Top Stories

August 27, 2020

Climate Change

Environmentalists celebrate Exxon Mobil being dropped from Dow Jones

Exxon Mobil’s demotion from the Dow Jones Industrial Average after nearly a century is being celebrated by environmentalists as a harbinger of the fossil fuel industry’s demise. In 2013, Exxon was the most valuable company on earth, valued at around $418 billion. Pharmaceuticals giant, Pfizer, and Raytheon Technologies, an aerospace and defence manufacturer, will also drop from the Dow before trading opens this coming Monday. Exxon Mobil shares fell 3.4 percent, Pfizer fell 1.6 percent and Raytheon lost 2 percent on the news. The companies will be replaced by tech firms: Software company,; Amgen, a biopharmaceutical company; and Honeywell International, a building and aerospace conglomerate, all receiving an increase of around 3 percent following the announcement. Chevron is now the last remaining oil company on the Dow. Exxon Mobil’s drop appears emblematic of the changing fortunes of the fossil fuel industry, as calls to tackle the climate crisis gather momentum. (Independent)


Up to half of world’s water supply stolen annually, study finds

Between 30 and 50 percent of the world’s water supply is stolen each year, mainly by agricultural interests and farmers, yet the crime itself is not well understood, a new international study led by the University of Adelaide says. The lead author, Dr Adam Loch, from the university’s Centre for Global Food and Resources, said there was a lack of data around water theft partly because those stealing the resource were often poor, vulnerable and at-risk in developing countries. “But theft also occurs in the developed world, especially in agricultural settings,” he said. In the paper published in Nature Sustainability, the researchers developed a framework and model which will allow water managers to test the impact of changes to detection, prosecution and conviction systems. They applied the model to three case studies: cotton growing in Australia, marijuana cropping in the US and strawberry growing in Spain. Loch said the study found the drivers of water theft included social attitudes, institutions and future supply uncertainty. (The Guardian)

Corporate Responsibility

Sky boss pledges to harness ‘power of storytelling’ to help drive climate action

Broadcasters should be more willing to use their voice and creative abilities to raise awareness of the climate crisis and tackle the environmental challenges that will “define our generation” according to Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch. Darroch will appear in conversation with Wendy Darke, the former head of the BBC Natural History Unit and CEO of natural history production company True to Nature, in a pre-recorded programme that is set to be broadcast today as part of this year’s virtual Edinburgh TV Festival. The pair will explore the role that broadcasters can play in shaping the conversation around climate change, as the world gears up to drive progress towards its net-zero goals through the critical next decade. Darroch will discuss both Sky’s pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2030 and the wider role broadcasters and media companies have to play in driving climate action. He will also stress that Sky is already realising benefits to the business as a result of its net zero target. (Business Green)

Sustainable Investment

HSBC teams up with Pollination for ‘natural capital’ venture

HSBC has teamed up with climate change advisory firm Pollination Group to create an asset management venture focused on “natural capital”, which seeks to put a value on resources such as water, soil and air to help to protect the environment. The new venture – HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management – will look to raise up to $1 billion for its first fund next year, targeting investments that “preserve, protect and enhance nature over the long-term”, it said in a statement. It aims to attract capital from institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and insurers into natural capital investments. A growing number of asset owners such as pension funds are looking to invest in projects that help to protect the world’s biodiversity at the same time as turning a profit. Investment in natural capital will provide exposure to projects that include sustainable forestry, regenerative and sustainable agriculture, water supply, nature based bio-fuels, or projects that generate returns from reducing greenhouse emissions. (Reuters)


Deploy ‘Blue Bonds’ to align interests of fishing industry and marine life, study argues

So-called ‘Blue Bonds’ could play an important role in restoring ocean ecosystems and setting the world’s fisheries on a sustainable development course, according to a new study from financial think tank Planet Tracker. Production from the world’s wild-catch fisheries is set to decline, or at best plateau, over the next few decades. At the same time, global population growth means seafood production needs to increase by 118 percent by 2050 to meet healthy dietary requirements. To tackle this issue, ocean ecosystems need time to regenerate, having been hit by decades of overfishing and other human activities that caused the abundance of marine life to decline by an estimated 70 percent through the course of the 20th century. Planet Tracker’s new analysis argues that in the long-term, stripping back catch levels to allow marine ecosystems to regenerate would benefit the world’s fishing industry. Drawing on a model examining the feasibility of a global recovery of fish stocks, it finds that while a business-as-usual scenario results in higher profits and cash flow in the short term, financial returns quickly fall below those envisaged under a ‘recovery scenario’ by the sixth year. (Business Green)


Image Source: white printer paper with back text by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.