Compostable sanitary pads from India, sustainable fibres from Finland and home compostable coffee capsules from Germany are the winners of the innovation award “Bio-based Material of the Year 2019”

For the 12th year in a row, the innovation award “Bio-based Material of the Year” has been granted to the young, innovative bio-based chemicals and materials industry.

After a 10-minute presentation from each of the six nominated companies, the three winners were chosen by the expert audience at the “12th International Conference on Bio-based Materials”. The six nominees were previously selected by a jury from a total of 21 submissions. With more than 270 participants and 30 exhibitors, the conference was able to further establish itself as one of the world’s most important meeting places for the leaders of the bioeconomy.

Organizer Michael Carus, nova-Institute, was enthusiastic about the overwhelming response: “The most important pioneers of the global bioeconomy met in Cologne and exchanged views on the strong dynamics of the industry. Previous hopefuls of the bio-based chemistry are weakening and others are making amazing breakthroughs!”

The winners in detail:

Anandi Eco+ is the first and only Govt. of India Lab certified 100% compostable sanitary pad. In a compost environment, at least 90% of the pad are biodegraded within 180 days. Under other conditions in nature it takes longer respectively. The pads can be disposed easily in the backyard mud pit of any rural household to avoid polluting the environment and create bio-manure for agriculture.

More information: http://www.aakarinnovations.com

Spinnova is a sustainable fibre company from Finland that develops ecological breakthrough technology for manufacturing cellulose-based textile fibre. Spinnova’s patented technology does without harmful chemicals and creates no waste or side streams, making the fibre and the production method probably the most sustainable in the world. The biggest difference to other man-made cellulosic fibres is that no chemical dissolution takes place throughout the whole process.

More information: http://www.spinnova.com

HOMEcap is the world’s first and only home compostable capsule successfully introduced in the market that is ‘OK compost HOME’ certified and made with natural fibres of the sunflower seed hull. The biodegradation in home compost avoids considerable waste streams. The capsule was successfully launched on the market in the spring of this year. It is made from a unique compound comprising PTTMCCs PBS and PBSA mixed with sunflower seed shells and inorganic fillers.

More information: http://www.golden-compound.com

This award has been sponsored by InfraServ Knapsack and organized by nova-Institute (both located in Hürth, Germany).

The CSCP is a media partner of the Conference on Bio-based Materials.

Sustainable lifestyles remain a touchy subject, often avoided in decisions and actions towards a sustainable future. A new report makes the argument that changes in our consumption patterns and lifestyles are inevitable, and does the numbers crunching to demonstrate the magnitude of potential changes in lifestyles needed in order to achieve the 1.5-degree celsius aspirational target of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The technical report ‘1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints’ demonstrates that changes in consumption patterns and dominant lifestyles are a critical and integral part of the solutions package to addressing climate change. The report fills a gap in the existing research by establishing global targets for lifestyle carbon footprints, examining current consumption patterns and their impacts, and evaluating potential reduction impacts of low-carbon lifestyle options.

The results of the analysis are striking, showing in some cases the need for reductions of over 80% in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2050 from today’s lifestyle intensity. Reductions will be necessary not only in developed countries; several developing countries will also need to reduce their average per capita emissions from current levels – a significant challenge where the basic needs of large parts of their populations remain unmet. However, as also identified in the report, there are clear opportunities for much needed changes, and these would require that actions start as soon as possible. Examples include meat and dairy consumption, fossil-fuel based energy, car and air travel.

The report proposes globally unified per capita targets for the carbon footprint of household consumption for the years 2030, 2040 and 2050. It estimates current average carbon footprints of Finland and Japan, as well as Brazil, India, and China, focusing on the comparison of the level of physical consumption to be both comparable to global targets and compatible with household-level solutions. It also identifies potential options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints and assesses the impact of such options in Finnish and Japanese contexts. It concludes with suggestions and implications in terms of how to proceed towards lifestyles compatible with the 1.5 °C target. As the report only covers the countries named above, similar studies can be expanded to other countries using the methodology, data sources, and results of estimation detailed in the report.

The “1.5-Degree Lifestyles” project was conceived as part of the Absolute REDUCTIONS in collaboration with the Hot or Cool network of scientists and practitioners, and the research for this report was conducted by IGES, Aalto University, and D-mat and financially supported by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the KR Foundation. Mariana Nicolau, CSCP Project Manager, contributed to the report as a reviewer. You can download the report by clicking here.

For further questions, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

Since 2016 the CSR Hub NRW has helped Startups in NRW to discover methods and tools to incorporate sustainability into their business models, products and services. Now it’s time to pay a final visit to what we’ve learned along our entrepreneurial journey.

In March 2016, the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) together with Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V. (BAND) began their partnership as a CSR competence centre. Financed by the government of Northrine-Westphalia, we have been supporting start-ups on their way to more sustainable innovations and a better understanding of how to implement CSR-measures.

Today, we look back on a successful project that provided more than 150 entrepreneurs with intense training on CSR topics such as sustainable business model development, innovation and work culture, communication and marketing as well as supply chain management.

On 30 October 2018, we will celebrate this success together with startups, business angels as well as  representatives of the governement of Northrine-Westphalia – including State Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitisation, Innovation and Energy Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart.

During the event we will showcase best practices, tools as well as local startups and SMEs that share their experiences how to integrate sustainability into their daily business. The event will be hosted at a special venue, the Impact Hub Ruhr in Essen. The Impact Hub team joined the initial CSR workshop back in 2016 before even founding the company and now manages a unique co-working and innovation space. Situated in the heart of the Metropole Ruhr the Impact Hub Ruhr represents a global community of entreprneurs that is striving to generate positive impact for society while doing good business.

The evening event will feature:

If you would like to join the celebration, please register here until 19 October 2018.

Date: 30 October 2018

Time: 6 – 9pm

Place: Impact Hub Ruhr, Hollestr. 1, 45127 Essen, Germany

The event is free of charge and will be held in German. Snack and drinks will be provided.

For further information, please contact Patrick Bottermann.

150 000 to 500 000 tonnes of plastic waste are dumped in the oceans yearly – from the EU alone*. And this only accounts for a small percentage of worldwide plastic litter, as 80% of all plastic waste enters the oceans from Asia. While we are watching the large plastic vortices in the ocean, perhaps as we sip a drink through a plastic straw from a convenient plastic cup, we forget that these are ‘single use’ plastics. Now the EU plans to put an end to that – opening up avenues for new products, changing lifestyles, and entire new business models.

European plastic waste looks relatively good on paper. That is mostly because about half of it is shipped to Asia, out of sight, out of mind. Waste management in many Asian countries is notoriously poor and much of the shipped and locally disposed of plastic waste has ended up in the oceans. Furthermore, many Western companies have introduced western-style consumer products for the Asian market, all of which are wrapped in plastic, knowing very well that there are no end-of-life solutions for the packaging in many of the receiving countries. This is further compounded by extra small individual portions of food, toiletries and cosmetics catering to modest local incomes.

The EU recognises a certain responsibility yet also demonstrates leadership: it now wants to clamp down on ‘single use’ plastic items such as straws, coffee cups, lids and stirrers, as well as cutlery and take away packaging. In a first step, the EU will assess the impact of different ways of taxing such items, with the goal that 55% of all plastics be recycled by 2030. This includes plans to require clearer labelling of recycled or recycleable plastic for consumers, as well as a potential ban on microplastics in cosmetics.

These upcoming changes signaled by the European strategy should drive companies to rethink their products, their consumers’ lifestyles and business models.

Alexis Figeac, Team Leader at the CSCP and Consortium Coordinator of the European R2Pi – Transition from Linear to Circular project illustrates the business opportunities: “Businesses can tap into the opportunities that arise from material alternatives to plastic or by rethinking business strategies. Alternative forms of packaging in particular bio-based ones may be the way forward. Why use plastic packaging for high-value products such as cosmetics when the same functionality may be achieved from wood-derived ligno-cellulose? Indeed such innovations from the likes of Sulapac, winner of the Green Alley Award 2017, or Eatapple for straws ought to be adopted by established industrial players.”

These strategies are part of implementing Circular economy thinking, i.e. keeping materials in the economic cycle, strengthening customer loyalty and enabling a business to anticipate and be compliant with future regulatory developments.

Despite the business opportunities, Alexis Figeac also sees a clear need for the new European strategy: “While the strategy of the pioneers serves as a behavioural nudge to the initiated, the new European directive is, presently, the only way to mainstream sustainable alternatives. Moreover, it is centred on items which are not essential by any means. It does not require overhauling of major material circuits, as would, for example, result in a European-wide deposit scheme for plastic bottles not to mention plastic packaging.”

For further information please contact Alexis Figeac.

*European Commission (2018). EU Strategy for plastics in the Circular Economy – brochure. Circular Economy package.

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Digitalisation and continuously low interest rates are already changing Banks’ business models. Meanwhile, sustainability is moving up people’s agenda. So how can a leading regional bank systematically strengthen its role as a driver of positive impact while continuing to improve its competitiveness?

At a time when organisations are focused on reducing costs, streamlining processes and the need to invest in a digital future, how can sustainability be integrated into their core strategy? The repercussions of the financial crisis are still present and persistent, putting traditional business models of banks at serious risk. Digitalisation enables new competitors, more efficient processes, new partnerships, and new services. Adding to this need for change, the new European CSR Directive is requiring large and publicly-owned companies to report on sustainability issues, starting with data from 2017.

While the Stadtsparkasse Wuppertal has always been driven by its mission to do “good for Wuppertal”, they teamed up with the CSCP in 2016 to translate this into more strategic actions. One important step was to find out what relevant stakeholders think about how a local full-service bank can support a good life and local wellbeing. CSCP started a dialogue with key stakeholders and customers through structured interviews and a large-scale online survey where they could voice their perceptions, expectations, and ideas.

Discussing the results with multiple experts on diverse hierarchy levels significantly helped not only to derive hands-on measures but also to gather views on how to best integrate sustainability-related actions in times of significant transition and change. As one workshop participant put it: “In everything we do, we need to ask ourselves: Can it be done more sustainably? How can this contribute to a good life?” This idea was already reflected upfront in the decision to not define sustainability as an add-on, but to make it an integral part of the business strategy.

Using this approach, “we identified a number of great opportunities”, says Constanze Klee, in charge of coordinating the process at the Stadtsparkasse. She goes on to say: “The struggle for resources is a given and may keep us from implementing all the good ideas in the first year. However, we now have a clear focus on core topics and colleagues that feel very motivated by making them happen. We work on the good life in Wuppertal!”

Please contact Stephan Schaller if you have any questions.

© wk1003mike / Shutterstock.com

In January 2017, the SWITCH-Asia Network Facility published “Sustainable Asia”, one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the status of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in various Asian countries.

The book focuses on key sectors such as tourism and manufacturing, and examines in detail SCP approaches and innovative solutions demonstrated by projects supported by the European Union’s SWITCH-Asia Programme as well as country-specific policies to promote SCP, making “Sustainable Asia” a reference for practitioners, researchers and policymakers alike.

Other recent publications by the Network Facility include a technical briefing on “The role of SCP in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation” and a magazine on the Circular Economy in Asia.

The EU-funded SWITCH-Asia Network Facility, implemented by a consortium participated by the CSCP, promotes knowledge on and dissemination of SCP best practices from 95 grant projects supported by the SWITCH-Asia Programme in 17 developing countries in Asia. More information and all publications are available on www.switch-asia.eu

Please contact Silvia Sartori if you have any questions.