International E-Waste Day to focus on small electronic items
Air Quality Monitoring: Not Just an Urban Concern Says IDTechEx
Net Zero’s Youth Activist Mphathesithe Mkhize Discusses South Africa’s Progress towards Attaining Climate Goals with Crispin Hemson
Integration leads to leap in tech for forest inventory, management
Exponential climate action needed at Stockholm +50
Porsche Korea Hosts ‘Porsche Bee’lieve in Dreams' Educational Programs for Employees to Commemorate the World Bee Day
Zero Carbon Ventures partners with Levidian Nanosystems to bring game-changing carbon reducing technology to the Middle East
New IDTechEx Report Explores the Future of Carbon Utilization
Patisserie at Park Hyatt Busan Hosting The Earth Day Event
Luxury UAE hotels adopt bio-based, eco-friendly straws from Sulapac
Full Page Letter to the Biden Administration in New York Times Urges Immediate Action to Protect Nature and Prevent Pandemics
Our planet’s natural systems are collapsing. Wild animals and plants are disappearing at alarming rates. We're starting to experience the fallout of nature’s collapses, including a hotter planet, deteriorating human wellbeing, pandemics and global economic breakdowns. In response to the escalating biodiversity crisis, Animal Defenders International (ADI) and a diverse coalition of organizations are urging the Biden Administration to prioritize conservation through the creation of a comprehensive national biodiversity strategy. Worldwide, 193 countries have developed a national biodiversity strategy in one form or another. The U.S. however, not only lacks such a strategy, but also lacks any comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling the five main drivers of the biodiversity crisis: habitat loss, exploitation of species, climate change, pollution, and invasive species. Today, a full-page letter has been published in the New York Times supported by ADI and ProtectBiodiversity.org, as part of a multi-organizational effort to mobilize a whole-of-government, ‘nature first’ approach. We need to see an approach recognizing the fundamental role biodiversity plays within the realm of public health and the global economy, and encourage all tiers of government to ensure the protection and restoration of nature’s biodiversity. It needs to be acknowledged that biodiversity serves as a natural barrier against many diseases, including those that can potentially turn into a full-blown pandemic, and can lessen the impacts of climate change currently threatening our planet. Jan Creamer, President of ADI, said: “The species we share this planet with are inherently valuable, all want to thrive, and all play an essential role. Biodiversity is not just about preserving the beauty of our world, it is integral to human survival. Nature is not simply shouting at us to act, it is screaming. Calling for a biodiversity strategy may seem dry and academic, but this is about life and death. We are losing more and more species and we, humans, are destroying our own home too.” “We urge the Biden Administration to heed this united call to create a comprehensive biodiversity strategy,” said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “This public, collective effort on behalf of such a diverse coalition of organizations representing human, animal, and environmental health and wellbeing demonstrates how fundamental the safeguarding of biodiversity is to ensuring the robust health and security of communities in the United States and around the world from here onward.” Contributors to the outreach effort include the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Conservation X Labs, Defenders of Wildlife, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Health In Harmony, Jane Goodall Institute, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, the U.S. Wildlife & Health Alliance, Animal Defenders International, Endangered Species Coalition, FOUR PAWS USA, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Management Sciences for Health, Marked By COVID, One Health Lessons, OneNature Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, United Plant Savers, and WildEarth Guardians. To read the letter to the Biden Administration and to take action now, visit ProtectBiodiversity.org
Eco-friendly Brands That Put the Planet First
There’s never been a more important time to collectively become more aware of how we—as individuals, corporations, and businesses—are affecting the planet. What we buy, where we shop, how those items are made. After years of working and traveling internationally, International sustainable brand consultant and fashion stylist, Cassandra Dittmer has witnessed the increase of negative impacts that the fashion industry has on both the environment and its labor force that make everything possible. Cassandra immersed herself in eco-conscious living practices, products, brands that challenge the way sustainability is currently defined. One brand that Cassandra has identified as meeting the eco-friendly challenge is Citizen. Invented over 45 years ago, Citizen’s proprietary Eco-Drive is the light-powered, eco-mindful technology that eliminates the need for watch battery replacement and at the heart of almost all of Citizen’s timepieces In 1970, in response to an environmental crisis, Citizen pioneered the world’s first light-powered watch: Eco-Drive. Eco-Drive enables Citizen watches to be powered by any light source, continuously and sustainably, eliminating the need to replace watch batteries. A standard in renewable energy for timepieces, Eco-Drive simultaneously respects and preserves the environment by preventing millions of watch batteries from entering landfills each year. Citizen has pledged to donate 1% of its website sales in the US to support a host of nonprofit organizations focused on the environment. Citizen partners with 1% of the Planet – who represents an alliance of businesses and individuals who are committed to enacting change to protect and restore the Earth. For more information, visit citizenwatch.com
Gamigo’s community plants more than 110,000 new trees through Eden Reforestation Projects
gamigo is proud to announce that its community reached another milestone in getting trees planted through its permanent cooperation with Eden Reforestation Projects. In September 2021, gamigo announced that this partnership would be made permanent and that players could support the nature conservation campaign through its charity website. Between the end of September and December 2021, funds were raised through the generous contributions of gamigo’s community to plant more than 110,000 new trees. By purchasing the charity packages for select gamigo games, players are rewarded with in-game items. Due to contributions of gamigo players, the planters of Eden Reforestation Projects are able to plant new trees in affected regions of the world and, thanks to this support, receive fair remuneration for their valuable work in return. The cooperation with Eden Reforestation Projects is part of the initiative of the gamigo group and its parent company MGI to raise awareness for sustainability among its players and to support this through further measures. Additional activities of gamigo comprise of, among others, maintaining carbon neutrality for the whole group. More information about the Eden Reforestation Projects and details about the participating games can be found on the charity website. Packages can be purchased for the following games from gamigo: Aura Kingdom Desert Operations Echo of Soul Fiesta Online Grand Fantasia Last Chaos Rift Shaiya Trove Wargame 1942 WolfTeam Players of the above-mentioned titles are encouraged to regularly check in as these packages are expected to change over time.
New range of beauty innovation from CHANEL with sustainable Sulapac material
CHANEL has just launched an innovative and eco-responsible approach to beauty combining skincare, makeup and a fragrance mist: N°1 de CHANEL. Its formulas honor ingredients of natural origin that are renewable and have reduced environmental impact. They contain up to 97% ingredients of natural origin*** without compromising effectiveness, safety or sensory quality. The eco-design packaging includes sustainable Sulapac material, and faithful to the House of CHANEL’s exacting standards, every detail was considered. The full range of packaging for the N° 1 de CHANEL is eco-designed and includes lids that contain bio-based materials. They are the result of a collaboration that began in 2018 between the CHANEL Fragrance and Beauty Packaging Innovation Department and Finnish material innovation start-up Sulapac. “The new-generation lid of the N° 1 de CHANEL Cream is made of 90% bio‑based materials from renewable resources: FSC™* certified wood chips that are by-products of industrial side-streams combined with camellia seed shells. It was a genuine technological challenge that has now resulted in several patent-pending** applications. Faithful to the House of CHANEL’s exacting standards, every detail was considered at length including the sensory quality of the material; its resistance to heat variations; the unique sound of the jar closing; how it feels in the hand; and the depth of the matte satin finish engraved with the iconic double C,” CHANEL explains. It took more than 40 trials before Sulapac’s R&D Manager, Piia Peltola was able to find the right material recipe. “It has been fascinating to see up-close this level of devotion to the brand feel and its environmental impact,” Piia Peltola says. “Our first big task was to innovate a bio-based material that contains by-product Camelia seed shells whilst making it resistant to heat and moisture. It was just a concept idea when we started. Camellia is inherently hydrophilic material, meaning it absorbs water strongly. Solving this was a great accomplishment from us, and the first time we have incorporated such ingredient in our packaging material in a bespoke way,” Peltola explains the scope of this collaboration. “By this example we encourage more companies to choose sustainable packaging materials,” says Suvi Haimi, CEO and Co-founder of Sulapac. “It was fascinating to combine by products like camellia seed shells and FSC™* certified wood chips in this unique packaging material. Now, we have proficiency in also utilizing other side streams without compromising the functionality of the final product. It helps us to reduce the environmental footprint even further,” Haimi concludes. * Forest Stewardship Council: Wood from responsibly managed, FSC certified forests and other supervised sources. ** Three international patent applications pending. *** According to ISO 16128 standard.
POP Joins Forces with Planet Classroom to Launch NET ZERO Video Series and Ensure Countries Follow Through on Climate Pledges
The gap between where we are now – the pathways for decarbonization that nations have submitted and the pathways that science is telling us are required if we are going to stick to the 1.5 degree target planetary warming ceiling – is vast. At Cop26, almost 200 countries and parties agreed to decarbonization plans. The road to Net Zero includes phasing out coal power, getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies, curtailing deforestation, encouraging investment in renewables, focusing on adaptation policies for both wealthy and developing nations, and working together to deliver. COP26 is over. How will youth keep the drive to 1.5 alive? “Planet Classroom is delighted to continue our collaboration with the POP Movement. Since 2016, POP has played a key role in addressing the massive challenge for climate change action and protecting the earth's ecosystems. Their international youth leaders have extensive knowledge about climate change problems and solutions, and we are eager to showcase their efforts as they seek to ensure that the world’s leaders deliver on their climate promises,” said Cathy Rubin, Co-founder of Planet Classroom. “At the POP Movement, we aim to harness the talent and determination of youth inspired by knowledge on a global scale. This program would progress only on the strength of our partners ensuring the sharing of information. If we want to protect this planet and its ecosystems for the survival of all species and the welfare of future generations, we need all hands on deck, and the active involvement of like-minded individuals and organizations. We are honored to continue our invaluable partnership with Planet Classroom,” said Dr. Ash Pachauri Senior Mentor, POP Movement. "National Net Zero targets have exploded into the mainstream, but not all targets are made equal. To slash emissions by half this decade, the race to zero has to move from pledging targets to delivering them. Deeds speak louder than words: you can’t just intend to lose weight, you also need a plan, interim milestones and an accountability framework to achieve your goals. The race to net zero by mid-century has well and truly begun, but unlike most races, we win or lose this one together," said John Lang, Net Zero Tracker lead, Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit "On a daily basis, a deluge of academic studies, reports and news tell us that the Earth’s ecosystem is in danger. They further warn that we need more than just information to address the climate crisis, protect the environment, and promote a sustainable way of living. We need action. Education plays a pivotal role in raising awareness and sensitivity about the environment. It must provide the foundational knowledge and skills to identify and resolve environmental challenges, and shape attitudes and behaviors that lead to both individual and collective action," said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills. WHAT Net Zero is a video and podcast series in which youth leaders from the POP (Protect Our Planet) Movement in association with the Planet Classroom track the progress being made by international thought leaders to achieve Net Zero by 2050. HOW 24 Climate Activists from 24 nations around the world will create an original video and podcast series with their local environmental thought leaders as guests to follow-up on the progress countries are making on their climate pledges since COP26. WHEN Net Zero will be streamed on the Planet Classroom Network beginning on Tuesday February 1, 2022. Information on youth climate activist reporters and international guests will be announced shortly beforehand. Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from our atmosphere. We reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away. Youth will challenge leadership on how they can achieve this and why it matters. The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve Net Zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow but what will it take to accomplish the goal and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 percent? About the Protect Our Planet Movement The Protect Our Planet (POP) Movement is an initiative designed to address the urgent need to share information and knowledge with the youth on solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN, mitigate climate change, and adapt to its growing impacts. Intended to ultimately reach the size, scale, and momentum to become a global movement, POP mobilizes the youth worldwide to take collective action needed to mitigate climate change and protect threatened ecosystems. About the Planet Classroom Network The Planet Classroom Network, organized by CMRubinWorld, brings together musicians, dancers, video game creators, filmmakers, activists, learning innovators and emerging technologists from around the world to entertain, educate and engage youth, and to provide a rich cultural experience for all. Content showcased for youth and by youth on the Planet Classroom Network is provided by 29 cultural organizations from around the world. Young people globally played a significant role in conceptualizing, creating, and producing the network’s vision and programming.
Porsche Korea Launches ‘Bee’lieve in Dreams’, an Urban Beekeeping Project
Porsche Korea (Holger Gerrmann, CEO of Porsche Korea Ltd.) announced that it has successfully launched a bee garden in Daemo Mountain located in Gangnam, Seoul, together with Seoul Green Trust, as part of the ‘Bee’lieve in Dreams’ project to expand urban beekeeping and green spaces in the city of Seoul. Being part of Porsche Korea's CSR campaign ‘Porsche Do Dream’, ‘Bee’lieve in Dreams’, newly introduced this year, is a project that reflects the brand’s vision of creating a sustainable future and the ‘belief’ that bees, as ecological indicator species, can change the urban environment. Through this project, Porsche Korea wants to promote biodiversity and contribute to the creation of a city where people and nature coexist. It is expected that by increasing the habitat of endangered bees and creating green areas made of honeysuckle plants, we will be one step closer to solving various ecological problems along with the recovery of the bee population, which is declining due to climate change, pesticides, and various diseases. ‘Bee’lieve in Dreams’, with a gross area of 247㎡ (75 pyeong), is planted with domestic herbaceous plants including peaches, flowering apples, maples, and other plants that provide honey and pollen to bees, ‘URBAN BEES SEOUL’, a company specializing in urban beekeeping, will over-see fostering and managing the bees and for safety has installed the hives in an area distant from the garden, while their experience of urban beekeeping aims to save the city ecosystem. In addition, the project plans to improve the recreational space of the park by installing chairs and other facilities so that citizens who visit the park can appreciate the various types of honey plants in the garden and recuperate in the natural environment. Porsche Korea CEO Holger Gerrmann stated, “The ‘Porsche ‘Bee’live in Dreams’ is designed for Seoul citizens to enjoy and connect with nature by increasing the habitat of endangered bees, expanding green areas, and biodiversity for nature conservation.” and added, “Bees are critical for achieving a sustainable development and we hope that through our new social contribution program, we can contribute to promoting the synergies between human well-being and the maintenance of environmental resources for future generations.” Following the Porsche AG headquarters initiative, this urban beekeeping project in Korea is the first for the company outside of Germany. Porsche AG raises 3 million bees on a 1.32 million㎡ site within the Leipzig Off-road Proving Grounds, producing 400 kg of honey a year. Porsche AG has established a sustainable grazing concept in Leipzig already 20 years ago, providing ponds, wetlands, and pastures and a natural habitat for numerous flora and fauna. Porsche Korea will continue to carry out the ‘Bee’lieve in Dreams’ urban beekeeping project in 2022. The project plants trees and flowers in the garden to supplement green space and support educational experience programs that inform of the existential value of bees and the threats to one of the world’s most important single species.
Seaweed a model solution for fighting climate change
Seaweed, as its unfortunate name suggests, can be a nuisance. It makes a mess of beautiful beaches. It bobs up and down in the waves in an unsightly blob. And it sticks to unsuspecting swimmers as they try to enjoy a dip. But despite its reputation with some ocean goers, seaweed just might be one of the most powerful tools we have to save the planet from manmade climate change while providing a path to realizing many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers from KAUST and Aarhus University believe seaweed is a model solution to climate change, biodiversity loss, joblessness, hunger and environmental damage. In a paper published in Nature Sustainability the co-authors outline how the cultivation and use of seaweed as a carbon capture technology, a job and tax revenue generator, and a food source, can help protect and restore our planet. “Our research consolidates seaweed farming as an underpinning of a sustainable future,” Professor Carlos Duarte, study lead author said. “It is scalable, with a 2,000-fold increase potential, it generates valuable products while also contributing to carbon sequestration below the farm, it produces sustainable fuels, and it displaces carbon-intensive products, thereby providing a range of contributions to climate action. While growing at sea, seaweed forms an ecosystem that delivers multiple benefits to the marine environment.” The cultivation and use of seaweed, the authors believe, will directly support six of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and indirectly support several others. Achieving zero hunger, supporting good health, making clean energy affordable, as well as supporting industrial innovation, climate action, and ocean conservation, are all outcomes of cultivating seaweed. Not only is the plant climate positive, profitable, and edible, but it promises to feed and employ millions while preserving the planet and fostering poverty reduction and gender equality. “Seaweed provides wonderful materials for a range of applications, grounded in their amazing diversity, as seaweed are as far apart from a genomic perspective as mushrooms and elephants. This genomic diversity provides a phenomenal source of new materials across a range of industries, from food, to fuels and plastics,” Duarte said. The pitch, as much as there is one, is that seaweed cultivation must be ramped up significantly. This, of course, might encounter roadblocks in legislatures around the world as western regulations, where seaweed farming is just starting, are quite unwelcoming to seaweed aquaculture. The paper outlines in broad terms the objections that could be raised and addresses them in turn. “Because seaweed farming is a new industry in western nations, existing regulatory frameworks do not facilitate its development. In some nations it is easier to get a concession for marine oil and gas extraction than for a seaweed farm. Creating a friendlier regulatory environment that encourages, rather than deter, seaweed farming will be critical to delivering on its potential.” “Currently, seaweed farming occupies about 2,000 Km2 of land, compared to about 60 million Km2 land food producing systems occupy. We consider that about 4 million Km2 of ocean can support seaweed aquaculture while delivering positive impacts on the marine environment. In the rump-up to COP26, we consider that scaling seaweed farming can be a wedge of a regenerative approach to our oceans, delivering climate action while alleviating hunger and poverty,” Duarte said. Professor Dorte Krause-Jensen from Aarhus University adds that sustainability standards and consideration of the carrying capacity for seaweed farming need be in place to avoid potential unattended negative consequences the farming. “The utilisation of seaweed in a cascading biorefinery extracting biomolecules sequentially, offers a path to maximise the value of the biomass and render seaweed farming profitable, even in Western countries where costs are higher” said senior researcher Annette Bruhn of Aarhus University. “Promoting sustainable seaweed cultivation as an emission capture and utilisation technology supporting the circular bioeconomy, calls for a cross-sectorial approach to solving societal challenges. We need a disruption of the traditional way of thinking climate, environment and resource provision in each their sector and we need partnerships between science, industry and authorities”.
CCS could have material impact on carbon emissions of LNG projects
The use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) could have a material impact on LNG projects’ carbon emissions. Depending on the strategy adopted, more than 25% of overall carbon emissions could be removed, says Wood Mackenzie, a Verisk business (Nasdaq:VRSK). LNG is one of the most emissions-intensive upstream resource themes in the energy sector. With pressure increasing on LNG players to cut emissions, significant steps are required to decarbonise portfolios. Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Daniel Toleman said: “Around 40% of the total scope 1 and 2 LNG emissions are from the process of gas liquefaction. That said, not all LNG projects are created equal from an emissions perspective. Each plant has a unique emissions profile and hence the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of an Arctic LNG plant may vary significantly from one in Qatar or Australia. “The main options for reducing LNG emissions include CCS, carbon offsets, methane leakage reduction, electrification, and the use of renewables and batteries. CCS can have a material impact on reducing emissions of LNG projects. Depending on the CCS strategy adopted, we estimate that more than 25% of carbon emissions can be removed. “The good news is that LNG players are well placed to lead the CCS charge, with strong balance sheets, operational capability and reservoir expertise. There are also economic incentives for pursuing CCS as reducing emissions mitigates against a carbon tax, helps future-proof the asset and can offer pricing upside.” There are two main approaches to deploying CCS at LNG projects: capturing CO2 from the reservoir and capturing post-combustion CO2. Various factors that can impact CCS project costs include proximity of CO2 source to the injection site, onshore versus an offshore injection, project economies of scale, and availability of existing infrastructure for repurposing. Approach one involves capturing reservoir CO2. There are significant cost advantages to this approach versus post-combustion capture. Irrespective of whether reservoir CO2 is sequestered or vented, all LNG projects must remove CO2 from the feedgas stream before liquefaction to prevent the CO2 from freezing and blocking processes. As such, the acid gas removal unit (AGRU) used to capture CO2 does not incur additional costs. Reservoir CCS can reduce the overall intensity of LNG projects by 25%, and in some cases up to 50%. In contrast, the second approach, post-combustion CCS, involves capturing CO2 from the LNG flue gas stream. Post-combustion CCS is more expensive compared to reservoir CCS. However, there are cost benefits of adding post-combustion CCS to a new-build LNG facility, due to design and location synergies. Tax credits or other policy incentives may also help improve the economics of post-combustion CCS. For example, in the US, new-build post-combustion projects can become very competitive as well with the application of the 45Q tax credit for carbon sequestration. Toleman said: “CCS will play a significant role in reducing emissions from LNG projects as long as country-specific legislation progresses, and costs can be brought down. Low-cost reservoir CCS projects are likely to be the first to move ahead. Look out for projects in Qatar, Australia, Malaysia and Timor Leste. LNG players in the US, who benefit from the 45Q tax credit, will likely be the first LNG players to take post-combustion CCS forward.”
China-Canada Collaboration on CO2 Capture for Cement
A new collaboration between the China Building Materials Academy, (CBMA) and Canadian based, International CCS Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) will see simultaneous advancements in understanding and knowledge sharing of carbon capture technology designed specifically to see substantial emission reductions from the global cement industry. The first initiative under the agreement, Carbon Capture Use Piloting with Cement Kiln Project will aid CBMA in applying the Knowledge Centre’s model and Front End Engineering Design (FEED) of a test platform - which has a carbon dioxide (CO2) capture capacity of approximately 155 kg CO2/per day. The project will be built and piloted on a carbon capture system that utilizes the post combustion flue gas from a producing cement kiln. The Knowledge Centre will have an observer role to learn and gain insight on the characteristics of a cement kiln operation and its integration with a post combustion carbon capture system. The agreement grants the Knowledge Centre access to the operational data, such as further design, testing, data based on the modelling, emission-related information, and any improvements made to the CO2 capture test platform. This collaboration agreement is part of a bilateral science and technology cooperation between Canada and China, the China-Canada Science & Technology Cooperative Action Plan. The agreement also syncs with goals of the Chinese government to achieve carbon peaking before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060 with efforts of the cement industry in China to accelerate innovation in low carbon technologies. Through the carbon capture pilot platform, the CBMA is expected to adapt the application for potential scale-up to commercial demonstration with know-how that could be applied across the sizable fleet of China National Building Materials Ltd. (CNBM), the world’s largest cement producer and the parent of CBMA. The Knowledge Centre is currently completing a feasibility study on a full-scaled post-combustion carbon capture system on Lehigh’s Cement plant in Edmonton, Canada by applying the same model based on large-scale CCS experiences from the commercial coal-fired power plant, at the famed Canadian based Boundary Dam 3 CCS Facility.
join in with the fourth International E-Waste Day and raise public awareness of e-waste
This year’s International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday), taking place on 14 October, will focus on the crucial part each of us, as consumers and as citizens, has in making circularity a reality for e-products. According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tonnes will be generated worldwide. Only 17.4 per cent of this electronic waste containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. Many initiatives are undertaken to tackle this growing concern, but none of them can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a perceptible effect on our use of electronics and digital solutions, with people relying on e-products to keep them connected with work colleagues and in their family and social life. This has not only meant a greater use of technology in the home, it has also led to an increase in the consumption of e-products. According to a study commissioned by the European Parliament, within the European Union the demand for personal computers and tablets rose by almost 5% year-on-year until December 2020. In this context it is even more important to make users aware of the options that exist for their end-of-life equipment. In the past editions of #ewasteday, the activities of the Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) in the WEEE Forum and other participants ranged from conferences and events, through school and city collection campaigns to competitions and games. In the 2020 edition lots of creativity was shown to raise awareness in accordance with the Covid restrictions and many great online (and physical where possible) activities took place (see https://youtu.be/WlaBr_187Ak for details of the last edition) carried out by more than 120 companies from over 50 countries covering all continents. “Education and awareness are powerful tools for preventing waste and boosting separate collection and quality treatment. If you need to climb a mountain you need the right tools. International E-Waste Day is the right kind of tool” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment in his dedicated message last year. This is one of the reasons why this year too, the WEEE Forum invite all organisations sensitive to the issue of effective and circular e-waste management to plan awareness raising activities for 14 October and join this common effort by registering https://weee-forum.org/iewd-register/ Any action promoting sound e-waste collection, repair, reuse or recycling is welcome in the frame of International E-Waste Day. Registered participants will get access to the official promotional materials.
Nagoya Institute of Technology and NGK Establish “NGK Environment Innovation Laboratory”
Nagoya Institute of Technology (hereinafter, “NITech”) and NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (hereinafter, “NGK”), both based in Nagoya, Japan, have established the NGK Environment Innovation Laboratory on the NITech campus. This collaboration between the private sector and academia will work on creating innovative next-generation products that contribute to a significant reduction of greenhouse gases, such as materials for next-generation power semiconductors and high-performance storage batteries. The NGK Environment Innovation Laboratory is headed by Professor Tomokatsu Hayakawa of the NITech with Project Professor Hideki Mori and NGK’s Shinji Kawasaki as deputy directors. Five NITech professors with different fields of expertise will initially engage in three research and development with NGK’s R&D division. The project will run for five years from April 1, 2021. In its mid-to long-term vision NGK Group Vision: Road to 2050 formulated in April 2021, NGK identified carbon neutrality (net zero volume of greenhouse gas emissions) as one of its priority social issues. Since 2009, the NITech and NGK have engaged in a comprehensive collaboration program including joint research and technological exchange. The NGK Environment Innovation Laboratory was established as part of this collaboration under the NITech’s project laboratory program* to focus on development related to carbon neutrality. The laboratory project will engage in research and development of next-generation power semiconductor wafers essential for energy-saving electronic devices and electric vehicles (EV), ceramic solid-state electrolytes and separators with high ionic conductivity for high-performance storage batteries that are indispensable to utilize renewable energy. These research themes are included in the 39 themes identified in the Japanese Government Cabinet Office’s “Environment Innovation Strategy” set in 2020 and can take advantage of NGK’s ceramics technologies. The laboratory will consider taking on additional research themes that contribute to inventive environmental innovations and themes related to materials informatics* going forward. With the private sector and academia working together, the laboratory aims to drive innovation in energy and environmental fields that help us substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
CooperCompanies Releases 2020 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report
CooperCompanies (NYSE: COO) announced today the publication of its first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, highlighting the Company’s progress on ESG items most important to its businesses and stakeholders, including employees, shareholders, customers, and global communities. “At Cooper, we believe operating with integrity and conducting our business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner is important to our long-term success. We are proud of our ESG progress and committed to accomplishing more,” said Al White, President and CEO of CooperCompanies (“Cooper”). Cooper’s 2020 ESG Report details its commitment to bringing health and vision care to more people worldwide through ethical business practices and innovative, high-quality products. It includes the Company’s approach and progress on key ESG priority issues identified during a recent materiality assessment, including product quality and patient safety; business ethics; employee health and safety; diversity and inclusion; and human capital management. In developing the report, Cooper aligned with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards. Key report highlights include: • Established a breakthrough partnership with Plastic Bank® that makes CooperVision’s clariti® 1 day the first net plastic neutral contact lens in the U.S. • All key facilities in New York and the United Kingdom source 100% renewable electricity via Renewable Energy Certificates. • Women make up approximately 48% of Cooper’s global workforce. The Company will achieve gender parity on its Board of Directors as of July 2021 with the addition of its fourth woman director. • Received certification as a Great Place to Work in the U.S. for the third consecutive year and recognition as one of the Top 10 Best Large Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production in the U.S. Cooper’s mission of improving lives one person at a time is grounded in enhancing the health and wellness of people and communities across the globe. The company aligned our commitments with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”), in particular with three SDG’s that most closely connect with its business: #3 Good Health and Well-being, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, and #17 Partnerships. Read more in the Cooper 2020 Environmental, Social, and Governance Report: https://www.coopercos.com/esg-report-2020/
IDTechEx Discuss If Direct Air Capture Can Really Help in the Fight Against Climate Change
Carbon capture technology may be essential in helping the world in the fight against climate change. By fitting fossil fuel power stations and industrial emitters with carbon capture technology, it is possible to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by over 90%. Until renewable energy is capable of providing the bulk of the world’s power needs, carbon capture may have to play a major role if the world is to meet the 2°C warming target outlined by the Paris Agreement. “Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage 2021-2040”, a new report by IDTechEx, explores the technical and industrial factors that will play a role in deciding whether carbon capture technology can live up to its potential as a key technology in the fight against climate change. However, capturing CO2 from point sources such as power stations and steel manufacturing plants may not be enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Most scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for keeping the world below 2°C of warming require the active removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Outside of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which remains highly unproven, this is not possible with point source carbon capture. A potential solution is direct air capture (DAC) technology, which uses carbon capture techniques to strip CO2 from atmospheric air. The technology has generated much excitement around the world, with many hoping it could help to directly reverse the impacts of climate change. However, despite the enthusiasm, the technology is still at a very early stage, is unproven at scale, and is currently far more expensive than point-source carbon capture. So, does DAC justify the excitement or is it doomed to fail? And why not just plant trees instead? The DAC process is similar to an artificial tree; ambient air enters the DAC device and a range of chemical and physical processes extract the CO2 before the rest of the air is released back into the atmosphere. However, the process is much more efficient than planting trees, requiring less land and fewer resources. For example, Swiss DAC company Climeworks claims that its plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, can remove 900 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 36,000 trees. Commercial DAC methods work via a similar mechanism to point-source carbon capture. First, large fans push ambient air through a filter containing a substance that physically or chemically binds the CO2, with the CO2-free air being released back into the environment. For example, sodium hydroxide solution will react with CO2 to form a stable sodium carbonate precipitate. This carbonate can then be heated to produce a high purity gaseous CO2 stream, which also enables the regeneration of the sodium hydroxide. For CO2 separation, liquid solvents – usually amine-based or caustic – are commonly used to absorb the CO2 from the ambient air. Alternatively, solid sorbents can be used via a chemisorption mechanism, with heat and vacuum being used to desorb the CO2 and enable reuse of the sorbent. To date, the most successful processes for capturing CO2 from the ambient air are based on low-temperature solid sorbents and aqueous alkaline solutions. Several companies around the world are working to commercialize DAC technology, with more and more start-ups being founded every year and investors putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the rapidly expanding field. Arguably the most successful company in the field is Climeworks. Climeworks uses a low-temperature solid sorbent method based on amines supported by a cellulose mesh to capture atmospheric CO2 in an energy-efficient manner. The company uses a modular design for its “CO2 Collectors”, which it claims reduces costs and supports scalability, and has 15 DAC systems in place across Europe, making it the largest DAC operator in the world. Another fast-growing company in the field is Carbon Engineering, based in Squamish, British Columbia. Carbon Engineering is taking the opposite approach to Climeworks, aiming to construct a large-scale single facility in the Permian Basin capable of capturing 1 million tonnes of CO2 every year by 2023-2024. The company believes this large-scale approach will help access economies of scale and improve the commercial feasibility of the DAC process. Unlike Climeworks, Carbon Engineering uses a high-temperature aqueous method for capturing atmospheric CO2 based on potassium hydroxide. This method allows continuous capture of CO2, rather than separate capture and regeneration steps, although the energy required to regenerate the sorbent can be much higher. Beyond these two major players, several companies are innovating in DAC technology. Global Thermostat is aiming to reduce the costs of DAC through its porous, honeycomb ceramic “monoliths”, which act as carbon sponges, while Prometheus Fuels is developing an electrochemical method for converting atmospheric CO2 into fuels using water, electricity, and carbon nanotube membranes. Other companies such as Infinitree and Skytree are developing innovative solutions for removing CO2 from the local atmosphere. Despite the optimism around DAC, the technology still faces some serious hurdles before it can reach the scale where it has a meaningful impact on climate change. The main issue at the moment is the cost of the technology. Although DAC companies have remained fairly tight-lipped around their current process costs, capturing one tonne of CO2 directly from the atmosphere is believed to cost $600-$1,300 using current technology, compared with $40-$80 for capturing one tonne of CO2 from the flue gas stream of a coal-fired power plant. Although some of these costs are related to the immaturity of the technology and can be expected to decrease in the coming years, it is unlikely they will ever be as low as point source capture costs. There is a relatively low amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (ca. 412 ppm compared with 150,000 ppm in point emission sources), meaning that stripping it is much more technically challenging and a process that fundamentally requires much more energy. A 2018 study from Carbon Engineering described how DAC costs could be reduced to $94-$232 per tonne, although the $94 figure was an optimistic outlook. The world is currently emitting over 30 billion tonnes of CO2 every year, so for DAC to have a meaningful impact on atmospheric CO2 levels, it could cost hundreds of billions of dollars in capture costs, not to mention the huge energy requirements for the process. Nevertheless, facing these costs may be unavoidable if the world is to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. It will, however, require serious coordinated action from governments and industry alike. The other major issue facing DAC is the limited time available for scale-up if it is to have a meaningful impact on atmospheric CO2 levels before it’s too late to avoid the 2°C warming target set out by the Paris Agreement. All DAC technology currently deployed across the world can capture around 50,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, a tiny fraction of global emissions. The Carbon Engineering 1 million tonne per year plant, alongside other developments, will boost this by the middle of the decade, but it will still be a long way from being able to have a meaningful impact. IDTechEx forecasts that DAC capacity will reach 265 million tonnes of CO2 captured by 2030 and could reach 8% of global carbon capture capacity by 2040, but this will require major levels of investment and technology development. Direct air capture is an exciting technology that has the potential to actively reverse decades of damage to the atmosphere from anthropogenic emissions. However, it is not a silver bullet and DAC alone will not be enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Nor is the future potential of DAC enough to justify inaction over emissions now, in the hope that future technology will solve the problem. Nevertheless, as part of a coordinated system of carbon capture technology, negative emissions technologies, and emissions reduction strategies, DAC could play an important role in creating a sustainable future. For a detailed technical and economic analysis of DAC technology, alongside point source carbon capture, carbon utilization and carbon storage methods, see the recent IDTechEx report, “Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage 2021-2040”.
Climate Board Training - How To Future Proof Your Business
A new initiative aimed at building more climate literate business leaders is being piloted in early June by the Climate Reality Project and the social climate social media organization We Don’t Have Time. The initiative, which is initially aimed at board members in Europe and USA, could be a regional blueprint for a global effort if the training proves successful. The decision to launch the scheme, which begins with a pilot course in Swedish and then in English for a total of up to 100 board members, follows recent, in-depth research by New York University’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business. “It found only 0.2 per cent of board members on Fortune 100 companies had ‘climate expertise’ despite climate change becoming a defining force in the future success or failure of business world-wide,” said Ingmar Rentzhog, the CEO and founder of We Don’t Have Time. “I witnessed this firsthand during a recent fund-raising drive with some financiers reasonably familiar with the challenges and opportunities of climate action, but still many, many others requiring a great deal more information and deeper understanding about one of the most defining issues of our generation,” he added. Christina Carlmark, Volunteer Regional Coordinator, Climate Reality Europe – Team Nordics, said: “The training will be based on a customized Al Gore presentation, delivered by myself and Ingmar Rentzhog. Having presented this material to numerous management teams, I know it will be engaging, motivating and inspiring.” Former US Vice-President Al Gore is the Climate Reality Project Founder, currently hosting climate trainings online to increase the transition to a low-carbon sustainable world. “Business has a crucial role to play helping governments deliver the Paris Climate Change Agreement and we want to provide board members with the knowledge, the urgency and direction needed to step up ambition and develop the businesses and solutions the world needs in the 21st Century,” said Ingmar Rentzhog. Part of the training will include how to communicate what a company is doing to address climate change in its day-to-day operations to ensure its claims and aims matches the need for honest, climate and environmental information among a growing, younger generation of climate savvy consumers. The two courses, which also involve partner Global Utmaning, will kick off on 1 June with a course in Swedish and conclude on the 3 June with the training in English. More courses are likely to be planned in the autumn to meet the anticipated demand by companies and corporate leaders, make sure to join the social network for climate: WeDontHaveTime.org to get an invite. Company board members wanting to take part in the ‘Climate Board Training—How to Future Proof Your Business’ can learn about the program and register in advance at https://www.wedonthavetime.org/events/futureproofyourbusiness
CDP Includes Toray in Water Security A List for Second Straight Year
CDP (see note 1), an international non-profit organization, has included Toray Industries, Inc., in its Water Security A List for the second consecutive year. Toray Group is committed to innovating advanced materials that help resolve environmental issues. This is in keeping with a principle since Toray’s foundation in 1926 that corporations are public institutions that should contribute to society through business. Providing access to clean water is pivotal to the Toray Group Sustainability Vision, representing a roadmap to the World as Envisioned by Toray Group in 2050 and Toray Vision 2030. The Group is accordingly endeavoring to help alleviate water shortages across the globe through reverse osmosis membranes and other water treatment technologies, reducing, reusing, and recycling water resources in business and safeguarding water resources. Water is essential to life, but just 0.01% of water on Earth is readily usable for daily living. Water stress (see note 2) has become an issue amid population growth and economic development. Recent years have witnessed frequent droughts, floods, and other disasters worldwide attributable to climate change. Global food demand should increase by more than 20% over the next 15 years. Water depletion could lead to frequent famines from crop failures. Access to water and sanitation for all is accordingly one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. All tangible products are made from materials, which is why Toray Group believes that materials can change lives. The Group will contribute to social sustainability through ongoing efforts to help resolve water shortages, climate change, and other global issues. ### Notes 1. CDP (formerly, the Carbon Disclosure Project) is a non-profit organization founded in the United Kingdom in 2000 that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts by tackling the challenges of climate change, water security, and deforestation. 2. Areas experience water stress when annual water supplies are below 1,700 cubic meters per person.
Toray to Launch Eco-Friendly Ecouse(R) PET Films Representing Step toward to Sustainable Economy
Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it has developed Ecouse® (pronounced Eco-Use) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films. It succeeded in constructing a recycling system by collecting used films from electronic component applications, and recovering to eco-friendly films which helps materialize a sustainable economy. The company aims to launch full-fledged sales of the new product after setting up an annual production capacity of 2,500 metric tons. The diverse applications of PET films include electronic components, packaging materials, and display items. The supply chain of electronic components from film production through disposal is relatively short, prompting moves to consider recycling systems. The challenge, however, has been an absence of techniques to remove diverse coatings, resins, and other materials from each process in the supply chain. This has hampered reusing materials in films, so the focus has been on waste disposal and thermal recycling. Toray therefore set about collaborating with companies across the supply chain in what proved a successful effort to build and run a system to collect and reuse PET film from electronic component applications. Toray combined mechanical recycling process technology, which removes coatings materials and resins from film surfaces through grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding, with foreign matter removal techniques for each manufacturing process to enable reuse in films without impairing mechanical characteristics or reliability. The resulting Ecouse series of eco-friendly PET films could help lower the consumption of raw materials derived from fossil fuels and waste plastics while lowering carbon dioxide emissions, from used film recovery through film production, by 30% to 50% less than those of conventional Toray offerings. Ecouse is a brand for recycled materials and products that Toray began rolling out worldwide in 2015. The company has traditionally reused scrap from manufacturing processes as raw materials for films. It will now accelerate its deployment of recycled films through developing Ecouse series PET films employing recycled materials from customers. Toray looks to build more recycling systems and manufacturing setups to expand the variety of collecting film applications beyond electronic component. It will also expand the use of Ecouse for other series of films and film processed products. Toray’s Green Innovation Business Expansion Project provides solutions to environmental, resources, and energy issues. It is through that initiative that Toray seeks to expand its businesses across diverse fields, including energy conservation, biomass, and recycling, to help materialize a sustainably circular economy. Toray will continue to supply innovative technologies and advanced materials that help the world overcome the challenges of balancing development and sustainability.
Significant government intervention necessary if bioplastics are to scale
Based on the fundamentals of their environmental footprint compared to that of virgin fossil fuel-derived plastics, biodegradable bioplastics could significantly reduce the carbon emissions of the chemicals industry. However, in order to achieve the scale needed to play a meaningful role, the bioplastics industry will require significant regulatory interventions from governments and substantial cost efficiencies as technologies mature and scale, according to Wood Mackenzie. “From a sustainability point of view, bioplastics have two main benefits. As a renewable resource, they have a substantially lower lifetime carbon footprint than fossil fuel-derived polymers. Their biodegradability provides another route to reducing levels of plastic in the waste stream,” said Guy Bailey, Wood Mackenzie Head of Intermediates and Applications. Despite the urgent need to increase the sustainability of the industry, bioplastics still play a small role in the plastics value chain today. So, what factors are holding their progress back? Bioplastics currently make up less than 1% of global plastics consumption, according to Wood Mackenzie’s analysis. While healthy increases in capacity are forecast over the next few years, the growth rate is still behind expectations for polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). “Cost is a significant barrier to scaling up bioplastics, as manufacturing bioplastics is often much more expensive than traditional polymers. Until bioplastics can consistently compete on price, they’re unlikely to displace commodity thermoplastics in most applications. “Bioplastics producers also need to prove they provide a more holistically sustainable product. Agricultural feedstocks impose their own environmental costs – using pesticides and leaching of fertilisers in water systems, for example. Given current scales, bioplastics are also arguably a distraction. Building market share could mean diverting resources and efforts away from other sustainability measures, such as collecting and recycling plastic packaging,” said Ashish Chitalia, Wood Mackenzie Head of Polyolefins. Despite the hurdles bioplastics must overcome, targeted interventions can help them to compete at scale. “The easiest lever for governments to reach for is legislation. This could take the form of targets at an application level like recycled content targets for packaging applications in the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive. Additionally, governments could focus policy changes higher up the value chain to incentivise production. “If governments start to apply significant and consistent carbon taxes or prices, this would also stand to benefit lower-carbon bioplastics,” added Bailey. To illustrate the impact new legislation and a carbon tax could have on the scalability of bioplastics, Wood Mackenzie ran a scenario that assumes bioplastics producers make a sustained push for integration efficiencies and a global carbon price of €100/ ton. “Our research shows that, combined with efficiency gains from integration and scale, the implementation of an aggressive carbon tax would bring the price of polylactic acid (PLA) – a major bioplastic – in line with that of PE and PET. “However, if the carbon price was cut to €50/ton, PLA would become a premium product once again, therefore eroding its ability to compete profitably at scale,” added Chitalia. Based on Wood Mackenzie’s analysis, critical puzzle pieces must fall into place if bioplastics are to make major inroads into petrochemical-based plastics. Some of these pieces include biorefinery integration, economies of scale, improvements in the polymerisation process technologies, an inherent mechanical property gap vs petrochemical polymers, and compatibility with downstream conversion technologies.