Top Stories

September 15, 2020


Google pledges to be carbon free as fires engulf California

Google is promising to run all of its data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy within a decade, as the tech giant makes plans to ditch fossil fuels and agree to a key demand from employees concerned about climate change. The company says it may relocate some data centres to reach the new goal of operating entirely on clean energy such as wind, solar, batteries and hydropower by 2030. Chief executive Sundar Pichai pointed to the wildfires raging across the west coast of the US, and said it was urgent for businesses to address climate change. Microsoft announced earlier this year that it would be “carbon negative” by 2030, extracting more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces. The pledge to operate on carbon-free power will address one of four demands made by a group of thousands of Google employees concerned about climate change, who staged a walkout and wrote a letter to the chief financial officer last year. (Financial Times) *


SBTi kickstarts process on global standard for science-based corporate net-zero targets

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued its first guidance on what will ultimately lead to the development of a new global standard to ensure that corporate net-zero carbon targets are aligned with climate science. The Foundations for Science-Based Net-Zero Target Setting in the Corporate Sector paper has been released in an effort to ensure that corporate net-zero targets are aligned to climate science and efforts to deliver a net-zero world by no later than 2050. The paper notes that net-zero targets must be consistent with the 1.5C trajectory while neutralising the impact of any sources of residual emissions that cannot be eliminated. As such, the SBTi realises the role that offsets will play in net-zero strategies but insists that reducing emissions must be the overarching priority for companies. (Edie)

Health & Nutrition

European meat plants posing ‘avoidable risk’ of disease, inspectors say

Consumers are being exposed to an “avoidable risk” of disease after a reduction of official controls in food inspections of pig and poultry carcasses across the EU, European meat inspectors have said. Diseased meat is being eaten by consumers in the UK and EU said the European Working Community for Food Inspection and Consumer Protection (EFWFC) this week. In response to the claim, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the regulations for food safety had been developed to prevent meat that could be diseased or contaminated from reaching consumers. The EWFC is calling for food safety regulations at slaughterhouses to be “re-evaluated in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic”, and is also calling on the EU commission to reverse 2019 changes to poultry inspections that move away from 100% postmortem inspections. (The Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Facebook launches climate science info centre amid fake news criticism

Facebook has launched a climate science information centre to elevate credible sources on climate change, as critics question its role in the spread of misinformation on the issue. Facebook said the project is modelled on its COVID-19 Information Centre, and launched a similar feature last month on voting in preparation for U.S. elections in November. The tool will be rolled out in the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and eventually to other countries. Facebook has faced allegations that it permits false claims around climate change through a policy that exempts opinion articles from its external fact-checking system. It has said that it prioritizes handling of misinformation that poses an immediate threat of harm, like bogus coronavirus cures or hate speech that could incite violence. Facebook’s global policy chief Nick Clegg said the company would continue exempting false claims about climate change posted by politicians. (Reuters)

Sustainable Investment

Tesco steps up rail investment plans

UK supermarket Tesco has officially launched a new £5m investment programme to support its plans to transfer a greater proportion of its distribution network away from road and on to the rail network. The investment includes 500 new rail boxes and two new stacking machines with a particular focus on moving more freight by rail in the north east England especially. The increased rail service is set to replace 40 truck loads of road freight between Daventry and Middlesbrough per day. It will eventually save more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2 each year and remove over 3.9 million truck miles from the road. The news, which was announced last week, was warmly welcomed by Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris. Andrew Woolfenden, UK distribution director for the supermarket, said: “Tesco is the biggest retail user of rail in the UK and it’s the most efficient way of moving our goods quickly, so the benefits are practical for our business and for the environment. (Business Green)


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