Decadeslong effort revives ancient oak woodland

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

Vestal Grove in the Somme Prairie Grove forest preserve in Cook County, Illinois, looks nothing like the scrubby, buckthorn-choked tangle that confronted restoration ecologists 37 years ago. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated team that focused on rooting up invasive plants and periodically burning, seeding native plants and culling deer, the forest again resembles its ancient self, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE.

Associated journal article: Glennemeier K, Packard S, Spyreas G (2020) Dramatic long-term restoration of an oak woodland due to multiple, sustained management treatments. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0241061.

Kraft Heinz sustainability chief reflects on ‘interdependence’

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Rashida La Lande, general counsel at Kraft Heinz, took on responsibility for the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy at the end of 2018. I caught up with her recently for a brief conversation as the company disclosed its new target, chatting about how best practices from the previously independent companies have been shared, how the pandemic has affected progress and what’s to come for sustainable agricultural practices.

HP extends cartridge recycling scheme to 68 countries

Read the full story at edie.

Printing and technology giant HP has extended its recycling scheme to 68 countries and territories after collecting more than 875,000 used printer ink cartridges.

TOMORROW — NEXT Economy LIVE: Growing Resilience at a Pioneering Sustainable Winery: Wente Family Estates

Nov 18, 2020 12:30 pm
Register here.

Social Venture Circle hosts this conversation featuring Amy Hoopes (President, Wente Family Estates) and Phil Wente (4th Generation Winegrower & Co-Founder of Murrieta’s Well) moderated by Heather Mason (Caspian) on the history, mission, and pioneering sustainability practices of Wente Vineyards. Amy & Phil will also speak to how the country’s longest, continuously family-owned and operated winery is adapting to COVID, increasing wildfires, and more.

Co-Host: American Sustainable Business Council

In partnership with The Accountkeepers, Bromberger Law, SustainVC, Perlman & Perlman, Barclays, Junxion, GoodCarts, and Hanson Bridgett.

Webinar: The Business Case for Investing in Water Infrastructure with Senator Reed (D-RI)

Nov 19, 2020, 11 am-noon CST
Register here.

America is fortunate to have thousands of municipal water systems to provide reliable, plentiful clean drinking water and sanitary waste disposal. But across the country, much of our infrastructure for managing wastewater and providing drinking water is inadequate, obsolete or seriously deteriorated. Despite the need for investment, the federal government’s per capita spending on water infrastructure dropped from $76 per person in 1977 to $11 per person in 2014. Continued failure to address this major infrastructure problem is increasingly detrimental to our economy and businesses nationwide.

Currently, the US is projected to lose $732-billion loss in business sales by 2029 and over $4.5 trillion by 2039; with 636,000 jobs lost each year by 2039, just from service disruptions and increasing services rates.

These estimates don’t even include the threats failing water infrastructure poses to the US economy through pollution and flooding. If we make the necessary investments in water infrastructure, however, the return will be significant job creation, a better competitive position for U.S. businesses, and resilient economic growth.

Join ASBC, Environment America, Susan Harris of Cerulean, LLC and Senator Jack Reed (D – Rhode Island) for a special webinar on how failing water infrastructure endangers our businesses and the economy and how we can fix this problem before the cost is insurmountable. Government listens to business, so learn the facts!

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine’s Lee Tells How to Grow Food Business Donations

Read the full story at Waste360.

About 40% of wasted food is thrown out at consumer-facing businesses, and while many of them—restaurants and others—say food donation is a top priority, these early adopters are not the majority. But Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) has brought 300 businesses on board in 16 cities to help them ensure that theirexcess food is eaten.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine CEO Robert Lee explains how the nonprofit has grown from its early work that began in New York City to an operation that has helped rescue over 5 million pounds of food to date. Lee not only tells RLC’s story but explains the challenges restaurants face in working to donate food. He tells what he thinks needs to happen to get more restaurants involved. And he discusses what is unique in each of the 16 cities where RLC operates.

The World’s Single Largest User of Oil is Going Carbon Negative

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

When President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, perhaps he forgot to notify the Department of Defense. The U.S. military is more determined than ever to shed fossil fuels in favor of a carbon-negative future, and its efforts provide a roadmap for business leaders to follow.

U.S. Department of Energy Coal FIRST Initiative Invests $80 Million in Net-Zero Carbon Electricity and Hydrogen Plants

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced selection of four projects for cost-shared research and development under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), DE-FOA-0002180, Design Development and System Integration Design Studies for Coal FIRST Concepts. When fully negotiated and awarded, it is estimated that approximately $80 million in federal funding will be provided to these projects.

DOE’s early stage research for the Coal FIRST Initiative supports the development of 21st century electricity and hydrogen energy plants that have net-zero carbon emissions. These plants will be fueled by coal, natural gas, biomass, and waste plastics and incorporate carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The Coal FIRST energy plant concepts will be capable of:

  • Flexible operation to meet the needs of the grid;
  • use Innovative components that improve efficiency and achieve net-zero emissions, including the potential for net-negative (CO2) emissions when co-firing moderate amounts of biomass;
  • provide Resilient power;
  • be Small (50-350MWe) compared to today’s conventional utility-scale power plants; and 
  • Transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured. 

The Coal FIRST Initiative recognizes the importance of hydrogen production from coal, biomass, and waste plastics. A hydrogen economy is gaining global attention as part of a technology-based approach for reducing global carbon emissions. Even a partial move toward a hydrogen economy will require vast quantities of hydrogen at low cost. Fossil fuels with CCUS are already – and by far – the lowest cost source of low-carbon hydrogen. Gasification of coal and biomass with CCUS can be a large-scale source of carbon-negative hydrogen. Plastic waste could also be added to the fuel mix, mitigating plastics waste in the environment.

The selected projects will complete (1) design development; (2) host site evaluation and an environmental information volume; (3) an investment case analysis; and (4) a system integration design study to advance the design of an engineering-scale prototype. The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the selected projects, which can be found here.

An Important Look To The Future of Green Construction

Read the full story at Blue & Green Tomorrow.

It has been said that about a third of global energy consumption is in buildings – from the raw materials needed in their construction to their upkeep. In the past couple of decades, there’s been an increasing call for sustainable and environmentally-friendly policies in construction. Also, more and more consumers are prioritizing their environmental concerns. Subsequently, businesses are responding. More and more construction firms around the world have joined the green movement.

But what does this really mean for the future? Is green construction actually sustainable?

Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: Towards a Toxic-Free Environment

Download the document.

…in order to develop and deploy the sustainable chemicals that enable the green and digital transitions and to protect environment and human health, in particular that of vulnerable groups, innovation for the green transition of the chemical industry and its value chains must be stepped up and the existing EU chemicals policy must evolve and respond more rapidly and effectively to the challenges posed by hazardous chemicals. This includes ensuring that all chemicals are used more safely and sustainably, promoting that chemicals having a chronic effect for human health and the environment – substances of concern – are minimised and substituted as far as possible, and phasing out the most harmful ones for non-essential societal use, in particular in consumer products.

A more coherent, predictable and stronger regulatory framework, combined with nonregulatory incentives, will drive the necessary innovation, deliver increased protection, while enhancing the competitiveness of the European chemical industry and its value chains. To ensure a level playing field between EU and non-EU players, the EU must ensure full enforcement of its rules on chemicals both internally and at its borders, and promote them as a gold standard worldwide, in line with our international commitments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only added to the urgency to protect human and planetary health but it has also made us aware that manufacturing and supply chains have become increasingly complex and globalised for some critical chemicals, such as those to produce pharmaceuticals. The EU must strengthen its open strategic autonomy with resilient value chains and diversify sustainable sourcing for those chemicals that have essential uses for our health and for achieving a climate-neutral and circular economy.

This strategy highlights the areas where the Commission wants to make greater progress, in close concertation with stakeholders to fine-tune these objectives as part of rigorous impact assessment processes building on the ample evidence already gathered on the performance of existing legislation. The Commission will establish a high-level roundtable with representatives from industry including SMEs, science and the civil society to realise the strategy’s objectives in dialogue with the stakeholders concerned. Discussions of the
roundtable are envisaged to focus in particular on how to make the chemicals legislation
work more efficiently and effectively and how to boost the development and uptake of innovative safe and sustainable chemicals across sectors.