Toxic chemicals report card grades top retailers

March 30, 2021 by  
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When most people swing by the store to pick up a few items, they aren’t aware that they are basically entering a minefield of toxic chemicals. But the fifth annual Who’s Minding the Store? retailer report card reveals which major retailers are safer and which ones should probably be entered only after donning hazmat suits. Toxic-Free Future is behind the Mind the Store campaign . It’s been publishing chemical report cards since 2016, tracking the biggest retailers in the U.S. and Canada. This year, the report card evaluated 50 major retailers with a total of 200,000 stores across the two countries. Related: EWG warns ‘forever chemicals’ are contaminating US drinking water at levels far worse than expected First, the good news. “Companies are implementing more comprehensive chemical policies and achieving greater reductions over the last five years,” according to the report. Nearly 70% of the 43 retailers graded in the last report, published in 2019, had improved their score by reducing plastics or toxic chemicals or improving policies concerning chemicals. Of the original group of 11 retailers included in the 2016 report card, their average grade improved from a D+ to a B-. Fewer retailers are failing. Nearly half the retailers failed in the 2018 report, compared to only about one-quarter this year. The greatest gains were in the beauty and personal care sector. Ulta Beauty raised its grade from an F in 2019 to a C-, and Sephora went from a D in 2017 to an A. This year’s report card added criteria for screening for certain chemicals that disproportionately affect women of color. Rite Aid, Target and Whole Foods Market are among the companies that have committed to screening for these worrisome chemicals. However, some retailers are still not making the grade. Twelve companies failed this year, due to exposing consumers, workers and the environment to harmful chemicals and plastics in products and packaging . The report named these companies to the the 2021 Retailer Report Card Toxic Hall of Shame: 7-Eleven, 99 Cents Only Stores, Ace Hardware, Alimentation Couche-Tard (Circle K, Couche-Tard), Metro, Nordstrom, Publix, Restaurants Brands International (Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes), Sally Beauty, Sobeys, Starbucks and Subway. + Who’s Minding The Store? Image via Igor Ovsyannykov

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Harp seals threatened by decreasing sea ice

March 25, 2021 by  
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The migration cycle of harp seals is greatly threatened following a significant decrease in sea ice cover in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence. This year, the gulf has experienced its lowest amount sea ice since measuring began. The lack of sea ice poses a serious threat to harp seals, whose lifecycles start on the gulf and depend on its ice. Speaking to ABC7 , Jen Hayes, a National Geographic contributor, said that the absence of sea ice exposes the young harp seals to predators. “They’re evolutionarily designed for ice. They’re not designed to survive onshore,” Hayes said. “It puts them literally in the proximity of every predator out there. So yes, they’re in trouble.” Related: World’s largest Arctic expedition returns with grim news The Gulf of St. Lawrence is normally covered in about 90,000 square miles of sea ice between February and April. However, the situation has been quite different this year, with the shore barely showing any signs of ice. This year’s ice levels are the lowest since 1969 when they were first measured. The drastic drop in ice levels has also negatively impacted hotel businesses along the gulf. Most hotels rely on tourists who visit to watch the harp seals . The Gulf of St. Lawrence is a hotbed of harp seals from March to April. Ariane Bérubé, the sales director at the Château Madelinot hotel, told reporters that the gulf has witnessed a similar decrease in sea ice before. In 2010, the levels of sea ice on the gulf dropped significantly , affecting the normal migration of harp seals. “2010 was our rupture point,” Bérubé said “It was the first year we had to cancel. We had more than 350 people who had reserved and we had to try to explain to them what was happening. It was the first time since 1958 that we had no ice.” The decrease in ice has already happened a record five times in the past decade, and the situation seems to be getting worse. Aside from 2010, the gulf recorded low ice in 2011, 2016, 2017 and now 2021. The biggest worry is that if the seals do not find their way back to the gulf in three consecutive years, they may never return; they will change their migratory paths. While the harp seal population is not seriously threatened, the lack of ice could significantly affect their numbers in the future. It will also harm local businesses that depend on the seals’ return for tourists to observe. Via EcoWatch Image via Jooa

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3 tips for anticipating investor requests on climate, water and biodiversity

March 3, 2021 by  
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3 tips for anticipating investor requests on climate, water and biodiversity Thomas Singer Wed, 03/03/2021 – 01:00 2020 undeniably brought the “S” pillar of ESG into greater focus, including issues such as employee wellness, human rights, and diversity, equity and inclusion. But investors didn’t exactly ignore the “E” component and are poised to emphasize it even more in 2021 and beyond, according to a recent Conference Board corporate sustainability disclosure analysis . In fact, three environmental issues — climate risks, water risks and biodiversity impacts — are poised to be in sharp focus this year for investors, and companies should prepare. Here are three ways sustainability executives can anticipate investor requests on each issue. 1. Strengthen climate risk disclosures by replacing boilerplate text with specific risks and opportunities. As more companies include climate risks in financial disclosures, investors will turn their focus to the content and quality of those disclosures. The Conference Board finds that the number of S&P Global 1200 companies referencing climate risks in their financial reports has more than doubled in the past five years. Almost half (44 percent) of global companies include these risks in their 10-Ks or equivalent reports. Investor pressure on companies to report climate risks — and investors’ backing of reporting frameworks such as the one recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) — have been key drivers of the uptick in climate disclosure. Regulatory initiatives are also playing a big role in spurring disclosure. The EU Taxonomy, for example, requires certain financial institutions to make climate risk disclosures by the end of this year. This regulation already has an impact: Companies in the financial sector had the greatest uptick in climate risk disclosure, with almost half of financial companies (47 percent) disclosing these risks in 2020, up from 31 percent in 2019. As climate risk disclosure becomes more prevalent, companies should anticipate investors will scrutinize their content. A recent report by The Conference Board and Datamaran found most climate risk disclosures remain general and lack mention of specific risks and opportunities. To prepare for this increased scrutiny companies should examine their current climate disclosures and consider replacing boilerplate text with more specifics, including physical impacts or transition impacts related to climate change. 2. Assess your exposure to water risks and prepare to report on them. For companies in certain industries, it is not a question of if but when water crises will cause major disruptions. But awareness of these risks has not translated into much action — water crises have been listed by the World Economic Forum as a top five global risk in each of the last nine years, yet few companies publicly disclose their water risks. Indeed, BlackRock has labeled water risks as “under-reported,” and The Conference Board analysis confirms disclosure levels are low across most sectors. For example, fewer than one in 10 companies report their water stress exposure (which refers to the percentage of freshwater withdrawn in regions with high baseline water stress). As companies prepare for this year’s proxy season, they should pay close attention to their efforts on climate, water and biodiversity. There are signs that disclosure activity is picking up in some sectors, however. One-third of companies in the materials sector, for example, disclose their water stress exposure, up from 7 percent in 2019. The energy sector also saw disclosure rates more than triple in one year. Investor-focused reporting frameworks are clearly having an impact on disclosure: Both the Sustainabiity Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and TCFD include water stress exposure as a significant metric for companies in the materials and energy sectors. Companies that have not already done so should assess their exposure to water risks and prepare to report on them. Their competitors are increasingly doing so, and investors are paying attention.  3. Take a fresh look at your biodiversity initiatives and examine your value chain for “hidden” impacts. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interconnection between environmental health and public health. Among other things, the pandemic has reminded us that biodiversity-loss increases the risk of infectious diseases. As a result, companies should expect greater urgency for biodiversity-protection efforts. There is already evidence investors are paying more attention to biodiversity issues: The topic hit headlines in the U.S. last year when nearly 70 percent of P&G’s shareholders voted “yes” on a resolution aimed at addressing deforestation in the supply chain. This issue is likely to feature again in this year’s proxy season as investors are keen to understand how companies are managing their biodiversity impacts. Sustainability executives should also keep an eye on developments related to the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosure recommendations, an initiative modeled after the TCFD recommendations.  The time is right for companies to examine (or re-examine) their biodiversity impacts. Just over one-third (35 percent) of global companies have published a biodiversity policy, yet the number of companies exposed to such risks is likely much higher. Companies that may seem safe from these risks, such as those in the services sector, should take a fresh look at their value chains — doing so may reveal significant biodiversity impacts. Last year’s proxy season demonstrated that the crises of 2020 did not distract investors from the “E” pillar of ESG. Instead, support for shareholder proposals on environmental issues is at an all-time high: Last year these proposals received an average of 32 percent of votes cast — almost double the support they garnered five years ago. As companies prepare for this year’s proxy season, they should pay close attention to their efforts on climate, water and biodiversity. Companies that have not prepared disclosures in these areas should consider the materiality of these impacts to their business. And for those companies that currently have disclosures in these areas, now is a good time to assess the content and quality of those disclosures.    Pull Quote As companies prepare for this year’s proxy season, they should pay close attention to their efforts on climate, water and biodiversity. Topics Corporate Strategy Reporting Finance & Investing ESG Water Conservation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Shutterstock Close Authorship

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Are Florida manatees starving to death?

March 2, 2021 by  
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Manatee mortality in  Florida  has shot up this year, with 358 recorded deaths in January and February. Last year, the first two months had a combined total of 143 deaths — less than half this year’s current toll. Conservationists worry that the manatees are starving to death. Some causes of 2021 manatee deaths are known and include boat strikes, cold stress and natural deaths. But many have died for unknown reasons. Pat Rose, director of Save the Manatee Club, suspects one of these reasons is a sea grass shortage. “It’s something we’ve never really seen before,” Rose said. “It looks like we have a substantial number of  manatees that are starving.” Related: Effects of COVID-19 lead to increased deaths of Florida manatees The potato-shaped marine mammals spend up to seven hours a day eating freshwater  plants  like hyacinth, water lettuce, pickerelweed and hydrilla, and saltwater foods like sea clover, marine algae and grasses. They eat 100 to 200 pounds of grass per day, which is about 10-15% of their body weight. With an estimated 6,300 manatees in Florida, that’s a lot of grass. Sea grasses have other crucial benefits to life on the planet, such as storing carbon and thus staving off climate change. But warming waters, rampant coastal development, agricultural runoff and  pollution  from wastewater treatment plants are all causing toxic algae blooms which spell the doom of grasses. Nearly half of this year’s manatee deaths have been in Brevard County, home of a crucial manatee habitat called Indian River Lagoon. “The raw truth of the matter is due to negligence of our stormwater we’ve had continual algal blooms over the past 10 years, which blocks out  sea  grass and kills it,” Billy Rotne, an Indian River Lagoon guide, told the News-Press. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is the agency that performs necropsies, which are autopsies on non-human  animals . But between the high death rate of manatees this year and difficulties of working during the pandemic, the commission is behind on its caseload. Via Huff Post and Manatee Eco-Tours Lead image via Pexels

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What 8 indoor ag companies plan for 2021

January 6, 2021 by  
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What 8 indoor ag companies plan for 2021 Jesse Klein Wed, 01/06/2021 – 01:30 When the pandemic exposed major issues with our lengthy food supply chain — in the form of shipment delays and inadequate demand forecasting — local vertical farms and indoor growing operations (aka controlled environment greenhouses in urban or rural locations) were called upon to fill in the gaps in a way that was unprecedented. With 2020 in the history books and hopes for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic rising, these companies seek to build on their newfound momentum in 2021. With revenue for vertical farming alone estimated at just $212.4 million in 2019, one forecast calls for the industry to hit $1.38 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 26.2 percent from 2021 to 2027. Here are what eight leaders in vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture are planning in the year ahead. The list is presented alphabetically and represents a slice of the marketplace activity cropping up in late 2020. AeroFarms The Aerofarms facility in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Aerofarms AeroFarms’ four New Jersey vertical farms produced 2 million pounds of produce in 2020. And this year that number likely will skyrocket with the company’s April announcement of construction on a 90,000-square-foot indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest vertical farm. In 2021, Aerofarms is taking on the issue of food waste more explicitly. It invested in Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) to help understand and prevent lettuce discoloration, experiment with ways to increase lettuce yield and level up leaf quality. AppHarvest  AppHarvest’s farm in Morehead, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of AppHarvest Appalachian company AppHarvest has launched three controlled environment greenhouses in Kentucky. It chose the state specifically because it’s within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. population. In early 2021, AppHarvest will harvest its first crop of tomatoes, a move meant to help reduce reliance and emissions from imported tomatoes. In 2019, 60 percent of America’s tomatoes were imported. The facilities use a closed-loop system that runs entirely off recycled rainwater to eliminate agricultural runoff and reduce water usage. Bowery Farming Bowery Farming’s second farm in Kearny, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Bowery Farming Bowery Farming, based in New York City, plans to invest its 600 percent increase in sales last year into a new vertical farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2021. By working with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Action Team, Bowery is turning an arid industrial site into 8.7 acres of modern farmland that also should help the economic recovery of the area. Bethlehem once was a thriving steel town with Bethlehem Steel Corporation once employing around 60 percent of the local workforce at its peak before shutting down in 1998 . Since then, the city has had to transition into different sectors. Bowery Farming hopes to be part of that evolution. Its farm will create 70 jobs and feature LED lighting, recapture water from the plants using a water transpiration system and collect data on a massive scale to inform future farming choices.  BrightFarms This BrightFarms greenhouse produces more than two million pounds of leafy salad greens per year. Photo courtesy of BrightFarms With $100 million in new funding raised in 2020, BrightFarms plans to construct greenhouses in every major market by 2025. This year marks the start of that journey with the construction of two new facilities in North Carolina and Massachusetts.  Both farms will be six to seven acres, or almost double the company’s current facilities in Ohio, Illinois and Virginia. In 2021, BrightFarm, which makes its headquarters in Irvington, New York, also plans to roll out its proprietary AI System, Bright OS, which will use machine learning and analytics to make operations from seed to shelf more efficient.   Gotham Greens Gotham Greens operates a network of greenhouses across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, Mountain West and beyond. Photo courtesy of Gotham Greens Gotham Greens has been at the forefront of urban farming for over a decade. After starting in New York and expanding across the northeast, 2021 will be the year Gotham tries to take over the rest of the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered so many businesses, Gotham Greens was able to expand into Aurora, Colorado , just outside of Denver. The Colorado location is Gotham’s eighth greenhouse. It also expanded to Baltimore. Finally, in December, the company announced an $87 million funding round. The funding will support Gotham Greens products in Whole Foods Market, Albertsons Companies, Meijer, Target, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, ShopRite and Sprouts. Infarm An Infarm installation at French retailer, Metro. Photo courtesy of Infarm In 2021, Infarm is hopping on a hot industry trend — bringing the vertical farm to the grocery store. In late December, the Berlin-based company announced a partnership with Sumitomo, a Japanese company that owns Summit Store, one of Tokyo’s leading supermarket chains. The partnership will bring Infarm’s modular vertical farm directly to grocery stores. With this move, Infarm is expanding on its in-store strategy first experimented with Kroger in Berlin in 2020. Brick Street Farms also partnered last year with Publix to bring its vertical farms closer to the consumer. Infarm will install its first farm at Summit’s Gotanno location and products are scheduled to be ready for sale at the end of January. Kalera Kalera’s new farm in Houston will be the largest such facility in Texas. Photo courtesy of Kalera Kalera also plans a rapid expansion in 2021. The Orlando-based vertical farm company is pushing into Atlanta , Denver and Houston this year. This will be the company’s third, fourth and fifth farms and the first ones outside Florida. The Houston facilities will be the largest vertical farm in Texas while the Atlanta location will be the highest production volume vertical farm in the Southeast. The Atlanta one will be more than double the size of the company’s Orlando facilities — able to produce 11 million heads of lettuce. And in December Kalera announced it is expanding into the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. These new facilities will help Kalera support partnerships with grocers and restaurants in the area. Plenty Most vertical farms, including Plenty, have initially focused on leafy greens like kale. Photo courtesy of Plenty Plenty , based in San Francisco, had an eventful final quarter of 2020 and is riding that momentum into 2021. In August, the indoor farming company announced a partnership with Albertsons to expand into more than 430 stores in Southern California. It followed up that move in October with a $140 million funding round led by Softbank and a historic partnership with Driscoll’s to give consumers fresh sweet strawberries year-round. This year, Plenty plans to begin construction on the world largest output vertical farm in Compton, California. Upon completion, the farm will be the size of a big box retail store and will grow over 700 acres of leafy green crops. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems 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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What 8 indoor farming companies plan for 2021

January 6, 2021 by  
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What 8 indoor farming companies plan for 2021 Jesse Klein Wed, 01/06/2021 – 01:30 When the pandemic exposed major issues with our lengthy food supply chain — in the form of shipment delays and inadequate demand forecasting — local vertical farms and indoor growing organizations were called upon to fill in the gaps in a way that was unprecedented. With 2020 in the history books and hopes for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic rising, these companies seek to build on their newfound momentum in 2021. With revenue for vertical farming alone estimated at just $212.4 million in 2019, one forecast calls for the industry to hit $1.38 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 26.2 percent from 2021 to 2027. Here are what eight indoor-growing leaders are planning in the year ahead. The list is presented alphabetically and represents a slice of the marketplace activity cropping up in late 2020. AeroFarms The Aerofarms facility in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Aerofarms AeroFarms’ four New Jersey vertical farms produced 2 million pounds of produce in 2020. And this year that number likely will skyrocket with the company’s April announcement of construction on a 90,000-square-foot indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest vertical farm. In 2021, Aerofarms is taking on the issue of food waste more explicitly. It invested in Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) to help understand and prevent lettuce discoloration, experiment with ways to increase lettuce yield and level up leaf quality. AppHarvest  AppHarvest’s farm in Morehead, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of AppHarvest Appalachian company AppHarvest has launched three indoor farms in Kentucky. It chose the state specifically because it’s within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. population. In early 2021, AppHarvest will harvest its first crop of tomatoes, a move meant to help reduce reliance and emissions from imported tomatoes. In 2019, 60 percent of America’s tomatoes were imported. The farms use a closed-loop system that runs entirely off recycled rainwater to eliminate agricultural runoff and reduce water usage. Bowery Farming Bowery Farming’s second farm in Kearny, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Bowery Farming Bowery Farming, based in New York City, plans to invest its 600 percent increase in sales last year into a new vertical farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2021. By working with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Action Team, Bowery is turning an arid industrial site into 8.7 acres of modern farmland that also should help the economic recovery of the area. Bethlehem once was a thriving steel town with Bethlehem Steel Corporation once employing around 60 percent of the local workforce at its peak before shutting down in 1998 . Since then, the city has had to transition into different sectors. Bowery Farming hopes to be part of that evolution. Its farm will create 70 jobs and feature LED lighting, recapture water from the plants using a water transpiration system and collect data on a massive scale to inform future farming choices.  BrightFarms This BrightFarms greenhouse produces more than two million pounds of leafy salad greens per year. Photo courtesy of BrightFarms With $100 million in new funding raised in 2020, BrightFarms plans to construct indoor farms in every major market by 2025. This year marks the start of that journey with the construction of two new facilities in North Carolina and Massachusetts.  Both farms will be six to seven acres, or almost double the company’s current facilities in Ohio, Illinois and Virginia. In 2021, BrightFarm, which makes its headquarters in Irvington, New York, also plans to roll out its proprietary AI System, Bright OS, which will use machine learning and analytics to make operations from seed to shelf more efficient.   Gotham Greens Gotham Greens operates a network of greenhouses across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England, Mountain West and beyond. Photo courtesy of Gotham Greens Gotham Greens has been at the forefront of urban farming for over a decade. After starting in New York and expanding across the northeast, 2021 will be the year Gotham tries to take over the rest of the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered so many businesses, Gotham Greens was able to expand into Aurora, Colorado , just outside of Denver. The Colorado location is Gotham’s eighth indoor farm. It also expanded to Baltimore. Finally, in December, the company announced an $87 million funding round. The funding will support Gotham Greens products in Whole Foods Market, Albertsons Companies, Meijer, Target, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, ShopRite and Sprouts. Infarm An Infarm installation at French retailer, Metro. Photo courtesy of Infarm In 2021, Infarm is hopping on a hot industry trend — bringing the vertical farm to the grocery store. In late December, the Berlin-based company announced a partnership with Sumitomo, a Japanese company that owns Summit Store, one of Tokyo’s leading supermarket chains. The partnership will bring Infarm’s modular vertical farm directly to grocery stores. With this move, Infarm is expanding on its in-store strategy first experimented with Kroger in Berlin in 2020. Brick Street Farms also partnered last year with Publix to bring its vertical farms closer to the consumer. Infarm will install its first farm at Summit’s Gotanno location and products are scheduled to be ready for sale at the end of January. Kalera Kalera’s new farm in Houston will be the largest such facility in Texas. Photo courtesy of Kalera Kalera also plans a rapid expansion in 2021. The Orlando-based vertical farm company is pushing into Atlanta , Denver and Houston this year. This will be the company’s third, fourth and fifth farms and the first ones outside Florida. The Houston facilities will be the largest vertical farm in Texas while the Atlanta location will be the highest production volume vertical farm in the Southeast. The Atlanta one will be more than double the size of the company’s Orlando facilities — able to produce 11 million heads of lettuce. And in December Kalera announced it is expanding into the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. These new facilities will help Kalera support partnerships with grocers and restaurants in the area. Plenty Most vertical farms, including Plenty, have initially focused on leafy greens like kale. Photo courtesy of Plenty Plenty , based in San Francisco, had an eventful final quarter of 2020 and is riding that momentum into 2021. In August, the indoor farming company announced a partnership with Albertsons to expand into more than 430 stores in Southern California. It followed up that move in October with a $140 million funding round led by Softbank and a historic partnership with Driscoll’s to give consumers fresh sweet strawberries year round. This year, Plenty plans to begin construction on the world largest output vertical farm in Compton, California. Upon completion, the farm will be the size of a big box retail store and will grow over 700 acres of leafy green crops. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems 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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Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies

January 6, 2021 by  
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Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 01/06/2021 – 00:30 One of the big things I’m thinking about to kick off 2021 is how electric vehicles will be entwined with a U.S. recovery. Even before Joe Biden has formalized any green stimulus plans, the EV industry in the U.S. is showing important indicators that it will see solid growth this year — and that means jobs. New industry jobs. Electric jobs. Climate jobs.  Recently I chatted with the CEO and founder of Lion Electric , an electric bus and truck maker based in Saint-Jerome, Quebec. Marc Bedard founded the company 12 years ago — after working at a diesel school bus company in the 1990’s — with the goals of eliminating diesel engines for school buses and diesel fumes from the air that school kids breathe.  Lion got its start making electric school buses and has delivered major orders to the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, California, and White Plains School District in White Plains, New York. More recently it unveiled an electric delivery truck and scored orders with Amazon and Canadian logistics provider CN.  While Lion Electric already has a factory in Montreal that can make 2,500 e-buses and trucks a year, the company tells GreenBiz it plans to expand into the U.S. by buying and converting an American factory that could be large enough to make 20,000 vehicles a year. Lion will unveil more details about where exactly that factory could be in the coming weeks, although vehicle production there probably won’t start for a couple of years. The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. Lion isn’t the only EV truck maker eying expansion into the U.S. market. Arrival — a London-based EV truck maker with a 10,000-EV deal with UPS —  plans to invest $43 million into its first U.S. factory in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The factory is expected to produce 240 jobs, with operations to start in the second quarter of 2021. The company’s U.S. headquarters will be in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to Arrival and Lion, a handful of other independent U.S. EV makers have emerged in recent years to tap into the growing American electric truck market, including Lordstown Motors , Hyliion , XL Fleet , Rivian, Nikola and Lightning eMotors. All of these companies recently have raised hundreds of millions of dollars and gone public by merging with “blank check” companies, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (also called SPACs).  Although the financial tool is a bit speculative in nature — the SPAC process is far quicker and less rigorous than going public via a traditional initial public offering — it turns out that SPACs, strangely enough, could help create thousands, if not tens of thousands, American EV industry jobs. Hopefully, most of those will end up being long-term, stable jobs.  And those are just the latest jobs from the newest players. Ford is developing an all-electric cargo van at a Kansas City plant that will create 150 jobs this year. That’s on top of the hundreds of other new EV jobs created by Ford’s new electric vehicle lines, the electric F-150 and the Mustang Mach-E. Likewise, Daimler Trucks North America has been converting and expanding its factory to make electric trucks at its Swan Island headquarters in North Portland, Oregon. The new EV jobs couldn’t come at a better time. Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 saw historic American unemployment rates peaking in April and recovering to just 6.7 percent unemployment as of November. But with a slow vaccine rollout and surging infection rates, prolonged long-term high unemployment rates are expected. Clean energy jobs have been equally hit hard, with about a half-million clean energy workers left unemployed by the pandemic this year.  Despite not knowing what Biden’s green stimulus will look like, the administration already has signaled that the automakers could be a big part of a recovery. Biden selected former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as his energy department secretary. Granholm worked closely with the Obama administration and the auto industry throughout the green stimulus program following the 2008 financial crisis.  The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. And these are just jobs from the vehicle manufacturers.  Equally strong job growth is expected for EV infrastructure providers riding the same electric wave and could get even more of a boost from a green infrastructure stimulus. A federal government stimulus also could inject funding and jobs into a growing domestic EV battery production sector.  In what is expected to be another dark couple of quarters for employment in 2021, look to EV jobs to offer a bright spot.  Sign up for Katie Fehrenbacher’s newsletter, Transport Weekly, at this link . Follow her on Twitter. Pull Quote The expected rise of EV jobs across new and established automakers offers a spark of good news amidst expected anemic job growth for the first half of the year. Topics Transportation & Mobility Jobs & Careers Electric Vehicles Electric Bus Electric School Buses Electric Trucks 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

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Big in 2021: American jobs created by EV companies

Take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level in 2021

January 1, 2021 by  
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Are you already recycling? Carrying around a refillable water bottle rather than contributing to the ocean-bound plastic problem? Composting your food scraps? That’s all commendable, but there’s more to be done to achieve a net-zero lifestyle. If you’re ready to up your environmental commitment this year (and hold larger entities accountable along the way), here are a few ideas — some more dramatic than others — for sustainable resolutions in 2021. Get rid of your car If you have a car , sell or donate it. Once you’ve unloaded the gas guzzler, do your errands on foot or by bike. If you don’t have your own bike, join your city’s bike-share program. With proper COVID-19 precautions, take public transportation for longer distances. Related: The pros and cons of electromobility Ditch the plastic liners Do you know how long those kitchen trash bags take to decompose? Anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years. Instead, go au naturel and regularly clean your trash, recycling and compost containers. Change your laundering style Did you know that most of the energy it takes to run a washing machine comes from heating the water? Only 10% of energy is for working the machine, so switch to cold-water washing . Once your clothes are clean, hang them to dry. If you live somewhere sunny and have space for a clothesline, this won’t be too hard. If you live somewhere cold and rainy, see if you can hang an inside clothesline or set up a drying rack. But if this is impractical and you must run the dryer, make sure it’s fairly full so you make the most of the energy. Dryers are the third-biggest energy hogs in the average house, after the refrigerator and washer. Forget the lawn Lawns are a huge waste of space and resources. In the U.S., people spray about 3 trillion gallons of water on them every year, use 800 million gallons of gas in their lawnmowers and treat them with nearly 80 million pounds of pesticides . But who are we trying to impress with this golf course-looking terrain around our homes? Instead, go with xeriscaping or planting vegetables. Let clover take over, or fill your yard with pollinator-friendly plants. Control your climate Invest in ways to weatherize your home and lifestyle year-round. If you have the money and own a home, a heat pump can cut your energy use in half. Try low-tech solutions like wearing thicker socks and a fleece bathrobe over your clothes so that you don’t need to turn the heater up as much in winter. Add an extra blanket to the bed, and turn your thermostat down at least seven degrees at night. You use about 1% less energy per eight hours for every degree you turn it down. In summer, air conditioning is a massive energy hog. Three-quarters of U.S. homes have air conditioners, which use 6% of the total electricity produced in the nation, according to Energy Saver . Annual cost? About $29 billion dollars and 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released. If you must use AC, don’t set it so low. Add insulation to your house. Wear a bikini. Eat more ice pops. Sweat a little, it won’t hurt you. Go vegan Yes, Meatless Mondays are a terrific start. But this year, try adding Tuesday. And Wednesday. Et cetera. A University of Oxford study concluded that cutting out meat and dairy could reduce your carbon footprint by 73%. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said lead author Joseph Poore, as reported by The Independent . Boycott new One way to stop supporting the constant addition to more junk in the waste stream is to boycott buying anything new (excluding food, prescriptions or emergency items). Perhaps you already enjoy thrifting and flea markets. If so, committing to buying nothing new might be a fun challenge. Make 2021 your year of browsing the free libraries, finding your new look at a garage sale and swapping useful items with other folks in your neighborhood. Set up regular donations to environmental organizations Just about every organization needs your help right now. Whether you prefer whales or bats, oceans or rivers, an environmental charity exists that would greatly appreciate your recurring donation, even if it’s just five bucks a month. Control your food waste The U.S. is one of the top countries for food waste in the world, tossing almost 40 million tons annually. Most of this food goes to landfills. In fact, food waste is the second-largest component of the average American landfill behind paper. This year, commit to only buy what you’ll eat and to eat what you buy. If you don’t already compost, get yourself a compost bin and throw in all your banana peels, coffee grounds, etc. Get political On the most basic level, vote. Beyond that, support causes you believe in by writing letters to your politicians or boycotting companies that are contributing to the global climate crisis. Attend town hall meetings with your local or state representatives. If you have the time, energy, resources and moxie, run for office. Images via Adobe Stock

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Take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level in 2021

Take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level in 2021

January 1, 2021 by  
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Are you already recycling? Carrying around a refillable water bottle rather than contributing to the ocean-bound plastic problem? Composting your food scraps? That’s all commendable, but there’s more to be done to achieve a net-zero lifestyle. If you’re ready to up your environmental commitment this year (and hold larger entities accountable along the way), here are a few ideas — some more dramatic than others — for sustainable resolutions in 2021. Get rid of your car If you have a car , sell or donate it. Once you’ve unloaded the gas guzzler, do your errands on foot or by bike. If you don’t have your own bike, join your city’s bike-share program. With proper COVID-19 precautions, take public transportation for longer distances. Related: The pros and cons of electromobility Ditch the plastic liners Do you know how long those kitchen trash bags take to decompose? Anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years. Instead, go au naturel and regularly clean your trash, recycling and compost containers. Change your laundering style Did you know that most of the energy it takes to run a washing machine comes from heating the water? Only 10% of energy is for working the machine, so switch to cold-water washing . Once your clothes are clean, hang them to dry. If you live somewhere sunny and have space for a clothesline, this won’t be too hard. If you live somewhere cold and rainy, see if you can hang an inside clothesline or set up a drying rack. But if this is impractical and you must run the dryer, make sure it’s fairly full so you make the most of the energy. Dryers are the third-biggest energy hogs in the average house, after the refrigerator and washer. Forget the lawn Lawns are a huge waste of space and resources. In the U.S., people spray about 3 trillion gallons of water on them every year, use 800 million gallons of gas in their lawnmowers and treat them with nearly 80 million pounds of pesticides . But who are we trying to impress with this golf course-looking terrain around our homes? Instead, go with xeriscaping or planting vegetables. Let clover take over, or fill your yard with pollinator-friendly plants. Control your climate Invest in ways to weatherize your home and lifestyle year-round. If you have the money and own a home, a heat pump can cut your energy use in half. Try low-tech solutions like wearing thicker socks and a fleece bathrobe over your clothes so that you don’t need to turn the heater up as much in winter. Add an extra blanket to the bed, and turn your thermostat down at least seven degrees at night. You use about 1% less energy per eight hours for every degree you turn it down. In summer, air conditioning is a massive energy hog. Three-quarters of U.S. homes have air conditioners, which use 6% of the total electricity produced in the nation, according to Energy Saver . Annual cost? About $29 billion dollars and 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released. If you must use AC, don’t set it so low. Add insulation to your house. Wear a bikini. Eat more ice pops. Sweat a little, it won’t hurt you. Go vegan Yes, Meatless Mondays are a terrific start. But this year, try adding Tuesday. And Wednesday. Et cetera. A University of Oxford study concluded that cutting out meat and dairy could reduce your carbon footprint by 73%. “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said lead author Joseph Poore, as reported by The Independent . Boycott new One way to stop supporting the constant addition to more junk in the waste stream is to boycott buying anything new (excluding food, prescriptions or emergency items). Perhaps you already enjoy thrifting and flea markets. If so, committing to buying nothing new might be a fun challenge. Make 2021 your year of browsing the free libraries, finding your new look at a garage sale and swapping useful items with other folks in your neighborhood. Set up regular donations to environmental organizations Just about every organization needs your help right now. Whether you prefer whales or bats, oceans or rivers, an environmental charity exists that would greatly appreciate your recurring donation, even if it’s just five bucks a month. Control your food waste The U.S. is one of the top countries for food waste in the world, tossing almost 40 million tons annually. Most of this food goes to landfills. In fact, food waste is the second-largest component of the average American landfill behind paper. This year, commit to only buy what you’ll eat and to eat what you buy. If you don’t already compost, get yourself a compost bin and throw in all your banana peels, coffee grounds, etc. Get political On the most basic level, vote. Beyond that, support causes you believe in by writing letters to your politicians or boycotting companies that are contributing to the global climate crisis. Attend town hall meetings with your local or state representatives. If you have the time, energy, resources and moxie, run for office. Images via Adobe Stock

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Take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level in 2021

Plant-based Recipes: Sustainable Meals for Healthy Kids

December 18, 2020 by  
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This year has been a wild one, and when life … The post Plant-based Recipes: Sustainable Meals for Healthy Kids appeared first on Earth 911.

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Plant-based Recipes: Sustainable Meals for Healthy Kids

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