Long-distance e-buses and BMW’s SDG strategy for MINI manufacturing: The sustainability success stories of the week
Released each week, this series chronicles how companies and sustainability professionals work to achieve their “Mission Possible” across the five main pillars of the campaign – Energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and corporate governance.
Across the UK and the rest of Europe, leading companies, cities, states and regions are turning environmental ambition into action. Here we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.
ENERGY: Nursing home installs on-site solar panel amid energy price crisis
edies latest Net Zero Business Barometer survey of energy and sustainability managers in 148 organizations found that more than half are reviewing or installing on-site power generation in response to rising energy and operational costs.
Now family run Foxholes Care Home in Hertfordshire has announced the installation of 132 solar panels on its roof as well as ground mounted solar panels. It hired Use the Sun to complete the installation and provided an undisclosed five-figure sum for the project. The company expects the solar system will reduce its annual energy costs by at least a third.
“With energy costs rising every year, this project has been in the pipeline for quite some time – but with energy prices skyrocketing, the timing of it finally coming together couldn’t be better,” said Neil Gandecha, director of care at Foxholes Care Home.
“Wholesale cost of electricity aside, we are excited to see our vision come to life on an environmental scale – as the impact cannot be overstated… we believe it is important not only to go green, but to help the country by relieving some pressure on the national grid.”
RESOURCES: Harrods introduces a recycling program for in-store beauty product packaging
It is estimated that the global cosmetics industry produces more than 120 billion packaging units every year. Many of these packaging formats are difficult to recycle because they are made from mixed materials that are difficult to process using traditional mechanical recycling methods.
Many retailers have therefore set up their own take-back systems for this packaging, such as The Body Shop, Lush, Maybelline and Superdrug. These systems usually divert the packaging to a disposal partner with a specialized infrastructure.
Harrods followed in their footsteps this week, teaming up with Yorkshire-based recycling company MYGroup to launch a pilot take-back programme. The program will initially run for three months at H Beauty in Milton Keynes. She collects beauty packaging of all brands and in a variety of formats, including mascara, powder compacts, nail polish bottles and fragrance bottles.
Customers are encouraged to take advantage of the program through the Harrods MyBeauty rewards program. Collected packaging is used to manufacture products such as garden furniture.
“As the leading voice in the UK beauty industry, we are committed to making beauty more circular and by partnering with MYGroup we are able to capture more materials that might otherwise have found their way into landfills and waterways,” said the head of Harrods beauty Mia Collins.
MOBILITY: Innovative e-bus project starts in Germany
Image: Flixbus. Pictured: A Flixbus vehicle operating in Portugal.
The electric bus market is growing faster than the electric car market in some countries as cities look for more modern vehicles to reduce air pollution and emissions from public transport. Straits Research forecast last year that the global electric bus market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 18% through 2030, when it will surpass $3.1 billion.
Of course, e-bus technology will improve significantly in the coming years. This week edie received news of an exciting new collaborative project in Germany to develop the next generation of pure electric buses, capable of traveling longer distances per charge. In addition to Daimler Buses and scientists from three German universities, the bus network operator Flix has joined the project.
The project, which aims to develop a fully electric drive for electric long-distance buses within four years, has already been funded by the federal government. The project envisages the development and testing of two prototype coaches, which will serve as a starting point for their manufacture for commercial use. The resulting buses should be able to travel at least 400 km (248.5 miles) without charging.
Andre Schwämmlein, CEO and founder of Flix, said: “With Daimler Buses and reliable research partners who share our vision of a greener future in transport, we can now set another milestone towards our goal of reshaping mobility and making it environmentally friendly, technology-driven yet affordable travel solutions for everyone to discover the world.”
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Carbon Trust gains new sustainable office in London as tenant
The edie team have covered several innovative sustainable office projects in previous editions of this roundup, including 11 Belgrave and 105 Victoria Street, both in London.
This week we received news that the developers of Arbor Bankside Yards, an office building in the Lambeth works, have exchanged contracts with the Carbon Trust. The 19-story building is scheduled to open to tenants in March this year, and Carbon Trust will move into a fifth-floor space for its headquarters.
Arbor will be a ‘smart’ building, equipped with digital technologies that improve energy efficiency, including a smart facade that enables passive light management and reduces solar heat gain, reducing the need for cooling. It is equipped with an electrified heating and cooking facilities. Development manager Native Land is aiming for BREEAM Excellent certification for Abor and will certify the development as carbon neutral in operation. Offsetting is not used excessively as the building is being developed in line with verified science-based climate targets.
Carbon Trust Chief Financial Officer Timon Drakesmith said: “We chose Arbor as our new home because of its strong environmental credentials, excellent location and great amenities. It also offers the only all-electric site of its kind in our desired area… We look forward to working with Native Land to assist them in further improving the sustainability of the property.”
MANAGING DIRECTORS: BMW cooperates with SDG specialists from the University of Oxford
A study by the BSI last year found that half of decision-makers in major UK companies don’t know what the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are – let alone how to plan their organisation’s strategy to 2030 to align with this framework.
However, some companies are taking bold steps to ensure their strategy contributes positively to the global goals by choosing focus objectives that are most relevant given their sector and other contextual factors.
Among them is BMW, which this week announced a collaboration between its MINI manufacturing facility in Oxford and the University of Oxford’s SDG Impact Lab. The lab brings together fellows from the fields of social sciences, science and technology, and humanities. Launched in 2021, it had previously partnered with easyJet. BMW is the second corporate partner.
This year, graduate students from the university will work with BMW employees to develop and implement new initiatives that improve employee well-being, maximize the plant’s positive impact on the local community and minimize its negative impact on the environment. The focus will be on material and energy consumption and waste management. On Thursday (January 12) the students had an introductory day at the MINI plant.
“Oxford SDG Impact Lab is an exciting initiative that not only provides skills for the participating graduates, but also gives us a fresh perspective and brings new ideas and experiences,” said Andreas Kindler, Chief Financial Officer of MINI Plant Oxford.
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