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Snippets for 15 July 2021

Welcome to our fortnightly Snippets newsletter.

In this this edition of Snippets we start off with a fundamental economic repositioning in the fight against climate change, as the G20 finance leaders finally recognise the importance of carbon pricing in the global coordination of carbon reduction policies. As carbon prices inevitably go up, we can expect innovations that sidestep carbon altogether. A perfect example of that is discussed in regard to a breakthrough in fossil free steel production and the increased importance of green hydrogen.

Other areas examined in this issue include the estimated $57 billion opportunity in e-cycling and the establishment of the Circular Electronics Partnership aiming to address that and deliver recycled feedstock into new manufacturing. The transport sector too is changing, as electric vehicles and heavy transport utilising green hydrogen continue to make in-roads against their internal combustion competitors. Reporting on sustainable investments too is also being simplified, as born out by the merger of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the International Framework Integrated Reporting (IIRC) to form the Value Reporting Foundation.

Next, we move on to a couple of New Zealand articles; one being a Guardian article on the New Zealand media company Stuff and its new direction on climate change and social justice issues, and the other being about how elderly Kiwis are joining the fight against climate change. Finally, we end with articles on how big names in food are moving into regenerative farming; with sceptics on the side-lines wondering if this isn’t perhaps another case of greenwashing, before we finish with an innovative, but quirky little aquatic robot that is designed to monitor marine and fishery health right up close.

At the breakthrough 10th July meeting of the G20, finance leaders for the first time recognised carbon pricing as a potential tool to address climate change. This formative, yet tentative, step heralds the introduction of carbon pricing into wider economic discussions and the opportunity to coordinate carbon reduction policies. It also marks the influence of the Biden administration, which immediately re-joined the Paris agreement in January and has set out ambitious carbon reduction targets and clean energy and transportation investment plans. Read more

Another breakthrough comes from a Swedish steelmaking plant, demonstrating the feasibility of using green hydrogen gas, rather than coking coal for production processes, marking a critical milestone on the road to decarbonising the steel industry. The output is direct reduced iron, otherwise known as sponge iron and involves solid-state processes which reduce iron oxides to metallic iron at temperatures below the melting point of iron. Fresh thinking and fresh technology, showing that we can indeed adapt. Read more. And What is Direct reduced Iron?

Another sector ready for fresh thinking is e-cycling, which is the fastest growing waste stream. This ranges from mobile phones to appliances such as vacuum cleaners (the biggest part of the e-waste stream today) to refrigerators, air conditioners and other heat-exchange systems – collectively valued at an estimated $57 billion. In March this year, the Circular Electronics Partnership was established focused on co-defining solutions for applying circular business practices to electronic devices, including the terminology used to describe them and trace them. Read more.

This article is another news agency’s take on changes that have happened with Stuff media over the past year or so. Gone are the clickbait stories, no more presence on Facebook, possibly ruffling a few feathers along the way. The new direction reflects more of a ‘conscience’, focusing on climate change and important social issues. These are often polarizing topics where readers have strong opinions. Will readers trust Stuff in the long run…? Read full article here.

Next we look at how older New Zealanders are stepping up and joining the fight against climate change. New research from the University of Waikato shows that younger and older Kiwis are increasingly becoming concerned about the climate emergency. 74-year-old Kapiti Coast resident David Yockney provides some thoughts on how he personally sees climate change and how he is trying to make a difference. Of course, it takes combined action to be truly successful, so he joined Low Carbon Kapiti, a community group of mainly older residents. Read more

The transportation sector is changing, and this article discusses nine reasons why clean fleet adoption is accelerating. For example, ‘clean’ trucks and buses are becoming more competitive against their fossil fuel rivals and government policy is spurring on the uptake of EV’s. Furthermore, alternative (renewable) fuels for heavy vehicles and expanding charging networks make owning an EV a feasible alternative to internal combustion engines. There are still challenges, but change is gearing up and gaining momentum. Read full article here.

Long sought after by businesses and investors, clarity and simplicity on what a sustainable investment is, is now here. The merger of the SASB and IIRC, to form the Value Reporting Foundation, has been finalised, their plan being to support business and investor decision-making with three main resources: integrated thinking principles, the integrated reporting framework, and SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) standards. They are also looking to work with the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) to launch an ISSB (International Sustainability Standards Board) at COP 26. Read more.

Regenerative farming or greenwash? A lot of big names in food have cottoned on to the advertising benefits of saying they are using regenerative farming, and have now announced that their suppliers will be required to use these methods. But what is regenerative farming? There is no actual agreement on a definition. There is an understanding that it is a mindset of maintaining soil health, but techniques used to do this vary depending on the type of farming. Will the food giants help the farmers improve their soils? Read full article here.

And finally we have an article about a robot fish, from Aquaai, that mimics actual fish, allowing it to obtain all sorts of information that is needed to manage and minimise costs and risks present in aquaculture. This little robot can go where fish go, uses minimal energy and gathers data and images of the conditions that they travel through. The info is sent to a web dashboard for clients. These robots can also be used for monitoring plastic pollution and nutrient runoff from farms, and more. Read more.

In our innovation section this week, we have more interesting recent ideas:

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