Top Stories

October 08, 2014

Supply Chain

DuPont and Procter & Gamble use agricultural waste in laundry detergent

DuPont and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have teamed up on a new initiative to use renewable agricultural biomass in the production of P&G’s Tide-branded laundry detergent. In a technological breakthrough which has been ten years in the making, the two companies will substitute starch ethanol made from corn kernels with a cellulosic ethanol made from harvest by-products, cutting CO2 emissions and repurposing more than 7,000 tonnes of agricultural waste per year. P&G president of global fabric and home care, Gianni Ciserani, said: “As one of the world’s largest laundry manufacturers, we have a responsibility to lead renewable sourcing in products. We do this by ensuring consumers still get the great Tide laundry performance they want, while further reducing the impact on the environment”. DuPont is currently building a large bio-refinery in Nevada, Iowa. When completed, the plant will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year whilst creating zero net CO2 emissions. (Edie)


Firms encouraged to use green supply chains to boost revenues

Businesses must think differently about their supply chains and the ‘costs’ attached to going green according to a report by president of strategic consulting company, lharrington group. The Closing the Loop: Building the Environmental Supply Chain report, commissioned by logistics company DHL, underlines the environmental supply chain as an untapped opportunity for companies to capture value and boost revenue. Commenting on the report, lharrington group president Lisa Harrington said: “a great shift in attitudes is currently underway across industries. Gone are the old and dated misconceptions that ‘green’ means higher costs”. The report also highlights the four principles of the environmental supply chain – reduce, reuse, recycle and recapture – and the need to get these right. “Where the environmental supply chain model is executed correctly, companies are capitalising on increased revenue and social kudos from customers, while also ensuring their business is operating in line with necessary compliance measures”, Harrington added. (Edie)

International Development

GreenChar saves trees and lives with cook stoves in Kenya

Social enterprise start-up, GreenChar, is providing affordable, high-energy cooking solutions to transform the Kenyan cooking environment and save lives. Approximately 84 percent of all households in Kenya use solid fuels for cooking, while 36 million Kenyans are affected by household air pollution (HAP), accounting for over 15,000 deaths in Kenya annually. GreenChar is trying to reverse this trend. The company manufactures charcoal briquettes out of agricultural waste, to reduce the environmental impacts of production, whilst also distributing clean cook stoves that maximise the efficiency of these briquettes. According to Tom Osborn, founder of GreenChar, critical to the company’s success is the expansion of women’s clubs which collect instalments for the stoves (increase affordability), offer tips on how to use the stoves efficiently and correctly, and teach locals to make their own briquettes. To date, the burning of 4,300 kilograms of clean charcoal briquettes on 400 stoves has saved over 100 trees and had an impact on over 6,000 lives. (Triple Pundit)

Technology & Innovation

Start-up seeks to replicate the taste of red meat using plant matter

Impossible Foods is part of a wave of well-funded start-ups seeking to replicate meats, eggs, cheese and other animal-based foods with plant matter. Their aim is not only to upend the trillion-dollar animal farming industry but to also create a more sustainable source of food. Funded by $75 million in venture capital from the likes of Google Ventures and Microsoft, their manufacturing facility in California’s Redwood City has chemically bioengineered a burger that replicates the real thing. Commenting on the animal agriculture industry, Impossible Foods founder, Patrick Brown, said: “The system that we use today to produce meat and cheese is completely unsustainable… It has terribly destructive environmental consequences”.  Meat and dairy industry groups have said they are committed to improving sustainability and have taken measures already that reduce their use of resources and their environmental impact, such as developing techniques to reuse waste and biogas. (Wall Street Journal*)


Handy smartphone replaces papers at Ibis Singapore

Hotel group Ibis Singapore has launched a smartphone for guests staying at their Bencoolen hotel, in a move which aims to reduce printed materials associated with travelling.  The smartphone – called ‘handy’ – offers unlimited connectivity for guests, including internet and calls, and a complete city guide to Singapore at no additional cost. Ibis, which is owned by European hotel operator Accor Hotels, said the smartphone devices were customised specifically for the hotel, and provides their guests the convenience of accessing local information, including the hotel’s full range of green facilities. Guests can take the phone outside of the hotel and use it throughout the stay to help them navigate through Singapore’s city attractions, bars, restaurants and activities. “With guests using the handy instead of paper-based materials, we estimate that 4.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are being saved over a period of one year”, said Pierre-Etienne de Montgrand, Ibis Singapore’s general manager. (Eco-Business)


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Image source: “NCI Visuals Food Hamburger” by Len Rizzi (public domain)