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Top Sustainability News #16

Alexanne Heurtier
You don't want to miss out on the latest news related to carbon markets and sustainable development. Find out our Top Sustainability News!

Germany launches $1 billion biodiversity fund after world misses targets

In 2010, during the COP10 in Japan, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were introduced in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020). It sets 20 targets for 2020 including, for instance, the reduction of degradation and fragmentation with a rate of loss of all natural habitats at least halved (target 5) or the prevention of the extinction of known threatened species and the improvement of their conservation status (target 12). As May 22nd is the International Day for Biodiversity, the United Nations and International Union for Conservation of Nature has published a report on the achievement of these targets. It appears that signatory states have not done enough as governments have not fully met the 20 targets. Only target 11 was fulfilled, which stated that 17% of land and 8% of oceans must be protected.
To respond to this disappointing outcome, the German government has announced the launch of a $1 billion fund for biodiversity. The fund will first finance seven pilot projects across three continents. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has announced a contribution to the fund by 2022 as other 50 countries claim to support the plan.
The fund was launched months before the Kunming Global Biodiversity Summit, which is scheduled to take place in China in October, as tackling biodiversity loss becomes urgent.

Source: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/05/20/germany-launches-1-billion-biodiversity-fund-world-misses-targets/

Just 20 firms behind more than half of single-use plastic waste - study

A new study led by Australia's Mideroo Foundation and some researchers from the London School of Economics and the Stockholm Environment Institute has revealed that more than half of all the single-use plastic items thrown away originated from only 20 companies. The research has focused on the entire plastic supply chain and identified companies at the base of global plastic pollution, which include the petrochemical industry that is the source of plastic manufacturing as plastic is made by polymers. The study also highlights the abundance of plastic waste due to consumer product single-use packaging.
In addition, the study has also focused on the impact on biodiversity and the involvement of countries in plastic pollution and plastic waste. The two most emitting countries are Australia and the USA. The UK is the fourth one with more than 40kg of plastic waste generated per person per year. Plastic consumption and waste have spiked this past year due to the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, the production of face masks and single-use protective devices has required the use of a large amount of plastic.
In conclusion, researchers have propped financial institutions and regulators to influence the listed companies, including Total and Exxon, to reduce the production of single-use plastic as plastic pollution has become an emergency.
As a reminder, around 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations every year, which kills millions of species and affects our ecosystems.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57149741

Un premier vol long-courrier à l’huile de cuisson pour un avion d’Air France

Air France a franchi une première étape marquante dans la transition du secteur aérien. Ce mardi 18 mai 2021, la compagnie aérienne a réalisé son premier vol long-courrier en utilisant un biocarburant à base d'huile de cuisson fourni par Total et entièrement produit en France. Ce type de biocarburant fait partie de la liste des "Sustainable Aviation Fuel” ou SAF qui se substituent au kérosène actuellement utilisé. Avec ce premier vol, Air France a pris de l'avance sur la feuille de route publiée par le gouvernement pour le développement des biocarburants dans le secteur aérien. En effet, le gouvernement prévoit d’intégrer dans la législation une obligation d’utilisation d’un pourcentage de biocarburant par les compagnies aériennes. La première étape est fixée à 2022: à partir de cette date, les compagnies devront incorporer 1% de biocarburant qui se substituera au carburant conventionnel d’origine fossile. A terme, le gouvernement vise un seuil de substitution de 50% en 2050. Pourtant, le biocarburant, qui s’ajoute à la liste des moyens pour aider le secteur aérien à durablement se transformer, présente quelques inconvénients. Tout d’abord, son coût reste très élevé étant donné la faible quantité produite en France et à travers le monde. Bien qu’Air France ait déjà expérimenté l'utilisation de biocarburant pour des liaisons sur le territoire (Orly-Toulouse), l’utilisation plus large de biocarburant pourrait coûter des millions à la compagnie. Aussi, si le biocarburant est créé à partir de graisse animale de l’économie circulaire, les compagnies ne doivent pas dériver vers des agrocarburants, issus de production agricole, et qui ajouteraient des pressions supplémentaires sur les terres exploitables et les ressources alimentaires. Enfin, il est important de rappeler que le biocarburant ne représente pas la majorité du réservoir puisqu’il est complété par du kérosène.
D'autres outils sont déployés par le secteur aérien pour amorcer la transition nécessaire et très attendue du secteur tels que l'hydrogène, l'aéronef électrique, l'utilisation de matériaux composites ou bien l'amélioration du rendement des réacteurs.

Source: https://www.france24.com/fr/éco-tech/20210518-un-premier-vol-long-courrier-à-l-huile-de-cuisson-pour-un-avion-d-air-france

EU buildings' policy should address the carbon footprint of construction, says BPIE

Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), the European leading independent think tank on the energy performance of buildings, has urged the EU to introduce building performance in forthcoming policies. The EU has committed to reducing carbon emissions from the building sector in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but today  no common policy for the EU Member States exists. As some have already adopted policies to reduce the energy consumption of buildings, such as France, BPIE has suggested that coordination and regulation could benefit from greater efficiency . 
As announced by the EU in its Renovation Wave strategy, the main tool to allow the building sector to become more sustainable is the implementation of a whole-life cycle performance roadmap for 2050. However, according to BPIE, the major part of the carbon emissions linked to the building sector will not come from the operational energy demand, which will significantly drop, but from the embodied emissions. These include energy consumption, chemical processes, transportation, demolition, and disposal of buildings among other sources. Thereby, the EU should focus on these emissions by adding a whole-life carbon (WLC) approach that would be standard to every Member State.

Source: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eu-buildings-policy-should-address-the-carbon-footprint-of-construction-says-bpie-301291915.html
Article written by Alexanne Heurtier