Seedstock Digest: Sustainable Ag and Tech News
April 1, 2011 | Robert Puro
IKEA recently released it 2010 Sustainability Report. As it relates to agriculture, sustainable farming of cotton is a key priority for the company’s Sustainability Direction 2015, which seeks to influence the “entire value chain, from product design and development to the very end of a product’s life. IKEA has been working with WWF since 2005 to introduce more sustainable agriculture practices to cotton farmers in Pakistan and India. Its efforts have led nearly 62,000 farmers to dramatically curb their usage of water, chemical pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. The cotton harvest related to this sustainable agriculture initiative in India and Pakistan yielded nearly 160,000 tons in 2009/10 and is expected to increase to 254,000 tons in 2010/11. By 2015, IKEA’s goal is to reach 1,000,000 tons of sustainably farmed cotton and to have all of its products be produced in accordance with the standards set forth by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).
Cellulosic ethanol may finally have its day in the sun according to the NYTimes article, “Ethanol poised to surge.” Cellulosic ethanol as opposed to corn-based ethanol is produced from plant waste, wood, grain straw, and grasses. Currently, only 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol are produced each year as part of the government’s renewable energy mandate. This number is expected to increase with the prospective addition of nearly twelve new large and small-scale cellulosic ethanol projects in the U.S. that are nearly ready to go. One of the larger projects involves, Coskata, an Illinois-based biofuels company that recently received a $250 million loan guarantee from the USDA to build a cellulosic ethanol plant. The company plans to build a plant in Alabama that will generate 55 millions gallons of ethanol per year primarily derived from wood debris.