heart of the fun. When planning the perfect outfit for your socially distanced event, remember to consider the impact on the planet. It’s easy to bring the ‘wow’ factor that will keep party-goers talking for weeks to come while still avoiding plastic and using materials that are natural and recyclable or compostable. Happy Halloween! Use what you have The easiest way to create DIY Halloween costumes with little to no additional environmental impact is to use what you already have. Dig through the closet and the holiday totes in the garage. You might be surprised what you find that could make for a fun, unique costume. Related: Have an eco-friendly Halloween and aim for zero-waste this October Scarecrow A plaid shirt alongside a straw hat will help you pull off a scarecrow costume sure to keep the birds at bay. Add some non-toxic face paint to complete the look. Farmer Some overalls and a bandana with that same flannel shirt and straw hat will spin your look into a farmer instead. Put the scarecrow and the farmer together for a cute couples’ costume idea. Skeleton Much of the skeleton look relies on the face paint. But for clothing, adorn all-black shirts and pants with white paint or fabric to create the appearance of bones. Cat A black cat, leopard or cheetah are always popular for Halloween. Dress in all black or pull out the printed onesie for starters. Then add some easy ears, a tail and face paint for the finishing touches. If you don’t have fabric around, look to old linens or clothing you can cut. Attach triangular ears to a headband. For the tail, sew two long strips of fabric together and stuff with additional material, cotton, packing paper or another natural material . Elephant Similarly, you can don gray clothing head to toe, and add an empty gift wrap tube or paper towel roll for your trunk. Create some floppy ears from fabric-covered or painted cardboard. Robber A robber costume is quick and easy. Throw on a black-and-white striped top, some black pants and a black beanie. Pair with a pillowcase to hold your spoils. Ladybug Children and adults alike can pull this look off with a bit of black paint, fabric or stickers and a pair of red pajamas you may already have around the house. Leggings and a long-sleeve shirt will do the job, too. Simple apply black circles randomly around the red fabric. Put together a simple matching mask or rely on face paint for the final touch. Turn to the recycling bin Save those boxes for your 2020 Halloween costumes and choose from this variety of quick, DIY costume options. Robot For the upper body of a robot costume, cut holes in a box for your head, lower body and arms. You can make it slide on over your head or attach in two pieces so it wraps around your body before securing with tape or ties. For your helmet, create another square box with a face cutout. No plastic required! Dress in gray with a long sleeve shirt and pants. Complete the look by painting the cardboard gray and attaching or painting knobs and a display on the front. Tip: recycled plastic or metal bottle caps make great knobs. Dice Roll the dice for a win with a simple cardboard box painted to look like a die. Remember, an accurate die adds up to seven on all opposite sides, so five dots are across from two dots, four across from three, and one across from six. Rubix Cube For a more colorful look, use the same cardboard box idea as the die, but paint it to resemble a Rubix Cube instead with various colorful squares. Knight Be a knight in shining armor for the planet with a cardboard shield, helmet and body armor. Embellish with paint if you like. Remember the cardboard or wood sword for your defense in battle! Mummy It’s a classic costume for a reason — it’s so easy. Head out to the paint supply cupboard or linen closet for an old white sheet , rip or cut it into shreds and wrap yourself head to toe. You’ll be ready for your next virtual Halloween bash in no time! Images via Adobe Stock

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Artist creates mesmerizing paintings using coal pollution from local streams

October 15, 2020 by  
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You gaze at a vibrant collision of color. Are you looking at the Earth? Is this bacteria under a microscope? Is it a distant galaxy through the lens of a telescope? Or could it be a rainbow of unique pigments created from none other than a stream of coal mine pollution? As it turns out, this series of art by John Sabraw reflects many meanings, and it symbolizes a deep commitment to the planet. You see, the art is in fact made using pigments derived from the iron oxide in acid mine drainage. In beautiful southeastern Ohio, an area lush with trees and rolling hills dotted with small towns throughout, defunct  coal mines  have left their mark on the environment years after their closures. But a group of artists, engineers and dedicated community members are finding ways to clean up the pollution and turn it into something meaningful. A stream of pollution Back around 2007,  Sabraw , an artist and professor at Ohio University, began working with a local environmental group after years of working with environmentalists and scientists on various projects. The group, called Kanawha, toured southeastern Ohio, and Sabraw was instantly struck by the smelly, red-orange  pollution  in many of the region’s streams.  Related: #degrowth art series exposes greenwashing in the food industry “This is mainly iron oxide, that is the heavy metal polluting the  stream ,” Sabraw told Inhabitat. “Most of the earth-based pigments I use are made of iron oxide, so I took some with me and played with them in the studio. This is the first time I started thinking this could be turned into pigments or paint product.” As it turns out, another Ohio University professor,  Guy Riefler , was already using his skills as an environmental engineer to turn the iron oxide from the acid mining drainage into paint. The two professors connected and began working on a new project together that would both create a viable product and clean up the streams: a win-win. What is acid mine drainage? But where is all of this iron oxide coming from, and why is it a problem? “It comes from abandoned and improperly sealed coal mines,” Sabraw explained. There are many abandoned  coal mines  not just throughout southeastern Ohio but around the world. When it rains, water leaches into these underground mines, where it picks up heavy metals before finding its way to the surface and draining into aquatic habitats. “ Aquatic life  is very sensitive to pH. They want to be around 7 pH or even lower on occasion, but acidic water is around pH 2 to pH 4,” Sabraw said. “They can’t live in that environment. The second thing is iron oxide gets to the surface of the water and is activated by sunlight. There is more oxygen in the atmosphere. Instead of dissolving, the iron becomes crystalized onto the creekbed. That covered creekbed inhibits growth; very few things can live in that.” Saving aquatic life That’s what makes the project so crucial. Removing the iron oxide will help return the streams to their natural state, where aquatic life can thrive. With iron oxide present, you’re unlikely to find any  fish  swimming around in these streams. So Sabraw, Riefler and groups of volunteers visit Appalachian streams to collect iron oxide and turn it into something useful. On a small scale, they go collect the iron oxide deposits on creek beds, then wash and purify it before neutralizing the acidity. The result? A product that is over 98% pure iron oxide with very few contaminants. The iron oxide is cooked at extremely high temperatures to remove any remaining biomatter. They are also working on  building a multi-million dollar facility  that can mimic this collection and purification process on a much larger scale. In fact, the goal is to produce pigments that they can sell to generate enough money to cover the cost of pollution cleanups. Another goal is to insert pumps in the old mines that will access the iron oxide before it ever leaves the source. Clean, safe water will then be returned to the streams and creeks. Cleaning up for the community There can sometimes be a disconnect between the  local community  and those affiliated with the university. But luckily, that hasn’t been the case with this project. Sabraw, Riefler and their team hope the planned facility will create local jobs and clean up the streams, where families can fish and play. The facility will double as an educational center and will include a wetland sculpture park that will even display the impacts of climate change, particularly during seasonal flooding. The local response has been overwhelmingly positive. “[These communities] remember when they played in clean creeks and fished for dinner. They remember it changing, becoming orange and acidic; they’d jump in to swim and come out with orange underwear,” Sabraw said. “This is not some place that they are skipping in to do a job and leave. This is home, this is heart.” Their work has also garnered international attention. “More than anything else, artists want to know how they can do something similar, take the ability to think differently, spatially, and apply it to issues in our world.” Pollution becomes art Sabraw has used the iron oxide pigments in his own series of  artworks , which feature mesmerizing, swirling patterns of color confined within circles. Aside from the direct inspiration from the polluted streams, Sabraw approaches his work with a sustainable mindset. “We are in a critical era,” Sabraw told Inhabitat. “There’s no time left to decide that we want to work to consciously and purposefully create a sustainable future for humans on this planet. My concerns surround the ways I can attack this myself and open my abilities up to other experiences and ideas to collectively create a new way of living on the planet together.” The art showcases how many things on this planet are happening simultaneously to create “a sense of wonder, openness and also mystery and a question of purpose.” Making a difference one stream at a time Beyond the art, Sabraw and Riefler hope the project expands beyond the borders of Ohio and across not just the country but the globe. While streams worldwide may have varying chemistries, the  technology  could be applied to abandoned mines everywhere. If you’re sitting there wondering whether or not to focus your own work on sustainability, Sabraw says, without a doubt, to do so. “There’s a funny phrase that if you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room. I’ve never been in the wrong room. I’m not the smartest guy ever. Artists need to decide they can be in a space that is uncomfortable and still have a major impact on how things happen.” + John Sabraw Photography by Ashley Stottlemyer, Ben Siegel, John Sabraw and Gamblin via John Sabraw

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Why nature is the next frontier for sustainable business

September 24, 2020 by  
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Why nature is the next frontier for sustainable business Erin Billman Thu, 09/24/2020 – 01:15 It has been encouraging to see company and government commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions coming thick and fast in recent months, even despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes announcements from corporate giants Facebook , Uber and Amazon . America’s Pledge has just revealed that U.S. businesses, states and cities accelerated their action on climate in 2020. Businesses are increasingly seeing that climate action is not only the right thing to do but it brings material benefits such as increased investment, improved reputation and overall competitive advantage. For example, investor BlackRock is asking that by the end of 2020, companies issue reports aligned with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. However, climate action alone is no longer enough to fend off the multiple environmental crises that our planet is facing. Nature — by which I mean the land, biodiversity, water and ocean we all depend on — is reaching a point of no return. As the World Economic Forum’s recent New Nature Economy report stated, there is no future for business as usual. The loss of nature poses a direct threat to economic activities currently responsible for generating over half of GDP. Since 2015, companies have been able to use science to ensure their efforts to tackle climate change are sufficiently ambitious. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) was set up to facilitate this — to enable companies to ensure their efforts are “at least enough.” The corporate world has embraced this, using the SBTi methods and resources available to help them set and validate their climate targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly 1,000 companies are signed up, along with spin-off platforms such as the recently launched SME Climate Hub , which will help companies tackle their challenging Scope 3 emissions, particularly within their supply chains. What does this all mean for nature? While these efforts to tackle climate change can have some positive impacts on reducing nature loss to some extent, they are nowhere near enough and can create unintended consequences. Companies need to look holistically at all their impacts and dependencies on both climate and nature. We need to halve emissions by 2030, and we need to reverse nature loss. Neither is possible without the other. The interim targets provided in the guidance give companies direction they can align with now, across land use, freshwater use, climate impact and ecosystem regeneration. But when it comes to tackling nature loss, it is currently difficult for companies to know where to start or prioritize efforts. Until now there hasn’t been a framework that ties them together. The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) was formed to provide this. It is comprised of more than 45 organizations working together to provide science-based targets for companies and cities. It builds on the momentum of the SBTi to enable companies to set targets beyond climate. It is part of the Global Commons Alliance which aims to create the world’s most powerful network to scale action to protect the planet. Now, the organization has published its first consensus guidance for companies on how to restore balance to the global commons by operating within Earth’s limits while meeting society’s needs. The guidance has been reviewed by 65 people from businesses, consultancies, NGOs and academic institutions. Our 14 business reviewers included representatives from Mars, Unilever and Kering — all of which are keen to remain involved with the SBTN and use the guidance in their own organizations.  Companies can use the guidance to help understand how to assess, prioritize, measure, address and track their impacts and dependencies on nature in line with science. In addressing their impacts and dependencies. It introduces an action framework that companies can follow to avoid future impacts, reduce current impacts, regenerate and restore ecosystems, alongside working to transform the systems in which they are embedded. The interim targets provided in the guidance give companies direction they can align with now, across land use, freshwater use, climate impact and ecosystem regeneration. The resource was developed to consolidate and build on multiple existing efforts companies are already involved in to protect nature rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. For example, they already can set targets to cut their emissions through the Science Based Targets initiative . For land use change targets, specifically deforestation and conversion, we signpost to the Accountability Framework Initiative . For water quantity and quality targets, the guidance directs companies to use contextual targets for water . For ecosystem integrity, specifically on working lands, the guidance recommends using regenerative agricultural practices in line with the European Commission. The guidance is also aligned with global frameworks including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to enable companies to consider their impacts on people in the land and seascapes where they operate. The goal is to engage with businesses to develop and refine this guidance in the coming months to ensure it is as easy to use and effective as possible. For companies, the main nature-related risk is inaction. Now is the time to get started as some steps required to prepare for science-based target setting can take time to do well. The future of all life on Earth depends on us fundamentally changing our relationship with nature now and building an equitable, nature-positive, net-zero carbon future. We urge all companies to get involved and join us on this journey. Pull Quote The interim targets provided in the guidance give companies direction they can align with now, across land use, freshwater use, climate impact and ecosystem regeneration. Topics Natural Capital Corporate Strategy Biodiversity Land Use Water Conservation 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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Why nature is the next frontier for sustainable business

Valani launches debut collection of biodegradable clothing

September 16, 2020 by  
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New fashion house Valani has launched its debut collection of biodegradable separates and dresses inspired by “light living.” These sustainable clothes are made from materials like classic hemp fiber, antibacterial Tencel and banana silk for wardrobe staples that are just as comfortable and eco-friendly as they are stylish. The fashion brand has designed its pieces to reflect sustainability, with soft styles that can be worn throughout the year — regardless of season. Founder Vanni Leung is driven by the interconnectedness of the planet, animals and humankind as well as the recognition that love for the planet and love for ourselves are intertwined. She is a lifelong vegan, breathwork practitioner, a believer in the mind-body balance and an ally for female empowerment. Related: Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion Valani uses hemp, Tencel and banana silk in its designs. Hemp makes for a soft and flowy fabric that is hypoallergenic; it is also a carbon-negative crop, uses less water in production and is naturally resistant to bacteria growth. Tencel is made from sustainably managed eucalyptus trees and produced using a closed loop method that reuses 99% of solvents and water. The banana silk is made from a byproduct of agriculture waste; discarded banana stems are harvested to make way for new tree growth and then upcycled into this sustainable silk alternative. Prices for the new collection range from $98 to $398, so adding Valani to your wardrobe will certainly be an investment. However, the clothing is built to last, and your money goes much further than just the garment. Valani offers no-cost breathwork sessions online to its customers and plants a tree for every piece of clothing purchased. The sustainable company has also pledged to donate 10% of its profits to conservation, animal welfare and female empowerment organizations. As an additional sustainability feature, Valani uses recycled materials as well as straw, hemp and jute for its packaging. Pattern designs are strategically created to minimize fabric waste, and any scraps are used for scrunchies, crafts, training purposes or as filling for toys and pillows. Some of the most notable pieces include the faux wrap Sitha Top ($148), the cropped double puff sleeved Sineth Top ($168), the mid-rise pull-on Petra Pant ($188) and the asymmetrical, one-shoulder Sokha Banana Dress ($398). Sizes run from 0 to 12. + Valani Images via Valani

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Valani launches debut collection of biodegradable clothing

Applying science and healthcare principles to soil wellness can help our planet

August 27, 2020 by  
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Applying science and healthcare principles to soil wellness can help our planet Poornima Param… Thu, 08/27/2020 – 01:00 Basic human health principles tell us that we should diagnose before we treat and that we should test before we diagnose.  From annual physicals and screenings to blood tests and imaging exams, providers and specialists have many new tools and resources to address the health issues we experience in real-time and to prevent new issues from arising. For example, our deepening understanding of DNA helps us discern how drugs, medication, multi-vitamins or treatment plans work differently in patients — creating a brand-new frontier, personalized medicine. Today, by leveraging advancements in technology and new medical discoveries, we are able to treat and prevent diseases and enhance our quality of life, health and wellness. Take the influx of at-home genetic testing kits that provides data on food sensitivities, fertility and predispositions to disease. These same principles of human healthcare, and these same scientific and technological advances, are starting to be applied to soil — our most important asset for securing our food supply. Soil at the center  Soil is one of the most important natural resources we have, yet we’ve degraded over a third of the soil used to grow food, feed, fiber and fuel with intensive farming practices. Healthy soil is critical for environmental sustainability, food security and the agricultural economy — even large food companies are starting to fold soil health efforts into their sustainability programs as they understand the impact it has on creating a viable, cost-effective supply chain.  Soil removes about 25 percent of the world’s fossil fuel emissions each year through carbon sequestering, a natural way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. From a food security perspective, farmers can harness soil organic matter to ensure greater productivity of their fields and reduce erosion and improve soil structure, which leads to improved water quality in groundwater and surface waters. If we continue to apply science and technology — and at scale — we can address disease and deterioration of the soil, and we can give it the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive. According to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation , a foundation whose mission is to catalyze change to improve the standard and quality of life, soil loss costs an estimated $400 billion per year globally. Undoubtedly, soil is foundational to human life, yet we know very little about the soil itself. We need to get to know our soil if we want a science-based, data-driven agricultural ecosystem. The first step in improving the health of the planet, the quality and quantity of our food, and the prosperity of agricultural businesses is soil wellness. And now we have the tools to investigate.   A global, comprehensive soil intelligence project Agronomists are agricultural specialists — soil doctors — who test, touch and smell our soil to assess the earth’s physical and chemical characteristics to determine how to make it most productive, now and going forward. They ask questions such as: Does the soil have large or small pockets of air? Does it have a silty, sandy or clay loam texture? What are the phosphorous levels of the field? Based on their findings, they might recommend chemical inputs or physical measures farmers can take such as adding tiles to the field to help with drainage, planting cover crops or adding a new crop to rotation to reduce depletion of certain nutrients from the soil to improve its resiliency.   Problematically, agronomists have a dearth of information on the biomes that makes up our soil. Over 10,000 species and 100 billion actual specimens of bacteria are in a single handful of soil. More biodiversity is in the earth beneath our feet than in all above ground ecosystems combined. Without the ability to account for the biological make up of soil, our agronomists, farmers, chemical and fertilizer providers, food companies, environmental scientists and more cannot fully diagnose, treat or increase the wellness of the soil to grow more food, farm profitably or capture more carbon.   The agriculture, food, environment, science and technology communities are collaborating to change this. Combining microbiology, DNA sequencing, data science and machine learning, we can digitize the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the soil to generate evidence-based, actionable soil intelligence. This allows agricultural stakeholders to better identify and prevent disease, understand soil nutrients to make better planting decisions and preserve and restore our deteriorating top soil. Then you add in hyperspectral imagery technology, which collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum to help collect and determine soil properties and composition. Alternatively, farmers can use a method called the Haney test to evaluate soil health indicators such as soil respiration and water-soluble organic carbon. Automated sensors can monitor and measure soil’s physical traits, such as respiration and temperature, with predicted development towards the measurement of soil’s biogeochemical properties.  This is all in an effort to gather data to create intelligence that can help us better understand how to improve the health of the earth beneath our feet. What does it look like in action? Like a 23andMe test but for the soil, farmers can sample their soil and know if their field is at high-risk of certain diseases or nutrient deficiencies based on soil composition; this allows them to make informed decisions about which crop to plant, how many inputs are needed, what kind of and how much fertilizer to use — all based on known risks.  This isn’t unlike taking our daily vitamins. A 2019 survey showed that 86 percent of Americans consume dietary supplements for their overall health and wellness, yet only 24 percent of those had information indicating a nutritional deficiency. Not every vitamin is needed, and not every treatment plan will work for everyone. The same goes for our fields.  The same health and wellness interventions we use on ourselves can and should be applied to our living soil. If we continue to apply science and technology — and at scale — we can address disease and deterioration of the soil, and we can give it the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive.  Hurdles to jump moving forward  There are hurdles to scaling and applying science to soil — from lack of regulations and investment to upending the status quo — but it’s essential we address them as soil health has vast implications, above and below ground.  Investing in intelligence to drive agricultural decisions rather than reverting to traditional practices is a major obstacle. According to the latest AgFunder Agri-FoodTech Investing Report, $19.8 billion was invested in agrifood tech across 1,858 deals in 2019. The report shows that the largest year-over-year growth in funding was for downstream innovations such as meat alternatives, indoor farming and robotic food delivery. Investment in startups operating upstream, or closer to the farmer, increased 1.3 percent year over year. There’s a significant opportunity to boost investment for upstream innovations — and nothing is more upstream than soil.  Today, farmers are experiencing setbacks due to the pandemic. According to the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Research Institute, this year, farmers face losses of more than $20 billion . Taking a risk to try new practices or invest in new technologies weighs heavy on these communities. Combining microbiology, DNA sequencing, data science and machine learning, we can digitize the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the soil to generate evidence-based, actionable soil intelligence. Embracing regulation to protect the planet is also key to creating real change for our soil, air and water. Take the phase-out and eventual ban on methyl bromide , a fumigant used to control pests in agriculture and shipping: Methyl bromide used to be injected into the ground to sterilize the soil before crops are planted, with 50 to 95 percent of it eventually entering the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer, until it was phased out from 1994 to 2005 .  Furthermore, diseases are spreading quickly due to climate change and expanding global trade. For instance, seeds are grown and traded around the world, and there are many examples where diseases in agriculture that originated in other countries have spread across the world in a matter of weeks or months via the seed market. This can have a huge economic toll on food security, quality and production.  Monitoring, measuring and regulating our ecosystem, along with the substances that we put into our ecosystem and the practices we use to create a global food and agricultural economy, is vital as we work to create a healthier, more vibrant earth for ourselves and future generations. This is an urgent need because of the state of our soil and the depletion of our topsoil. If we continue to use soil the way we are today, we’ll have only 60 more cropping cycles left.  Now is the time to build a cohort of stakeholders — including farmers, chemical manufacturers, small and large food brands, policy makers, activists, scientists and technologists — armed with information on what good soil looks like, why we should care about what’s under the surface and what immediate and long-term impact soil wellness can have our world to fast-track innovation and positive change.  Pull Quote If we continue to apply science and technology — and at scale — we can address disease and deterioration of the soil, and we can give it the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive. Combining microbiology, DNA sequencing, data science and machine learning, we can digitize the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the soil to generate evidence-based, actionable soil intelligence. 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Applying science and healthcare principles to soil wellness can help our planet

rePurpose

August 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

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rePurpose saracefalu2 Sun, 08/09/2020 – 14:59 rePurpose Global is a movement of conscious consumers & businesses going Plastic Neutral by financing the removal of ocean-bound plastic worldwide. We are here to reinvent the wheel of the world’s resource economy – one where our duty to protect the planet is ethically shared among manufacturers, consumers, and recycler Sponsor Website https://repurpose.global/

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