UN recognises Canon Medical Systems’ carbon neutral agenda
Diagnostic imaging systems provider, Canon Medical Systems UK, has been officially recognised with partner status from the United Nations’ Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG).
This significant success comes as a result of its continued sustainability efforts through its CarbonZero programme that is leading to improvements in the health and welfare of people in Uganda and Kenya.
Canon Medical Systems’ CarbonZero project has achieved four sustainable development goals which led to the partner accolade from the United Nations including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality; Clean Water And Sanitation; and Climate Action, all resulting in activities that reduce C02 emissions from the burning of firewood and repairing clean water boreholes. This guarantees that Canon Medical Systems’ customers receive a carbon neutral product while helping to deliver livelihood and environmental benefits in Africa.
The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG), part of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), plays a key role in the evaluation of the UN’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
At the core of this are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that together represent an urgent call to action for businesses to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth. When a company delivers the development goals, they are awarded the official UN partner status, accredited by Gold Standard.
The four SDGs achieved include:
Good Health and Wellbeing – Distributing fuel-efficient cookstoves through The Kenyan Energy efficient stove project has resulted in a 50% reduction in the need for firewood; less firewood means a reduction in smoke, reducing the likelihood of life-threatening respiratory conditions.
Gender equality – Through local borehole regeneration, the task of collecting fresh water, usually by women and children, is less onerous as it also no longer requires sterilisation on an open fire. This in turn means women are able to play a greater role within society and more children can attend school, improving gender equality and education.
Clean Water and Sanitation – Supplying families with clean water significantly reduces the need to burn firewood for sterilisation and limits the threat of disease. One borehole user said, “The water we drank was always dirty and I worried my children would become sick with typhoid or other water-borne diseases. Our lives have improved so much since the borehole was repaired.”
Climate Action – A key aim is to reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. The result of this to date has been a total offset of C02 emissions of 27,476 tonnes.
Canon Medical Systems will continue its efforts and is working towards a further eight of the SDGs. Through its work with carbon projects developer CO2balance, it supports initiatives that offset the C02 emissions caused through production and distribution of its products, as well as the company's corporate carbon footprint. Canon Medical Systems has been running its CarbonZero programme since 2014 and is still the only UK medical equipment provider to be a carbon neutral business.
Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK, said: “As a leading healthcare technology provider, improving the lives of people across our planet is something we are incredibly passionate about – it is part of this company’s DNA. That is why it is of great importance to us that we take good care not only of people, but also of the environment we all share. We are honoured to have achieved UN partner status in recognition of our efforts and contribution to the wider good.”
Mark Hitchman concluded: “C02 in the earth’s atmosphere is a critical problem and if we don’t take action, it will lead to unpredictable changes in our global climate system. As customers look to business to define a purpose beyond profit, this announcement is testament to Canon Medical Systems’ focus on improving welfare in developing countries at the same time as improving health outcomes in the UK. This is very much in line with our corporate philosophy “Kyosei” which means living and working together for the common good.”
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere