Copenhagen Fashion week to use wind energy
This year’s Copenhagen Fashion Week, running from August 8-12, will hold a particularly special message whilst showcasing designers’ spring and summer 2013 collections: that sustainability and fashion can work together.
With many of the designers at this year’s event displaying their sustainable fashion collections, the event itself will be using wind energy to power its five floors, more than 100 catwalk shows, shuttle buses and the metro, with a turbine installed especially for the event.
Moves towards a more sustainable fashion industry across the globe are ever increasing with projects, objectives and strategies being developed with a number of companies including Marks and Spencer here in the UK.
The small countries going a long way for climate change
In March, we wrote about the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) that have ambitious renewable energy targets, as they aim to find solutions to the ever-impending threats posed by climate change. Well, it seems that this small group of islands aren’t alone in the race to beat one of humankind’s greatest problems.
The United Nations has analysed the energy strategies of 52 poor, low-lying countries across the globe, and its study shows that Dominica is at the forefront of climate change action, with plans beyond becoming carbon neutral, and entering carbon negative space, by 2020. The Maldives’ aims are also impressive, whilst PICs, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands, were praised for their renewable energy generation aims.
The group of 52 countries have a collective target of 45% cuts to emissions by 2030—significantly more than the 12-18% reduction aim set by the world’s richest nations.
“Small island developing states can leap toward the goal of a poverty-free and prosperous future by changing their energy sectors“, said Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. ”We can rally the international community with a unified voice, sharing our aspiration to become fully sustainable.”
Sixty years of sustainable chocolate
It always feels good to know that you’re helping others and the environment, but what about whilst eating chocolate?
Today, the company is well on its way to ensuring that all of its palm oil used in its factories will be certified sustainable by 2015. To date, it has spent $13 million on sustainability efforts through educating cocoa farmers in Indonesia, Ecuador and the Ivory Coast about improving crop yields. The company also uses social contracts relating to appropriate work house and activities for children.
For the first time in more than 70 years, Blommer Chocolate Co. invited the media inside its building to unveil a $45 million cocoa sustainability initiative called Sustainable Origins. The brand will be used to market its sustainable chocolate to customers and communicate its efforts more effectively to the public.
The company expects the demand for more sustainable chocolate products to grow; it is estimated that about 7% of the world’s cocoa crop is certified sustainable whilst 10% of Blommer’s production is certified sustainable.
In 2011, Blommer Chocolate Co. reached its corporate social responsibility goal of involving 40,000 cocoa farmers in the sustainable sourcing program.
One endangered species for another: today, the Jaguar eats the turtle
In a seemingly dangerous loop, deforestation can be the only blame for conservationist’s quagmire off the cost of the Costa Rican national park.
In his recent paper, Diogo Verissimo, researcher with the Durrell Institute of Ecology and Conservation and Global Vision International recorded the number of marine turtles killed by Jaguars in the last five years as 676, an extraordinarily high figure.
Deforestation in the area has caused Jaguars to go further afield in search for food and undoubtedly, the slow, ponderous turtle residents of the island stand out as easy targets.
Joseph Tibias, a conservationist at Oxford University, said, “To stop it you need to protect large areas of forest because the Jaguar is a long range hunter”.
He added: “You need to bear in mind that people in that part of the world need to feed themselves and protect their livestock, so you cannot necessarily insist they clear no areas of forest. But the world has never seen deforestation on this scale before.”
Google lays out climate communication initiative
Half the battle with climate change is converting the multinational corporations to do something to curb their emissions. But the other half is, or rather should be, about utilising their status to communicate the facts.
And search engine superpower Google is doing just that, through a new initiative called Google Science Communication Fellows.
Drawing together 21 of the most talented and knowledgeable PhD scientists to effectively communicate the consensus around anthropogenic global warming to potentially billions of people.
The fellows will attend a workshop at Google’s Californian base in June, and afterwards, the most innovative science or climate projects will be invited to join an expedition to the Arctic as science communicators.
Are you subsidising oil and gas?
A recent study led by NASA scientist James Hansen has found that globally, the oil and gas industries are receiving a whopping $400-$500 billion a year in subsidies – between around £250-£300 billion.
The research, titled Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature, urges governments worldwide to stop using public funds for fossil fuel incentives.
“The high costs to human health, food production, and natural ecosystems of air and water pollution caused by fossil fuel extraction and use are borne by the public“, the study says.
“Similarly, costs of climate change and ocean acidification will be borne by the public, especially by young people and future generations.
“Thus the essential underlying policy is for emissions of CO2 to come with a price that allows these costs to be internalised within the economics of energy use.
“The price should rise over decades to enable people and businesses to efficiently adjust their lifestyles and investments to minimize costs.”
The $400-$500 billion in subsidies equates to around $45 for every person on Earth. The question is; do your investments leave an even greater footprint on the planet? Our Guide to Sustainable Investment examines the positive financial options.
High Liner Foods promote new sustainable partnership
High Liner Foods is the processor of seafood products distributed throughout North America. In a review of 2011, the company claimed to have nearly doubled certified seafood purchases compared to the year before.
This month, Canadian customers will begin to see the MSC’s eco-label, promoting responsibly sourced retail, on not only High Liner products caught in the wild, but also on farmed seafood merchandise.
MSC CEO Rupert Howes called the partnership with High Liner a major step forward in seafood sustainability:
“High Liner’s commitment to source all wild-caught seafood from MSC-certified fisheries by the end of 2013 and display the MSC eco-label on certified wild-capture products will assure Canadian shoppers they can feel confident about the seafood choices they make, while playing a direct role in having sustainable food supplies in the future.”
If you’ve longed for a place where you can get all the latest clean technology insight in video form, look no further than Future360.
Described as “a digital media platform that creates video content around clean technology and the entrepreneurs and innovators who drive it“, the project was founded by Australian TV host and producer Sarah Backhouse.
It aims to “educate and inspire with game-changing stories“, and because of the often smart and stylish nature of many clean technology innovations, capturing them by video helps stimulate interest and secure investment.
One to bookmark, we think.
Coalition to take local election defeat “on the chin”
After a dramatic loss of seats for both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems in last week’s local elections, George Osbourne told the BBC, “The government understands your message. We take it on the chin and we have got to learn from what you are saying… what people are saying is focus on the things which really matter like the economy, welfare, education, crime and the NHS… and not get distracted by too many other issues“.
Given Osbourne’s unsustainable budget speech in March and the disappointment of David Cameron failing to deliver his keynote speech at the Clean Energy Ministerial, I feel that the environment has sadly not been one of those distractions…
But perhaps that same lack of confident environmental policy and general disinterest in green business potential was one of the drivers for change.
Or just maybe our eleventh hour infographic coverage of the elections that showed how local councils are performing on pollution and waste did the trick after all…
Flowering earlier than expected
There is nothing better than waking up one spring morning to see that the flowers are beginning to bloom. However, as a new report suggests, scientific models are failing to accurately predict the impact of global warming on plants.
The report published in the journal Nature reviews long-term studies that suggest plants are flowering up to eight times faster than models anticipate. The authors of the report propose that poor study design and lack of investment in experiments partly account for the differences, and that research methods should be re-evaluated.
For more than 20 years, scientists have assumed that plants would respond in essentially the same way to experimental warming lamps as they would to climate change.
The study, led by Dr Elizabeth Wolkovich, involved reviewing the timing of the flowering and leafing of plants through observational studies and warming experiments across four continents and 1,634 plant species.
Another lesson learnt.
Feeding the future
Experts say that by 2050, the world’s population will have risen from 7 billion to 9 billion and will, as a result, be consuming 70% more food than today.
“Can we feed a world of 9 billion? I would say the answer is yes“, said Robert Watson, chief scientific advisor to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Grassroot projects in Kenya’s Kibera slum are turning diets and incomes around simply by increasing the ability to grow vegetables and stack gardens.
In India, a push to help marginalised rural communities gain title to their land is leading to a significant drop in hunger.
It is changes like these, and alterations in the way that food is planted, watered and harvested, that are beginning to make up whispers of a 21st century food revolution, a revolution which relies on myriad “green bullets“ to tackle hunger.
Climate change education: get ‘em while they’re young
Jamaican minister of education, Ronald Thwaites, has hinted that climate change could be taught to primary school children from this September, according to the Jamaica Observer.
“If we ingrain the habits of conservation and responsible environmental behaviour at the earlier stages of education, then they will be carried over, they will be infectious into the other levels of the school and the population as a whole“, Thwaites said.
It’s a clever tactic. Climate change sceptics or deniers are not helping to solve one of the biggest environmental problems of our generations. Instead, they’re doing their best to stall solutions.
As Jules Pretty told us, though, “Because of the weight of evidence, anyone who’s spent a bit of time looking at [climate change] has to say it is occurring and it is anthropogenic.” Therefore, it’s essential that we teach it to our children from an early age.
A Nature Climate Change piece backs this up. They published a somewhat alarming article last month called Schools of thought. Although it’s behind a paywall, you can still view two of the charts for free.
One shows that fewer US citizens accept global warming now than five years ago, and the other shows that of those that do accept the scientific consensus, less than half correctly attribute the burning of fossil fuels to the main cause of it.
If only more governments were as forward-thinking as Jamaica’s… “Once you go, you know”.
Conscious Journeys launches website for sustainable tourism in Tibet
The unique focus of Conscious Journeys, (CJ), is one which values a commitment to cultural immersion, sustainable travel and volun-tourism , and aims to present potential volunteers with useful planning tips and guidelines for the journey ahead, while additionally highlighting the company’s main tourism objectives.
By using local Tibetan guides, drivers, cooks and support staff, CJ not only offer travellers a level of cultural intimacy and authentic knowledge of Tibetan lifestyle, but they also, subsequently, are creating jobs and supporting the local community.
In the past, volunteers from all corners of the globe, in an abundance of missions, have signed on to make a difference. The proceeds of which go to fund the Tibetan Village Project.
The new Conscious Journeys website stands as an interactive springboard whereby volunteers and donors find a beacon for true community development and aid. It is also a forum for past and current volunteers to share stories and photos and follow the progress of the friends and communities they have grown to know and love.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 for sustainability
The fashion industry, or perhaps the textile industry, has often come under fire as a major global polluter. The Copenhagen Fashion Summit attempts to combat this by playing host to the world’s largest conference on sustainability and fashion.
The conference, to be held on 3 May 2012 at the Copenhagen Opera House, will invite around 1000 key industry stakeholders to identify new opportunities and forward-looking solutions to tackle the growing sustainability challenges of the global fashion industry.
For a long time, the industry has outsourced production to low wage countries, but there is a willingness to share knowledge and pool resources to improve fashion’s sustainability footprint.
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 will mark the UN Global Compact’s first sectorial initiative when a new code of conduct will be launched specifically for the fashion industry.
Watch this space.
Isle of Man looks to cleantech
The Isle of Man Government has held a discussion on the island’s clean technology opportunities.
Member for economic development, Laurence Skelly MHK, said, “We own 12 miles straight out into the Irish Sea. That’s 87% our territory. We want to know is that a resource?”
The island currently receives a lot of its power via the Isle of Man to England Interconnector – the world’s longest submarine AC cable – but proposals were raised at the round-table discussion about installing another cable purely for renewables.
The plans could see the island, which covers just 221 square miles and is home to around 85,000 people, converted into a renewable energy innovator overnight—something that would benefit its economy hugely.
Future looks unsteady for glaciers
The world is seeing huge shifts in its ice shelves and glaciers but what does this mean for the future?
The earth’s glaciers are “out of balance” and on their way to losing almost 40% of their volume.
This alarming statistic was the result of a study conducted by a team of scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. What is more alarming is that, having looked at 144 small and large glaciers around the world, the figure assumes that no further warming of the climate would occur.
If the earth’s temperatures continue to rise as previous research has predicted, the wastage will be even higher. A glacier is said to be in balance when the snow at higher, colder elevations equals the volume of snow and ice lost through melting at lower, warmer elevations. If melting dominates, the glacier will thin and retreat until it once again reaches a state of equilibrium.
Glaciers act as natural reservoirs, storing water deep within during the winter months until the summer, when the water is released. But warmer climates cause the glaciers to melt more frequently and at a faster rate.
Parts of Southern America are already experiencing low water levels because of changing glacial melt patterns; a problem that scientists previously believed lay several decades in the future.
Co-operative’s £90,000 solar investment for Bristol
Bristol Energy Co-operative’s has launched a new £90,000 community share issue to fund solar installations throughout Bristol.
Members of the community have the opportunity to invest a minimum of £50; the power generated in addition to (now reduced) Feed-in-Tariff incentives should generate returns of up to 4%/year. Best act quickly though, the share issue ends May 18.
The investment opportunity is supported by the Co-operative Group’s Enterprise Hub. A Co-op spokeperson told BusinessGreen the organisation was confident that community co-operatives could “provide a catalyst for renewables across the whole of the UK”.
He continued: “The whole hub service is free and we can provide the expertise people need to set up successful co-operatives [...] We want more community energy groups to step forward”.
“Clean Our Cloud” demand Greenpeace activists
Apple has been through the press this week with Greenpeace activists protesting outside London, New York, San Francisco and Toronto branches calling for increased use of renewable energy from the technology giant.
“Clean Our Cloud” was the message that sat below billowing black balloons in San Francisco. In London, the drive was more specifically for a reduction in the company’s use of coal; Greenpeace released a report called “How clean is your cloud?“, which cited Apple’s coal usage for data centers at 55.1%.
In fairness, Apple is heavily investing in renewable energy; plans were confirmed in February to fit its North Carolina data centre with a 100 acre, 20 megawatt solar array in a bid to move away from fossil fuels.
I suppose, if there has to be a silver lining in all this, it may be the record second quarter revenues of $39.2 billion it announced on April 24.
Oh. And its net profit increases of 94% year-over-year.
Sustainable Shipping Initiative
Introduced at Singapore Maritime Week, the new initiative aims to develop a sustainable shipping industry with short-term results expected by the end of 2013 and the full vision achieved by 2040.
The SSI is comprised of 16 global companies and two non-governmental organisations working in close partnership to develop new knowledge, prototypes, technologies and financial models to promote sustainability.
With this in mind, the SSI has been split into four areas including financing sustainable shipping, innovation in energy technology, closed loop recycling of ships, credible benchmarking and standards. Each area will draw on member expertise, which covers everything from ship building and engineering to marine finance to global supply chain.
Extinct bee to be reintroduced to UK
Human impact on biodiversity is wide reaching, and its not limited to the exotic species of tropical rainforests. Even in the UK, a number wildlife populations have been slowly decreasing or become extinct.
As a result of habitat loss, the humble short-haired bumble bee has declined in numbers over the last 60 years rendering it extinct. However, it is set to make a welcome comeback after dedicated conservationists collected 100 queens from Sweden where the species thrives. The bumblebee will be reintroduced by the team at the RSPB: Dungeness in Kent later this year.
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