Top Stories

August 15, 2018

Renewable Energy

Sanjeev Gupta: $1bn South Australia renewable energy plan will mean cheaper power

Billionaire UK industrialist Sanjeev Gupta has launched a $1bn, one-gigawatt renewable energy plan based in South Australia’s mid-north that he says will lead Australian industry’s transition to more competitive power. Gupta’s energy company Simec Zen will produce 280 megawatts of power and feature 780,000 solar panels, generating enough electricity for 96,000 homes. Other projects in Gupta’s energy blueprint include the lithium-ion battery, expanded solar farms, a co-generation scheme to power his Whyalla steelworks using waste gas, and pumped hydro projects earmarked for the Middleback Ranges. Gupta said while coal and other fossil-fuels would play an important role in Australia’s energy transition, renewables offered the best future for energy‐intensive industries. The South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, said energy security, reliability and affordability were crucial and the government welcomed any investment in generation capacity. Final development approval for the new solar farm is expected later this year with construction to begin next year. (Guardian)

Supply Chain

Dutch Banking Sector Agreement partners publish annual report with new analysis of cocoa sector

The coalition that concluded the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct Regarding Human Rights has published its first annual report. The report includes two new analyses, one concerning the global cocoa value chain and the other describing how the Agreement parties and adhering banks can use their influence to prevent and reduce human rights violations. In this new analysis, banks, Civil Society Organisations, government and trade unions have pooled their knowledge to map the cocoa value chain and to identify the parts of the chain where banks can exercise leverage. Ruben Zandvliet, Advisor Sustainable Banking at ABN AMRO said “Because Dutch banks finance companies that are active in all parts of the cocoa value chain, we have a unique position to address adverse human rights impacts.” (Business & Human Rights Resource Centre)

Responsible Investment

UBS doubles sustainable portfolio of assets to almost £2bn

Financial services firm UBS has announced that it now manages £1.93bn worth of assets through its sustainable portfolio, more than double the size from when it first launched seven months ago. The portfolio was made available to UK investors in the private sector in June and has increased by almost £1bn since UBS first migrated £947m from a previous sustainable portfolio in January. “Our new sustainable portfolio has helped show clients that their investments can be fully sustainable without compromising on diversification and returns,” UBS’ UK head of wealth management, Eva Lindholm, said. Alongside World Bank bonds, green bonds and ESG equity funds, UBS also invests in shares of companies which sell products and services aimed at tackling particular environmental or social challenges. As part of the announcement, UBS revealed it is joining the Climate Bonds Initiative, which is aiming to mobilise $100trn for climate change solutions. (Edie)


UN: Soil health ‘essential’ to beating climate change and meeting SDGs

Improving the planet’s “frequently forgotten” soil health should be a key priority for tackling climate change, mitigating its impacts, and helping businesses and governments achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the UN’s agriculture chief. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), this week warned that although soils are hidden “we rely on them for our daily activities and for the future of the planet”. Around a third of the Earth’s soil is currently degraded, Graziano da Silva added, highlighting a 2015 FAO report on global soil resources which identified 10 major threats to soil functions. His comments come during a summer of sustained high temperatures across much of the northern hemisphere, with a lack of rainfall contributing to a rise to wildfires in the US and Greece and resulting in price hikes for crops such as wheat, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, peas and carrots. Graziano da Silva said sustainable soil management was therefore essential for meeting SDG2 on delivering Zero Hunger, as well as mitigating and adapting to a changing climate. (BusinessGreen)


Alphabet’s ‘Digital City’ Eyes World’s Biggest Timber Project

Sidewalk Labs LLC, the urban innovation unit of the Google parent company Alphabet Inc., is considering constructing buildings in a  Canadian high-tech community entirely with tall-timber technology – engineered wood products that proponents say are as strong and fire-resistant as those made from steel or concrete. If the proposal goes through, Quayside, which will include about 3,000 residential units, would be the largest development built primarily with tall timber. The company has already faced many hurdles in Toronto, including intense scrutiny on how it will handle the extensive data it may collect. The project will take up a chunk of 325 hectares (800 acres) on the Eastern Waterfront, one of the largest undeveloped urban parcels in the continent. Sidewalk Toronto has dedicated $50 million to planning the project and expects to have a clearer outline by January. (Bloomberg)


Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business West Summit

In San Diego this November, Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business West Summit (Nov 12-14, San Diego) will bring together 400+ CEOs and heads of business to share ideas on how to navigate the issues facing digital-first business. This will be a must-attend event for businesses tackling ethics and responsibility in a digitalised world.

ForgeRock, Barrick Gold, Cylance, DigiCert, Human API, Blitzmetrics are just a few of the companies sending C-Suite executives to help share ideas and shape the future of ethics in digital business.

Register here quoting CC200 to receive £200 off your ticket.


Image source: 4-YrRotation079 by USDA NRCS South Dakota on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.