Snippets for 16 July 2020


Welcome to another edition of our Snippets newsletter. In this time of pandemic, climate change and societal upheaval, it is reassuring to see that the giants in corporate sustainability reporting are trying to harmonise and simplify reporting. With this simplification, these reports, required to give interested parties information on the societal implications of a business’ initiatives and undertakings, will ultimately become more relevant and set a tone for the “new world”. Business can continue as usual or, as EECA and others have discovered, alternatives such as working from home, or teleconferencing can make a huge impact on carbon emissions. Where we work also needs to be healthy, and green buildings are needed in preparation for a viable future “post Covid” (whenever that may be!).


Businesses (and individuals) can also impact their carbon emissions by being more responsible with their electronic waste – there are billions of dollars tied up in the precious metals discarded every year this way. An example of a business being responsible in this area is Pandora, using recycled silver (one of the precious metals in electronic waste) in 75% of their manufacturing, along with other initiatives to improve their emissions.


During this time of pandemic, there is opportunity to create a better environment with cleaning up beaches, planting trees and other environmentally friendly ventures, as we see in our next two articles. Getting those temporarily (or permanently) now without work into these ventures could be a good result for all.


Planting needs to be well planned, as planting the wrong sort of trees may inadvertently release more carbon than anticipated, according to research by “Science”. And fortunately, the latest news is that global deforestation appears to be declining.


Enjoy the read this week.



As climate change, pandemics, racial and social justice become front and center in public discourse there is a strong need for unified non-financial corporate reporting. Currently, companies are reporting using GRI and SASB and now the two are now working together to simplify their reporting standards. The aim is to achieve beneficial societal outcomes by encouraging corporate transparency, unified performance metrics and comparable information. Read more.....







One policy that organisations might think about implementing to improve their non-financial performance metrics would be to allow employees to work from home once a week. EECA have modelled that if one in five kiwis work from home once a week this would prevent 84,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere each year. That’s equivalent to taking 35,000 cars off the road! Read more.....







Additionally, organisations might want to consider leasing office spaces in ‘Green Buildings’ as these not only use less energy but also help to limit the spread of the coronavirus within them and will be safer during future disease outbreaks. Other good news is that some of the features of a new ‘Green Building’, such as ultraviolet light air filters, may also be retrofitted into existing offices. Read more.....







The value of e-waste generated each year is estimated to be at least $10bn and growing. In 2019, this represented an equivalent of 7.3kg for every person on Earth. The amount of e-waste is rising three times faster than the world’s population, with only 17% of it being recycled. Much of the e-waste contains precious metals such as silver, copper and gold, but also toxic elements such as mercury, lead and cadmium. At the moment e-waste presents us with a problem, but it is also a huge opportunity. Read more.....





Utilising e-waste is an opportunity that Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery brand by volume, intends to make the most of. As it stands, 71% of the silver and gold in Pandora jewellery comes from recycled sources and it aims to increase that to 100%. Pandora is also pledging to become carbon neutral by 2025 through measures such as improving energy efficiency in its retail operations and working with its supply chain to ensure they also adopt similar practices.Read more.....







There is no doubt about the fact that COVID-19 has destroyed the world’s tourism industry and that millions of jobs have been lost as a consequence. One NGO has turned lemons into lemonade by employing furloughed tourism workers to clean up beaches on an Indonesian island, and is getting results. Similar projects are being considered by the NZ government as a method to keep people working and improve the environment. Read more.....







As part of the NZ plans to clean up waterways the NZ government has earmarked $162 million to improve wetlands and rivers and to create around 2000 jobs. This is part of the COVID19 stimulus package that is tied to environmental outcomes. There are 23 projects all around NZ that have been given the go ahead to help improve the environment, as well as sequestering carbon and safeguarding against climate change.. Read more.....




Planting trees is a great way to capture carbon, but not all trees are created equal. Ultimately, planting non-native trees accelerates the release of carbon back into the atmosphere as the life cycle of these trees is usually much shorter than natives. Planting non-native trees can also alter the make-up of the soil they are planted in (and organisms within), which can also lead to more rapid release of carbon. It looks like planting native trees is the way to go.Read more.....






Some good tree news – the global deforestation rate declined between 2015 & 2020 compared to the previous 5 year period. The world lost 178 million hectares (mha) of forest in the last 30 years, an area the size of Libya. But the rate of forest loss declined due to the growth of sustainable management. Many countries now see the importance of forest, with an estimated 726 mha protected worldwide, an increase of 191 mha since 1990. Read more.....






A couple of other articles around trees in our innovation section this week.

  • The first may remind you of "Avatar" - with the interconnectedness of everything, but specifically here, plants, and how they have been found to be connected beneath the ground. Read more.....

  • The second is around harnessing energy from trees. Anemokinetics technology converts tree movements into energy that could be used to power cities! Read more.....


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