Guest Blog: Call for Big Ideas to Reduce Water Loss

GUEST BLOG: Have you got the next big idea to help reduce water loss?

Would you like to play a key role in helping solve one of the world’s major environmental challenges? In this SustMeme Guest Post, Katharine Teague, Head of Advocacy at AB Sugar, one of the world’s leading sugar businesses, outlines why the company has partnered with WaterAid and the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge to launch an ambitious worldwide challenge to provide new ideas on how to address water loss in irrigation. The invitation to innovate is open to anyone – from students to start-ups. So, if you have an interest in water and irrigation, read on…

KT: Global challenges call for global solutions and one of the biggest challenges the agricultural sector faces is that of water withdrawal. In fact, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO), agriculture accounts for 69% of the world’s water abstraction.

To help meet the challenge of water loss in irrigation specifically, we have teamed up with WaterAid and the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge to launch The Innovate Irrigation Challenge – and we want you to take part! It’s a global initiative that invites anyone with a new idea to help tackle water losses from irrigation in sugar, and beyond.

Get involved in The Innovate Irrigation Challenge

The winning idea will receive a £10,000 prize and recognition from an esteemed panel of judges, as well as the unique opportunity to work with some of the organisations behind the Challenge to test the viability of the idea. There is the potential for your idea to impact the future of sustainable agriculture on a worldwide scale and make a real difference.

Would you like to be part of this? Head over to www.absugar.com/innovateirrigation for all details, including an introduction to the judging panel. Make sure you register now to take part! All entries are to be submitted in a 48-hour period during the 19 and 20 June 2019.

Also, why not join our Facebook Group and get involved in the conversation or on social media using #InnovateIrrigation.

Commitment to growing a sustainable future

At AB Sugar, we have a sense of responsibility to continuously improve the socio-economic and environmental impacts of our operations. With operations across 24 plants in 10 countries and employing more than 30,000 people and producing around 4.5 million tonnes of sugar annually, we continue to ensure that we lead the way in our industry by investing and continuously driving change to have a real impact.

The threat of climate change is growing and with this increases the pressure on our water resources, even though we are already doing everything we can to reduce, reuse, recycle and efficiently store the volumes of water used across our operations. That’s why as part of our ‘Global Mind, Local Champions’ sustainability framework, which is centred around three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, we have already signalled our ambitious global commitments, which have been designed to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes reducing our end-to-end supply chain water and CO2 footprints by 30% by 2030.

We are, and continue to, use everything we have learnt over many decades as a sugar producer across three continents to empower our businesses to deliver positive change in their local market. Our commitments demonstrate this by:

  • Building vibrant, diverse value chains that increase the prosperity of our communities
  • Build thriving and healthy communities. To do this, we are committed to providing 25 million people worldwide with science-based information on sugar, the diet and health
  • Reducing our end-to-end supply chain water and CO₂ use by 30% by 2030 and ensuring all our plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable, biodegradable or compostable

Achieving our 2030 vision will require collaboration across our entire supply chain and working in partnership with other like-minded organisations and businesses. One such example of this is The Innovate Irrigation Challenge’, by opening the door to new ideas and ways of thinking from people around the world to help reduce water losses further in irrigation. I am excited to see Challenge entries and it is a perfect opportunity to tackle one of the key issues of our time.

Good luck on entering!


 


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SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Purpose: ‘Responsible Business’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on Responsible Business.

The piece explores how purpose must be core to any commercial offering, but requires company-wide transformation to deliver on its promises and impact. Not every buinsess will make the cut and no amount of ‘rainbow-washing’ will paper over the cracks in CSR. In fact, against a backdrop of activism on the streets, market evolution has aguably already begun a process of natural selection. A pincer movement of public scrutiny and shareholder pressure is putting the squeeze on the charlatans and laggards. The writing is on the wall.

Tough talk is effectively over for responsible business. With big issues such as climate breakdown, plastic pollution and modern slavery making headlines and populating posts every day, surely the time to act is now?

To read the article in full, complete with expert insights, comment and analysis, please click the following link:

‘Corporate purpose requires a mindset shift’.

The full 16-page Responsible Business report is available to view/download here.


 


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Sustainability: ‘Fashion Economy’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Fashion Economy.

The piece profiles five pioneering brands employing innovative methods to reuse and recycle everything from textiles, to waste tyres, fire hoses and fishing nets. They are rethinking and remanufacturing the process of creating and crafting how we dress, responsibly. Whether it is upcycling on the catwalk, fully traceable T-shirts, swimwear that helps cut ocean plastic, or footwear and accessories that divert resource from landfill, these trailblazers are embracing the circular economy ethos and restyling sustainability for the 21st century, with transparency and accountability. Cutting waste and fighting pollution never looked so good!

To read the article in full, complete with expert insights and comment, please click the following link:

‘Reuse and recycle: five brands show how it’s done’.

The full 20-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.


 


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Sustainability: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

From wine through the post to sports drinks in seaweed, packaging is visibly going green. However, there is a secondary sustainability story behind your sugarcane insect spray or bamboo toothbrush that too often goes untold. Sustainable packaging talk tends to focus on the in-store retail experience and its impact on the more or less eco-conscious consumer.  Trade and wholesale supply chains, though, also generate volumes of secondary packaging waste and reycling. This secondary success story is not always obvious, but it is essential for delivery on sustainability goals.  In this piece, therefore, I explore the issues, the business opportunities and risks, plus showcase some of the innovators changing the game. To read the article in full, complete with expert insights, comment and analysis, please click the following link:

‘The race to sustainability starts in the supply chain’.

The full 20-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.


 


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Environment: ‘Business Risk’ in The Sunday Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Sunday Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on Business Risk.

Plastic bag pollution in waterThe piece explores how, as the effects of climate change increasingly make themselves felt, successful companies are striving both to futureproof their business and to limit further environmental damage. At present, when it comes to the planet, the news never seems good: From Hurricane Katrina to bee-colony collapse, or city smog to ocean plastic, the environment keeps making the wrong kind of headlines. The impact is sometimes sadly fatal, often irreparably harmful, but always bad for business.

Stats on UK corporates' attitudes to reporting as reputation driverSo, for business, it truly is becoming a case of adapt or die; and there will be winners, as well as losers, in this battle against climate breakdown. Where there is business risk, there is also market opportunity and innovators are increasingly changing the game – whether it is dynamic young startups or enlightened established players, examples of companies and brands responding to the challenge are not just out there, but everywhere.

To read the article in full, complete with expert insights, comment and analysis, please click the following link:

‘Why caring for the planet is good for business’.

The full 12-page Business Risk report is available to view/download here.


 


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

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