Sustainability Summarised - August 2021 edition


We’re always keeping up to date on the latest news and trends in the sustainability and environmental space. We’ve summarised the latest announcements, so you can too.

This month has seen sustainable developments and innovation all over the world - here are some of our favourites.

Swedish company makes world’s first delivery of ‘Green Steel’ made without using coal 

In Sweden, the world’s first green steel made without using coal is being delivered to its first customer. The steel, created by Hybrit, is being delivered to Volvo as part of a trial ahead of its commercial production in 2026. 

The Guardian reports that 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of steel using coal. So, the commercial introduction of green steel is great news. The new method uses renewable energy and hydrogen instead of coking coal, which is traditionally needed in ore-based steel making.

Greenland halts new oil exploration to combat climate change and focus on sustainable development 

Meanwhile, in Greenland they’ve put a stop to all new oil and gas exploration. The country’s government announced that the step was taken to protect nature and help the fight against climate change.

The country's minister for agriculture, self-sufficiency, energy and environment, Kalistat Lund, said that the government "takes climate change seriously." He adds: "We can see the consequences in our country every day, and we are ready to contribute to global solutions to counter climate change."

Greenland will still need to respect its four existing exploration licenses, but the suspension on any new licenses is a step in the right direction.

snowy landscape in Greenland

We throw away a third of the food we grow – here’s what to do about waste

Research from IFCO finds that one third of all food is wasted, globally. Food that goes to waste often ends up in landfills and releases harmful greenhouse gases making it damaging to the environment.

Thankfully, there are technologies available to help curb the global food waste problem and The Conversation have shared the things that can be done to reduce your personal impact. A big part of resolving this issue is changing how we shop and raising awareness about what constitutes waste.

Plant diseases, pesticides and unwanted pests at the farming and production stage are also big contributors to the food waste problem. But, technology such as AI powered drones can help farmers minimise food waste by reducing the overuse of pesticides in food production.

Why is life on Earth still taking second place to fossil fuel companies?

Despite the ongoing climate crisis, not enough is being done by governments and citizens to take steps in the right direction. George Monbiot shared his concerns with Guardian readers, arguing ‘it is still government policy to “maximise economic recovery” of oil and gas from the UK’s continental shelf’.

“So, as our house burns, the government sends in the tanker trucks to spray petrol on the flames,” Monbiot continues.

However, the UK Government is not alone. In fact, Monbiot suggests that almost every government will choose smooth business over any green commitments. He believes the real solution to the climate crisis is a new system of politics.

Monbiot concludes: “No government, even the most progressive, is yet prepared to contemplate the transformation we need: a global programme that places the survival of humanity and the rest of life on Earth above all other issues. We need not just new policy, but a new ethics. We need to close the gap between knowing and doing. But this conversation has scarcely begun.”

South Korea develops technique to recycle discarded solar panels into high-performance solar cells

There’s more good green news in South Korea, as researchers in Seoul have discovered a technique to recycle discarded solar panels to create high-performance solar cells.

The rise in solar panel usage amongst households worldwide has been positive, however in 20 years when these need to be discarded, this new technique will be crucial in ensuring they can be recycled.

This discovery was made by the state-run Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER). The institute said the new technique has up to a 100 percent retrieval rate of glass components and about 80 percent of other materials can be retrieved and recycled into high-performance solar cells.

aerial picture of solar panels

Have you seen any other stories about sustainability and environmental news and issues that you think we should include? Let us know!

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