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SnippETS for 22 March 2018

This week in SnippETS we present a variety of articles that range from agricultural degradation and corporate assisted regeneration to "who is responsible for cleaning up after a big party?". We also look at the benefits of sustainability and how to make a good business case for energy management projects and we round it all off with a story about a controversial leader that made people start to think about climate change by denying it!

The UN has warned that the world's soils may only have 60 harvests left until they are too degraded to feed the planet. A warning that has been heard loud and clear by the British government who are drafting up a new agriculture bill that they have said will be addressing soil degradation. Although it is still being drafted, at this stage it looks as though farmers will be incentivized to use trees and hedgerows to stop the soil runoff.

Some of the world’s top brands including GM, Mars, and Timberland are creating cooperatives with troubled countries such as Haiti to cultivate smallholder farmers. Thinking beyond their quarterly earnings targets, these organisations are looking to provide opportunities for employment for these troubled communities. Read what GM, Mars, Wrigley and others have learned in the field so far.

Rice is incredibly important in India, as it provides daily sustenance for more than 60% of the population. Half a century ago, farmers grew more than 100,000 rice varieties encompassing a stunning diversity in taste, nutrition, pest-resistance and adaptability to a range of climate conditions. Now much of this diversity has been lost due to over farming of high-yield hybrids and varieties. Learn how ecologists are working with the farmers to bring back indigenous varieties of rice.

The author of our next article argues that the ‘great coal clean-up is everybody’s business’ because we all benefited from the abundant and cheap energy that was used in the 20th century to power the development of modern, prosperous economies. Now it is time that all sectors help out with the coal clean up as we work towards a cleaner energy future.

Similar to dealing with the legacy of coal being an issue for all, this article discusses widening the business case for energy management projects to include their co-benefits as well as the financial payback. Things like avoided maintenance costs, better staff productivity from enhanced IEQ, lower staff churn rates, etc. Talk the language the C-suite understand, and in so doing transform a business case from good, to compelling.

To reinforce the importance of including co-benefits in business cases, our next article focuses on how to more meaningfully report on sustainability outcomes. Measuring and reporting on co-benefits is getting more and more attention and how they can meet many of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). N.B. The Energy TS e-Calc™ system was built with this very purpose in mind (link below).

Furthermore as the next article confirms, sustainability drives growth. The NZI report in collaboration with the Sustainable Business Network, cites improved productivity, lower costs, a strong image and a platform for competitive advantage, as just some of the benefits of running a sustainable business. Four New Zealand business examples are also referenced in the report.

Renewable superpowers. The 20th century was dominated by coal, oil and natural gas superpowers, but now with the growth of renewable energy sources and production, and the push to move to low carbon energy, there are now countries rich in minerals that go into making solar cells or components in wind turbines. Who are these renewable superpowers?

When Trump speaks, what type of effect does he have on his listeners? If its climate related, the effect is quite positive. The fake news messages are having a positive influence on news agencies publishing information, or people researching or talking about climate related happenings.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.

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