Published weekly, this series shows how companies and sustainability professionals are striving to achieve their “Mission Possible” through the campaign’s five key pillars: energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business management.
Across the UK and around the world, leading businesses, cities, states and regions are turning their environmental ambitions into action. Here we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.
ENERGY: Brakes installs on-site solar power at Harlow depot
Image: Fifth Dimension PR
A recent survey by manufacturing trade body Make UK found that four in ten companies in the sector see on-site renewable energy generation as a priority step to take in tackling the price crisis and contributing to the low-carbon transition.
Then, this week, the edie team learned that wholesale food service provider Brakes Group had completed the installation of a new rooftop solar panel at its depot in Harlow, Essex. The grid will produce electricity to meet 15% of the site’s annual needs, with Brakes Group parent company Sysco confirming it is the first major grid to be installed as part of a phased program across the United Kingdom. Tritax Big Box REIT Plc, the owner of the Harlow site, worked with Brakes on this inaugural project.
“Since 2010, we have reduced Brakes’ Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions by almost a third,” said Peter Owen, environmental director at Brakes. “The Harlow facility, and those to follow, will help us and our customers reduce our carbon footprint and help fight climate change.”
Brakes is targeting an additional 27.5% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and is also engaging with suppliers to ensure that more than two-thirds of its Scope 3 emissions (indirect) are covered by approved science-based climate goals by 2026 .
RESOURCES: Biodegradable, plastic-free food packaging rolled out for UEFA Women’s Final
Outside of the sustainability sphere, one piece of good news that millions of us have been discussing this week is that the Lionesses of England have reached the final of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. But, of course , all large-scale sporting events come with their own environmental footprint.
UEFA announced on Friday July 29 that it had worked with Just Eat to add biodegradable seaweed-covered food packaging to all outlets at Wembley Stadium for the event. Just Eat first unveiled the packaging format, produced in collaboration with packaging innovation brand Notpla, in 2020, and has been trialling it in the UK ever since.
Notpla boxes consist of a cardboard structure made from certified sustainable and recycled content. The structure is coated with an algae-based alternative that replaces the synthetic additives traditionally used to make the packaging more airtight. Notpla claims that the boxes biodegrade within weeks outside of industrial conditions. Veolia, which manages waste at Wembley, was tasked with separating the boxes for methanisation.
“Using our global sponsorship partnership with UEFA is an ideal way to showcase this sustainable packaging initiative within the football industry, giving Just Eat the chance to pilot and test new innovations with football fans,” said Just Eat Takeaway.com responsible business and sustainability manager Jaz Rabadia.
MOBILITY: Largest UK festival electric vehicle charging offer ever presented at Latitude
We are well and truly in the middle of festival season here in the UK. As we have learned from our recent research on Glastonbury, most festivals will see the majority of their emissions (up to 80%) come from the transport of fans, staff, acts and objects to and from the site – which means that organizers must find innovative solutions and collaborative ways to encourage low-emission options.
An innovation in this space comes from car dealership platform cinch, which has partnered with Latitude Festival organizers Festival Republic to showcase a 60-car off-grid electric vehicle (EV) charging station. He says the station, fueled by hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), is the largest to have been installed at a UK festival to date. Festival-goers were able to charge for free as long as they pre-booked their space – and spaces sold out within an hour.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Plans unveiled for new energy self-sufficient university center in Scotland
In this section we often highlight a development built in accordance with established sustainability certifications such as BREEAM and LEED. This week something perhaps more innovative was announced – plans for the first development in Scotland with ‘Living Building’ accreditation. The certification system asks designers and builders to only perform actions that have a net positive impact on people and the planet.
The Clackmannanshire building will house the Dollar Academy (FIDA) Futures Institute, acting as the education provider’s first physical hub. Designed by the architect behind Cornwall’s Eden project, Andrew Whalley, the proposed structure would be energy self-sufficient and would only use the water level within the site’s planetary boundaries. It would be built using low-carbon materials and methods and the development would have a net benefit for local nature.
IFAD has not yet provided a likely timeline for the delivery of the new facility. The Institute itself was only launched last year, offering virtual learning that equips viewers with the skills to carry out sustainability initiatives.
Whalley said FIDA’s mission “requires an equally fresh approach to its future center, with an architecture that will support teamwork, collaboration and the exploration of new creative sustainable solutions that will enable and inspire the next generation to tackling the global issues we all face”.
CORPORATE MANAGEMENT: Childs Farm becomes the first UK B Corp in the children’s personal care sector
In our latest edition of sustainability success stories, we recapped on B Lab’s 022 “Best for the World” list, recognizing B Corps that are best in class in terms of impact on clients ; impact on communities; environmental impact; excellent governance or worker support. Click here for Edie’s coverage of this story.
We also celebrated Simplyhealth’s certification as a B Corp, making it the first health plan provider in the world to be certified.
This time around, we have some great B Corp news to share from baby and children’s personal care brand Childs Farm. The Hampshire-based company, which makes bath and skincare products for sensitive skin, scored almost 81 points in the B Impact assessment, which founder Joanna Jensen says is a strong marker of the brand’s motto “kind to the skin, kind to the planet, kind to people”.
Jensen said: “We have a series of plans to continue to build on this success as we grow, minimizing our impact on the environment. We are extremely proud of our sustainability credentials and determined to continue to be best in class.
Childs Farm is owned by PZ Cussons, which has said it aims to become a B Corp itself by the end of 2026. Debate has been heated recently over whether larger companies like PZ Cussons should be able to certify, after Nespresso, owned by Nestlé, received its certification this spring.
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