Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Climate Change, Daily Media Briefing, Energy, Human Rights, Supply Chain, Sustainable Investment, Waste

Top Stories

August 01, 2019

Sustainable Investment/ Energy

Shell’s low carbon efforts could deliver long-term credit rating boost, says Moody’s

A new report by credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Service said oil giant Shell’s increased investment in low carbon energy opportunities such as renewables and biofuels could pay significant dividends in the long-term, as fortunes from its traditional oil and gas business fall into decline. Average returns from low carbon investments are currently lower than traditional oil and gas projects, Moody’s explained, meaning it most likely to be Shell’s continued strong focus on natural gas that will help cushion the company from expected falling oil demand in the short-to-medium term. But the agency argued that in the longer-term Shell’s recent investments in low carbon technologies could pay off significantly, as these green investments are expected to be credit-positive for the oil giant by 2040. With growing low carbon assets, Shell may be able to offset some of the potential decline of earning power and cash flow generation from its traditional oil and gas operations after 2040, when a growing number of industry projections expect “a material shift towards low carbon energy sources and away from fossil fuels”, Moody’s said. (Business Green)

Modern Day Slavery/ Supply Chain

Telefonica Brasil found guilty of slave labour

Mobile company Telefonica Brasil and three firms in its supply chain have been found guilty of engaging in slave labour, according to authorities. A panel of labour judges in Espirito Santo state ruled that Telefonica, publicly traded as Vivo in Brazil, was culpable after workers toiled in slavery-like conditions during the building of a mobile telephone tower in 2014. The decision supports the idea that companies be held responsible for labour abuses within their supply chain, even when not directly involved in perpetrating them, prosecutors and campaigners said. The company and its contractors will be fined R$200,000 ($53,167), and also risk being added to Brazil’s “dirty list” of companies found guilty of slave labour. Through extensive subcontracting, labourers were hired from one of Brazil’s poorest states, Maranhao, working long hours for a month without adequate rest or bathroom or sleeping facilities, while receiving no pay. Their employer held their working papers even after the job was done, leaving the workers “in a miserable state, abandoned on the place they were working on, unable to return to their homes,” wrote lead prosecutor Antonio Carlos Soares. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)


M&S launches reusable container discounts to cut plastics waste

British supermarket chain Marks & Spencer (M&S) has launched a discount scheme to incentivise the use of reusable containers at its in-store Market Place counters. Under the scheme, customers will be given a 25p discount off each meal they purchase from M&S Market Place counters if they bring their own reusable container of any material. These counters offer both hot and cold lunch-to-go options. In order to further encourage shoppers to make the switch, the retailer will begin stocking clip-closure storage containers at the counter. M&S claims that around 70,000 customers make a purchase from its 23 UK Market Place counters evert week, meaning that the potential reduction in single-use packaging from the discount scheme is sizeable. While other retail giants, including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, now allow shoppers to bring reusable containers to their deli, meat and fish counters, M&S claims it is the first large UK supermarket to offer a discount. (Edie)

Climate Change

Climate change could cause steel sector’s profits to melt away, CDP warns

A new report released by environmental reporting non-profit, CDP, warns that steel companies could face “significant” financial losses if they fail to curb their emissions in line with global climate change targets. According to CDP, the sector is not currently reducing its emissions fast enough to minimise global warming in line with the Paris Agreement to below 2C, with cumulative company targets suggesting the sector will cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. In fact, only two out of the 20 companies analysed in the paper have set emissions targets aligned with a 2C trajectory or below. This high carbon footprint could be the steel sector’s downfall, according to the report, which warns that the world’s 20 largest steel companies could on average lose 14 percent of their value if they fail to enhance their emissions reduction efforts. Chinese, Russian, and US companies would be worst hit, the paper suggests, as they lag behind on environmental disclosures compared to European and East Asian companies, which have been more proactive in setting carbon targets and developing new technologies. (Business Green)


UK solar power pioneer Solarcentury profit grows 860% in a year

A UK solar power pioneer has grown its profits eight-fold by investing in subsidy-free solar farms, a portion of which will help connect homes in Africa to small-scale solar-powered lighting systems. Solarcentury, one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies, will report profits of £14.4 million for the year ending in March, compared with £1.5 million the year before. A 5 percent share (over £500,000) of the record profits will be channelled into SolarAid, a charity that has helped connect 2 million homes in Africa to reliable electricity since it was founded by Solarcentury in 2006. The rapidly rising profits follow a four-year growth strategy in which the company has invested heavily in building and running subsidy-free solar projects in southern Europe, Latin America and Africa. In the year ahead the UK will emerge as a key focus for subsidy-free projects, owing to falling technology costs that have made solar power more economical in more overcast countries. The results are likely to stoke investor interest in the company, which was put up for sale this year and could fetch £250 million for its current owners. (The Guardian)

Image Sourceaerial photography of grass field with blue solar panels by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash.