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DuPont, Formerly The Largest Chemical Company, Announces Nine New Sustainability Goals

Emily Dao

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Alexa Dembek, DuPont's Chief Sustainability and Technology Officer, speaks to The Rising about DuPont's new sustainability goals.

Today, DuPont just announced its 2030 Sustainability Commitments. The company introduced nine long-term goals aimed at improving innovation, operations, and the health and wellbeing of people and communities.

DuPont drew inspiration and guidance from the United Nations‘ Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), which similarly address the world’s most pressing challenges. DuPont hopes its own plans for 2030 will help advance progress for the UN’s shared goals. 

Why does the new DuPont care about sustainability?

Earlier this June, the DowDuPont merger, which joined together Dow Chemical and DuPont, officially dissolved. DuPont’s Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, Alexa Dembek, told The Rising that the new DuPont is “fundamentally different” than its predecessor. Since its separation, DuPont has branded itself as a global leader in sustainable innovation, with science as its driving force. Because of this, Dembek says DuPont’s latest announcement of its 2030 goals comes as a major milestone for the company. 

She tells us: “Science drives the innovation that lies at the heart of our purpose, and now more than ever, we’re directing that innovation toward technologies and solutions that can help us build a safer, healthier and more sustainable future for all.”

DuPont looks to focus on three sustainability areas

DuPont categorized its goals into three different areas of focus:

  • Creating sustainable innovations
  • Increasing the sustainability profile throughout its operations
  • Ensuring the inclusiveness, well-being, and health of people and communities

Committing to sustainability and innovation

One of DuPont’s most sweeping commitments is to align 100% of its innovation portfolio with the UN SDGs. Hereon, DuPont will only support the research and development for projects that “meaningfully advance” these sustainability goals.

According to DuPont, the “clearest path to a sustainable world” is by transitioning the world to a circular, low-carbon economy. Due to this, DuPont is devoted to straying away from typical, linear “take-make-dispose” models. In the next decade, DuPont plans to create new business models with restorative and regenerative approaches. The hope is to significantly minimize waste and increase the lifecycle of materials.

DuPont also announced its promise to design all of its products and processes by using sustainability criteria. The company also says its plans to implement the green chemistry principles to “accelerate the adoption of safer alternatives in the marketplace.”

DuPont looks to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Additionally, the company recognized the urgency of addressing climate action and acting quickly. Perhaps one of its most ambitious goals is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and procure 60% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. By 2050, company hopes to achieve carbon neutral operations.

To expedite this process, DuPont plans on investing more into projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. DuPont says it will work quickly and extensively to ensure it meets the Paris Agreement’s commitments to decrease its emissions.

“Sustainability at DuPont is not just about mitigating downside, it’s about creating lasting, positive solutions and value for our customers and stakeholders,” Dembek said. “This mindset also creates the urgency and imperatives for our scientists, business leaders and marketers to solve for our customers and society now.”

Reflecting on the last year

DuPont has a history of widely discussing the issue of water scarcity. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) found that water demand will skyrocket in the next thirty years. In the municipal/industrial sector, water demand is expected to increase 50-70%. In the energy sector? 85%. This year, water stewardship is one of DuPont’s main areas of focuses for 2030.

To address this issue, DuPont wrote in its 2018 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Report that it had goals to make wastewater reusable through advanced technology. Since then, DuPont has become a world leader in both water purification and specialty separation technologies. Recently, the company just acquired two businesses to use improved ultrafiltration technology for DuPont’s customers. 

DuPont’s full list of sustainability goals

Today, Dembek will speak more about these newly unveiled commitments at the Bloomberg Sooner Than You Think Conference in New York. Below is DuPont’s full list of sustainability goals for 2030.

  1. Align 100 percent of the company’s innovation portfolio to meaningfully advance the UN SDGs and create value for our customers
  2. Integrate circular economy principles into DuPont’s business models considering lifecycle impacts in the markets it serves
  3. Design 100 percent of its products and processes using sustainability criteria including the principles of green chemistry
  4. Reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions by 30 percent including sourcing 60 percent of electricity from renewable energy, and deliver carbon neutral operations by 2050
  5. Implement water strategies across all facilities at the company’s sites, prioritizing manufacturing plants and communities in high-risk watershed, and enable millions of people access to clean water through leadership in advancing water technology and enacting strategic partnerships
  6. Further DuPont’s commitment to zero injuries, occupational illnesses, incidents, waste and emissions
  7. Become one of the world’s most inclusive companies, with diversity well ahead of industry benchmarks
  8. Create a workplace where employees report high levels of well-being and fulfillment
  9. Improve over 100 million lives through targeted social impact programs

Holding DuPont accountable

But, of course, the devil is always in the details, and it is always important to be able to hold companies accountable for their sustainability claims. So, we asked Alexa Dembek, the company’s Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, about how the general public can approach holding DuPont to its sustainability claims.

She tells us:

“Our goals are designed to have measurable outcomes. Some have quantifiable targets, while others create frameworks to improve the ways we operate and innovate. We pledge to transparently report on our progress toward our goals, including reporting to CDP, and publishing an annual sustainability report that follows the GRI Standards framework and the UN Global Compact.  We will also continue to publish our public positions on key issues and engage in constructive dialog with interested stakeholders.”

At The Rising, we will continue to report on DuPont’s progress and give the public a look at how the company is doing relative to its sustainability promises.

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Australian National Airline Announces Ambitious Sustainability Plan

Rich Bowden

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Australian national airline Qantas

Australian national airline Qantas, which flew its first zero-waste flight earlier this May, has outlined its plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The national carrier, which announced the pledge in a November 11th press release, is the first Australian airline to commit to a net-zero emissions target. Though it appears that its goals are ambitious, the Australian national airline believes that they are fully achievable.

“Ambitious But Achievable” For The Australian National Airline

Qantas revealed the road towards the target will begin immediately and revolved around three key strategies.

It will:

  • Immediately double the number of flights being offset.
  • Cap net emissions from 2020 onwards.
  • Invest $50 million over 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry.

Alan Joyce, CEO of the Australian national airline, said the announcement reflects Qantas’s need to continue to curb climate change

“We’re effectively doubling our carbon offsetting program from today and we’re capping our net emissions across Qantas and Jetstar from 2020 so that all new flying will be carbon neutral,” he said.

He added: “These short-term actions will go towards a longer-term goal of being completely net carbon neutral by 2050. It’s ambitious but achievable.”

Joyce told the media that the airline hoped the announcement would encourage passengers to offset their travel’s carbon usage.

“Qantas offsets all of its own travel needs and so do many of our customers. By matching their efforts, we’re hoping it will encourage even more people to offset and the program will keep growing.”

Company Behind Qantas’s Offset Program Sees Demand Growth

Meanwhile, Tasman Environmental, the company specializing in carbon offset programs for business clients including Qantas, has reported strong demand growth.

Executive chairman Andrew Grant said the boost in consumer awareness of the effects of climate change propelled the demand growth.

“The demand for our services has increased dramatically as consumer awareness grows around the environmental implications of travel, products and goods and services and the desire by consumers and corporations to lighten their environmental footprint,” Grant said.

Biofuels Preferred Over Investment In Electric Plan Alternatives

The airline industry has come under pressure in Australia over recent years to curb its emissions. Data from the Clean Energy Regulator showed Qantas as one of the top greenhouse gas emitters in the country.

However, an article in an Australian environment magazine points out that the Australian national airline has decided not to invest in alternatives like electric planes. Instead, the company has chosen to back the development of biofuels for its aircraft.

Long-Term Solutions For The Australian National Airline

The airline has committed to working in partnership with government and institutions to reduce carbon emissions. “Qantas will work with industry, research institutions and governments to develop the long-term solutions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry over the next three decades,” said the company in a statement.

With a number of clear metrics set in place, the Australian national airline will be interesting to follow.

Final Notes: If you are a part of the Qantas team, reach out at tips@mediusventures.com. We’d be interested in staying in the loop about your progress and sharing it out with our readers.

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E-Waste Is Becoming A Sustainability Disaster. And Investors Have Taken Notice.

Avery Maloto

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E Waste

As technology continues to evolve (and end up in landfill), e-waste is proving to be a sustainability disaster. In 2018 alone, humans generated approximately 2.01 billion tons of waste worldwide. To put things into perspective, 2.01 billion tons is comparable to 287,142,857 elephants or 275,342 Eiffel Towers. Certainly, that volume of waste sent into landfills is a significant concern. And along with it, potentially reusable resources are continuously wasted as a result of careless disposal. 

Shockingly, e-waste is responsible for 50 million tons of the total generated waste produced each year. Not to mention, it accounts for 70% of the toxic waste lying in landfills. 

To uncover more about the e-waste issue, I recently interviewed Amanda O’Toole, a fund manager at AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM). She is a part of the firm’s investment team as the Lead Portfolio Manager for Framlington Equities’s (AXA IM’s qualitative equities business) Clean Economy Strategy fund.

We discussed the primary challenges in e-waste as well as why financiers are looking towards waste management as an investment opportunity.

Why Is E-Waste So Hard To Recycle?

When dealing with the improper disposal of hazardous materials, there is a constant risk of land and water pollution through contamination. E-waste similarly causes these pollutive consequences.

For example, batteries leak heavy metals such as lead, barium, and lithium into the soil when placed in a landfill.

As a result, these heavy metals seep into groundwater channels, which eventually enter larger bodies of water like ponds or streams. And as technology continues to develop, the demand for new electronics continues to rise. Estimates show that the number of connected devices will reach 31 billion by 2020.

In O’Toole’s words, “without fundamental change throughout the electronic supply chain, the e-waste epidemic will get worse.”

Amanda OToole
Amanda O’Toole tells us “without fundamental change throughout the electronic supply chain, the e-waste epidemic will get worse.”

Although many companies do already run their own programs for the recycling of e-waste, the reclamation of e-waste is a difficult and complex process.

While complex electronics can contain up to 60 elements from the periodic table, the process of recovering these devices can be complicated and costly.

The question now arises: If it is complicated and costly, what other ways can we deal with e-waste?

Future Economic Potential In E-Waste

The way that O’Toole sees it, e-waste is of particular interest from an investment perspective because of the value of the materials it contains.

When a company is able to extract these raw materials safely, they are able to create a valuable product that can generate revenue.

If the extraction process is cost-effective, it is possible to generate a financial return by reducing e-waste. And in some cases, securing a stable supply of a material may be challenging.

Striving For Clean Technology Through Investments

For the last six months, O’Toole has been working to launch a successful new strategy focused on promoting clean technologies.

In her Clean Economy Investment strategy, she talks about how the fund adopts a unique approach that invests in diverse areas of the market that enjoy structural growth.

Surprisingly, many of these areas are not dependent on macroeconomics. Instead, the product gears towards the interest of mainstream investors.

Through this strategy, O’Toole engages with clients who are not typically interested in environmental value. And with her guidance, clients begin to move towards these areas of the market.

Appealing To the Public

Recently, the rise in social awareness of environmental issues is driving change. This change is partly due to regulations such as building performance regulation and effluence discharge monitoring.

However, consumer demand for things such as meat alternatives and recyclable packaging comprises a majority of the market’s change. In return, brands accommodate this change by developing responsible sourcing policies.

To its advantage, the fund is utilizing this societal trend and implementing it in their own main areas of focus. 

Currently, the fund identified four sub-themes to best represent opportunities for long term secular growth in the Clean Economy:

  1. Sustainable Transport
  2. Smart Energy
  3. Responsible Nutrition
  4. Recycling and Waste Reduction

Framlington Equity’s intention is to invest in publicly listed equities in areas of the global economy which benefit from secular tailwinds. And In the long term, O’Toole argues that consumers will continue to demand the transportation of goods and services; the provision of energy, food, and water; and the use of materials. 

The Bigger Picture

The common theme across the investments that AXA IM makes through the Clean Economy strategy is that these are companies whose goods and services make economic sense for their customers.

Adoption is not dependent on subsidies or a desire by corporates to address environmental issues.

The business case for adoption is based on the need to meet more stringent regulatory requirements. Additionally, companies can gain market share by addressing the growing demand for sustainable consumer products.

Brands would want to invest in order to mitigate potential reputation damage associated with a poor environmental footprint and build a sustainable production cost advantage.

Summary

Companies operating within the clean economy have a critical responsibility to ensure they offer the best solutions for clients while being mindful of the environment.

What’s more, is that when companies demonstrate how their goods and services outperform on relevant environmental metrics, they can gain a competitive advantage.

Financiers have noticed and made waste management a part of their investment strategy.

Final Notes: Is your company doing something to reduce its e-waste or carbon footprint? If so, we’d love to hear from you at tips@mediusventures.com.

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Adidas Sustainability Initiatives: Creating A More Circular Economy

Haider Sarwar

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Adidas sustainability initiatives

According to The Robin Report, around 65 – 75 percent of consumers under the age of 35 say that they want brands to be more sustainable; Adidas sustainability initiatives aim to do just that. Naturally, news of climate change and dangers to the environment have made major impacts on the economic arena. And consequently, increasing demand for sustainable products fosters healthy competition among companies. From sustainable fashion to sustainable foods, Adidas sustainability initiatives have shown the company’s deliberate strides towards creating a more circular economy

Adidas Sustainability Initiatives Include Fighting For Plastic-Free Oceans

In 2017, Adidas and Parley For The Oceans teamed up to tackle the plastic pollution in oceans. Their cooperation created the Adidas Parley shoes. These are sports shoes made out of plastic trash found in ocean.

In that same year, Adidas managed to sell one million shoes made out of ocean plastic. And the number of shoes sold is rising. It is not just shoes, either — consumers can purchase shirts, dresses, and pants now too. All of it is recycled from ocean plastic.

Additional to the push for recycled shoes, Adidas sustainability initiatives hope to help the company shift to totally recycled polyester by 2024. Furthermore, the company promises to keep its quality with recycled polyester.

Additionally, the Futurecraft Loop is a shoe that is 100% recyclable. Adidas will sell the new iteration of these shoes in 2021. It is clear that both Adidas and Parley For The Oceans are dedicated to making the ocean a cleaner place.

The founder of Parley has spoken out against plastic pollution, “Plastic is a design failure, just alien matter that shouldn’t be on this planet.”

Creating An Incentive to Recycle

Just a few weeks ago, Adidas sustainability initiatives took one additional stride by launching a voucher system in the UK. Specifically, the system allows consumers to give back their worn-out shoes.

In return, customers would earn up to $25 in credit toward a future purchase.

Afterwards, Adidas would resell or recycle those worn-out shoes. This develops an intrinsic value in the shoes that people own. Additionally, it teaches consumers to shop more wisely.

Adidas Sustainability Initiatives Extend Past Recycling

Five days ago, the company announced its partnership with International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. This multi-year partnership will pursue innovations in both technology and sustainability.

Moreover, this partnership will mark the first time that footwear innovation will be tested in space. 

Among many other efforts to communicate sustainability with its consumers, Adidas hosted its annual Run for the Oceans. During the race, which occurs on World Oceans Day on June 8th, had runners log the distance they run in one week.

For every kilometer run, Adidas donated $1 to Parley Education School. These donations aided in educating young people on how to tackle the marine problem. Not surprisingly, Adidas surpassed its goal of $1.5 million.

Summary

As consumers become more environmentally aware, so must the companies that provide for them. Adidas and Parley for the Oceans are setting an important precedent for other companies that wish to continue competing in the economic arena.

With companies like Coca-Cola adding to plastic pollution, companies have to make a change if they want continual profits.

Consequently, sustainable products are imperative if companies wish to flourish in a world driven by environmental justice. But Adidas sustainability initiatives are just the first step of many.

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