🌱 The Grumpy Optimists #92
Is carbon neutral a thing of the past?
Happy Monday. 👋
Welcome back to another week of climate optimism, some slight annoyance at the UK government and a great bit of music to work to.
It’s also episode 92, which is mental because that means I have probably spent close to 500 hours working on The Grumpy Optimists and nothing makes it more worthwhile than your comments saying how much they enjoy it, so thank you.
Anyway, let’s dig into another episode. If you haven’t already, why don’t you share it with a friend or colleague? Click that forward link and give somebody the joy of this newsletter in their inbox.
👀 Articles to read
🌴 Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell 68% in April. The drop in deforestation is likely due to a number of factors, including increased enforcement of environmental laws, increased investment in sustainable development, and most importantly the election of President Lula. A positive step towards minimising deforestation.
🧽 Ecover launches cleaning products from food waste. The two products are a toilet cleaner and an anti-bacterial spray using food waste such as potato peels fermented to create 0% alcohol, lemons and mint as a fragrance and sugar beet pulp as a thickener. The bottles are also made with recycled plastic. Personally, I think this is a really cool product and a really great way to show not only circularity but also a way to remove the need for nasty chemicals from cleaning products. Let’s hope they do this in concentrated form!
🍺 Wiper and True Brewery install a closed-loop carbon capture system. The Bristol-based brewery is one of the first in the UK to implement a carbon dioxide recapture system for the carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct of fermentation, rather than letting it drift away into the atmosphere as a wasted byproduct. Once ‘caught’, the gas can be stored in a large tank, before being used for other parts of the brewing and packaging process. It’s a growing trend in the industry thanks to the creation of a new system from a company called Dalum focused on small and medium-sized breweries. We’ll drink to that.
✋🏻 Could carbon neutrality be banned and more importantly, should it be? In an effort to protect consumers from greenwashing the UK's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), is planning to ban adverts that claim products are carbon neutral using offsets unless companies can prove they really work.
Arguably, this is needed, companies like EasyJet should not be able to claim they’re carbon neutral just by paying for another tonne of emissions to not be offset (carbon avoidance). Instead, what we need is more investment in carbon removal and a heck of a lot more in carbon reduction.
👚 Gucci drops carbon neutral claim. In response to the pressure being put on terms like carbon neutral, Gucci has moved away from questionable offsets, removing their carbon neutral claim altogether. This is a significant move from the company that claimed carbon neutrality in 2019 and shows the value of regulation in tackling the climate crisis.
🏡 Nationwide launches 0% green loan for decarbonising housing. One of the most significant barriers we face in tackling the climate crisis is not deploying enough capital, both at the individual, company and government levels. Nationwide is looking to help decarbonise housing by offering 0% interest loans to support energy-efficient home upgrades such as solar panels, heat pumps, insulation and electric car charging points. While it will only roll out to 5,000 homes for now, it’s a signal that finance is looking to step up in the absence of government policy.
⚡New transmission line to send wind power from Wyoming to California. The TransWest Express is a 732-mile transmission line that will deliver 3 gigawatts of power from Wyoming to grids in Arizona, Nevada, and California. The proposal has taken nearly 20 years to receive final approval and will be in place by 2028. The project will not only help create jobs and economic benefits but also help diversify the energy mix in the West of the US.
🚜 Why regenerative agriculture is difficult, but it’s also profitable. Organic and regenerative farming is crucial to building a resilient and sustainable food system and despite the fact that it also delivers between 3-7x more profit than conventional farms, only 1% of the U.S.’s farmland is organic. This article from Mad Capital digs into the reasons why, noting the challenges in financing and access to capital and selling products to consumers. I found this really interesting.
💩 £10bn to clean up the UK’s sewage problem, but we’re the ones paying for it. UK water companies have pledged to spend £10bn to try and tackle the amount of sewage entering waterways, but £14.7bn in dividends will be paid out in this same time period. With over 300,000 sewage discharges in 2022, this is a scandal that consumers will be paying for while water companies deliver dividends to wealthy investors. We just want to be able to swim in the sea.
🎙️ A podcast to check out
Why do we buy new clothes when the world is on fire? Listen to Alec Leach, a previous editor at streetwear website Highsnobeity and why the fashion industry is built on helping us buy more and how we can change it.
Well, that wraps up another week of The Grumpy Optimists and an interesting one it was. I have spent more hours than I care to admit listening to this DJ mix and as many hours trying to help companies reduce their emissions. What more can you ask for in life?
The Grumpy Optimists 💚