Top Stories

August 22, 2018


Goldman Sachs pays for working mothers to ship breast milk home

A scheme by investment bank Goldman Sachs to pay for new mothers to courier their breast milk home from work trips has drawn praise and criticism, with some campaigners concerned the move could pressure women to cut short their maternity leave. Goldman Sachs said it hopes the initiative – which will see the global firm pick up the bill for breastfeeding employees to chill and ship their milk when travelling for work – will make “the balancing act a little easier” for mothers in its ranks. With outrage over gender inequality in the workplace – which is estimated by the World Bank to cost the world $160 trillion – rising in recent years, leading businesses are taking action. Edit Schlaffer, executive director of the Women Without Borders charity, said it was a positive “small step” for working mothers, but that they should demand even more support at work. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Technology & Innovation

Google is ‘taking AI to the next level’ to cut data centre energy use

Google is now allowing its artificial intelligence (AI) system – rather than its staff – to directly control its data centre cooling system as a way of lowering emissions and energy consumption. The tech giant announced in 2016 that the AI system it had developed using the ‘DeepMind’ research company had reduced energy consumption at its data centres by 40 percent. The company has now taken its AI approach “to the next level” by allowing the system to implement its own recommended changes. The system consists of neural networks – computer systems modelled on the human brain – that DeepMind has trained to predict the temperature and pressure outputs within the centres 60 minutes in advance, before establishing the appropriate requirements to lower output and energy consumption. Google’s data centre operators will oversee the system throughout the process and will be able to exit AI control mode at any time. (Edie)


New York announces historic legislation to cut biggest source of carbon dioxide

On Monday (20 August 2018), a New York City lawmaker announced a bill to order massive energy use cuts to big buildings, the city’s biggest source of carbon dioxide. The legislation, outlined in the Blueprint for Efficiency, requires the city to cut energy in the biggest buildings by 20 percent by 2030 to keep on a path to ultimately reach an 80 percent reduction target by 2050. This follows months of talks between environmental groups and the Real Estate Board of New York and if the legislation is applied then 50,000 buildings across the city will be impacted. Costa Constantinides, a member of the city council who leads the committee on environmental protection, said “If we are going to make a real impact on climate change, it’s going to be on the buildings.” (ClimateAction)


Bosch snaps up £9m stake in UK fuel cell firm Ceres Power

Bosch is to make a £9 million equity investment in UK fuel cell manufacturer Ceres Power after the two companies struck a partnership agreement with a view to further developing the firm’s low carbon energy technology. Ceres Power specialises in developing solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology for use in grid-based and distributed power generation, which the company envisages as a future power supply for cities, factories, data centres, and electric vehicle chargers. The technology uses an electrochemical reaction in the fuel cell stack to generate electricity from natural gas or hydrogen, a process which boasts lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to combustion power stations, according to Ceres Power. Under the partnership deal, Bosch plans to take a four percent equity stake in Ceres Power and establish a share purchase agreement, while also setting up small-volume production operations for the technology at the German firm’s own premises. (BusinessGreen)

Waste / Energy

Ethiopia is home to the continent’s first waste-to-energy facility

Ethiopia’s Reppie project, the first waste-to-energy plant in Africa, is expected to convert 1,400 tons of solid waste daily. The US$120 million project, a partnership between the government of Ethiopia and a consortium of international companies including the Danish engineering firm Ramboll, is meant to address the country’s waste problem by harvesting energy from 1.4 million kilograms of waste each day. This is about 80 percent of the waste generated in Ethiopia’s capital, which is thought to be able to power 30 percent of the capital’s households. The plant will achieve this by burning Addis Ababa’s fresh domestic waste to generate heat, which will drive steam turbines to produce an estimated 185 million kilowatt hours of electricity per annum. The country’s president said he envisages the project providing all his people with electricity by 2025. (ThisIsAfrica)


Business & Climate Summit: Managing Climate Related Risks & Capitalising on the opportunities

1st October| London

 Given the rise of climate-related soft and hard law – the TCFD, EU NFD – the summit helps to understand their impacts on business and to develop an appropriate strategy, focusing on how to;

  • Map climate risk to identify high-risk areas and develop an appropriate action plan
  • Navigate the complexity of various climate-related disclosure standards
  • Move beyond reporting to tie climate in the strategy and commercial goals

See full details with your brochure here.

Confirmed speakers include Heads and Directors of Standard Chartered Bank, BT, Skanska, Multiplex, Mott Macdonald, EBRD and more.

Please note you can benefit from a 10% saving if you reserve your ticket here and quote FG10.


Image source: New York City by Aurelien Guichard on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.