Top Stories

October 21, 2016


More US insurance companies preparing for climate change, but many still ignoring it

A new report released by Ceres has found that while more US insurers are improving their disclosure and management of climate risks, most are still giving it minimal attention. The report ranks the nation’s largest insurance companies on their responses to escalating climate risks, including severe weather events. The 22 companies earning Ceres’ ‘High Quality’ designation included 13 US insurers, up from only two in 2014. US insurers earning high marks for climate risk reporting include AEGON, AIG, Liberty Mutual and MetLife, alongside global counterparts such as Swiss Re, Allianz and AXA. Last month, top-scorer AEGON joined two more of the world’s largest insurers – Aviva and Amlin – in calling on G20 leaders to expedite the timeframe for the end of fossil fuel subsidies. (Sustainable Brands)


World Bank: Emissions trading could cut carbon mitigation costs by a third

The cost of mitigating climate change could be reduced by almost a third by 2030 through greater cooperation via carbon trading, says a new World Bank report. The analysis, prepared with technical support from consultancies Ecofys and Vivid Economics, found an expanded international carbon market could enable large-scale emissions reductions. It says momentum on carbon pricing has continued to grow post-Paris, with 40 national jurisdictions now putting a price on carbon, alongside over 20 cities, states, and regions. Governments raised around $26 billion in revenues from carbon pricing initiatives in 2015, a 60 percent increase on the year before. The report also added that if the Chinese national Emissions Trading System is implemented as planned, 2017 would see the largest increase in the amount of global emissions covered by carbon pricing initatives. (Business Green)

Technology & Innovation

China tech giants bet on ‘Uber for bikes’

China’s tech industry giants are sloughing hundreds of millions of dollars into what they’re betting will be the country’s next big internet craze – ‘Uber for bikes’.  Start-ups equipped with smartphone apps, GPS and scannable codes are selling cheap bike-sharing to city-dwellers as the way to beat jams on China’s most clogged streets. Shanghai’s MoBike and Beijing Ofo have raised big money in the past month alone from bullish investors. Riders use smartphone apps to unlock and pay the cost of hire, and they are free to leave the bikes wherever their journey ends. (Reuters)

Corporate Reputation

Brazil charges BHP and Vale staff over mine collapse

Brazilian prosecutors have filed homicide charges against 21 people, a year after an iron ore mine disaster in the state of Minas Gerais. In November 2015 a mine dam burst, killing 19 people and polluting miles of Brazil’s waterways. According to the lead prosecutor in the case, the companies Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton were aware there was a risk of collapse but ignored it. He accused the companies of pursuing profits rather than attending to safety. A village was flattened and drinking water was affected for hundreds of thousands of people following the collapse. The mining companies have reached a deal with Brazil’s environmental authorities to set up an institute that will help clean up the pollution and rebuild some communities for the next 10 years. But prosecutors want top managers to respond to a popular jury. (BBC)


IMF assessment hints at internal struggles

A recent bout of infighting has come to light that raises fresh questions about the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s culture and its promise to become more transparent. This summer, the fund’s Independent Evaluation Office issued an 86-page assessment of the IMF’s performance during the European debt crisis. The paper said that the fund’s staff members were cowed by their counterparts in Europe, missed early signs of stress and did not do enough to push for a debt restructuring. It also said the IMF was not releasing documents that evaluators sought – a charge that IMF officials tried to have removed from the report. Under its managing director, Christine Lagarde, the fund has sought to become more open to the world and less coldly bureaucratic. Some supporters have therefore been taken aback by the latest reports. (New York Times)


Image source: Row of bicycles by Linnaea Mallette / Public Domain