Green Progress: Sustainability News 3rd June

Green Progress: Introduction

Welcome to Play it Green’s sustainability news, where we celebrate green progress with you, our community of forward-thinking businesses. Every week, we bring you positive stories that mainstream media often overlooks. We aim to inspire and empower your business to make a difference.

Moreover, as a community, we create ripples of change that extend far beyond our individual efforts. By meeting the growing needs of eco-conscious consumers and employees, we pave the way for a sustainable future.

Additionally, these stories showcase how businesses like yours are leading the way in sustainability. Join us on this journey and be a part of the change.

Read on to discover our first featured story and take the next step in your green progress.

Green Progress: Guinness Accelerates Net Zero with €100 Million Investment

Diageo has announced a €100 million investment to make its historic St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin more environmentally friendly. This initiative aims to make the brewery one of the world’s most efficient by 2030. It will be reducing its carbon emissions and improving its energy and water use.

The investment will help St. James’s Gate brewery to stop using fossil fuels in its brewing operations. This will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 90%. By 2030, the brewery plans to use a combination of grid-supplied power, heat pumps, and biogas from a new water recovery facility as part of its renewable energy strategy. This facility will also help the brewery to use water more efficiently. The aim is to reduce the water used to brew Guinness by 30%.

Taoiseach Simon Harris commended Diageo’s leadership in making its operations more environmentally friendly. He emphases the importance of such efforts in addressing climate change. Diageo’s Global CEO, Debra Crew, highlighted the significance of this investment for the iconic brand’s sustainable future.

Green Progress - Guinness will soon be brewed in a more sustainable way following £100M investment from Diageo
Guinness will soon be brewed in a more sustainable way following £100M investment from Diageo

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke, and Enterprise Ireland CEO, Leo Clancy, also supported the project. They recognise its potential to foster innovation, job creation, and economic stability. This investment sets a powerful example for businesses worldwide, demonstrating green progress and its positive impact.

Read on to discover more stories of green progress and how they set a powerful example for businesses worldwide.

Green Progress: Plans Revealed for £3bn Loch Ness Pumped Hydro Project

Glen Earrach Energy (GEE) has announced plans for a £2-3 billion, 2GW pumped hydro energy storage facility at Balmacaan Estate in Scotland, near Loch Ness. This facility is intended to become the UK’s most efficient pumped hydro energy storage project. Established by Balmac Forest, GEE is dedicated to delivering a high-efficiency pumped storage hydro project. 

In 2023, pumped hydro accounted for 0.2% of Great Britain’s electricity. GEE emphasises pumped storage hydro as the most cost-effective and reliable long-duration electricity storage option with the lowest carbon footprint.GEE has made a scoping request to the Scottish Government’s energy consent unit, in collaboration with Aecom, Alpiq, Frontier Economics, and LCP-Delta. 

The project promises a £2 billion investment, creating a minimum of 600 onsite jobs over six years and potentially thousands more in the local supply chain. The project will make use of a 480m height difference between reservoirs to maximise power generation while minimising the impact on Loch Ness water levels. This efficiency could reduce the energy grid’s carbon footprint by 10% and save £2 billion in electricity grid costs.

Green Progress - If plans come to fruition, Loch Ness will be home to a £2BN Hydro Energy facility
If plans come to fruition, Loch Ness will be home to a £2BN Hydro Energy facility

GEE director Roderick MacLeod emphasised Scotland’s leadership in wind power and the significance of pumped storage hydro for energy stability. The project aims to store excess wind power and release it as needed, essentially functioning as a giant water battery.

Keep reading to learn more about other groundbreaking projects and their potential to transform the future of our planet!

Green Progress: Marks & Spencer to Track Single-Use Plastic Recycling

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is launching a new tech pilot to track the recycling of its single-use plastic packaging. The company will collaborate with Polytag, a recycling tech firm, to use invisible UV tags on labels. This will allow M&S to gather real-time data on the collection and sorting of its plastic packaging at recycling centres.

As a founding member of the ‘Polytag Ecotrace Programme,’ M&S will help deploy UV tag detection equipment in selected recycling centres. This equipment will identify M&S’s invisible UV tags, providing unprecedented data on plastic recycling rates.

The pilot aims to provide M&S with a verified benchmark for understanding its plastic packaging recycling rates. This initiative invites FMCG brands and other retailers to join the programme to access detailed data on over 50% of the UK’s household waste recycling stream.

Starting next year, brands will be required to take responsibility for packaging materials as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements come into force, making them liable for recycling costs. Currently, brands have no visibility into what happens to their single-use plastic after disposal.

Green Progress - M & S are pioneering recycling tech to monitor the recycling of single use plastic
M & S are pioneering recycling tech to monitor the recycling of single use plastic

Polytag CEO Alice Rackley emphasises the role of the Ecotrace Programme in solving this problem, demonstrating passion, collaboration, and tangible action.

Green Progress: Wrap Up

These stories highlight the significant progress being made towards sustainability. Diageo’s commitment to achieving net zero at St. James’s Gate, Glen Earrach Energy’s revolutionary hydro project, and M&S’s pioneering recycling tech pilot demonstrate the power of innovative, collective action. 

These inspiring initiatives remind us that we all have a role in combating climate change. By adopting sustainable practices and supporting green technologies, we can drive meaningful change and reap the rewards for our businesses and the planet. 

Join us in making a difference—let’s create a brighter, greener future together.

Play It Green: Empowering Your Sustainability Journey

Ready to take your commitment to sustainability to the next level? With our Climate Positive Workforce, Play It Green stands as your partner in creating positive environmental change. From educational resources on sustainable practices and signposting to sustainable services to initiatives like reforestation, seaforestation and social giving, Play It Green offers a holistic approach to sustainability.

Join us in the journey toward a better world—embrace eco-conscious practices and be a force for positive change in our world. All whilst staying relevant, meeting legislation and aligning with the values of today’s consumers and employees.

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