Top Stories

March 14, 2016


Maersk, Cargill back faster shipping emissions cuts

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), a coalition of companies and NGOs worth $0.5 trillion, including Maersk Line, China Navigation Company, AkzoNobel and commodities giant Cargill, has announced a new roadmap laying out its 2040 vision for the sector. According to the coalition, the global shipping fleet should be cutting its fuel use 20 percent a decade. At present, the rate of improvement for new ships is less than 10 percent and there is no regulatory incentive to upgrade existing carriers. Shipping is not explicitly covered by last year’s Paris Agreement, which focused on territorial emissions. It is left to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to regulate emissions from seaborne trade. A year ago, members of the London-based IMO dismissed calls to set a target for the sector. But with newly appointed chief Kitack Lim describing climate change as “top priority”, the debate is expected to resurface this year. (Climate Home; edie)


Report: Energy bosses are facing up to decarbonisation challenge

Energy executives are increasingly engaged with the need to transition to a low carbon energy system and are stepping up their interest in emerging clean technologies such as energy storage arrays and innovative new market designs. That is the conclusion of the annual survey from the UN-backed World Energy Council industry group, which represents around 3,000 organisations worldwide. The report surveyed 1,000 energy leaders from 90 countries, revealing high levels of engagement with innovative new clean technologies and growing concerns about the potential impact of climate risks. The top concerns highlighted by energy industry executives were commodity price volatility, the risk of global recession, and climate framework uncertainty, while “new market design and electric storage featuring as new items of innovation focus”. (Business Green)


Rise of the robots: RBS replaces 550 jobs with robo-advisers

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is axing 550 jobs and replacing them with so-called robo-advisers, in the company’s latest move to cut costs. The axe is set to fall on RBS’s investment advice division as well as its protection advice team, with the bank blaming falling demand for face-to-face services for the job losses. Robo-advice tells customers where they should invest based on a series of online questionnaires about their financial situation. In-person investment advice is also going to be available to fewer RBS customers as the requirement threshold is raised to £250,000, from £100,000 currently. “Our customers increasingly want to bank with us using digital technology. As a result, we are scaling back our face-to-face advisers and significantly investing in an online investing platform that enables us to help a new group of customers with as little as £500 to invest,” said the bank’s spokesperson. (City A.M.)


Report: Oxfam blames tax-dodgers for widening UK inequality

More than a quarter of the wealth created in Britain over the past 15 years has ended up in the pockets of the richest 1 percent of people, according to Oxfam. While just 7p in every pound of wealth created went to the 30 million people who make up the nation’s poorest 50 percent, around 26p went to the richest 1 percent. In a report that singles out “wealthy British tax-dodgers” for withholding funds that could be used to fight poverty, the charity calls for a crackdown on tax havens. Oxfam says wealthy people funnelling cash to “secrecy jurisdictions” such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda are contributing to the wealth divide. It estimates that the Treasury is losing around £5 billion a year from British “tax-dodgers” holding more than £170 billion in tax havens. Across the world, Oxfam says governments are thought to be losing £120 billion, with the world’s poorest regions missing out on £43 billion. (Guardian)

Responsible Investment

Investors call for legally-binding, zero-energy building standards

A group of climate investors has urged the EU to create and implement a binding, long-term target that reshapes energy frameworks and pushes building sectors across the continent towards a near-zero energy standard by 2050. Responding to the ongoing proposals to overhaul EU directives on energy efficiency and performance in buildings, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has called on the directives to champion renovation and refurbishment. The IIGCC, whose members include Aviva, BlackRock, BMO and Henderson, says the current levels of ‘static’ accreditation should be replaced with a dynamic model that ensures that energy performance in buildings is scaled-up over time, with non-compliant providers stripped of their accreditation. The group has also requested that Energy Performance Certificates be updated to cover both the design performance and operational performance of buildings. (edie)


Image source: Two container ships pass in San Francisco Bay by NOAA / Public Domain