More than one million species face extinction because of humans, according to a new UN report, as British scientists make environmentally-friendly ‘aviation fuel of the future’. Meanwhile, sustainability tops cost as the energy priority for a third of firms, Nestlé hits a key milestone in its commitment to having a deforestation-free supply chain by 2020 and EQ Investors sponsors the Malawi impact marathon. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
One million species threatened with extinction because of humans
One million of the planet’s eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans, scientists have warned.
The landmark report, described as the most comprehensive assessment of global nature loss ever, paints a bleak picture of a planet being destroyed by an ever-growing human population.
The global rate of species extinction “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years,” according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The report was written by 145 experts from 50 countries.
Shrinking habitat, exploitation of natural resources, climate change and pollution are the main drivers of species loss and are threatening more than 40 per cent of amphibians, 33 per cent of coral reefs and over a third of all marine mammals with extinction.
IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson said: “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.” He added that “transformative change” is needed to save the planet.
British scientists make ‘aviation fuel of the future’ using household waste.
British scientists have created an environmentally-sustainable ‘aviation fuel of the future’ using household waste.
University College London plans to turn everyday waste into jet fuel with plants to convert waste from landfill sites across the country.
The team estimates that this could deliver 3.5 million tonnes of jet fuel annually by 2050, resulting in negative emissions and the equivalent of taking more than 5.5 million cars off the road every year.
UCL will pilot the invention after winning a British Airways competition to create a green fuel which can carry 300 passengers on a long-haul flight. The university won £25,000 and an invitation to present to the International Airlines Group board as well as at two of the largest sustainable aviation conferences in the world – the IATA Alternative Fuels Symposium in New Orleans in November and at the Annual Sustainability Summit in Montreal later this month.
Sustainability tops cost as energy priority for a third of firms
Environmental sustainability is now the top priority for a third of UK firms when making energy investment decisions, according to a major new survey.
A third of respondents to the Smart Energy B2B survey, commissioned by trade body Energy UK and carried out by consultancy giant PwC, cited environmental and sustainability issues as a top priority when drawing up their energy strategy.
Sustainability emerged as the top ranked issue, beating energy prices which were selected as the top priority by 27 per cent of respondents.
Steve Jennings, PwC’s UK energy leader, said: “Only two years ago, price was the main game in town, but that’s certainly not always the case now. Energy suppliers, from traditional to disruptive new entrants, will need to adapt their approaches as the fight for market share within the energy transformation heats up. This means providing much more than just cost savings – environmentally focused options will also be needed to win the hearts and minds of energy users.”
Nestlé hits deforestation-free supply chain ‘milestone’
Nestlé has reached “a key milestone” towards achieving zero deforestation in its supply chain.
The food and drink giant has revealed that more than three quarters (77 per cent) of its agricultural commodities were now verified as deforestation-free. It comes nine years after Nestlé pledged to ensure that none of its products globally would be associated with deforestation by 2020.
Since 2010, the company has worked with suppliers and partners including Airbus and Earthworm Foundation to identify areas at risk of deforestation. It uses tools such as supply chain mapping, on-the-ground verification and satellite imagery from Starling, its satellite-based service launched last September to monitor 100 per cent of its global palm oil supply chains for evidence of deforestation.
Nestlé now uses Starling to check for deforestation in pulp and paper supplies, with plans to extend to its soya supply chain later this year.
EQ Investors to sponsor the Malawi impact marathon
Now in its second year, the event takes place in the fishing village of Nkopee beside Lake Malawi from May 20th to 26th. The event caters for runners of all abilities with a range of distances, including 10k, half-marathon and full marathon.
The Impact Marathon Series sees runners travel to unique locations, engage in community projects during the week, and then enjoy an unforgettable trail running experience. This high-impact combination has raised over $1 million (£763,000) for grassroots organisations to date.