Zoos And Aquariums May Play Key Role In Teaching Future Sustainability Practices

Zoos And Aquariums May Play Key Role In Teaching Future Sustainability Practices

Zoos and aquariums have evolved tremendously in the last few decades. While animal welfare rightfully remains the highest priority, zoos and aquariums are expanding their conservation efforts and investments beyond the walls of their own facilities. Thanks to the high level of trust that zoos and aquariums have earned within their communities, they have a massive opportunity to influence wider climate action. Zoos and aquariums have a special responsibility to act sustainably, as they care for live animals – especially endangered species. But there’s work to be done. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has an accreditation system in place that judges wildlife organizations based on several factors, including the practice of sustainability. Currently, of the approximately 2,800 animal exhibitors licensed by the USDA across the country, less than 10% are AZA-accredited.  Ultimately, more zoos and aquariums need to drive a sustainability vision that embraces their potential to act as agents of cultural change as well as educators of sustainable development. I spoke with notable executives of zoos and aquariums across the United States who are incorporating sustainability practices into their organizations and how this is further promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle and giving a positive outlook on wildlife conservation.  Jeff Fromm: How are you currently thinking about sustainability?  Sean Putney, CEO at Kansas City Zoo: Conservation and sustainability are a core part of our strategic plan. We want to be leaders in these categories and our guests expect us to be as well. Zoos have come such a long way over the last 50 years. Though excellence in animal care continues to be a focus, we are also concerned with the environments where they come from and where we live. We are involved with dozens of projects that range from regional to international efforts and often times the focus is on the animals and how to protect them from extinction, but it is equally important to look at the environment in which they live and how to sustain it for them and for us.  We have come a long way at our zoo but we continue to look for ways that we can get better and “walk the walk” not just talk the talk. Specifically speaking about the efforts we have made on grounds in the last decade, I can point to photovoltaic cells on many of our buildings that help to generate the electricity we use. We have also reduced energy waste in several buildings by updating control systems. We have added well over 100 recycling containers throughout the Zoo to make it easier for our guests to make the right choice. We have green roofs and water gardens as well as multiple areas that utilize local plants and flowers that need less watering. When building new, or renovating old, animal exhibits, we incorporate sustainability into the planning sessions as well. Several buildings are LEED Certified as we look for ways to save and conserve water and other resources and energy. We collect animal waste and plant refuse and make a rich compost that can be reused on grounds as well as sold to the local community. We have also been involved with efforts outside the Zoo as staff have helped with Blue River Cleanups and placing signs at local schools encouraging “no idle zones.”  All of these should reveal that conservation and sustainability is important and are woven into our everyday practices.

Innovation, CCUS key to decarbonizing concrete: Canadian report

Innovation, CCUS key to decarbonizing concrete: Canadian report

A cement industry body and the Canadian government have released a blueprint for the sector to reach net-zero by 2050, challenging the heavily polluting industry to decarbonize with technology, efficiency and carbon capture.  The Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete By 2050 report was published by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in cooperation with the Cement Association of Canada (CAC). The CAC is a trade association representing most of the country’s cement companies.  It identifies concrete as the second-most consumed product on earth, used for all manner of buildings and infrastructure. In Canada, the industry is said to be responsible for 158,000 direct and indirect jobs, and $76 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic impact.  Cement and concrete are also a serious contributor to climate change. Cement contributes to seven per cent of global emissions and 1.5 per cent of Canada’s pollution.  Canadian firms are expected to produce 55 million tonnes of cement and 400 million tonnes of concrete over the next five years.  The report says the cement and concrete industry has committed to reducing more than 15 megatonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) cumulatively by 2030. The report lays out a series of paths the industry and government can take to achieve that goal.  Ways to decarbonize – The first path deals with clinker, the precursor to cement. Its production is energy-intensive and a major source of the carbon dioxide emissions related to cement.  To reduce emissions from clinker, the report prescribes:  Rreducing clinker volumes by increasing the volume of decarbonized raw materials;  Increasing the use of low-carbon fuels for combustion such as waste-based fuels; adopting clean energy and energy efficiency; and employing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).  For concrete, the report recommends increasing the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) to reduce GHG emissions.  It also notes the importance of: decarbonizing concrete manufacturing and transportation; optimizing the design and construction process to produce less waste; and use of materials built for longevity, adaptive re-use and deconstruction.  From government, the report suggests new codes and standards to mandate low-carbon concrete and addressing the issues surrounding the procurement of concrete and cement.  Adam Auer, president and CEO of the CAC, said governments have “the potential to be significant market-makers for innovation and to really de-risk the novelty of new low-carbon innovation for the rest of the market.”  

Our Sustainable Mining Plan | Anglo American

Our Sustainable Mining Plan | Anglo American

Our industry must address critical challenges of safety, productivity, and the way we use land, energy, and water. As our global population grows, this leads to a greater demand for minerals and metals, core components of products and services that are essential to human progress.  But it’s about more than just the work we do and the footprint we leave. We are part of people’s lives. People who demand and deserve more than just high product quality. Modern society rightly expects the mining industry to make a positive contribution to socio-economic development in a sustainable way by reducing its environmental footprint and supporting biodiversity.  Our definition of sustainability – A sustainable business is purposeful, competitive, resilient and agile –it’s a business that thrives through both economic and social cycles.  By understanding the context and listening to stakeholders we stay ahead of evolving trends and provide the solutions to societal expectations around sustainable development. By solving the physical challenges of mining through restless innovation, and by constantly searching for more responsible ways to do business, we are changing the way our employees and stakeholders experience our business – creating enduring value for all stakeholders.  FutureSmart MiningTM – A blueprint for future success – Our Purpose is to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives.  Central to living up to our Purpose is our FutureSmart MiningTM programme – our innovation-led pathway to sustainable mining. It is our blueprint for the future of our business. A future in which broad, innovative thinking, enabling technologies, and collaborative partnerships will shape an industry that is safer, more sustainable and efficient, and better harmonised with the needs of our host communities and society.  Our Sustainable Mining Plan is integral to FutureSmart MiningTM – We have developed a Sustainable Mining Plan that will foster innovation and deliver step change results across the entire mining value chain, from mineral discovery right through to marketing.  Our Sustainable Mining Plan is designed specifically to drive business efficiencies, resilience and agility. It will ensure that we deliver outstanding sustained business results across all seven of our pillars of value, without compromise – safety, environment, social, people, production, cost/margin, and returns/financial. Sustainability is at the heart of our decision-making – it is how we do business.

How to avoid greenwash: lessons from the UK’s crackdown on misleading eco-claims –

How to avoid greenwash: lessons from the UK’s crackdown on misleading eco-claims –

The UK’s advertising watchdog is policing the language of sustainability more strictly than ever before. After a string of high-profile breaches, Iona Murphy sets out how businesses can stay on the right side of the UK’s ‘Green Claims Code’.  Sustainability has long been plagued with greenwashing. Marketers frequently opt for vague terms like ‘eco-friendly’, ‘green’ and ‘all-natural’, which can mislead or outright lie to the public about a product or company’s environmental impact. It’s no surprise that polling from RED C Research last year discovered that 62% of the UK public found it difficult to understand which brands are sustainable and which aren’t. With a third of the UK’s necessary emissions cuts hinging on behavioural change, it’s crucial that the public have the information they need to make more sustainable choices.  62% of the UK public found it difficult to understand which brands are sustainable and which aren’t It was therefore welcome that, after the Competition and Markets Authority’s review into greenwashing concluded 40% of online green claims could be misleading, the body introduced rules on how to make meaningful environmental claims via the Green Claims Code in September 2021.  Green Claims Code – Claims must be truthful and accurate.
Claims must be clear and unambiguous.  Claims must not omit or hide important relevant information.  Comparisons must be fair and meaningful.  Claims must consider the full life cycle of the product or service.  Claims must be substantiated.  Which all sounds straightforward enough. Yet, over a year since the launch, brands continue to fall foul of the regulator. A minority of breaches appear to be out-and-out greenwash – for instance, a nutrition drinks company that advertised its plastic-lined bottles as plastic-free. But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that even though they may not have deliberately misled consumers, many brands have ended up inadvertently breaching the code.  So, brands are falling short because of unsubstantiated, misleading claims and a lack of consideration as to how the public might interpret these. The ASA’s concern with the overall impression of advertising should encourage brands to pause and consider how their messaging stacks up with the rest of their approach to sustainability.  We expect to see brands getting more specific about exactly how their products are ‘better’ for the environment and leaning less on vague claims.

Hundred more Locky Docks’ rolling out | EVs & Beyond

Hundred more Locky Docks’ rolling out | EVs & Beyond

Big Street Bikers is supercharging its network of Locky Docks free secure parking and charging stations for cycles, e-bikes and e-scooters with 100 more to be rolled out across New Zealand.  “Mercury has been a cornerstone partner of Big Street Bikers since day one, as we recognise transport is New Zealand’s biggest opportunity to reduce emissions – and our sector can help with that,” says Mercury sustainability general manager Lucie Drummond.  “We’re excited to help get more Kiwis on to bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters, as convenient and cleaner ways to get around, as the network expands.”  Analysis of the 10 existing Locky Docks in Christchurch by consultancy Sense Partners found they contributed to 250,000 fewer vehicle kilometres travelled, 58 tonnes of CO2 abated and $1.7-$2.3 million in physical benefits annually.  Big Street Bikers co-founder Cleve Cameron says Locky Docks are “mode shift machines”.  “The wayfinding and secure storage Locky Docks provide makes them an excellent complement to improving cycling infrastructure. By making it safe, secure and normal to bike to more regularly, we can accelerate climate action and enhance the wellbeing of our streets.”  Sense Partners economist Shamubeel Eaqub says expansion of the network can bring proportionally greater benefits.  “Based on our analysis, the next 100 Locky Docks could reduce vehicle kilometres travelled by 2.5 million kilometres a year,” he says.  “The Locky Dock network also provides exceptional value – $1.50 (at our most conservative measure), up to $4.60 for every $1 of cost (at our most optimistic). That comes from reduced car operating costs, reduced pollution costs, health benefits from cycling and more.”  The next 100 Locky Docks are planned for existing locations – Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch – and new locations such as Tauranga, Whakatane, Napier, New Plymouth, Wairarapa and Dunedin.  Each Locky Dock station has a screen displaying safe cycling routes to make commuting easier and CCTV cameras for extra security.  They are locked and unlocked using the Bikeep app available here.  Meanwhile, transport minister Michael Wood is expected to help launch “The Big Switch” on Friday November 25 in the way people move around New Zealand’s cities from streets made for cars to streets made for people.

Young Adults Struggle to Balance Sustainability with Affordability – On The Record

Young Adults Struggle to Balance Sustainability with Affordability – On The Record

Young Canadians say they feel the pressure to make environmentally friendly choices. Unfortunately, those choices sometimes cost more. As they struggle with affording basic necessities, some people feel guilty about not being able to do more to combat climate change.  The planet is dangerously close to crossing the carbon emissions threshold of 1.5 °C in 10 years, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The effects would be devastating and irreversible.  Experts say climate action efforts from governments, institutions and individuals are all critical to the fight against climate change. But young Canadians say the rising cost of living is getting in the way.  The November 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP27, stressed that the pressure is on to implement substantive changes rather than “snazzy promises,” said Julie Segal, conference attendee and climate finance manager at Environmental Defence, a Canadian environmental advocacy organization.  “People always say that we’re the leaders of tomorrow,” said 27-year-old Segal. “First of all, we’re leading today.”  But, as costs of living increase, making eco-conscious choices can make that leadership a struggle.  Eden Schwinghamer says he understands his responsibility to prevent further harm to the planet, but the second-year Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) photography student says financial constraints have proven to be a significant obstacle.  “I look at my budget and the fact that I’m putting myself through school, I am the only person in this ship with me,” said Schwinghamer. “I look at my bank account and I look at what I need and unfortunately, a lot of the more sustainable options do not line up as being more affordable.”  Schwinghamer says he feels a certain level of guilt for not being able to afford making bigger changes, such as buying more ethically sourced clothes, in his efforts to be eco-conscious.  His situation isn’t unique. TMU environmental sciences graduate Claire Davis also says she feels guilt about being unable to invest more into green living.  “I do what I can, but there’s only a certain degree of change people can individually contribute to protecting the environment,” she said.”

55% of UK freight sector plans for battery electric vehicle fleet in 5 years | Logistics & Handling

55% of UK freight sector plans for battery electric vehicle fleet in 5 years | Logistics & Handling

A new study, carried out by UK business connectivity provider for the transport and logistics sector. Neos Networks, has found that over half (55%) of UK companies are actively planning to adopt battery electric vehicles (BEVs) across their fleet in as little as five years to align with net-zero targets.  BEVs were over two times more popular than competing technologies such as hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), favoured by 26% of companies, or other alternative fuels, chosen by 23%. In fact, just 7% of operators don’t plan to adopt decarbonisation measures in this time period.  The 2022 Green Technology in Freight report, carried out by Neos, asked business leaders at 34 of the UK’s top logistics companies for their insight on changes made since the decarbonisation plan, what barriers they experience in meeting green targets and what the future holds for the industry.  42% of freight companies highlighted artificial intelligence (AI) and data learning across operations as key to their decarbonisation plan. One year on from the announcement of the UK government’s Decarbonising Transport plan, industry experts encourage operators to act now and ‘get smart’ to lay foundations for data systems.  Currently, just two in five companies who collect and report on primary (real-time) data of greenhouse gas and/or carbon emissions are using the data to improve operational efficiency. To truly capitalise on the information available, investment is needed in network systems, employee expertise and connectivity infrastructure.  Does the industry truly believe in net-zero targets?  The industry remains divided as to whether the UK government’s target of net-zero emissions in transport by 2050 can be achieved. Over half (55%) of respondents were positive about meeting targets, though 45% of operators are still to be convinced.  The greatest barrier to net-zero targets for three in five T&L operators (61%) is high investment costs, followed by concern that some shippers are favouring lower costs over greener practices. 35% of operators stated that low costs being prioritised over sustainability is a significant obstacle to decarbonisation.

Commercial Real Estate Seeing Green Premiums in Europe

Commercial Real Estate Seeing Green Premiums in Europe

Sustainable buildings have increased the asset values for commercial real estate managers in Europe, according to research from Deepki.  More than half of the commercial real estate managers say property values have increased between 16% and 28% because of a green premium, which is the added value of using more sustainable offerings because tenants are willing to pay more for more efficient buildings. More than a quarter of respondents say their rental yields have increased for green buildings.  The industrial sector is the most likely to use sustainable commercial real estate, according to 64% of the respondents. Healthcare followed, with 48% of respondents saying the sector is most likely to use green buildings, and retail came in at 45% according to the research. The sector having the least impact in terms of sustainable space was lodging and resorts, which came in with 4% of the responses.  A third of the respondents also say vacancies have decreased by as much as 15% for sustainable buildings, with 36% saying their void periods have fallen by up to 25%.  “Commercial real estate managers who are taking steps to understand and enhance their ESG credentials are helping to meet their net zero goals and deliver better performance for investors,” says Deepki CEO Vincent Bryant. “Buildings with better sustainability ratings are more likely to be occupied which increases their overall rental income.”

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability

Our world is changing due to global heating at a faster rate than humanity has ever experienced before. The decisions we make now impact the future of our planet.  We want to unite people and use our unique place as a music venue to amplify positive climate action and inspire everyone to think about their impact on the earth.  To ensure we can continue to celebrate music together for generations to come, we have set ourselves the target to become the UK’s first net zero concert hall by 2030.  Here you’ll find stories, videos, and updates about the steps we’re taking to achieve this goal, and how you can help us get there too.

Town-gown awards honor food-related community partnerships

Town-gown awards honor food-related community partnerships

Three community organizations dedicated to food research and security and agricultural justice were honored by Cornell for their campus-community partnerships in 2022.  The 12th annual Cornell Town-Gown Awards – also known as the TOGOs – celebrated cooperation between the university and the greater Ithaca community at a virtual ceremony held Nov. 19. Joel M. Malina, Cornell’s vice president for university relations, hosted the event.  Speaking at the awards ceremony, Cornell President Martha E. Pollack offered her thanks and discussed the importance of community-campus partnerships.  “One of the things I love about Cornell is that even though we’re Ivy League, we’re never ivory tower,” Pollack said. “Our community is deeply connected with the communities around us. Cornell and local communities aren’t just shared – we continually shape each other in ways that make both of us stronger.”

The role of location in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

The role of location in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are increasingly important decision-making criteria for organisations to measure their activities and report progress.  When an organisation chooses a strong ESG profile, it demonstrates strong commitment, both to codes of practice and corporate values, and to current and potential investors and lenders. It is a mark of distinction among competition, and supports an organisation’s attractiveness to employees and customers, presenting a key financial incentive. Whereas, a lower ESG profile or performance will increasingly suggest apathy towards the interests of wider society – whether intentional or not.  Accountability is a powerful element in purchasing decisions, particularly in complicated and lengthy supply chains. Consumers want to know the background of service providers. Both employees and customers expect companies to stand for something with a positive social impact. For example, more than six in ten younger consumers closely consider a company’s ethical values and authenticity before buying their products.

Scientists warn of health impacts as Great Lakes plastic pollution grows | Bridge Michigan

Scientists warn of health impacts as Great Lakes plastic pollution grows | Bridge Michigan

As a lifelong West Michigan resident and avid beach walker whose hometown draws its drinking water from Lake Michigan, Arthur Hirsch has always loved spending time along the Great Lakes.  That’s how he spotted something worrying in the water three summers ago.  Thousands of plastic pellets littered the beach’s sandy shore, just a small sampling of the 22 million pounds of plastic waste that enters the Great Lakes annually, much of it in the form of tiny “microplastics” small enough to be ingested or embedded in flesh. Hirsch had discovered nurdles, tiny plastic pellets that are melted down to create products ranging from clothing to water bottles. “I was pissed that this unknown sourced plastic material was polluting Lake Michigan and my beach environment,” said Hirsch, an activist with the West Michigan Chapter of the Climate Reality Project. 

Farmers hold the key to the climate crisis

Farmers hold the key to the climate crisis

In many ways, the seaside resort town of Sharm El Sheikh is a compelling backdrop for a global climate change conference. Perched on the south-eastern edge of the Sinai Peninsula, it is bordered by pristine coral reefs on one side and arid desert on the other – a perfect reminder of the delicate equilibrium that keeps our planet’s ecosystems alive and an eloquent portrait of everything that we stand to lose to climate change.  But the setting for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, was the only thing that stood out in what was otherwise an unremarkable affair, contoured by the usual parade of delegates, an increased presence of industry lobbyists, and the growing certainty that the climate targets set in the Paris Agreement will not be achieved. If anything, COP27 produced one concrete outcome: our planet will be a much hotter place in the coming decade.

Food Security, Climate Resilience Hinge on Women’s Land Rights

Food Security, Climate Resilience Hinge on Women’s Land Rights

Women are responsible for half of the world’s food production; in most developing countries, women produce between 60 and 80% of food. Yet they own just a fraction of the land on which they live and work.  This week at COP27, where food security and gender are high priorities, I spoke with Esther Mwaura Muiru​, global advocacy director at the Stand for Her Land campaign and Dan Glickman, former United States secretary of agriculture.  They shared unique insights, based on their expansive advocacy and policy careers, on how women’s land rights and supportive policies can bolster climate resilience, food security, and sustainability in communities.

Science to Action Fellowship | U.S. Geological Survey

Science to Action Fellowship | U.S. Geological Survey

The Science to Action Fellowship program supports graduate students in developing a product that puts science into action, directly applying scientific research related to climate change impacts on fish, wildlife, or ecosystems to decision making about natural resources. The Science to Action (S2A) Fellowship was developed to expose graduate students to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through the USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center (NCASC), whose mission is to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques to help natural and cultural resource managers anticipate and adapt to the impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and ecosystems.

Why You Might Want Kitchen Composting Convenience

Why You Might Want Kitchen Composting Convenience

Thanksgiving is a joyous time of year to celebrate our abundance. Unfortunately, much of it goes out with the trash after the gathering. “Two hundred million pounds of turkey thrown out, alongside more than 150 million pounds of side dishes like veggies and potatoes and 14 million pounds of dinner rolls,” laments the Center for Biological Diversity, a sustainability-focused nonprofit. In addition to the tremendous waste of food and money, this organic refuse also generates methane in our landfills, a contributor of greenhouse gasses. Composting is one approach to reducing this problem.

NASA’s James Webb detects chemistry of an exoplanet’s atmosphere that could help find aliens

NASA’s James Webb detects chemistry of an exoplanet’s atmosphere that could help find aliens

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) could be a significant player in the search for alien life after it successfully revealed the makeup of an exoplanet’s atmosphere in never before seen detail.  JWST’s powerful instruments captured atoms and molecules, along with signs of active chemistry and clouds – features Hubble and Spitzer were unable to detect when they observed the planet and those that hold evidence of signs of life. Astronomers used WASP-39b, a hot Saturn 700 light-years away from Earth, to test the telescope’s capabilities, and the telescope used its infrared capabilities to pick up colors chemical fingerprints that cannot be detected in visible light.

LAND.TECHNIK – International Conference on Agricultural Engineering

LAND.TECHNIK – International Conference on Agricultural Engineering

European agriculture, both crop and animal production, currently faces major challenges such as the need to protect biodiversity, increasing bans or limitations on the use of pesticides, soil quality degradation, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the overarching challenge of climate change. To overcome these challenges, scientific and industrial research and development in agricultural and biosystems engineering, across all areas of agriculture and nutrition, must work together to offer strategic pathways and technological solutions. The AgEng-LAND.TECHNIK 2022 conference, part of both the EurAgEng AgEng and the VDI LAND.TECHNIK conference series, brings together these competences and expertise to provide an arena to connect and drive forward the needed solutions to these global challenges.

Achieving Our Agricultural Climate Targets: Pathways For Success

Achieving Our Agricultural Climate Targets: Pathways For Success

To achieve our climate targets and ensure the long-term sustainability of our sector, agriculture is working towards the development of more climate resilient systems and the reduction of agricultural emissions. Significant transformation is needed and this requires joined up thinking and long-term strategic planning in both research and practice. This Symposium aims to raise awareness, exchange knowledge and provide research- based information on current policy approaches, farm-level initiatives and address the contribution of sustainable diets in food security debates.

PDC Summit 2023

PDC Summit 2023

The 2023 International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction March 12-15, Phoenix The PDC Summit brings together thousands working in all disciplines of health care planning, design and construction to learn, network and discover ways to create value for the health care built environment. The field comes together to share their findings, challenges and best practices with the shared goal of advancing safe and trusted health care. Professionals from every stage of their careers can benefit from sessions, networking and solutions. Attend the PDC Summit and get the information you need to elevate your career and team.