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SUSTAINABILITY SNAPSHOT

Welcome to our new monthly blog series exploring some of the key stories from the world of sustainability that have caught our attention in the run up to COP26.

In February, the urgency of climate change was reinforced by Prince Charles who told scientists there’s “no time to waste” in tackling the current environmental crisis, saying there was a need for “innovation, science, research and technology in every industry if we are to address climate change, transition our economy and achieve sustainability”.

A few interesting research pieces have grabbed our attention, starting with a new international study published by the European Commission which revealed Ireland as one of the top nations for fairness and sustainability. In an important step towards a sustainable future, the ISS ESG’s annual global outlook report revealed that up to one fifth of businesses are now aligning chief’s bonuses with sustainable strategies and success.

Check out more of what we’ve been reading, listening to, and watching this month below…

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (according to Bill Gates)

Bill Gates’ highly anticipated book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster was released in February, outlining the steps that Gates believes are necessary to reverse the devastating effects of climate change, including removing 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere every year. Could technology be the solution? Find out more from The Guardian here or pick up a copy to read for yourself.

Could the future workplace be a more sustainable one?

Recent research released by Ericsson suggests that dematerialisation could not only increase businesses’ productivity and profitability, but also help enterprises to become more sustainable. By moving away from office-centric workplaces and into a more digital environment, businesses could make significant energy savings and decrease material usage, which in turn could dramatically reduce CO2 levels.

UK media goes green

The Daily Express launched its “Green Britain Needs You” campaign this month after discovering that 66 percent of adults are worried about the state of the planet. As part of the campaign, the publication is calling on the government to scrap VAT on green products, and to create more natural spaces to help reverse the alarming decline in British wildlife. Meanwhile Christian Broughton, managing director of The Independent, shared his thoughts with Press Gazette on how climate journalism has evolved, commenting “there is no more important story for the next 50 years than climate”.

Together in electric dreams

February saw impressive developments in the electric vehicle space, as both Ford and Jaguar promised to go all electric by 2025 and 2030, respectively. Amazon also announced that its electric Rivian vans will start making deliveries in 16 UK cities this year. The news comes amid increasing EU regulation to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel motors, of which Boris Johnson has committed to doing by 2030.

Actions speak louder than words

Following BlackRock’s pledge last month to remove as much carbon dioxide from the environment as they emit by 2050, the New York Times explores how authentic corporate promises to be more sustainable really are. “The need to match words with deeds is becoming increasingly important” the publication notes, as it asks “What’s Really Behind Corporate Promises on Climate Change?”

Coca-Cola swaps plastic for paper

As part of its goal to produce zero waste by 2030, Coca-Cola has partnered with Danish company Paboco to create a plastic-free bottle. The brand was ranked as the world’s number one plastic polluter in 2020, so the news has been welcomed within the industry.

Countdown to COP26

“I don’t envy you the responsibility that this places on all of you”, David Attenborough told the UN Security Council last week, as he warned that climate change is the biggest security threat that modern humans have ever faced. The full video is available here.

Attenborough was not the only one putting pressure on the UN this month, as a recent study by The Purpose Pulse found that 56% of young people are hopeful that COP26 will lead to positive change. Furthermore, a group of top environmental scientists have urged Boris Johnson to have the courage to bring forward the UK’s carbon net zero target to 2030.