- Extreme conditions causing wildfires in Greece linked to climate change, say scientists
- Just Eat trials seaweed sachets as alternative to single-use plastics
- UK theme parks to offer half-price entry in exchange for used plastic bottles
- New methodologies help banking industry assess risks and opportunities of climate change
- GRI, PRI, Global Compact address investor needs in corporate SDG reporting
Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 76 people, officials said on Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats and on makeshift rafts. The extreme conditions in Greece, and other parts of Europe, are in line with patterns that scientists attribute to climate change. Heat waves can be linked to climate change in several ways: Increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hold more of the sun’s heat, raising temperatures globally. A hotter climate in turn changes the way air and ocean currents move around the planet, which can further increase temperatures in certain places, like the Mediterranean. “In the Mediterranean we also see a drying effect: If you have a drier soil, it heats up more quickly,” said Friederike Otto, the deputy director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. (The New York Times)
Online food ordering firm Just Eat has commenced a trial of compostable sachets made from seaweed, as part of an effort to reduce the amount of plastic used by its UK restaurant partners. The sachets, created in partnership with packaging development company Skipping Rocks Lab, form part of a wider commitment introduced by Just Eat in March 2018 to combat a reliance on single-use plastics. UK managing director Graham Corfield said: “At Just Eat, we’re committed to helping reduce the impact of the takeaway industry on plastic waste levels and we’ve already taken measures to drive more environmentally-friendly behaviour among our restaurant partners and customers.” Beyond plastic waste, Just Eat has also rolled out discounts on low-carbon vehicles and renewable energy contracts to encourage its restaurant partners to lower emissions across the UK. The company partnered with e-bike manufacturer Eskuta to offer a 45% discount on electric scooters for food deliveries for its restaurant partners. (Edie)
In a tie-up between theme park operator Merlin and drinks giant Coca-Cola, a series of so-called “reverse vending machines” will be installed outside the entrances of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland. The initiative that is running until mid-October, follows research by Coca-Cola which reveals that 64% of Britons would recycle more if they were rewarded instantly for their actions with half-price discount vouchers which can be redeemed at all 30 Merlin attractions in the UK. At present, just 43% of the 13bn plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled, and 700,000 are littered every day. “All of our bottles can be recycled and we want to get as many of them back as possible so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter” said Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola UK & Ireland. (The Guardian)
16 banks, the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and climate risk advisory firm Acclimatise published new methodologies that will help banks understand how the physical risks and opportunities of a changing climate might affect their loan portfolios. The methodologies, published in the report Navigating a new climate, were piloted across three climate-sensitive industry sectors: agriculture, energy and real estate. Jon Whitehouse, Head of Government Relations & Citizenship at Barclays said, “This type of assessment helps us to manage climate change risk and opportunity, both at a transactional and portfolio level.” The guidance also aims to inform banks’ strategies to support clients in adapting to changing conditions. Clients who face physical risks may need to make investments to become more climate-resilient. Future negative impacts could be reduced somewhat, but not avoided completely, if strenuous and rapid efforts are made globally to cut emissions. (Sustainable Brands)
A publication launched at the SDG Business Forum by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Global Compact seeks to help businesses align their SDG-related disclosures with investors’ information needs. Titled ‘In Focus: Addressing Investor Needs in Business Reporting on the SDGs’, the paper is aimed primarily at the “corporate sustainability reporting practitioners” who are responsible for integrating SDG information into their companies’ reporting processes. The report’s ten key recommendations focus on: message and approach; strategy and governance; report content; and data format. The paper also distinguishes between an SDG approach and an environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach, noting that the former considers external impacts by the business, but does not cover corporate governance, which can often be a means of delivering environmental and social outcomes. (IISD)
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10-11 October 2018, Novotel London West #RSCEU
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