Scottish school climate strikers limited to one day off for protests annually

The City of Edinburgh Council has brought in new measures to prevent schoolchildren from taking more than one day out of lessons per academic year for climate strikes.

A spokesperson for the council said the move would widely be regarded as a “reasonable compromise”

Earlier today (16 August), the local authority’s education committee met to discuss plans to limit the number of authorised absences which children at primary schools and secondary schools could take per academic year, for the purpose of joining the #Fridays4Future movement.

Started by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg last year, the movement has grown from a one-person protest to an international movement. The biggest school climate strike to date, on 15 March 2019,  garnered the support of 1.4 million

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Faraday Grid enters administration after research budget runs dry

Tech start-up Faraday Grid has entered administration after the firm drained its research budget and failed to secure further funding.

UK Power Networks has confirmed that Faraday Grid’s proposed pilot project is no longer going ahead

Grant Thornton has announced it was appointed as the administrator of the company on 8 August.

Faraday Grid was formed in 2016 to develop its Faraday Exchanger technology for use by electricity networks.

The company claimed the hardware could combine the functions of multiple existing devices – converters, inverters, rectifiers and transformers – and autonomously maintain a target voltage, frequency and power factor when combined with its namesake software platform.

UK Power Networks announced plans in October to trial the technology across London starting in spring 2019.


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Edible drinks bottles backed by Government funding

Oohos, the edible, plastic-free packaging capsules trialled by companies such as Lucozade Ribena Suntory, have received more than £300,000 in Government funding that will help boost daily manufacturing outputs.

More than 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos were sampled at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon

The sachets, created by packaging firm Skipping Rocks Lab and made by manufacturing firm Notpla, is a seaweed extract that is used as edible packaging for drinks under 100ml. The plastic-free packaging can be eaten, composted or disposed of in normal household bins. Once discarded, they take around six weeks to decompose.

The Oohos capsules have already been trialled by Lucozade Ribena Suntory, the Vita Mojo restaurant and Just Eat, and have now received more than £300,000 in Innovate UK

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Thyssenkrupp targets 'climate-neutrality' after setting new science-based targets

German industrial giant Thyssenkrupp has had its new emissions goals approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), shortly after pledging to become climate-neutral by 2050

Thyssenkrupp is one of just four German firms to achieve SBTi approval

While ‘climate-neutrality’ by 2050 is, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), what is necessary to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C, the SBTi approval is for the company’s medium-term targets, which are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory.  

These include a target of reducing direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, against a 2018 baseline, and of cutting indirect (Scope 3) emissions by 16% by 2030, against a 2017 baseline. Thyssenkrupp believes its largest

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Unilever's vegan mayonnaise and 'smart' e-bikes: The best green innovations of the week

Every week, numerous eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations are being developed to help businesses and nations turn their green ambitions into actions. Here, we round up six of the best.

This week’s innovations could drive significant change in the transport, fashion and food sectors 

Here in the UK, our MPs are on summer recess and our schools are closed for summer – but by no means does that mean that sustainability trailblazers are resting on their laurels. 

The past seven days have seen big business set bold new carbon reduction and renewables targets, rework their packaging portfolios and make sizeable investments into the next generation of innovative products and systems. 

In this series, edie’s editorial team rounds up some of these innovations,

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UK water companies to plant 11 million trees to assist carbon-neutral aims

A host of major UK water companies, local authorities and NGOs have today (15 August) teamed on a new tree-planting initiative that will assist the delivery of a carbon-neutral water industry by 2030.

Tree planting above Gorpley reservoir in Calderdale where up to 200,000 trees will be planted Image: Yorkshire Water

The UK’s nine major water and sewerage providers, including Yorkshire Water, Anglian Water and United Utilities have committed to planting 11 million trees in order to improve the natural environment across 6,000 hectares of English land.

Original woodland will be restored alongside new projects on land owned by the water companies. Local authorities, The National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and The RSPB are also part of the initiative and will provide

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Reports: Sustainable finance 'growing rapidly' in Europe

Europe’s sustainable finance market experienced “rapid” growth during the first half of 2019, despite a challenging end to 2018, new analyses have concluded this week.

H2 of 2018 was widely regarded as a difficult period for green finance, but the market is showing signs of resurgence 

The first of these analyses comes from Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Sustainable Finance Market Outlook for the second half of 2019. According to this report, Europe accounted for almost half (48%) of global sustainable debt insurance between January and July this year, with growth driven by both the corporate and government sectors.

Indeed, BNEF is predicting that at least $380bn of sustainable debt finance will be provided during 2019, after a record H1.

“The sustainable debt finance

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MPs join calls for onshore wind policy overhaul

A coalition of 130 MPs, including 35 from the Conservative Party, has called on Boris Johnson to alter the UK’s planning and energy policies to better support the growth of onshore wind.

Pictured: The Scout Moor Wind Farm is England’s second-largest onshore wind array

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister this week, the MPs state that “onshore wind energy is vital to our aim of achieving our climate targets at least cost and the inspiring vision of a before-2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target”.

The document highlights the decision taken by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in 2015 to exclude onshore wind assets from the Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) process – a move which industry

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Coca-Cola unveils 'largest sustainability initiative' to date for water packaging

The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a string of updates to the packaging used across its Dasani water brand, in a bid to minimise its plastic footprint.

The new packaging formats include recyclable aluminium cans, bottles made using bioplastics and recycled PET, and a packaging-free dispenser option

The updates, which Dasani has described as the “largest sustainability initiatives in the history of the brand”, include a pledge to switch all 20-oz bottles sold within the US for those made with a mix of 50% plant-based bioplastic and recycled PET plastic. This shift is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

Elsewhere, Dasani will also launch its first water in aluminium cans in some North-eastern states this autumn, and its first water in larger-format aluminium

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Apple to upscale sourcing of 'habitat-positive' gold

Apple has revealed that it sourced 1,000 ounces of gold from miners working to restore natural habitats this year, up from just 25 ounces last year.

For the gold to be verified, miners have to pledge to use low-impact techniques and restore the local habitat when they are finished at their sites. Image: Apple

The tech giant claims this puts it on track to begin upscaling its ‘Salmon Gold’ project for sustainable supply chains significantly in the coming years.

‘Salmon Gold’ was first launched by Apple in 2017, in response to concerns that mining operations in Alaska were degrading creeks and streams to the point that Pacific salmon had been listed under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Run in partnership with

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Molson Coors unveils 1.5C science-based targets, new sustainable packaging goals

Molson Coors has today (12 August) published its new sustainability report, revealing that its new emissions targets have been approved in line with a 1.5C trajectory by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Molson Coors is the world’s third-largest brewer and owns brands such as Carling, Cobra and Blue Moon

The US-based brewer will strive to halve its direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, against a 2016 baseline, by 2025. The SBTi has verified that this target aligns with the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious trajectory, in which the global temperature increase is capped at 1.5C.

To complement its emissions target, Molson Coors has also launched a new plastics and packaging strategy, which focuses in on life cycle

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Ikea to begin removing plastic disposables from restaurants globally

Ikea has unveiled a new range of plastic-free disposable food service products, which will enable it to begin removing single-use-plastics from its food outlets from September.

Ikea serves more than 650 million diners globally every year, many of whom will opt for food or drink in to-go packaging. Image: Ikea

 The new range of disposables includes wooden cutlery, as well as cups, bowls, plates and straws made from paper-based materials. Instead of the traditional virgin, fossil-fuel-based plastic coating traditionally used to waterproof the inside of coffee cups, the new cups will be coated with a sugar cane material.

Ikea has committed to ensuring that the products are made using raw materials from renewable sources and that all paper incorporated within them is

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Resources & Waste Strategy: edie publishes concise business guide to Government document

edie has today (14 August) published a free guide for sustainability and environmental professionals which breaks down everything they need to know about the UK Government’s Resources & Waste Strategy into a single, easy-to-read document.

The guide is bookended by an insightful foreword from Green Alliance’s Libby Peake, and an industry viewpoint penned by Helistrat’s chief executive Harvey Laud

The guide condenses Defra’s 146-page policy plan into a 21-page explainer which analyses the need-to-know elements of the Strategy – from the “polluter pays” principle and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems, through to the much-heralded plans for a deposit-return scheme for single-use plastic bottles.

Sponsored by Helistrat, the guide provides edie readers with a more focused view of the business-critical elements of the Government document, and outlines what business leadership

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Mark Lewis: Businesses 'underestimating' speed of low-carbon transition

EXCLUSIVE: Businesses seeking to future-proof themselves against the physical and societal impacts of climate change must set aside resources for scenario analysis – and treat the results of this process as real, rather than “hypothetical”.

Lewis is widely regarded as one of the most knowledgable figures in the energy investment space

That is according to BNP Paribas Asset Management’s global head of sustainability research Mark Lewis, who last week published a report detailing how growth in the renewable energy and electric vehicle (EV) sectors is likely to displace oil in the transport space in the coming years.

Entitled “Wells, wires and wheels: Eroci and the tough road ahead for oil”, the report focuses on the amount of energy that can be produced

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RIBA backs school climate strikes as Greta Thunberg sets sail across Atlantic

The President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Ben Derbyshire, has urged architects across the UK to stand in solidarity with students taking part in the SchoolStrike4Climate movement next month.

The biggest school climate strike to date, on March 15, garnered the support of 1.4 million students in 112 countries  

Also dubbed Fridays4Future, the movement was started by teenage activist Greta Thunberg last year and has garnered the support of millions of children and young people across the world, as well as high-level politicians and business leaders.

RIBA’s call to action is for the next round of planned action involving industry, which is due to begin on 20 September and last for a week. The body has already confirmed that Bennetts

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Water resources infrastructure policy due this Autumn

The government has completed a consultation period and is preparing to deliver its National Policy Statement (NPS) for Water Resources Infrastructure in the Autumn.

Pictured: Castleshaw Upper Reservoir, Oldham 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said its long-awaited NPS is part of the government’s goal to provide clean and plentiful water as set out in the 25-year Green Future plan.

The department is currently considering all comments received as part of the consultation period, which ran from November 2018 to the end of January 2019.

The draft NPS has also undergone parliamentary scrutiny and Defra is considering recommendations made by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

Theresa Villiers, who replaced Michael Gove as Defra secretary last

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Friday's power cut 'underscores need for flexibility'

In the wake of a large power cut which affected large parts of south England on Friday (9 August), policymakers and power generators must prioritise investments in flexible energy systems.

The outage was caused by a proportion of Hornsea offshore wind farm (pictured) coming offline within minutes of the Little Barford gas plant 

That is according to RenewableUK, which responded yesterday (12 August) to concerns around whether the outage was made more likely by the varying output of renewable energy arrays.

The outage happened after RWE’s gas-fired power station experienced an unplanned shutdown at 4.58pm, with two-thirds of Orsted’s Hornsea Two offshore windfarm unexpectedly coming offline just a few minutes later.

In this short space of time, almost 1.5GW of generation was

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Gap targets 100% renewable energy by 2030

Fashion giant Gap Inc has made a new commitment to meet 100% of the energy consumption of its owned and operated facilities globally with renewable energy by 2030.

Gap Inc now holds three PPAs – one for onsite solar generation, and two for offsite wind generation

The commitment will cover all stores, distribution centres and offices used by Gap, as well as Gap Inc’s other brands Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta. In total, Gap Inc operates more than 3,300 stores worldwide, with most being leased.

Gap Inc’s president and chief executive officer Art Peck announced the new 100% renewables target late last week, after the company signed a 90MW virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) with Enel Green Power North America. The

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Renewable energy sourcing by US-based corporates set for record high in 2019

US-based corporates have collectively signed contracts for 5.95 GW of renewable energy so far in 2019, compared to 6.2GW during the whole of 2018, new analysis has found.

The biggest growth market for corporate PPAs in H1 of 2019 was the US. Image: US Air Force 

Published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), the Corporate Energy Outlook report states that corporations, globally, signed contracts to purchase 8.6GW of clean power between January and June 2019, up from 7.2GW during the same period in 2018.

The US was confirmed to continue dominating this growth, with 5.95GW of deals having been secured in the first half of 2019. This means that the country accounted for 69% of all activity during this period.

“Companies are

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Itsu and Cook join water bottle refill scheme

Sushi chain Itsu and gourmet food retailer Cook have become the latest firms to join City to Sea’s Refill campaign, aimed at reducing the public’s reliance on single-use plastic water bottles.

The two chains have collectively added 128 stations to the Refill map

By joining the initiative, the two companies have committed to offering free tap water refills to all customers who bring a reusable bottle – regardless of whether they are making a purchase.

Both Cook and Itsu have committed to offering the service at all of their UK locations, with the former having 55 stores and the latter having 73 food-to-go outlets.

In order to encourage customers to ask for refills, the businesses will display a round, blue “Refill” sticker

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