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c/o GreenBiz – Interface: How our engineers slash massive waste, emissions

By | | No Comments published this article yesterday, covering our recent press release via our engineers in the Netherlands, all about Mission Zero and Ray Anderson’s vision of “radical industrialism” . Thank you GreenBiz.

I’ve copied the 6 lessons for other businesses below, and click the image to read the full article.

GreenBiz Mission Zero

Lessons for other companies:

1. Big challenges empower employees.
2. Create a sense of urgency: Why wait if we can do it now?
3. Celebrate engineers and encourage them to get out of the factory and talk to other engineers. Listen to them tell their story below.
4. Create an engineering culture that believes “there has to be a better way,” using both big technology shifts and an obsession with small improvements.
5. Make a deal with finance: Some of the process savings must be reinvested in sustainable innovations that are in themselves not economic, such as a long return on investment items or more expensive raw materials.
6. Re-allocate most of the PR budget to achieving real progress; then the story sells itself (save just enough PR budget to give the engineers the credit they deserve).

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Reducing Europe’s carbon: set bold targets and aim for the impossible

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This article was published by The Guardian yesterday, written by our own Rob Boogaard and titled “Reducing Europe’s carbon: set bold targets and aim for the impossible”.

Click on the image to read the original article or the text below.

Guardian Sustainable Business

There has been much discussion and debate since the EU Commission recently unveiled its proposed 2030 carbon targets. While the energy lobbies argue the targets are too ambitious, the green lobbies assert they’re not ambitious enough.

I was recently among a delegation of business leaders from the Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group in Brussels. The purpose of the meeting was to impress on the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, our support for the proposed 40% target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as a minimum.

Unlike other continents, Europe does not have the conventional energy resources needed to power our economy. We have traditionally relied on other regions for our supply and have been subject to their price policies. With massive shifts in the energy supply occurring around us, it is critical for Europe to take control of its future and unlock its low-carbon economic potential. What we need is for Europe to step up – to take radical action and drive the market changes we need to transform our economy towards a more sustainable path. We need to do this not just for the wellbeing of our markets, but for our people and the planet.

An ambitious low-carbon target is achievable and can dramatically increase profitability and productivity. Interface Europe has surpassed the proposed 40% reduction and is now operating at a 90% reduction rate. The ultimate target is for Interface to have zero impact on the environment by 2020.

When Mission Zero was conceived in 1994 by Interface’s founder and CEO, the late Ray Anderson, the goal seemed outrageous and unattainable, but two important strategies have helped Interface forge ahead: increasing efficiencies and switching to alternative energy sources. Faster production lines, recycling products and developing innovative technologies have reduced emissions by 60%. The remaining 30% of reductions have come from converting to green electricity and, more recently, to biogas.

Other companies in other industries are also showing that meaningful change is within reach. Toyota Motor Europe has reduced its production energy and water use per vehicle by 70% since 1993. Japanese construction and mining equipment manufacturer Komatsu has reduced its transport and logistics GHG emissions (a proxy for transport energy use) by 35% in five years (PDF). These examples show significant progress can be made if organisations set themselves the challenge to make tangible differences swiftly.

These examples are to be applauded, but greater commitment and drive will be needed if industry as a whole is to move to a zero-carbon model. Setting modest percentage targets generates results, but it is unlikely to create the conditions and provide the impetus that will lead to a step change.

Objectives, environmental or otherwise, are often set on the basis of what is technically achievable, but that limits vision to what is feasible now. The only way to push the boundaries is to set seemingly impossible targets. It takes you away from the ordinary and challenges you to widen the scope and look for alternatives that you didn’t know were possible. Increasing efficiency forced Interface to venture into the unknown and search for technologies it never dreamt could exist. By applying NASA technology it developed an ultrasonic cutting machine that doubled output and reduced waste by 80%. By becoming more energy efficient, continuously replacing raw materials with bio-based or recycled alternatives, and switching to renewable energy, Interface has reduced costs by €7.6m per annum since 1996.

Former UK prime minister David Lloyd George once said: “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” Now is the time for the EU Commission, parliament, industry and society at large to rise to the challenge of the sustainability targets laid out by the EU Commission. We must be able to unlock a low-carbon economy in Europe. It is just as essential for the environment as it is to stimulate innovation, jobs and growth; and for Europe to remain competitive.

Rob Boogaard is acting CEO and president EMEA of Interface and a member of the Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group

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The Great Resource Price Shock

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Here is a fascinating infographic based research piece from Green Alliance titled ‘The Great Resource Price Shock’. The text below sets the scene:

Over the past decade, world prices of key resources have risen sharply. This has meant that the cost of food and energy to UK households has gone up much more quickly than other household costs. If resource prices had just kept pace with other consumer prices, the average household could have saved over £1,000 on its food and household energy bills in 2012.

As the UK becomes more and more dependent on imports, rising resource prices will hurt the economy more and the poorest will continue to be the hardest hit. If this trend continues, by 2020 household food and energy bills could have risen by another £1,675 over and above general inflation.

The only reliable way to protect the UK economy against these resource price shocks in future is to improve radically the efficiency of our resource use and reuse, reducing dependency on foreign imports. And if more countries did the same, increases in global demand would be reduced, helping to keep a lid on world resource prices.

Click on the image below to open the full article and infographic:


Green Alliance Infographic


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The Maersk 2013 Sustainability Report

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The Maersk Group operates in the shipping and energy industries. It has four core businesses which include Maersk Line, APM Terminals, Maersk Oil and Maersk Drilling.

The Sustainability Report 2013 concludes the three-year journey Maersk undertook in 2010 to integrate sustainability its business. It communicates the progress made as well as the challenges faced by the Group.

Maersk Sustainability Report

“We have come a long way integrating sustainability into business processes, setting minimum standards and increasing transparency about our performance. Our new strategy will focus on unlocking growth for Maersk and for the societies in which we operate.” - Annette Stube, Head of Group Sustainability, Maersk Group

Its 2013 Sustainability Report covers all aspects of the Group’s 2013 sustainability performance including human rights, anti-corruption, responsible procurement, diversity, as well as performance and efforts within safety and the environment.

Key highlights:

* 17% CO2 efficiency improvement since 2010 across the Group
* 34% CO2 reduction per container in Maersk Line (2007 baseline)
* More than 33,000 people trained in anti-corruption since 2010
* 2,600 suppliers committed to Maersk’s Third Party Code of Conduct.
* 97% of the measures of business integration completed or in the process of completion

Maersk Container ShipMaersk Container Ship

The report also gives key findings of an impact study on China that Maersk undertook in 2013 to broaden its understanding of the impacts and opportunities within transports and logistics in the country – a nation that is better connected by container shipping than any other.

The report serves as Maersk’s Communication on Progress (COP) to the UN Global Compact and has been assured by an external assurance provider.

The report is available for download here


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Flooding emphasises need to address climate change

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I received this communication from Aldersgate Group today which is due to be supported by an article in the FT written by Jim Pickard.

It raises some serious concerns from the recent flooding, is worth a read and to be spread through our networks to build unified support. I’ve copied the text below for easier reading should the image be too small. The full Press Release is also further down.

Aldersgate Flood Climate Change Press Release

The continuing and widespread flooding has already caused real damage to the UK. Families and livelihoods are being badly hit. The overall costs to those affected and the wider economy will be significant.

The type of extreme weather that we are currently experiencing is in line with climate change predictions, which also warn that such events will become more frequent.

We believe that a far-sighted cross-party response is urgently needed. Clearly the country needs to think about how it will manage the growing risks of widespread flooding. But events have also emphasised the need to act to address the causes of climate change. All parties must look beyond the short-term and demonstrate their commitment to creating a low carbon economy through domestic decisions and international leadership. Only bold action will maximise investment and innovation to deliver resilience and future economic competitiveness. Without this the costs will continue to pile up.

Yours, Andrew Raingold – Executive Director – Aldersgate Group

Aldersgate Flood PR

Leading businesses call for action on floods and climate change

Today leading businesses with a combined turnover of nearly £200 billion have warned that climate change is projected to make UK flooding more frequent.

In a letter sent to the Financial Times, they call for prompt political action to address the causes of climate change. The businesses recognise the critical importance of flood prevention, but call on politicians from all parties to demonstrate bold leadership to address the root causes of increasing extreme weather events.

The recent unstable weather patterns in the UK are in line with the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Merely adapting to the growing threat of floods will leave the UK exposed to future costs.

The businesses say that a clear commitment to tackling climate change will bring economic benefits to the UK. It will maximise investment and innovation to deliver resilience and future economic competitiveness.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, which coordinated the letter, said:

“These floods were caused by the worst winter downpour in 250 years1 and the clean up bill is already on course to cost £1 billion2. But adapting to the changing climate without addressing the root causes is like dishing out painkillers when we need major surgery. Political parties must come together to show leadership beyond the parliamentary cycle.”

Nick Lakin, Group Head of Government Affairs at Kingfisher said:

“Climate change poses a threat to businesses and communities alike. The floods we have seen are a foretaste of what we could expect as the climate system is disrupted. Far more action is needed. All political parties should work together to put in place mechanisms that can respond to climate change and start to decarbonise the UK economy. Early action will build confidence for investors, drive innovation and ensure the UK economy is resilient and competitive.”

Katharine Thoday from ClimateWise, who helped to coordinate the letter said:

“Avoiding risk is always better than dealing with the fallout. Leadership and multi- sector co-operation is required to put sensible long-term risk management in response to climate change at the heart of policy making.”

The full list of signatories is: Aldersgate Group, Allianz, Atkins, Aviva, Interface, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Mitie, Navigators and Swiss Re.

For further enquiries please contact: Andrew Raingold - Executive Director / 07939 226664

Note to editors:

This letter was coordinated by the Aldersgate Group, ClimateWise and the UK Corporate Leaders Group.

Aldersgate Group is an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy. Our mission is to trigger the change in policy required to address environmental challenges effectively and secure the maximum economic benefit in sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness.

ClimateWise is the global insurance industryʼs leadership group to drive action on climate change risk. The group leverages the insurance industryʼs expertise to better understand, communicate and act on climate risks.

The Prince of Walesʼs Corporate Leaders Group brings together business leaders from major UK, EU and international companies who believe there is an urgent need to develop new and longer term policies for tackling climate change.

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Skinny Planks – Creative Freedom – Same Sustainability Creds

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Skinny Planks

With almost limitless design possibilities, Skinny Planks carpet tile allows designers to strike the perfect balance between simplicity and sophistication. Productivity, creativity, staff retention and the effective communication of brand values all benefit from strong interior design.

For us, sustainability is non-negotiable. We are working hard to reach our goal of Mission Zero by 2020 to have a zero negative impact on the environment. And that means looking hard at every area of our business.

Skinny Planks are no exception. They come with the same credentials as our normal square tiles, such as having a high percentage of recycled content in their backing. Urban Retreat 501 is even made from 100% recycled nylon.

Skinny Planks can be fitted easily with our flexible, glue-free TacTiles™ system to minimise odour and emissions. What’s more, all tiles can be recycled through our ReEntry® take-back scheme, to help reduce the amount of carpet sent to landfill or incineration at the end of their life.

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Act On Facts – A Great Wind Energy Campaign

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I came across this site – which is a great resource for all things Wind Energy, focussing on the facts, not myth.

About Act On Facts - Did you know that all over the world, a large number of wind energy projects that could save millions of tons of CO2 every year are right now being stalled or blocked because of misunderstandings or myths about wind energy. Act On Facts is a campaign designed to straighten out the facts and activate public support towards wind energy.

Act On Facts

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