Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Energy, Environment, Sustainable Investment, Tax

Top Stories

June 22, 2018

Sustainable Investment

Facebook should be dumped by all sustainable funds, Nordea says

The head of sustainable funds at the biggest Nordic bank says money managers in the industry should be excluding Facebook from their portfolios if they’re serious about ethical investing. Sasja Beslik, who heads the sustainable finance unit inside Nordea Bank’s $370 billion asset management business, this week decided to divest holdings of the social network giant. He said the move was provoked by what he characterised as an “unresponsive” approach at Facebook to Nordea’s efforts to get clarity on how the Cambridge Analytica scandal was being handled. Based on the lack of feedback from Facebook and Nordea’s own investigation, Beslik says he now thinks there shouldn’t be “a single serious sustainable fund in the world that takes itself seriously that should have a holding in that [Facebook]”. Beslik says it can sometimes be financially painful in the short term to “walk the talk” in sustainable investing. But even if it hurts, “that’s the entire point. No pain, no gain.” (Bloomberg)


Shell joins Carbon Trust programme to drive lower offshore wind costs

Shell Global Solutions International, the technical services and technologies arm of oil and gas giant Shell, has announced that it has joined a Carbon Trust programme aimed at overcoming market barriers to offshore wind deployment. The firm becomes the latest corporate to join the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) scheme, which sees businesses commit to funding research and development of technology that will reduce the cost of offshore wind. Shell joins the likes of E.ON, Ørsted and the Scottish Government in a bid to develop industry best practice and trigger the development of new standards. “The Carbon Trust’s OWA is a good example of the collaboration required between public and private sectors,” Shell’s vice president of wind development, Dorine Bosman, said. “The research and development programme will be key to delivering technical, commercial and financial innovations for large scale and sustainable offshore wind opportunities in the future.” (Edie)

Wind and solar will reach 50% of global generation by 2050

Analysts are now predicting that wind and solar power will reach 50 percent of all electricity generation by 2050 with it suggested that steep cost reductions coupled with cheap batteries will make the drive towards renewable energy unstoppable. 65 researchers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) pooled together data on the evolving cost of clean energy technologies across the world. Their analysis shines a light on the vital role that falling costs in battery storage will have in the future. Lithium-ion batteries have already dropped in price by 80 percent since 2010, and this is anticipated to continue. BNEF sees battery capacity attracting $548 billion by 2050 with the majority taking place on the electricity grid level. High levels of battery investment will be matched by an estimated $8.4 trillion for wind and solar by 2050. This will boost total renewable generation in major markets; 87 percent all electricity in Europe, 62 percent in China, and over 50 percent in the United States. (Climate Action Programme)


Netflix paid no UK corporate tax in 2017 – and received a €200k rebate

Netflix received a £174,000 tax rebate from the UK government in 2017 and paid no corporation tax, despite making £500 million in revenue from British subscribers to the streaming service. Netflix reports low revenue figures in the UK because, similar to fellow US tech giants such as Google and Amazon, who also pay minimal tax, it positions the British operation as a service arm for its headquarters elsewhere in Europe. In Netflix’s case its revenues from subscribers are booked in the Netherlands. The company, Netflix Services UK, is described as a “member of the Netflix corporate family and provides marketing and other support services to Netflix International BV”. Netflix said it received the rebate because it made Brad Pitt’s War Machine in the UK. The UK government offers an attractive tax credit scheme to lure the makers of films and high-end TV shows to the UK. “Netflix is contributing to the UK economy in many different ways, including generating significant amounts of VAT for the UK government through the provision of our service to UK-based subscribers,” said a spokeswoman. (Guardian)


MPs to examine environmental footprint of UK fashion industry

MPs are to investigate the environmental impact of throwaway “fast fashion” in the UK amid growing concerns that the multi-billion pound industry is wasting valuable resources and contributing to climate change. The inquiry, launched by the House of Commons environmental audit committee, will explore the carbon impact, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle and supply chain. “Fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth” said Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee. “But the way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge environmental impact.” Key to the inquiry is how consumers could be encouraged to buy fewer clothes, reuse clothes and think about how best to dispose of clothes when they are no longer wanted. (Guardian)


Image source: Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm by Department of Energy and Climate Change on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.