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Ellen MacArthur, The Circular Economy and Interface

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Circular Economy Ellen MacarthurIt is always great for a company to get a name check in the press or to be noticed in some way for good reasons. To be mentioned by Ellen Macarthur on the BBC website, and associated with something we hold so dear, is something of a triple whammy.

Here is an excerpt from her piece that includes the mention of Interface and Ray. Click on the image to read the full article about why it is so important that we all push for a Circular Economy:

“For a long time, the proponents of natural capitalism and the circular economy were voices crying in a business wilderness. One corporate leader who did take notice was the founder of one of the world’s biggest carpet companies, Interface.

The late Ray Anderson had what he called an epiphany 20 years ago, when his company was already 21 years old. It was then that he read an earlier book by Paul Hawken – The Ecology of Commerce. This argued that only industry leaders could reverse the destructive harm industry was doing to the planet.

Ray Anderson was stunned by this. In response, he turned it into a company cause, pledging to turn Interface into a sustainable company without any negative impact on the environment by 2020.

Sadly, he died in 2011 before that could be achieved, but the mission continues. And other businesses are waking up to this imperative.”

Source BBC

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Cost Per Lumen – The LED revolution

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Sometimes we get things a little bit right. And all too often we don’t celebrate these little wins. Here is a graph that details how LED light technology has changed our world as cost per lumen. It’s by no means a complete win but with energy requirements cut by up to 80% and our lights burning just as bright, it’s a great little reminder what can be done.

Cost per lumen


Source – Cambridge Uni Press

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The Great Acceleration

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In one lifetime humanity has become…

Global Force

Here is one of the scariest slide decks I’ve seen – Using 24 key social, economic, and environmental indicators, Pharand-Deschênes has created a dashboard that shows how human pressure on planet Earth is reaching critical level. Fast. The acceleration shown over the last 60 years is absolutely crazy. Zoom in. Freak out.

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These Fossil Fuels Must Be Left In The Ground

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The Guardian recently covered the difficult question of what fossil fuels MUST be left in the ground to keep global temp rises below 2 degrees. It’s definitely worth a read.

To stay below 2 degrees - between 2011 and 2050 we need to limit emissions to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). We’re currently way off. Also keep in mind that the source report from Nature suggests that success is only around a 50% probability, which is a bit of a shocker.

Carbon Tracker released their report last year, as have others over the years, and many media outlets have run stories on the subject, but this new report actually details the facts and figures. Obviously the geopolitical and economic implications are huge.

The graphic below outlines the key items.

Unburnable fossil fuels

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The Basics Of Climate Science

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It doesn’t get much simpler than this. 

In this video The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences explain climate science in 60 seconds.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

“Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes.”

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Waste Management’s 2014 Sustainability Report

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Waste Management have released their comprehensive sustainability report called “CREATING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY “. Waste Management is the largest environmental solutions provider in North America, serving more than 20 million customers in the U.S. and Canada.

“As part of our strategy, we are committed to developing new waste solutions that can help communities and organisations achieve their green goals, including zero waste.”

Waste Management Summary

As with all self served sustainability reports it can sometimes be hard to distinguish ‘company line’ from hard fact but this thorough report is well worth a read, if for no other reason than to check in with what’s going on across the pond.

Their report focusses on the circular economy and covers: 

Progress to Date
Sustainability Key Performance Indicators
Introduction to the Circular Economy
Reducing Waste
Extracting Value from Organics
Recovering Energy from Waste
Harnessing Energy at the Landfill
Sustainability Performance
Workforce Safety
Engaging with Communities

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Why I love Tesla

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TeslaLast week I was lucky enough to drive a Tesla – What an experience!

Thanks to Laura Cremer who organised the event for the Interface Sustainability Ambassador Training participants.

The entire driving experience was amazing: immediate torque, no noise, huge computer display. I hope one day I’m fortunate enough to own one.

The company is not just interesting for being a pioneer in electric cars, or for making electric cars sexy (now the mainstream German manufacturers are trying to copy it).

What IS interesting from Tesla is now that that job is done, and electric is on its way to becoming mainstream, they are betting big on batteries.

Tesla DashBattery technology is the bottleneck for this industry, it’s also where a lot of the cost is sunk. Owning the supply chain in batteries is a huge bet that could go horribly wrong or could become a pseudo monopoly of the most critical part of the cars of our future.

… keeping in mind we’re not only talking about batteries for vehicles – batteries are also the bottleneck for the domestic PV generation, as well as many other sectors.

However. If anyone can pull it off, Tesla can.

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How Solar Will Light The Way in the UK [Study]

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GS1 Solar ReportGerman think-tank Thema1 has published a report where they outline the solar situation in the UK.

Here are some key extracts – to download the full report click on the image.

In 2015, solar PV globally will overtake both gas and coal to become the number one power generation technology in terms of annual installations.

* We investigate three markets in solar power: large- scale, ground-mounted “solar farms”; commercial roof-top; and residential rooftop. We estimate that all three will be economic without support in the next decade.

*  Increasing cost-competitiveness and capacity growth of solar PV in Britain will impact the British power system, including falls in wholesale power prices, as already seen in Germany. The growth of solar power may threaten electric utilities which fail to transition away from solely supplying electricity, to providing residential energy services.

* We find that unsubsidised residential solar power may be cheaper with battery storage. Unsupported domestic solar battery packs achieve payback periods of little more than 10 years by 2020. By 2025, solar battery packs are fully competitive without subsidies across Britain. That could create an inflexion point driving adoption of domestic solar system.

INCREASINGLY AFFORDABLE - Solar costs have fallen faster than rival technologies. Such cost reductions will continue, leading to ever greater grid penetration in the near and medium term.

LOWER WHOLESALE POWER PRICES - Assuming solar PV continues to have priority grid access, higher installed capacity will lead to falls in wholesale power prices, as seen in Germany

FAST TO BUILDSolar PV has the fastest installation rate in Britain among electricity generating technologies. It takes an average of 1.1 years to generate its first electricity from initial planning application, compared with 5.4 years for offshore wind. EDF Energy has forecast 12 years (from planning application in 2011) to commission the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Britain.

PREDICTABLE - Solar power is variable, but reliable and predictable; day ahead forecasts are about 90% accurate.

SECURE - By relying on a web of thousands or millions of individual installations, solar power can become an important part of a highly resilient and intelligent power network.

CLEAN - Solar power emits next to zero carbon emissions, and also displaces particulate matter (PM) from coal combustion, which is harmful to human health.