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Business apps and services promoting sustainability in 2022

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Woman checking an app on her iPhone
Conscious minds: driven by a more ethically conscious global population, businesses have been forced to rethink the way they operate.

Sustainability has become a priority for most consumers and businesses alike. IBM surveyed job seekers and found that 71% of employees favour environmentally sustainable companies and find them to be more attractive employers. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they were more likely to apply for and accept jobs with environmentally and socially responsible organisations, even if it meant taking lower pay. Moreover, 48% of consumers surveyed also place their trust in corporate commitments to sustainability.

Case in point, Euro Newsweek recently reported how UK’s leading insurer Aviva commits to sustainability by investing £50 million into venture capital funds, which focus on emerging technology that supports our sustainable future. This follows the company’s pledge to become a Net Zero carbon emissions enterprise by 2040. While many small and medium enterprises may not be able to commit to the same, there are certainly other ways they can promote sustainability – especially given the rise of smartphones. Here are some apps and services available that help accomplish this:

Joulebug Enterprise

Joulebug Enterprise, sometimes called Shine by Joulebug, is a mobile app that aims to motivate employees to do good things for the community, their bodies, and our planet. Joulebug serves as a social network for employees working in the same company, where they can earn points and compete with one another through challenges. Once a challenge is over, everyone can see the impact made — whether it’s reduced energy usage, better waste habits, or less reliance on motorised transport. The gamified tasks not only makes users more conscious of their habits, but also aggregates marginal gains by getting groups of people to engage in green practices. Employees have the option to share their achievements, and companies can reward prizes to the winners for added fun.

Forest

Forest is a mobile app that aims to improve employee productivity, while tackling the problem of deforestation. Forest improves user productivity by letting employees plant a virtual tree when they want to focus on a task. If the user stays focused and achieves a pre-set goal, the tree will grow and become part of a virtual forest. Otherwise, the tree will wither away and die. As you grow more trees, you collect coins; one tree is equivalent to about 100 coins. When you collect 2,500 coins, you can opt to plant a real tree with Forest app’s partner Trees for the Future. It’s a great tool for employees who are looking to stay focused and save the planet.

Doorway

Doorway offers digital business cards that allow you to have your contact details instantly saved 100% of the time without the need for an app or an internet connection. Given that six million trees are cut down every year for paper business card production, and 88% of these business cards are thrown away without the details being saved, Doorway is a more efficient and eco-friendly way to connect with your network. You simply sign-up for an account using your email, then create your free personal business card — which can be scanned as a unique QR code from your smartphone. Businesses can opt to pay for their employees’ Doorway accounts per month, which also allows you to plant new trees and access additional services.

Too Good To Go

Europe-grown service Too Good To Go (TGTG) may not seem relevant to your business unless you’re in the food and beverage industry, but it could be a great way to boost employee morale and support local restaurants, bakeries, and grocers. TGTG combats food waste by letting users buy goods that may become food waste by the end of the day for a few pounds. The goods come as Surprise Bags, which means you’re never sure about what you’ll receive when you pick your order up. TGTG helps reduce the 2.5 billion tons of food that goes uneaten around the world each year, and even allows users to pay extra in donations to provide a meal for someone in need. Every contribution helps, so why not pick up a few Surprise Bags to treat your employees today?

If you are interested in more sustainability trends do check out our other articles on EuroNewsweek.

Olivia Miller is a journalist and blogger regularly collaborating with media outlets and writing about entrepreneurship, brand authority and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Sustainability

New EU law will protect environment and biodiversity

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Alain Maron, Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Government of the Brussels-Capital
Alain Maron (centre), Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Government of the Brussels-Capital

The European Union Council has formally adopted a new regulation on nature restoration. This law aims to put measures in place to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

It sets specific, legally binding targets and obligations for nature restoration in each of the listed ecosystems – from terrestrial to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems.

The regulation aims to mitigate climate change and the effects of natural disasters. It will help the EU to fulfil its international environmental commitments, and to restore European nature.

“I am pleased with this positive vote on the Nature Restoration Law, which was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council almost a year ago. It is the result of hard work, which has paid off. There is no time for a break in protecting our environment. Today, the Council of the EU is choosing to restore nature in Europe, thereby protecting its biodiversity and the living environment of European citizens. It is our duty to respond to the urgency of the collapse of biodiversity in Europe, but also to enable the European Union to meet its international commitments. The European delegation will be able to go to the next COP with its head held high,” says Alain Maron, Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region

The new rules will help to restore degraded ecosystems across member states’ land and sea habitats, achieve the EU’s overarching objectives on climate mitigation and adaptation, and enhance food security. 

The regulation requires member states to establish and implement measures to jointly restore, as an EU target, at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030.

The regulation covers a range of terrestrial, coastal and freshwater, forest, agricultural and urban ecosystems, including wetlands, grasslands, forests, rivers and lakes, as well as marine ecosystems, including seagrass and sponge and coral beds.

Until 2030, member states will prioritise Natura 2000 sites when implementing the restoration measures.

On habitats deemed in poor condition, as listed in the regulation, member states will take measures to restore:

  • at least 30% by 2030
  • at least 60% by 2040
  • at least 90% by 2050

The regulation sets out specific requirements for different types of ecosystems, including agricultural land, forests and urban ecosystems. 

Member states will put measures aiming to enhance two out of these three indicators: grassland butterflies’ population, stock of organic carbon in cropland mineral soils and share of agricultural land with high-diversity landscape features. Increasing forest birds’ population and making sure there is no net loss on urban green spaces and tree canopy cover until end of 2030 are also key measures of this new law.

Member states will put in place measures aiming to restore drained peatlands and help plant at least three billion additional trees by 2030 at the EU level. In order to turn at least 25 000 km of rivers into free-flowing rivers by 2030, member states will take measures to remove man-made barriers to the connectivity of surface waters.  

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Sustainability

Sky inks 10-year deal for clean energy in Scotland

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A windfarm in Scotland
Starting in 2025, Sky will receive 100 GWh annually of clean, renewable energy from the Crossdykes Wind Farm

Sky has signed a 10-year agreement with Octopus Renewables Infrastructure Trust to receive renewable energy from the Crossdykes Wind Farm in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Under this agreement, Sky will receive the majority of renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGOs) generated from the 46 MW wind farm, which will help Sky reduce the emissions associated with its electricity use.

Starting in 2025, Sky will receive 100 GWh annually of clean, renewable energy from the Crossdykes Wind Farm, approximately 69% of the total power generated by the project. This is equivalent to approximately 34,000 UK homes’ annual electricity use. [1]

The agreement is a key part of Sky’s ongoing commitment to sourcing renewable electricity. From being the first media company to go carbon neutral in 2006, to launching the world’s first auto standby set top box – Sky has been committed to decarbonising its business for more than 15 years.

“This agreement is evidence of Sky’s commitment to reducing our environmental impact. We source the majority of our electricity in the UK from renewable energy and this long-term project in Lanarkshire provides us with lasting clean energy for years to come. As a media and entertainment company, we are determined to use our voice to help the media sector and the UK more broadly decarbonise,” acknowledges Fiona Ball, Group Director of the Bigger Picture and Sustainability at Sky.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2022, renewable energy supply from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and ocean rose by close to 8%, meaning that the share of these technologies in total global energy supply increased by close to 0.4 percentage points.

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Sustainability

Last day to enter the EU Organic awards

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Last day to enter the EU Organic awards
The EU Organic Awards was first held in 2022 | Photo: Zoe Schaeffer

Organic food producers in the EU will have until the end of the day to enter the EU Organic Awards 2024. It is the third year that the initiative will be offering a platform to a winner highlight excellence and innovation in the sector. The EU wants to increase organically farmed land to 25% by 2030.

The awards are organised by European Commission, with the EESC, the European Committee of the Regions, COPA-COGECA and IFOAM Organics Europe. The EESC supervises the nomination, shortlisting and award process for three categories: best organic food processing SME, best organic food retailer and best organic restaurant/food service.

“The EU Organic Awards give a recognition to the innovation, passion and dedication of those who truly champion organic food and production in the EU and bring it closer to everyday consumers,” says EESC President Oliver Röpke.

Last year’s winners from the categories for which the EESC supervises have also joined forces to encourage businesses to seek recognition.

Kevin Scully, whose business The Merry Mill was awarded the prize for the best organic food processing SME, urged companies to nominate themselves: “I recommend other businesses to apply for the Organic Awards because it’s very good for a company’s profile and brings a great endorsement.”

Paul Kolarik, head of Austrian eatery Kolarik im Prater that won the best organic restaurant award, said: “Winning the Organic Awards generated great interest in our business from the national media. Thanks to the awards, new collaborations have also emerged and many political representatives became aware of our commitment to the organic and sustainability sector.”

The awards ceremony takes place on 23 September 2024, which is the EU Organic Day.

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