shein fashion

shein fashion

Today’s hippest teen-brand Shein fashion is growing rapidly – and its internet-based recipe for success is top secret. Still, Chinese researchers working on behalf of Public Eye managed to visit some of Shein’s suppliers in Guangzhou, where conditions of production violate numerous state labor laws. The trip inside the ultra-fast fashion leader also leads to the European logistics center in Belgium, where precarious working conditions are also a daily occurrence.

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sustainable fashion

sustainable fashion

With 65% of consumers saying that they care about the environment, a mere 15% are actually buying sustainable fashion. The good news is that research finds that will change for the better. At least, again that’s what consumers say.

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elephant in Namibia

endangered elephants in Namibia

In March 2022, a group of endangered elephants from the wild in Namibia landed in the UAE. The sale served to simulate an African safari experience in Emirati zoos. No benefits for the animals and Namibian locals are observed, and international protocols were violated.

Initially captured from their natural habitat in Kamanjab, north-western Namibia in early September 2021, these African elephants — an endangered species — spent six months in quarantine captivity. They were heavily sedated before being loaded into shipping containers, onto a plane, and transferred to their final destinations: the Sharjah Safari Park and Abu Dhabi’s Al-Ain Zoo. That was revealed by an exclusive investigation by The New Arab.

For the fun of Emirati

For Emirati rulers, the tourism-driven African theme of their wildlife parks apparently mattered more than the success of breeding programs. It was made clear to Al-Ain Zoo Director Mark Craig that there were no imports from Africa with a European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)-accredited breeding program because past ones had not been successful. Arne Lawrenz, the EAZA Ex-situ Programme (EEP) coordinator for elephants, described the “philosophy” of the Emirati zoos as “I got the money, I want to have it. I don’t care if that works.” The outcome was a lucrative deal finalized through middlemen rather than a non-commercial exchange between zoos.

After months of back and forth between The New Arab and EAZA officials, during which TNA shared the information it obtained and questioned the role of the European association’s members in the elephant sale, the EAZA decided to terminate the Al-Ain Zoo’s membership on September 15. John Grobler, a Namibian journalist involved in this investigation, is planning to draw on this exposé to call for sanctions against Namibia at the CITES CoP 19 meeting in November, which is considered the world’s most important annual summit on wildlife trade.

Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth most lucrative illicit trade, worth an estimated USD 15 billion annually. Is this a case of illegal elephant trafficking? This exclusive investigation sheds light on the involvement of shadowy intermediaries, the violation of international conventions on endangered species, the mistreatment of elephants, and the lack of long-term benefits for conservation or the African communities affected by their presence.

Namibia claims endangered elephants are sold legally

Namibia has defended its sale of 22 wild endangered elephants to a zoo in the United Arab Emirates as legal and needed to prevent human-wildlife conflict. But conservationists call it a legal loophole and excuse to make money. That was reported by VOA.

The chief of Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism described the sale as a private transaction, between buyer and seller, which could not be influenced by the Namibian government.

Speaking at a press briefing, Teofilus Nghitila said the transaction is lawful and in accordance with CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Michele Pickover is executive director of an animal welfare group, the EMS Foundation. She told VOA that Namibian authorities are being disingenuous by citing Article Three of the CITES, which deals with the export of endangered species from their natural habitats.

Pickover further said a legal opinion from the foundation’s attorneys said the transaction is illegal and that the main motivating factor for the export of the elephants is not to manage human-wildlife conflict but to make a profit.



fairphone phones

A recent study, conducted by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, confirms Fairphone’s key message that smartphones should be kept in use for as long as possible. In three different scenarios, the researchers project that using a smartphone for five instead of three years could reduce the phone’s annual carbon footprint by 31%. When used for seven years (including two battery replacements), the emissions per year even dropped by 44%.

The report also validates the assumption that replacing or repairing parts of the phone significantly reduces the environmental impact, since the lion’s share of emissions and finite resource consumption occurs during production. To facilitate repair, the Fairphone 4 consists of eight modules, including the battery, the cameras and the charging port, that can easily be replaced by users. With the exception of the core, the report shows that such replacements to repair the phone pay off quickly.

Repairing phones

Repairing single modules to then reuse them, however, holds little advantage over simple replacement for most modules. The emissions created by producing the spare parts, packaging and shipping them to the user, or sending the device to a repair center are then theoretically compensated after just a few weeks of additional use of the repaired device. On top of that, the additional connecting parts enabling the phone’s modularity hardly cause additional impact on the environment, a significant improvement compared to earlier Fairphone models.

The researchers estimate the total contribution of the device to global warming at 43 kilogram CO2 eq. and therefore at 4 kilos higher than Fairphone 3. The study attributes this difference mostly to the increased functionality of the newer model, as well as to a higher proportion of shipping by air during Covid-19 and the chipset crisis. For the first time, the Life Cycle Assessment also analyzes the impact of the accessories available for the phone, including charging cables and plug, wireless earbuds, protective cases and a screwdriver.

The full report can be found here.

Thea Kleinmagd, Circular Material Chains Innovator, comments “The ‘smarter’ the phone, the higher its impact. Given that the chips in Fairphone 4 are a big step forward when it comes to performance, it is no surprise that the carbon footprint is slightly larger than the one of Fairphone 3. However, we are happy to see that the report confirms that Fairphone is on the right track: The best way to reduce the impact a phone has on the environment is to make sure that it can be used for as long as possible. Parts that can be easily replaced or repaired allow this – which helps to minimize the phone’s effects on people and the planet.”

About Fairphone

Pioneering more sustainable ways to make smartphones. The latest device, Fairphone 4, is described with the tagline ‘Sustainable. Long-lasting. Fair.’ Fairphone 4 offers an unprecedented 5-year warranty*, is a unique electronic waste-neutral handset and contains fairly sourced materials, challenging the electronics industry to take a more responsible approach. It is the only smartphone on the market certified with the German eco-label Blue Angel and TCO Certified (for sustainable IT products).

  • 5G and dual SIM
  • Modular design for easy repair
  • 5-year warranty* for maximum longevity
  • 48MP dual rear cameras with supporting sensor and 25MP selfie camera

About Fraunhofer IZM

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization. With its focus on developing key technologies that are vital for the future and enabling the commercial exploitation of this work by business and industry, Fraunhofer plays a central role in the innovation process. As a pioneer and catalyst for groundbreaking developments and scientific excellence, Fraunhofer helps shape society now and in the future. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research institutions throughout Germany. The majority of the organization’s 30,000 employees are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of 2.9 billion euros. Of this sum, 2.5 billion euros are generated through contract research.

Invisible – but indispensable

Nothing works without highly integrated microelectronics and microsystems technology. The basis for their integration into products is the availability of reliable and cost-effective packaging and interconnection technologies. Fraunhofer IZM, a world leader in the development and reliability assessment of electronic packaging technologies, provides its customers with customized system integration technologies at wafer, chip and board level. Research at Fraunhofer IZM also means making electronics more reliable and providing its customers with reliable information on the durability of the electronics.

heat pump

heat pumps

Green, effective, and convenient: renewable heating can be a way to do good by you as well as the planet. The latest consumer analysis from Coolproducts shows that the switch to heat pumps is keeping 85% of European users well within their comfort zones –  physically, financially, and environmentally.

When we talk about renewable heating, we speak of heat pumps and solar thermal heating, both of which are among the best technologies readily available for heating decarbonisation, with rising popularity in the European market in recent years. Despite this, the transition to heat pump solutions has been crawling due to the lack of incentives, information, and doubts among potential consumers about the comfort that heat pump technology can bring to their lives.

However, while lack of information and incentives are true, lack of comfort has not been an issue with heat pump users. In fact, the majority of users are satisfied with their switch to heat pumps, both for their wallets and their home life: these are the findings of a recent study by Coolproducts, based on the experience of over 670 surveyed and 40 interviewed heat pump users across 22 countries.

Warming up to renewable energy from heat pumps

Regardless of weather conditions, house type and motivations, 88% of respondents are happy with their switch to heat pumps.

The study highlights that heat pumps can deliver the same, if not more (according to 81% of respondents), comfort than gas/oil boilers. Moreover, the mighty heat pump is no one trick pony and doubles as an effective cooling system by pumping out the heat during hot summer days.

While many respondents were environmentally motivated in their switch to heat pumps and break away from fossil fuel or gas boilers (especially in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK), many users also made the switch to reduce their energy bills, and to reduce the hassle with traditional heating (e.g. getting rid of the oil or biomass supply).

The operating cost has not changed much for most regions, including in colder climates. 64% of respondents found that the switch to heat pump has even found it more economical. In cases of slightly higher running costs, the impact of prices on comfort and satisfaction was low. With gas prices more than quadrupled since last year, switching off the gas boilers for a heat pump unit might even be financially wise, and any government interested in breaking gas dependency and solving energy poverty should be warming up to the electric solution.

Get policy makers in the hot seat

The European Commission estimates that the EU should reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 60% to reach the EU’s 2030 climate target.

Renewable heating, together with building renovation and energy efficiency measures, are currently the best-positioned climate solution to deliver these goals on time. At the EU level, a standard family switching from a gas boiler to renewable heating can save more than 60% of the annual CO2 emissions, according to Coolproducts.

Comfortable, decent running costs, and environmentally friendly heat pumps are holding all the keys to being the heating (and cooling) solution of the future. However, the biggest barrier remains the upfront cost and lacking support from governments. A 2021 study reveals that switching to renewable heating is only affordable in 8 EU countries. Major leaps in policies are needed urgently to keep Europe on track with its environmental and geopolitical strategies, starting with the humble but powerful heat pump.

First and foremost, to make heat pump affordable for everyone, Member States must increase subsidies by at least €70 billion, an extra mile that could be reduced to €20 billion if a CO2 tax of 100 €/ton was introduced, as estimated by a recent study on behalf of the Coolproducts campaign.

Secondly, the (green) power lies in information. Users across Europe should know more about the mighty heat pump, and the role it can play in the environmental and energy crises we face. Qualified services should be in place, and heating and cooling experts should be equipped with the knowledge as well.

Finally, there should be more information campaigns on national subsidies, tax credits, soft loans, and special electricity tariffs to homeowners.

Switching to renewable heating is inevitable, and we have the solution on our hands. It is now time to turn up the heat on policy makers and demand a green energy transition for all.

Source: EEB / Meta

lightyear one

lightyear one

Lightyear, the solar electric vehicle pioneer, has achieved a major technology performance milestone by driving 710 km of range with its prototype car. Never before has an electric vehicle driven such a long-range on a relatively small battery.

“After four years of hard work and in-house development, this is a very important engineering and technological milestone. It validates the performance of our patented technology and truly shows that we are able to deliver on our promise to introduce the most efficient electric vehicle. This prototype has over 710 km of range with an energy consumption of only 85 Wh/km at 85 km per hour. Even the most efficient electric cars in the market today consume around 50% more energy at this relatively low speed”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear.

“This milestone is a great confirmation of the scalability of our business model. We are confident that in the coming months, we will be able to reach a similar level of energy consumption at highway speed. Lowering the energy consumption per mile of an EV means that you can provide a lot of range on a small battery. Because batteries are the most expensive part of an EV, you can lower the purchase price of the car and achieve affordable electric cars with a lot of range that don’t need a lot of charging. Low-energy consuming cars can also benefit a lot more from adding solar cells to the car and gain about 72 km of charge on a sunny day.”

The prototype car was put to the test at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany, to drive a full drive cycle at a speed of 85 km per hour on a single battery charge of 60 kWh. The integral test ranged from the yield of the solar panels, the battery performance, the energy consumption of the cooling system, all the way to the functioning of the in-wheel motors and the software operating the solar car.

The conducted full drive cycle test is a crucial step to verify and validate all the assumptions of the vehicle’s performance. Beyond the validation of the technical performance of the car, other upcoming tests are related to the homologation process such as the crash tests and an official WLTP drive cycle test.

Lightyear is on a mission to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere, and is gearing up for the industrialisation and manufacturing of Lightyear One. The concept of a long-range solar car represents a huge opportunity to change mobility, so you can drive for months without charging. An exclusive series of 946 Lightyear One’s will go into production in the first half of 2022. Lightyear wants to address the mass market starting from 2024.


Lightyear is on a mission to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere and aims to eliminate the two biggest concerns for an electric car – charging and range – with an energy-efficient design and integrated solar cells. This allows motorists, depending on the climate, to drive up to twenty thousand kilometres per year on the power of the sun. The fast-growing company was founded in 2016 and currently employs more than two hundred employees. The team is made up of a mix of young talent and experience from the automotive industry, including former employees of Tesla, Jaguar, Landrover, Audi, McLaren and Ferrari. In 2019, Lightyear received the Horizon 2020 grant from the European Commission under grant agreement number 848620. In the summer of 2019, Lightyear launched its first driving prototype, Lightyear One, and opened a new office. The prestigious TIME Magazine acknowledged Lightyear One as one of the ‘100 best inventions’ of 2019. In 2020, Lightyear won the ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Most Disruptive Innovator’ Award of the Technology Fast 50 program organized by Deloitte. The first model of Lightyear One will go into production in 2022 as an exclusive series of 946 cars.

sustainable travel sweden

sustainable travel sweden

66.4% of consumers globally want to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021, according to a new report ‘Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism’, released by global market research company Euromonitor International.

According to the report, Scandinavia is leading by example in its engagement and progress towards sustainable travel, with Sweden ranked first, followed by Finland, Austria, Estonia, and Norway. These findings extracted from the new Sustainable Travel Index, developed by Euromonitor International, assess 99 country destinations through the lens of environmental, social and economic sustainability, country risk as well as sustainable tourism demand, transport and lodging.

“Sweden is a pioneer in lifecycle assessment research which is critical to understand the full impact of consumer behaviour and consumption patterns,” analyses Caroline Bremner, head of travel at Euromonitor International. The country is highly engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals and preserves the Arctic ice and permafrost to help stop climate change, aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

Other countries also show good progress in sustainable transport and lodging. Just outside the top 20 – featuring other European countries for the most part, such as Germany and France – we find New Zealand, Bolivia and Canada.

“There is globally a clear change in mindset and resistance in returning to a volume-driven travel and tourism model. Instead, stakeholders are rallying together to ‘build back better’ through value creation from sustainable tourism. As momentum grows in the run up to COP26, consumers, travel brands, destination marketing organisations and governments continue to align to avert the climate emergency,” concludes Bremner.

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence, market analysis and consumer insights. From local to global and tactical to strategic, our research solutions support decisions on how, where and when to grow your business. Find the right report, database or custom solution to validate priorities, redirect assumptions and uncover new opportunities. With offices around the world, analysts in over 100 countries, the latest data science techniques and market research on every key trend and driver, we help you make sense of global markets.

Fotocredits: Martin Edström, Visit Sweden



An electric boat that runs virtually endlessly on solar power –  that’s the dream that’s been driving David and Alex Borton for the last 17 years. Since 2004, the father-and-son team has been working to fulfil their vision, building several custom, patented, solar-electric boats under the brand name of Solar Sal.

This summer, the two of them completed what they believe to be the first-ever solar-electric boat voyage from Bellingham, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska.

They departed on Tuesday, 25 May, in their 27-ft wooden hull solar boat Wayward Sun and made landfall at Ketchikan, Alaska, 13 June, then continued up the coast at a more leisurely pace to Glacier Bay and Juneau, concluding the voyage on 8 July.

The electric boat is powered 100 per cent by solar energy with no fossil-fuel combustion engine at all on board. “People always ask us if we have any gas or diesel back up,” said Alex Borton, “but the sun rises every day. If our batteries get too low, we just wait.”

Wayward Sun, built by Devlin Boat in Olympia, WA, is propelled by a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 electric pod drive with six Torqeedo Power 24-3500 lithium batteries.  There is a separate 12-volt system for lights, electronics and other DC-powered systems and an inverter for occasional AC loads, like making waffles. The batteries are charged from a 1700-Watt array of solar cells on the boat’s rooftop.

Better than expected

“The solar-electric system has more than exceeded our expectations,” said Alex Borton. “During the 45-day passage from Bellingham to Glacier Bay to Juneau, we were underway for 38 days. We averaged 32 nautical miles per day at an average speed of 3.7 knots. While some days we stopped early or left late because of weather, there were only two full days we didn’t travel at all due to high winds or dense fog.

“Even on a completely overcast day this time of year, we can travel at 2-3 knots during daylight hours without drawing on our batteries at all,” Borton said. “With direct sunlight, we can do 5 knots or more all day without any battery use. Most of the trip was overcast and it rained a lot. Some days we travelled slowly because we had to; other days we travelled slowly and charged the batteries while underway.”

No limits

“Most electric boats on the market today are limited by their battery capacity, which means they have to return to shore power to charge,” explained Borton. “Until recently, solar panels and batteries were just not capable of severing the tie to shore power, so it was only functional for extending range or for partial charging. But now, thanks to advances in solar cells and Torqeedo’s efficient electric drives and high-capacity batteries, it’s possible to produce a solar boat with reasonable speeds and accommodation that can continuously cruise without ever charging from the shore. If I had more time I would keep going for another 1000 miles.”

They navigated from Bellingham to Ketchikan using the inside passage, anchoring at night since they were not permitted to go ashore in British Columbia due to Canadian Covid-19 travel restrictions. “That was no problem for us,” said Borton. “We had lots of food, a cosy cuddy for sleeping below deck. And, of course, our solar boat doesn’t need refuelling.”

“This is an important validation of state-of-the-art solar-electric boat propulsion technology, and we have enjoyed following their daily progress on their blog,” said Mary Jo Reinhart, director of OEM and retail sales, Torqeedo, Inc.

You can see the progress reports with photos and video clips from Wayward Sun’s epic voyage at

green lahti

green lahti

The carbon-neutral symphony orchestra of Lahti has played a piece titled “ICE” to endangered coastal cities. The piece can be heard only in places threatened by climate change and rising sea levels.

If climate change is not curbed, rising sea levels threaten to drown several coastal cities by 2050 and 2100. The problem is global and affects many cities from Jakarta and Sydney to New York.

That’s why the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital 2021, has donated a piece to the world to remind us of the dangers of climate change. The piece, titled “ICE” has been composed by Cecilia Damström and is performed by the world’s first carbon-neutral symphony orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dalia Stasevksa.

“ICE” is a part of Lahti’s European Green Capital year 2021 programme, as Lahti is the first city from Finland to be awarded the honorary title.

The piece can be listened to only in the 100 most endangered cities across the world, on the site based on your browser’s IP address.

In “ICE” the Earth fights for its existence through each beat

The 10-minute piece starts with a peaceful harp melody which intensifies quickly. As the song continues, powerful rhythms with contrasting harmonies can be heard: the piece sounds like our planet is fighting for its existence.

– Through this piece I wanted to express how global warming as well as the collapse of ecosystems is destroying the Earth’s beautiful glaciers. The heart of the Earth is fighting for its existence through each beat, says the composer Cecilia Damström.

The title “ICE” refers to the In Case of Emergency emergency tag. The piece ends with a glimpse of hope: during the last seconds, the harp heard at the beginning can be heard again; finally, a small bell rings as a reminder that there is still a chance to influence the future.

Lahti carbon neutrality target for 2025

In the city of Lahti, the European Green Capital of 2021, multiple actions have been taken to cut emissions from energy production, transport, housing, and other consumption to combat climate change.

– The climate is in an undeniable state of emergency. The role of European cities in halting climate change is significant; slowing down climate change requires rapid action and commitment to carbon neutrality targets. That is why Lahti has set its carbon neutrality targets for 2025, says Mayor of Lahti Pekka Timonen.

You can listen to “ICE” from here.

Behaving environmentally responsible makes people feel happy. That is the outcome of research by the Dutch Groningen University. 

While it is often suggested that individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors may be linked with their subjective wellbeing, the strength and direction (e.g. positive or negative) of this relation is unclear. Because pro-environmental behaviors impact peoples’ everyday lives, understanding this relation is critical for promoting long-term environmental solutions.

Using a series of meta-analyses, we systematically reviewed the literature on the association between individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors and their subjective wellbeing. The researchers hypothesized that the relation between pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing would be positive and strongest among types of behaviors (e.g. sustainable purchase decisions) and indicators of subjective wellbeing which more clearly reflect personal meaning (e.g. warm glow). The researchers sourced studies via PsychINFO, PsychARTICLES, GreenFile, SocINDEX, Web of Science, and Scopus, as well as professional email lists, direct contact with authors who publish in this domain, data from the authorship team, and the European Social Survey (2016).

The researchers included studies with quantitative data on the relation between individuals’ pro-environmental behavior and their subjective wellbeing, ultimately identifying 78 studies (73 published, 5 unpublished) for synthesis. Across multiple indicators of pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, we found a significant, positive relation (overall r = .243), and this relation did not meaningfully differ across study characteristics (e.g. sample, design). As predicted, the relation was particularly strong for indicators of pro-environmental behavior and subjective wellbeing which clearly reflect meaning, such as sustainable purchase decisions (r = .291) and for warm glow (r = .408).

The researchers found a robust, positive relation between people’s pro-environmental behaviors and subjective wellbeing, and initial evidence that this relation may be stronger the more clearly behaviors and indicators of subjective wellbeing reflect meaning. Our results indicate that program and policy-makers can seek opportunities to design ‘win-win’ sustainability programs which could positively impact both people and the environment.

Read the publication