News Round-Up: May/June 2015

News Round-Up: May/June 2015

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In our effort to keep you informed on the latest developments and news in sustainability, hazardous waste management, and solvent recycling, we’re sharing the articles below from May and June, 2015. Take a look at our picks for top stories over the last couple of months.

2015 Sustainability

2015 marks nearly two decades worth of the tracking and analysis of the evolution of the sustainability agenda, and of the leaders and institutions most responsible for driving it forward. This 2015 Sustainability Leaders, a GlobeScan/SustainAbility Survey, provides an overview of perceived corporate sustainability leaders from 1997 to 2015 and the perceived progress that various institutions have made since the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, along with expectations for the next 20 years.

The infographic (PDF download here) below highlights the key findings. Please read the full report for more detail on all the findings of the survey, or watch a recording of our recent webinar.

The Hope for Corporate Accountability 

The SustainAbility London office regularly invites practitioners from within our network to speak to the team over lunch to share insights from their own work as well as their perspective on the sustainability landscape at large.

We were delighted to welcome Adrian Henriques, independent adviser on corporate transparency, public sector accountability, and civil society development. Adrian is an experienced sustainability professional with more than 15 years in the field. He independently researches and advises both the private and public sectors – for the likes of M&S, Camelot, GRI and social enterprises – and is a Visiting Professor of Accountability and CSR at Middlesex University Business School.


What do Chief Sustainability Officers Actually Do?

More and more companies have a senior executive in charge of sustainability, but that doesn’t make those companies automatically green.

The country’s first Chief Sustainability Officer was appointed in 2004, at DuPont. Today there are more than three-dozen public U.S. companies with a position with that title, and many more have a senior executive charged with some iteration of sustainability, corporate responsibility, or citizenship.

There’s one obvious concern about these roles: Do they matter? Most if not all of the companies involved in every major recent corporate disaster, such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, had executives with such titles. How can onlookers know whether a CSO (or equivalent by another name) is driving real change, or is just the Chief Greenwasher?


New processing technology converts packing peanuts to battery components

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers have shown how to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform conventional graphite electrodes, representing an environmentally friendly approach to reuse the waste.

Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today’s lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite. Lithium ions are contained in a liquid called an electrolyte, and these ions are stored in the anode during recharging. Now, researchers at Purdue University have shown how to manufacture carbon-nanoparticle and microsheet anodes from polystyrene and starch-based packing peanuts, respectively.

Digging Through New Types Of Waste To Recycle Metals

ACS Meeting News: From sewage sludge to junkyards, scientists explore new ways to mine metals | By Stephen K. Ritter

Metals are ubiquitous in our lives. There are the metal objects we can see—paper clips, kitchen utensils, electronics, cars or bicycles, wires and pipes, lightbulbs, hammers and shovels. Most of those are not recycled, although they could be.

But then there are personal care products, glass, paint, and tires—things that contain metals but for which there is no ready way to recover the metal, or the metal is abraded and gets scattered in the environment.

Sustainability is the New Normal

Cargill President and Chief Executive Officer Dave MacLennan declared that sustainability is the ‘new normal” at this week’s Financial Times Commodities Global Summit. He called on the commodities industries to embrace transparency and help define what sustainable supply chains could and should look like in a world where 9-plus billion people will need to be fed.

This year Cargill celebrates its 150th anniversary, and like everyone else in the commodities industry, we learned early that markets are always changing, there is always a “new normal” on the horizon, and if we are going to survive and thrive, we need to continually change and adapt.



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