German power grids brace for Thursday’s solar eclipse

Read the full story at Reuters.

Electrical transmission networks in Germany are preparing for a solar eclipse this week that could trigger a sudden fall of around 1 gigawatt (GW) in solar power output, grid firm Amprion (RWEG.DE) said on Monday.

FDA considers petition to ban PFAS food uses, as companies move toward phase-out

Read the full post at JD Supra.

A coalition of environmental, food safety, and consumer health advocacy groups petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday to ban per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from food contact uses, and to “take aggressive action to protect consumers from all PFCs [per- and poly-fluorinated compounds].”

‘Cool’ roofs, cooler designs as the building industry embraces energy sustainability

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Despite the U.S. sector’s still-big carbon footprint, advocates think it could reach a net-zero-emissions future within a generation.

Illinois sees influx of black bears passing through

Read the full story at The Center Square.

Illinois residents may be surprised to see some large, furry visitors over the next couple of months as black bears are making their way down from Wisconsin and passing through Illinois in increasing numbers.

Eric Schauber, Illinois State biologist and director of the Illinois Natural History Survey, said Illinois usually sees an influx during springtime. Young male bears are likely the kind to be seen passing through in Illinois, he adds.

Call for ‘paradigm shift’ to fight airborne spread of COVID-19 indoors

Read the full story from the Queensland University of Technology.

Researchers are calling for a ‘paradigm shift’ in combating airborne pathogens such as COVID-19, demanding universal recognition that infections can be prevented by improving indoor ventilation systems.

Crypto and blockchain must accept they have a problem, then lead in sustainability

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

As the price of bitcoin hits record highs and cryptocurrencies become increasingly mainstream, the industry’s expanding carbon footprint becomes harder to ignore.

Inside Burt’s Bees partnership with Arizona State University

Read the full story at Glossy.

A common theme from the beauty industry’s sustainability efforts is collaboration. For Burt’s Bees, its efforts extend to unlikely partners: Arizona State University students.

In April, Burt’s Bees released its 2020 Impact Report, which spelled out sustainability accomplishments completed from 2012-2020 and goals for 2025. Among many details in the report, one of its 2025 goals includes investing further in U.S. recycling infrastructure. As more brands pledge to adopt post-consumer recycled plastic materials, brands and their manufacturing partners will face a shortage and prices will increase. According to the Consumer Brand Association, in 2019, there was only enough recycled plastic in the U.S. to meet 6% of demand. This underscores the need for collaborative efforts to improve the likelihood that a product is recycled by both consumers and recycling facilities.

With the need to improve recycling efforts and reduce virgin plastic usage, Burt’s Bees looked to Arizona State University, which operates a group called The Sustainability Consortium. It was jointly formed with the University of Arkansas in 2009 as a global organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of consumer products.

Breakthrough in reverse osmosis may lead to most energy-efficient seawater desalination ever

Read the full story from Purdue University.

Making fresh water out of seawater usually requires huge amounts of energy. The most widespread process for desalination is called reverse osmosis, which works by flowing seawater over a membrane at high pressure to remove the minerals.  

Now, Purdue University engineers have developed a variant of the process called “batch reverse osmosis,” which promises better energy efficiency, longer-lasting equipment and the ability to process water of much higher salinity. It could end up a difference-maker in water security around the world.

Battery storage pilot charging forward

Read the full story from The Wire.

OPPD is powering ahead with an energy storage project that will help inform the utility as it brings more renewables online.

The Battery Research Innovation Guided by High-Potential Technologies (BRIGHT) project, located in Cass County, will provide innovative research that will benefit not only OPPD, but all Nebraska utilities. Researching utility-scale battery storage also supports OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative.

Morningstar expands sustainable investing toolkit with ESG assessments of asset managers & companies

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Independent investment research firm Morningstar announced today the launch of the Morningstar ESG Commitment Level, and the Morningstar ESG Risk Rating Assessment, designed to provide ESG assessments of asset managers and companies, respectively.

The launch of the new products follows the acquisition last year of ESG ratings and research provider Sustainalytics, and the subsequent announcement that it has started the process of formally integrating ESG factors into its analysis of stocks, funds, and asset managers, including the integration of Sustainalytics research into Morningstar’s equity research methodology.

Morningstar ESG Commitment Level provides assessments for nearly 900 funds and more than 70 asset managers of the extent to they are incorporating ESG factors into their investment processes. The tool follows a four-point scale of Low, Basic, Advanced, and Leader, distilling the ESG resources, policies, and expertise at an asset management firm or within managed investment strategy into a simple assessment. The assessments are currently available for Morningstar Direct, Morningstar Office, and Premium members of, and will be available later this month in Morningstar Advisor Workstation and Morningstar Analyst Research Center.