Recycling – The Circular Economy: Admirable Efforts, With Significant Challenges As The Efforts Expand & Become More Complex for Businesses

Recycling – The Circular Economy: Admirable Efforts, With Significant Challenges As The Efforts Expand & Become More Complex for Businesses

In these last days of the year 2018, of course, we’ll be seeing shared expert perspectives on the year now ending and a look into the new year, 2019.  Sustainable Brands shared one person’s perspectives on three sustainability trends that are gaining momentum heading into 2019.

The commentary is authored by Renee Yardley, VP-Sales & Marketing of Rolland Inc., a prominent North American commercial & security paper manufacturer established in 1882. The company strives to be an environmental leader in the pulp and paper industry. A wide range of fine paper products is made using renewable energy, recycled fiber, and de-inked without the use of chlorine.  Rolland started making recycled paper in 1989 and adopted biogas energy in 2004. The company is privately-owned and headquartered in Quebec, Canada.

The trends the author explains, of course, affect users of all types of paper products but also are useful for businesses in other sectors & industries; he sees:  (1) a shifting of global recycling mindsets and in the circular economy; (2) more open collaboration and partnerships for impactful change; and (3) the need measurement and efforts to quantify impact. 

Rolland is a paper supply company and so there is a focus on recycled (post-consumer) paper, fiber, forests, the recycled paper process, moving toward zero waste, municipal recycling in North America, and so on.

On recycling:  we are seeing reports now of problems arising in the waste stream; in the USA, municipalities are calling for a reduction of waste and automating processes (to help reduce costs).  There are new online marketplaces as well for buying and selling recovered items.  The “market solution” is a great hope for the future as we continue to use paper products (we are not quite a paperless society, are we?).

Part of the issues recycling advocates are dealing with:  China is restricting the import of recyclable materials (think:  that paper you put at curbside at home of business).  Consumers can be encouraged to reduce consumption but paper is paper and we all use it every day – so new approaches are urgently needed!

That leads to the second trend – developing and leveraging partnership & open collaboration:  Yardley writes that collaboration across the spectrum of an organization’s stakeholders can help to address supply-chain wide sustainability if an organization can “understand the wider system” it is operating in (citing Harvard Business Review).  And, if an organization can learn to work with people you haven’t worked with before. 

Rolland, for example, leverages biogas as a main energy source, partnering with a local landfill to recover methane (since 2004).  This trend is on the rise, with the EU biogas plants expanding by 200% (2009-2015).

And then there is Measure and Manage:  Environmental measuring and reporting is an important part of a company’s sustainability journey – at the outset and continuing and at G&A Institute we stress the importance of reporting year-to-year results in a standardized format, such as in a GRI Standards report most importantly including a GRI Content Index.  

At the Sustainable Brands New Metrics conference in 2018, SAP explained that organizations integrating ESG objectives see higher employee retention, and minimizing of risk for investors.

Renee Yardley’s commentary is our Top Story choice for you this week – do read it and you’ll find excellent examples of how companies in various sectors (Ford, Microsoft, Starbucks, Patagonia, Unilever) are dealing with their sustainability commitments in the face of challenges posed.

Click here for more information on Rolland and its environmental / sustainability efforts and products.


From all of us at Governance & Accountability Institute, we wish you all the best for the new year 2019 – this should be another year of significant progress in corporate sustainability and sustainable investing.  We’ll be reporting on this progress in 2019 for you!


This Week's Top Stories

Three Sustainability Trends Gaining Momentum for 2019
(Friday, December 14, 2018) Source: Sustainable Brands - In the spirit of looking ahead to 2019, we’ve identified three important societal trends for 2019, relating to sustainability in business...


Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!
For Your Attention: Items From the The Editors' -- There is Much Good News to Share…

No such thing as sustainable palm oil – 'certified' can destroy even more wildlife, say scientists
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: Independent - Palm-oil forests certified as sustainable are being destroyed faster than non-certified land, experts have found, in a study they say blows the lid on any claims that the oil can be destruction-free. 

Can sustainability look good AND be good for business?
(Tuesday - December 11, 2018) Source: Exhibition World - The battle to get large company clients interested in sustainability is basically over. They’re talking about it at the very least, or else they’re forming and exercising environmental and social impact policies. Sustainability...

House panel issues scathing report on 'entirely preventable' Equifax data breach
(Tuesday - December 11, 2018) Source: The Hill
Global Tire Industry Pushes For Sustainable Rubber Supply
(Tuesday - December 11, 2018) Source: Environmental Leader - Faced with a global demand for natural rubber that is rapidly outstripping supply, tire industry stakeholders are pushing to improve sustainable rubber yields, harmonize standards, protect human rights and natural resources — all...

Sustainability part of the wallpaper at PwC
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: The Fifth Estate - Professional services giant PwC is determined to avoid silos, and according to consulting partner John Tomac, this means sustainability capability and expertise has trickled into all corners of the business. 

Cities Hold the Key to Food Sustainability
(Thursday - December 13, 2018) Source: Project Syndicate - Austin - Living in a city turns you into a cannibal. That, at least, is the metaphor preferred by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who considered cities a pit of human corruption. Rousseau was so convinced of the malign effects of... 

How to create a sense of urgency around sustainability and climate action
(Thursday - December 13, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - On Oct. 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its far-reaching report painting a somber picture of Earth’s potentially rapid demise. Carbon emissions are up for the second consecutive year, no longer down as... 

Our cities fall short on sustainability, but planning innovations offer local solutions
 (Friday, December 14, 2018) Source: The Conversation - Thirty years after the landmark Brundtland report, the debate on urban sustainability continues. Urban planners are still grappling with the challenges of making our cities sustainable.

Resolutions for Myself and for the Coffee Sustainability Sector
 (Friday, December 14, 2018)  Source: Daily Coffee News -  Coffee sustainability has made great strides in aligning our work and in speaking in one voice about the importance of the challenges we face and the strategies that we want to pursue.

Act Now for Sustainability! Should Companies Be Activists?
 (Friday, December 14, 2018) Source: Triple Pundit - Sustainability is a transformative agenda. It requires companies to not only develop new priorities, behaviors and approaches within their own operations and supply chains, but also to act to affect the wider system within which...

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues – More For You to Think About – What Will Be the Future Impact of These Developments?

Millennials are too poor to live like Generation X and baby boomers, federal study says
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: Deseret News - "Millennials are less well off than members of earlier generations when they were young, with lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth," the study said. "Conditional on their age and other factors, millennials do not appear..

Pipeline Portfolio: ESG and the Rise of Socially Responsible Investing
(Tuesday - December 11, 2018) Source: NA Oil & Gas Pipelines - ESG and midstream markets are colliding. ESG analysis is gaining prominence with investors who now expect pipeline companies to better evaluate and disclose how their business and investment plans address these risks and... 

Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: NPR - Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration. 

Are Artificial Christmas Trees Better for the Environment Than Real Ones? It Depends
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: Discover Magazine - Environmentally conscious consumers often ask me whether a real Christmas tree or an artificial one is the more sustainable choice. As a horticulture and forestry researcher, I know this question is also a concern for the... 

Dreaming of a green Christmas? More shoppers look for gifts good for the environment
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: USA Today - In past holiday seasons, Silvie Snow-Thomas, 35, has taken steps to go easy on the environment, baking cookies as gifts, and decorating mason jars with fresh holly and clippings from her Christmas tree.

Want To Give Sustainable and Socially Conscious Holiday Gifts? Here's How.
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: Forbes - Responsible gift giving means a few things: giving gifts that people actually want (ask them!), supporting brands that are producing items ethically and sustainably, and giving items and experience that support the health and... 

Waste of Energy
(Thursday - December 13, 2018) Source: Grist - Drive down Interstate 95 through Baltimore and you can’t miss the Wheelabrator trash incinerator, its smokestack emblazoned with the city’s name. The Charm City’s single largest source of industrial air pollution churns out well...

Headlines From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative

Sustainable Travel: Young Travelers Drive Hilton's Latest Effort To Cut Carbon Footprint In Half
(Tuesday - December 11, 2018) Source: Forbes - Fresh towels, clean linens, and toiletries are a few of the items guests expect when checking into a hotel room. They're considered basics at just about any hotel, but they also contribute to the large amounts of water and energy...

And the Headlines of interest…

Amazon touted as big win for NY, but math is more complex
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: Fox Business

Sustainable Warehouses and the ROI Equation
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: SDC Executive 

Related:  Sustainable Warehouses and the ROI Equation
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: SDC Executive 

New York Times: Chinese hackers behind massive Marriott breach
(Thursday - December 13, 2018) Source: CNN


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds 

New CIOs at NZ Super, NYC and CalPERS
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Associated Profiles : Future Fund (Australia) Source: - Gilmore comes from across the ditch (Australia) and was previously co-CIO at the A$148 billion ($107 billion) Future Fund. Earlier this year, the Future Fund had a reorganisation, appointing Raphael Arndt the sole CIO with two ..

US dominance in oil markets is only going to get bigger, the IEA says
(Thursday - December 13, 2018) Source: CNBC - The U.S. might have been left out from the big summit between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Vienna last week but the country’s influence over global oil markets is only going to get stronger, the International Energy Agency..

Tackle climate or face financial crash, say world's biggest investors
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund Source: Business Green - Thomas DiNapoli, of the $207bn New York State Common Retirement Fund, another signatory, said taking action on global warming not only avoided damage but could boost jobs and growth. "The low-carbon economy presents numerous... 

Commentary of Interest…

Act now to prevent an environmental catastrophe
(Monday - December 10, 2018) Source: The Guardian - Complacency and inaction in Britain, the US, Australia, Brazil, across Africa and Asia – all illustrate diverse manifestations of political paralysis, abdicating humankind’s grave responsibility for planetary stewardship. 

Why We Don't Need a Moonshot to Solve Climate Change
(Monday - December 10, 2018) 
Source- The prospect of solving climate change often prompts grand metaphors of moonshots and the Manhattan Project, with top scientists dedicating time and energy to come up with a breakthrough that will solve global warming.

Wind and solar clash with energy reality
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: The Hill - Not only are renewable portfolio standards expensive and a burden on consumers, new research from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows they don’t always work in reducing carbon emissions. 

Business Ethics – Challenges And Responsibilities
(Wednesday - December 12, 2018) Source: Inventiva - ETHICS – refers to a set of core principles and practices one adopts in all facets of life that is just, right and lawful. In the context of a business, it encompasses a set of operating principles which are based on the three... 

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