Top Stories

July 26, 2018

Responsible Investment

San Francisco urges insurers to ditch fossil fuel investments

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors became the first municipal body in the US to pass a resolution urging insurance companies to stop insuring and investing in fossil fuels, citing climate change and the impact of pollution on public health and the economy. The 40 largest insurance companies in the US hold a combined investment of over $450 billion in coal, oil, gas and electric utilities. They also play a key role in insuring coal-fired power plants, tar sands pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. “Cities have nothing to gain from collaborating with insurance companies that prioritize dirty energy companies over communities,” said Aaron Peskin, San Francisco Supervisor and sponsor of the resolution. The resolution comes a few weeks before San Francisco is due to host climate leaders from around the world at the Global Climate Action Summit in September. (Insurance Business)


Quorn invests £7m into R&D on back of veganism boom

Quorn is spending £7m on a research and development facility at its North Yorkshire headquarters in UK as the meat-alternative brand attempts to capitalise on the increased popularity of veganism. While all Quorn’s products are vegetarian, most contain some egg. After a surge in demand for its vegan products it is rapidly developing more. Quorn’s chief executive, Kevin Brennan, said the company was determined to step up innovation to ensure it kept up with a battalion of new rivals by developing its own vegan burger that bleeds like animal meat. Quorn expects to take on about 100 new staff during the year ahead to work at the facility. Quorn’s sales in the UK, its biggest market, rose by 12% in the first half of the year. (The Guardian)

Toyota reveals fleet of green mobility concepts for Tokyo Olympics

The Japanese auto giant revealed its provision of transport services for the Olympics will be used to showcase a raft of fuel cell, automated driving, and mobility as a service innovation designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, while improving access for disabled people. Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the goal of the ‘Mobility for all’ programme was to deliver innovations that could both curb environmental impacts and tackle social exclusion. The company said it hoped to make “Tokyo 2020 a turning point in realising a hydrogen society”. As such, the fleet supporting the Games will feature a range of zero emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) including the Mirai saloon, a fuel cell bus called the Sora, and fuel cell forklifts. The company said it would demonstrate it automated driving technologies in the Toyota Water Front City and Haneda areas in Tokyo. (Business Green)

Gender Diversity

Macquarie Group appoints first female chief executive

Macquarie Group said announced today that Shemara Wikramanayake, head of the investment bank’s asset management arm, would take over as the group’s first female chief executive following the retirement of Nicholas Moore in November. The appointment is a significant landmark for women in the global investment banking industry, where the most senior executive roles at the biggest banks continue to be dominated by men. Macquarie, which has a market capitalisation of A$41bn, has a flat management structure and a reputation for promoting internal talent. Wikramanayake said there were few women in leadership roles in the finance industry and that Macquarie was focused on addressing this issue. “We as an industry are not attracting enough females. In terms of allowing them to develop we need to provide more flexibility.” (Financial Times)*

Energy efficiency/ Policy

Smart meter rollout costs £1bn higher than expected in 2016

A study on the smart meter programme, published by the British Infrastructure Group of Parliamentarians, finds that delays and cost increases have pushed up the rollout costs by £1bn higher than anticipated in 2016. The Not so Smart report, says: “Mismanagement of programme developments and costs, exploitative commercial agreements, and a lack of their own installation capacity have left suppliers struggling to meet their mandated rollout obligations.” The MPs and peers conclude that suppliers are “almost certain” to miss the 2020 target for rolling out smart meters to every home and small business. Robert Cheesewright, director of policy and communications at Smart Energy GB, defended the rollout by stating, “The alternative to smart meters is an expensive, outdated system where we waste billions of pounds needlessly generating dirty energy, with customers facing the uncertainty of estimated bills.” (Edie)


Image Source: San Fransico-Lands End Trail-P1270972 by on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.