Snippets for 12 March 2020

Thanks for reading Snippets this week. In this edition we have an interesting group of articles starting with accountants against climate change…watch out!


We then move to an article that reviews what factors might best set up sustainability issues for success and a see what Waikato Regional and Whakatane District Councils are doing in regards to climate change and sustainability.


The concepts of “smart cities” and “smart transport” are also examined, and then we look at what happens when mass transit reduces car numbers so much that you are left with abandoned parking garages. What do you do in that case? You grow vegetables of course!


You may have heard of the passing of renowned environmentalist Sir Rob Fenwick yesterday. We send our condolences to all who knew him. His last message is shared here (in full, below) with our readers, that we must look after the trees, “we as a nation have not exhausted ours [options] when it comes to saving these species. This is a crisis. Time is running out for the treasures of nature that we love, and it is worth using every last breath, all of our collective energy, to save our land and secure our future”.


We discuss the benefits of a close connection to our natural environment, and we finish off with why reforestation should not just be seen as the cheapest way to tackle climate change, because the environment is so much more than that and climate change will not be bought off so easily!

A recent statement released by thirteen chief executives, representing fourteen accounting bodies, including the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand, collectively representing 2.5 million accountants and students across 179 countries, is calling for action in response to climate change. The call to action highlights that climate change represents an economic, social and business risk – a risk that accountants from across the world must take action on. Read more.....





So what separates companies that succeed at becoming more sustainable from those that fail? Whilst many companies issue sustainability reports, relatively few actually embed their sustainability goals into their business or communication strategies. A 2016 report found that just 2% of companies actually achieve their sustainability goals. This may be due to many companies still making profit maximisation, rather than sustainability, their primary purpose. Those that are successful make sustainability an integral part of their core purpose and communicate this commitment to their entire staff. Read more.....






One organisation that is embedding sustainability into its core values is the Waikato Regional Council (WRC). With WRC being an e-Bench® subscriber, Carbon EMS is very pleased to be assisting the manager of the CEO office, Karen Bennett, in their GHG emission reduction monitoring plans. WRC aims to reduce GHG emissions by 70% in ten years through a variety of measures including switching fleet cars to electric vehicles, using biofuel instead of diesel and imposing a sinking carbon budget for domestic air travel. Read more.....



Another New Zealand Council, Whakatane District Council (WDC) is also making strides to reduce GHG emissions. Through a process of interacting and educating the local communities, they have gained a mandate for taking action in a variety of ways. These include switching away from natural gas to electric heat pumps for heating pools which has reduced emissions by 114 tonnes and saved $35,000. Other measures include progressively switching their vehicle fleet to electric vehicles. Read more.....





When we talk about cities getting “smarter,” to increase sustainability, it’s not enough to just have a lot of (admittedly very important) data gathered within the IoT. We need to be able to use the data, to connect people to economic opportunity, entertainment and education. And to each other. Transportation is key to smart cities. Smart use of new digital technologies will allow a rail-centric network to be the sustainable “backbone”, linking with the “ribs”: the last mile options of ride sharing, scooters, and other options.Read more.....






Are smart cities really desirable places to live? A utopia? Expo 2020 Dubai serves as a new prototype for future sustainable cities, where IoT and smart-city technologies will be integrated into the urban landscape to improve the performance of services such as energy, transportation and utilities. A look at what can be. Some careful planning to identify what smart city inhabitants will want and need (including security and safety) as well as being smart, is very important or cities may become “green ghosts”. Read more.....



We next take a look at urban farming, this time in Paris, where disused car parks are being utilised to produce fresh vegetables for the local market. It’s hard for Kiwi’s to imagine forgoing car ownership, but with effective public transport options, it is a no brainer perhaps. In this case the empty car parking building makes an ideal space for urban farming, with controlled climate and locations close to their markets. Read more.....

While urban farming has some benefits, we need to think beyond this. As the world’s population heads toward a projected 9.7 billion people by 2030, we need to focus on efficient and sustainable crops to feed more mouths. Staple crops such as wheat, soy, corn and rice are the food types that really make a difference, but they do not grow well in urban environments. Urban farming tends to focus on luxury and leafy crops, and that’s not enough for humans to survive on. It all helps, but a combination of farming practices is required in the long term. Read more.....





In order to protect biodiversity we first need to encourage people to care about the natural world. Luckily, there is a simple way in which we can encourage environmentally behaviours – spend more time in nature. A new study shows that people who spend time in nature are more likely to recycle, walk or bike, buy local and seasonal produce and engage in environmental volunteering.

Read more....









Back home all our stocks of natural capital – soils, fresh water, the climate, biodiversity and the marine environment – are in decline and it is reasonable to predict that in 100-200 years, our biological economy will be bankrupt. The late Sir Rob Fenwick, the renowned environmentalist, had one last message of sobering truth and hope, that he wrote shortly before his passing yesterday. It is with great sadness that we share his last words with our readers. Read more....


Demand for carbon offsetting from planting trees is rapidly increasing as multi-national companies from Microsoft to JetBlue and Royal Dutch Shell look to offset their emissions. In the past these carbon offsets have been cheap and relatively easy to acquire, but with increased demand the price may rise significantly. Will companies be willing to pay the price for their pollution? Read more....









This week we have three innovation articles we think may be of interest.

  1. This new tyre design for EVs is self-regenerating

  2. New Green Technology Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’

  3. Super Duper Supercapacitors Could Accelerate Electric Car Revolution





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