Top Stories

October 14, 2020

Circular Economy 

Ikea unveils national buy-back scheme for used furniture in drive to become ‘fully circular’

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is to launch a ‘buy back’ scheme that will allow customers to sell their flat-pack furniture back to the company. Shoppers will be able to purchase second-hand items at discounted rates. Customers that sell dressers, chairs, cabinets, or bookshelves back to Ikea will receive vouchers that can be redeemed against new items at any time in a bid to encourage customers to buy items only when necessary. Well-used items with several scratches will be eligible for a voucher worth 30% of the original value, while unblemished items can be swapped for 50% of the original value. The items will eventually be stocked in dedicated second-hand sections of Ikea stores, with anything unable to be resold recycled. (Business Green) 


Top asset owners commit to big carbon emissions cuts

Thirty of the world’s largest asset owners, with portfolios worth a combined $5tn, have committed to cutting the carbon emissions linked to companies they invest in by up to 29% by 2025. Members of the UN-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance – which includes Aviva, the Church of England, the $400bn US fund CalPERS and Axa – will slash emissions linked to their portfolio companies between 16% and 29%, compared with 2019 levels. They will also identify the top 20 emitters in their portfolios and set goals for slashing emissions in key sectors including oil and gas, utilities, transport and steel. The group is hoping to avoid divesting from polluting firms, instead encouraging companies to reduce their emissions and help limit global temperature rises to 1.5ºC through reporting and business transition plans. (Guardian) 


UK urged to force firms to publish plans for closing gender and ethnicity pay gap

Women’s rights organisation the Fawcett Society and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London have urged Britain’s companies to create plans for closing their gender pay gaps amid warnings that COVID-19 threatens to worsen inequality. They also urged the UK to set a global example by requiring businesses to report on the pay gap according to ethnicity. The UK made it mandatory in 2017 for all companies with over 250 employees to report gender pay gaps, which fell last year, with men earning 17.3% more than women on average, down from 17.9% in 2018. A private member’s bill will be presented in parliament on 20th October requiring companies to publish plans for addressing pay gaps related to gender and ethnicity. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) 

Sustainable Investment 

Tesco links £2.5bn loan to key emissions, energy and food waste targets

UK supermarket Tesco has established a £2.5bn revolving credit facility whereby rates and interest are tied to progress against the company’s key environmental targets. Under the terms of the agreement, facilitated by banks BNP Paribas and NatWest, Tesco will benefit from a lower interest rate loan margin if it meets its commitments to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions; to source renewable electricity through on-site generation and power purchase agreements (PPAs); and to redistribute surplus food. Tesco was one of the first businesses in the world to have its targets approved in line with 1.5ºC by the Science-Based Targets initiative. It is aiming to reduce operational emissions by 60% by 2025, against a 2015-2016 baseline, and to reach net-zero by 2050. (Edie)* 


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef might lose ability to recover from warming

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral in the last three decades and scientists fear the loss caused by frequent bleaching will compromise its ability to recover. Record-breaking temperatures that triggered bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 have meant fewer small, baby corals and breeding adult ones, said Terry Hughes, professor at ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. Experts say these events have reduced the resilience of the reef and its ability to bounce back from recurrent mass bleaching events. Bleaching early this year could have caused more damage to the reef’s southern region. The reef suffered its most extensive bleaching event in March 2020, the third one in five years. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)