Top Stories

September 28, 2018

Sustainable Investment

Top European asset owners back UN’s Tobacco-Free Finance pledge

AP4, FRR and Church Commissioners for England are among the major asset owners backing Tobacco-Free Finance, a new initiative launched this week by the United Nations. The initiative’s pledge – which has already been signed by 90 asset owners, managers, banks and advisers overseeing $6.8 trillion – cited previous work by the UN, Principles for Responsible Investment, and the World Health Organisation on raising awareness of the health implications of smoking. The Tobacco-Free Finance pledge stated: “With 7 million deaths worldwide each year and a forecast of 1 billion deaths this century due to tobacco-related illnesses, global and multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed to tackle the devastating impact of tobacco on society, as well as on the environment.” European financial services companies including NN Group, BNP Paribas, Natixis, AXA and Robeco have signed the pledge, as have pension funds such as Denmark’s Laegernes Pension, the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund and 15 Australian superannuation funds. (IPE)

Sustainable Development / Climate Change

UK commits £160 million of climate finance for developing countries

The UK has pledged £160 million to help poor countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience against the threat of climate change. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the funding would help countries transition to cleaner, greener energy systems and support communities affected by climate change. The £160 million includes £60 million of technical assistance from UK experts to help developing nations draw up carbon cutting strategies and climate legislation. It also features £94.5 million to help families in Kenya affected by severe drought, and £15 million to support companies buying food from Sub-Saharan Africa build resilience against climate-related supply chain shocks. The UK has cut its emissions in recent years, thanks to a rapid shift away from coal-fired power. Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said the UK will now share its decarbonisation expertise with developing countries. (BusinessGreen)*

Corporate Reputation / Climate Change

Business Council of Australia faces negative ad blitz over criticism of 45 percent emissions target

The Business Council of Australia will find itself the target of a negative advertising campaign for declaring that an emissions reduction target of 45% would wreck the Australian economy. With the country’s Labor party planning to go to the federal election with an emissions reduction target of 45 percent the progressive thinktank the Australia Institute will invest campaign resources in debunking a claim from the BCA that the proposed target is “economy-wrecking”. In public statements in support of the Coalition’s now dumped national energy guarantee, a policy that included an emissions reduction target of 26 percent by 2030, the BCA described that level of abatement as “workable” but characterised Labor’s 45 percent alternative as “economy wrecking”. Executive director of the Australia Institute, Ben Oquist, said it was important to ensure debates about public policy were fact-based. “There is simply no evidence for the BCA’s claim that a 45 percent emissions target would be an economy wrecking target,” he said. (Guardian)

Environment / Policy

Malaysia to ban single-use plastics

This week Malaysia has become one the first countries in Southeast Asia to take bold action to tackle plastic pollution. The government has charted a zero-waste plan that aims to abolish single-use plastic by 2030. At a recent town hall meeting, newly appointed minister in charge of environment matters Yeo Been Yin revealed that the country will launch a road map towards zero-use plastics by 2030 at the International Greentech and Ecoproducts Exhibition Malaysia next month. The road map includes a nationwide charge on plastic bags and to only serve plastic straws upon customer request. According to Yeo Been Yin, the road map will also offer suggestions for plastic manufacturers on how they can transition to alternatives such as reusable straws. She said: “The ministry doesn’t want to kill the plastic manufacturers but prepare them to produce more eco-friendly products.” (Eco-Business)

Corporate Reputation

BrewDog cancels deal with US beer firm Scofflaw over plan to offer free drinks to Trump supporters

Scottish craft brewer BrewDog cancelled a week-long partnership with US brewery Scofflaw after a row emerged over a press release promising free beer for Trump supporters. It appeared the American firm had said anyone backing the US president could get “beered up redneck-style free of charge”. Following the release and a backlash on Twitter, Brewdog tweeted, “The Scofflaw release was announced without our knowledge or consent. We are in no way aligned with their position and we will of course be cancelling all the events and sending all of the beer back. We care about beer and people. Not hate.” Last year, BrewDog launched the ‘Make Earth Great Again’ protest beer against President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change. In a statement Scofflaw owner Matt Shirah said: “This post is absolute nonsense… no one at Scofflaw Brewing or those associated with our brand, is now, or has ever been, rooted in hate.” (BBC; Evening Standard)

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Image source: BrewDog Glasgow by Stephen D. Strowes on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.