Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Climate Change, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Governance, Supply Chain, Sustainable Investment

Top Stories

March 05, 2019

Governance/Gender

Britain ranked 13th in PwC study of women’s workplace welfare

The US and UK ranked 23rd and 13th, respectively, in PwC’s annual ranking of the representation and welfare of women in the workplace across 33 OECD countries. Iceland, Sweden and New Zealand took the first three places, and Nordic countries held five of the top 10. While the U.K. lags only Canada among the G7 nations, its female participation rate of 57 percent still significantly lags Sweden’s 69 percent. Britain’s gender pay gap is still slow on progress, especially in London, where it has “barely budged” since 2010, the report said. The U.S. has fallen 14 places since the first PwC survey in 2000 as full-time female employment declined, according to the report. It also suggests that the rewards are great for getting more women into work; the U.K. economy could get a $178 billion boost by raising female employment to match levels seen in Sweden. Increasing female employment across all OECD nations could lift gross domestic product by over $6 trillion, PwC said. (Bloomberg)

Climate Change

Italy sees drop in olive harvest as result of climate change, scientist says

Extreme weather events have been the “main driver” of an olive harvest collapse that could leave Italy dependent on imports from April, a leading climate scientist has warned. A 57 percent plunge in the country’s olive harvest – the worst in 25 years – sparked protests by thousands of Italian farmers wearing gilet arancioni (orange vests) in Rome earlier this month. Olive trees across the Mediterranean have been hit by extreme events that mirror climate change predictions – erratic rainfalls, early spring frosts, strong winds and summer droughts. Olive trees are weakened by these kinds of weather shocks and, even if they recover, are left more vulnerable to disease and pest outbreaks, which have hit farmers in Italy and Greece, Professor Riccardo Valentini, a director of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change said. Italy’s Coldiretti farmers’ union estimates that the cost of the olive oil collapse this year has already reached €1 billion. (Guardian)

Responsible Investment

Leading UK charities seek legal clarity on ethical investments

Leading British charities and faith groups called on the government on Monday to review the law governing their investments to ensure they are ethically sound and do not contribute to climate change. In an open letter to the government, a group of about 19 British charities and faith groups said they needed specific legal guidance on whether charities should invest in companies that contribute to climate change. The signatories, which include the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility and Quakers in Britain, called for a legal ruling on whether charity trustees have a duty to ensure their investments support their aims and benefit society. Investments are crucial for charities to bolster their finances but there is no regulatory requirement in Britain for them to have a responsible investment policy. Case law on the issue is outdated and public opinion is changing amid growing awareness about the dangers of climate change, a draft of the letter sent to media organizations said. (Reuters)

Environment/Accountability

Airlines under pressure to act on emissions

Airlines are not doing enough to curb carbon emissions and avert dangerous global warming, according to new research released today by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI). The group warns climate targets set by 20 of the world’s largest airlines are not in line with internationally agreed targets to limit average temperature rise to below 2C, as set out in the Paris Agreement. Aviation currently accounts for around two percent of all global CO2 emissions, and around 12 percent of transport emissions. However, none of the airlines assessed had a clear plan for cutting emissions from flights after 2025, with hopes instead pinned on the industry-wide carbon offsetting scheme currently under development. Fears are growing that the effectiveness of the CORSIA initiative, under which all emissions growth after 2020 would be offset by carbon credits, could be undermined by weak rules and exemptions. (Business Green)

Corporates yet to take responsibility for role in the plastics crisis, report warns

Despite a fresh wave of commitments from corporates to reduce their plastic footprint, the wider business community is still failing to accept responsibility for the plastic pollution it produces by placing the onus on consumers, according to a new report from WWF. The report reveals that the amount of plastics produced, littered and incinerated globally is set to rise “dramatically” by 2030, despite recent action by businesses. It also warns that a further 104 million tonnes of plastic will “leak” into ecosystems by 2030 if policymakers, businesses and consumers do not collaborate to “drastically change” their approaches to the issue. The report states that the overall CO2 emissions generated through the plastic life cycle will increase by 50% by 2030, as plastic incineration trebles and alternatives are introduced before any unintended consequences are examined in full. The report attributes these trends to businesses, governments and NGOs taking “uncoordinated and piecemeal approaches” to tackling plastic pollution, with many focusing solely on specific items or on post-consumer recycling than developing approaches which cover the whole value chain. (Edie)

Image source: Street Olive Tree – Torquay by Torquay Palms on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.