A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better

September 23, 2020 by  
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A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better Will Sarni Wed, 09/23/2020 – 01:30 We have decided to craft this brief manifesto to challenge the status quo, accelerate innovation, solve wicked water problems and achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” The pandemic has strengthened our resolve to do better. Our observations and point of view for 2020 so far are: The pandemic has been an accelerator of trends, such as the digital transformation of the water sector, attention on lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and the appalling underinvestment in water infrastructure in the U.S. and globally. The recent interest and commitment to water pledges has diverted scarce resources and funds from actions such as watershed conservation and protection, reuse, technology innovation and adoption, public policy innovation, etc. The corporate sector has too narrow of a view of the opportunities to solve wicked water challenges. We no longer can be silent on the tradeoff between pledges versus actions. The belief that more of the same is unacceptable. We also believe that scale of investment in solving wicked water problems is grossly inadequate, whether at the watershed level, supply chain, operations or engagement on public policy and with civil society. The statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. We held these beliefs before the pandemic, which have only accelerated this year and prompted us to share our view. Most important, the statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. For example: About 4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the world population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year ( Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2016 ). 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030 ( Global Water Institute, 2013 ). Globally, it is likely that over 80 percent of wastewater is released to the environment without adequate treatment ( UNESCO, 2017 ). The World Resources Institute has revised its predictions of the water supply-demand deficit to 56 percent by 2030. Our intention is not to offend or not acknowledge the work done to date by those dedicated to solving water. Instead, it is to push all of us towards doing better together, not more of the same. All of us means the private sector, governments and civil society (community groups, NGOs, labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations and foundations). None of us is doing the job required fast enough. We realize this is hard, complex work and that your efforts are important. We do believe the answers exist but not the fortitude to take on big water risks and make the necessary investments. So, consider the questions below and let’s do more, invest more and scale efficient and effective solutions. Less talk, more action. For businesses: Is sustainability and water stewardship integrated into your business or is it a fringe activity from a sustainability, corporate social responsibility or water team? Does it support your business strategy? If the answer is no, your efforts will be underfunded and understaffed because they, at best, create partial business value. How many “non-sustainability” colleagues from other areas of your business participated in sustainability or water-related conferences/webinars over the last five years? If not many, see the question above. Do you have a water replenishment/balance/neutrality/positive goal? If yes, why, and do you believe these goals actually solve water problems at scale and speed to have an impact? Did you commit to these goals because your competitors have done so, for communications, or to drive the needed improvements at the local level? Is your goal designed to improve access to water and sanitation for everyone at a very local level? Asked another way, in five or 10 years when you claim success, will you have really improved water security in that basin? Can you more effectively use your resources to improve water policies or leverage resources by working collaboratively with others? Water is not carbon, it isn’t fungible and as a result, achieving water-neutral or water-positive goals can be misaligned with watershed impacts. We believe these kinds of goals are complex and can lead to chasing numbers that may not yield the desired business, environmental and community benefits. See WWF for important considerations before developing and issuing them. For all: Are the pledges, memberships and carefully worded water stewardship statements and goals on path to produce the necessary long-term results? Do we really need more private-sector pledges? How about fewer pledges, more actions? In the last five years, from all the water conferences you attended, how many ideas did you take back and implement? Why not take those travel dollars you’re saving in 2020 and what you’ll save in the future because you found new ways to work and invest in actions with others at the basin level? We believe in learning by doing. When did you last talk with a government agency in charge of water or wastewater about improving policies (allocations, cost of water, enforcement of water quality standards, development, tax dollars for green and grey infrastructure, etc.)? We believe improving water-related policies is the ultimate prize, and we need to start taking action, now. How much time do you spend on positioning your organization as a water stewardship leader? Too often, we sustainability professionals at NGOs, businesses and trade organizations get bogged down with labor-intensive marketing and communication efforts instead of focusing on execution. Let your actions speak for themselves. The bottom line: Less talk, more action and investment. Let’s recommit and focus so we can solve water in our lifetime. It is possible. Pull Quote The statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. Contributors Hugh Share Topics Water Efficiency & Conservation Water Scarcity Water Operations Featured Column Liquid Assets Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better

KFC confirms suppliers’ chickens suffer from footpad dermatitis

July 31, 2020 by  
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A recent report released by fast-food giant KFC shows that three out of 10 chickens sold by the restaurant suffer from footpad dermatitis. This is a condition typically caused by keeping chickens in a poorly ventilated environment or a lack of proper hygiene. The condition is characterized by severe inflammation, which may lead to mobility problems in chickens . Although this condition affects about one-third of the chickens served by KFC, it does not pose any danger to human consumers. KFC executives chose to lay the statistics bare so that they can make improvements and keep tracking the progress in the future. According to the data collected by surveying KFC chicken suppliers in the U.K. and Ireland, the number of birds affected by severe inflammation had fallen from above 50% to just 35% in the past 4 years. The fast-food chain plans to continue reducing the number of birds affected by this condition. Related: KFC partners with Beyond Meat for vegan chicken nuggets Most of the chickens raised for KFC are fast-growing breeds that take about one month to mature. The desire to have the chickens mature fast leads to more health complications in the chickens. Further, rearing more chickens in limited spaces also makes it impossible to maintain the ideal conditions for the birds. The same data released by KFC has also shown that 1 out of 10 of its chickens suffer from hock burn, which is caused by ammonia from the waste of other birds. This data goes to show that a lot has to be done to improve the conditions under which KFC chickens are kept. The report found that most KFC chicken suppliers maintain a mortality rate of 4% of all the chickens they keep. According to the U.K.’s Red Tractor, all chicken suppliers in the industry should maintain a mortality rate of less than 5% . Although KFC suppliers fall below the cut, more needs to be done to reduce the rate as much as possible. Paula MacKenzie, general manager of KFC U.K. and Ireland said, “This report sends a clear message to everyone — our suppliers, our teams and our stakeholders — on exactly what we are looking for in terms of welfare improvement. We know that what gets measured gets managed, and the figures in this report represent a solid benchmark against which we can track our future progress.” KFC will remain in the spotlight in the coming months, with many people interested to see the improvements that will be made in the near future. The company says it will be shifting to slow-growing birds in a bid to minimize the mortality rate and reduce sickness within the birds. + KFC Via The Guardian Image via Capri23Auto

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KFC confirms suppliers’ chickens suffer from footpad dermatitis

UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

June 22, 2017 by  
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Right now there are 7.5 billion people on Earth and counting. But the world in 2050 will be even more packed, according to new United Nations (UN) projections. The new World Population Prospects: 2017 Revision report estimates that there could be nearly 10 billion people on the planet in a little over 30 years. By 2030, the global population could be 8.6 billion, according to the UN. 9.8 billion people might reside on Earth in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. As around 83 million people are born every single year, the organization expects the total population to rise even if fertility levels go down. And while China currently has the most people of any country, the UN estimates India will surpass China in around seven years. Related: Earth’s population just hit 7.5 billion people Of the world’s 10 largest countries, Nigeria is growing the fastest. The country is currently the world’s seventh largest but the UN estimates they will surpass the United States to become the world’s third largest country just before 2050. And between now and 2050, around half of all the population growth on Earth will be centered in only nine countries: Nigeria, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the United States. The new report doesn’t just cover the amount of people in the world. It addresses fertility, life expectancy, and refugee movement. For example, fertility has fallen in almost all the areas of the world, even in Africa. One exception is Europe. A reduction in fertility has led to an aging population. Meanwhile life expectancy has risen globally from 65 to 69 years for men and 69 to 73 years for women, although the UN noted large disparities between countries in those figures. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division put out the June 21 report. The organization says the statistics could help agencies better work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Via the United Nations Images via Guillaume on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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UN releases inconceivable new estimate of Earth’s 2050 population

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

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

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

China’s booming renewable energy market set to blow away emissions targets by 2020

March 18, 2016 by  
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A new report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics reveals that the country is on track to surpass its carbon emissions targets. In 2015, China’s solar energy capacity increased by a massive 74% over the year before, with a modest gain of 34% in wind. At the same time, China is importing 30% less coal and consuming 3.7% less overall. Read the rest of China’s booming renewable energy market set to blow away emissions targets by 2020

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China’s booming renewable energy market set to blow away emissions targets by 2020

Budget Cuts Hit EIA’s Data Collection Efforts

May 4, 2011 by  
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A $15.2 million budget shortfall prompted the U.S.

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Budget Cuts Hit EIA’s Data Collection Efforts

Government Mandates New Labels for Light Bulbs

June 24, 2010 by  
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The US Federal Trade Commission has announced a final ruling on new labels for light bulbs.  The labels will break down the “lighting facts” of bulbs much like a nutrition label on food products.  With CFLs , LEDs and other lighting technologies filling the shelves alongside incandescents , the labels will help consumers find what they’re looking for. The major change that these labels bring is using lumens to indicate the brightness of the bulb instead of watts, that way all bulbs will use the same terminology and consumers can compare them easily.  Other statistics listed on the labels will be:  yearly energy cost, the bulb’s life expectancy, light appearance (on a scale of warm to cool), energy used (wattage) and, for CFLs, a warning that it contains mercury.

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Government Mandates New Labels for Light Bulbs

The Truth Behind the Study Finding Hybrids More Likely to Hit Pedestrians and Bicycles

November 11, 2009 by  
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Image: Center for Neighborhood Technology, I-GO Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news: Hybrid registrations were up 38% in 2007, over 350,000 hybrids replacing internal combustion motors on the US roadways. The bad news: Headlines are touting a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finding that hybrids are hitting pedestrians and bicyclists more than traditional cars, e..

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The Truth Behind the Study Finding Hybrids More Likely to Hit Pedestrians and Bicycles

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