The Clean Tech News
Brompton Bicycle & The Future of Britain’s Urban Mobility

How this UK manufacturer is helping us cycle our way back to work.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Sunday address, cities across the UK are facing an unprecedented dilemma. While encouraging people to return to work if they are unable to work from home, the PM has actively discouraged the use of public transport, urging commuters to use other methods such as driving, walking and cycling. An attempt to maintain social distancing, and decrease the spread of COVID-19, TFL’s capacity has now been limited to 15%, making these alternative methods of transportation not an option, but a necessity in Britain’s capital.

For many, this represents a significant challenge. For those who have vehicular access, this method of movement is both expensive, and environmentally damaging, with parking also remaining a major concern. For those who do not, walking and cycling are their only option, leaving them searching for the best ways to travel across the city space.

To prevent a regression to the commuting trends of the past, mobility providers such as Brompton Bicycle are stepping up to the plate, filling this yawning gap in transportation without the environmental cost.

In an interview with CleanTech News, Chief Commercial Officer at Brompton Bicycle Stephen Loftus tells us more.

“We want to transform the ways in which people live in cities and create happier and healthier urban lives. For us, that’s through providing a bike and everything associated with Brompton which encourages and enables that across global cities.” Loftus begins.

Beginning with their classic folding bicycle, since their foundation in 1976, Brompton’s dedication to improving urban lives for the better has seen them diversify, with Williams Advanced engineering unlocking the potential to create Brompton’s first e-bike. Combining the traditional folding Brompton with electric assistance, the Brompton E-bike features a 300Wh battery, a lightweight and powerful front hub motor, intelligent sensors and connectivity, helping customers travel more efficiently.

“It’s about urban planning at a macro scale – a simple tool for a big challenge,” Loftus explains. “Electrification is a big part of that because it makes it more accessible and means you can go further and longer.”

In light of the current pandemic, this accessibility has only become more important. Despite a short-term drop, with Loftus reporting sales in April to be down around 10%, and capacity around 30%, demand has begun to pick up.

“People are getting back to work and our public transport can’t cope,” Loftus says, explaining the 80% increase in web traffic Brompton have seen compared to the same time last year. Although retail outlets remain closed, their factory remains operational, working with the Bicycle Association to ensure they can continue to enable public mobility.

With Brompton adapting quickly to work within current constraints, Loftus says “We’ve launched a direct-to-home service and that’s been hugely successful in giving the customer what they want and need.”

In addition, as it “became obvious that for key workers Brompton was a great solution,” Brompton has now committed to delivering 800 bikes to NHS key workers, supporting their heroic work in this time of crisis.

Looking to the future, Loftus is hopeful that the current transportation challenges represent a chance for the UK to catch up with the wave of electrification experienced within European countries such as the Netherlands, harnessing cycling technologies to move towards a greener model of transport.

“Politically it’s always quite tough to make such dramatic shifts but COVID is creating an opportunity…to make those changes” Loftus says, referencing U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’s recent unveiling of a £2 billion funding package dedicated to ‘active travel’.

Marking a tipping point in UK transportation, Loftus says:

“We believe this is going to be a paradigm shift in terms of urban planning and transportation and the bicycle is going to be the centre of quite a lot of that. So, we’re trying to prepare for a time when we’re likely going to produce a few more bikes, and provide that solution people need.”

Alongside an increase in product purchasing, Loftus sees potential for growth in both Brompton’s leasing, and corporate services.

“A lot like an electric car the technologies evolve quite quickly, so particularly with e-bikes leasing is a channel we see developing quite quickly over the next few years,” he says.

Meanwhile, with previous fleet provision for Deloitte, as well as HSBC, Loftus hopes rather than company cars, corporations will invest in cycling to help their employees get around. He emphasises that while practically facilitating employee movement, bicycles provide the added health benefits of exercise, meaning companies “will have happier and healthier employees, who will work better.”

With the UK still far behind its European peers, Brompton remains active in encouraging the government to put more real investment into cycling infrastructure. Loftus says of Brompton “we will take a level of responsibility above our own business, encouraging change at a macro level.”

At CleanTech News, this is a change we hope will happen very soon indeed, as we continue to move towards an active, carbon net zero transportation system.

Port of Tyne – The World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Norwegian energy company Equinor and UK renewable energy company SSE Renewables announced Port of Tyne as the location for their joint venture, Dogger Bank, which is set to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
SSE Renewables began construction on Dogger Bank in January 2020, with the site expected to be operational for a maximum of 25 years upon completion.

Equinor is responsible for developing the project’s operations and maintenance system, central to which is the construction of a multimillion-pound facility. Including both offices and a warehouse, this facility will serve as an onshore base for the Equinor team, ensuring the efficient operation of Dogger Bank.

Overall, Dogger Bank will be made up of three phases: Dogger Bank A, Dogger Bank B, Dogger Bank C and will be located more than 130km from the Yorkshire Coast. When fully operational, each section of this project will have an installed capacity of 1.2 GW, providing renewable electricity to 1.5 million UK homes. Altogether, Dogger Bank will have the potential to provide 5% of the UK’s estimated electricity generation.

Equinor and SSE Renewables expect the first phase, Dogger A, to be fully operational and producing renewable electricity in 2023.

The wind turbines will be installed on monopile foundations and the transmission system will be High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) due to long distance to a grid connection point.

Senior Vice President for Equinor’s North Sea New Energy Solutions and Chair of Renewable UK, Stephen Bull, said:

“The UK government has legislated to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Major scale renewable energy projects like Dogger Bank ensures Britain’s leadership as the #1 offshore wind nation. Moreover, the project brings new investment to the UK, at a challenging time for us all, and secures over 200 jobs in the region as well as new opportunities in a future-fit growth sector.”

Dogger Bank: Environment and Economy Initiatives
Not only will Dogger Bank be good for the environment, but it will also be beneficial to the UK economy as Equinor and SSE Renewables expect Dogger Bank to create over 200 jobs as well as opportunities for UK companies at all levels of the supply chain.

Paul Cooley, SSE Renewables Director of Capital Projects, said:

“The Operations and Maintenance base will bring significant socio-economic benefits to the local area during construction and throughout the projects lifetime, as we have seen on our previous offshore wind projects including Beatrice.”

As well as onshore office teams to support operations from land, this wind farm project will create various offshore jobs including for maintenance technicians. The main recruitment process will start early 2022 and will continue as the project progresses up to completion.

Equinor and SSE Renewables want to use UK companies for their supply chain to enable UK companies to be a part of this ground-breaking project, whether directly or through one of the project’s Tier One and Two suppliers. To help UK companies get involved an online procurement portal is already available.

Matt Beeton, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Tyne, is excited for what this innovative project will bring to Port of Tyne in terms of employment opportunities, local business engagement and how this project will benefit Port of Tyne’s own low carbon initiatives.

Beeton said, “The Port recently launched its ‘Tyne 2050’ plan with a vision to become one of the most environmentally sustainable ports in the UK by 2030. Offshore wind is a key component of that strategy and this announcement is a huge step towards developing a cleaner future for the Port, the region and for industry in the North East.”

“We’re very excited to start working with Equinor and SSE Renewables to make this base a success and we’re looking forward to playing our part in the world’s largest offshore wind farm.”

Equinor and SSE Renewables estimate Dogger Bank wind farm to attract a total capital investment of approximately GBP 9 billion between 2020 and 2026.

Unilever: Making Sustainable Living Commonplace for the Billions

As Unilever celebrates the tenth and final year of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), their new strategy, Unilever Compass, builds upon the existence of sustainability at the core of corporate operations.
As a vast global conglomerate, Unilever produces some of the most recognisable products that we all know and love. Supporting around 400 major brands – including Dove, Lipton and Vaseline – a Unilever product can be found in a staggering seven out of ten households on Earth, demonstrating the enormity of their reach.

Unilever’s Corporate Purpose states that to succeed requires “the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.”

In an ever-evolving climate, global positions on climate change differ greatly from what they were a decade ago. With the USLP at the heart of Unilever’s operations for the past decade, ensuring sustainability in the essence of their business model proved to be ambitious for the time, setting numerous goals from the social and environmental to the economic across their value chain.

Reflecting upon the USLP
With three primary goals of improving health and well-being for over one billion people, reducing environmental impact by half and enhancing livelihoods for millions, Unilever’s approach to suitability integrated business models sets a precedent. Aiming to drive change, the USLP works within the remit of the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).

Boasting a wealth of achievements over the past decade, Unilever have reached 13 billion through their health and hygiene programmes and moved towards a gender-balanced worked place with 51% of management roles being held by women. Most importantly, however, the global company have reduced their manufacturing GHG emissions by 50% and have reached an impressive 100% renewable grid electricity.

Business for sustainability
Something critical to Unilever’s success and practice is the culmination of business and sustainability, aiming to make sustainable living commonplace, whilst separating their carbon footprint from economic growth; all of which the USLP has facilitated.

“It was a really different way of doing business,” suggests Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever. “It meant not just thinking about consumers and shareholders, it also meant thinking about civil society, NGOs, the UN. We realised that if you orientate business in a different way you can play a massive part in bridging development gaps around the world – and that creates opportunities for business.”

Demonstrating the ability for sustainability to encourage, rather than impede business, Unilever is the shining example of why old, environmentally damaging business models should be relegated to a thing of the past.

Unilever has reflected on the strength that a sustainable approach has brought to their business. Their dedication to the USLP led to increased growth and innovation in their brands, as well as securing supply and reducing costs. Not only this, but the USLP has also enabled them to increase their reach and promote transformational change.

Progressing towards Compass
Follow the triumph of the USLP, Unilever Compass represents an opportunity for even greater growth and change for Unilever. With the primary intention to become the global leader in sustainable business, Unilever aims to do so in full scope, including sustainability in social, economic, and of course, environmental terms.

Building upon the successes and the lessons learnt over the last ten years of the USLP, the new strategy “will have nine imperatives and 15 multi-year priorities that cover the full spectrum of our business and our wider ecosystem, with a range of ambitious targets that are more holistic, inclusive and far-reaching than ever before,” according to Unilever CEO, Alan Jope.

“While the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is drawing to a close, the journey towards achieving our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace for the world’s 8 billion people continues. We know we can lead the charge, but we need to be better, bolder and faster,” Jope continues.

For more information on the admiral sustainability work of Unilever, please see here, and for an in-depth look at the new Unilever Compass plan, please see here.

Five Social Enterprises Incorporating CleanTech Innovations

Clean technology is integral to the development of rural communities in the world, accounting for an average of 40 percent of the population based on 196 countries.
Rural communities are sparsely populated, and it would take extensive effort and cost to extend modern services to them. However, with the normalisation of off-grid clean technologies, rural development could be expedited.

Here are the top 5 clean technology social enterprises that are equalising the playing field for rural communities:

  1. luminAID

Displaced Syrian children use LuminAID lights in the classroom.
Source: LuminAID
LuminAID provides solar-powered lights for relief after disasters strike.

Anna Stork and Andrea Srehta founded luminAID after news of the earthquake in Haiti broke, though the idea had been conceived since their days in Columbia Graduate School.

luminAID offers an inflatable solar lantern that is fitted with LED technology and can provide up to 16 hours of lighting after a single charge in the sun.

The rechargeable lantern is lightweight and waterproof. It also serves as an alternative to hazardous candles or toxic kerosene for people without a steady supply of electricity.

They experienced firsthand the damage caused by large-scale disasters while on a school trip in Japan in March 2011. The inventors saw the product’s potential and began fundraising the project through campaigns and business competitions.

  1. Solarkiosk

Source: Solarkiosk
Solarkiosk is a Berlin-based company that provides low-cost franchise outlets to rural off-grid communities with through their solar-powered kiosks. The kiosks are run by local entrepreneurs generate their revenue by selling the charging stations that come with the kiosk.

  1. Ecosoftt

Source: Ecosoftt
Marcus Lim and Stanley Samuel are the founders of the social enterprise Ecosoftt – a water solutions provider that include rainwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and drinking water treatment amongst others.

The company has a strong social focus where they service marginalised communities through their Solutions for Underprivileged Lives programme. It is backed by major corporates including Barclays Bank and leading NGOs like the World Toilet Organisation.

  1. Makani Energy Kites

Source: Makani Power
Makani was founded in 2006 by a group of kite surfers who wanted to tap into deep-sea winds. It was an Alphabet company up till February 2020, and Shell remains an investor. The inventors built an autonomous kite, resembling an aeroplane, that is tethered to a floating base in the water.

Makani CEO Dr. Fort Felker told CNN that “Our lightweight kites create the possibility that we could tap that resource very economically and bring renewable power to hundreds of millions of people.”

Wind power has the potential to power the world 100 times over, but only 6% of that potential has been harnessed today.

  1. Vestergaard

Source: Vestergaard
Vestergaard is a global company that provides solutions to underserved communities that do not have access to drinking water. To date, Vesterguaard has provided clean water to 55 million people through its products.

They function on a Give Back retail business model where a purchase from a financially capable consumer sponsors a product to one in need.

Enel X: What is the Future of E-Mobility

Head of E-mobility at Enel X Giovanni Bertolino speaks to the current challenges in e-mobility, and the future of electrification.
The global energy sector is experiencing unprecedented change. With oil prices plunging below zero for the first time in history, the future of the global energy mix has become uncertain, and the industry insecure. Among those affected by this precarity is the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry, with financial and operational constraints emerging as key concerns for both acceleration and uptake.

In an interview with CleanTech News, Head of e-mobility at Enel X Giovanni Bertolino discusses what these developments really mean for the EV industry, examining if, and how, future trajectories will be forced to change.

Renewables & the Emergence of EV
“Enel is the largest private renewable operator in the world, and we are investing heavily in adding to our renewable capacity.” Bertolino begins.

Situating Enel X within the wider energy landscape, this growth is centered around two primary development goals. The first is the production of renewable energy, which can then be better integrated into the grid through the use of storage. “That’s really where Enel is putting the majority of its investment,” Bertolino explains, having been its primary focus for the last decade.

“The Second step is using that renewable energy not only to power traditional electricity consumption but to go beyond that, expanding the use of electricity to substitute fossil fuels.”

Addressing the significance of e-mobility in particular, he explains, “the biggest area we can further replace fossil fuels with electricity is transportation so that’s really our next goal – to support the electrification of transportation.”

Concentrating their focus on the provision of smart charging, Bertolino says that at Enel X, “we see ourselves as the enablers of the adoption of EV through the infrastructure needed to power those e-vehicles”, implemented in both public and private spheres.

Incorporating innovative storage solutions, consumption management, and even emerging V2G, these infrastructures support not only EV uptake, but wider electrification, maintaining grid stability while maximizing the potential of renewable output. As a result, with Enel X’s running rate estimated at over three gigawatts per year (and growing), the capabilities of these new technologies are enormous, leading the way towards a low carbon, clean future.

Current Challenges & Future Trajectories
Addressing the impact of COVID-19, Bertolino makes it clear that the e-mobility industry has, and will continue to be significantly affected.

“We were hoping that 2021 would really be the year of change – a point from which we’d see an acceleration in the availability of new models and a real uptake in demand,” he explains.

However, this is becoming less likely as volatile oil prices coupled with significant financial constraints are “challenging the adoption of EV at different levels.” In light of economic stagnation, manufacturers are now announcing delays in new model production, while organisations poised for transition are pushing timelines back, leveraging low oil prices while their budgets are limited.

Expanding on the consequences of these developments, Bertolino explains that the largest hurdles to uptake – choice, and affordability – will be exacerbated by these delays. With fewer models coming to market, not only is consumer choice compromised, but it is more difficult to “reduce capital cost which at present is still quite high.”

As a result, Bertolino says we should “expect a slowdown in the adoption and the availability of electric vehicles.”

However, these impacts will not be universal. Rather, Bertolino says, “we might see things moving at two different speeds.” In the European market, emissions targets and the focus on EV expansion remain in place, maintaining a foundational level of demand. On the other hand, with North American governments compromising environmental initiatives, he explains manufacturing for these markets is likely to decrease considerably, consequently hindering growth.

Turning to longer-term developments, Bertolino’s outlook remains positive. “I feel like there is growing awareness of the fact that EVs can provide a number of benefits, not only due to emission but in the reduction of local pollutants”, Bertolino says, as the respiratory effects of COVID-19 are a topic of increasing public concern.

“I think that’s something from a public policy perspective should be recognised,” he continues, encouraging the designation of stimulus funds into electrification initiatives.

In addition, commenting on the long-term consequences of oil volatility, Bertolino says that although electricity prices are not necessarily more stable, “with smart charging infrastructure you can actually leverage the moments in which the electricity prices are low every day and try to use electricity at the best price possible.”

Alongside this optimization, Bertolino explains that the overall trend in electricity cost is one of decline, making electrification an efficient, cost-effective alternative through the use of Enel X’s pioneering smart management infrastructures.

Bertolino remains confident in the continuance of EV growth in the long term, concluding that we can expect acceleration if not by 2021, by 2022.

For more information, please see Enel X.

Eutopia: Data Intelligence for Green Innovation

Examining Eutopia – the potential of start-up databases to accelerate and support investment in green technology.
The CleanTech market is incrediby broad, defined by complexity, whilst constituting a variety of very specific technical solutions to the climate crisis. As such, for corporations and international organisations, it can be daunting to approach. With global energy landscapes experiencing a time of unpredicted volatility, it is more crucial than ever to connect decision makers to cutting edge clean technologies, meeting their specific needs while lowering carbon emissions. However, there remains a substantial barrier to uptake, with few available resources aiming to encourage brand-to-brand connection.

This is a gap that Eutopia – an early-stage start up on a mission to accelerate climate tech – is aiming to fill. Mapping innovative green solutions for the European market, they hope to make it easier than ever for organisations to invest in CleanTech, enabling connections which will facilitate green solutions.

In an interview with CleanTech News, Co-Founder and CEO Federico Cristoforoni tells us more.
“We are building one of Europe’s largest green tech start-up databases” he begins. “There are a lot of promising solutions out there, but they are not very easy to find. Our vision is to have everybody looking for green innovation finding exactly what they are looking for.”

“The concept is not that new, there are a lot of other databases that do something similar – but we are focusing on this niche [cleantech] because we feel like it’s the right time to invest,” he continues.

Currently working with smaller investors and accelerators, Eutopia hopes to expand its range once its platform is fully operational, with future growth predicted amongst both corporations and international organisations.

“Corporations are one of the most active investors in the cleantech field. They’re going to be pushed more and more in this direction and they need very specific solutions – that’s where we might be very helpful to them.” Cristoforoni says, explaining why the corporate sector is of particular importance.

Although they might not be there yet, with the platform still very much under construction, their database is continuously growing through automated collection technologies, using machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, Cristoforoni says that alongside automation, they beginning to encourage start-ups to approach them directly, providing the relevant information through a more collaborative approach. “It’s something we are very keen on doing later on but it takes time,” he continues, emphasising they are still in the early stages of development.

Alongside the provision of data solutions, Eutopia also aims to encourage clean innovation directly, committing to invest 50% of its surplus revenue in green technologies and initiatives.

“We think it’s important to have a commitment towards green technology. At this step, we are only starting to generate revenue, so we are far from having meaningful profits to reinvest but we wanted this direction to be out there, clearly stated from day one,” Cristoforoni says, further reinforcing their environmental focus.

As Eutopia continues its development, we are excited to see its potential applications, and how it helps us all to move one step closer towards a carbon net zero future.

Dare to Dream: A Sustainable Food Mission

Satopia Travel, a luxury Dutch travel agency, is hoping to replicate the freedom and exploration that travel allows through their Dare to Dream experiences, encouraging people to learn, connect and dare to dream in spite of current limitations.
On Friday 29th May, Satopia Travel launched Dare to Dream – a series of free online experiences aimed at inspiring attendees through conversations with some of the world’s leading chefs: Massimo Bottura, Carlo Cracco, Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc and Francis Mallmann.

Hosting some of the most remarkable people in the cooking world, the events, sponsored by Zoom, will be focussed on the concept of “Think Global, Act Local”. With this in mind, the celebrity chefs will explore how they are dealing with the unprecedented impacts of our changing climate, and what they are doing to support their local community.

Specialising in exclusive small group travel, designed to connect and educate, their hosted experiences are not being limited by the global pandemic. Instead, Satopia has sought alternative experiences, exploring the impact of the gastronomy and hospitality in this case, and engaging people in the process. Not only this, but the event will save carbon emissions through going virtual.

Founders Emma Ponsonby and Ahmed Gouda said: “We consider travel to be a fundamental part of our journey in life. It has the power to unite humanity and inspire us to be more conscious of how we approach life. We wanted to create a new way to experience the world, that puts people first, before the destination as a way for people to travel and learn from others at the same time.”

The sustainable food movement
The relationship between food and sustainability is an important one. Now more than ever, it is essential to take a more responsible approach to the food we consume, with the vision to think more consciously about where our food comes from. By supporting local farmers and communities we can have a positive impact on the environment, whilst providing critical support to local business in these challenging times.

In particular, Michelin Star Chef Raymond Blanc, who is speaking on 10 June, is passionate about championing local produce and is driving change in the sustainability of food. President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association since 2012, Blanc’s approach is crucial, with the pandemic undoubtedly marking a change in food philosophy, and is an inspiration to the masses.

Adopting sustainable principles of food production throughout his career, Blanc hopes to sway luxury food from its wasteful nature. Blanc instead advocates for a more responsible, ‘close to home’ approach, by helping local farmers and communities with a focus on seasonality.

Reinforcing the importance of a positive relationship between food and the earth, Emma Ponsonby, CEO of Satopia Travel, notes: “One thing is clear. The desire to see the world is stronger than ever and we will appreciate our planet and all those who inhabit it with a heightened sense of consideration and kindness in the future.”

The virtual events begin tomorrow and will run on until 12 June:

Register here for the Dare to Dream Virtual Event with Massimo Bottura on Wednesday 3 June at 4pm BST.

Register here for the Dare to Dream Virtual Event with Carlo Cracco on Friday 5 June at 4pm BST.

Register here the Dare to Dream Virtual Event with Marco Pierre White on Monday 8 June at 4pm BST.

Register here the Dare to Dream Virtual Event with Raymond Blanc on Wednesday 10 June at 4pm BST.

Register here the Dare to Dream Virtual Event with Francis Mallman on Friday 12 June at 4pm BST.

Biodiversity: The Forest Perspective

This year, the main theme of the World Environment Day being biodiversity, it is important to remember forests, which are critical for the balance of the Earth and our long term survival.
What is the issue?
More than 10 million different species of animals, plants, and micro-organisms live on the Earth. All these creatures and the habitats in which they live represent the world’s biological diversity, also known as biodiversity.

Forest biodiversity holds the most diverse ecosystems on land, as they are home to the vast majority of the world’s species. Forests cover around 4 billion hectares of the land and each year trees clean our air, absorbing around 1.5 gigatonnes of CO2 and releasing oxygen that is necessary for humans and all animals on land. Trees also remove other pollutants from the air and have an ability to cool our air temperatures reducing the formation of ground-level ozone which can cause heart and lung problems.

However, forest biodiversity is threatened by rapid deforestation, degradation and fires. It is estimated, that we are losing 12 million hectares of forest a year, much of it being tropical rainforest with its unique and colourful biodiversity.

Why is it important?
The world’s forests are in trouble. Forest loss means not only increased carbon emissions, but also high costs in terms of diminished livelihoods and cultural values. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), nearly 20% of the Amazon forest was lost over the last 50 years, not to mention other forests in Indonesia, Congo or Australia. In fact, it is not only the trees – every day different plants, animals and insects are disappearing.

Furthermore, billions of people, nearly 25% of the world’s population, many of whom are the poorest, depend on the forests for their livelihoods. Forests provide around $100 billion a year in essential goods and services like clean water and healthy soil. What is more, preventing the loss of forest ecosystems and promoting their restoration could have a potential to contribute to nearly one-third of the total climate change mitigation, which is required by 2030 to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Policies that promote privatisation, increased exports and international trade naturally lead to a significant rise in extensive land estates used to produce and export wood. It is estimated that the world has nearly 850 million hectares of degraded forests which could likely be restored to regain lost biodiversity.

What can be done to protect forests and its biodiversity?
In order to protect forests drastic measures of action must be established that would lead to a reduced energy consumption and paper use. We could all build resilience to climate change and protect future generations in a few ways:

We can look for products certified as fairtrade or simply choose items coming from responsible managed or sustainable forests. It can have a massive impact on the supplier’s side if more and more people demand less harmful products.

This one may sound like an obvious one – plant at least one tree in your lifetime. Many people claim it to be a joyful thing to do as they can watch it grow and develop over the years.

Recycling paper is another great way to reduce paper use. Some interesting facts to encourage paper recycling:

One tonne of office paper uses 24 trees
One tonne of newsprint uses 12 trees
One tonne of coated magazine paper uses almost 8 trees
Avoid buying products that contain palm oil. According to the WWF, an area equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforests is wiped each hour for a palm oil production. Around 85% of all palm oil globally is exported from South East Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and most of the time palm oil is produced using unsustainable measures.

We can all share the message and encourage our family members, friends and colleagues to live in a way that does no harm to the environment. Spreading awareness about how trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate can have a great impact and help prevent deforestation.

It is time to get proactive and involved – the World Environment Day 2020 can be the day to start taking action.

For more information on World Environment Day, see here.

Green is the New Black’s Virtual Conscious Festival

How GINTB is continuing to encourage #LittleGreenSteps with this year’s Virtual Conscious Festival.
Green is the New Black (GITNB) is a company on a mission – a mission to fight the climate crisis. Encouraging active empowerment, GITNB is a lifestyle media and events platform which aims to make sustainability ‘mainstream, accessible and sexy’, providing engaging content, enabling connection, and facilitating education.

Making conscious living the ‘new norm’, as summarised by Co-Founder and Operations Director Paula Miquelis “our vision is to connect people consciously back to the planet.”

“We have been working with big brands such as LUSH, Holland & Barrett, HSBC, and Shangri-La. We also work with smaller brands SMEs and social enterprises as members. We currently have 160 members across 13 countries who we support with content creation, connection and events.”

Conscious Festival 2020
At the centre of GITNB’s operations is The Conscious Festival – an annual event guiding and inspiring participants towards more sustainable choices, previously gathering more than 30,000 attendees.

Having been held in Singapore for the last five years, and Hong Kong for the last three, plans to bring the festival to London for the first time in June were cancelled due to COVID safety concerns, stalling their European expansion and forcing the organisation to think outside the box.

Refusing to let COVID-19 get in the way of fighting the equally urgent climate crisis, this year’s Conscious Festival has been transformed into a virtual experience for the first time in its history.

Running from the 12th to the 14th of June, this “interactive escape with impact that will see you pinging across continents, countries, and borders – essentially Europe and Asia – to observe and learn first-hand about the challenges and solutions relating to climate change,” says Miquelis. “Expect corporates, NGOs, citizens and social entrepreneurs, all here to define what should be the new normal.”

This three-day immersive event will operate through the platform hopin, allowing users hop in and out of the festival, exploring its virtual zones to mindfully shop, learn, evolve, and connect.

Although the virtual turn was unexpected, this new online format represents a chance for growth, and improvement.

“This online format allows us to reach multiple audiences and regions including Asia and Europe,” says Miquelis. “It also decreases the carbon footprint linked with organising events including flying participants, speakers around the world!”

Meanwhile, booth prices are also becoming more affordable, allowing increased accessibility for social entrepreneurs.

Festival Line-Up
The Festival itself will have three primary areas of engagement, the first of which is the EXPO. Showcasing over 70 different conscious brands and retailers, this area of the festival highlights the importance of supporting small businesses and their aims, allowing users to shop ethically online. Ranging from clothing, to food, brands including Oatly, Muuse and José provide both quality and socio-environmental impact – what’s not to love?

The second area is the Talking Stage, where industry leaders will share their stories, advice and experiences with this year’s online audience. Addressing four core themes, attendees can tune into a series of talks focused on wellbeing, business, fashion and the planet, covering areas including purpose-led business, up-cycling for a circular economy, and cleaning up our oceans.

With speakers including Brune Poirson, French Minister of Ecology, Christina Goulay Head of Innovations at Kering and Malin Pettersson-Beckeman, Head of Sustainability in IKEA, LUSH, WWF, and Extinction Rebellion, this year’s program truly has something for everyone, available from the comfort of your own home.

Miquelis herself says she is “looking forward to the fireside chat between Brune Poirson and Arizona Muse who is a model activist” taking place on June 12th, as well as a debate entitled “Capitalism vs the Climate”, so be sure to keep an eye out for those this coming weekend.

Last but not least, the festival also boasts an incredible line-up of experiential workshops that aim to raise consciousness and encourage sustainable change.

Ranging from wild ecstatic dance, to invigorating breathwork sessions, to enlightening expert masterclasses, these workshops will encourage participants to push themselves out of their comfort zones and experience new and wonderful ways of living sustainably. Alongside games and activities, this will include a show on Saturday afternoon, with “live music streams from Hong Kong, London, Paris and London happening at the same time, to remind us all that we are all connected.”

Within these three focal areas, the impacts of COVID-19 have not been forgotten. Rather, as explained by Miquelis:

“We are defining what should be the new normal and COVID-19 is directly connected to climate change (deforestation, our supremacy onto other beings including animals). More than 3 out of 4 pandemics are zoonotic, meaning coming from animals! We need to rethink our footprint on planet Earth if we want to avoid huge catastrophes such as other pandemics in the future.

There will be some speakers addressing the topic including Aja Barber on Saturday, June 13th during our Wellness track on covid-19 and being human but also Chad, Director of Project Drawdown, one of the most ambitious and well-established programs to fight against climate change. We will also have some workshops including one on Friday, June 12th about digital marketing strategies and insights to overcome this tricky period.”

To explore the full program, please use the link here.

Alongside organised events, the festival also represents a fantastic opportunity to network, both brand-to-brand, and on an individual scale, connecting with world leaders to can help us all take #LittleGreenSteps towards a greener future.


Acknowledging that sustainability is a process that cannot be solved through one single action, GITNB’s philosophy is underpinned by a focus on supporting constant, gradual change. As explained by GITNB contributor Sally Shoult: “making small, continuous adjustments to our lifestyles is the easiest way to move forward and create real change.”

These #LittleGreenSteps are not only easy to take, but are extremely effective, with The United Nations Anatomy of Action proving that small individual actions can and will collectively force large systemic changes.

This year, in conjunction with the Virtual Conscious Festival GITNB is taking this philosophy one step further. One of the organisations most ambitious goals yet, they are now aiming to get 10,000 people to pledge to take a #LittleGreenStep, holding themselves, and others, accountable.

To get involved in this project, visit their Take Action Now page for #LittleGreenSteps inspiration and take your pledge today.

To purchase tickets for this year’s Virtual Conscious Festival, use the link here, and with their partner EcoMatcher, GITNB will donate a portion of the ticket cost to planting trees, each of which is its own #LittleGreenStep.

Business for Nature Inspiring Green Recovery

Business for Nature will be holding the first global leadership event bringing together forward-thinking businesses and world leaders for an interactive discussion to show the importance of nature for success.
Business for Nature is hosting the first major global leadership event to discuss nature in a world rethinking how to emerge from the crisis of a pandemic. Held on the 15th June, the event will be hosted by Paul Polman, Co-founder of IMAGINE, and Tian Wei, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and news anchor.

This event is keen to “catalyse business leadership to drive policy ambition” by bringing together inspiring businesses and world leaders. Business for Nature wants to show how making nature part of your decision-making is crucial to becoming a future-fit business.

As a diverse and powerful group of organisations and networks, Business for Nature aims to convey a united business voice, demonstrate business ambition, showcase business solutions and communicate the case for reversing nature loss.

By bringing together influential organisations and forward-thinking businesses, Business for Nature’s global coalition demonstrates collective action and amplifies a powerful voice calling for governments to adopt a green recovery post-COVID-19.

Kick-starting the decade of action
2020 is the first year in the ‘decade of action’ for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are an “urgent call for action by all countries”, which aims to tackle climate change and preserve our oceans and forests. With this decade of acceleration just beginning, this event comes at the perfect time to urge businesses to take a greener, more sustainable initiative whilst adhering to the UN’s goals.

Nature is now at the forefront of many businesses and organisations agendas as the coronavirus pandemic has made the need for environmental and societal change inescapable. The event champions the importance of nature whilst encouraging business to come together in volume and advocate for governments to implement policies to reverse nature loss.

Business for Nature wants to show political leaders, as they draft out their COVID-19 recovery plans, that a thriving world is a critical priority.

There has been a push in the business world for a ‘green recovery’ and it is nature that is at the beating heart of rebuilding post-coronavirus. The event wants to champion this ‘green recovery’ to ‘build back better’ and inspire businesses to be part of this crucial change for a stronger economy.

Through this global coalition, the event wants to show the momentum surrounding a new deal for nature is strong. Business for Nature calls for these businesses to use their voice to inspire governments to establish the policies needed to reverse nature loss and kick start the ‘decade of action’.

Time for business and nature
With World Environment Day’s strapline as “Time for Nature”, the event amplifies and recognises the importance of nature in caring for ourselves. The event promotes the vital conversation needed surrounding the role of nature and shows the key role business leaders play in this time of change.

World Environment Day’s theme of biodiversity highlighted the “urgent and existential” crisis nature is facing. Business for Nature shares this concern and want to make a change to how businesses and leaders work together for a ‘green recovery’ post-coronavirus. By acting now, Business for Nature will help to protect and preserve nature and give all aspects of society the chance to become more resilient. This will allow us to thrive within, not beyond, natures limits.

Nature is more important than ever and Business for Nature will champion its vital role in building a resilient future in a post-coronavirus world. Alongside their partners, World Economic Forum, WBCSD, ICC, UN Global Compact and the IUCN Business for Nature will lead an interactive discussion on why making nature part of decision-making is critical to becoming a future-fit business.

Register now for the event – Building business resilience: How collective leadership will reverse nature loss.