Top Stories

October 04, 2019

Climate Change

Half of UK businesses ‘targeting carbon neutrality by 2030’

A survey of 502 UK businesses has found that almost half are aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2030, with 8 percent claiming they had already reached this milestone. Conducted by YouGov, the survey was used to track the climate attitudes of business representatives from major sectors. Overall, 46 percent of respondents said their organisation had plans, either public or internally published, to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Just 5 percent said this milestone was feasible for their firm within the next year, with most targeting a timespan between two and five years. A further 8 percent claimed their business has already achieved carbon-neutrality – a feat which would require most kinds of organisation to purchase carbon offsets. UK-based businesses which have already publicly claimed carbon neutrality include the likes of Aldi UK, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Neal’s Yard. In stark comparison EcoAct released its annual sustainability leader board table for FTSE100 firm, stating 85 of the companies listed “do not have a sufficient emissions reduction strategy in place to limit global warming to safe levels”. (edie)

Sustainable Investment

World’s largest banks lagging in sustainable finance according to report

Despite pressure from activists, investors and governments, the majority of world’s 50 largest banks have not made sustainable finance commitments to respond to the risks of climate change and continue to finance fossil fuels, according to new findings by the World Resources Institute (WRI). Among those 23 banks with commitments, the average annual level of fossil fuel finance between 2016 and 2018 is nearly twice the annualized amount of sustainable finance commitments. Only seven banks had annualized sustainable finance targets greater than the amount of finance they provide for fossil fuel-related transactions. In the lead up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week, several banks including ABN Amro and Amalgamated Bank announced they will adopt measures to improve the transparency of their investments to measure their responses to climate change. Another group of over 130 banks including Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and Barclays announced they would adopt United Nations-backed principles for responsible banking aimed at pushing companies and governments to act quickly to avert catastrophic global warming. (Reuters)


Brazil’s government to present bill allowing mining on indigenous reserves

Brazil’s government will present a bill later this month giving more leeway to mining in the country, including allowing mines on indigenous land. The bill, announced by Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque, which is already being analysed by the president’s chief of staff, will also look to legalize more small-scale, independent wildcat mines, many of which now operate illegally. In July, Albuquerque announced the creation of a working group to analyse how best to simplify Brazil’s mineral prospecting process. Fires have been sweeping through the Amazon rainforest early this year causing unprecedented deforestation. In response to this, $20 million has been promised by world leaders from the most powerful global economies to aid Brazil in combatting the fires. Despite this, conservative President Jair Bolsonaro has sought to open indigenous reservations to mining, logging and farming, which observers say has helped fuel these fires. (Thomas Reuters Foundation)


Female businesswomen start #MeToo-style pay campaign

More than 100 of the UK’s most successful businesswomen have launched the ‘#MeTooPay’ campaign to end gender pay discrimination. The businesswomen behind the movement, include former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Dame Minouche Shafik, GSK boss Emma Walmsley and it is spearheaded by former Royal Mail chief Dame Moya Greene. The campaign follows the BNP Paribas gender diversity scandal in which it was revealed the basic salary of a female employee at the bank was paid 25 percent less than that of a male colleague, and a bonus payment less than half, despite equal grades for their workplace performance. The campaign website will include the latest instances of pay discrimination, record details of important court cases and provide a place “to share good and bad policies in action.” It will ask for input from workplace professionals, including compensation experts who can help accurately assess gender pay differences, and negotiation experts who can help women achieve better salary deals. (The Guardian; BBC)


Coca-Cola unveils drinks bottle made from recycled ocean plastics

Beverage giant, Coca-Cola, has unveiled sample bottles consisting of 25 percent recycled marine plastics, as the company increases its efforts to improve the recyclability and collection of its products in Western Europe. In partnership with clean-tech company Ioniqa Technologies, chemical firm Indorama Ventures and the Mares Circulares project, the Coca-Cola Company produced 300 sample bottles consisting of ocean plastics retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea and beaches. The sample bottles were revealed as Coca-Cola Western Europe unveiled new targets to support the company’s overall vision of a “world without waste”. While only a proof of concept, which Coca-Cola claims is the first successful attempt to incorporate ocean plastics in food and drink packaging, the company believes that it showcases what can be incorporated into bottles in the future. The company is instead enhancing efforts to improve recycling at a commercial scale to improve the material content from existing recyclers, including previously unrecyclable plastics and lower-quality recyclables. From 2020, Coca-Cola plans to roll out this enhanced recycled content in some of its bottles. (edie)


Image Source: white wind mills by Dan Meyers on Unsplash.