Formula E has today announced a multi-year deal with leading global energy solutions provider Aggreko to provide the latest sustainable technology to its events globally, contributing to help the series achieve its emissions reductions target (validated by the Science Based Target initiative) of 45% across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2030 from a Season 5 (2019) baseline.  

As an Official Provider for Formula E the world’s first net zero carbon sport in line with the 2020 definitions – Aggreko will ensure events are powered via renewable energy such as biofuel generators, solar arrays, and the latest battery technology.

To power select races, Aggreko will be supplying six 300kVA batteries to charge all Formula E cars, as well as varying battery sizes to power the overall circuit at race locations. Each battery is capable of charging four race cars simultaneously, the equivalent of powering 84,000 mobile phones.

These are backed up via Stage V Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) powered generators, which emit 90% less CO2 emissions reducing emissions, nitrogen, sulphates and overall HVO consumption when compared with diesel. Alongside this commitment, selected tracks will be using solar arrays trackside to assist in powering the batteries, helping to maximise its environmental benefits.

With the majority of its 16 international races being street tracks and constructed specifically for the event, Aggreko’s temporary solutions make race weekends run seamlessly. Aggreko’s experts create specialised tailor-made plans for all worldwide race locations to help power all cars, Formula E’s on-site hospitality, the Allianz Fan Village and fan experiences, as well as different energy points around the track such as timing and camera points, ensuring all processes are made to be as efficient and sustainable as possible.

Aggreko’s team are well positioned to efficiently power races around the globe, being all hands-on deck, ensuring events run smoothly. This partnership between Aggreko and Formula E aligns with both companies’ brand ethos and commitment towards energy transition solutions, sustainable events and making meaningful positive environmental impacts.

David de Behr, Head of Sales, Aggreko Event Services: “Sustainability is at the heart of all what we do in Aggreko, making it the perfect fit for the world’s most sustainable motorsport series. Aggreko is aiding Formula E’s energy transition journey, supporting its goal to reduce overall emissions by 45% and maintain its position as the world’s most sustainable sport,” and in line with our passion to deliver temporary clean energy solutions to the events industry.

Tiziana di Gioia, Chief Revenue Officer, Formula E: “Aggreko is a trusted supplier and expert in forward thinking and sustainable temporary energy solutions, so we’re thrilled to have it on board as an Official Provider of the championship. It is vital to us in not just having the correct power to deliver our unique events, but done so in the most sustainable methods possible; something that Aggreko is a true leader and pioneer in.”

About Aggreko

Aggreko is a world-leading provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy services. Operating in a rapidly changing energy market, our priority is to support our customers through the energy transition by providing cost-effective and flexible answers to the simple or complex challenges our customers face. Founded in Scotland in 1962, Aggreko has grown from a small local business to a global energy pioneer, employing more than 6,000 people. Aggreko creates bespoke solutions to provide all electricity, heating and cooling needs using the latest fuels and storage solutions. This is powered by our trademark passion, unrivaled international experience, and local knowledge. We recognize our position as partners in the energy transition and are constantly evolving our products to provide better solutions no matter the sector.

About Formula E

As the world’s first all-electric FIA World Championship and the only sport certified net zero carbon since inception, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship brings dramatic racing to the heart of some of the world’s most iconic cities providing an elite motorsport platform for the world’s leading automotive manufacturers to accelerate electric vehicle innovation.

The Formula E network of teams, manufacturers, partners, broadcasters, and host cities are united by a passion for the sport and belief in its potential to accelerate sustainable human progress and create a better future for people and planet.

A new report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) confirms that achieving the global target set at COP28 to triple renewable power capacity by 2030 relies heavily on establishing conducive conditions for such growth. Tripling renewable power capacity by 2030 is technically feasible and economically viable, but its delivery requires determination, policy support and investment at scale.

The report titled ‘Tracking COP28 outcomes: Tripling renewable power capacity by 2030’ highlights that 2023 has set a new record in renewable deployment, adding 473 gigawatts (GW) to the global energy mix.

However, the brief by the IRENA concludes that tripling renewable power capacity depends on overcoming systemic and structural barriers to the energy transition.

Evolving policies, geopolitical shifts and declining costs have all played a role in propelling the rapid expansion of renewable energy in markets worldwide. Yet, to triple renewable power capacity, concerted efforts are required to enhance infrastructure, policies and workforce capabilities, underpinned by increased financing and closer international cooperation, as outlined in IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook brief presented at the Berlin Energy Transitions Dialogue today.

An average of almost 1,100 GW of renewables capacity must be installed annually by 2030 – more than double the record set in 2023. Annual investments in renewable power generation must surge from US$570 billion in 2023 to $1550 billion on average between 2024 and 2030.

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, said, “In the wake of the historic UAE Consensus on tripling renewables at COP28, these capacity additions – despite setting a new record – clearly indicate that achieving the target is far from guaranteed. As the custodian agency, IRENA monitors related progress across key indicators every year. Our data confirms that progress continues to fall short, and the energy transition remains off track. We urgently need a systemic shift away from fossil fuels to course-correct and keep the tripling goal within reach.”

The report says that achieving the tripling target is far from assured as an additional 7.2 terawatts (TW) of renewable power would need to be deployed to reach the required 11 TW by 2030. However, current projections indicate the target will remain out of reach without urgent policy intervention. G20 nations, for example, must grow their renewable capacity from under 3 TW in 2022 to 9.4 TW by 2030, accounting for over 80% of the global total.

The report adds that accelerated investments in infrastructure and system operations (e.g. power grids, storage), revised policies and regulations (e.g. power market design and streamlined permitting), measures to fortify supply chains and cultivate requisite skills, and substantial increases in investments—including public funds facilitated through international collaboration—are imperative.

Despite considerable renewable potential, developing countries have received disproportionately low levels of investment. The report noted that although energy transition-related investments have reached a record high, exceeding $2 trillion in 2023, emerging markets and developing economies accounted for just over half of global investments. One hundred and twenty developing nations attracted only 15% of global renewable investment, with Sub-Saharan Africa receiving less than 1.5%, despite being home to the highest share of energy-deprived populations.

In contrast, fossil fuels received US$1.3 trillion in subsidies in 2022, equivalent to the annual investment required in renewable generation capacity to achieve a threefold increase by 2030. A key aspect of IRENA’s 1.5°C Scenario is that the increase in renewable energy use must be coupled with a corresponding decline in fossil fuel reliance. Both aspects are lagging. G20 members alone disbursed a record US$1.4 trillion in public funds to bolster fossil fuels in 2022, directly contradicting the commitment made at COP28 to transition away from fossil fuels.

IRENA report added that greater international cooperation will be indispensable to ensure financial flows to the Global South and uphold the tripling pledge. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa face some of the world’s highest finance costs, underscoring the need for enhanced international collaboration, including the involvement of multilateral development banks and an expanded role for public finance.

In conclusion, the report says that the strategic use of public finance is paramount to attract investment at scale and deliver an inclusive energy transition that yields socioeconomic benefits for all. This requires structural reforms, including within multilateral finance mechanisms, to effectively support the energy transition in developing countries.

Source: WAM

Global heat records were “smashed” last year, the UN confirmed Tuesday, with 2023 rounding out the hottest decade on record, as heatwaves stalked oceans and glaciers suffered record ice loss.

The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization issued its annual State of the Climate report, confirming preliminary data indicating that 2023 was by far the hottest year ever recorded. And it came at the end of “the warmest 10-year period on record”, the WMO report said.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said the report showed “a planet on the brink”.

“Earth’s issuing a distress call,” he said, pointing out that “fossil fuel pollution is sending climate chaos off the charts”, and warning that “changes are speeding up”.

The WMO said the average near-surface temperature was 1.45 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels last year — dangerously close to the critical 1.5-degree threshold that countries agreed to avoid passing in the 2015 Paris climate accords.

“Never have we been so close… to the 1.5C lower limit of the Paris Agreement,” WMO chief Andrea Celeste Saulo warned in a statement.

– ‘Red alert’ –

The report, she said, should be seen as a “red alert to the world”.

Going through the data, the organisation found that “records were once again broken, and in some cases smashed”, warning that the numbers “gave ominous new significance to the phrase ‘off the charts’.”

Saulo stressed that climate change was about much more than temperatures. “What we witnessed in 2023, especially with the unprecedented ocean warmth, glacier retreat and Antarctic sea ice loss, is cause for particular concern.”

One especially worrying finding was that marine heatwaves gripped nearly a third of the global ocean on an average day last year. And by the end of 2023, more than 90 percent of the ocean had experienced heatwave conditions at some point during the year, the WMO said. More frequent and intense marine heatwaves will have “profound negative repercussions for marine ecosystems and coral reefs”, it warned.

At the same time, it warned that key glaciers worldwide suffered the largest loss of ice ever since records began in 1950, “driven by extreme melt in both western North America and Europe”.

In Switzerland, where the WMO is headquartered, Alpine glaciers had for instance lost 10 percent of their remaining volume in the past two years alone, it said. The Antarctic sea ice extent was also “by far the lowest on record”, WMO said.

– Rising sea levels –

In fact, it pointed out, its maximum extent at the end of the southern winter was around one million square kilometres below the previous record year — equivalent to the size of France and Germany combined.

The continued ocean warming combined with the rapidly melting glaciers and ice sheets also drove the sea level last year to its highest point since satellite records began in 1993, WMO said.

The agency stressed that the global mean sea level rise over the past decade (2014-2023) was more than double the rate in the first decade of satellite records.

It highlighted that the dramatic climate shifts are taking a heavy toll on people worldwide, fuelling extreme weather events, flooding and drought, which trigger displacement and drive up biodiversity loss and food insecurity.

“The climate crisis is THE defining challenge that humanity faces and is closely intertwined with the inequality crisis,” Saulo said.

– ‘Glimmer of hope’ –

The number of people who are considered acutely food insecure around the world has more than doubled, from 149 million people prior to the Covid-19 pandemic to 333 million at the end of 2023, WMO pointed out.

The UN’s weather and climate agency did however highlight one “glimmer of hope”: surging renewable energy generation. Last year, renewable energy generation capacity — mainly from solar, wind and hydropower — increased by nearly 50 percent from 2022, it said.

Guterres also emphasised that there was an upside to the findings. The world, he insisted, still has a chance to keep the planet’s long-term temperature rise below the 1.5C threshold and “avoid the worst of climate chaos”.

“We know how to do it.”

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Companies are committing to help suppliers set science-based targets and lower emissions. Here’s how pharma company AstraZeneca, software firm Atlassian and healthcare tech maker Philips approach it.

Corporate suppliers emit tons of greenhouse gases. Trying to help reduce them — on behalf of another company — is complicated. 

Depending on the sector, supply chain emissions are an average of 11.4 times larger than a company’s operational emissions, according to a 2022 report on supply chain sustainability metrics from sustainability data firm CDP. As of that analysis, just 41 percent of companies reporting to CDP disclosed emissions for supply chains — part of their “Scope 3” impact — and only 14 percent of corporate targets included this category.

The outlook is brighter if you consult the latest progress report from the Science Based Targets initiative, the organization many multinational companies use to set and validate their science-based targets for reducing emissions enough to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Ninety-six percent of the roughly 1,100 companies that had validated targets as of year end 2022 covered Scope 3, SBTi reported.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, software firm Atlassian and healthcare tech maker Philips are three companies helping their suppliers set science-based targets and work toward lowering emissions, a process that requires close engagement with suppliers. 

Here are steps they’re taking.

Set goals, guide suppliers 

Atlassian’s commitment is to get 65 percent of its suppliers (by emission) for goods and services it purchases to set science-based targets by fiscal year 2025, which ends July 31, 2025. As of its latest sustainability report, only 6.9 percent had done so.

“It’s time to hustle,” said Atlassian chief sustainability officer Jessica Hyman. “That’s the attitude we’re taking this year.”

To increase awareness, Atlassian includes its science-based targets requirements in purchasing contracts and negotiations. It published supplier guidelines and created free resources that show suppliers the process of setting targets, in collaboration with the Business Council on Climate Change.

Atlassian is also offering consulting to its 10 highest-emitting suppliers, based on spend, to help them with the target-setting process. 

There are plenty of challenges. Suppliers change every year — not just the names but how much is spent. Atlassian’s biggest supplier is Amazon Web Services and its parent company, Amazon does not currently plan to commit to SBTi validation. Atlassian’s team is working with AWS to address this, but Hyman said no resolution is in sight. 

Pool purchasing power

One strategy working well for AstraZeneca is collaborating with companies that share its suppliers to achieve common goals. “It’s about getting a coalition of the willing,” said Robert Williams, procurement sustainability director at AstraZeneca. 

For example, AztraZeneca is a founding partner of Energize, a program funded by pharmaceutical companies that want their supply chains to run on renewable energy. As of December, the initiative included 500 suppliers that work with the sponsoring companies, which include GSK, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi. The effort has helped organize five “buyer cohorts” that plan to pool their purchasing power to negotiate renewable power purchase agreements. Those companies represent an aggregate electricity demand of more than 2 terawatt-hours.

AstraZeneca’s commitment is to reduce absolute Scope 3 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline year. As of its latest sustainability progress report, for 2022, it reported an increase of 8.6 percent. Getting suppliers to set science-based targets will be necessary to achieve absolute emissions reductions, Williams said.

Teach suppliers to teach their suppliers 

AstraZeneca and Philips are helping their largest, direct suppliers transition to net-zero business practices and providing them with resources and data that, in turn, help those suppliers directly engage with their own suppliers. 

The result is a “cascade” that flows through industries more holistically, said Robert Metzke, senior vice president and global head of sustainability at Philips. “Using global supply networks, not just chains, is a very feasible and scalable way that goes much faster than negotiations,” he said.  

Philips provides guidance on energy audits and “train the trainer” programs, so that suppliers can engage their own.

It aims to have 50 percent of its supply chain set science-based targets by 2025; so far, it has achieved 46 percent participation, according to Metzke.  

Source: Heather Clancy, Greenbiz

A team led by researchers at the University of Washington has discovered a major cause for a drop in nighttime pollinator activity — and people are largely to blame.

The researchers found that nitrate radicals (NO3) in the air degrade the scent chemicals released by a common wildflower, drastically reducing the scent-based cues that nighttime pollinators rely on to locate the flower. In the atmosphere, NO3 is produced by chemical reactions among other nitrogen oxides, which are themselves released by the combustion of gas and coal from cars, power plants and other sources. The findings, published Feb. 9 in the journal Science, are the first to show how nighttime pollution creates a chain of chemical reactions that degrades scent cues, leaving flowers undetectable by smell. The researchers also determined that pollution likely has worldwide impacts on pollination.

Image of a field site in eastern Washington showing pale evening primrose flowers.Jeremy Chan

The team — co-led by Jeff Riffell, a UW professor of biology, and Joel Thornton, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences — studied the pale evening primrose (Oenothera pallida). This wildflower grows in arid environments across the western U.S. They chose this species because its white flowers emit a scent that attracts a diverse group of pollinators, including nocturnal moths, which are one of its most important pollinators.

At field sites in eastern Washington, the researchers collected scent samples from pale evening primrose flowers. Back in the laboratory, they used chemical analysis techniques to identify the dozens of individual chemicals that make up the wildflower’s scent.

“When you smell a rose, you’re smelling a diverse bouquet composed of different types of chemicals,” said Riffell. “The same is true for almost any flower. Each has its own scent made up of a specific chemical recipe.”

Once they had identified the individual chemicals that make up the wildflower’s scent, the team used a more advanced technique called mass spectrometry to observe how each chemical within the scent reacted to NO3. They found that reacting with NO3 nearly eliminated certain scent chemicals. In particular, the pollutant decimated levels of monoterpene scent compounds, which in separate experiments moths found most attractive.

Image showing a white-lined sphinx pollinating a pale evening primrose flower.Ron Wolf

Moths, which smell through their antennae, have a scent-detection ability that is roughly equivalent to dogs — and several thousand times more sensitive than the human sense of smell. Research suggests that several moth species can detect scents from miles away, according to Riffell.

Using a wind tunnel and computer-controlled odor-stimulus system, the team investigated how well two moth species — the white-lined sphinx (Hyles lineata) and the tobacco hawkmoth (Manduca sexta) — could locate and fly toward scents. When the researchers introduced the pale evening primrose’s normal scent, both species would readily fly toward the scent source. But when the researchers introduced the scent and NO3 at levels typical for a nighttime urban setting, Manduca’s accuracy dropped by 50% and Hyles — one of the chief nocturnal pollinators of this flower — could not locate the source at all.

Experiments in a natural setting backed up these findings. In field experiments, the team showed that moths visited a fake flower emitting unaltered scent as often as they visited a real one. But, if they treated the scent first with NO3, moth visitation levels dropped by as much as 70%.

Pale evening primrose flower during field experiments in eastern Washington.Jeremy Chan

“The NO3 is really reducing a flower’s ‘reach’ — how far its scent can travel and attract a pollinator before it gets broken down and is undetectable,” said Riffell.

The team also compared how daytime and nighttime pollution conditions impacted the wildflower’s scent chemicals. Nighttime pollution had a much more destructive effect on the scent’s chemical makeup than daytime pollution. The researchers believe this is largely due to sunlight degrading NO3.

The team used a computer model that simulates both global weather patterns and atmospheric chemistry to locate areas most likely to have significant problems with plant-pollinator communication. The areas identified include western North America, much of Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and southern Africa.

Image showing a tobacco hawkmoth visiting a paper flower that is emitting a pale evening primrose scent.Charles Hedgcock

“Outside of human activity, some regions accumulate more NO3 because of natural sources, geography and atmospheric circulation,” said Thornton, who added that natural sources of NO3 include wildfires and lightning. “But human activity is producing more NO3 everywhere. We wanted to understand how those two sources — natural and human — combine and where levels could be so high that they could interfere with the ability of pollinators to find flowers.”

The researchers hope their study is just the first of many to help uncover the full scope of pollinator failure.

“Our approach could serve as a roadmap for others to investigate how pollutants impact plant-pollinator interactions, and to really get at the underlying mechanisms,” said Thornton. “You need this kind of holistic approach, especially if you want to understand how widespread the breakdown in plant-pollinator interactions is and what the consequences will be.”

The study highlights the dangers of human-fueled pollution and its implications for all pollinators as well as the future of agriculture.

Image showing a bee (genus Megachile) pollinating a pale evening primrose flower in eastern Washington.Jeremy Chan

“Pollution from human activity is altering the chemical composition of critical scent cues, and altering it to such an extent that the pollinators can no longer recognize it and respond to it,” said Riffell.

Approximately three-quarters of the more than 240,000 species of flowering plants rely on pollinators, Riffell said. And more than 70 species of pollinators are endangered or threatened.

Lead author on the paper is Jeremy Chan, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen who conducted this study as a UW doctoral student in biology. Co-authors are Sriram Parasurama in the UW Department of Biology; Rachel Atlas, a postdoctoral researcher at the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute in France who participated in this study as a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences; Ursula Jongebloed, a UW doctoral students in atmospheric sciences; Ruochong Xu, a doctoral student at Tsinghua University in China; Becky Alexander, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences; and Joseph Langenhan, a professor of chemistry at Seattle University. The research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Human Frontiers in Science Program, and the University of Washington.

For more information, contact Riffell at 206-348-0789 or jriffell@uw.edu and Thornton at 206-543-4010 or joelt@uw.edu.

IKEA, the world’s biggest furniture brand, on Thursday said it aims to cut emissions by 50% by its 2030 financial year, up from its previous target of 15% which it already exceeded in 2023.

Inter IKEA, which manufactures IKEA products and acts as franchisor to IKEA store owners, aims to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain -from raw material production to customers’ use and disposal of products.

The 50% reduction target compares with the 2016 financial year, while its prior 15% goal was set in 2017. The company cut its emissions by 12% in the latest financial year as more of its manufacturing facilities switched to fully renewable energy.

“It’s still going to be challenging and a lot of hard work, but there is at least a realism in the goal of 50%,” Par Stenmark, chief sustainability officer at Inter IKEA, told Reuters in an interview.

Inter IKEA said emissions were estimated to total 24.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the 12 months through August 2023, against 27.2 million tonnes in the 2022 fiscal year. The 2023 emissions were down 22% compared with 2016.

Helping curb emissions over the year, an additional 142 more of IKEA’s own factories, or supplier factories, switched to 100% renewable electricity, bringing the total to 408.

IKEA’s use of raw materials such as wood accounts for the biggest share (45.9%) of the company’s emissions, with IKEA product use in customers’ homes accounting for 16.1%.

The emissions footprint from materials fell by 17% in 2023 compared to 2022, but IKEA said that was mostly due to a decline in the amount of products manufactured over the year.

IKEA last year started using glue made from industrial corn starch in one of its wood board factories in Lithuania to replace glue made from petroleum.

“We are stepwise introducing it in production because availability is not really high at the moment,” said Stenmark. “We are very much looking forward to scaling this.”

Glue in wood board materials alone accounts for 5% of IKEA’s total emissions.

A decrease in IKEA’s emissions from product use at home was helped by lower overall sales volumes in lighting and appliances, and a bigger share of energy-efficient LED light bulbs sold.

IKEA aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, without using carbon offsets.

The company submitted its new targets in November to the Science Based Targets Initiative, which sets standards for emissions reduction goals and assesses whether companies’ plans are good enough.

Source: Reuters News (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

With ‘ethical sourcing’ taking on heightened significance, the jewellery retailer Malabar Gold & Diamonds has signed up with Rand Refinery for its bullion needs.

The ‘RandPure’ branded gold is 100 per cent ethically sourced – which means their origins are certified. These are procured only from South Africa based Rand Refinery’s Securities Exchange listed mines, with the raw materials processed in a segregated production line.

Each RandPure gold batch carries an easily identifiable mark and a ‘Certificate of Assurance’, providing customers with details such as the country of origin, mining period and conflict-free nature.

“Sustainability and responsible business practices have formed the core of our operations at Malabar Gold & Diamonds,” said M. P Ahammed, Chairman of Malabar. “Through our association with Rand Refinery and procurement, we are reaffirming our commitment towards responsible and ethical sourcing by opting for gold that meets the strictest industry norms.”

Ethical sourcing has been a hot topic issue in the global precious metals trade.

The traceability of RandPure Gold is subject to an annual audit that is in adherence to conflict zone regulations and guidance from the World Gold Council, LBMA, and OECD. These guidelines including the ‘Global Precious Metal Code’, which encourage refineries to tackle human rights violations at the mines and avoiding contribution to conflicts in volatile regions. They must also conform to standards on internationally accepted environmental practices, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) policies.

The 13-day Greening Education Hub, themed ‘Legacy from the Land of Zayed’, marked the end of its activities during COP28.

Hosted by the Ministry of Education, this first-of-its-kind Hub in the history of COP showcased education’s vital role in addressing the global climate crisis and achieving sustainable development goals on a global scale. It attracted a diverse audience from different backgrounds and age groups, including a significant number of international visitors.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, said, “As we embarked on the launch of the Legacy from the Land of Zayed Hub, our goal was to make significant advancements in promoting climate education to address the global climate crisis. We aimed to establish a lasting legacy that could serve as a foundation for positive changes throughout the educational process, all the way to building green societies.

The Hub has successfully achieved its objectives. The UAE has inspired educational leaders to implement tangible measures, positioning education at the forefront of worldwide conversations about climate and sustainability. This supports the aim of enhancing the skills of educational cadres, raising environmental and climate awareness among students, and empowering them to become advocates for sustainability in their communities and workplaces.”

Dr. Al Falasi added, “As the activities of the Greening Education Hub – Legacy from the Land of Zayed end, we simultaneously embark on a new phase. This involves ongoing collaboration with our local and international partners to underscore the importance of sustainability in the global education sector. We will achieve this through global initiatives, programmes, and partnerships, solidifying our nation’s leading role in climate action and striving to create a sustainable future for generations to come.”

During COP28, the First Annual Meeting of the Greening Education Partnership, which was held at the Greening Education Hub, issued a Declaration on the Common Agenda for Education and Climate Change at COP28. Through this declaration, member states of the Green Education Partnership pledged to develop national education strategies to mitigate the repercussions of climate change and to leverage the role of education to achieve net-zero emissions in the education sector.

The declaration also highlighted the member states’ pledge to enhance cooperation in all fields to provide domestic and international funding. This is to promote climate education in a way that helps bridge the gap between the current reality and climate targets.

Additionally, during the International Greening Education Ministerial Meeting, which the UAE chaired, the Ministry of Education launched two initiatives in cooperation with UNESCO. The first called for the establishment of an open-source platform on the internet to facilitate access to resources and information and exchange experiences and expertise, in order to support the adoption of green education around the world. The second initiative called for launching a ‘Sustainability Tracking Tool for Educational Institutions’ that contributes to unifying international efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of educational institutions around the world in preparation for COP29.

Furthermore, the Greening Education Hub introduced various initiatives and programmes with the goal of endorsing and fostering the implementation of green education on a global scale.

The Ministry cooperated with the Office for Climate Education and Alef Education, to unveil the Educators’ Voice platform. The initiative aims to enhance green education resources accessible to teachers and educational officials globally through open sources, empowering them to advance their climate readiness.

All Net-Zero Heroes also actively engaged in programmes offered by the Greening Education Hub that were tailored to their respective ages and interests. Each child had the opportunity to participate in approximately 15 events and workshops, assuming various roles in key speaker sessions, including ones involving a dialogue with children from the Arab world that was supported by the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

They also took part in discussions, including a ministerial retreat, and served as primary spokespeople representing the children of the UAE during a ceremony honouring educators. Additionally, workshops specifically designed for these heroes were conducted, covering activities such as the ‘My Home’ awareness game sponsored by the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, a simulation session for COP28, and an appreciation ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments.

The Ministry of Education, through the Greening Education Hub, has made significant progress in attaining the objectives of the four pillars of the Green Education Partnership. Currently, 52% of schools and 36% of universities have enrolled in greening programmes, preparing for official environmental accreditation. Furthermore, all schools across the country now have access to green resources and curricula essential for promoting environmental education.

In terms of greening capacities, the Ministry is actively involved in providing climate training and qualification for one educational official and two teachers in each school nationwide. The initial phase of training for 100 master trainers has been completed, with over 1,400 educational officials and more than 10,000 teachers enrolled in training programmes to enhance their capabilities in green education.

To amplify the role of education in fostering greening communities, the Ministry has devised seven distinct business models for each of the country’s emirates. The objective is to boost community engagement with climate education initiatives.

In line with its belief in the power of partnerships in bringing about sustainable change in the educational sector, the Ministry of Education signed two Memoranda of Understanding during COP28. The first MoU was with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), which was aimed at developing and implementing initiatives to educate youth and students about environmental protection. The objective is to emphasise their role in shouldering responsibilities, with a focus on preserving wildlife and natural habitats, fostering understanding, and promoting sustainable behavioural change.

Additionally, the Ministry has entered into agreements with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as well as with Bayanat. These agreements aim to bolster and advance sustainable scientific and research initiatives, including the initiation of a grant for collaborative research programmes throughout 2024.

The Greening Education Hub – Legacy from the Land of Zayed witnessed an impressive turnout during COP28, with over 50,000 visitors, surpassing expectations by over 270%.

Notably, student and academic engagement with the Hub’s activities was exceptional, with more than 3,500 students from 122 schools across the country visiting over the course of 13 days. The Hub played host to 250 panel discussions and workshops, featuring the participation of over 1,000 speakers from more than 50 countries and the attendance of more than 10,000 guests.​

Source: WAM

The company targets to diminish greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2025

UAE’s IFFCO, the leading FMCG multinational, has allocated AED 77 million to sustainability initiatives over two years, with ten programmes comprising 156 projects in the pipeline.

The company has identified six crucial areas in which it aims to make tangible efforts to boost its environmental performance – climate change, energy management, water management, forests, circular economy, and biodiversity.

To contribute to the global fight against climate change, IFFCO has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its own operations and energy consumption by 17% by 2025, in comparison to its 2021 figures.

The company has analysed its corporate footprint, determining hotspots and key measures to be taken. It will announce detailed targets for 2030 at COP28 (the 28th UN Climate Change Conference), scheduled in Dubai.

Sustainable value-added products

“In line with our vision to become the preferred provider of sustainable value-added products and services for everyone, everywhere and every day, we have adopted a holistic approach to sustainability,” noted Shiraz Allana, Supervisory Board Member at IFFCO.

As part of its Zero Deforestation ambition, IFFCO has achieved 100% traceability to mill (TTM) and 85% traceability to plantation (TTP) for palm oil products.

In the UAE, the company launched the first plant-based meat alternatives factory in the Middle East under the THRYVE™ brand. This 100% greenfield investment aligns with IFFCO’s mission to lead the much-needed diet shift towards more sustainable plant-based proteins.

The company is also working to reduce waste generation and introduce packaging with a reduced environmental impact.

Among corporate sustainability professionals, I often hear a behind-the-scenes code phrase: “We’re not Patagonia.” I’m doing the best I can, it implies, but: 

…our business was built on a model that is fundamentally bad for the environment.
…our customers will buy our products regardless of how sustainable they are.
…our impact on nature is far away and indirect.
…paying our workers more would threaten profitability.
…truly engaging with communities is expensive and risky.
…company leadership and investors aren’t bought in.
…pushing any harder could endanger my job.

It’s a catch-all for the reasons a company can’t or won’t transform anything from products to packaging to marketing to supply chains to lobbying. And the number of times I’ve heard variations of it in my 20 years in the field is both a testament to Patagonia’s continued leadership as well as an indication of why businesses are not delivering on sustainability commitments.

Patagonia’s once novel approach to sustainable materials, reducing emissions, prioritizing social good–and style of communicating about it all–is taught in sustainability grad programs everywhere. The company made fleece from plastic soda bottles, starting in 1993. It provocatively launched its ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ anti-consumption campaign on Black Friday in 2011. The company targets carbon neutrality by 2025 — and looks beyond that toward taking gross emissions to zero. 

When sustainability professionals shrug, “We’re not Patagonia,” it’s not for lack of Patagonia trying to show them how to be. A new book (released in September), The Future of the Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 50 Years, by Vincent Stanley with company founder Yvon Chouinard, builds (with 75 percent new content) upon their book The Responsible Company, published in 2012, which laid out their thesis around harm reduction, quality products and worker culture. The refresh, according to the book’s preface, is intended to account for the “dramatic shifts” that “have taken place in the world and at Patagonia” since the original version. 

It expounds on what it means to be responsible to six audiences: owners/shareholders, workers, customers, community, nature and society, with candid examples from Patagonia’s own challenges getting it right. 

With the book’s advice in mind, I spoke with author Vincent Stanley, director of Patagonia philosophy (that’s his real title), about what makes the company different, and why its methods seem so hard for other businesses to emulate. It comes down to three main themes.

“We are the same as every other business in 99% of our needs, our aspirations, our operations. There’s not that much difference.”

Patagonia doesn’t make or sell low-quality products 
It had a head start on this. “One of the things that helped direct our fate,” said Stanley, “was the fact that we came out of building climbing gear.” In that business, customers “are trusting their lives to the quality of what you’re making.” 

Patagonia’s predisposition for high quality, at least in part, led to a high price point. As a result, the company, which remains on the small size of big, with $1.5 billion in annual revenue, can afford to be sustainable: It has both the social license and the capital. 

But it isn’t always easy. Stanley says that the company’s laser-focus on premium quality apparel “mostly came about in a negative way, in which we would discover something that we were doing, or was being done in the supply chain in our name, that we were ashamed of, and that we wanted to change.” Perfluorinated compounds (aka PFAS) are an example. Recently, after a phase-out process that took 15 years, the company announced it’s converting all of its “durable water-repellent membranes and finishes to non-fluorinated alternatives by 2025.”

All that R&D adds costs, and Patagonia’s customers will pay part of that to stay dry. So what if you don’t have that pricing wiggle room? “Being the lowest-cost provider really works against a lot of [what] needs to be done to improve performance,” he acknowledges, while giving due respect to McDonald’s and Walmart for their efforts to change the systems they work within in order to do better.

Patagonia sweats the small stuff and the big stuff 
Toward the end of the book, The Future of the Responsible Company includes a long checklist of what I would deem “small stuff,” from mulching your landscaping to providing low-emission employee transportation options. Many sustainability professionals remain mired in pushing for things like this and never making it to the big, systemic changes — new business models, approaches to energy and water and alternatives to fossil fuels. For that reason, I tend to have little patience for these at-the-margins initiatives. Why does Patagonia spend time on them, and why recommend them to others?  

“You have to look at material impacts,” he acknowledges. “For us, more than 90% of our impact is in the materials that we use. But it makes a difference to our approach to our material use to pay attention to every activity…it keeps you honest, in a way. It also keeps everybody engaged.” He pointed out that Patagonia’s trade show booths are reused for 10 years, and fully recycled at end of life. 

Patagonia doesn’t make excuses
In chapter two, the new book reveals that “Patagonia was meant to be an easy-to-milk cash cow, not a risk-taking, environment-obsessed, navel-gazing company,” but that the founder and staff’s love for the outdoors – and protecting their favorite surf breaks and mountain passes – organically predisposed them to ask questions about environmental impact, like the many downsides of cotton. Their own life transitions — having kids — led to social innovations like onsite daycare. And their interest in transparency was inspired by employees’ curiosity and desire to explain what they were learning. All of these reinforced the company’s positive reputation among those who share its values.

I asked Stanley, “What do you say to those who respond to your recommendations with ‘Well, Patagonia is different. They get to do things differently, and we don’t.’”  

“There’s always a good excuse for falling short,” he said. “I remember when [Patagonia was] very small, and people within the company, when we would be debating on what to do, they’d say, ‘Well, we’re too small a company to do that.’ And then we got to a certain size, and in the same debates, I’d hear, ‘Oh, well, we’re too big a company to do that.’ I would really discourage people from coming up with — or accepting — excuses. There are always things that we can’t do. But it’s not a good habit to get into to say, ‘Oh, well, you know, Patagonia is Patagonia, and they’re a one-off.’ We are the same as every other business [in] 99% of our needs, our aspirations, our operations. There’s not that much difference. So if we can do something— and we’re still in business, and we’re still profitable — I think people might pay attention to that.” 

Source: Dylan Siegler, SVP, Sustainability at GreenBiz Group