Sustainability News Round-up - June

Sustainability News Round-up: June

Sustainability isn’t slowing down – it’s speeding up and a lot happened in June. Here’s our monthly round-up of some of the month’s key moments and a few bits ‘n’ bobs we just found interesting….

You’ve got pineapples on your feet

Link: Vegan Food & Living

In June, Nike became the latest brand to unveil sustainable sneakers made from an alternative leather. Their new shoes are made from Piñatex, which is derived from pineapple leaves. 

Image 1 - Nike Pineapple Trainers

Then just a few days later, Gucci popped up with some equally impressive new trainers somehow made from wood. Whatever next, exquisite leather hiking boots made from banana skins?

In any case, while this is all exciting, it’s hard to not be skeptical and see distracting token gestures from businesses that are not sustainable overall. Especially after reading the report that comes next on our list…

Study confirms: greenwashing is rife in fashion

Link: Edie

We’re living in the golden age of greenwash and it would seem that fashion is one of the most afflicted sectors.

According to a study by the Changing Markets Foundation, 60% of sustainability claims by fashion brands are misleading. Their study analysed clothing from the world’s biggest fashion brands – and found H&M, M&S and ASOS to be the best at greenwashing. H&M were the outstanding greenwashers of the bunch with 96% of their sustainability claims found to be unsubstantiated. Put simply, almost all of their claims were a load of crap. That’s an awful lot of lying, even for a fast fashion brand. 

On a more positive note, the study found Zara and Gucci made the most truthful sustainability claims but the overall figures are quite shocking. More transparency and standardisation is needed soon.

Living under a heat dome in North America

Link: New York Times

In Washington and Canada the temperatures took a ferocious turn in June, breaking records and almost reaching 50 degrees Celsius. Extreme weather events are typically caused by heat waves but this time the cause was an ominous sounding heat dome. Yes, a dome. 

One of Akepa’s good friends, a Scotsman, is out working near Seattle and said the heat felt like “being inside one of those microwavable popcorn packets”. Sounds uncomfortable, to say the least, and most homes in the area aren’t armed with aircon units to soothe the brutal heat. The thing is, energy consumption’s now only going to increase as more people install air conditioning in anticipation of future domes. It’s a vicious circle.

We need to speed up measures to tackle climate change. Which segues us onto…

UK brings forward its coal power phase-out

Link: The i

The current UK government has a chequered history when it comes to the environment. On one hand passing laws to reach net zero by 2050 and on the other doing very unhelpful things like budgeting billions for new roads.

It is, nonetheless, good to see the UK pledging to say cheerio to coal power in 2024. This brings the previous date forward by a year. The 1.5% of the grid that is still powered by coal will be eliminated entirely at that point.

Still, with a new coal mine proposed in Cumbria and reports of the UK financing fossil fuels abroad these developments do start to sound shortsighted. Here’s hoping the efforts are sincere.

Venison

Link: The Guardian

It sounds a bit decadent but we should be tucking into Venison more often, according to The Guardian, who published an interesting article on the foods we should be eating to help the planet.

This is because while deer are quite charming beasts they are also running amok. They stop trees growing because they like to eat the forest for dinner. And they’re in abundant supply in many countries because of a lack of natural predators. 

Now, venison’s no use at all if you’re not a meat eater and it is of dubious accessibility. But other edibles like seaweed and mussels make the mark too. Take a look at the link above to see the full list of things you should be scoffing to help fight climate change.

Oh, and here’s a recipe we’re going to try: venison scotch eggs.

Image 2 - Venison Scotch Eggs

Amazon publishes latest sustainability report

Link: Geekwire

Amazon completed its integration into our daily lives during the pandemic. The ringing of our doorbells, once a cause for suspicion, now imparts a strange kind of quotidian warmth into our souls.

Perhaps it’s a habit we need to keep in check because Amazon’s latest sustainability report has revealed that the company’s carbon emissions rose during the pandemic. By 19%.

It wasn’t all bad news though. ‘Carbon intensity’ decreased, which is a measure of the amount of carbon released per dollar of sales. And at least Amazon is being transparent and speeding up efforts to make its supply chain more sustainable, with initiatives like new fleets of electric delivery vans.

Well, that’s it for this month. But have we missed anything really important that happened in June? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add and credit you if we add your contribution…

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Michael Wilkins

Birdwatcher, forager, scuba diver, butterfly watcher, mushroom expert, Founder.

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