SnippETS for 1 August 2019

Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter.

In this week’s SnippETS we begin with a group of articles on sustainability in business: in terms of leadership; how employees or prospective employees are making choices about where they work; and how clients and consumers want the businesses they frequent to behave. The “common people” are once again having a big say in how things are done, and “citizens assemblies” are being seen as a good way to find solutions to the climate crisis.


We then have a number of stand-alone articles on a variety of topics we found interesting. The carbon cost of flying; emissions in concrete; hydrogen as a replacement fuel; a new look at improving the way we recycle clothing; sharing solar power across huge distances; and protein from algae – a possible new alternative.


We hope you find these articles interesting and thought provoking.


In our first article we examine how leadership and sustainability leadership differ. Sustainability leadership has to be able to work with complexity, beyond the limits of current human knowledge, where they can grapple with emergent phenomena – not theoretically, but literally. It must engage the whole person: feelings, senses, intuition and intellect must all be engaged and explored. This requires physical, emotional and social experiences – as well as intellectual ones. It's a journey full of unknowns, opportunities and risks. Read more.....




Employees too are increasingly raising their expectations of the company they want to work for. Bringing a sense of societal mission into today’s workplace appears to be a necessity. Nearly half (48%) of Fortune 1000 employees consider finding a sense of purpose through their everyday work very important. Yet, only 26% of employees believe that their company’s environmental commitments are reflected in their day-to-day jobs. With a predicted global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people by 2030, employers will have to do more to attract talent. Read more.....




The importance of sustainability for consumers only continues to grow. According to the annual 2019 Trends Report, today’s consumers want to be active participants in a company’s efforts to address climate change and pollution. In fact, consumers demand purpose-driven organizations that are building sustainability into their products, services and nearly every facet of their supply chain. Allowing consumers to personally take steps toward sustainability as part of their brand experience is a powerful strategy for building loyalty, trust and profitability. Read more.....



A new form of politics is gaining steam as a solution to the climate crisis. Six parliamentary committees in the UK are to commission a citizens’ assembly, in which 50 randomly selected citizens, representative of the demographic diversity of the population, will consider how to combat climate breakdown and achieve the pathway to net zero emissions. These assemblies gather over several days or weeks to learn about a particular policy, challenge it, discuss and make recommendations. Immune to lobbying and above politics. Read more.....


You may not have realised, but every return flight from Auckland to Melbourne emits enough CO2 to melt around 1 cubic meter of Arctic ice and, as air traffic is projected to double by 2035, we desperately need to find alternatives to gasoline powered air travel. Could electric planes be the answer? This article explores the possibility of transitioning to electric airplanes. Read more.....









Another big source of global emissions is the cement industry, which is responsible for 7% of global CO2 emissions. If the cement industry were a country then it would be the largest carbon emitter after China and the US. With cement being such an embedded material in our economy is it possible to reduce these emissions? Read more.....









In order to decarbonise our economy we will need to find ways to create process heat for industrial purposes from low emissions sources. Additionally, we will need to find solutions for heavy transport such as trains, buses and trucks. These are two areas where hydrogen energy will likely be the best energy alternative. Has hydrogen’s time finally come? Read more.....






To improve the recycling process for clothing, moves are afoot to barcode the materials used in their production. This means that instead of being downgraded during the recycling of clothes, when the barcode is read, an understanding of the materials originally used in a fabric allows sorting accordingly. This would lead to less downcycling and minimising waste during the reuse or repurposing of old clothes into “new”. Read more.....

Could solar energy sharing between Australia and Singapore be a model for other regions? A developer wants to build the world’s largest solar farm (22 million panels, covering 15,000 hectares, 10 gigawatts output) in The Northern Territory. As well as supplying Darwin, 3 gigawatts would be supplied to Singapore via a 4,000km direct current cable. It’s an ambitious project, but if successful it could be a model for energy supply between other countries and regions around the globe. Read more.....





Algae, is there nothing they cannot do or be? These tiny organisms at the base of the food chain pack a nutritional punch, and require just a fraction of the land and water necessary to produce the same amount of beef protein. But can foodtech firms convince meat lovers to make the switch? Maybe the knowledge that they don’t contribute to GHG emissions nearly as much as animals do might be the nudge people need to make the switch? Read more.....





A NZ biotech start-up is recovering valuable metals from electronic waste, and thus helping minimise the leaching of heavy metals into waterways from e-waste in landfills. The pilot phase of the operation is completed and they are moving ahead in NZ and plan to go global in the longer term. Read more.....

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