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Posts tagged 'Carbon Footprint'

Our yarn supplier Aquafil implements a symbiotic relationship with an Aquapark next door

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Our main supplier Aquafil has started a symbiotic project where their excess thermal energy in their Econyl plant in Slovenia is then used by an Aquapark nearby.

Regardless of how different the two businesses are, their location has permitted them to start an incredible project where the excess of thermal energy is transferred to Atlantis Aquapark to provide it’s 100% requirements of thermal energy.

This actually translates into an expected reduction of CO2 emissions on more than 2.000.000. This is the equivalent of 1100 cars driving 35km!

This is what happens when companies think differently and not selfishly. The great irony is that Aquafil uses excess warm water for their thermal needs from the electricity station nearby. Pass it on!

Read the full article here.

Atlantis & Aquafil

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Carpet Tile with the lowest carbon footprint. Ever.

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Find out how we achieved the smallest carbon footprint ever with Microsfera. The carbon footprint is the single most significant impact of a carpet tile. That’s why we call it ‘the magic metric’. Over time various developments in the carpet industry have led to a shrinking carbon footprint. Microsfera is a big step forward. Even compared to a typical carpet tile using 100% recycled nylon, the carbon footprint of Microsfera is less than half the size.

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The Carbon Footprint Of Meat

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Most people know and accept that meat has a huge carbon footprint.

The land required to harvest red meat is 28 times more than that of pork or chicken. Red meat also needs 10 times the amount of water, and results in more climate-warming emissions by a factor of 5. It’s also worth noting for context that over 90% of our water footprint is created by food production.

Are you a heavy meat eater, or a vegan? This graph courtesy of Vox breaks it down:

less meat less emissions

This recent article from Climate Progress collates multiple sources to illustrate the problem, and this image shows the carbon footprint of one hamburger.

Carbon footprint of one hamburger

“Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that livestock emissions are on the rise and that beef cattle are responsible for far more GHGs than other animals, including chicken and pork.

Meat production’s heavy environmental toll is not new, but the scale is surprising: The study found that beef requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water, and results in five times more GHG emissions.”

“The big story is just how dramatically impactful beef is compared to all the others,” Prof. Gidon Eshel, at Bard College in New York state, told the Guardian.

“I would strongly hope that governments stay out of people’s diet, but at the same time there are many government policies that favor of the current diet in which animals feature too prominently. Remove the artificial support given to the livestock industry and rising prices will do the rest. In that way you are having less government intervention in people’s diet and not more.”

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Climate talks to set 2030 targets for Europe

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On the 22nd of January the EU commission will propose new renewable and efficiency targets for 2030.

There are deep divisions between the commissioners, and European businesses are lobbying for what they call more realistic targets.

Discussions this month are to deliver frameworks that will be agreed in March by national leaders.

The 2030 energy and climate target discussions include:

* 20-45% renewables targets suggested by various parties. 27% appears to be the key number being discussed with some countries asking for no target at all.

* Discussions are based on the EU’s ’20-20-20′ targets, which were set in 2008. The talks are intended to extend and detail this plan. A call for a 20% emission reduction were based on ’90 levels, a 20% share of renewable energy and 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. The first two targets are binding, and the third is suggested.

* 35-40% reduction in emissions.

* Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal have called for a 2030 renewable target in addition to carbon goal.

* The utilities oligopoly are against a renewable target, as well as SME groups and heavy industries.

* In favour of the target are technology companies such as Almston, the renewables lobby in its various EU associations and a number of high profile companies that are pursuing the sustainability agenda e.g. The Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change.

My thoughts:

* A 40% renewables target makes sense but it has to be coupled with an ambitious efficiency target of the same proportion.

* Energy efficiency is the ultimate renewable and we should push for stronger targets. That’s the way to decouple from carbon and rising cost of energy in the first place.

* Let’s not forget that the pivotal discussion point must be carbon. It’s not enough to set targets, we need an approach where innovation and low carbon products are incentivised while the perverse allowances for heavy industry e.g. carbon allowances are discouraged.

Anyway, whatever they decide, it will be a relatively futile exercise as most of Europe’s carbon footprint is carbon imported in the form of food and manufactured goods from elsewhere. And so far, embodied carbon is badly measured, let alone taxed or incentivised.

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Find Partners With Your Level Of ‘Values Driven’ Commitment

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To achieve Mission Zero, we strive to only work with partners who have that same level of commitment to building a restorative loop.

Our trusted yarn supplier and partner, Aquafil, has pioneered ways to supply Interface with recycled nylon fibers since 2011 re-purposing waste nylon from many sources, including yarn reclaimed through our own ReEntry® program and end of life fishing nets recovered from the fishing industry supply chain.

With at least 660 million people around the globe relying on the ocean for their livelihoods, and many living on the poverty line, Miriam Turner, Interface‘s Assistant VP, Co-Innovation, saw an opportunity. Inspired by Aquafil‘s recycling strides, she asked “Could we take this down to the community level and benefit some of the poorest people in the world?

What if we could build a truly inclusive business model buying discarded nets from local fishermen giving them extra income and cleaning up the beaches and oceans at the same time?”

Scoping a project of this magnitude requires a lot of hands, hearts and minds so in 2011 the Co-innovation Team began assembling an army of collaborators, including the Zoological Society of LondonTM and marine biologist, Dr. Nick Hill. After intensive research and planning, they decided to focus the Net-Works pilot program within the 7,000 Philippine islands, on the Danajon Bank in one of only six double reefs in the world.

And thus, Net-Works was born. The effects of clearing the beaches of nets isn’t just aesthetic. “In an eco-system as delicate as the Danajon Bank,” Hill states, “discarded nets are incredibly destructive. The nets take centuries to degrade, and with a nylon density greater than that of water, the nets lie on the ocean floor where they do untold damage to marine life.”

Along with helping the villagers clean, sort and sell back the waste nets, Interface and the Net-Works partners have established community banking systems for the residents supporting and strengthening the local, developing economy, and providing new financial opportunities for residents. Community banking empowers village members to establish forms of micro-insurance, savings and loans for the benefit of both individuals and the community.

It means building new models of materials sourcing to ensure the health and safety of our environment. It means beautifully designed products, crafted with care and purpose.

And it means another step closer to achieving Mission Zero

 

660 Million People

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The Single Market For Green Products – Facts and figures

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The European Commission has released the following facts and figures from the Single Market for Green Products initiative:

* The global market for low carbon environmental goods and services is estimated at €4.2 trillion. EU companies’ market share is 21% (UK Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, 2012).

* Xerox reported savings of $400 million and Zara €500 million in 2009 by designing their products to minimise their life-cycle environmental impact.

* There are currently more than 400 environmental labels worldwide (www.ecolabelindex.com).
For analysis at company level, 80 leading methodologies and initiatives were identified according to which GHG reporting could be carried out (EC study, 2010).

* For product carbon footprinting, 62 leading initiatives and methods were identified (EC study, 2010).

* PUMA has stated that 94% of the environmental impacts of its products occur along the supply chain.

* 90% of consumers buy green products at least sometimes (Eurobarometer).

* 39% of consumers say business claims about the environment are not accurate (GFK, 2011).

* Only 6% of EU citizens trust producers’ claims about their products’ environmental performance completely (Eurobarometer, 2009).

* 94 companies examined used 585 different indicators in environmental reports. Of the indicators disclosed, 22% were used by more than 3 corporations; 55% were used only once (Journal of Cleaner production, 2012).

* Investors are interested: the investors’ base behind the Carbon Disclosure Project grew from 35 investors with assets of 4.5 trillion USD in 2003 to 655 investors with assets of 78 trillion USD in 2012.

* More than 1/3 of 250 business executives said that they could not keep up with consumer demand for sustainable products and services and 62% declared that sustainable investments were motivated by consumer expectations for green products (Accenture, 2012).

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Sustainability is not part of a company’s DNA until it is embedded in its products

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Many CEOs claim that sustainability is part of their company’s DNA.

What a cliché, what an easy thing to say, impossible to prove or dispute. But how can sustainability be in a company’s DNA until the core product or service of the company has significantly less impact?

The real DNA of companies are their products or services, what they offer to customers, what they sell. The first thing is to understand the true impact of your products.

Product sustainability questions get you to that elephant in the room.

We discovered that around 70% of the overall environmental impacts of their carpet tiles were related to the raw materials used to make them.

Of these, the oil-based nylon yarn, just one single raw material, had the single biggest environmental impact. In fact, nylon production accounts for almost half of the impacts across the full lifecycle of a carpet tile, a hard pill to swallow for a carpet manufacturer (the fibre is what makes carpet a carpet).

Rather than neglecting the elephant in the room, Interface re-focused its efforts where it could make the biggest difference: reducing the amount of yarn used, finding ways to recycle old yarn into new, and looking for bio-based alternatives to nylon. Today the company has products made out of 100% recycled nylon using half the amount of yarn, cutting the overall environmental impact by half.

As a side note, some other carpet manufacturers were marketing wool carpet as a natural and sustainable option but wool has between four and six times more embodied carbon than virgin nylon.

For more on this subject, read ‘Full Product Transparency‘. This book outlines a path towards a more practical era for ‘corporate responsibility’, where companies make real environmental gains based on hard facts, using lifecycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPDs). 

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How to revolutionise other industry sectors through a magic metric

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A practical guide for policy-makers. So how do we get beyond the car sector?

Below is a brief guide to creating transformational change within a sector or product category based on the concept of FPT.

1. Do an LCA in order to understand the main environmental impact of that sector or product category (e.g. food, buildings, chemicals, electricity, etc.).

2. Develop a common metric based on the full lifecycle impact or at least on the main impact area.

3. Establish a long-term goal stating what performance is required by when. This can be a fixed value or variable in order to increase competition.

4. Establish minimum performance required and ban underperform- ing products (you might get some World Trade Organization issues but there are always ways around it).

5. Create a system where industries pay penalties for underachieving and/or tax credits for overachieving. That encourages industries to compete and innovate. 6. Mandate visibility of the common metric on all promotional materials.

7. Enable and encourage national taxes, whereby the products with more environmental impact pay more and products with less impact pay less (variable product tax).

8. Enable local regulation that gives ‘incentives’ to products with less impact (e.g. what free parking and free congestion charge is doing for the cars).

9. Support and enable data intermediaries to be creative and do their job to help consumers make sense of the data.

10. Release the power of public procurement and buy only products that achieve certain performance levels.

11. Encourage equally the power of corporate procurement.

12. Award with the EU Ecolabel those products that demonstrate more than 50% impact reductions over the average product.

13. Sit and relax – the market usually delivers (but you need to tell the market what you want).

 

Let’s look at the building sector and try to apply this thinking (in a very simplistic way):

a) Magic metrics could be kWh/m2 and kg of embodied CO2/m2 (I will focus on the first one).

b) Set up a minimum European standard of, let’s say, 100 kWh/m2 for new buildings in 2020.

c) Give the EU Ecolabel to new buildings under, let’s say, 50 kWh/m2.

d) Give tax discounts to new buildings under, let’s say, 50 kWh/m2.

e) Facilitate licences/permits to the super-performing buildings (e.g. fast track or no permit required).

f) Existing houses pay variable rate of stamp duty and local council tax according to their energy rating (would encourage retrofit more radically than green deal type of approaches).

g) Government would commit to the strongest standard for new buildings and would retrofit existing government buildings to a minimum standard.

h) Mandatory energy ratings displayed in every public and private building including offices, retail, etc.

This is a back of the envelope approach that does not take into account the fine details such as the differences in building types such as domestic, office or retail, but it gives an idea of what the magic metric approach can deliver.

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PEF Policy Conference – 29-30 April – Berlin

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Join us at the PEF Policy Conference where they will release details on the upcoming pilot phase on the development and testing of Product and Organisational Environmental Footprinting Category Rules, benchmarks and communication vehicles.

Rana Pant from the European Commission Joint Research Center will be available to assist Michele Galatola from DG Environment on the technical aspects of the pilot phase. An updated programme for the event will be posted tomorrow here.

The PEF Policy Conference will be held on 29-30 April 2013 in Berlin. Objectives include; developing an early understanding of open questions, next steps and perspectives from different stakeholders on the future use of the detailed product environmental footprinting methodology and respective policy options. All participants are invited to actively contribute to the open dialogue to sharpen the common understanding of the road ahead.

Please click on the image below to find out all about the PCF World Forum including the program of events for this coming week.

Product Environmental  Footprinting (PEF)

Registration is still available via online or Fax Form

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Helping companies and consumers navigate the green maze

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The European Commission has released a fantastic initiative around the subject of ‘Building the Single Market for Green Products’. Helping companies and consumers navigate the green maze.

What is the problem for companies?

A company wishing to market its product as green in several Member State markets faces a confusing range of methods and initiatives. Let alone the hundreds of certification sharks, private labels and incumbent national systems that make a huge amount of money from this.

What is the problem for ‘Mum’ in the supermarket?

Consumers are also confused by the stream of incomparable and diverse environmental information: according to a recent Eurobarometer, 48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive. This also affects their readiness to make green purchases.

In the words of Commissioner Potocnik

“To boost sustainable growth, we need to make sure that the most resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly products on the market are known and recognisable. By giving people reliable and comparable information about the environmental impacts and credentials of products and organisations, we enable them to choose. And by helping companies to align their methods we cut their costs and administrative burdens.”

The commission has issued strong guidance on product footprinting as well as organisation footprinting. I will be commenting on these documents in the future.

The EC is launching a three-year pilot phase. Their objectives:

* Set up and validate the process of the development of product group-specific rules (Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules – PEFCRs), including the development of performance benchmarks. Where product group-specific rules already exist and are used by stakeholders, the Commission will use these as a basis for the development of the PEFCRs;

* Make the application of the environmental footprint methods easier, especially for SMEs, by testing innovative ways of managing the process and through the development of tools;

* Test different compliance and verification systems, in order to set up and validate proportionate, effective and efficient compliance and verification systems;

* Test different business-to-business and business-to-consumer communication vehicles for PEF information in collaboration with stakeholders.

I hope businesses will jump at these pilots to achieve our dream of open standards and push for full product transparency in the market without delay.

 

Links

Original press release

Draft Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Building the Single Market for Green Products – Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations (April 2013)

Draft Commission Recommendation on The use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations (April 2013)

Annex II of the Recommendation: Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Guide (April 2013)

Annex III of the Recommendation: Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) Guide (April 2013)

For more information contact: 

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93) and Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

 

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