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October 15, 2021

World Ecolabel Day-14 October 2021

A global day to celebrate ecolabel products and services that protect you and the planet.

More than 50 countries around the world celebrate World Ecolabel Day on the second Thursday in October each year. This year, that's 14 October. It’s a day to focus on ecolabel products and services that are proven to be environmentally preferable and performance tested, so you are ensured the best products for your health and the health of the planet.

Consumers, companies, and communities worldwide will celebrate this event by discovering the ecolabels available in their own countries, buying and using third-party certified products and services, and sharing the good news with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

This year as part of the the Global Ecolabelling Network's celebration, we will be launching our new international “Look Closer” ecolabelling campaign. This campaign is designed to educate procurement officials about avoiding greenwashing and to help them insist on products and services with life cycle-based ecolabels. Make sure to bookmark this page and follow us on social media to see interesting information and fun activities leading up the launch of the “Look Closer” video and landing page on 14 October.

Use these hashtags to talk about World Ecolabel Day. Spread the word and be sure to follow your local ecolabel so that you can tweet and post content often!

#WorldEcolabelDay #ChooseEcolabels #CertifiedGreenEcolabel #Type1Ecolabel #Ecolabels #LifeCycleBasedEcolabels

Learn more at:https://www.globalecolabelling.net/world-ecolabel-day-2/world-ecolabel-day/

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October 11, 2021

[LEISURE: FASHION] How Oxwash Raised $7 Million To Transform The Way We Clean Clothes

What happens when you combine a former NASA scientist and British engineering, you ask? In Oxwash’s case, a solid £5.2 million ($7 million) investment—and growing. The company was founded in 2018, when co-founder and ex-NASA scientist Dr Kyle Grant was completing his Synthetic Biology PhD at the University of Oxford. Perpetually frustrated with broken washing machines on campus, he joined forces with by Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton and—armed with a Deliveroo backpack spray-painted blue—the duo began collecting and washing clothes for fellow students. Things quickly snowballed and, as interest grew, it became the UK’s fastest-growing on-demand laundry business. With a difference. The model is fairly simple, you see; customers place an order online, choose a collection and drop off time and location, and Oxwash collects, washes and delivers, all in house. It’s the actual washing process that made it investable.
“We knew being just another laundry app wouldn’t cut it,” says CEO Dr Kyle Grant. “Developing a model that was hyper local, carbon neutral and tech enabled—that reversed the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it—was fundamental.”
Global laundry usage releases a seismic 14,000 tons of microfibers into the oceans each year—meaning a third of all plastic found in the ocean are microfibers from clothes—while water wastage and toxic solvents only add to the problem.
So Oxwash got to work, utilizing technology typically found in space and hospital sterilization, to tackle each problem individually.
“A typical wash cycle uses around 10 litres of water per kg washed,” says Grant. “We can reduce this by saving up to 32litres on a standard 8kg wash through our water filtration and reclamation techniques.”
Oxwash’s proprietary microfiber filtration technology also removes more than 95 percent of fibres shed during washing, preventing plastic pollution from reaching waterways and drinking water.
“By installing filtration technology in our machines, we prevent over 1 million plastic microfibres from entering our water systems per each KG we wash.”
Additionally, Oxwash’s process kills bacteria through a three stage cycle (ozone disinfection, chemical sterilisation and thermal decontamination) so advanced it reduces 99.99999% of infections—100 times better than the NHS standard.
But they don’t stop there.
“Most laundries will use whichever detergent is cheapest and usually has high levels of toxicity, such as PERC,” he says. “We use biodegradable detergents and emulsifiers that are automatically dosed depending on the weight of the wash.”
This prevents up to 25% excess chemistry being used in each wash, much to the appreciation of early and new eco-conscious investors.
By May 2020 Oxwash had raised £2 million ($2.7 million) from a cohort of coveted investors including: FMCG giant Reckitt, TrueSight Ventures, Founders Factory and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
All of whom will undoubtedly be delighted with the company’s rapid growth (15% month-on-month) since the start of the pandemic.
Oxwash now boasts more than 8000 independent customers, alongside corporate clients such as the Marriott Hotel Group, Hurr Collective and the NHS.
And with the global “green cleaning” market set to reach $11.6 billion by 2029, Grant has left no sustainable rock unturned.
“By washing clothes at ambient temperatures and using ozone disinfection to remove microorganisms by oxidation rather than using heat, we can reduce carbon emissions by 45%,” he continues, noting that the company only uses zero emission e-cargo bikes that are able to manoeuvre around traffic, rather than contribute to it.
Compared to traditional laundry collection/delivery services, each bike saves 6,700 KG of CO2 per year.
With the goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all of their laundry and dry cleaning services, Oxwash received another $3 million from purpose-led investors this June. The round was backed by former Pinterest and Beyond Meat backers, Future Positive Capital (NYC/SF); Holly Branson, Chief Purpose & Vision Officer Virgin Group; Sam Branson, Filmmaker, Musician & Philanthropist; Pentland Group (Berghaus and Speedo); Leon Lewis (River Island); the founder of Indeed.com, Paul Forster, and more.
The new capital will be used to expand the team and invest in proprietary technology that will power the business’ logistics and cutting-edge washing facilities (known as lagoons) to further improve services, both for consumers and the environment.
“During the pandemic Oxwash has doubled down on its technology to bring simple, sustainable laundry to everyone,” adds Biz Stone. “I’ve been incredibly impressed by their speed of operational execution and I’m confident they are going to scale rapidly post-pandemic!”

Learn more at:Forbes, 08 September 2021 By: Lela London.


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September 27, 2021

Over 170 Organizations Shift to Renewable Energy

The Green Purchasing Network (GPN) has promoted the shift to renewable energy on the consumer side through the “RE Action - Declaring 100% Renewable Energy”. This initiative targets and supports local governments, educational and medical institutions, and small and medium-sized enterprises to declare conversion to 100% renewable energy. Since its establishment in October 2019, the initiative has attracted many businesses and local governments, and the number of participant organizations has increased from 28 to 176 during the last two years.

All participant organizations are required to set a target to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, and some of them have already achieved their goal. Their target year with an interim goal, if any, are disclosed on the RE Action website (https://saiene.jp/). The website also showcases good practices of implementation of renewable energy by the participant organizations.

Futagawa Manufacturing Co., Ltd., for example, has developed a floating mega solar plant in its hometown because there are 88 reservoirs in the area, and it is hard to find suitable land for mega solar plant. The floating solar panels block the sunlight from radiating into the water and suppress algae growth, which can help preserve the ecosystem of the reservoirs. Using the reservoirs as a power plant can also be of benefit to the local residents through the water usage fees. This unique project can be a model of new business that contribute to both the local environment and communities.

photo_GPN.jpg
photo: Nishi Ike Floating Solar Power Plant

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September 16, 2021

Connecting to Place, People, and Past: How Products Make Us Feel Grounded

Researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business and Cornell University published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that examines how marketers can cater to consumers’ need to feel grounded by offering products that connect to place, people, and past.
The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Connecting to Place, People, and Past: How Products Make Us Feel Grounded” and is authored by Isabel Eichinger, Martin Schreier, and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer. Consumers are increasingly seeking products that are local, made by individually identified people, traditional, or remind them of their childhood and family growing up. This is evidenced by the ever-increasing popularity of farmers markets, hand-cut soap, artisanal bread, the locavore movement, and the return to familiar grocery brands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally rooted microbreweries, for example, were at the forefront of this renaissance of artisan, indie, and craft production. In 2019, craft beer accounted for 13.6% of total U.S. volume sales, a 4% increase even while overall beer sales dropped by 2%. Similar trends can be found beyond the food and beverage sector. They are surprising given modern society’s aspirations to globalize, automate, and digitize.
Why is this happening now and what drives these shifts in demand? As Eichinger explains, “It is consumers’ need to feel grounded—which we define as a feeling of emotional rootedness. We argue that the dual forces of digitization and globalization have made social and work lives increasingly virtual, fast-paced, and mobile, leaving many consumers feeling like trees with weak roots at risk of being torn from the earth. Marketers can cater to the need to feel grounded by offering products that help consumers connect to place, people, and past.”
A series of studies involving thousands of participants across the U.S. and Europe shows that groundedness increases product attractiveness and consumers’ willingness to pay. Schreier says that “Our research points out how marketers can strategically leverage groundedness for their products, for example by emphasizing local origin or by choosing traditional product designs. Marketers can also improve their targeting by identifying consumers with a higher need for groundedness.” The researchers conducted a survey with a representative U.S. consumer panel. Their idea is that consumers whose everyday work and lives are more affected by major trends like digitization, urbanization and global change will also experience a higher need to feel grounded. Indeed, they found higher levels in need for groundedness with consumers who perform a lot of desktop work at their computer; who have a higher socio-economic status; who more strongly perceive COVID-19 to have put their life in a state of flux; and who indicated living in a big city. These consumers were also more interested in purchasing products that connect them to their place, people, and past.
Feelings of groundedness are not only relevant for business; they are also important for consumer welfare. In particular, the studies show positive psychological downstream effects of groundedness on consumers’ happiness and feelings of strength and stability.
“Participants who felt more grounded from the use of local rather than nonlocal apples in a homemade pie also reported feeling stronger, safer, more stable, and better able to withstand adversity. Consistent with the notion of being securely anchored and having a strong foundation, feeling grounded improves self-perceptions related to resilience,” says van Osselaer.
Feelings of groundedness are worthy of both managers’ and policy makers’ attention. Products are more attractive when they provide consumers with the feeling of groundedness; for example, because they are locally made (connected to place), by producers consumers can relate to (connected to people), and according to traditional methods (connected to the past). Marketers can leverage groundedness by adapting their marketing mix accordingly and strategically target customer segments with a higher need for groundedness. Policy makers should consider groundedness as a driver of consumer well-being, a topic that becomes ever more acute in a time that is fast-paced, digital, and marked by changes that can make consumers feel adrift in the world.
Learn more at Here.

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September 7, 2021

G20 Environment Ministers signal importance of sustainable consumption and production

At the G20 Environment Ministers meeting, the final communiqué referenced the importance of sustainable consumption and production in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation and pollution. They reaffirmed the vision of the G20 to drive forward actions on SCP in order to contribute to the achievement of SDG 12 and other relevant SDGs.
The document also makes reference to the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) as an integral partner to these efforts.

Learn more at here.

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September 3, 2021

SDGs in focus: SDGs 12, 13, 17 and Interlinkages among these Goals and Other SDGs

This 7 July session examined the progress of SDGs 12 and 13 and interlinkages with other SDGs, notably SDG 17. Concrete policies and actions for meaningful progress in sustainable consumption and production and in combating climate change were discussed and the vital and interrelated role of governments, business, communities, civil society and the multilateral system were explored. The Chair of the Board of the 10YFP stressed the importance of the 10YFP and international cooperation as a tool to drive change and scale-up action.

Learn more at UN SDG News.

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August 30, 2021

HLPF Ministerial Declaration references importance of 10YFP

The Ministerial Declaration adopted by Member States on July 15th includes language on mainstreaming environment in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including commitments to progressively improve global resource efficiency and consumption and production, and decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
It furthermore calls for intensified efforts to scale up the 10YFP by 2022 and beyond, indicating Member State commitment to the framework originally adopted at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, and which the One Planet network is implementing.

Learn more at UN doc.

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August 23, 2021

Are climate-friendly cooling chips the future of refrigeration?

Chemicals used in air conditioning, freezers and refrigeration have long hurt the environment by destroying the ozone layer and polluting water sources, but technology is starting to change the way we keep cool.

Phononic, a startup based in Durham North Carolina, is using a material called bismuth telluride to make so-called cooling chips.

On Wednesday this week, it said it has secured $50 million (€42,470,000) from Goldman Sachs Asset Management in funding.

So how do cooling chips work?
When electricity runs through the chip the current takes heat with it leaving one side of the chip to cool and the other to heat up, says Tony Atti, Phononic co-founder and CEO.

The chips can be as small as a fraction of a fingernail or as big as a fist depending on how many coolants are needed. So far they have been used to create compact freezers for vaccine transportation or for ice-cream at convenience stores.

It's about "cooling and heating our modern world responsibly, without toxic refrigerants," states the company.
A more recent and fast growing use is to prevent overheating in 'lidars', laser-based sensors in autonomous cars, and optical transceivers for 5G data transmission.

"The historical refrigerants that had been used for vapor compression systems, they are both toxic and global warming contributors," adds Atti.
While the global warming impact has been reduced in recent years, refrigerants still had issues with toxicity and flammability.

Can they be recycled?
While the bismuth telluride powder itself is toxic, when it is processed into a semiconductor wafer and made into a chip, it is "benign" and can be recycled or disposed as its meets all chip safety and disposal standards.

The cooling chips are manufactured in Phononic's own factory in Durham and for mass production the company is working with Thailand-based Fabrinet. The freezers for vaccines and ice-cream are built in China by contract manufacturers and carry the brands of Phononic's customers or in some cases are co-branded, he said.

The funding will be used to build out high-volume manufacturing and to expand Phononic's markets and product line.

Atti declined to share the latest valuation of Phononic but said it was "north of half a billion dollars". Previous investors include Temasek Holdings and private equity and venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners.

In future, the company suggests that it will have the ability to invent things "previously unimaginable", from cooling mattresses and motorbike helmets to cooling outdoor installations.

Learn more at here.

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August 16, 2021

[SCP] Hong Kong's urban farms sprout gardens in the sky

[The Japan Times, 09 July 2021]-With their heads in the clouds and their hands in the soil, a group of office workers are busy harvesting the fruits of their labor on the roof of a Hong Kong skyscraper.

Invisible to those below, a sprawling garden of radishes, carrots and rhubarb is flourishing at the top of the 150-meter tall Bank of America tower, a stark and colorful contrast to the monotone shades of concrete, steel and glass of the city's financial district.

The farm is among more than 60 that have sprouted across the space-starved city since 2015 — on decommissioned helipads, shopping mall rooftops and public terraces — thanks to initiatives like Rooftop Republic, a local social enterprise that promotes urban farming.

Co-founder Andrew Tsui sees the rooftop farms as a way for people to reconnect with how sustainable food can be produced in what he calls the current "instant-noodle city lifestyle" that sees so much waste.

"What we are looking at is really how to identify underutilized spaces among the city and mobilize the citizens, the people, to learn about food," the 43-year-old said during a blustery site inspection of the skyscraper's garden.

Tsui believes Hong Kongers need to re-establish a relationship with what they eat that has been broken "since we started outsourcing our food and relying so much on industrialized production."

Piles of food waste
According to government statistics, Hong Kong throws out some 3,500 metric tons of food waste a day — the equivalent weight of 250 double-decker buses. Less than a quarter is recycled.

And around 90% of the food eaten by the city's 7.5 million inhabitants is imported, mostly from mainland China.

But while Hong Kong is one of the most densely packed places on earth, there is still considerable space to grow food locally.

Tsui said some 7 million square meters of farmable area is currently cultivated. But more than 6 million square meters on the city's rooftops remain unused.

"So we could have the potential of doubling the supply of land for growing food," he said.

"The challenge for us is to design urban farming as a lifestyle to integrate into our daily life," he added. "And the first step for that, of course, is to be accessible."

To incorporate urban farms into the blueprints for office buildings, Rooftop Republic closely collaborates with architects, developers and property managers.

Major companies are signing up.

As well as the Bank of America garden, financed by property consultancy giant JLL, Singaporean banking giant DBS has partnered with Rooftop Republic to set up an academy that runs workshops for beginners as well as professional courses.

"In Hong Kong, most of the people focus on the commercial value of the properties. But we want to promote the concept of sustainability," said Eric Lau, the group's senior director of property management.

New skills
Urban farmers say the projects also help build community spirit among those who cultivate the crops.

After retiring from the public service, Lai Yee-man said she turned to farming to connect with nature and her neighbors.

The 60-year-old initially learned techniques and tricks from professionals to develop her farming plot in the New Territories region of Hong Kong — a rural area close to the border with mainland China.

But now she is passing on her knowledge to fellow residents working the Sky Garden, a 1,200-square-meter facility on top of a mall.

There residents cultivate edible flowers and fruit trees and can attend lifestyle classes like mindful gardening.

"People attach greater importance to their health now, they will buy organic food," said Lai.

"Here, we teach them not to waste … and to cherish their food," she explained, adding that the majority of what the mall farm grows goes to local food banks.

Tsui recognizes that few young Hong Kongers currently have an interest in learning how to grow food.

But younger people are often concerned about the environment and climate change, so the opportunity to generate enthusiasm is there for the taking.

"If coding is the skill set to learn for the 21st century, growing your own food is a necessary new skill that we all need to learn to ensure a regenerative and green planet," he said.

Learn more at here.

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