Top Stories

April 20, 2017


UK clean growth plan in ‘holding pattern’ after snap election announcement

On Wednesday morning (19th April), Climate Minister Nick Hurd said work to deliver the the UK’s long-awaited Clean Growth Plan is “well-advanced”, but was unable to provide any certainty on whether it will be released before or after the general election takes place on 8th June. “There are some unknowns, but I can reassure you that [the release of the Clean Growth Plan] will happen,” Hurd said. The Clean Growth Plan – also referred to as the Emissions Reduction Plan – will set out how the Government intends to meet the fifth carbon budget, which seeks to limit the UK’s annual emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by the year 2032. The release of the Plan was first scheduled for 2016 but was postponed due to delays caused by the Brexit vote. “I can point to genuine proof points of a government that is taking radical steps to fulfil our carbon objectives”, Nick Hurd said. (Edie)


Toyota puts fuel-cell semi truck to test at Los Angeles port

Toyota Motor Corp.’s hydrogen fuel-cell truck, which will emit nothing but vapor, will begin a feasibility study at the Port of Los Angeles this summer, the Japanese automaker revealed on Wednesday (19th April). Swapping internal-combustion engines for fuel-cell stacks will support Governor Jerry Brown’s efforts to cut emissions from freight movement in California. The ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland handle 40 percent of U.S. container traffic, with commercial shipments generating half of California’s toxic diesel-soot emissions and 45 percent of the nitrogen oxide that plagues L.A. with the nation’s worst smog. “The port is unable to grow at all until it can show there are no incremental emissions coming from trucks or ships or whatever,” Craig Scott, Toyota’s U.S. manager for advanced technologies. This comes after Governor Brown wants 100,000 zero-emission freight-hauling machines to be operating by 2030 under what he calls his California Sustainable Freight Action Plan. Toyota also is helping to develop renewable hydrogen sources. (Bloomberg)

Inclusive Business

PRH UK to pay work experience participants in diversity drive

Penguin Random House UK (PRH UK) will now pay its work experience participants the National Living Wage in a bid to make the publishing industry more accessible and diverse. This will make it the first publishing house in the UK to offer fully paid 450 work experience placements as part of a two-week structured learning programme. PRH is also providing access to subsidised accommodation through a trial partnership with The Book Trade Charity to help make it easier for people based outside of London to apply. By paying work experience placements a salary, PRH believes it is investing in a more representative pipeline for future talent. What’s more, internships at the publishing house are already fully paid. Interns undergo an application and interview process, similar to applying for a job at the company. Work experience candidates, by contrast, are “randomly selected”, without any pre-requisite skills or experience necessary. (Bookseller)

Technology & Innovation

Baidu to share self-drive car technology

Chinese internet giant Baidu has said it will share much of the technology it has created for its self-driving cars. Called Apolo, the project would help drive the development of autonomous vehicles, by contributing to make a range of software, hardware and data services available to others, especially carmakers. Baidu, which has been developing self-drive vehicles since 2015, said technologies for use in restricted test environments would be available as soon July. There will then be a gradual roll-out of other technology, with an aim to offer its full range of developments to support self-driving for highways and city roads by 2020. In a statement, Baidu’s group president Qi Lu said it wanted to create a “collaborative ecosystem” using its strengths in artificial intelligence (AI) to “encourage greater innovation and opportunities”. This move could be likened to Google’s decision to release Android, the free operating system for smartphones, says James Chao of IHS Markit. (BBC)

Water Conservation

Colgate taps Michael Phelps to Inspire consumers to turn off the faucet

In an effort to raise awareness for water conservation, Colgate has tapped Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to be the new global ambassador for its ‘Save Water’ campaign with The Nature Conservancy, in a way to reach 100 million people and inspire 10 million children to change their brushing habits. Indeed, by leaving the water running while brushing their teeth four two minutes, the average American can waste up to four gallons of potable drinking water. If broadly embraced, the simple change could have a major impact on both water and energy consumption. Colgate will roll out three short-form documentaries featuring Phelps this summer to educate consumers about water issues in the U.S. and spread the message that every drop counts. The company also intends to share the message through its Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures oral health education program. (Sustainable Brands)

Image source: at Flickr by Steve Johnson. Creative Commons: (CC BY 2.0)