January Top 10 Sustainability Highlights
1. Planetary Health Diet: Developed Countries Must Cut Red Meat Eating by 80% to Protect Earth
Are you willing to change your diet to save the planet? Veganism is surely one way or you could follow the less extreme but still meaningful Planetary Health Diet that scientists claim could make the difference. It would require developed countries like US and UK to cut mean consumption by 80% and drastically cut down dairy and sugar consumption. This diet is said to minimise the effects of climate change, deforestation, loss of species and could prevent 11-million premature deaths a year. This diet recommends getting 35% of your calories from whole grains, tubers, and plant-based proteins. It represents a movement toward a new global food system that would work to reduce food waste as well as reduce the harmful impact the current system has on our planet.
2. The Circularity Gap Report: Our World is Only 9% Circular
Get this: “the global economy extracts 92.8 billion tonnes of minerals, fossil fuels, metals, and biomass” and only 9% of these resources are re-used each year. That’s a tough pill to swallow. A report by the Circular Economy Group cites these along with many other staggering facts and figures to make their claim: more circular economy efforts are urgently needed whether it takes re-engineering supply chains or rethinking financial incentives and taxes to discourage overuse of natural resources.
3. UK Leads International Project To Tackle “World’s Biggest Challenges”
The good news: there’s been a 3% increase in tonnes of plastics packaging collected from UK households. The not so good news: the quality of the collection has gone down. Survey says much of this has to do with consumer confusion and people ‘just not getting it’. So, there’s much work to be done to drive this quality thorough the entire recycling process – but this 3% increase indicates to us that the UK population is taking seriously their eco-responsibility and that’s extremely heartening! And on top of that Local Authorities are working to do more with 49% planning communications about proper plastics recycling – that’s a win!
4. Waitrose Cuts Black Plastic from Product Packaging
Another win! As you probably know, black plastic is particularly difficult to recycle due to the sorting technology currently used at most UK recycling facilities. Waitrose has removed black plastics from its own-brand fresh meats and produce packaging which amounts to 1,300 tonnes. They aim to remove all the rest of its black plastic by the end of this year, and to arrive at 100% product packaging to be ‘widely recyclable’ by 2023. As they work to reduce plastics as much as possible, they’re working to encourage customers to bring their own reusable to fresh service counters and aim to remove bags completely from their counters. They’re also launching compostable fruit and veg bags later this year. Good on you Waitrose, and keep it coming!
5. Guardian Switches to Potato Starch Wrapping
This one is very, very cool. The Guardian has switched its formerly plastic magazine wrapping to one made from potato starch. It has EN13431 certification and OK home compost certification so should be more than welcome in your home compost heap. They say it is “designed to completely compost within six months in a well-maintained compost heap or food waste bin.” The better news? It contains 0 oil-based materials, plastics, or harmful toxins and is made from waste potatoes – an excellent example of waste-to-resource renewable materials!
6. ‘Worrying’ Rise in Global CO2 Forecast for 2019
New year, same crisis. Looks like we are meant to fit a near-record amount of CO2 in the atmosphere this year. The burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests is driving the increase. 2019 will suffer ‘El Niño like conditions’ which will put this year at an extreme high. Every year, we are adding more CO2 to the atmosphere than the year before. According to the UN, climate action must be increased fivefold to reduce to the scientist recommended 1.5C level.
7. M&S Launches ‘Plastic Take-Back’ Scheme for Customers
Now you can bring your non-recyclable plastic packaging back into M&S where they will both collect and recycle it. Through a partnership with Dow Chemical Company, they will recycle the plastics into store fittings, furniture and school playground equipment. They are launching the scheme with 8 stores across England. This effort is to support the interim-efforts while they work to achieve their 2022 goal of all packaging being widely recyclable.
8. Selfridges Bugs Out with New Range of Insect-Based Snacks
Well, it’s October which means we are 6 months until we officially leave the European Union. And it begs the question: will we still have access to the global food pantry? Though there are many directions trade deals could go, one thing is for certain: there will be some level of disruption in the British food industry. This article shares some expert opinions and analysis on what might happen to our industry and how we can start thinking through the potential challenges.
9. Unique Tanzania Forest Granted Official Protection After Research Reveals it is on Brink of Collapse
The Magombera Forest in Tanzania has been on the brink of destruction due to illegal logging and poaching. A team of NGOs and Tanzanian authorities have raised the funds to finally protect the land. The Reserve now covers 6,463 and is one of the most biodiverse forests in Africa. The forest also supports local communities by allowing them to benefit from some of the entrance fees.
10. Iceland Accused of Selling Own-Brand Products Containing Palm Oil – Despite Promising to Stop
Uh oh. Iceland has been accused of some dodgy practices. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll probably have seen or at least heard of the Iceland Christmas advert about Palm Oil and the subsequent deforestation. People claim that Iceland is still selling own-brand products that contain Palm Oil, while Iceland holds that after 31 Dec they have no longer been producing foods with palm oil and any that have been discovered are simply left over stock they are working through.