Sustainability News from TreeZero

The Soft Commodity Risk Platform (SCRIPT), a new system to help banks and investors analyze their exposure to risk in soft commodity supply chains has now launched.

Every year over nine million hectares of tropical forests are cleared to make way for, principally, the production of soft commodities such as palm oil, soy, cattle and timber. Over half of the world’s tropical forests have been lost to date and new deforestation frontiers are opening up as demand for these products increases. SCRIPT is a freely-available system to help financial institutions which fund companies in these soft commodity supply chains understand the risks associated with deforestation. With more than USD1.4 trillion in investments, credit and underwritings in companies involved in the production and procurement of these soft commodities, financial institutions can play a crucial role in reducing deforestation and forest degradation. While these risks are increasingly recognized, it can be difficult to identify which companies are most exposed. SCRIPT has been developed to support financial institutions in assessing these growing risks. The platform supports these institutions in identifying the business risks associated with financing unsustainable companies and, understanding and adopting corporate best practices for reducing deforestation associated with soft commodities. It encourages effective engagement with companies operating in soft commodity supply chains with step-by-step engagement guidance. The platform has been developed by Global Canopy in partnership with WWF (Policy Benchmarking Tool) and Ceres (Portfolio Risk Tool) and ZSL SPOTT and CDP as data partners. The project is funded by the Moore Foundation.

First sustainable Lego pieces to go on sale

by Rebecca Smithers
The first Lego pieces made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane will go on sale this year, the company has announced. The 85-year-old Danish toymaker said production has begun on a range of Lego botanical elements or pieces such as leaves, bushes and trees, made entirely from plant-based plastic. They will start appearing in Lego box sets with bricks and mini-figures later this year. The move is part of Lego’s commitment to use more sustainable materials in its core products – including its eponymous bricks – and packaging by 2030. Its aim is to find sustainable sources to replace its current fossil fuel-based raw materials, as plastic can also be made from sustainable or bio-based raw materials. The new-style Lego elements are made from polyethylene – a soft, durable and flexible plastic that can now be made with ethanol extracted from sugar cane material and, Lego claims, is as durable as conventional plastic. As a bio-plastic, it can be recycled many times, though it is unlikely to be 100% biodegradable.

Emory earns ‘Gold’ rating for sustainability leadership, innovation

Emory is ranked in the top 10 for sustainability among institutions in the American Association of Universities. Ciannat Howett, director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, hopes for Emory to continue to reach and exceed its goals. “Emory continues to make exciting progress in creating a more sustainable campus and community, and we are honored to receive national recognition for our efforts with the AASHE STARS Gold rating,” Howett says. “As we implement Emory’s 2025 Sustainability Vision, we will continue our national leadership in sustainability. ”These efforts may be enough to put Emory into the Platinum certification for the next reporting year, an honor held by only three institutions, Howett says. Emory’s STARS report, along with reports from all participating colleges and universities, is publicly available on the AASHE STARS website.

Impact Assets 50

This annually updated list is a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. The ImpactAssets 50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today, though it is not a comprehensive list. These 50 firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.
The ImpactAssets 50 is not an index or an investable platform; rather, it is an information resource to begin research on the impact investing sector. The ImpactAssets 50 is focused on private debt and equity fund managers to provide a centralized source of information that is not publicly available elsewhere.

To save the world’s flora, Japanese researchers have designed a tiny drone that can pollinate flowers

By Nick Vega
A team of Japanese researchers have succeeded in using a pocket-sized drone to pollinate a flower, taking the first steps towards creating a safety net for the world’s flora as honeybees continue to die at an alarming rate. The artificial pollinator is the brainchild of Eijiro Miyako, a chemist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan. It entails attaching horsehair bristles to a remote-controlled drone the size of a power adapter and coating the bristles with a special gel that allows them to gather pollen from flowers and distribute them as a honeybee would. A video published by Science News shows the drone in action. In a paper published in the science journal Chem, Miyako’s team explained the significance of their achievement.

Green Supply Chain Awards Nomination Deadline: Sept 7, 2018

The Green Supply Chain Awards recognize companies making sustainability a core part of their supply chain strategy, as well as those working to achieve measurable goals within their operations.

ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investing: An Advisor’s Guide

By Bernice Napach
Here are some resources for advisors who are just beginning to educate themselves about these investments, which are increasingly in demand. \ Whether you call it sustainable, socially responsible, impact or ESG investing, the assets under management in these categories are exploding. By early 2016, they had climbed to $8.72 trillion in the U.S., equivalent to a 20% share of total assets under professional management, and to $23 trillion globally, according to the latest available macro data. The following sources can provide a good introduction to ESG, sustainable, socially responsible and impact strategies.

The 8 Million Species We Don’t Know

The extinction of species by human activity continues to accelerate, fast enough to eliminate more than half of all species by the end of this century. A growing number of researchers, myself included, believe that the only way to reverse the extinction crisis is through a conservation moonshot: We have to enlarge the area of Earth devoted to the natural world enough to save the variety of life within it. The formula widely agreed upon by conservation scientists is to keep half the land and half the sea of the planet as wild and protected from human intervention or activity as possible. This conservation goal did not come out of the blue. Its conception, called the Half-Earth Project, is an initiative led by a group of biodiversity and conservation experts (I serve as one of the project’s lead scientists). It builds on the theory of island biogeography, which I developed with the mathematician Robert MacArthur in the 1960s. With only about 20 percent of its species known and 80 percent undiscovered, it is fair to call Earth a little-known planet.