Snippets for 27 August 2020


Welcome back to another edition of Snippets.



This week we look at how demand for green finance is driving systemic change across the economy with green bonds, sustainable funds and a debit card that plants trees.

Then we look at the recent success of offshore wind, the challenging task of decarbonizing industrial heat, some alternatives to the Tiwai smelter and how to solve New Zealand’s energy grid by tackling the dry-year problem.

Our last few articles look at future proofing cities for climate change and ideas for making them more livable…looking after the bees will help.



Green finance continues to evolve, especially in the global bond market. The latest iteration of these is the pandemic bond, that had raised over $150 billion at the end of May 2020. It is not just pandemic bonds that are now available: there are green bonds; climate bonds; sustainability bonds; social bonds; ESG bonds; blue bonds (related to oceans); and even plastic waste reduction bonds. Significantly, what these bonds all have in common is that they are tied to real results and measurable outcomes. Read more.....





This growth in sustainable investing is also prospering here in New Zealand. Our next article examines activity by Pathfinder Asset Management and its recently opened Ethical Trans-Tasman Fund, aimed at appealing to retail investors wanting to see their money going into more ethical investments such as companies that have high environmental and social metrics. Not only do these investments prove to be more robust, they also out-perform the rest of the market. Read more.....


Keeping with the theme of the ethical use of money, how about a debit card that helps plant trees as well as giving 10% of their cash back for those doing business with the most eco-friendly companies? Aspiration, which is American owned, is also a ‘B Corporation’ sees a big market for its customers, who want to do more to take action to save the planet. They also allow their card holders to accumulate a personal sustainability score and to see the scores of various businesses before making purchasing decisions. Read more.....






The offshore wind industry is performing well even while the world battles COVID-19. Years ago, the wind turbines were quite small, with capacities in the kilowatt to very low megawatt range. Now they are capable of producing 10 megawatts each, with a height that is double the length of a football pitch! These turbines are finding homes in offshore locations and with current technology, we have the potential to produce 18 times the worlds energy demand! Read more.....








There is an elephant in the room and when we talk of decarbonising the energy sector - “industrial heat”. Industrial heat makes up about 10% of global emissions, and it is going to be difficult and expensive to transition off fossil fuels. This article looks at some of the possibilities and actions aimed at achieving decarbonisation. Read more.....











There are some interesting alternatives for the soon-to-be excess renewable power, from the hydro electricity generated at Manapouri. The hope is that an alternative will help us reach zero carbon by 2050. Here are five options that could make good use of the excess power. It is likely that a combination of some of these ideas would be the best option. Read more.....






There is a critical flaw in New Zealand’s power grid – the dry-year problem. How to store enough energy, when excess is available, to overcome shortfalls when the rain doesn’t fall as expected? Pumped hydro may be an answer, but other options should also be part of the solution. Read more.....







We know the environments that we live in are changing, especially as extreme weather events such as flooding, and heat waves become more frequent. We need to adapt to these changes. The Dutch city of Arnhem is hoping to adapt with a floodable city park and greening 10% of the city’s roads. Arnhem is also undertaking a number of other measures to future proof the city and its residents from these extreme climatic change impacts.Read more.....





If you didn’t already know it, bees are the most important species on Earth. Like many life forms on Earth they are under threat from climate changes but also from industrialisation. Deforestation and chemical pesticide use both impact the health of the bees. But what can you and I do to help? Rewilding urban gardens, not mowing the lawn so regularly and letting weeds grow can assist by creating "bug hubs". Read more.....







As we look to the future, how could we make cities more livable? Terreform One plans to upend cities and suburbs in a post pandemic world. While the images shown appear like something out of a science fiction movie, we certainly get a ‘feel’ for what our future living spaces may look like: riparian corridors teeming with aqueous life; lighting systems with vertical-axis wind turbines and photovoltaic cells; and lots of green walls. Read more.....









We have a selection of interesting innovation articles this week...

  1. Scientists Create a Material That Makes Salty Water Safe to Drink in Minutes

  2. How this Aussie brewery incorporates algae into beer production

  3. Singapore researchers invent device that produces electricity from light and shadows

  4. Allbirds and Adidas Team up on New Carbon-Zero Shoe

  5. World's first hydrogen-powered hypercar will do 1600km on a single tank



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