Google and WeWork are building workplaces of the future

August 19, 2019 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: How to preserve meaningful human connections in tech-infused workplaces of the future.

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Google and WeWork are building workplaces of the future

Helsinki launches a sustainability app for the city

August 15, 2019 by  
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Finland’s capital city of Helsinki launched a sustainability app this summer that lets residents, tourists and business owners make smarter daily choices that contribute to the metropolis’ goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035. Think Sustainably launched in June 2019 and helps users decide on activities, transportation options and shops by toggling specific sustainability filters to find choices that best suit their preferences and meet environmental metrics. “Individual choices matter,” said Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, the director of the Carbon Neutral Helsinki Initiative. “If one person in each of the 2.6 million households existing in Finland would reduce their carbon footprint by 20 percent, we would reach 38 percent of the goals set for Finland in the Paris climate agreement for reducing emissions.” Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle Helsinki is already recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly cities. After New York City led the charge, Helsinki was the second urban metropolis to report directly to the United Nations about its progress on the Sustainable Development Goals . According to a citywide survey from 2018, more than two-thirds of all Helsinki residents reported concern about climate change and the future of their city. In response, city officials teamed up with community groups and sustainability experts to develop an app that helps people make more eco-friendly decisions at the individual level. The Think Sustainably app touches on every major aspect of sustainable living, including transportation, food options, waste practices, biodiversity , green jobs, energy and environmental justice. There is also a checklist of ways that business owners can become more sustainable, and the city certifies shops only if they complete a majority of the recommended measures. The sustainable living app relies on self-reporting from businesses instead of a laborious auditing system, and the businesses are held accountable by customers’ reviews. “ Helsinki is the perfect test-bed for solutions that can later be scaled-up for the world’s megacities,” said Laura Aalto, CEO at Helsinki Marketing. “Operating like a city-scale laboratory, Helsinki is eager to experiment with policies and initiatives that would not be possible elsewhere … we hope that others can also learn from our experiments.” + Think Sustainably Via Dezeen Images via Think Sustainably

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Helsinki launches a sustainability app for the city

Innovator BanQu builds blockchain and bridges for traceability, small farmers’ livelihoods

August 14, 2019 by  
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Companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and Mars have allied with the company to help customers better understand their product origins and sustainability.

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Innovator BanQu builds blockchain and bridges for traceability, small farmers’ livelihoods

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

July 22, 2019 by  
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The environmental impacts of air travel has become a growing global concern. The aviation industry is focused on producing faster planes that fly higher and provide more comfort for passengers, which may create the alarming potential to produce even more carbon emissions than ever before. Presented as a solution to the increasing need for more sustainable aviation options, KLM Royal Dutch Airline has revealed a design for its “Flying V” sustainable aircraft that will use 20% less fuel than the popular Airbus A350. At the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers and Dean of the Netherlands Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology Professor Henri Werij signed an agreement to work together on making aviation more sustainable. Though the design is only a concept at this point, the vision of the Technical University of Berlin and researchers at Delft, the Flying V is a monumental step towards sustainable aviation. Related: Time-saving supersonic airplanes could be a disaster for the environment With a unique aerodynamic shape, the plane’s design is shorter than the Airbus A350 (the most comparable aircraft), but with the same wingspan and the same passenger capacity. Because of this, the plane will fit easily into existing gates and runways, and fit in the same hanger as an A350. Everything from the plane bathrooms to the design of the passenger seats are as lightweight as possible for the safety and comfort of passengers. The signature v-shape wings will include the passenger cabins, the cargo (which will hold the same volume as the A350) and the fuel and the combination of a lightweight design with fuel-efficient turbofan engines makes it much more sustainable than other aircrafts.  Attendees of KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to celebrate KLM’s 100th anniversary will have the chance to view a flying scale model and a full size section of the Flying V’s interior in October 2019. Via Images by Edwin Wallet at OSO Studio for TU Delft

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Flying-V concept is an important step towards sustainable aviation

UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

July 22, 2019 by  
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Bringing reusable bags to stores is now second nature to many shoppers, but will they bring their own containers, too? British supermarket chain Waitrose will find out during an 11-week trial in its Oxford store called Waitrose Unpacked. Customers are encouraged to take refillable containers to restock on options such as a choice of four types of beer and wines, detergent, coffee and 28 dry products including cereals, lentils and pastas. Other unpacked concepts simply eliminate plastic — such as 160 loose vegetable and fruit products, and flowers and plants wrapped in 100% recyclable craft paper rather than plastic. Waitrose also offers a frozen pick and mix station, where customers can choose their own blends of cherries, pineapple, blueberries and other chilly fruits. Related: Sustainable toiletries packaged in soap aim to eliminate single-use plastics Waitrose launched its Unpacked initiative in response to customers requesting more sustainable ways to shop. “This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different,” Waitrose declared in a press release. Unpacked customers will also benefit from lower prices, since shoppers often pay for excess packaging they don’t even want. The BBC reported that produce in the supermarket’s refill stations would be up to 15 percent cheaper and frozen fruit would also be less expensive. For a £5 deposit, shoppers can load their groceries into a borrowed box from Waitrose to take home. When they return the box, the supermarket refunds their money. Waitrose will continue to offer food in its regular packaging, which will provide a useful control group for the unpacked experiment. The trial ends August 18. We hope the verdict is a win for sustainability. +Waitrose Image via Waitrose

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UK supermarket tests packaging-free initiative

How to easily make your own reusable produce bags

July 22, 2019 by  
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If you’re focused on sustainability and/or zero waste , you probably cringe every time you return home from the grocery store and pull out bag after bag of fruits and vegetables, each tucked inside plastic bags conveniently located in the produce section where you shopped. The good news is that it’s easy to end the cringe with reusable cloth produce bags. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own cloth produce bags at very little cost. There are even no-sew options if a sewing machine isn’t your thing. The best part is that you likely already have everything you need to whip up a pile of reusable cloth bags this weekend. Related: RÆBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags Material An old, but freshly washed, bed sheet makes the perfect upcycle material for your cloth produce bags. Alternately, grab some lightly-used pillow cases. These work great since they already have seams on some of the sides. Ideally, you will want cotton or linen and organic is always best, but remember that turning one product into something else is already an eco-friendly action so give yourself a break if your sheets aren’t organic.  The linen closet is an easy place to start, but it’s certainly not the only place to find material in your home. Old clothing is an accessible option, especially when you look for shapes that make produce bags easier to make. For example, a child’s shirt will only need small adaptations to turn into a bag. Same goes for wide sleeves or a tight skirt.  No sew Sewing just might not be your thing. Perhaps you don’t have a sewing machine, or you don’t enjoy the whole needle and thread experience. That’s fine with us. To use no-sew reusable produce bags, simply use Velcro instead. Lay your fabric pieces out inside out. Glue Velcro to the length of each side and allow the strips to dry. Then press the Velcro pieces together completely. Use high-quality Velcro for a firm hold.  Sew Making your own produce bags doesn’t require extensive sewing experience. Simply cut and lay out two rectangles of fabric, back to back (or inside out). You can make bags in a variety of sizes. Sew the edges of three sides, leaving the top open. If you are using a material with existing seams, finish the additional edges. For example, cut a pillowcase in four quarters, turn each quarter inside out, finish the seams and turn it back right side out to see your completed bag. The top Now you have your upcycled produce bag ready to go, but you may be wondering how to keep it closed once you stuff your favorite produce inside. The answer is that you don’t really need to if your bag is deep enough. However, if you prefer to have a top that closes, there are several ways you can go about it. For those that enjoyed the sewing portion, go ahead and add a drawstring to the top. To do this, fold over the material at the top leaving about 1/2 inch before making a seam. The 1/2 inch gap allows room for a piece of rope or that non-partnered shoelace in the junk drawer. You can lay it into the space before stitching it up, but be sure not to stitch over it, which locks it into a stationary position and will inhibit the bag from pulling closed. For a no-sew option attach the two sides with Velcro. An even easier solution is to close the top while you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market using a hair tie band. The elasticity allows the cashier to peak inside the bag hassle free. Plus, if you use your produce bag in the bulk section, you can attach the product number tag directly to the tie band.  Other Uses Produce bags are never just for produce. You can use them to store any number of foods . Beans are an excellent example. Rice, pasta and other pantry items also store well in fabric bags. Shopping bulk is a sustainable action that removes much of the packaging waste from the typical shopping venture. While glass jars are best for some things, fabric bags can handle the “bulk” of your dried foods. Outside the food realm you can use them to store art supplies such as markers, paint brushes and rocks. When it comes time to do laundry, throw small items such as kid’s socks inside and wash the entire bag. Care Fabric produce bags are easy to care for because they are machine washable alongside the rest of your laundry. It’s best to wash bags after each use considering the amount of germs they encounter in the shopping cart, at checkout and in your car. Bags can be hung to dry or tossed into the dryer if necessary. Remember to put your bags somewhere you will remember to take them with you for your next shopping trip, or take them directly to the car for storage. Congratulations on your step towards reducing plastic waste ! Images via Sean and Lauren , Pixabay , Laura Mitulla

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

July 11, 2019 by  
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So you’ve made the choice to start living more sustainably. That’s great! Figuring out how to start can be daunting, but luckily technology is here to help. These handy resources can fit in your pocket and serve as a reminder to continue your journey towards a more sustainable, greener life— whether you’re an experienced advocate for sustainability or just starting out. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping Forest Forest lets you combine mindfulness, productivity and focus with real-life tree planting. By not checking your phone for a designated amount of time, the app lets you grow virtual trees , which can then be exchanged for actual trees planted throughout five African countries by Trees for the Future . Tap Plastic bottles are one of the greatest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans, and switching to a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce waste. Tap accesses your location and lets you find water refill stations nearby so you can fill up without creating any plastic garbage . HowGood HowGood has a database of 200,000 food product ratings to help users make more sustainable choices. With each product rated by growing guidelines, processing practices and company conduct, this app is a great tool for users who want to be more mindful about what they eat by choosing food that is ethically produced and environmentally friendly with minimal processing.  JouleBug JouleBug combines the best parts of sustainable living with social interaction and saving money on your utility bill. The app allows users to competitively track and score their sustainable habits and share them with friends. JouleBug also includes suggestions and tips for small changes that can help you live a more sustainable lifestyle .  ThredUp Making sure that less of your used clothes end up in a landfill by offering them up to other consumers first is a no-brainer. ThredUp is an online consignment store where you can take pictures of your clothes and sell them through the app. Related: Your guide to eco-friendly toothpastes OfferUp A simple way to buy and sell used items, OfferUp lets users find a new home for their unwanted items instead of the trash can. It only takes a few minutes to snap a photo of your item, post it on the app and connect with potential buyers. You can securely message through the app and check people’s profiles and transaction history as well.  PaperKarma Not only is junk mail super annoying, it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. With PaperKarma you can stop the actual physical junk mail that shows up in your mailbox and forces you to throw away good paper for no reason. Within the app, you simply snap a photo of your junk mail and received an unsubscribed notification about 24 hours later. Olio We throw away billions of pounds of food away every year in the United States— equal to 30-40 percent of our food supply. With Olio, users can connect with neighbors and local businesses to share food. Whether you’ve bought too much of something, prepared too much dinner or purged your fridge before vacation , making sure precious food doesn’t go to waste is easier than you think. DoneGood DoneGood helps you find ethical brands with ease through both an app on your phone and an extension for your internet browser. As you search and shop for products, DoneGood will create pop-up suggestions for alternatives offered by ethical stores. You can also align suggestions based on your personal passions. DoneGood selects their businesses based on things like eco-friendly , non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic, diversity and giving back.  No Waste Track and reduce your food waste with No Waste, an interactive organizational app that lets you make an inventory of the items in your fridge, freezer and pantry. You’ll be able to sort and search for food by category or expiration date to ensure that nothing goes to waste and share your lists with friends or family.  Oroeco Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything from what you buy to the food you eat and even to the appliances you use at home. The app has partnered with UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate research group to compare their users’ carbon values with their neighbors and friends, while providing them with personalized tips to help reduce their energy use and carbon footprints. The app also works with Impact Carbon , a non-profit that helps underdeveloped countries access energy-efficient appliances.  Sustainability Aware In order to ensure a brighter future for the earth, teaching our children about green living and sustainability will be paramount. That’s where Sustainability Aware comes it. A series of educational apps designed for children that teach about the environment and human impact, all in a fun, engaging way. Each app is made for a specific grade level and age group. iRecycle Proper recycling is a simple concept, but isn’t always simple to execute. The iRecycle app finds the closest opportunity to recycle based on your location. Whether you are looking for a recycling center near your home or find yourself walking down the street with an empty water bottle, iRecycle can help.  SDGs in Action Keep up to date on worldwide sustainable development news and learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with this app. The SDGs are basically a world to-do list to address poverty, climate change and inequality by the year 2030. Users can personalize the app to receive notifications about specific goals and find nearby events to help show support. Screenshots via Inhabitat. Image via picjumbo.com

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14 apps to help you live a more eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle

Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes

June 21, 2019 by  
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Copenhagen-based architectural firm COBE has just unveiled what are possibly the most beautiful and sustainable electric vehicle charging stations in the world. Built entirely from recyclable materials and powered by solar energy, these ultra-fast charging stations not only recharge a vehicle in just 15 minutes but also offer drivers a welcoming place to rest and relax. The first COBE-designed EV charging station was installed on the E20 motorway in the Danish city of Fredericia, with 47 more planned along Scandinavian highways: seven more in Denmark, 20 in Sweden and 20 in Norway. Created in partnership with Powered by E.ON Drive & Clever, the COBE-designed EV charging station consists of a series of “trees” made primarily from certified wood. The tree-inspired structures feature a canopy that provides shade and protection from the elements, while also providing space for a green roof and solar panels. The modular structures are scalable so that multiple “tree” structures can be combined into a “grove.” The Fredericia charging station features a “grove” of 12 “trees” with a 400-square-meter canopy. The Danish Society for Nature Conservation helped select the plantings that surround the charging station to enhance biodiversity and create a calming, “zen-like” atmosphere radically different from a traditional gas station setting. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden “ Electric vehicles are the way of the future,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE. “With our design, we offer EV drivers a time-out and an opportunity to mentally recharge in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. So, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plantings that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway.” The firm’s design of the ultra-fast EV charging station won the infrastructure award of the 2018 Danish Building Awards and is being implemented across Scandinavia with support from EU Commission projects Connecting Europe Facility and High Speed Electric Mobility Across Europe. + COBE Images via COBE and Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST

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Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes

The rise of seatech — a new world wide web

June 19, 2019 by  
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IoT, big data, blockchain and biotech are powering a wave of sustainable seafood.

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The rise of seatech — a new world wide web

Can your brand help concerned consumers kick the single-use plastics habit?

June 19, 2019 by  
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A new survey suggests inaction could put loyalty to the test.

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Can your brand help concerned consumers kick the single-use plastics habit?

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