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Economy

Cross-Sector Sustainability Project Revealed

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BSR and Forum for the Future have joined forces to launch the Net Positive Project. The project, which was announced at the Sustainable Brands conference on Tuesday 7 June, aims to increase the number of companies contributing to society, environment and global economy in a “net positive” way through reducing their negative sustainability imapacts. The Net Positive Project will offer tools and practices to companies to help them measure the positive effect they’re having.

BSR and Forum for the Future are collaborating on the Net Positive Project with Gregory A. Norris, who co-directs the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE), based at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

BSR Senior Vice President, Eric Olson, said: “With the recent adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the need for net positive approaches is more urgent than ever. “Business has a clear mandate to create sustainable technologies, products, and services that can help the world meet these goals.”

While the momentum around net positive is growing, there are currently no commonly accepted ways for companies to measure and report on net positive claims, and there’s a risk that companies will invest in redundant, fragmented, or misaligned approaches.

The Net Positive Project will fill that gap by developing practices and tools companies can use to quantify, assess, communicate, and enhance their positive impacts on society and the environment.

Gregory Norris, from SHINE, said: “The Net Positive Project will provide guidance to companies in continually reducing their negative impacts or footprints, and it will give them support and direction in taking a restorative, generative path that intentionally grows the positive impacts or handprints that they create. It will also advance the movement as a whole by providing an approach that is fact-based, transparent, and collaborative.”

During its first year, the Net Positive Project will focus on three main initiatives:

  • Net Positive Principles: Expand, refine, and agree on defining principles and a theory of change for net positive.
  • Net Positive Methodology: Build on existing work to advance a framework on how to scope, measure, and communicate net positive outcomes.
  • Case Study Methodology: Advance a standardized approach for companies to develop case studies describing how products and services contribute to social and environmental progress.

Forum for the Future CEO, Sally Uren, said: “The Net Positive Project will create a race to the top by increasing companies’ sustainability ambition to have a positive impact on society and the environment. It will also help companies enhance their approach to innovation and strategy, brand and reputation, and relationships with stakeholders, while it increases sales and financial success.”

Founding company members of the Net Positive Project are: Advanced Micro Devices Inc., AT&T, Capgemini UK Plc., The Crown Estate, Dell Inc., Dow Chemical Company, Eaton Corporation Plc., Fetzer Vineyards, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Humanscale, Kimberly-Clark, Kingfisher Plc., Kohler Co., and Owens Corning.

Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Chief Sustainability Officer, AT&T: “Our strategic platform, Connect to Good, represents our company’s vision of using the power of our network to build a better tomorrow. For example, we know that our technology can help customers reduce their carbon footprint. That’s why we’ve set a goal to enable carbon savings 10 times the footprint of our operations by 2025 by enhancing the efficiency of our network and delivering sustainable customer solutions. We’ll be working with the Net Positive Project and others to measure and meet this goal.”

John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist at Dell said: “By combining their efforts to create the Net Positive Project, these organizations are creating a collaborative that will promote restorative efforts. We look forward to working with them and our peers to develop net positive into a meaningful and credible movement that drives social and environmental good.”

Carl Eckersley, Social and Environmental Responsibility Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, said: “Solving the world’s toughest environmental challenges requires solutions that contribute more value than they consume in resources. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s technology innovations enable many of these solutions, and we are excited to partner with other thought leaders to identify new opportunities that accelerate efficiency.”

Lisa Morden, Senior Director, Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark, said: “At Kimberly-Clark, we are continuously using the lens of sustainability to further our vision to deliver essentials for a better life. We see net positive as a way to do this, achieving business growth while having a positive and impactful role in the world. The Net Positive Project provides a collaborative means to fully understand, shape, and agree on what it means to be net positive.”

The Net Positive Project integrates insights from ongoing efforts, including:

  • The Net Positive Group, convened by Forum for the Future, WWF, and The Climate Group, developed a set of 12 net positive principles and guidance on how to measure and communicate the concept.
  • BSR’s Center for Technology and Sustainability, a cross-sector initiative that brings together the users and developers of technology to jointly study sustainability impacts and scale solutions.
  • Greg Norris’s experience with Harvard’s SHINE initiative, which works collaboratively with members to advance methods for net positive assessment based on life-cycle assessments and hand-printing, integrating impacts related to the environment, health, society, and well-being.

Forum for the Future CEO Sally Uren spoke about “The Evolution of Net Positive Strategies” at the Sustainable Brands conference from 5-5:15pm on Tuesday 7 June 2016. To learn more, visit the Net Positive Project website.

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

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renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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