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How Nestlé reduced its energy use by 36% per tonne of product

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Next Manufacturing Revolution have pulled together a great resource including key points and collateral regarding Nestlé’s energy efficiency drive. The headline is this video which explains the £1.9B p.a. energy saving opportunity available to UK manufacturers, and how Nestlé made substantial energy efficiency improvements.

Despite ongoing improvements in energy use, the Next Manufacturing Revolution study identified Energy Efficiency as a major opportunity for UK manufacturers worth:

* £1.9B p.a. in cost savings
* 19.2 MtCO2e in greenhouse gas emission savings
* 3,500 new skilled full time jobs

Manufacturing generates directly 10% of the UK’s GDP and employs 2.5 million people (9% of the employed labour force). Labour productivity improvements in the sector have reduced labour costs since 2001 at a rate of 3% p.a. to £75bn in 2011, a reduction of 1,000,000 jobs.

The NMR study presents opportunities to improve non-labour resource productivity which could enable a revolution in manufacturing and are estimated, conservatively, to be worth for the UK:

Tri-Benefits from the Next Manufacturing Revolution

For more great insights visit

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Understanding sustainability fundamentals

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I’m proud to be involved with The Business & Sustainability Programme Online (BSP Online). It’s an engaging, interactive programme designed for mid-career, high-potential and senior managers to enable them to understand the fundamentals of sustainability, how sustainability is relevant to their role and its importance to business success. It is also suitable for sustainability professionals who would like to refresh their knowledge.

CISL has a 25-year track record in designing programmes to build leaders’ understanding and capacity in relation to the complex and interconnected economic, social and environmental issues that organisations face. This includes a ten-year history in online learning with Chronos, the first corporate sustainability e-learning programme, developed with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and launched in 2003. The Business & Sustainability Programme Online is a new standalone CISL programme, which builds on CISL‘s track record and experience, and draws on leading practice in online learning.

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The ILG (facilitated by CISL) have released the following report titled ‘The Value Of Responsible Investment’. Here are a few elements I’d like to highlight around dysfunctional investment, and do read the whole report which I’ve uploaded here.

The world faces a singular challenge – How will we provide for as many as nine billion people by 2050, each one aspiring to the standard of living typical of the affluent European and US middle classes? And how can this be done with finite amounts of land, water and natural resources, already heavily degraded by human activity, whilst adapting to the destabilising effect of a warmer, less predictable climate? The political, economic and business strategies of the 20th century will need to be rethought in order to meet this challenge. No sector of society will be unaffected.

Some interesting charts from the report offer context around risk and the cycle of dysfunction that currently surrounds commercial markets (If too small to read in the post click on each image to make larger). You can clearly see where climate change sits on the WEF Global Risk Map at the bottom:

Business as usual dysfunction Global risk chart

About the group

The Investment Leaders Group (ILG) is a three-year project to help shift the investment chain towards responsible, long-term value creation, such that economic, social and environmental sustainability are delivered as an outcome of the investment process alongside satisfactory, long-term investment returns. Jointly conceived by the University of Cambridge and Natixis Asset Management, it is championed by the leaders of an influential group of investment managers and asset owners.

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Cutting the Virtual Fluff – from Martin Brown @Fairsnape

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At the recent Virtual Construction 21 EXPOC21 trade fair, I caught up with Laure Rondeau Desroches @Interface_UK, and held a quick in-show twitter conversation. Being part of the Expo team, and aware of Interface’s pre show enthusiasm, I was keen to know what they thought of the show when the doors finally opened, and virtual avatars were visiting their stand.

d day

 On the concept of virtual events
“We were very impressed by the whole concept of #ExpoC21, how easy and how real it looked. It was innovative, fun and importantly minimal or no environmental or carbon impact. With #ExpoC21 you just did everything as you would in a traditional exhibition, except having a coffee at the bar!”

Yes, we did need a virtual coffee bar! That’s one for the organisers to sort out for future events, but what did virtual visitors experience on the Interface Stand?

On Interface at EXPOC21
“Our wish was to engage people to rethink sustainability and to show that a New Industrial Model is really possible. What if switching to 100% renewable energy was profitable, better for the environment whilst creating jobs?

We were also keen to speak to customers on the Interface stand to share their thoughts on #ExpoC21, and to understand their first impressions too.”

All good stuff, but is this approach just a novelty, or is there a future in virtual events?

On the future of virtual green build events
“We strongly believe in #ExpoC21, this technology enables affordable exhibitions with minimised cost and impact. #ExpoC21 was about the essence of a real life exhibition: discovering latest innovations but in in an innovative way.”

From my experience I would agree, the virtual platform was great way to learn from and share with organisations you may not see at local or national green build events.

The final comment from Laure just about summed it up “I would encourage people to come and join us at future #EXPOC21’s. It’s the start of a new way of doing business!”

And EXPOC21 2015 will no doubt be bigger and better!

Thanks Martin Brown ( to have transformed our Twitter conversation into this nice interview !

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A Resource efficient Europe is possible

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In March an EU platform with several commissioners and stakeholders proposed the following manifesto. (Click on the image to download the PDF). 

In a world with growing pressures on resources and the environment, the EU has no choice but to transition to a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy. Our future jobs and competitiveness, as a major importer of resources, are dependent on our ability to get more added value, and achieve overall decoupling, through a systemic change in the use and recovery of resources in the economy.

Have a read of the manifesto and see what you think.

A Resource efficient Europe is possible

My key takeaways:

* I couldn’t agree more with this document but its potential is even greater – We could easily achieve 50% resource efficiency, compared to the proposed 30%.

* We need to move to a system where products with lower environmental life cycle footprints are incentivised. Not just incentivising efficient energy-using products, but more embodied carbon efficient products as well.

* Today we live in a product economy. Services are expensive because they rely on people. But the service economy is the local economy (as opposed to growing bananas in Devon). We need more history teachers, more hairdressers, more live music and less products.

* In the building sector the opportunities as huge. Buildings could be designed to use 80% less energy and 60% less embodied energy.

* We need to ban landfill across Europe and have strong taxes on waste for energy plants. That will give stronger signals than wasting public money on betting that some technology will soon arrive, and giving grants here and there while the system does not reward recyclability.

* Let’s not forget the link between carbon, resources and recyclability. Taxing carbon at a product tax level would encourage recycling, since products with recycled materials have significantly less impact than virgin raw materials.

* Shifting taxes away from jobs to resources is another shift we have to make. What a shame that the EU Commission can not be more forceful on this. National governments are unlikely to become the revolutionaries.

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Climate Change: Implications for Cities

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CISL have released The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and it is the most up-to-date, comprehensive and relevant analysis of our changing climate. Urban centres account for more than half of the world’s population, most of its economic activity and the majority of energy-related emissions. This briefing explores the roles cities will play in the fight against climate change.

Click on the image to see the infographic at full size and download the full report here:

Changing Climate Cities

More about Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

“Over 25 years CISL has brought together business, government and academia to deepen leaders’ insight and understanding through our executive programmes, build deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies, and create opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through our business platforms.

As we begin our second quarter-century, this small but significant change to our name symbolises our renewed focus on working with Cambridge’s world-class, multidisciplinary expertise to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges – to support business leadership for a sustainable world.

CISL has a leadership network with more than 5,000 alumni from leading global organisations and an expert team of Fellows, Senior Associates and staff. HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of CISL and has inspired and supported many of our initiatives.”

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Green Manufacturing Numbers – Greg Lavery from Lavery Pennell

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Greg from Lavery Pennell talks about Green Manufacturing. In this video he explains the profitable sustainable industrial model pioneered by us, Unilever and others.

More about Greg here:

Greg has a strong commercial background forged at Bain and Booz and applied managing a portfolio of low emission businesses for Origin Energy. He founded Booz & Company’s Low Carbon & Sustainability business in South-East Asia and Australia. Greg is a fully qualified engineer whose early career with Arup led to his PhD demonstrating the value created for occupants and owners of green buildings.

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Oxfam Report – Why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change

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Standing on the sidelinesGreat report from Oxfam on the big 10 food companies and their impact on climate change. I’m full of praise for Oxfam in pressing the fact that the industry needs to better manage the full life cycle impact of their supply chains, especially regarding agriculture production emissions. The truth is that few of the 10 have targets in this area and for those who do, they are not very ambitious.

My extracts from the report:

* Commodities like corn and rice, projected to double by 2030, with half of the increase due to climate change.

* Agriculture and deforestation (largely driven by expansion of agricultural land) are responsible for around 25 percent of global emissions.

* The top 10 food companies generate $1.1 billion a day in revenues, equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of all the world’s low- income countries combined.

* “Scope 1 and 2” emissions account for 29.8 million tons of CO2 while  “Scope 3” emissions account for 233.9 million tons.

* The impact of these agricultural emissions alone is the same as the carbon emissions of around 40 coal- fired power stations each year.

* It’s possible to cut them. If each of the Big 10 companies made the same commitment to cut emissions from agriculture as PepsiCo UK, together they could save an extra 80 million tons of CO2e compared to business- as-usual by 2020.

* Oxfam’s best estimate based on available data is that globally, the entire food system ― including sources from production of agricultural inputs like fertilizer, to emissions from agricultural production, refrigeration and transport ― accounts for approximately 25–27 percent of global emissions. That’s greater than the emissions of all the cars, planes and ships on the planet.

* The largest share of these emissions are from direct agricultural production, such as emissions of nitrous oxide from fertilizer usage or methane from livestock ― and from deforestation driven by expansion of agricultural land into forests and other carbon “sinks”.

* Biggest contributors is the industrial production of commodities like palm oil, soy, sugarcane, maize, wheat, rice, and livestock, including over-use of chemical fertilizer and deforestation through cropland expansion.

Download the report by clicking on the image top right.

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Aquafil USA invests green in being ‘green’

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AquafilWe can not reach Mission Zero without the dedication and support from our key partners. Aquafil is one of these partners. They are currently investing more in green technologies as detailed below, and from their press release I also wanted to extract some key learnings that make our relationship so successful.

Aquafil has been around since 1969 as one of the leading global players, producing polyamide 6, the filaments we use in our floorings, and synthetic fibres others use in sports apparel, the automotive industry and other products.

Aquafil USA is nearing completion of its $25 million expansion to increase its capacity to extrude and process Econyl, its proprietary nylon 6 made entirely from recycled materials, the company is proving that making and marketing 100 percent recycled nylon is financially sustainable as well.

Franco Rossi, company president, noted that in today’s economy, it is slightly more expensive to make nylon 6 through the Econyl system, “But some markets are willing to pay the difference in cost. We believe that over time it will become less expensive because, through the evolution of technology, more improvements will make the process more efficient.”

Currently, Econyl accounts for 30 percent of Aquafil USA sales, with the remainder made up of traditional nylon and some polyester. “Now, Econyl is a premium, niche product,” Rossi said. “Our goal is to become 100 percent Econyl and to deliver it at a price that is equal to other nylons. To do that, we must expand our capacity and become more efficient at collecting the waste materials. Now, Econyl is made up of 50 percent postindustrial (PI) waste and 50 percent postconsumer (PC) waste. The PC is used carpet and discarded fishnets. The fishnets are either discarded into the ocean or in landfills. It’s a good raw material because it is pure nylon,” Rossi reported.

Aquafil USA is a manufacturer of a variety of nylon 6 BCF (bulked continuous filament) yarns, polymers and plastics. The expansion includes adding a second plant in Cartersville, according to Franco Rossi, company president. And as part of its sustainability efforts, it is also adding a post consumer carpet processing operation that will produce nylon 6 “fluff” to be sent to Aquafil’s Ljubljana, Slovenia plant, where it will become Econyl nylon 6, made from 100 percent recycled materials. The expansion, which is expected to create more than 50 new jobs, is slated for completion this summer.

Aquafil is currently making about 4 million pounds of Econyl pellets a month at the Slovenia plant. Aquafil USA then sources its Econyl resin from that plant.

This is Aquafil’s fifth expansion in Cartersville since it added fiber extrusion in 2006. It will move its twisting and air entangling operation to a refurbished 250,000 square foot building, adding additional capacity for a total of 35 million pounds a year.

Fiber extrusion will then expand 50 percent at its Aquafil Dr. plant, increasing that capacity to a total of 50 million pounds per year. The carpet shearing operation, able to process about 50 million pounds of old carpet, will also be added to that plant, Rossi added.

When Aquafil USA was established in Cartersville in 1999, the company leased a small 20,000 square foot building, and began processing fiber it imported from Aquafil Spa, on a few twisters and air entangling machines, according to Rossi.

“We started with solution dyed nylon 6 made in Italy from all virgin materials,” he said. But working to produce sustainable products came naturally to the company. “The parent company is based in Trento, Italy in an especially beautiful location and it was always important to maintain the natural environment, “But when Giulio Bonazzi, current CEO and major shareholder of Aquafil Spa, met Ray Anderson (of Interface) in the mid-1990s, Bonazzi was influenced by Anderson’s concept of how to conduct a sound business without hurting the environment. Today, Interface is Aquafil’s largest customer and the companies work together with Networks and Healthy Seas to keep discarded fishnets out of the world’s oceans by collecting and recycling them into nylon fiber,” Rossi said.

Aquafil set out to create a fully sustainable nylon resin and Econyl, in development for the past three years, is now a reality, Rossi said, explaining, “Econyl is not only a product. It is a system that transforms old used nylon into like-virgin nylon resin and yarn.”

Rossi said that the conventional way to recycle nylon is to re-melt the material and then filter out impurities, but, “That only allows for a somewhat degraded material that can be used for injection molded products but not back into nylon fiber.”

Aquafil’s process is to depolymerize the old nylon back to a single monomer. Aquafil’s system results in very high ratio of nylon output compared to the waste input, making the process commercially viable, according to the company.

Aquafil states, “The new purification process is less complex than the ones applied in the industry, uses less energy and water, creates less residual waste and produces a lot more first-grade nylon. The Econyl system can be used to process the waste nylon 6 over and over, to produce new polymers, whose technical characteristics and quality is no different from virgin materials.”

Elements of our relationship I think worth highlighting:

Inspiration from leaders: Ray and Giulio’s story should be an inspiration for other business leaders.

Clear goals: Setting a target of 100% recycled nylon is very clear!

Commitment: We are committed not just to goals, but to truly engage together and contribute significantly towards our agreed mission.

Alignment: We invest at a premium for the recycled raw material, and as per this example, align with like-minded suppliers.

With thanks to Janet Herlihy and FCW for the press release.

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