Top Stories

April 01, 2020

Health/ Innovation

Coronavirus: Abbott surges after unveiling five-minute coronavirus test

American medical company Abbott Laboratories shares surged in U.S. trading after unveiling a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes. The test is small and portable enough for it to be used in almost any health-care setting. The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. The molecular test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome, which can quickly be detected when present at high levels. A thorough search to definitively rule out an infection can take up to 13 minutes. Abbott has received emergency use authorisation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “for use by authorized laboratories and patient care settings,” the company said late Friday. The equipment can be set up almost anywhere, but the company is working with its customers and the Trump administration to ensure the first cartridges used to perform the tests are sent to where they are most needed. (Bloomberg)

Sustainable Investment

Coronavirus: Companies focused on climate change ‘outperformed’ as virus spread

Banking giant HSBC has released research that suggests greener stocks’ relatively impressive performance is largely holding true throughout the coronavirus crisis. HSBC analysed 613 shares of global public companies valued at over $500m where climate solutions generate at least 10 per cent of revenues, as well as the 140 stocks with highest ESG scores and values above the global average. It then analysed the stocks’ performance between the start of the crisis and when it escalated sparking high levels of market volatility. It found that in the pandemic’s early weeks, shares in ESG-aware companies outperformed the market, although with some big regional differences. The climate-focused stocks outperformed others by 7.6 per cent from December and by three per cent since February, while the ESG shares beat others by about seven per cent for both periods. The hypothesis is that companies with good governance practices and high levels of exposure to long term growth markets, such as clean technologies, should find themselves better positioned to manage short term economic shocks and subsequent recovery. (Business Green)

Climate Change

Business giants urge ministers to end supply chain deforestation by 2030

Supermarket chain Tesco, fast-food giant McDonald’s and wildlife organisation WWF are among the businesses and NGOs urging the UK Government to set a legally binding 2030 target to end deforestation in agriculture and forest product supply chains. The report begins by highlighting the importance of forest conservation to not only nature and biodiversity, but to meeting climate targets and achieving the economic social sustainability measures set out by the UN in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On the latter, it highlights the fact that 1.6 billion people globally depend on forest systems for their livelihood. On climate change, it reiterates the UN’s assertation that forests could account for 30% of the solutions needed to mitigate climate change. The legally binding target for eliminating deforestation in agriculture and forest product supply chains should apply both domestically and internationally, the report states, with 2030 being the absolute latest deadline. (Edie)


Volvo in talks to reach emissions deal with California

Swedish automaker Volvo confirmed Tuesday it is in talks with California to reach a voluntary emissions agreement. This follows an agreement between fellow carmakers Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG with California in July to adopt emissions requirements that were more stringent than the Trump administration rules. Volvo, whose parent is Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said a deal with California “will serve as a national path forward.” This takes place in a context seeing President Donald Trump’s administration completing a rollback of U.S. vehicle emissions standards that require 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026. The Trump administration called the move its largest single deregulatory action and said it will save automakers upwards of $100 billion in compliance costs. (Reuters, Reuters)

Climate Change/ Strategy

Ricoh sets 1.5C science-based target as part of zero-emissions ambition

Japanese electronics firm Ricoh has confirmed that it has had a new target to reduce emissions by 63% by 2030 approved by Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) as aligned to the 1.5C ambition of the Paris Agreement. Ricoh had set a target in 2017 to cut emissions by 30% by 2030 from a 2015 baseline, a goal that was aligned to the Paris Agreement’s ambition to limit global heating to no more than 2C. The company has since updated these targets and will strive for a 63% reduction, which will see Ricoh reach a 30% reduction by 2022. Ricoh will prioritise the use of renewables to help decarbonise its operations and push towards the science-based targets. It was the first Japanese company to join the RE100 – the global initiative steered by the Climate Group to encourage companies to commit to sourcing 100% renewable energy. The company has pledged to develop more off-site renewable facilities and promote clean energy use across the Americas and Asia-Pacific region. (Edie)

Image source: Woman in laboratory by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash