Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Turning the Tide: Your 101 to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and meet the beer made from recycled shower water.
Featuring Epic Cleantec, St Austell Brewery Alpkit, Finisterre and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: Your MPA 101: Missed targets, efficacy debates and how your brand can dive in.
Brand Spotlight: Raising the bar: Would you drink Epic One Water Brew?
In case you missed it: 🌱 Diving In: Your Blue Carbon 101, and Alpkit's 'Continuum' wetsuit recycling scheme with Circular Flow.
> Good News From The Last Two Weeks
🎯 Atomo Coffee introduced the world’s first beanless espresso at the New York Coffee festival. They use superfoods and upcycled ingredients like date seeds, lemon and sunflower seeds. The ingredients include date pits that might otherwise be burned or thrown away and caffeine left over from decaffeinated green tea, all locally sourced.
🎯 St Austell Brewery has become the first pub company to partner with Olio. This enables them to reduce our food waste in their managed pubs by re-distributing whatever’s left at the end of each day to nearby residents. Once fully rolled out across the company’s managed pub estate, it’s expected that almost 15,000 portions of food will be donated in a year and provide food for 342 local families across the South West.
⭐️ White Stuff announced their partnership with Thrift+ to set up their Pre-Loved Store, where consumers can send in their pre-loved items to be resold.
⭐️ Tony Chocolonely and Aldi pledged that they aim to increase its rates paid to cocoa farmers in key sourcing locations in Ghana and Ivory Coast. It will continue to pay a ‘Living Income Reference Price’ (LIRP) for crops in a bid to help move farmers out of poverty and enable a viable wage.
⭐️ eBay UK have partnered with WRAP to establish the Circular Change Council which aim to increase the circularity of homeware and furniture. The council will work on both raising consumer awareness about homeware circularity and with companies to employ circular business models. So far, Ikea UK&IE, Sainsbury’s, Dunelm, the British Heart Foundation and British Retail Consortium have joined the council.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Your MPA 101: Missed targets, efficacy debates and how your brand can dive in.
In our mission to safeguard our oceans, it’s crucial to understand the impact of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Currently just 6.6% of the ocean is protected, with just 2.9% of this counting as ‘fully protected’. Only 2.2% of the ocean is currently identified as a ‘proposed’ MPA area, despite targets for 30% by 2030. Not familiar with MPAs, our global targets or how your brand can take action? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered…
What are, and where are, MPAs?
IUCN MPA definition: A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. MPAs have specific categories, ranging from Strict Nature Reserves (Category Ia) to Sustainable Use Areas (Category VI), each with defined goals.
MPAs are truly global - jump into this interactive atlas to see where they are. As of early 2020, the 5 countries that have coastal and ocean domains greater than 10,000km and the largest MPA coverage are as follows: Palau, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Brazil. In England alone, there are 178 MPAs, covering 51% of inshore and 37% of offshore waters (which we now have more freedom to protect since leaving the EU). These areas sustain fish populations, support tourism, offer recreational benefits, and enhance human wellbeing.
What targets do we have, and are we meeting them?
Spoiler alert: no! With just 2.9% of this counting as ‘fully protected’, we’re falling seriously short of both:
The 2010 Aichi Biodiversity Targets to conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas (alongside 17% of terrestrial and inland water) by 2020.
You guessed it - 2020 came and went and, according to a report by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), not a single target was reached. There are many reasons for this, but the failure to find conservation efforts and the inability to track and report environmental data were two key ones.
The 2022 30 by 30 treaty which aims to place 30% of the global ocean under protection through MPAs and Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) by 2030.
The upside? Biodiversity financing from all sources (governments, private sector etc) promises to be $200 billion a year by 2030, with at least $20 billion per year by 2025 and then $30 billion per year by 2030 flowing into poorer countries from wealthier nations.
The downside? The financial commitments are not legally binding.
We can’t forget the UN High Seas Treaty, the ‘first international legally binding instrument to conserve and sustainably manage marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction’ - which will play a big role in achieving the 30 by 30 initiative. This aims to stop unregulated exploitation of oceans through MPAs, limiting fishing, shipping lane routes, deep sea mining and more. Coming onto the sea-n in March of this year, this promises to create a body to manage conservation and establish marine protected areas in the high seas (64% of the sea outside national exclusive economic zones), endorsing environmental impact assessments before commercial activity but not regulating overfishing itself (that’s managed by international organisations like ICCAAT instead).
Hold up - are MPAs even effective?
As always, opinions differ. As an overview - here are some key issues that persist:
1. Location: Some areas may not adequately protect key habitats or species, and the selection of MPA locations can be influenced by political rather than ecological considerations.
2. Size and Connectivity: MPAs are often too small to be effective in protecting species with large home ranges or migratory patterns. Connectivity between different MPAs is crucial for allowing species to move and ensuring genetic diversity, but this is often lacking.
3. Enforcement and Compliance: Many MPAs suffer from weak enforcement and compliance measures. Illegal fishing, poaching, and other activities can still occur within these areas due to limited resources, corruption, or lack of political will.
4. Resource Conflicts: MPAs can lead to conflicts between conservation goals and the interests of local communities dependent on marine resources for their livelihoods. Balancing conservation with sustainable resource use is a complex challenge. Limited stakeholder engagement between locals, fishing industries can lead to non compliance.
5. Limited Scientific Data: In many regions, there is insufficient scientific data on marine ecosystems, making it challenging to establish baseline conditions, set conservation targets, and evaluate the effectiveness of MPAs.
6. Lack of Funding: Many MPAs lack adequate funding for management, monitoring, and research. This can hinder their ability to effectively protect and conserve marine environments. Political and economic pressures can lead to relaxation of regulations and degradation of protected areas over time.
A step in the right direction, it’s important to be aware of these shortcomings when understanding the roll-out of MPAs globally, and the role your brand can play too.
Finally, how can your brand support?
Unless you’re round the table at UN conferences, it can feel like pushing for progress is outside of your ability. However, there are alternate routes to support marine conservation…
Blue Carbon Credits: Blue carbon initiatives offer financial prospects - read our recent 101 on how your brand can follow in the footprints of others like Finisterre and Seasalt.
Track Sustainable Sourcing: Commit to sourcing raw materials such as seafood, palm oil, and paper products sustainably, reducing the impact on marine ecosystems and supporting responsible fishing practices. Do your research on where your ingredients are sourced from, and if there’s risk that they’re infringing on MPAs.
Education and Awareness: Raise awareness among your consumers about MPAs, targets and ways to advocate for their presence in policy. The Marine Conservation Society has great information on campaigns you can get behind.
Support Conservation Organizations: Collaborate and donate to NGOs and conservation groups working towards marine protection, and utilise their resources. Again, the Marine Conservation Society has very clear step-by-steps, and Regeneration has a fantastic list of different ways to take next steps. Two more leading UK-focused non-profits are Blue Marine Foundation and Blue Ventures.
This isn’t an exhaustive list (jump here if you want that), but education is always the first step. If your brand is tackling water scarcity and supporting MPAs / ocean conservation, get in touch - we’d love to feature your journey, no matter how early.
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> Brand Spotlight
Raising the bar: Would you drink Epic One Water Brew?
“The waste in wastewater isn’t waste at all.” Aaron Taratovsky, Epic Cleantec.
US startup Epic Cleantec are working towards a circular approach to water. Focusing on the reuse of wastewater onsite, to recover the water, nutrients, energy and carbon and shifting the paradigm of water treatment to an endlessly renewable supply.
Having identified that the conventional approach to infrastructure is strained to its breaking point, the sustainable management of water and wastewater is one of the great challenges of our time, with 70% of the world likely to live in cities by 2050. Backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, their vision is for a future where access to clean water and reliable sanitation is a fixture in every urban and rural community around the world.
Their water treatment and reuse systems create three sustainable outputs using wastewater from buildings:
Recycled water for non-portable applications
The clean water ready for reuse is circulated back into the building for non-drinking purposes like toilet flushing and laundry.
Recovered energy from wastewater heat
The heat is reused within the building to preheat hot water supplies.
High quality soil amendments
The soil products are used for gardening.
What is greywater and what is greywater recycling?
All wastewater generated in buildings from streams without fecal contamination i.e. all except from toilets. Greywater recycling is the treatment of the wastewater form appliances such as showers, baths and sinks, to be re-used and fed back into the property for non-portable purposes such as toilet flushing. Epic Cleantec claim that their recycled water is often even cleaner that many sources of water we commonly consume. Encouraging businesses towards resiliency through water conservation, Epic Cleantec partner with a range of businesses including breweries, wineries and distilleries to prove this and put wastewater back into the water system.
Introducing: Epic One Water Brew
While many businesses are embracing circular water systems to utilise wastewater, Epic Cleantec identified that the public perception of wastewater is that it is of lesser quality. The opportunity to tackle this presented itself in September 2022, with Greenbuild (the largest sustainable building conference in the US) landing on their doorstep in September. Epic Cleantec partnered with Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company and Fifteen Fifty - a high-rise apartment building in San Francisco that has a greywater reuse system that can recycle 7,500 gallons of water per day - to create their own beer just for the event. You can watch the process here.
How did they make this happen? Epic Cleantec transported over 2,000 gallons of recycled water from the Fifteen Fifty to Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co, where it was transformed over two weeks into an ale, which was then repackaged and distributed at the conference. While the beer legally cannot be sold, it acts as an education tool, and was even given a special mention by TIME as one of the best inventions of 2023.
The high-intensity water use within processing in the beverage industry puts it at threat of future water scarcity. Long-term solutions are fundamental for strengthening resilience, while having added financial and environmental benefits too. Step by step Epic Cleantec are proving this, creating an opportunity for other businesses to work with them, learn from them and in turn take the ‘waste’ out of their own ‘wastewater’.
Take a closer look at Epic One Water Brew:
> In case you missed it
🌱 Diving In: Your Blue Carbon 101, and Alpkit's 'Continuum' wetsuit recycling scheme with Circular Flow.
Featuring Finisterre, Seasalt Cornwall, Moon Juice, Alpkit and more...
> Follow up with…
Documentary: ‘Our Planet - Coastal Seas’