Top Stories

September 13, 2018

Climate Change

British pension schemes to disclose climate change strategy

British pension trustees will be required to show scheme members how they account for a range of financially material risks such as those related to climate change when investing, under new rules announced on 11th September. The rules, which come into force on 1st October 2019, will force trustees of defined contribution schemes to produce a statement of investment principles that shows how they will consider environmental, social, governance and other similar risks in their investments, the Department for Work and Pensions said. Pressure group ShareAction said the new rules would give “a new level of protection” to the millions of people automatically enrolled into company pensions in recent years. “This is a major development, …and we commend the government on this action to protect UK pension savers,” Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive at ShareAction, said. (Reuters)

HSBC raises alarm over low levels of TCFD awareness

A new survey carried out by HSBC has found that less than 10 percent of investors and companies are aware of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which last year issued guidelines on how businesses should report on material risks arising from climate impacts and the low carbon technology transition. HSBC conducted direct interviews with over 1,700 senior executives at companies looking to raise funds and large scale institutional investors. The average size of companies surveyed was $23.8 billion in market cap, while the investors polled boasted average assets under management nearly $180 billion. Despite being from the constituency directly targeted by the TCFD’s recommendations on how to improve climate-related disclosures, only eight percent of companies and 10 percent of investors were aware of the taskforce’s existence. (BusinessGreen)


Report: Fashion industry accounts for more than a third of ocean microplastics

More than a third of all microplastics released into the oceans are from synthetic textiles used in the fashion industry, according to a new report entitled ‘Engineering Out Fashion Waste’. Research by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), cited in the report, calculated that 34.8 percent of releases of microplastics in the oceans are due to the laundry of synthetic textiles. Each time an item of clothing is washed, up to 700,000 microscopic fibres make their way into the oceans where they can be swallowed by sea life, becoming part of the food chain and potentially ending up on consumers’ plates, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has warned. The report calls on the government and the fashion industry to incentivise the development of more environmentally-friendly fibres and tackle textile-related plastic waste as “a matter of urgency”. (BusinessGreen)

Human Rights / Supply Chain

Shiva Foundation launches the Stop Slavery Blueprint

Shiva Foundation has launched the Stop Slavery Blueprint, and free online toolkit for the hotel industry. The toolkit, which includes guidance, templates and training, provides practical measures to address some of the main risk areas regarding modern slavery in the industry. The Blueprint was launched at the ‘Business and Modern Slavery: Turning Principles into Practice’ event which brings together key representatives from business and civil society, and showcases practical tools to address some of the main risk areas regarding modern slavery in the hotel sector, including facilities, employment practices and supply chains. The Blueprint covers supplier engagement, signs to spot, and reporting protocols and is based on learnings over the past two years working closely with a range of key stakeholders within the hotel industry and the anti-trafficking space. The launch comes after a pilot with Shiva Hotels who have embedded the Blueprint across their properties. (ShivaFoundation)

Supply Chain / Technology & Innovation

Palm Oil Alliance initiates blockchain solution to drive sustainable practices

The Sustainability Assurance and Innovation Alliance (Sustain), a group comprised of oil palm growers, palm oil processors, consumer goods manufacturers, non-profit organizations and technology companies, has gathered to initiate a blockchain solution aimed at improving traceability and accelerate the push for compliance with the “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” principle in the palm oil chain. The group brings together relevant stakeholders in the palm oil industry to collaboratively address sustainability issues and create cooperation among industry players by establishing a common blockchain-based platform for palm oil. Sustain will provide open access to a system with downloadable tools that can be employed by users, such as dealers and smallholders, to establish traceability, monitor policy compliance, efficiently trade fresh fruit bunch, obtain best practice guides, and access innovative microfinancing. Companies in attendance at the Sustain launch included palm oil producers Apical and Asian Agri; renewable diesel producer Neste, consumer goods manufacturer Kao, facilitation team Core and technology partner SAP. (JakartaGlobe)

Image source: Socks by Judit Klein on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0 .