• FutureTrack

This Week in Sustainability News 14.10

This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.


California to convert ocean water into drinking water amid devastating draughts

  • California’s Coastal Commission has approved a $140 million desalination plant that will convert seawater into drinking water. The decision is a response to the drought in California, considered to be the most severe drought in the American West in 1200 years.

  • The plant will produce 5 million gallons of drinking water per day, which is enough to supply about 40,000 people.

  • The desalination plant will allow the South Coast Water District to reduce its reliance on water supplies from the Colorado River, which has been affected by the recent droughts.

  • Some environmental activists have raised concerns about the impact the desalination project might have on marine life and the amount of energy necessary to pump ocean water through osmosis filters. However, the Coastal Commission has conducted an assessment that concluded that the plant minimizes potential harmful effects.

  • The project is expected to serve as an example for other drought-suffering regions along the coast where similar desalination plants might be feasible.


WWF Report: The world's wildlife populations have declined by 69% since 1970

  • The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has released a report which reveals that various human activities, such as cleaning of forests, have caused a serious drop in the world wildlife populations.

  • The report findings are based on data on the status of 32,000 wildlife populations across 5,000 species.

  • WWF indicates that the main drivers of the decline are deforestation, human exploitation, pollution, and climate change.

  • The report states that wildlife populations in some regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, have experienced a staggering 94% decline.

  • According to the WWF’s previous assessment published in 2020, wildlife population sizes are declining at a rate of 2.5% per year.

  • WWF’s regional director for Africa, Alice Ruhweza, has called on the international community and developed nations to provide financial support for global conservation efforts.


Investigation reveals that the chicken found in British supermarkets has links to the deforested land in Amazon

  • A joint investigation between Reporter Brasil and Ecostorm has found that poultry found in British supermarkets has been fed with soy and corn grown on the deforested land of the Amazon.

  • The report claims that chicken produced by the American company JBS has clear links to the deforested areas in the Amazon and the Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna region in Brazil.

  • JBS is one of the biggest meat-producing firms. It exports chicken, pork, and beef to numerous companies around the world, including in Europe and China.

  • The UK has imported $500m of products sold by Seara, a subsidiary of JBS, over the past three years.

  • The UK-based customers of Seara’s products include wholesalers and food processing companies that supply supermarkets, schools, hospitals, and care homes.

  • The study asserts that it is the first time clear links have been found between poultry exported to the UK from Brazil and the process of deforestation.


The UK government is asking businesses and local governments for feedback on its net-zero strategy

  • The government has commenced its net-zero review, which will investigate whether its approach to net zero is “pro-business and pro-growth”.

  • The review will also look into whether a net-zero economy can support UK energy security and energy affordability for consumers. It is supposed to make sure that the “economic opportunities presented by net zero” are not overlooked.

  • As part of the review, the government has reached out to various groups of stakeholders, such as businesses, local governments, and academia, to ask for feedback on their challenges to decarbonization and to find out where they might need support in transitioning towards sustainability.

  • The review questionnaire has been divided into sections directed at different stakeholder groups. The section designed for businesses asks for insights on the impact of decarbonization on businesses, challenges to transferring towards renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies, and the impact of decarbonization.

  • The deadline for submission is the 27th of October.