SnippETS for 28 February 2019


Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter.


We start by giving the sustainability sector a well-earned pat on the back, by finally being able to consider sustainability, is well sustainable. This claim is supported by the ISO recently releasing a Sustainable Procurement Guide.

We also examine the steady growth and penetration of renewable electricity generation around the world, and how increasing subsidies to the fossil fuel sector to keep the lights on will need to be on the agenda. Not so however here in New Zealand, as our renewable generation sector is so very different to most of the rest of the world.

Also featuring in this issue of Snippets, is the changing attitudes to the three “R’s" of Reduce, Recycle and the born-again Reuse. The days of the milkman and their glass bottles are back.

We end by examining a Swedish trial by IKEA to offer Furniture as a Service, or as it has been dubbed, the ‘Netflix of Furniture’.



Almost anyone who works in the sustainability sector will have stories that tell of the challenges of getting approval and funding for sustainability projects. Or historically to even get buy in. As this article discusses, the sustainability sector has finally become sustainable. Not only sustainable but, to name a few, also expanding into the fields of procurement, finance, accounting and stakeholder management. Read more.....



In a move to help guide our linear economy in the direction of a circular economy, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) has developed a Sustainable Procurement Standard. Keep in mind that only six years ago they also published the Product Use Instructions Guide that recommended the destruction and disposal of end of life goods (not necessarily recycling). That is a huge change in thinking in such a short period and underpins the rapid pace of change in the sustainability sector. Read more.....

A recent report published by Schneider Electric and GreenBiz reveals that corporate sustainability and efficiency appears to be continuing to grow, due to factors such as gaining a competitive advantage, consumer brand awareness and environmental impact. There are however still some barriers to overcome. The importance of having sufficient quality data, and using it to communicate proposals to the executive, appear to be fundamental to the success or failure of initiatives. Read more.....

And the role of women on the sustainability journey? As this article discusses, their untapped communication skills make women uniquely placed to explain the damaging impacts of an overheating planet and to spur on climate action. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, said “Think of the women in your families—how determined they are to nurture relationships and how they follow through with everything”. “Now apply that to climate action: women just get the job done.” Read more.....



Clean energy, wind and solar presently generate only 7% of the worlds electricity, but from being a bit player in the energy market just over a decade ago, they are now growing faster than any other energy source. As their costs continue to fall, they are now more than competitive with fossil fuel generation. However, as we still need fossil fuel generation to keep the lights on as we transition to a renewable future, the question of how much we might need to subsidise fossil fuels on the journey arises. Read more.....




While other countries begin to embrace energy renewables, New Zealand has been fortunate to have had a high percentage of renewable energy for some time. As Fraser Whineray (CEO of Mercury Energy) discusses, renewable electricity here is largely "controlled" and not intermittent. Geothermal (17% of generation) is a renewable system not reliant on the weather. Hydro (59 %), whilst dependent on rainfall, has storage in the form of dams. Whineray also discusses the possible impact of hydrogen in this renewable mix and whether it makes commercial sense. Read more.....





Reduce/reuse/recycle – we hear this often these days. We now have three articles that show some new ways of looking at these. First, Reduce – the responsibility, of the production of plastics especially, is on the producer, but until now it has always been seen as a consumer issue, “do not litter, recycle”. As only 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled, the focus needs to change from companies maximizing profits to one of “do not produce so much plastic”. Reduction of volume of waste must be the top priority. Read more.....




Reuse makes a comeback – one of the 3 “R’s” that is most often overlooked is Re-use. The “milk-man” model is one that should never have ended and is now being re-invented. One example is a service called “Loop” (in Paris & New York initially) offering hundreds of refillable products, in containers designed for 100 use cycles. Repair café’s and “re-commerce” (refurbishing consumer goods then reselling) are other concepts emerging into the mix. Read more.....




Recycling has taken a new direction, with chemistry playing an important part. Degradation of plastics quality during the usual shredding/reconstituting process is not an issue if the plastics are chemically reduced to their basic building blocks – monomers, then recombined to create “new” plastics that are virtually identical to the fossil fuel generated feedstocks. Here we read about some companies, and their products, successfully utilizing this approach. Read More.....


Swedish furniture giant IKEA recently announced a furniture leasing trial. We can lease just about anything these days, so why not furniture? While only limited to a trial in Sweden and dubbed as the ‘Netflix of furniture’, being able to lease the latest furniture and not worry about what to do with it once is at the end of life or if something inadvertently breaks, certainly looks promising. IKEA’s furniture rental pilot supports its goal to become a fully circular and climate-positive business by 2030, highlighted by an effort to decouple the use of virgin materials from the company’s growth. Read More.....



This week in Innovation, an air conditioner powered by outer space and help from the sun... a new device that could cool buildings while simultaneously generating electricity.

Read more.....

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