Top Stories

September 25, 2020


Amazon will make it easier to buy sustainable products with new climate label 

Amazon has announced a new programme, Climate Pledge Friendly, to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. Customers will now see the Climate Pledge Friendly label when searching for more than 25,000 products to signify that the products have one or more of 19 different sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world, such as reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers. As part of the initiative, Amazon is also announcing Compact by Design, a new externally-validated certification that identifies products which, while they may not always look very different, have a more efficient design. At scale, these small differences in product size and weight lead to significant carbon emission reductions. (Business Wire) 

Sustainable Investment 

Vanguard and BlackRock add new climate-focused ETFs as demand soars 

Top asset managers Vanguard Group Inc and BlackRock Inc have introduced new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that exclude oil companies, coal producers and other industries that a growing number of investors want to avoid. BlackRock, with $7 trillion in total assets, will offer three ESG stock funds that recreate exposure to S&P indexes of large, mid-cap and small-cap companies. The ETFs will screen out companies with certain levels of investment in the thermal coal, oil sands or shale energy sectors, BlackRock said. The demand for such funds partly reflects their performance, which has often topped traditional investment products this year. Research company Morningstar found flows into such funds reached a record pace this year, taking in $20.9 billion through June, just shy of the annual record of $21.4 billion for all of 2019. (Reuters) 

Sustainable Agriculture 

McDonald’s to invest in climate-friendly farming practices 

McDonald‘s has launched a “Sustainable MacFries Fund” in partnership with McCain to improve the resilience of British potato farmers, while also collaborating with the Walmart Foundation, WWF and Cargill in the US to improve land use practices. McDonald’s and McCain will provide £1m in grants to growers. Farmers will be educated and trained in improving soil structure while using new infiltration tines for MacFry planters. The technology will increase the uptake of water in both the soil and roots. The way in which land is used in the UK accounted for 12 percent of national emissions in 2017, meaning that agri-food systems will need to be rapidly changed to ensure that the Government’s legally binding net-zero target is met. (edie) 

Supply Chain 

Vodafone embeds purpose commitments in its supply chain 

Vodafone Group will evaluate suppliers on their commitments to diversity, inclusion and the environment when they tender for new work, ensuring that the company’s supply chain contributes towards the purpose of improving the lives of 1 billion people, while halving its environmental impact by 2025. From October 2020, a supplier’s ‘purpose’ will account for 20% of the evaluation criteria for a ‘Request For Quotation’ (RFQ) to provide Vodafone with products or services. For new tenders, suppliers will be asked to demonstrate policies, procedures and evidence of public disclosure that support diversity in the workplace, including gender, ethnicity, LGBT+, age and disability criteria. (TelecomTV) 

Gender Equality 

UAE’s equal pay law for men, women in private sector takes effect 

The United Arab Emirates has introduced a mandate for equal pay for men and women working in the private sector. The new law stated that “female employees shall receive wages equal to that of males if they perform the same work or another of equal value”. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization said the new law elevated the country’s regional and international reputation in gender equality. A World Economic Forum report published earlier this year claimed the UAE was a regional leader in bridging the gender pay gap. The UAE ranked 26th globally in the United Nations Development Programmes’ 2019 Gender Inequality Index. (Arab News)