The 13th Sustainable development goal is regarding Climate action, ranging from reducing an individuals carbon footprint to changing a country’s electric supply to renewable sources. Let’s zoom in on easy climate actions you can do from home!
Herbs are an essential part of cooking any kind of dish and it is super easy to grow your own. Read on to find out how you can grow your own herb garden.
With lockdown making us feel isolated and detached from the world, now more than ever it is important to appreciate the nature around us.
The problem facing modern business is often one of how to act more sustainably, whilst being able to stay competitive. For example, producing sustainable agricultural products means a fairer distribution of wealth throughout the supply chain, but this means that products have to be sold at a premium – when compared to the rest of the market – in order to retrieve the extra expenditure. Trying to balance a moral responsibility to make the world a better place, with running an efficient and effective business, is one that many entrepreneurs and existing business owner have struggled to achieve. This blog looks at some of the successful sustainable business initiatives that have developed over the past 20 years.
Orsted is a Danish company with the business vision of creating a world that runs entirely off green energy. Since its business vision was changed in 2006, to one of entirely clean energy production, Orsted has cut the amount of energy that is being produced by coal power by 73%, with the ambition of eliminating coal power completely by 2023. Orsted is now a market leader in offshore wind energy, controlling 25% of the offshore wind market. Orsted is also investing heavily in greener energy initiatives like bioenergy. With this huge shift in business practice the company now has the ambitious goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 98% compared to its 2006 figures. These changes, combined with its ambitious business model, has meant that Orsted has been rated the most sustainable business by the esteemed research firm Corporate Knights.
In 2010 Unilever announced its “Sustainable Living Plan” that set out the company’s sustainability practices and targets for the next decade. Included in this plan were directives like evolving the companies cleaning products to concentrated alternatives (that use less packaging and less water), and brands like Ben & Jerrys ensuring that their entire supply chain was Fairtrade certified. As well as making its products more sustainable, Unilever’s plan includes more ambitious social goals, the chief among which being to improve the health and wellbeing of over 1 billion people. By 2018 Unilever had surpassed this target by reaching 1.24 billion people through a combination of on-ground initiatives and with broadcast health messages as part of their media campaigns.
When people hear the word Tesla the first things that come to their mind are Elon Musk, and electric cars. In-fact Tesla was originally created to show the world that it didn’t have to compromise to drive electric vehicles. Its latest vehicle, the Model 3, was universally well reviewed: not only as a very good electric car, but just as a very good car. Despite its fame for cars, Tesla is also a huge supplier of renewable energy production, and energy storage systems. Recently the island of Ta’u, part of American Samoa, converted its entire electrical energy production from diesel generators to a Tesla microgrid: this microgrid consisted of over 500 solar panels, and 60 powerpacks. The powerpacks alone can store around 6 megawatts of energy, enough to power the island for 3 days; they can be recharged with 7 hours of sunlight. This renewable initiative is just one of many that Tesla is currently building.
The overall target of SDG 17 is for countries to assist each other in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This particularly puts emphasis on more developed countries to commit to assisting less developed countries to reach the objectives of the 16 other SDG’s. Collaboration is essential if we, in a global sense, are going to achieve the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and create a more sustainable world. To stimulate the progress of implementing the SDG’s in poorer countries the economically more developed countries need to provide varying forms of support.
The completion of many of the SDG’s requires a great deal of investment. This is so more sustainable technologies can be developed and implemented. In countries where governments and economies are often more juvenile in their development funding for such projects is difficult to put together. To bridge this financial vacuum richer nations, and organizations such as the world bank, need to provide the funding necessary to implement more sustainable technologies, and fund educational programs so that people understand how to use them.
To implement the SDG’s, people need to know what they are and what they mean. In many countries’ education isn’t a given, but a luxury, that many are unable to access. To improve our collective knowledge of the environmental, economic and social factors affecting our world countries with access to educational resources need to share them with less developed countries, so that together we can work towards a more sustainable future.
To further the development of less economically developed countries requires a fair and universally beneficial global marketplace. To facilitate this requires the dedication of all nations to observe a set of universal trade legislation, that gives no single or collective set of nations an unfair advantage over the others. A fair and unbiased trade system will allow poorer nations to increase their export prospects and improve the economic conditions in their own countries.
Technology is a key factor in turning the tide against the climate emergency: it provides the means of continuing global economic and social development, whilst simultaneously decreasing our collective environmental impact. Currently most green technology is created and developed in richer nations: due to the fact they can throw more resources at it. To improve the technological advancement in developing countries the richer nations need to share and implement the technology that they have developed. These technologies include recent developments, such as: renewable energy production methods, environmentally efficient vehicles and educational technologies like computers and tablets.
Find out more about SDG 17 here.
In recent years governments and organizations across the world have recognized the threat posed by environmentally irresponsible practices, and the need to change how we work as a society. Whilst this may have been recognized, the world is still largely unsure of how to combat it and create a more sustainable society. At the heart of the issue is our economy: for years the global has been growing at a very rapid pace, this has been facilitated by the unsustainable consumption of the world’s resources. The challenge is figuring out ways of continuing to grow the global economy whilst simultaneously creating a more sustainable world. Below are some of the key areas that need to be addressed, to both stimulate economic growth and improve our environmental impact.
Energy is one of the key foundations that our modern economy is built of, without it our economic, as well as much of our social, progress would have been impossible. However, our ever-growing demand for energy, and its dependence on means of energy generation that are environmentally harmful, has meant that we have been responsible for creating ever more damage to our planet. To remedy this society needs to shift its demand from traditional means of energy production, such as coal and gas, to renewable sources of energy. This will mean that we can meet the ever-growing energy demand of our economy and reduce the harmful effects that our energy consumption has created.
Sustainable Use of Resources
Waste is currently the single most damaging byproduct of strong economies. Our overreliance on disposable packaging and products has created literal mountains of waste. This waste has destroyed habitats on land, killed millions of sea-dwelling creatures and has driven us to the point of environmental disaster. To stop this perpetual growth of waste destroying our world, we need to divert our current business, and living, practices away from a disposable culture to a culture that reuses. In the UK we have seen a start to this already, with business using more sustainable packaging, and changes like our switch from throwing away plastic bags to a more sustainable practice of using the same bags repeatedly. The aggregated effect of more sustainable practices is helping us all live a more sustainable life, but there is still such a long way to go before we can call ourselves a sustainable economy.
Economic growth is facilitated by the means of transporting goods and services from one place to another. A good transport infrastructure is essential for the prosperity of any economy. Our current methods of goods transportation rely on a network of different vehicles that all create damaging environmental effects. To create a sustainable transport network demands the need for vehicles that run of alternative power supplies and are created using less environmentally damaging manufacturing processes. In the Netherlands the supermarket chain Jumbo has started using electric haulage vehicles, created by the company DAF, to deliver supplies from its main distribution centre to local stores. Whilst the new lorries can only drive around 50km on a single charge, and are therefore unable to transport good over long distances, this practice represents the kind of change that economies across the world need to start making if they are going to become more sustainable.
The purpose of SDG 15 is to highlight, act on and reverse the damage we have done to our planet. The statistics on the toll that human activity is taking on our planet are astonishing: between 1990 and 2016 the world lost over 500,000 square miles of forest; we have also contributed to what is being referred to as the sixth mass extinction, with a total reduction in the animal population of up to 60% since 1970.
To reverse the current trend, and to restore a more harmonious balance with our world, requires a joint global effort. All sections of international society need to come together and take a more holistic view on the damage that each of us is contributing to our planet. Below are some of the ways that we can work to achieve this objective.
Many of the devastating actions that humans are taking is in the pursuit of business and is the effect of consumer demand in wealthier countries. For example, mass deforestation is the product of a huge demand for timber, and for agricultural land to rear livestock and to grow crops such as oil palm. These products are then sent through a complex, and opaque supply chain before ending up on supermarket shelves with the consumer often completely unaware of the damage their bought products have caused. By making supply chains transparent companies can be sure that their business activities are not contributing towards the destruction of our planet, and consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they buy.
Supporting Innovative Climate Initiatives
Reversing the damage that has already been caused by human activity requires people to come together to repair, and fight back, against the destructive forces that are destroying individual climates across the world. One example of this joint effort is the Great Green Wall that is being grown across the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara. In recent years the increase in the temperatures experienced in the Sahel region have caused accelerated desertification. This means that habitats are dying out, crops can’t grow and the people who live there are struggling for adequate resources. To fight back against this desertification Sahel inhabitants, with support from international organisations and businesses, have been planting a wall of trees across the southern border between the Sahara and the Sahel regions. This joint effort means that desertification will be slowed, and the ground will be able to hold more water, bringing life back to the region.
Protecting our Wildlife
Since 1970, it is thought that the number of animals on Earth has reduced by up to 60%. This decrease is the result of actions such as over-fishing, climate destruction and hunting many species to, or to the brink of, extinction. To preserve the magnificent, and diverse, range of life on our planet we need to take action now and ensure that we protect species from destructive human activity, and restore the habitats that they have lost.
Find out more about SDG 15 here
Many people are reliant on the donations from the community for their food. In the past year alone, Canterbury Food Bank distributed 31,257 meals, fed 2160 adults and 1260 children. It gave parents 468 holiday packages and (as it is a charity) worked unpaid for 16,557 hours. It will only get more challenging for local charities such as this one, as we face the corona virus outbreak now it is getting closer to a peak. Many shops are having to close and employers are being forced to reduce the hours of their staff, meaning more people are on the bread line. Shops are also selling out of stock due to the hysteria and people stockpiling, making it harder for charities to physically buy goods. Furthermore, children are not in school due to the virus and many will missing out on their only meal of the day.
There are industries that seem to be slower on the uptake than others regarding sustainability, the fast fashion industry being one of them. Another industry that seems to be struggling to fully embrace sustainability is the beauty industry. Whilst there are an increasing number of ‘cruelty-free’ brands, little is known about carbon emissions in the industry and why some products are better than others.
In this post, I am going to briefly explain what the challenges are with the beauty industry and how tackling them is an incredibly complex issue. I will then give you some tips on some plastic-free makeup remover options. Sometimes making a plastic-free swap involves swapping from something cheap and single-use to something that’s more durable, but in turn a lot more expensive. I’m hoping to give you some tips that are inexpensive and can be easily implemented in your routine.