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Tesco banishes shrink wrap for multipack cans

Tesco banishes shrink wrap for multipack cans

Heinz is exploring ways to roll out the initiative across other retailers, a move that could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 3300 tonnes a year.

Tesco is outlawing shrink wrap used to bind multipacks of cans together in a bid to slash plastic packaging, including branded items such as Heinz baked beans and tomato soup, it announced yesterday. 

Permanent multibuy offers will replace shrink-wrapped multipacks for Tesco shoppers once the initiative rolls out on March 2, the firm said, eliminating 175 tonnes of plastic annually. 

Alongside own-label produce and Heinz, Tesco said Green Giant, John West and Princes will be among the brands affected. Multipacks of baked beans, tuna, tinned tomatoes and soup are among the most frequently bought grocery items in the UK. 

Tesco said it is the first UK retailer to make such a move. "We are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco," said CEO Dave Lewis. "As part of this work, removing plastic wrapped multipacks from every Tesco store in the UK will cut 350 tonnes of plastic from the environment every year and customers will still benefit from the same great value ‘multipack' price. This is part of our plan to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic in 2020."

Heinz said it will continue to supply shrink-wrapped multipacks to other supermarkets for now, explaining that production lines would need to be changed to eliminate shrink wrap entirely from its packaging process. But it is exploring scaling the initiative, which it said could reduce CO2 emissions by 3,300 tonnes a year. 

"While we know we have more to do, this initiative is good news for the environment, and for the millions of people who enjoy Heinz varieties every day, as they'll still be able to benefit from the same great value for money," said Georgiana de Noronha, President of Kraft Heinz Northern Europe.

Tesco has pledged to remove a billion pieces of plastic from its own-label products by the end of 2020, while warning suppliers that it will move to delist brands that use excessive non-recyclable packaging.

Action to tackle UK food waste is delivering results, WRAP data suggests

Action to tackle UK food waste is delivering results, WRAP data suggests

Action to slash food waste is accelerating in the UK, with both households and businesses stepping up efforts to reduce the amount they throw away, according to new data from sustainability charity WRAP show.

Total UK food waste fell by almost half a million tonnes in just three years, WRAP's latest Courtauld Commitment 2025 report reveals, marking a seven per cent per person decline.

The report analyses food waste levels since 2007, finding that 1.4 million tonnes of food have been saved from going to waste each year from UK households since 2007. The annual total saved is enough to fill 150,000 food collection trucks which, placed nose to tail, would stretch from London to Prague, the report calculates.

Further upstream, businesses have also taken action, delivering a four per cent reduction in food waste in the supply chain over the same period.

However, the figures also show that significant room for improvement remains, with UK households still wasting a massive 4.5 million tonnes of potentially edible food every year. The report says households are wasting food equivalent to 10 billion meals, worth £14bn a year or £700 per average family.

"This great news announced today means we are starting to wake up to the reality of food waste, but we are too often turning a blind eye to what is happening in our homes," said WRAP CEO Marcus Gover. "We are all thinking about what we can do for the environment and this is one of the most simple and powerful ways we can play our part. By wasting less food, we are helping to tackle the biggest challenges this century - feeding the world whilst protecting our planet."

The report's analysis assigns the progress to a number of factors, including heightened public awareness through campaigns such as WRAP's Love Food Hate Waste, clearer labelling on food packaging, and more local authorities offering residents separate food waste collections.

The campaign group has launched a series of initiatives to tackle food waste in recent years. The Courtald Commitment was launched in 2016, backed by all the major UK food retailers, alongside brands, food service companies, trade bodies and local authorities. Signatories pledged to cut food waste by 20 per cent and reduce the sector's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2025.

In 2018, WRAP in partnership with IDG launched the Food Waste Reduction Strategy with its aim to more than halve food waste by 2030. More than 150 companies have since signed up to the pledge.

Gover stressed that major steps still needed to be taken by businesses and policymakers to deliver on the long term goal. "We are in a new decade and have just 10 years if we are to honour our international commitment to halve food waste," he said. "This really matters because it is untenable that we carry on wasting food on such a monumental scale when we are seeing the visible effects of climate change every day, and when nearly a billion people go hungry every day."

The UK government is also confronting the issue with a £15m food waste reduction unit, building on its Resources and Waste Strategy which set out plans to introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses. 

"Each year, tonnes of good-quality, nutritious food needlessly goes to waste, harming our environment and climate. As a world-leader in the fight against food waste, it is good news that we are making a real difference," said environment secretary Theresa Villiers.

"But while this is encouraging, there is more to be done - and I urge all households, individuals and businesses to consider how they can reduce their own food waste footprint to create a better world for generations to come."

However, critics have argued that further policy measures are required, noting that many councils still do not offer food waste recycling, while numerous businesses and public sector bodies are still yet to embrace food waste saving best practices.

The new data comes just a day after the Committee on Climate Change published a major new report detailing how reforms to land use will be required to meet the UK's net zero emission target. It included calls for a renewed focus to curb food waste levels, arguing that reducing food waste would help free up more agricultural land for forest cover and carbon sequestration.

Accor joins new Global Tourism Plastics Initiative with fresh wave of waste-reduction pledges

Accor joins new Global Tourism Plastics Initiative with fresh wave of waste-reduction pledges

Accor is to rollout a series of solutions to replace single-use plastic, including shampoo dispensers, water filtration taps, and reusable dishes

French hotel giant Accor has committed this week to eliminating single-use plastic from its guest experience across its global operations by 2022, targeting the more than 200 million single-use plastic items that it currently dispenses every year.

The pledge makes the hospitality giant one of the first firms to join the newly launched Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Accor, which receives 120 million guests and serves 200 million meals every year, said it will remove all plastic toiletry amenities and cups by the end of 2020, before eliminating any remaining single-use plastic items in guestrooms, meeting areas, restaurants, spas, and fitness centres by the end of 2022.

The firm has already committed to eliminating all plastic straws, cotton buds, and stirrers by the end of March 2020. The new goal targets a range of other items including cups, laundry bags, water bottles, packaging for food and welcome products, take-away dishes and tableware, and keycards.

Achieving the goal will involve the rollout of a number of solutions that are already in place for specific brands, Accor said. For example, 89 per cent of its ibis hotels use dispensers for products such as shampoo instead of single-use plastic bottles. Similarly, Fairmont Hotels incorporate water filtration taps in guest rooms to eliminate bottled water and the chain's new Greet hotel brand deploys reusable dishes for butter and jam at breakfast and operates a zero disposable plastic in guest rooms policy.

"We are aware of the significant impact we have on our planet and our responsibility to create tangible benefits for our employees, guests, suppliers, partners and host communities," said Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO, Accor. "What guides us is the consciousness and social awareness that drives every person who strives to be a good citizen. It's about being aware, socially conscious and consistent."

Accor's commitment was announced simultaneously with the launch Global Tourism Plastics Initiative on Wednesday. Led by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the initiative calls on tourism companies and destinations to commit to a series of concrete goals by 2025. The proposed targets include moving away from single-use to reusable models and alternatives, working with value chains to make 100 per cent of plastic packaging resuable, recyclable or compostable, and committing to increasing recycling the amount of recycled content in plastic packaging.

"Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution," said UN Environment Programme Economy Division Director, Ligia Noronha. "Through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, tourism companies and destinations are supported to innovate, eliminate, and circulate the way they use plastics, to advance circularity in our economies and reduce plastics pollution globally."

The launch comes as Coca-Cola sparked controversy this week when the company's head of sustainability, Bea Perez, told the BBC the company would not ditch plastic bottles, given they remain popular with consumers and typically boast a lower carbon footprint than glass and metal alternatives.

Ceres launches corporate alliance to accelerate electric vehicle transition

Ceres launches corporate alliance to accelerate electric vehicle transition

Alliance brings together Amazon, DHL, and others in a bid to drive development of electric vehicle market

Investor-backed sustainability non-profit Ceres has this week launched a new alliance designed to help companies accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, unveiling Amazon, AT&T, DHL, Direct Energy, Genentech, IKEA North America, and Siemens among its founding members.

The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance aims to support member companies in making and achieving commitments to fleet electrification, Ceres said. As well as guiding corporate action, the group also aims to catalyse market development and address concerns the EV market is not yet providing a sufficient range of light, medium, and heavy-duty models at the economies of scale many fleet operators require.

The alliance hopes to highlight to auto manufacturers how corporate demand for a diverse array of electric vehicle models is climbing fast, thus incentivising investment in new production capacty and product development, Ceres said. The will also provide a platform to advocate for policies that enable fleet electrification and support the development and deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure, it added.

"The climate crisis demands we decarbonize transportation -- the highest-emitting sector in the US - and electric vehicles are an essential component of this transition," said Ceres' VP of climate and energy Sue Reid. "With companies controlling more than half the vehicles on the road in the U.S. today, they have a tremendous role to play in leading the transition to electric vehicles - both in terms of electrifying their own fleets and in leveraging their buying power to send a strong market signal to automakers and policymakers alike. The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance is where the rubber hits the road."

Many of the members of the alliance already have ambitious electric vehicle or net zero carbon goals in place, including Amazon, Siemens, and DHL.

Kara Hurst, head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said the group would help support the company's ambitious fleet decarbonisation plans "As part of The Climate Pledge, which includes the purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vans and a commitment to deliver 50 per cent of shipments with net zero carbon by 2030, we are pursuing the highest standards in transportation sustainability. But we can't get there alone. We're looking forward to working with fellow Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance members to share best practices to remove carbon emissions from our transportation business." 

John DeBoer, head of the Siemens eMobility and Future Grid Business Unit, added: "Given our corporate commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030, electrifying our fleet is an essential step. We're looking forward to joining with other companies to accelerate the adoption of EVs for fleets, consumers, transit agencies, and others through the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance." 

UN Global Compact launches new initiative to spur decade of private sector progress towards the SDGs

UN Global Compact launches new initiative to spur decade of private sector progress towards the SDGs

SDG Ambition will be led by the UN Global Compact Local Networks, bringing together more than a 1,000 firms across 40 countries to drive progress towards the global goals

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres yesterday launched a new initiative designed to help the world's corporations put their weight behind efforts to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline.

SDG Ambition is the latest programme from the UN Global Compact, a UN body working with businesses around the world to help them align their activities with the SDGs. Aiming to drive progress through the goals' last decade, the initiative is to provide organisations with a management framework to help them incorporate the SDGs into their normal business operations.

It will also provide guidance on how they can measure and manage their performance against a range of targets set by the SDGs.

"The global business community is not moving at the speed or scale needed to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals," said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact."The Goals will not become a reality without greater ambition as well as deeper integration within companies everywhere. We hope that SDG Ambition will establish a new normal for the global business community that is both bolder and more strategic in efforts to achieve the world we want."

The initiative's launch is being supported by multinationals SAP and Accenture, which will work to "mobilize industry around SDG Ambition and scale impact for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals," according to SAP CEO Jennifer Morgan.

"By inspiring our global ecosystems and bringing together our respective areas of expertise, we can empower businesses around the world to use ‘technology for good' and provide the necessary tools to accelerate achieving the world's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," Morgan added.

Implementation of the programme will be led by the UN Global Compact Local Networks. Located in more than 60 countries, the networks will enable SDG Ambition to engage with more than 1,000 companies operating in diverse industries across 40 countries, helping the firms focus their sustainability efforts on high-impact strategies and business models, the group said.

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With over 10,000 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in more than 160 countries, it is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by UN Member states in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They aim to provide a blueprint for progress against a broad range of benchmarks, divided into 17 goals, such as SDG1 on tackling poverty, SDG5 on gender equality, and SD13 on climate action.

Global climate strategies 'don't add up': Greta Thunberg hits back at White House critics

Global climate strategies 'don't add up': Greta Thunberg hits back at White House critics

Teenage activist claims 'it doesn't take a college degree in economics' to realise world is on course to blow a hole in 1.5C carbon budget

Greta Thunberg has today hit back at her critics in the White House, arguing the global economy is on course for more than 1.5C of warming given the gap between the remaining carbon budget and "fossil fuel subsidies and investments don't add up".

The teenage activist has been in Davos this week alongside a host of global leaders and CEOs of major corporates at the World Economic Forum's annual summit, where she has made a series of characteristically impassioned pleas for climate action and fossil fuel divestment.

But after Thunberg's widely-reported speech at the Forum on Tuesday in which she warned that "our house is on fire", she faced a backlash from a key member of President Trump's team in the White House, who dismissed her concerns as ill-informed.

During a press conference at the WEF this morning, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked for his thoughts on Thunberg's calls for divestment from fossil fuel companies, to which he reportedly joked: "Is she the chief economist? Who is she? I'm confused."

"After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us," Mnuchin added.

But Thunberg hit back with a thinly-veiled riposte to Mnuchin this afternoon, arguing on social media that "it doesn't take a degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1.5C carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don't add up".

"So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments," she added.

The row follows Trump's own appearance in Davos earlier this week, which saw him give a rambling speech about the US economy and energy security, while hitting out at what he called "alarmists" and "perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse".

However, the White House's stance on climate change has looked particularly isolated in Davos, where one of the key driving topics has been climate action and sustainability. Klaus Schwab, the Forum's founder and executive chairman, last week called on top business leaders ahead of the summit to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier and the past week has seen a raft of fresh commitments and new climate initiatives from leading global businesses.

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