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Environmental News

Environmental News from the Great Lakes Region

Friday, May 20, 2016
'I just can't be bothered': why people are greener at home than in the office
Must of us ignore our environmental responsibilities at work, largely because of a lack of control, responsibility or financial interest. Source: The Guardian, 5/20/16

The Road from Paris Leads to Science-based Targets
The Paris agreement is a clear signal of international will to tackle climate change and governments around the world are under pressure to ramp up efforts to cut carbon emissions. Trucost analysis shows that achieving the 2°C target means that the retail sector would have to reduce its carbon emissions by an average of 76% by 2050, while the telecommunications sector would have to achieve an 89% cut by the same year.

To manage their exposure, companies need to set science-based targets that reflect the specific carbon reduction plans for countries in which they operate. This will involve reviewing existing carbon targets -- especially targets based on existing available technology -- to see if they are still fit for purpose. The Science Based Targets Initiative also requires that most companies quantify their Scope 3 value chain emissions, and where appropriate consider those in the target setting. While this may sound daunting, there are time saving modelling tools and techniques that are sufficiently robust for external disclosure and target setting. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/20/16

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Recycling nylon is good for the planet -- so why don't more companies do it?
US brands are increasingly turning to recycled nylon to make everything from outerwear to skateboards. Source: The Guardian, 5/18/16

Why even the people who worry the most about climate change often take little action
A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that even members of the public who are "alarmed" about a warming planet show relatively low levels of public-sphere action, such as volunteering or protesting. The paper then sought to get to the bottom of why that is, investigating "what drives public actions of the certain segment of the population that's already really concerned about climate change," said Kathryn Doherty, a research associate at the Social and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) in Massachusetts and lead author of the paper. Source: Washington Post, 5/19/16

The Coolest Things Ikea, Coca-Cola, and Walmart Are Doing to Cut Waste
Take, make, and dispose--for years that has been the developed world's economic model. This consumption cycle led the World Bank to estimate that the globe was on track to produce 6 million metric tons of solid waste per day by 2025, up from 3.5 million metric tons in 2010.

But there are signs the take-make-dispose paradigm is shifting, and some of the world's largest companies are helping to drive change through their scale. Source: Fortune, 5/16/16

After Paris, A Move to Rein In Emissions by Ships and Planes
As the world moves to slash CO2 emissions, the shipping and aviation sectors have managed to remain on the sidelines. But the pressure is now on these two major polluting industries to start controlling their emissions at last. Source: Yale e360, 5/19/16

Chemical footprinting has arrived at Levi's, Seagate
Two dozen companies from across sectors respond to an inaugural survey on taking stock of chemicals in products and supply chains. Source: GreenBiz. 5/19/16

Why the Paris Agreement won't succeed without agricultural innovations
If the world is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector will need to be addressed -- and in a whole new way. Source: Christian Science Monitor, 5/17/16

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Ford Will Soon Be Making Car Parts Out Of CO2 Pollution
Maybe it's fitting that one of the first companies to start making products out of carbon pollution is an automaker. For the last four years, Ford has been working with a manufacturer to develop a CO2-based foam, and soon a plastic, that can eventually replace parts made from petroleum. Source: Fast Company, 5/16/16

Monday, May 16, 2016
Hennepin County studies waste habits to turn more trash into treasure
A study is looking into what appears in residents' garbage. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5/13/16

How Eastman Chemical nudges designers toward sustainable alternatives
The company's Innovation Lab is equal parts research confab and marketing resource. Source: GreenBiz, 5/16/16

Friday, May 13, 2016
The vicious cycle that makes people afraid to talk about climate change
If you want to understand why it is that on a planet wracked by climate change, people still don't talk much about climate change, then this may be the key: They're people. Source: Washington Post, 5/12/16

Walmart grows the chemical footprint movement
With chemical disclosure on the rise, the mega retailer is one example of a company adjusting the way product ingredients are tracked and disclosed. Source: GreenBiz, 5/13/16

Industry responds to e-scrap export report
A recently released export tracking study from the Basel Action Network found that roughly one-third of low-value devices dropped off for recycling in the U.S. ended up outside the country. But industry leaders and researchers say the findings do not point to clear conclusions about the amount of e-scrap material sent overseas overall. Source: E-Scrap News, 5/12/16

Pennsylvania bill aims to fix e-scrap funding shortfalls
Legislation to update Pennsylvania's struggling e-scrap program has been introduced to the state's General Assembly. The bill comes from Rep. Chris Ross, a Republican who sponsored Pennsylvania's original e-scrap legislation that was signed into law in 2010. The latest e-scrap bill from Ross proposes adding a "supplementary program" to the state's Covered Device Recycling Act. According to analysis from Pennsylvania-based government affairs firm Crisci Associates, manufacturers would be charged with paying all of the costs associated with transporting and recycling material collected in the supplementary program. Source: E-Scrap News, 5/12/16

Dell Investigating E-Waste Management Following Watchdog Group's Misconduct Claims
Dell is investigating claims that it exported e-waste in violation of company policy, following a report from a watchdog organization about Dell's e-waste management. The company has had major success collecting and recycling e-waste. Dell has collected more than 1.4 billion pounds of e-waste since 2007, in part through its Reconnect program and its Asset Resale and Recycling Services program for business customers. This initiative allows companies to transport, resell and/or recycle any brand of owned or leased equipment, in an environmentally safe way, while protecting customer's data. The e-waste exporting claims stem from a Basel Action Network (BAN) report on a two-year study that involved placing electronic GPS tracking devices into old hazardous electronic equipment such as printers and computer monitors, and then watching where they traveled across the globe. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/11/16

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