The Triple Bottom - 🌱 Financial education in the metaverse

Happy Tuesday.  Hope UK readers had a relaxing long weekend. Before diving back into the work inbox, give yourself 4-mins to catch up on the latest sustainability news.

In today's edition: 

🤝  Google team-up with the UN

♻️ Wind turbines getting a new life

🤖 Climate tech needs collaboration

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💼 Big Business (2-minute read)

US plan to build the world's largest hydrogen hub
The US government has issued a conditional commitment of $500mill to support the world’s largest green hydrogen production and storage facility. When it’s complete (planned for 2025) the facility in Utah will increase the global hydrogen storage capacity from 11mill to 13mill barrels, with an aim of driving the fuel into the mainstream.
Energy creator… The project will create 300GW of clean energy to power hydrogen fuel production. Any energy left over from hydrogen production will then be redirected to provide clean energy for local homes (1GW = enough for 750k homes).

Google teams up with the UN for verified climate information
Global search interest in ‘how to be sustainable’ reached an all-time high this year. Now, when users search for “climate change,” they will find authoritative information from the United Nations in 12 languages. Google is also displaying easy-to-understand infographics on the cause and effect of climate change, and individual actions people can take to help tackle the climate crisis = critical to tackling climate misinformation and inspiring action.

Tesco puts pressure on suppliers to drop plastic packaging
According to recent reports, leading UK supermarkets are responsible for creating over 1.2bn plastic bags, with most of these ending up in the ocean. Tesco is accelerating its “4R”  (remove, reduce, reuse, recycle) strategy by informing suppliers they need to move 3x as fast in scrapping plastic from their products.  Initiatives like this help big companies have a ripple effect of boosting sustainability throughout their supply chain.

🤖 Future of Tech (1-minute read)

Fidelity brings gamified education to the metaverse 
Challenge: Youth are facing all-time-high levels of debt (rising student loans and credit card debt), yet financial literacy remains lowest in young adult populations, particularly in students from low-income and minority backgrounds.
Opportunity: Inclusive access to financial education is key to unlocking better futures. Fidelity is seeking to provide this education in the places youth spend time. They just launched Invest Quest metaverse, where users are challenged to traverse a building learning the basics of investing. The gamified experience is just the latest channel Fidelity has targeted to attract young investors - joining their Reddit page and TikTok.

Old wind turbo blades are getting a new lease of life - in cement 
We’ve spoken before about the problem of wind turbines ending up in landfills - with the number expected to exceed 28,000 scrapped blades by 2030. 
A potential solution: Increasingly old blades are being sent to cement factories where they are burned (instead of fossil fuels) to make clinker - a key ingredient in the building material. Burning waste (such as old turbine blades) instead of fossil fuels lower emissions by 27% compared to if the turbines were sent to landfills + reduce the need for other raw materials in cement creation.
Critics say… The incineration of blades contributes to an inherently unsustainable solution, and the focus should be on repurposing or recycling blades.

🤿 Deep Dive (2-minute read)

Why climate action requires collaboration

Developing climate tech is critical for the world’s net-zero agenda, yet for most climate tech, costs are declining too slowly to reduce emissions in line with 2050 targets. Breaking the cost curve will require collaboration seldom seen in other tech and could offer opportunities for competitive advantage.  A few considerations:

  1. Rarely stand-alone: Most climate tech is viable only if other climate technologies are also implemented e.g green hydrogen production relies on renewable energy capacity.
  2. Cooperation = competitive edge: The interdependence of climate tech means scaling requires collaboration (within and between sectors) like The Hydrogen Consortium which connects suppliers, buyers, financial institutions and governments.
  3. First movers: For many decarbonisation challenges, no climate tech has prevailed as a standard. Cooperation can help technology become a solution of choice. SO first-mover advantages may be available to those who organise/join ecosystems early.

TL;DR: The contours of the net-zero economy are still blurry, but waiting for them to become clear could mean missing valuable opportunities. Leaders have a consistent approach to identifying where they might compete and boldly stake out their positions. They do this by leading the formation of collaborative ecosystems to build climate tech markets and shape future policy.

💭 Little Bytes

Quote: “We have to keep our eye on the ball of the socially equitable energy transition. That has to be the long-run objective.” Adam Tooze, Professor of History at the University of Columbia in New York.

Stat: Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower) provided 96.3% of the domestic electrical generating capacity in January and February 2022

Watch: The surprising list of US cities that produce the most renewable energy

🗞 In other news...
  • Permafrost Becoming a Carbon Source Instead of a Sink

  • Burger King pilots reusable ‘clamshell’ packaging for burgers in partnership with Loop

  • Increased focus on the ‘G’ in ‘ESG’ as activist shareholders demand Amazon become more transparent about its tax strategies used to reduce its tax bill.

  • A ‘pac-man’ protein that gobbles up plastic, breaking it down, could open the door to eliminating billions of tonnes of landfill waste.
  • Up to 12,000 toxic or harmful chemicals could soon be banned from use in Europe

💰 The Deal Room
  • Sun King Raises $260 Million in Series D funding to Expand Global Access to Affordable Solar Energy

  • FreeWire Technologies Announces $125 Million Series D Financing to Accelerate Deployment and Development of Next-Gen EV Charging Technology 

  • Sense Closes $105 million Series C with Blue Earth Capital as Lead Investor for its hope energy monitoring tech

  • SWTCH Raises $13 Million to Provide Equitable Access to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Communities Across North America

  • South 8 Technologies Raises $12M to Commercialize Next-Generation Electrolytes for High-Performance Lithium-ion Batteries
🎣 Gone Phishing

3 of these stories are true, 1 is not, can you guess which...

  • Prince Charles backs face masks for cows that could help save the planet 

  • Central Park becomes a climate change ‘lab’

  • Tech that ‘catches’ micro-plastics from tyres as you drive

  • 3D-printed homes for hedgehogs keep them safe from predators
How did you enjoy today's newsletter?
Written by @Ollie and @Colin 

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