Newsletter – November 2021

portable sofa

Did you follow the coverage of Cop26? I doubt you had time so here are the highlights to get you up to speed.

Before COP26, the world was on track for 2.7°C of warming, post COP26 this is estimated to have been reduced to 2.4°C, but only if countries deliver on their 2030 emissions targets. Not so many years ago, we were seriously contemplating temperature rises of 4°C or even 6°C as real possibilities so the needle has moved, but we’re definitely not out of the woods yet, and we need to speed up.

On a more pessimistic note the hope of keeping global warming below 1.5°C is disappearing is not already gone. To have a reasonable chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C by 2100, global emissions need to fall roughly in half by 2030, and reach zero by 2050. To put that into context humans emitted 5.4 per cent less CO2 during 2020, because of the covid-19 pandemic, but this year’s emissions were 4.9 per cent larger.

With respect to the built environment, 136 countries have now included buildings as part of their climate action plans (known as NDCs), up from 88 at the last major COP. Also the UK, Germany, Canada, India and the United Arab Emirates formed an initiative for developing low carbon steel and concrete and their stated goal is net-zero steel and concrete for public projects by 2050.

One of the most welcome announcements at COP26 was from the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), which sets rules for public companies. They tabled a draft climate standard to measure the environmental efforts of companies. Hopefully this will mean that by 2023, it will be easier to compare and contract companies’ environmental performance, thereby identifying those best prepared for future challenges, and the ones that investors will be most interested in.

A lot of environmental activists watching COP26 criticised the pledges for being too vague and unsubstantiated but according to Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change the tone of this COP differed to previous ones, with there being “much more urgency in the language, more alarm”.

Ultimately, UN climate summits alone can only do so much. The battle to keep global warming as low as possible will be won at ballot boxes, on the streets, in courts and in boardrooms. In the words of the young campaigner Greta Thunberg “Instead of looking for hope – start creating it.”

And now onto this month’s circular economy news ……..

Great interview with Emmanuel Faber, former CEO of Danone on his experiences of driving climate action within a large corporate and the barriers he faced, most of which still exist.

Swiss running shoe company On Running releases a fully recyclable shoe with soles from carbon 

Design magazine Dezeen publishes a guide to mass timber use in construction

BMW has used recycled and recyclable materials to create the IVision Circular, a concept car designed in line with circular economic principles to be easily disassembled at the end of its life. It uses a very interesting wire system to hold together components, which can be released with a single turn.

Elephant in a Box: a portable sofa with an expandable honeycomb core! (See photo above)

Major outdoor wear companies to phase out PFAS 

Sézane becomes one of the first French brands to achieve B Corp status

Check out the winners of the New European Bauhaus Competition

House made from 100 biomaterials unveiled at Dutch Design Week in Oct

Architects could soon be designing homes and other buildings using nothing but biomaterials, according to Biobased Creations CEO Lucas De Man.

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in global trade, a coalition of companies that includes Amazon and Ikea has pledged to use only ocean shippers that use zero-carbon fuel by 2040.

Why building green is a fallacy and how we need instead to build less

A simple explanation of why sustainable homes will still take decades to be Zero Carbon

Wood that you can now fold and mould 

Sitra in Finland releases another interesting study, this time on what motivates various people to act sustainably

GCC Association is a collective of the world’s leading cement and concrete companies committed to building the sustainable world of tomorrow.

Food packaging made from wood! 

Excellent piece on how fashion companies can effective reduce their carbon emissions from sustainable fashion

A pavilion made from living microbes features at Venice Biennale 

Microsoft research finds most UK organisations will miss their government’s net zero target without ‘bolder action’ 

Crayons made from waste wood

Introducing the house printed from cow dung!

Concept for recyclable battery that can be charged in 90 secs is released

Paint made from discarded sea shells

Imperial  helps Coldplay quantify the environmental -impact of their world tour.

How decarbonizing makeup could lead to fossil-free aviation fuel 

The Circular Economy bill in Ireland going through pre-legislative scrutiny at the moment 

UK companies urged not to knock down existing buildings

Dublin City Council has launched an e-cargo bikes pilot for Business


Till next month


Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy