Top Stories

November 09, 2020

Climate Change 

Joe Biden could bring Paris climate goals ‘within striking distance’ 

The election of Joe Biden as President of the United States could reduce global heating by about 0.1°C, bringing the goals of the Paris agreement “within striking distance”, if his plans are fulfilled, according to a detailed analysis by Climate Action Tracker. Biden’s policy of a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and plans for a $1.7tn investment in a green recovery from the COVID crisis could reduce US emissions in the next 30 years by about 75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide or its equivalents. The US is the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, yet Donald Trump reversed measures to reduce greenhouse gases and rejected the Paris agreement on climate change.  (The Guardian) 


New report highlights the financial advantage of ethics

Building a more ethical Australia and rebuilding trust in institutions could lift the nation’s GDP by $45 billion a year, according to new analysis from Deloitte. The Ethical Advantage report, commissioned by The Ethics Centre, mounts the economic case for pursuing higher levels of ethical behaviour across society, using three new types of economic modelling and a review of extensive data sets and research sources. The report found that by improving ethical behaviour to world-leading standards and consequently building trust, average annual incomes in Australia would increase by around $1,800. Australian data from the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that the bushfire crisis earlier this year eroded trust in four institutions: government, media, NGOs and business. (Pro Bono Australia) 

Corporate Governance 

Standard Life Aberdeen to toughen engagement process after Boohoo scandal

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen has overhauled its company engagement process after being burnt by a scandal at fast-fashion retailer Boohoo over allegations of poor working conditions at some of the company’s suppliers earlier this year. Standard Life Aberdeen, which had previously been one of Boohoo’s largest investors, subsequently sold out after describing the company’s response to the allegations as “inadequate”. As a result of the experience, Global Head of Stewardship Euan Stirling said he had decided to change the process for key engagements going forward. He stated that engagement going forward would be “more rigorous”, setting specific milestones from the outset, with associated timelines and expected outcomes. By using milestones, Stirling said the company would be able to determine when and how to escalate the engagement, with the ultimate option being to sell out. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) 

Sustainable Investment 

Schroders launches impact fund to aid Covid-hit emerging markets

Schroders, the UK’s largest asset manager, is launching an impact investing fund designed to support emerging and frontier market companies battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 support fund, which has secured $140 million of funding towards its $350 million target, will support micro-entrepreneurs and small companies in the developing world with the aim of reducing poverty and inequality. The new fund will aim to fill the financial support gap by providing loans to banks and lending institutions in the developing world to allow them to support local micro, small and medium-sized companies that have not benefited from wide-ranging government relief programmes. It expects to help 20 institutions and support more than 200m jobs once it reaches its target size. (Financial Times*) 

Climate Change 

Half of UK businesses ‘have not prepared for climate risks’, survey finds

A survey of 122 of the UK’s biggest businesses, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (Chartered IIA) and The Climate Group, has found that half have done little or no work to prepare for climate change risks. While more than two-thirds of the respondents said climate change will present risk to their business in the short to medium-term, 52 percent revealed that they have done either little or no work so far to prevent climate-related risks. The study also found that two-thirds of respondents said they want the Government to introduce further requirements in this space and 80 percent would welcome a universally agreed framework to report climate-related information. (edie)