Top Stories

October 22, 2014

Responsible Investment

Advisers, banks and providers failing on ethical reporting, says UK survey

An independent survey of 2,155 UK adults has found that 81 percent believe financial institutions should improve their reporting to give investors a better steer on how to invest ethically. Conducted on behalf of Good Money Week, which runs until Friday, the poll found young people were the most likely to feel confused when making financial decisions, with only 22 percent of respondents aged 18-24 feeling that information is clearly presented. Despite expressing a preference for spending on sustainability, 77 per cent were not sure what sustainable investment means and 69 per cent were unaware they have sustainable and ethical options when it comes to savings and pensions. Lisa Stonestreet, Good Money Week project manager, commented: “These results indicate government and financial institutions are failing to offer clear and simple information about the issues that matter to consumers and constituents.” (FTAdviser)


Britain’s ‘Big Five’ banks urged to divest from fossil fuels

A new campaign calling for banks to stop funding fossil fuels and climate change has been launched as part of Good Money Week. The ‘Divest!‘ campaign is supported by a new report on fossil fuels and banking by campaign group Move Your Money and will take the form of an online letter to Britain’s ‘Big Five’ banks – HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and Santander – urging them to dissociate from fossil fuels. The divestment movement has achieved significant milestones around the world, most remarkably in the US, where the Rockefeller Brothers recently joined religious groups, foundations, universities, councils, and cities all committing to move billions of pounds out of fossil fuels. According to the report, Britain’s biggest banks have more than £66 billion invested in oil, gas and coal extraction, despite the recent Great British Money Survey finding that 39% of people in Britain are concerned about their savings and investments being used to fund fossil fuels.  (Edie)


Big business and trade unions lead calls for bold EU climate change package

Big business groups and trade unions across Europe have united to urge EU leaders to deliver an ambitious new energy and climate change strategy for the post 2020 period. The UK’s Confederation for British Industry (CBI) today became the latest leading business organisation to call for a binding emissions reduction target that would require the EU to cut emissions 40 per cent against 1990 levels by 2030. Meanwhile, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) called on heads of states to agree on a package that features binding emissions, renewables and energy saving targets, and mechanisms to ensure ‘a just transition to a low carbon economy based on quality employment, workers participation, greening of skills, workers’ rights and social protection”.  A number of industry groups are continuing to lobby for the proposed EU targets to be watered down, but the latest interventions suggest there is significant backing for a 40 per cent emissions target amongst business and trade union leaders alike. (Business Green)

Supply Chain

The North Face launches collaborative standard for responsible down

American outwear manufacturer, The North Face, has launched version 1.0 of its Responsible Down Standard (RDS). The Standard guarantees that the down in its products does not come from animals subjected to unnecessary harm, and serves as a holistic tool designed for any organisation seeking to source down from ethically treated geese. The RDS is the outcome of extensive expert consultation on animal welfare, standards development, and materials traceability. Aiming to encourage widespread industry use, The North Face has ‘gifted’ its standard to partner organisation Textile Exchange, a global non-profit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry. The North Face hopes the new standard will influence brands beyond the outdoor and apparel industry, such as furniture, bedding and other manufacturers that consume about 99 percent of the world’s down feathers. (Triple Pundit)


Business and academia join forces to tackle UK food security

Retail giants such as Marks & Spencer and Asda are working with UK universities, including Cambridge, Dundee and Leeds, to promote sustainability in the UK’s agri-food sector. The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), a non-profit that represents around 100 companies and universities, established a cross-sector taskforce in June 2013 to lead the discussion on how UK universities might produce the calibre of graduates and research required to meet emerging food security challenges. The group is due to publish a list of policy recommendations and action points in February 2015. Key challenges identified to date include the need to attract young talent to the sector, and to improve the quality of information provided by academia to business so that the latter can make more sustainable decisions regarding land use. (The Guardian)


Image Source: “Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Protest at Tufts University” by James Ennis / CC BY 2.0