Top Stories

August 26, 2020


Forest positive: Kingfisher pledges to plant more trees than it consumes

Home improvement giant Kingfisher has pledged to create more forest that it consumes by 2025, as part of a new sustainability strategy designed to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain and support the development of greener homes. The firm said it is aiming to cut back its impact on the world’s forests by using 100 percent responsibly sourced wood and paper in all the products it sells and by investing in new reforestation projects from 2021 onwards. The forest-focused target accompanies three further ‘responsible business priorities’ to increase inclusivity across the business, work to improve “bad” housing, and support efforts to “make greener, healthier homes affordable”. To support delivery of the new targets the company said it has created a Responsible Business Committee which will report to the Board. Since Kingfisher’s first raft of sustainability initiative, outlines in 2018, the business has boosted the proportion of its sales from products that help make customers’ homes greener by 37 percent and cut the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations and energy use by 18 percent. (Business Green)


RE100 Leadership Awards shortlist: companies going above and beyond on clean energy

As the countdown begins to Climate Week NYC (21-27 September) and faster pursuit of a net-zero carbon future, leading global companies including Apple, Chanel and Ricoh are being shortlisted for awards on clean energy. RE100 is a global initiative led by international non-profit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, now bringing together more than 250 major businesses committed to 100 percent renewable power. For the first time, the inaugural RE100 Leadership Awards, delivered in partnership with ENGIE North America, will recognise member companies going ‘above and beyond’ in the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity. The shortlisted companies span a wide range of sectors, from technology and manufacturing to pharmaceuticals and fashion. They are from a diverse list of geographies including Europe, the US, Japan and Taiwan. Other shortlisted companies include Schneider Electric, Novo Nordisk, AB InBev and Salesforce. The Climate Group will promote the shortlisted company clips on social media over the coming weeks, and announce the winners at Climate Week NYC. (The Climate Group)

Climate Change

Study: Consumer carbon emissions have plummeted through 2020 – and some savings could continue

Carbon emissions from six key consumer spending categories – food and drink, fuel, commuting, airlines, electronics stores, and clothing stores – fell by almost a third during the UK’s lockdown and remain 14 percent lower than in 2019, according to a new analysis of Lloyds Bank spending data carried out by the Carbon Trust. The unprecedented drop in emissions mirrored the disruption to travel caused by the national lockdown, which saw emissions from airlines and commuting down 73 percent. The dramatic fall in travel-related emissions eclipsed a rise in carbon emissions seen in some retail sectors such as the food and drink sector with emissions rising by 19 per cent and the electronic goods sector also rising by 20 per cent. While the lockdown led to overall record falls in carbon emissions, the analysis found that more than half of the emissions reductions experienced during April and May have persisted as lockdown conditions have eased, suggesting that some of the emissions reductions sparked by the lockdown could be here to stay. (Business Green)

Supply Chain

Businesses including Glencore launch joint bid to improve conditions in cobalt supply chains

A coalition of businesses including Signify, Glencore and Fairphone have launched a joint initiative to improve the economic, working and social conditions of those working in the cobalt supply chain. Global demand for cobalt has been rising steadily in recent times and is predicted to grow more rapidly in the coming years, due to the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market. However, cobalt’s value chain presents a myriad of social issues, including having heightened risk of modern slavery, child labour and poor working conditions. The new initiative, called the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA), will partner with governments and NGOs to improve the welfare of those employed in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which is estimated to be between 1.5 million and 2 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone. The aim is to build sources of responsible cobalt, from which businesses can purchase and be sure they are not financing activities which are misaligned with their social commitments. (edie)


Plastic Pact launches in the US as industry giants pledge action

Dozens of US companies, including household names such as Coca-Cola, Colgate, and KimberleyClark, have signed up to a new Plastics Pact committing them to a raft of targets aimed at combating the global plastics crisis that is poisoning the planet’s oceans and pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. The initiative was launched by the Recycling Partnership and WWF, as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation‘s global Plastics Pact network, which has similar initiatives underway in the UK, France, Portugal, South Africa, Holland, and Chile. Signing the pact, more than 60 companies, government agencies, and NGOs have pledged to ensure that by 2025 they have made all plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable, effectively recycled or composted 50 percent of their plastic packaging, and boosted the average recycled or responsibly sourced bio-based content of packaging by 50 percent. They will also draw up a list of packaging defined as problematic or unnecessary by 2021, and work to eliminate items on the list by 2025. The participating organisations will now work together to create a roadmap laying out the steps to achieving the pact’s targets. (Business Green)

Image source: The Earth and I by Noah Buscher on Unsplash.