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Yesterday morning in Scherpenzeel, marked the starting point of the Energy European tour for @MarosSefcovic, Vice-President of the @EU_Commission in charge of #EnergyUnion.

Maros Sefcovic and Rob Boogaard

He kindly accepted to answer some of our Cut The Fluff questions :

Q.- What is your definition of sustainability in one sentence?

Sustainability is about ensuring my children will enjoy a planet in the same state as the one I was born into.

Q.- What will get us out of this mess? Miraculous technology, tough regulation or self-flagelation?

We need to spread the word across Europe that we have the technology here (in Scherpenzeel/Netherlands), we have the motivation in Europe !

We need to convince business leaders, decision makers, politicians that sustainability pays off, that you can be profitable, and at the same time you can save energy, you can do a lot of good for the environment, for your town, for your employees and export this expertise around the world

 Q.- What’s your message to the Fortune 500 CEO’s

I’d like to say : be a little bit more open if sustainability experts are telling that business could be done differently.

Companies, when they produce, should think how to recycle ? or when they spend and consume energy : how to  save it ?

And how you can do it in a way that, not only your company, but also your region, your country could benefit.

I’m already thinking about our discussions in Paris in December because that would be something that we need to transmit to the global leaders.

Maros Sefcovic Rob Boogaard factory visit

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Interface Europe direct footprint reductions

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Maroš ŠefčovičToday EU Vice President Maroš Šefčovič will see with his own eyes in the Netherlands how the following impact reductions are possible in a competitive environment.

There should be no excuse for any company not to achieve radical impact reduction goals.

Interface Europe direct footprint reductions:

* Direct GHG Emissions: -98% (Reduction since 1996)

* Renewable Energy: 95%

* Energy Efficiency: -54% (Reduction since 1996)

* Water Usage: -93% (Reduction since 1996)

* Waste to Landfill:  Zero

The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation

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The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovationI’ll be speaking here on Wednesday at the 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation in Barcelona. Please come and say hello if you’re attending.

The event is all about boosting competitiveness and innovation. Make your voice heard as a European innovator, retailer and consumer. Gain a deeper understanding of the world of environmental information and management schemes. Join us in Barcelona for the 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation!  The Forum will explore how to strengthen competitiveness and innovation, in particular of SMEs, through environmental labelling, management and information schemes by presenting:

* the landscape of existing environmental schemes and their value in enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs;

* examples of successful environmental labelling, management and information initiatives;

* how we reconcile credibility of labels with the need to differentiate products;

* the role of public authorities in this area; and

* partnerships between retailers and suppliers that help consumers choose “green” products.

The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation also provides an opportunity for participants from across Europe to:

* meet with the participants of the European Retail Forum Meeting;

* inform the on-going European Union Ecolabel and Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) evaluations with key messages and recommendations for action;

* discover the best performing companies among those committed to monitor and enhance their environmental performance at the EMAS Awards Ceremony;

* learn about the first innovative technologies with performance claims verified by Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) and about the Best of Eco-innovation projects funded by the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Programme Eco-innovation initiative;

* participate in a business-to-business matchmaking session;

* Take part in the guided visit to stores demonstrating their conception and implementation of sustainability: Caprabo (Eroski Group), Mercadona, Consum.

The Forum is jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Generalitat de Catalunya with the support the Club EMAS Catalunya and the Environment Sector Group of the Enterprise Europe Network.

The event will be run in English and Spanish. Hope to see you there.

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The answer is : the plastic film used in windscreens !

Interface is launching the world’s first recycled latex substitute using laminate found in car glass.

Driven by its commitment to Mission Zero, Interface has developed a method for using recycled poly-vinyl butyral (PVB) to replace the existing latex precoat widely used in the carpet tile industry to fix the yarn to the backing.

PVB is the laminate found in glass which prevents it from shattering, and is most commonly found in car windscreens. The industry has been recycling this type of glass for some time but had found no solution for recycling the PVB.

Working alongside new and old partners, including Shark Solutions, Interface invested 10 years of research in developing the ground-breaking process and, as a result of this co-innovation, PVB has been given a second life in a new, sustainable supply chain.

PVB has a carbon footprint that is 80 per cent less than the existing latex precoat used in the industry. Interface Europe currently uses 43 per cent of recycled
or bio-based raw materials and the Mission Zero goal is 100 per cent by 2020.

The new material will bring Interface’s use of recycled or bio-based raw materials to 66 per cent when applied to all products and, as such, in the next two years, Interface believes products with up to 90 per cent recycled or biobased content will be achievable.

Follow this newsfeed with #carpetcar

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The Stretch Agenda – Dramatising transformational change in the boardroom

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Volans Stretch Agenda

John and the Volans team are taking this novel approach, and bringing to life as a play, what needs to happen in every company to drive transformational change that ultimately affects us all.

They’ve called it The Stretch Agenda which launches today – More here in the PDF in our downloads section.

“The Stretch Agenda  takes the form of a dramatisation – a play! – drawing on our years of experience in working with business, to offer insight into the types of conversations now beginning to play out across boardrooms in the Global C-Suite. 

The focus here is on a fictional “MN-Co”, a global company, where leaders are gathered to explore how to shift their business model to address the profound economic, social and environmental challenges ahead. So, in other words, transformational change, beyond the incremental. Key questions they ask themselves include: If not us, who? If not now, when? 

At the same time, we will launch a complementary briefing, The Breakthrough Forecastan intelligence briefing – as yet in a beta version – to map and assess the emerging “Sweet Spots” of the emerging Stretch Agenda, i.e. market growth opportunities that combine multiple forms of value based on a distillation of research, interviews and analysis.”

Break a leg guys!

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Is Tesla’s Powerwall A Real Game Changer?

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Tesla Last week Elon Musk from Tesla announced the Powerwall, their home battery pack power unit. The core idea is that you can draw and store energy from solar and other power sources when available and/or at lowest cost.

I have no doubt that energy storage is a great strategic play in the micro generation market but these kinds of products have been around for several years, so why have they not taken off before? And is this really going to be a game changer for us and the energy industry?

It raises many further questions, some of which I will try to answer:

Price – At $3500 and $3000 for the 10kw and 7kw respectively – is this the right price point? Well the battery is cheap, much more so than the competition (roughly 1/3 the price) but this does not include the inverter to convert the DC to AC to suit your home, solar PV, or installation. When you do the full ownership maths it’s not all that cheap if you’re already using a decent renewables based supplier.

How sustainably sourced/produced are these units? How are they built, applied and recycled? – It’s too early to really know but the life and process cycle of lithium-ion is well understood. It would be a PR disaster if there were serious holes in their thinking but lets see. They are guaranteed for 10 years but at what efficiency at the end of that life-cycle?

Integration – Are they easy to install and maintain? We don’t know yet. We do know that the Deliveries start this summer so we’ll expect to hear more very soon. I think the key here is to apply this solution with solar, if you’re able.

Energy cost and savings – Early estimates suggest 15c to 25c per kwh which is ok’ish but in no way game changing. In the US energy costs can be as low as 10c but in Hawaii for example you can quadruple that. However – if nothing else, this product release may budge other service providers to offer more sustainable solutions at more reasonable prices and service levels. I appreciate this may sound a little naive, but the ego fuelled board rooms of big power companies may just feel some of the pinch.

Tesla’s brand power - Every new market needs the maverick and the executer. Elon Musk appears to be both. He’s shaken up the auto industry at exactly the right time and their brand power may just be enough to get us all thinking about where and how our electricity is generated.

Developing countries – I can’t see at this price point how it will benefit the developing world but maybe it will bridge some of the gap for the more affluent or more vital services in remote or power poor areas.

Tesla BatterySpecs

Technology – Wall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control.
Models – 10 kWh $3,500For backup applications7 kWh $3,000For daily cycle applications
Warranty – 10 years
Efficiency – 92% round-trip DC efficiency
Power – 2.0 kW continuous, 3.3 kW peak
Voltage – 350 – 450 volts
Current – 5.8 amp nominal, 8.6 amp peak output
Compatibility – Single phase and three phase utility grid compatible.
Operating Temperature – -4°F to 110°F / -20°C to 43°C
Enclosure – Rated for indoor and outdoor installation.
Installation – Requires installation by a trained electrician. DC-AC inverter not included.
Weight – 220 lbs / 100 kg
Dimensions – 51.2″ x 33.9″ x 7.1″ - 1300 mm x 860 mm x 180 mm
Certification – NRTL listed to UL standards

WIRED’s writer Brent Rose takes a more ‘real world’ look:

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Heineken’s Blippar Campaign – Where tech, retail and #sustainability meet

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Heineken sustainabilitySome of this may well be #greenwash (let’s assume not) but you have to give it to Heineken for producing a great campaign that will hopefully educate the wider public about resource efficiency, as well as the wider sustainability agenda. It’s engaging, fun and hopefully will make people think about where their products come from and how the ingredients are sourced.

Mark van Iterson, global head of design for Heineken, said:

“Sustainability is often seen to be complex and inaccessible for consumers. However, sustainability is at the heart of all that we do and we wanted to find a way to encourage consumers and all our stakeholders to easily engage with our Brewing a Better World programme.

“Legendary 7 challenges the status quo of sustainability reporting and helps consumers appreciate the sustainability thinking and all natural ingredients which go into the creation of their favourite brand.”

HEINEKEN has stated that it is committed to buy 50% of its main raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020 and the Legendary 7 campaign pays tribute to seven farmers from France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom who produce high quality sustainable barley and hops used to brew Heineken® beer.

Consumers are asked to meet the 7 legendary farmers via Blippar - the augmented reality smartphone app – and a bottle of Heineken®. By scanning the Heineken® label using the Blippar app, consumers unlock exclusive content:

* An engaging animation film introducing the Legendary 7
* The story of each of those 7 farmers
* Access to our sustainability commitments and ultimately linking to HEINEKEN’s 2014 Sustainability Report.
* 7elfie – create your own Legendary 7selfie and share it on social media

For more information about HEINEKEN’s sustainability ambitions please go to

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Will you be able to answer this ?

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Today, we’d like to invite you to play a little game with us :-)

Would you be able to answer that question below ?

car-01 car-02You have until May 6th to try to find the solution ! Until then we would be happy to hear your thoughts : #carpetcar / @Interface_UK !



Audi develops synthetic diesel from CO2

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It’s quite incredible to think about, but chemically and practically relatively straight forward. Audi have developed e-diesel, with the raw material being CO2.

The base product, called ‘blue crude’ is created using a 3-step process. The first step involves harvesting renewable energy from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. They then use this energy to split water into oxygen and pure hydrogen, using a process known as reversible electrolysis.

This hydrogen is then mixed with carbon monoxide (CO), which is created from carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s been harvested from the atmosphere. The two react at high temperatures and under pressure, resulting in the production of the long-chain hydrocarbon compounds that make up the blue crude.

Once it’s been refined, the resulting e-diesel can be mixed in with our current diesel fuel, or used on its own to power cars in a more sustainable way.

Audi Synthetic Diesel

“After a commissioning phase of just four months, the research facility in Dresden started producing its first batches of high‑quality diesel fuel a few days ago. To demonstrate its suitability for everyday use, Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka put the first five liters into her official car, an Audi A8 3.0 TDI clean diesel quattro*, this Tuesday. “This synthetic diesel, made using CO2, is a huge success for our sustainability research. If we can make widespread use of CO2 as a raw material, we will make a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources, and put the fundamentals of the “green economy” in place,” declared Wanka.”

Sources: Science Alert and Audi

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