Portfolio

Is motorsport turning over a new, green leaf?

The lights go out, the engines reach a high-pitched scream and dozens of elite racing machines begin the charge, rocketing around the track at breakneck speed. It’s not an image traditionally associated with sustainability. Over the years, motorsport has cultivated a reputation for high performance, gas-guzzling cars, glamour and excess. However, with corporate sponsors demanding improved environmental performance, new race regulations promoting fuel efficiency and Formula E cementing electric vehicle technology in the public consciousness, could racing be undergoing a green revolution? As...

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Industrial symbiosis: Sharing waste energy and materials for mutual benefit

As businesses grapple with the challenge of decoupling growth from a heavy dependence on natural resources, forming networks and sharing knowledge are increasingly emerging as catalysts for innovation. In 21 industrial nations, networks of companies – often from unrelated sectors – are taking this one step further. By adopting the concept of industrial symbiosis, they are harnessing each other’s excess energy, resources and by-products for mutual benefit. Seeking an alternative path to economic growth Pushing Earth beyond its natural limits, coupled with resource scarcities,...

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How are companies applying circular thinking to packaging?

Packaging plays a vital role in protecting goods and attracting sales. But traditionally packaging has moved in linear supply chains with little collaboration on designing for recyclability or reuse. Companies have tended to opt for low value materials, often used in combinations that are hard to recycle or produce an adverse impact on the environment. When coupled with a lack of widespread consumer understanding around recycling, packaging can end up destined to become waste in a short space of time. Some 79.9m tonnes of packaging waste were generated in Europe in 2011. Now, the landscape is...

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Five materials for a sustainable fashion future

The quest for high-performing, sustainable materials continues apace as progressive fashion brands seek to create garments using fewer natural resources and generate a lower impact on the environment. More than 1,000 sustainable materials were showcased at the Future Fabrics trade show in 2014. Meanwhile, designers can compare the impacts of diverse materials using interactive tools, and multiple collaborations are forming to develop healthier, low impact materials, pioneer closed loop models or prevent waste, including Fashion Positive and Reclaim to Wear. “We’re seeing an increasing...

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Harnessing the power of mobile to expand energy access

Kenya-based business SteamaCo is harnessing the disruptive power of mobile to bring affordable access to electricity to rural, off-grid communities. Its smart technology allows solar micro-grid owners to monitor the performance of micro-grids remotely and capture consumer payments via mobile money platforms, thereby overcoming the traditional challenges of keeping grids working reliably and profitably. This simple but fundamental transition stands to make investment in solar micro-grids a truly compelling prospect, bringing electricity to millions and empowering local entrepreneurs to...

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Purpose over profit: Interview with CEO of DNV GL

The president and chief executive of risk management giant DNV GL is unequivocal about the role of business in society. The private sector stands to make a critical contribution to developing a safe, sustainable future, he believes, and supporting and scaling this effort is vital. By joining the Board of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) – the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, supported by 8,500 companies – Dr Henrik O. Madsen will reinforce his commitment to accelerating the pace of progress. Through his three-year tenure, he will join business leaders,...

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Cafeology cultivates bird-friendly coffee

Cafeology places a deep-seated respect for nature at the heart of its coffee-sourcing activities. Cultivated under the shade of tropical canopies, its new Bird Friendly coffee is farmed in a way that protects the Guatemalan rainforest, encourages migratory birds to flourish and improves growers’ livelihoods. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world – after oil – with more than 5m tonnes produced each year. However, growing coffee conventionally damages the environment, affecting nature’s ability to deliver the vital products and services upon which we depend. Coffee...

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Carbon Tracker measures oil and coal risk for investors

The Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) has created waves in the global debate on finance and climate change by launching two reports that allow investors to measure the risk associated with oil and coal investments. Known as the ‘Carbon Supply Cost Curves’, the reports empower investors with vital information to challenge investments in fossil fuels and begin the journey to divestment.  Recognising the importance of leveraging the financial muscle of capital markets in the fight against climate change, CTI set out to transform communications between investors and fossil fuel companies. It...

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Shared Interest Society offers loans to Fairtrade producers

Shared Interest Society is helping fair trade farmers across the world to access the capital they need to grow their businesses and support their communities. Through its innovative investment scheme, around 9,000 UK members have invested £32m in share accounts, enabling the society to support hundreds of thousands of smallholders with vital loans and credit services at affordable rates. The world’s 450m smallholder farmers provide 70% of all food cultivated. Yet despite playing a crucial role in sustaining our global population, many farmers in developing countries live in poverty, unable...

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How businesses can engage consumers in their sustainability stories

Communicating simple, inspiring stories of corporate efforts to tackle complex, interrelated social and environmental issues is an ongoing challenge for today’s businesses. Somewhere amid the cacophony of sustainability communications, consumers (otherwise known as people) are fast reaching information overload. And as the effects of so-called ‘greenwashing’, scandals and climate change doom-mongering take their toll, apathy is taking hold. Just 28% of people globally believe business is doing enough to protect the planet and contribute to society, according to Accenture and the UN...

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