The 2020 State of Green Business Report

Download the document. See also Joel Makower’s overview.

The first half of the report shares the 10 trends sustainable business professionals should be tracking in 2020 — the emerging arenas and technologies that GreenBiz editors and analysts believe will be impactful as companies address environmental and social challenges and opportunities.

The report also offers the State of Green Business Index, produced by Trucost, which tracks nearly 40 indicators of progress over the past five years — including trends in resource efficiency, corporate reporting and transparency, risk assessment and investments in clean technologies.

6 circular economy trends that will shape 2020

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

Circular economy approaches advanced in 2019, particularly for plastics and packaging. The explosion of media interest in the ocean plastics crisis has driven both consumers and regulators to seek action. Companies are responding with new strategies to reduce waste.

How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful as the Planet Warms

Read the full story in the Texas Observer.

The Texas Tech professor and lead author on the last three National Climate Assessments wants you to talk about how to live in a warming world.

The signal of human-caused climate change has emerged in everyday weather, study finds

Read the full story from the Washington Post.

For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Thursday in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change.

How one Iowa city is planning for a rising Mississippi River

Read the full story from PBS News Hour.

Climate change is contributing to more severe flooding in communities along the Mississippi River. In 2019, the Mississippi crested at its highest-ever recorded level in Davenport, Iowa, causing widespread damage in the city’s downtown and reigniting a debate about how it should protect itself. NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports as part of our climate change series, “Peril & Promise.”

4 reasons to be hopeful about the notoriously wasteful fashion industry in 2020

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Consumers are becoming aware of fashion’s pollution problem, thanks to reporting in the media, a spate of new books on the topic including Fashionopolis and The Conscious Closet, and brands such as Patagonia and Everlane that are embracing sustainability in their supply chains and their marketing. A report from the sustainability nonprofit Global Fashion Agenda found that in 2019, 75% of consumers viewed sustainability as very or extremely important. Consumers are unhappy with the status quo and would like to push for a more sustainable future.

But fashion is a $2.5 trillion global industry, with consumers in every corner of the world. Its supply chains are vast and international, going from the production of raw materials (cotton, wool, oil-based plastic) all the way to the factories where people cut and sew clothes to the warehouses where they’re stored until we buy them.

The big question in 2020 is this: Can we begin making the big, structural changes necessary to build environmental stewardship into this enormous industry? Here are four reasons to be hopeful.

A blizzard of “sustainability” labels

Read the full story at Knowable.

Earth-friendly certifications and standards abound for products like coffee, chocolate and palm oil. But do the programs work?

Wasted Potential: New York City’s food recycling failures exacerbate climate crisis

Read the full story at Politico.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg was winding down his final year in office when he gathered residents of a high-rise Manhattan co-op and announced plans to tackle what he called the “final recycling frontier — organic waste.”

Six years later, the now presidential candidate’s goal of a robust recycling program for food and yard scraps remains a pipe dream — the victim of municipal budget skeptics who think it’s too costly and a current mayor who has heeded their concerns and suspended the program’s expansion.

7 pressing questions for the waste and recycling industry in 2020

Read the full story in Waste Dive.

The year is shaping up to be a major one for the industry’s future. We’ll be digging into safety, corporate consolidation, climate commitments, recycling policy, organics, PFAS, politics and more.

Waste-to-Energy with CCS: A pathway to carbon-negative power generation

Download the document.

A growing global population and rising living standards are producing ever greater quantities of municipal solid waste (MSW).

It is projected that globally by 2050, 3.40 billion tonnes of waste will be generated each year (The World Bank, 2018); a staggering 70 per cent increase from 2016 levels. Today, most of the world’s waste is landfilled (37 per cent), dumped (33 per cent), recycled or reused (19 per cent), or incinerated (11 per cent) (The World Bank, 2018).

Both landfilling and dumping are highly unsustainable solutions; they use large areas of land and result in the release of significant environmental pollutants, including the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) as the waste decomposes and often pose a health and safety hazard in developing countries (The World Bank, 2019). Landfill storages near cities are coming under increased capacity pressure, resulting in rising landfill charges by local governments.

This same growth in population and living standards is also driving ever-larger demand for energy, especially electricity.

A key solution to these challenges of MSW disposal, rising energy demand and methane emissions from MSW is Waste-to-Energy (WtE); the generation of energy – in the form of electricity and heat – from the processing of waste. The addition of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to WtE has the potential to make waste a zero or even negative emissions energy source, depending on the ratio between biogenic and non-biogenic waste fraction