Costco and Walmart: A tale of two supply chains

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Costco and Walmart; the tale of two supply chains. Both of these global retail giants sell food, clothing and an array of other products. Their supply chains are vast and complex. They are some of the final brick-and-mortar businesses still thriving and standing up to ecommerce-only retailers such as Amazon.

But along with their similarities, each company’s approach to sustainability highlights two very different ways of engaging their suppliers, particularly on Scope 3 emission reductions.

The Global Assessment of Private Sector Impacts on Water

This Ceres report reveals how industry practices are driving five critical threats to global freshwater systems – groundwater depletion, metal contamination, plastic pollution, water diversion and transfer and eutrophication. 

Carbon storage gets dirty: The movement to sequester CO2 in soils

Read the full story at Canary Media.

The idea of ​“soil carbon sequestration” is gaining traction with U.S. food producers and policymakers as a way to counteract the environmental toll of growing commodities like corn, soy and beef. The concept falls into a wider category of potential solutions for achieving ​“carbon dioxide removal,” which includes everything from planting trees and deep-sea kelp forests to spreading minerals over oceans and using giant air-sucking fans to capture CO2.

Banana peel cuisine is the latest plant based trend

Read the full story in Forbes.

Bananas are the second most common tropical fruit consumed globally, with approximately 119.83 million tons produced worldwide, comprising 16% of world fruit production. But with a lot of consumption comes a lot of waste. Most of the waste produced from banana consumption comes from the peel, which makes up 30% to 40% of the weight, resulting in approximately 3.5 million tons of banana peel waste per year. Banana peel waste contains carbon-rich organic compounds that can take up to two years to decompose and biodegrade, creating odor and producing excessive emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change.

One of the reasons that bananas produce so much waste is due to the misconception that their peels are inedible and not useful. Banana peels are in fact delicious when prepared correctly, and even more importantly, they are healthy with a great deal of potential to be used as functional ingredients in food products.

The banana peel is rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron, essential amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and potassium. It is a good source of certain biogenic amines (catecholamines) including dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which is crucial for mental health, nervous system functioning and blood pressure control. Banana peels also have antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-mutagenic, anti-diarrheal, anti-tumor and anti-ulcerogenic properties.

Keeping peels to consume as food, not only cuts down on waste and reduces GHG emissions but also increases the nutrient density of the entire fruit.

And people are catching on. According to food and beverage analytics company, Spoonshot, google searches for the term ‘peel as food’ have experienced significant growth in the last few years, with the number of hits tripling since 2015.

5 takeaways on cropland expansion and what it means for people and the planet

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

According to a landmark new study, 102 million hectares (Mha) (252 million acres) of land — an area the size of Egypt — have been converted to crops since the start of the 21st century. To put this into perspective, while it took more than 8,000 years for humanity to convert 1.1 billion hectares (2.8 billion acres) of nature into cropland by the year 2000, it took a mere 20 more years to expand this area by another 10%.

These findings come from the first-ever high-resolution maps of global cropland extent and change during the 21st century, recently published in Nature Food by researchers from the University of Maryland and now available via the Land & Carbon Lab. The researchers defined “cropland” as land used for annual and perennial herbaceous crops for human consumption, animal feed, forage (including hay) and biofuel. The definition excludes pastures and rangelands, shifting cultivation and tree crops such as fruit orchards, coffee, cocoa, oil palm and rubber.

These satellite-based findings are troubling news for climate and biodiversity, since much of the expansion comes at the expense of forests and other natural ecosystems. Of course, food crops are critical for feeding a growing global population. But to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees C and curtail the 6th great species extinction, increases in food production needs to be decoupled from ecosystem conversion.

EPA researchers exploring innovative treatment for lead in soil

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

While lead exposure has decreased significantly over the past few decades, lead pollution lingering in soil still poses health risks for many urban communities. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous to children, leading to severe intellectual disabilities along with other lifetime health impacts. EPA researchers are working to reduce childhood lead exposure by exploring new ways to clean up lead in contaminated sites. 

EPA researchers and partners are working on methods to turn toxic lead into less harmful forms through soil additives. Successful soil additives, or amendments, would interact with lead contamination and make it insoluble if ingested. Not all soil additives work for every type of soil or site, so researchers and contaminated site managers are exploring new options for reducing health risks.

The Mechanism of Forming the Strategic Potential of an Enterprise in a Circular Economy

Kuzior, A., Arefieva, O., Poberezhna, Z., & Ihumentsev, O. (2022). “The Mechanism of Forming the Strategic Potential of an Enterprise in a Circular Economy.” Sustainability 14(6), 3258. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063258

Abstract: In the framework of this study, significant features of the formation of the strategic potential of the enterprise in a circular economy are identified. The characteristics and elements of the strategic potential of the enterprise, which can ensure its integrity and continuity of operations, are highlighted. The authors conducted and analyzed a theoretical review of the concept of the “circular economy” and its impact on business and resource conservation and environmental protection. The conditions for the transition to a circular economy at the macro level are formed. The key stages of ensuring the strategic potential of the enterprise, taking into account the internal and external environmental factors, are highlighted. The authors forecast the volume and dynamics of waste until 2027 using the Cobb–Douglas function. The mechanism of the formation of the strategic potential of the enterprise in the conditions of a circular economy is offered. This mechanism provides for the potential compliance with the strategic goals of the enterprise, as well as the rationality and balance of structural elements. Assessing the compliance of strategic potential with the developed strategy allows decisions to be made on the implementation of measures to meet the objectives of the enterprise, or to search for opportunities and reserves to improve its level. A set of measures aimed at the effective implementation of the proposed mechanism and the results of resource-efficient production is developed.

Too many slices in a full loaf of bread? This program helps find half-loaves for sale

Read the full story from NPR.

Prashant Baid’s search engine finds stores selling half-loaves of bread, in some of India’s largest cities.

Ice cream factory is Mars Wrigley’s first powered entirely by renewable energy

Read the full story at Dairy Reporter.

Mars Wrigley has unveiled plans for its ice cream plant in Steinbourg, France to become the first 100% electrically powered industrial site in the Mars Group.

How ‘choice architecture’ can help fight climate change

Read the full story at Fast Company.

Hidden in the IPCC’s latest climate report is a solution to reducing carbon emissions that gets less attention than solar panels or electric cars: “choice architecture,” or behavioral design, that can help influence consumers to make better decisions for the climate, whether that’s biking to work or eating less meat.