Report: Small Businesses Key to UK’s Low-Carbon Transition

New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warns that the UK risks failing to meet its climate obligations without the help of small businesses. FSB’s latest report, The Price of Power: Energising small business in the next UK Carbon Plan, shows how with improved incentives and fewer barriers, small firms can be key to closing the carbon gap. It calls on the Government to produce urgently a new carbon plan that includes a specific strategy on crucial areas such as microgeneration and energy efficiency across the UK’s small business community. FSB research found that ‘security of supply’ is the biggest energy concern for most UK SMEs (60 percent). Nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) small businesses

New EPA Regs Will Require Natural Gas Industry to Come Clean About Toxic Pollution

Today, in response to a petition by 19 environmental and open-government groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released proposed regulations that will require natural gas processing plants to start publicly reporting the toxic chemicals they release. “Today’s proposal by EPA marks significant progress for public health, the environment, and the right to know,� said Adam Kron, senior attorney for

As Renewables Reach Grid Parity, Questions Arise Surrounding Investment and Demand

With its potential to combat global climate change, the clean energy industry has experienced significant — and rapid — growth over the last decade. And according to the World Economic Forum, things are only looking up. As it stands, renewables, more specifically wind and solar, are fast becoming just as competitive

Europe Needs to Cut Transport Emissions by 94% to Keep Climate Commitments

According to a new report by Germany’s Öko-Institut, Europe has its work cut out for it if it intends to stop the planet’s temperature rising above the two-degree limit agreed upon by world leaders at COP21. As it stands, the EU will need to cut global warming transport emissions by 94% by 2050 — a lofty goal that will require significant efforts be undertaken by all Member

New Gold Standard Framework to Unlock Billions for High-Impact Sustainable Development

In collaboration with Climate-KIC, South Pole Group and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Gold Standard — a global benchmark for climate and development initiatives — has announced a new framework designed to unlock billions of dollars needed to scale-up clean technology and sustainable development in cities around the globe. Much like the circular economy and clean energy sector, transforming cities will play a critical role in combatting climate change. Cities currently consume around 75% of global energy

The SDGs: Who Is Leading the Way One Year Later?

Every 15 years, the United Nations gets together to determine its next steps in bettering the earth and the people on it. In late 2015, this took the form of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs focus on climate action, decreasing poverty, increasing access to health, reducing inequality, and increasing sustainable development, in both rural and developed areas, over the next 15 years. Although the goals appear broad and ambitious, the UN aims to further the advancement of people while protecting and fostering the health and wellbeing of the planet. As the plans went into effect on January 1

G20 Task Force Report Creates Buzz Around Climate-Related Financial Disclosures

One year after its formation, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TFCD), a global task force created by the G20’s Financial Stability Board (FSB) to prevent market shocks stemming from climate change, has published its report Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. Among its recommendations, the TFCD is asking companies to disclose how they manage risks to their business from climate change and greenhouse gas emission cuts, a practice that will help organizations identify and disclose information needed by investors, lenders and insurance underwriters to appropriately assess

117 Orgs, 70k People Urge Obama to Fulfill Pledge to Fund Climate Action Before Inauguration

Just one month from the inauguration of Donald Trump and the appointment of his cabinet of climate deniers, an international coalition of human rights and environmental groups is appealing to President Obama to take one final action to advance justice and action on climate change in spite of Trump. 117 organizations — including 350.org, Women Donors Network, and Center for International Environmental Law, led by Corporate Accountability International — delivered the call from more than 70,000

Startup Bringing Environmental Concerns Home by Linking Them to Personal Health

A number of data platforms have emerged in recent months that aim to help give organizations an eagle-eye view of issues such as deforestation and climate resilience, but one startup is using the power of data to engage individuals who have yet to understand how global environmental problems may be affecting them personally. Scott and Nick Bedbury, co-founders of Seattle-based environmental and health analytics startup Upstream Research, are aiming to foster more engagement around environmental and climate change issues by bringing them to people’s backyards. By analyzing

Thai Union Commits to 100% Sustainable Tuna, But Can It Get There?

Thai Union Group PCL, one of the world’s leading and likely most contentious seafood companies, today announced an ambitious strategy to ensure 100 percent of its branded tuna is sustainably sourced with a commitment of achieving a minimum of 75 percent by 2020. As part of the new tuna strategy, Thai Union says it will invest $90m in initiatives that will increase the supply of

Report: 2020 Deforestation Goals Are Unlikely to Be Achieved; Companies Need More Help

The 2016 results from the Global Canopy Programme’s (GCP’s) ‘Forest 500’ have been released, and they don’t bring good news. The deforestation policy analysis of the world’s most influential powerbrokers, including companies, financial institutions, and countries, reveals that targets for 2020 and 2030 are unlikely to be met at the current rate of progress. GCP claims that the 500 powerbrokers included in the assessment collectively have the ability

New Program to Help London-Based SMEs Capitalize on Circular Economy

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) – a partnership between the Mayor of London and London’s Boroughs dedicated to improving waste and resource management within the capital, with the aim of turning London into a circular city – has launched a new program called Advanced London to support SMEs in adopting and scaling up

Accurately Measuring Impacts of Sustainability Investments Needed Now More Than Ever

On the third and final day of New Metrics ’16, Paul Herman of HIP Investor gave us a to-do list: Ask ourselves if we are being extractive or innovative? Note that the Best Companies to Work For perform nearly twice as well as those that aren’t listed Get to know our CFOs – they are real people who want to do good. Help them link financial benefit to social good

ICTI CARE Piloting Supply Chain Solutions to China’s Left-Behind Children Problem

Domestic migrant workers make up a substantial percentage of the workforce in China’s manufacturing industry. Latest figures estimate that there are 247 million migrant workers in the country. These workers often originate from towns and villages hundreds or thousands of miles away from the factories where they work. The majority of these workers are parents, and due to childcare needs and the Hukou system – a household register that has tied people’s access to social services to their hometowns

Demonstrating Impacts of Sustainability Certifications Will Require Better Communication

Certification has, over the years, played a significant role in the development and execution of ethical supply chain programs across industries, providing frameworks within which brands can analyze and make improvements to their practices and business models. It has also provided a means to communicate brand values and commitment to these values to the public. Though certification has evolved to become an essential component of the corporate landscape, it still faces a number of challenges. In a survey of 86 companies conducted last year, ISEAL Alliance found that businesses are

Report: Over 70% of Investors See Risk, Investment Opportunities in Climate Change Impact

This week at COP22, the Global Adaptation & Resilience Investment Working Group (GARI) released its discussion paper, “Bridging the Adaptation Gap,� reporting that 70 percent of private investors surveyed see both risk and investment opportunity from the impact of climate change. According to GARI, 78 percent of 101 surveyed investors and other stakeholders thought evaluating the physical risk from climate change was “very important,� while 70 percent would consider making investments that supported adaptation to

If Trump Tries to Kill Obama’s Sustainability Agenda, Business Will Save It

During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump called climate change a hoax, threatened to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, committed to easing restrictions on drilling and mining on federal lands, and promised to push for oil pipelines and other controversial energy infrastructure. Perhaps most troubling to the sustainability community, however, is his vow to abolish President Obama’s executive actions on climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan. He also promised to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which he claimed was bad for business

Can Empathy Survive the Echo Chamber?

Note: In the aftermath of last week’s Presidential election, we at Sustainable Brands were struck by the parallels to a recent, similarly polarizing political situation abroad with an equally shocking result – the UK’s Brexit referendum – and how Andy Last’s astute observations at the time, about the breakdowns in communication that led just over half of Brits to vote to leave the EU, seem applicable to us here in the States now. We share it with you below – enjoy. One of the many things that brought me up short in the aftermath of the Brexit vote was the analysis that so many people had voted out because they

Electricity Giants Offer Support to Development Finance Orgs to Meet Paris Agreement Goals

An association of global electricity companies, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), is offering their expertise to development finance institutions and other international organizations to jointly identify electricity technology investments that can help countries reduce their carbon emissions on schedule in accordance with the Paris Agreement goals. In an open letter, the organization said its ten member firms offer unique insight and collaboration capabilities, and encouraged development finance organizations to contact GSEP. The members collectively produce nearly a third of the electricity consumed in the world, of which about 60 percent is with no direct carbon emissions. They include American Electric Power (AEP), Électricité de France (EDF), ENEL,

COPtimism: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic About Our Future Climate

Every day brings more news stories about the disruption and damage wreaked by climate change. And since the international Paris Agreement for climate action was signed this time last year, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have continued to soar, making 2016 the hottest year on record. We’re already feeling the effects of climate change, and they aren’t going to go away. And now the United States, a leading signatory of the historic Paris Agreement, has elected a climate change-denying president. Despite this grim news, we need to recognize the progress we’ve made and move forward with optimism. Companies, governments, NGOs, people, and communities around the world are taking

Activating Purpose – A Malaysian Perspective

Last week saw the second Sustainable Brands conference hosted in Kuala Lumpur, focusing on the theme of Activating Purpose. Purpose – possibly one of the most over-used and broadly defined words out there right now. Yet, it was a great hook on which to peg a conversation about hopes and ambitions for sustainability, as well as the current performance of brands and businesses in Malaysia with sustainability aspirations. For the purpose of the

SAC’s Updated Higg Tool Provides Industry Baseline for Impacts of Textiles

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched a new version of its Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products. The Higg MSI is one in a suite of SAC’s publicly available self-assessment tools known as the Higg Index, which aims to empower brands, retailers and manufacturers to measure their environmental, social and labor impacts at every stage of their products’

Champions 12.3 ‘Progress’ Report Details Why We Must Target, Measure, Act on Food Waste

Up to one-third of all food produced is never eaten by people, and this food loss and waste is responsible for $940 billion in economic losses and 8 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls on all nations to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030, but nations, cities and businesses in the food supply chain need to move more quickly to set reduction targets, measure their progress and taken action if the goal is to be achieved. The SDG Target 12.3 on Food Loss and Waste: 2016 Progress Report, recently released on behalf of a coalition of government, business and civil society leaders called Champions 12.3, assessed