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Climate change refers to consistent and long-term changes in global temperatures and weather patterns. These changes can be observed by looking at the decades of climate data that scientists have collected since the mid-19th century. The data shows a steep and continued increase in global average temperatures, which scientists attribute primarily to human activities.

 

 

Why is it happening?

The main driver of climate change is the unprecedented amount of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) that human activities have released into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. The largest source of human-caused GHG emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels for heat, electricity, and transportation.

GHGs contribute to global warming due to the greenhouse effect. This effect describes how GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere radiate the sun’s energy towards the Earth, and therefore help it to maintain stable and hospitable temperatures. Higher concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere result in more of the sun’s energy being radiated towards Earth, therefore increasing global temperatures and causing global warming.

 

Why is it bad?

The rate in which our planet is warming is alarming and the ill effects of these temperature increases are already being observed worldwide. Earth’s various systems exist in a delicate equilibrium; disruption to any of these systems will have a ripple effect on other systems. As Earth’s temperatures increase, these disruptions and their effects will become even more acute. This means there is no aspect of life on this planet that is immune from climate change-related disruption and damage.

 

Why do we need to act now?

To limit global warming to 1.5C with the least uncertainty, humanity has only 300 gigatonnes of CO2 left to pollute. To put that in perspective, in 2019, global energy-related CO2 emissions reached 33 gigatonnes.

This means we need to reach at least net zero CO2 emissions, very quickly, to experience the least dramatic climate change scenarios. Other greenhouse gas emissions will also require rapid reductions to secure a safer future.

 

What can you do?

As a business, the most important thing you can do to mitigate climate change is to achieve net zero emissions. ESI Monitor provides the perfect platform for achieving net zero emissions. Through our Environmental Business Operations Framework, we provide all the tools you need to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve your environmental impact.

Example carbon footprint report

We also offer a uniquely impactful carbon offsetting service, where the price of offset goes towards projects that absorb harmful emissions or prevent them from being produced in the future, and to restorative environmental projects local to the point of offset. Find out more about our Environmental Business Operations Framework here, and our carbon offsetting services here.

 

Under new rules announced by the Treasury, financial services companies, asset managers, investment products, and pension schemes will have to publicly disclose their environmental impact and justify all sustainability claims.

The aim of these requirements is to combat greenwashing and assist the UK in reaching its emission reduction targets.

Companies are set to disclose information through the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) issued standards. The ISSB will be established later this year and will develop global baseline standards for sustainability reporting, focused on material information for investors. Companies will also be expected to explain their activities’ level of alignment with the UK Green Taxonomy. The UK Green Taxonomy will define the criteria that specific economic activities must fulfil in order to be environmentally sustainable.

While some of the details for the new sustainability disclosure requirements are yet to be decided, it’s a good idea for businesses to get a head start by measuring and managing their environmental impact now. ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework (EBOF) provides organisations with verified, top grade sustainability data, consistent with the GHG Protocol and ISO 14064 methodologies. This means it is valid in any reporting and disclosure requirements.

The framework also allows businesses to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint. Completing the EBOF demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

 

 

Islands Insurance have made an important commitment towards environmental sustainability by enrolling in ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework. Soon, they will be able to expertly measure, manage, and minimise their environmental impact.

It’s great to see more businesses put sustainability and climate change on their agendas. Well done Islands Insurance, we’re excited to see the progress you make on this journey!

 

Environmental Business Operations Framework

ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework is structured as an environmental management system that allows businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint.

Completing the Environmental Business Operations Framework demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

  • is transitioning to a sustainable future through Sustainable Development Goals 7, 9, 11, 12 & 13;
  • is committed to reducing its impact on the planet;
  • actively plans its energy conservation, waste management, and procurement strategy;
  • raises staff awareness of the importance of environmental issues;
  • seeks improved ways of managing the organisation’s energy and waste.

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

 

We are delighted to announce that Moore Stephens‘ Guernsey office has enrolled in ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework, showing an admirable commitment to the mitigation of climate change. Soon, the team at Moore Stephens will be able to expertly measure, manage, and minimise their environmental impact.

Big congratulations to Moore Stephens, and thank you for your commitment to sustainability!

 

Environmental Business Operations Framework

ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework is structured as an environmental management system that allows businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint.

Achieving the Environmental Business Operations Framework demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

Climate change will impact every aspect of human, animal, plant, and microbial life. The crisis is multifaceted and extends far beyond the commonly understood effects of temperature rise, which are in almost all cases disastrous to life on this planet. In this article, we will look at some of the more surprising impacts of climate change that you probably didn’t know about.

 

 

1. Worsened hay fever

 

pollen flowers

 

Research suggests that climate change will make springtime even worse for hay fever sufferers. There are three main reasons for this: rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, rising temperatures, and extended seasons.

An excess of atmospheric carbon dioxide bodes poorly for the planet as a whole; however, in the short term, plants thrive on it. In many plant species, carbon dioxide increases their growth and increases their pollen’s potency, and amount produced. Rising temperatures and an extended spring season have similar effects on plants. These factors extend the plants’ growing periods and increase the quantity fungal spores and blooms produced.

While not as catastrophic as many other impacts of climate change, the significant rise in pollen counts these effects produce will be a nightmare for the UK’s 13 million hay fever sufferers.

 

 

2. Less nutritious food

 

vegetables and grains

 

Thanks again to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, plants are growing more sugar but less protein, zinc, iron, calcium, and other vital vitamins and minerals. Research suggests that due to this, by 2050, 150 million people will be at risk of protein deficiency and 138 million people at risk of zinc deficiency. The areas where these effects will be most concentrated is in already poorer regions, including India and Bangladesh. It is also suggested that the increase in sugars will contribute to the already rising rates of obesity and heart disease seen across the world.

 

 

3. Bumpy air travel

 

airplane in sky

 

A 2017 study found that human-caused climate change will impact air-turbulence, making your holidays go a little (or quite a lot) less smoothly. With increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, vertical wind shears at cruising altitudes are set to strengthen, increasing the instabilities that create turbulence. Instances of clear-air turbulence (turbulence not caused by clouds) were found to increase across the board, with severe cases expected to rise by 149% in an atmosphere with double the current carbon dioxide concentration.

 

 

4. Poor mental health

 

sad woman

 

Evidence suggests that the effects of climate change will have multifaceted and significant psychological impacts on humanity. The poor metal health consequences resulting from an increase in natural disasters caused by climate change are obvious. However, research suggests that even the more gradual impacts of climate change will take a heavy toll on the population’s mental wellbeing. Some of the effects of these more gradual climate impacts include anxiety, depression, substance use, stress, fatalism, and a loss of personal and occupational identity.

 

 

5. Climate Gentrification

 

green city

 

As rising sea levels and increasing temperatures encourage wealthy people to relocate from their sunny coastal homes to cooler and more highly elevated regions, they bring with them higher property prices and increased costs of living. This process of gentrification displaces the often already marginalised and lower-income residents.

Furthermore, as a result of the climate crisis, investments are increasingly being made to create infrastructure that is more resilient to the effects of climate change, including storms, flooding, sea-level rise, and erosion. There is also a rise in green infrastructure developments, designed to mitigate climate by creating green spaces in cities. As a consequence of these green investments, further gentrification and displacement will occur.

 

 

Cannon Asset Management and Stenham Trustees have made an important commitment towards environmental sustainability by enrolling in ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework. Soon, they will be able to expertly measure, manage, and minimise their environmental impact.

It’s great to see more businesses put sustainability and climate change on their agendas. Well done Cannon and Stenham, we’re excited to see the progress you make on this journey!

 

Environmental Business Operations Framework

ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework is structured as an environmental management system that allows businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint.

Achieving the Environmental Business Operations Framework demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

  • is transitioning to a sustainable future through Sustainable Development Goals 7, 9, 11, 12 & 13;
  • is committed to reducing its impact on the planet;
  • actively plans its energy conservation, waste management, and procurement strategy;
  • raises staff awareness of the importance of environmental issues;
  • seeks improved ways of managing the organisation’s energy and waste.

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

 

We are pleased to announce that Strategic Risk Solutions‘ Guernsey office has made a big commitment towards environmental sustainability by enrolling in ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework. Soon, Strategic Risk Solutions will be able to expertly measure, manage, and minimise its environmental impact.

Big congratulations to Strategic Risk Solutions, and thank you for your commitment to sustainability!

 

Environmental Business Operations Framework

ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework is structured as an environmental management system that allows businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve their operational environmental footprint.

Achieving the Environmental Business Operations Framework demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

 

It’s pretty easy to spot blatantly unsustainable packaging; we’ve all ordered something online that arrived in a Russian nesting doll-like array of boxes, smaller boxes, and plastics. However, research suggests that when it comes to less obvious examples, we’re pretty bad at distinguishing between sustainable and unsustainable packaging. Furthermore, we’re quite susceptible to being misled by packaging cues suggesting “eco-friendliness” and hold inaccurate beliefs regarding what materials are and are not sustainable.

So how can you, as a consumer, differentiate between sustainable and unsustainable packaging?

 

Recoverability

 

Recoverability for packaging materials refers to their ability to be reused, recycled, or composted after use.

Reusable packaging can come in many forms, but is only worthwhile if it is convenient for the consumer to reuse. For example, reusable packaging for household food and cleaning products can be incredibly eco-friendly when paired with refill stations are zero-waste stores, but are less sustainable when there is no clear or convenient reason for reuse.

Recyclable packaging is the most common type of sustainable packaging. Most plastic, paper, and cardboard are readily recyclable, and many of these products are made from previously recycled materials. However, not all cardboard, plastic, and paper products are recyclable. Look out for graphics suggesting that the packaging is recyclable and is made from recycled material to ensure sustainability.

Compostable packaging is made from organic elements, allowing it to decay quickly and help feed the ground it decomposes into. Examples of compostable packaging include plant-based packing peanuts, biopolymer products, and mushroom-based packaging.

Compostable materials differ from biodegradable materials. Almost everything, including plastics, can biodegrade eventually, though this may take many years and can produce toxins in the environment. Therefore, compostability, not biodegradability, is a much better indicator of sustainability in packaging.

To check whether an item of packaging is compostable, look out for these labels.

sustainable packaging graphic - compost

Weight and Size

 

If packaging is heavy and/or unnecessarily large for the product it holds, it is clear that the materials are not being used efficiently. This means that more resources are required to make each package, therefore increasing the environmental impact the material has.

When looking at the lifecycle of packaging materials, the distribution stage is often quite an emissions-heavy part of the process. Often, packaging materials travel great distances by ship, plane, and trucks before landing in the hands of consumers, so the more weight and space a package takes up, the more emissions-heavy the distribution stage of the lifecycle will be.

 

Use

 

The final element of packaging to consider is its use. The use of packaging is often unnecessary, for example: a box inside another box, bananas in plastic bags, and books shipped in bubble wrap. No matter how sustainable the packaging material is, it’s far more sustainable to have no packaging at all!

 

 

sustainable packaging graphic - compost

 

London-based regulatory reporting specialists, Kaizen Reporting, have made an important commitment towards environmental sustainability by enrolling in ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework. Soon, they will be able to expertly measure, manage, and minimise their environmental impact.

It’s great to see more businesses from around the UK put sustainability and climate change on their agendas. Well done Kaizen Reporting, we’re excited to see the progress you make on this journey!

 

Environmental Business Operations Framework

ESI Monitor’s Environmental Business Operations Framework is structured as an environmental management system that allows businesses of any sector or size to measure, manage, minimise, and continually improve its operational environmental footprint.

Achieving the Environmental Business Operations Framework demonstrates to customers, staff, and business partners that the organisation:

  • is transitioning to a sustainable future through Sustainable Development Goals 7, 9, 11, 12 & 13;
  • is committed to reducing its impact on the planet;
  • actively plans its energy conservation, waste management, and procurement strategy;
  • raises staff awareness of the importance of environmental issues;
  • seeks improved ways of managing the organisation’s energy and waste.

You can learn more about the Environmental Business Operations Framework and how your business can get involved here.

 

Electric vehicle battery recycling is set to become the issue of the future. There has been a huge growth in electric vehicles (EVs) on our roads in the last few years, with HIS Markit reporting that over 2.5 million were sold worldwide in 2020. This growth is set to continue and by 2030, it is expected that EVs will hold 32% of the total market share for new car sales. In Guernsey, as of June 2021, there were 1,084 electric vehicles registered; with sales averaging 13 per month.[1]

There are significant advantages to EVs because, if they are charged by renewable electricity, they produce minimal greenhouse gases during their operation. As transport is now one of the largest areas of greenhouse gas production in developed economies (and proving the hardest to reduce), the growth in EV popularity and availability has the potential to significantly aid in the fight against climate change.

electric vehicle battery recycling chart

In 2020, approximately 550,000 EV batteries reached the end of their lives, and it is estimated that approximately 150 million more batteries will be generated by 2035. The global recycling rate of electric vehicle batteries is currently approximately 5%.[2] The remainder are either stockpiled, for recycling or reuse at a later date, or disposed of in landfill.

EV batteries contain a wealth of precious metals and elements, including lithium, nickel and cobalt; which only exist in finite quantities in specific geographical regions. Most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) because they offer a high energy density and a relatively low product weight. In 2019, 35% of all LIBs produced globally were used in electric vehicles,[3] and the demand for LIBs is only set to increase, with rising sales of electronics and EVs.

It is crucial that battery lifecycles are managed sustainably in order to meet the growing demand for electronics and EVs without depleting finite resources of raw materials, and to minimise the environmental damage associated with mining. So, how can this be done? There are two options: recycle or reuse.

 

Recycle

 

Batteries can be volatile if processed improperly. For example, if lithium is exposed to air it can react with the oxygen and create fires, explosions, and toxic fumes. In fact, lithium batteries are responsible for 48% of all fires in waste processing facilities in the UK.[4] Therefore, discarding lithium batteries in waste materials or landfill is a dangerous (let alone unsustainable) solution. However, the same properties that make batteries hazardous in a landfill makes recycling them quite difficult too.

electric vehicle battery recycling

EV batteries contain recyclable materials such as aluminium, steel, cobalt, manganese, nickel, and copper, contained in a strong protective shell. To recover these elements, recycling facilities first need to get inside the battery by breaking through this shell, before using pyrometallurgical and/or hydrometallurgical processes. In the hydrometallurgical process, the batteries are mechanically shredded and burnt, leaving a product called ‘black mass”. The mass then undergoes further processing to recover recyclable materials. Conversely, the pyrometallurgical process involves rinsing the battery in acid to create a “chemical soup”, from which recyclable elements can be recovered.  Both techniques need to be carefully managed, under controlled conditions; in order to protect the workers and the environment.

There are a very limited number of EV battery recycling facilities worldwide, with only two existing in Europe. The process is energy intensive, the burning of the battery emits greenhouse gases, and a lot of non-recyclable waste is created throughout the process. Furthermore, outside the EU, health and safety; environment; and working conditions in these facilities are not carefully controlled, so the impacts may be even more damaging.

Because of the complexity of the recycling process, and the associated expenses; currently, just 5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled.2 Researchers are working on a more ideal solution called direct recycling. In this process, the cathode mixture would remain intact, avoiding the extensive processing currently used to salvage the reusable components. The ability to efficiently recycle old batteries will have a major benefit beyond preventing hazardous waste and emissions, as it offers a good alternative to mining for raw materials. Mining itself can be environmentally destructive and socially problematic, particularly given the locations of some of the raw materials in EV batteries (manganese in deep ocean nodules, or cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo). Efficiently recycling end-of-life batteries will also provide economic opportunities to manufacturers, as this would ensure a ready supply of valuable materials closer to home. However, these benefits can only be gained if we can find a way to make the entire process more efficient and affordable.

The challenge for EV battery recycling is therefore both in technology and scale. Dismantling and recycling techniques that improve the speed, safety, and efficiency of the recycling process, including robotic automation and direct recycling, need to be developed and scaled up to effectively process the millions of end-of-life batteries we are going to see in the future. However, there is also a great need for manufacturers to design their batteries with recycling in mind in order to lessen the burden on outside technological solutions.

Although there is no legal requirement for manufacturers to offer a take-back scheme for batteries; EV brands such as Nissan, Renault, and Volkswagen do accept end-of-life batteries with a view to finding a more sustainable solution in the future. Volkswagen recently opened a battery recycling plant and aims to recycle 3,600 batteries during its pilot phase. Renault recycles 200 batteries per year; but aims to recycle 25% of all batteries on the market, and the production waste resulting from the process.

 

The second option is Re-Use

 

Reuse presents an attractive alternative, because LIBs typically retain 70 – 80% storage capacity at end of life. Although they are no longer suitable for re-use within electric vehicles; they can be used in static storage applications, such as energy storage systems for solar or other renewable energy technologies.[5]

LIBs have been successfully re-used in several trials; but there are some issues that need to be addressed before re-use can become a widescale solution.

The first issue is that the first EV batteries that are now reaching end-of-life are not homogenous in design or chemistry. There is a wide variety of incompatible battery types that cannot be used together in “battery packs.”

Secondly, the volume of end-of-life batteries in 2030 will be capable of generating approximately 400 – 1,000 GWh/y in 2030. However, the demand for stationary storage in the EU is projected to be at, or below, 10 GWh /y for that same time period.[6] A recycling solution will still be needed in order to feed the demand in manufacture, and minimise the need for mining raw resources.

Lastly, the existing EU Waste Batteries Directive (Directive, 2006/66/EC) states that LIBS must be appropriately collected and recycled; and thus the reuse of such batteries is yet to be accounted for in current EU regulations. In addition to this gap in regulations, there is no agreed benchmark relating to the quality or performance of batteries re-used in static energy storage.[7]

 

electric vehicle battery recycling diagram

Guernsey’s Export Problem

 

If adequate and significant investment is committed, sustainable solutions for battery lifecycles are likely to scale up as EVs become increasingly popular; and the percentage of batteries going to landfill will decrease. However, all such schemes are operating in the UK, the EU, or overseas. Guernsey cannot currently directly access these schemes free of charge.

To date, only three electric vehicles have reached end-of-life in Guernsey. All three batteries are still in storage on island, due to the cost of exporting batteries to the UK or EU. Whether this cost will be borne by the States of Guernsey’s EV Subsidy scheme or the vehicle owner, is not yet clear.

 

 

The Guernsey Recycling Group of Companies (GRG) provides the infrastructure and services needed to manage all forms of general waste, dry recycling, and Specially Controlled Wastes. GRG includes Galaxy Computer Brokers (Galaxy CI) and the Guernsey Recycling Scrap Metal Yard: who process all forms of batteries, including lithium ion and lead acid batteries, from consumer electronics, electrical waste, and end of life vehicles, respectively.

With thanks to Simon Welch, Associate Director of Environmental Compliance; Matt Cox, Group Operations Director; and Fran Browning, Business and Compliance Manager at Galaxy CI, for their contribution to this article.