Earth Day – #RestoreOurEarth

Both Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries define restore as a way to return something to a previous good condition or position; or “to bring back into use something that has been absent for a period of time”.

But we can only restore something if we acknowledge it has been deteriorated. As mentioned in my first post, Beginning, recent global warming has been caused by Anthropocene’s activity. Although these past 14 months economic activity has dropped deeply, emissions have only dropped slightly as a large amount of activity became digital, accelerating the digital transformation that many organisations were reluctant to join more significantly. As brick-and-mortar shops closed to contain contagium, the transport induced emissions increased due to a higher adoption of Covid-19 safer home deliveries. In some places electric delivery vehicles surged. A good time to show remote workers some of their products were sustainably delivered, but it hasn’t been enough.

As the Earth day approaches and lockdowns started to ease, which action are you taking from Earth’s day onwards to also contribute to #RestoreourEarth? Well, in case you haven’t thought of one, and haven’t become aware of your carbon footprint, I recommend you to use the carbon FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR ( from Henkel, analyse your results. At the end you’ll find your footprint in comparison to the European Average, the Global average and the target carbon footprint, giving you an opportunity to think how much you need to change the unsustainable actions by sustainable ones and influence the people around you. This carbon footprint calculator contributes to a research #Henkel is doing with the aim of providing more sustainable goods in the near future. According to Henkel, the collected information remains anonymous.

Once your awareness has increased, you should consider some new sustainable habits to improve your Carbon footprint. (You may want to watch this 2015’s Nasa video showing a year of Carbon dioxide and monoxide emissions across the globe: NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2 – YouTube).

Remember that to be sustainable means that resources are used efficiently, with reduced extraction and longer usage, allowing future generations to also access and use it. You can do so by:

  • Reusing – stop the single use of all items which don’t convey a health risk.
  • Repairing so it can be used for longer (a good example can be an electric equipment that only needs its engine to be repaired, allowing a longer usage and less plastic or steel to be produced and consequently less GHG emissions released);
  • enable its Reincorporation in other manufacturing processes;
  • Recycling and contributing to a longer lifecycle.

Reduce the resources to be consumed and contribute to restore our planet! Remember that not all food locally produced suggests an adoption of a sustainable production method. Also, bear in mind, that less usage means less extraction, which consequently means less disturbance to ecosystems and higher biodiversity. The latter is at risk of huge loss with subsequent great impact in our wellbeing, if we don’t limit global warming to 1.5º C.


Closing the Loop – Screening the Documentary

About this Event

Closing the Loop, an award winner Circular Economy documentary by Wayne Visser. SustainAbility in Habit founder, Filipa Ferreira will screen Freely this Sunday via Zoom at 15h00 GMT/16h00 CET. It will be followed by a short chat with participants to share thoughts and quick reflections. Documentary lasts 1h30 and chat 30 minutes of discussion.

Watch the Trailer.

Event details will be received once registered. Registration is FREE!

Circular Economy and the Circular Economy Commitment

Circular economy is gaining strength as the linear business models have been proving unsustainable. Increasingly more companies are adopting the Circular business models, with some also signing public Circular Economy commitments. Last week some have done so within the Sustainable Transformation groups. To learn more about Circular Economy and the Circular Economy Commitment you can listen to this podcast where I have interviewed Professor Dr Wayne Visser, a pioneer on Sustainability and Circular Economy research.  

Energy Transition investments

High-voltage electricity transmission lines and poles.
Photo taken by Filipa Ferreira

Global investments in energy transition increased by 9%, reaching over $500 billion in 2020. Although investments in Renewable energy grew by 2% from 2019 levels, the surge stemmed from investments that will enable Electric vehicles to be used in the near future. A record year for EV investments with an 28% surge, as BNEF points out in its Energy Transition Investments Report.

Renewable investments continue to be made in the infinite natural resources of solar irradiation and wind. Investments in Biomass have decreased, showing a better alignment with the Paris Agreement goals and the need to invest in assets that limit global warming to 1.5ºC by 2030.

On the corporate sector, organisations have been also actively taking part in the energy transition, as illustrated in the graphic below, collected by Statista from BNEF data. As it can be observed, signing Paris Agreement has been key in this transition. In 2017 corporate PPA investments surged by 44%, in 2018 by 119% and 2019 by 43%. Geographically, the USA has been leading on corporate PPA’s investments.

Global Corporate PPAs historic investments from 2008 to 2019
Source: Statista and BNEF

Despite all clean energy investments made so far, more are still needed to ensure demand is met by cleaner sources. In 2020, OECD still generated 54.7% of electricity from fossil fuels, data from IEA shows. Renewable generation only grew by 4%. Only OECD data is revealed as at the moment, data from the rest of the world isn’t available.

Economic activity can take its normal course uninterruptedly, if the energy network that sustains it is reliable. Currently, reliability to ensure that security of supply is still an issue, as neither sun nor wind are continuously available or when consumers mostly need it. For example, electricity storage investments in 2020 remained unchanged from 2019, as per BNEF’s report. If there’s capacity to produce but no capacity to store when its cost is lower, an opportunity may be wasted.

To reduce that waste and help balancing the electricity system, options are available. At industrial level, demand response is widely available and G2V-V2G is emerging along with renewable energy installations for self-consumption, as the above graphic shows. On the domestic side, consumers are increasingly installing energy-efficient appliances. BNEF indicates a 12% increase in 2020. Prosumers are also on the rise. But to optimise energy assets, either big or small, professionals will be needed.

International Forest Day

To celebrate the International Forest Day, under the international theme “Forest Restoration, a path to recovery and wellbeing”, the Portuguese Government has decided to offer about 50,000 trees to be planted at citizens and NfP premises. So I’ve decided to do some research and calculate the approximate carbon sequestration those trees offered would have. Do you want to know? Listen to this podcast episode…


The Paris Agreement states that the signatory parties, in recognition of peaking GHG emissions and its contribution to Global warming, should set decarbonisation targets so a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by source and removals by sinks on greenhouse gases” can be reached by the second half of the XXI century.

Carbon capture and storage isn’t commercially developed yet, meaning there isn’t enough capacity created to store the released atmospheric carbon, not to speak about the rest of the GHG. May it be because not enough R&D has been undertaken to understand the cost-efficient technologies to do so. Or studies may be inconclusive regarding the environmental impact of high concentrations of stored GHG emissions in the geological, hence, existent natural sinks.

A balance can be better achieved if emitted GHG are reduced, increasing the abated ones. Energy efficiency is thus imperative, and so is operational efficiency. Efficiency implies improvements in the resources’ usage in comparison to previous operative processes. If less resources are used, then less energy may be needed to achieve the same previous result. It also means less usage of other resources. Given the finite status of many resources, being efficient is paramount. Aren’t you happy when you achieve something with less effort? So is our Planet!

How can your organization achieve Net-Zero targets? Well, to deliberately achieve something you need to depart from a level of awareness. What cannot be identified cannot be consciously improved! If the process of achieving your Net-Zero targets is longer than other organisations, due to higher complexity of your manufacturing process and the corresponding value chain, you can start by setting Carbon Neutral targets to be achieved in the short-term, aiming at achieving Net-Zero at a later moment, but working towards them already. So, your Carbon Neutral goals should be focused to reach Net-Zero.

Figure 1 - A roadmap to Net-Zero. A circular graphical representation with different colours representing the phases and achievments to the end goal, Net-Zero GHG emissions.

Neutralization contributes much more than compensation in limiting Global Warming to the 1.5C. Figure 1, above, illustrates a high-level roadmap to Net-Zero. Starting by knowing your operations, processes, products or services and the value chain is key to determine what GHG emissions need to be known and understand where should be reduced. What can be measured can be improved, right? By knowing your GHG emissions level for scope 1, 2, in addition to 3, for a complete decarbonisation, you can set the base year. Knowing how they can be reduced and the pace allows you to measure the reduction impact and the timeframe. Consequently, the target year, by when Net-Zero should be attained, can be set. Announcing the commitment is important. Your stakeholders will be happy to know the organisation is moving in the right direction, as any good friend is happy for you when you’ve achieved a better stage in your life. Having the right people and tools for implementation is key for the success of this target. You may want people who are purpose driven, those who understand why is important to achieve so at a faster and balanced pace.

Making Peace with Nature

A high-bridge at the Eco-Park in Kuala Lumpur city centre, allows visitors to observe monkeys and its cubs in its habitat.
Eco-Park in Kuala Lumpur by Filipa Ferreira

Who doesn’t love a walk in a nice well-maintained park or forest? Or a walk in a clean beach? Or at the nearest park? Who doesn’t love the fresh air from clean environments? I’m sure the vast majority of human beings love that. So, why has Nature been so damaged by Humanity? Isn’t time to take bolder actions, preserve the environment and restore what has been damaged but still on time to be recovered? Why waiting for an irreversible loss to hypocritically talk about it?

In her opening speech at the 5th UNEP meeting, its executive director Ms Inger Andersen called for a united action of the whole society, driven by UNEP, as its duty to also care for the Planet so harm is contained: “We have to acknowledge that we need an all of society effort to radically change our ways if we are to make peace with the planet and therefore create the environmental conditions so that all of humanity can thrive, now and for generations to come.”

The UNEP report, Peace with Nature, launched last week calls for the urgent need to act on the global and interlinked emergencies of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, so well-being for current and future generations is maintained, justice delivered and poverty eradicated.

“…our war on nature has left the planet broken”.

Mr Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, on the forward for the Peace with Nature report

Climate change consequences on increased extreme weather events leads to sea level rise, biodiversity loss as reduction of coastal wetlands (which can be reduced [20%; 90%] depending on sea level rise), land degradation, pollinators loss, agricultural underproduction, or zoonotic diseases amongst other consequences that affect Health, the food system and well-being in general. For example, the loss of pollinators is expected to cause an annual drop on food production valued between [$234; $577] billion. So, why do we keep killing bees?

If we do not get on top of the three planetary crises, and quickly, the planet will warm and nature wither. Many more will suffer.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive director
on the probability of further zoonotic diseases, as Covid-19
Continue reading “Making Peace with Nature”

FMCG industry – is the therapy worth?

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Industry market had a value of $10 trillion in 2017 and is expected to reach over $15 trillion in 2025, according to a research done by Allied Market. It’s a reflection of modern society, where uncontrolled consumption is seen a retail therapy and a way to happiness, although short-lived.

So many citizens have embarked in this snow ball that natural resources have been depleted as business models, in its large majority, were linear instead of circular. Not long ago, some film directors raised the issue by producing some films in a call for our attention to the unsustainable minerals’ extraction, in certain parts of our Planet. Notwithstanding, demand for those minerals have not stopped, nor its traffic.

In that same report, food & beverage represented approximately 89% of the FMCG market. Geographically, the USA, Canada, China and India are the top 4 markets for this industry.

Continue reading “FMCG industry – is the therapy worth?”

The Fashion Industry

Creativity and Glamour. Two words immediately associated with the fashion industry. They are also important for a brand to thrive. However, regarding sustainability the industry is short of creativity. Despite the increasingly number of great small initiatives on developing new fibres from sustainable sources such as recycled plastic, banana leaves or recycled garments, responsible production it’s still in its infancy.

couple image for a fashion advert
Photo by Nadezhda Diskant on

Fashion industry generates 10% of global GHG emissions, more than international flights and maritime transport, according to the UN Environment. Regarding water usage, another scarce resource, it is reported as only second to the agriculture industry. UN Environment also reports that currently, humans buy 60% more than 15 years ago keeping garments for 50% less than before. What it remains to be seen is the cause of such drop. Is it due to a reduction in quality? Or to the desire to be seen as fashionable the fashion industry has triggered in consumers? The increased success of fast-fashion retailers in the last decades suggests that many consumers want to be seen as fashionable at an affordable price. Perhaps in the quest of acceptance in a society whose values weren’t sustainable.

fashionable woman after retail therapy
Photo by on
Continue reading “The Fashion Industry”

Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

The Cambridge dictionary defines fossil fuels as “fuels, such as gas, coal, and oil, that were formed underground from plant and animal remains millions of years ago”. Any fossil fuel is composed of hydrocarbons, hydrogen and carbon.

For many decades, humans have been using fossil fuels for many purposes as heating, travelling, clothe themselves, manufacturing or to produce electricity that sustained most of the economic activity. As illustrated in the Oil refining tower infographic below, oil by-products are obtained in the refining process of crude oil barrels. The first by-product from the refining process is bitumen, which is mainly used to asphalt roads, so we can easily circulate through it with our means of transport. The latter use other by-products such as Gas Oils or Naftas. Naftas are also used in many fibres, which once transformed make many consumers happy with the new clothes or the plastic components used in many gadgets, tools or other products. These are so present in our daily life that with our current lifestyle and the current technological developments, would be very challenging to live without them. Fuel Oils are often used not only by maritime transport but also in waxes or oils that once transformed make our homes smell better. What would be of the barbecues or camping cooking if LPG wasn’t made available? The lifestyle of many has been hugely sustained by fossil fuels.

Oil refining tower with its by-products and examples of respectve purposes.
Edited from Wermac and Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence’s illustration
Continue reading “Fossil Fuels”