Top Stories

September 10, 2018

Responsible Investment

Study: Public pension funds slow to move on climate change risk

Most of the world’s largest public pension funds are providing little or no information about how climate change will affect the value of their assets, a report by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) shows. The AODP, part of investor pressure group ShareAction, tracked funds with combined assets of more than $11 trillion and found that 63 percent of them were at risk of breaching their duty to savers. Less than 1 percent of the funds’ assets were invested in low-carbon solutions and only 10 percent of the funds had a policy to exclude coal from their portfolios, the AODP said in its report published on Monday. Launching a global ranking to show how funds were performing against the task force’s framework, the AODP said that a number of European schemes scored highly, including Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP4), which manages assets worth about $40 billion. (Reuters)


More capital needed to achieve UN sustainable development goals, says GIIN

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has published a new report; ‘Financing the Sustainable Development Goals: Impact Investing in Action’, which reiterates the need for impact investors to raise and direct new capital to help meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. With an estimated USD5-7 trillion needed annually to achieve the goals, it is clear that more capital, deployed by investors whose aims align with these goals, is an absolute requirement. The report, released in advance of the agenda for the UN’s Global Goals Week September 22-29, showcases the potential for impact investing to catalyse progress towards these goals. A series of case studies illustrates the evolution of increasingly sophisticated and targeted approaches by impact investors. Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder of the GIIN, says “It isn’t enough now to simply “tag” relevant investments to SDG issue areas, although this is a good first step. What the world urgently needs is significantly more investment capital being channelled to these social and environmental priorities.” (Institutional Asset Manager)


H&M Foundation opens ‘Garment-to-Garment’ recycling plant in circular fashion drive

Fashion retailer H&M’s charitable arm, the H&M Foundation, last week opened a hydrothermal textile recycling plant as the company strives to become “truly circular” by 2030. The opening of the new pre-industrial sized facility in Hong Kong marks the first time that H&M’s hydrothermal recycling technology is put into practice at scale. The innovative recycling method involves using heat, water and a blend of biodegradable chemicals to separate cotton and polyester from mixed fabrics. Once the fibres are separated, they can be sorted for reuse in new garments, including jeans. The H&M Foundation claims that this method, which it calls “Garment-to-Garment recycling”, prevents the potential for chemical pollution finding its way into the environment while minimising carbon emissions and costs. While the plant will initially be used by H&M only, the retailer has pledged to licence the technology. (Edie)

Ghana cocoa farmers harness the law to save forests, boost yields

A policy that grants farmers ownership of timber trees on cocoa farms in Ghana could help boost yields and curb deforestation, according to government officials and an industry group. Trees grow naturally on many cocoa farms, providing shade for the delicate crop, but they belong to the state, not the farmers, according to the country’s forestry laws. Companies pay the government a fee to log the timber, while the crops are often damaged in the process and become less productive under full sun. However, a little-known provision included in the forestry laws allows farmers to register ownership of timber trees that they have planted themselves. Although the provision is not new, it had never been tested until this year, under a pilot project backed by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), which helped 150 farmers register ownership of timber on their farms. “We are educating farmers about their rights. They didn’t know this was possible,” said Alex Tweneboa-Kodna, a forestry commission manager. (ThisIsPlace)


Veolia to trial electric Refuse Collection Vehicles

Global resource management company, Veolia, is to trial innovative electric Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCV) charged by power derived from the waste they have collected. The project in Sheffield, UK, will see two 26 tonne RCV converted from diesel to electric power in a scheme to accelerate the transition to zero-emission heavy goods vehicles. In the future, these vehicles are set to be charged using the electricity generated from the non-recyclable household waste that fuels the city’s Energy Recovery Facility, a world first. Converting the RCV, which need replacing, is an effective way of extending the life of an existing vehicle by changing the diesel engine for electric power. The lorries will be powerful enough to negotiate 25 percent gradients on hills even when fully loaded, and are expected to be converted and operational by the end of the year. (Veolia)


Image source: Cacao tree at Kampong Buangkok by Jnzl’s Photos on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.