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University of Cambridge to lead Protocol Application Program



Cambridge University by foshie via Flickr

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), a part of the University of Cambridge dedicated to building strategic leadership capacity to tackle critical global challenges, will lead the Protocol Application Program on behalf of the Natural Capital Coalition.


With increasing pressure on natural resources and the accompanying impact on the environment, more businesses are beginning to realise that it is in their best interest to properly value the natural resources upon which they depend. To do this they need to include ‘natural capital’ in their decision-making processes alongside other forms of capital, such as financial and human capital.  The challenge for companies is a lack of data, tools and processes to facilitate business decision making in a rigorous and consistent way.

The Natural Capital Protocol is a framework developed by the Natural Capital Coalition to help businesses identify, measure and value their direct and indirect impacts and dependencies  on natural capital. Over the last 18 months CISL has managed a pilot Program on behalf of the Coalition with over 50 companies including Coca Cola, Hugo Boss, Kering and Nestle testing the business relevance and usability of the Protocol. The impacts of these pilot tests on individual businesses are revealed in a new CISL-authored report, Business Insights: Pilot testing the Natural Capital Protocol,  launched today by the Natural Capital Coalition.

The report shows that even the pilot testers were seeing immediate uses for the Protocol.  Sixty per cent of respondents said that piloting the Natural Capital Protocol has enabled them to be more confident in engaging industry stakeholders around natural capital and some businesses used their pilots to inform their approach to investment planning or procurement decisions.

Following a successful pilot program, which generated the interest of hundreds more businesses and the support of finance, conservation, science, standard setting and policy communities, the Natural Capital Coalition has high ambitions for the Protocol Application Program. The new Application Program, designed and led by CISL and open to businesses of all sizes worldwide, will encourage wider use of the Protocol by companies that have not yet engaged with the framework. It will also provide an opportunity for existing pilot testers to make further progress in incorporating natural capital into their decision making.

Dr Gemma Cranston, Senior Program Manager, CISL, said: “It is crucial for business leaders to consider natural capital in their decision making but they need support to do this effectively.The Program will not only provide much needed support to companies through webinars and materials – but will also enable shared learnings and best practice in an area that is still relatively new and unexplored for most businesses.”

We are delighted that CISL has been asked by the Coalition to run the Protocol Application Program, drawing on our experience of working with policy makers, academia and business to co-create solutions to real world problems.

Mark Gough, Executive Director, Natural Capital Coalition, said: “The Natural Capital Protocol provides businesses with the information they need to include nature in decision making. What is needed now is guidance in applying the Protocol. The Protocol Application Program has been designed for this reason, and we’re thrilled that CISL will be leading this program on behalf of the Coalition.”

Duncan Pollard, AVP Stakeholders Engagement in Sustainability, Nestlé, commented: “The Natural Capital Protocol gave us the confidence to start the next wave of exploration at the business level.  We look forward to working with CISL on the Protocol Application Program to deliver this.

Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager, Jaguar Land Rover, added: “Working with CISL on the Natural Capital Protocol has helped us to set clear priorities for interventions in the highest impact value chains. We look forward to deepening our insights, taking this work to the next level and sharing best practice with others through the Protocol Application Program.”

Michael Beutler, Director of Sustainability Operations, Kering, said: “We had open-sourced our Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) accounting methodology and supported CISL’s pilot program so that initiatives like the Natural Capital Protocol can scale across business sectors. We look forward to our continued collaboration with CISL on this next phase of program implementation to support other companies adopting natural capital accounting methods like the EP&L.”

 The Protocol Application Program will:

  • Support the application of the Natural Capital Protocol though a regular webinar series and support materials.
  • Provide dedicated training and technical advice to support the application of the Protocol.
  • Deliver a structured approach to collecting feedback to set out the business case for applying the Protocol and integrating natural capital into business decisions.
  • Enable effective sharing of experiences between businesses, including the hosting of a two day event each year.
  • Assess the impact/change generated by businesses using the Protocol.

Read the Business insights: Pilot testing the Natural Capital Protocol report here.


How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener




green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage



water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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