Top Stories

February 09, 2017


London Stock Exchange issues ESG guidelines for listed companies

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has today issued guidelines on how companies should incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into disclosure statements alongside traditional financial reporting. Issues including climate risks, labour and human rights, and transparency and have become core factors in making investment decisions, the LSEG said in a statement. “The agenda isn’t being driven by politics as much, it’s being led by investors, particularly long-only investors,” said Mark Makepeace, Chief Executive of FTSE Russell. The guidelines are in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, which the London exchange joined in May 2014, a forum which encourages companies to disclose information about their social and environmental impact. European regulators have put in place legislation that will require large companies to disclose ESG issues from this year onwards. (Reuters)

Supply Chain

New data shows rise in profits for female farmers as part of Primark’s sustainable cotton initiative

High street retailer Primark has helped rural female farmers in India increase average profits by 247% from inception through to the third year of its Sustainable Cotton Programme. Established in 2013 in partnership with CottonConnect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), the programme trains women farmers on sustainable farming methods in order to improve their income and livelihoods. New data shows how input costs have fallen by 19.2% over the three-year timeframe as farmers spend less capital on fertiliser. In total, chemical fertiliser use fell by 44% as Primark encouraged farmers to deploy more environmentally sustainable methods. Primark’s ethical trade and environmental sustainability director Katharine Stewart said the Programme has “helped to empower these women and narrow the gender inequality gap in their communities. We’re looking forward to reaching even more women in the coming years.” Primark announced in March that it is scaling up the initiative to recruit a further 10,000 female smallholder farmers in India onto the programme. To encourage participation, the firm has enrolled the first intake of farmers into the Farmer Business School, offering financial training and management skills. (Edie)

Renewable Energy

Southern Water partners with Veolia to turn sludge into renewable energy

In an effort to further reduce its carbon footprint Southern Water is turning to sewage to boost renewables generation. With new Veolia combined heat and power (CPH) engines recently installed at its treatment facilities in Hampshire and Kent, Southern Water hopes to expand its renewables portfolio. The new projects have seen Veolia implement biogas cogeneration units, which converts wastewater from Southern Water’s 39,000 kilometers of sewage networks into biogas through anaerobic digestion (AD). Approximately 190 wastewater sites across the UK now use on-site biogas production methods. Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop site in Leeds is one of the most ambitious. By 2019, the new facility is expected to process 131 tons of dry sludge per day, generating 55 percent of the site’s energy requirements and helping achieve 94 percent recycling of the region’s sludge by 2020. UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health has pointed to biogas providing as providing a viable solution for curbing emissions in developing countries. Safely obtained biogas from human waste could generate electricity to power all of the households in Indonesia, Brazil and Ethiopia combined.  (Sustainable Brands)


Tesco’s plan bee: spilt supermarket sugar to help feed hungry honey bees

Waste sugar routinely thrown away by supermarkets is being collected to help feed stricken bees in Britain struggling to get enough nectar to feed themselves. Since 2007 the UK’s overall bee population has dwindled by a third due to pests, diseases and fewer wild flowers, all of which makes it harder for bees to produce enough honey to feed themselves throughout the winter. Amid growing attention to the scale of the UK’s food waste, supermarkets are under pressure to reduce it throughout their supply chains. Asda and the sugar brand Silver Spoon have reviewed sugar waste to see where most of it occurs, and have since improved and strengthened packaging to avoid bags breaking. Tesco in Cornwall and Devon is also running a Bags of Help initiative, which donates money, raised from carrier bag sales, to local community projects, such as bee keeping, across the UK. (Guardian)


Waste management innovations increase material recovery and generate revenue

Cox Enterprises’ Golden Isles Conservation Centre, in Nahunta, Georgia, is using a new waste management technology for the first time in the US that breaks down waste tyres and produces synthesis oil, carbon black, synthesis gas and steel. The technology, developed by Italian company Piromak, uses organic materials such as wood chips to generate heat, which breaks down tyres into their original components. The Centre has the capacity to daily remove the equivalent of 5 tons of tyres from landfills and waterways, Cox says. The synthesis oil can be used as a substitute for many fuel-based products. The recovered carbon black can be used in products such as rubber hoses, inks, new tyres and plastics. Finally, the synthesis gas generates heat for the closed-loop process. Meanwhile Meridian Waste Solutions has launched a new subsidiary, Meridian Innovations that will invest in advanced by-product recovery technologies. “Through the creation of Meridian Innovations, our Company is committed to exploring and implementing sustainable technologies, while simultaneously creating shareholder financial value” Meridian Waste CEO, Jeff Cosman, said in a statement. (Environmental Leader)

Image source: A cotton field at Wikipedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.