Top Stories

October 01, 2020


Global poll of views on environment and science finds sharpest divide in US

People in the US are more sharply divided along political lines when it comes to science and environmental issues than in other parts of the world, new research by the Pew Research Centre shows. Globally, analysis shows people who see themselves on the left side of politics are more likely to be concerned about the environment than those who see themselves as being on the right or in the centre. But in the US, that divide is much sharper with about 40% of politically right-wing US citizens saying they would prioritise protecting the environment, even if it caused slower economic growth and some loss of jobs, compared with 87% of those on the left. However, overall there was still a clear majority who supported protecting the environment in the US, at nearly two-thirds (64%) of the population. (The Guardian)


Mining giant accused of poisoning rivers in Papua New Guinea

Mining giant Rio Tinto is facing accusations that a mine it abandoned in Papua New Guinea two decades ago is leaking poisonous waste into rivers. More than 150 people living in Bougainville have filed a complaint with the Australian authorities claiming waste from the copper and gold mine is causing health problems for 12,000 people living nearby. The Panguna mine was one of the region’s biggest for copper and gold in the 1970s and 1980s, but widespread anger among local communities over environmental damage and profit distribution forced its closure. Rio Tinto handed its stake in the mine to the government of Papua New Guinea four years ago, but many feel the company should still take responsibility for cleaning up the site. The mining firm says it is willing to speak to the current owners of the Panguna mine and the local community. (BBC)

Sustainable Business

Science-based targets verification for financial sector unveiled

The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) has launched its framework and validation service for financial institutions. The framework, developed with input from CDP, WWF, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the UN Global Compact (UNGC), covers financial firms’ direct operations, supply chains and the impact of the companies and projects held in their portfolios. Approved targets involve committing to reduce Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 4.2% annually under the 1.5ºC pathway and 2.5% annually under the ‘well below 2°C’ pathway. Scope 3 target requirements will vary based on the kinds of assets which the organisation has holdings in. To date, 55 financial institutions have committed to setting SBTi-verified climate targets and will have 24 months to receive verification. (Edie)

Sustainable Fashion

ASOS unveils ‘circular’ fashion collection

Online fashion retailer ASOS has launched a new “circular collection” which it claims use zero waste designs and recycled materials to produce a range of “trend-led” clothing and accessories. The collection uses eight “circularity principles”, and to be part of the collection each item must adhere to at least two, the firm said. These include: using zero waste designs that aim to ensure clothes are cut from fabric most efficiently, selecting recycled materials, ensuring the clothes are durable and versatile to reduce wear and tear, and making items from a single recyclable material which is designed for easy disassembly and recycling. It follows ASOS’s 2018 commitment to skill up all of its design team towards circular, sustainable techniques and ideas by 2020. (Business Green)

Policy & Research

Ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds comes into force in England

The UK Government has announced the supply of plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds and other plastic items in England is now illegal, with the long-delayed ban on a host of single-use plastic items having come into effect today. The ban, which was due to come into force six months ago before being controversially postponed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, aims to eliminate the estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds used in England every year. It forms part of the government’s efforts to stem the tide of plastic pollution, as it targets the elimination of avoidable plastic waste by 2042, as set out in its 25 Year Environment Plan. (Business Green)