Top Stories

November 12, 2020

Circular Economy 

Government funds five ‘state of the art’ circular economy R&D centres 

Several state-of-the-art circular economy research and innovation centres are to be established around England, after the government announced a new £22.5 million funding programme aimed at curbing waste and boosting recycling rates for textiles, electronics, metals, construction, and chemicals. The government said emissions from the UK’s textiles industry alone were almost as high as those from cars used for private trips, largely due to the estimated £140m-worth of clothing which goes into landfill each year. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that by developing innovative techniques, the new centres can help reduce greenhouse gases, preserve natural resources and support the growth of the UK’s circular economy, which research estimates could help create 500,000 jobs by 2030. (Business Green) 

Sustainable Investment 

Banks around world in joint pledge on ‘green recovery’ after Covid

The world’s publicly financed development banks have pledged to tie together their efforts to rescue the global economy from the Covid-19 crisis and the climate emergency and assist a green recovery for poor countries. However, the banks stopped short of pledging an end to fossil fuel finance and did not set out firm targets for how much funding they would devote to a green recovery in a declaration signed by 450 development banks worldwide. A report by the OECD found that climate finance from private-sector sources was failing to grow at the levels needed to reach the $100 billion target set out under the UN more than a decade ago. The pledge is core to the agreement for poorer countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions in return for receiving financial aid. (The Guardian) 


UK Government ramps up social value requirements

The UK Government is introducing a new public procurement model that takes greater account of the additional social value created by contractors who are bidding for work. Businesses seeking to win government work must set out how they will also deliver on the government’s social value priorities. The underlying aim is for government to use its buying power to do good beyond the actual asset being purchased by promoting new jobs and skills, encouraging economic growth and prosperity and tackle climate change. The Cabinet Office believes that this will have the effect of making it easier for smaller local companies to compete in their areas against big national or multi-national players. (The Construction Index; UK Gov) 


Investors target French companies over lack of women in top jobs

Amundi, Axa Investment Managers and four other asset managers have joined forces to demand that big public companies in France appoint more women to executive jobs. The group is calling on companies in the SBF 120 to hit a target that at least 30 percent of their executive management teams are female by 2025. It warned that if companies did not make enough progress, the asset managers could use their votes at annual meetings to punish them. In recent years, investors have become more outspoken about the need for diversity in companies in response to research that suggests diverse businesses are better performing. (Financial Times*) 

Sustainable Investment 

Top $5 trillion investor group pushes firms to cut out thermal coal

Some of the world’s largest insurers and pension schemes are warning companies they invest in not to finance, insure, build, develop or plan new thermal coal plants or face sanctions, including possible divestment. The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, whose members include German insurer Allianz and manage a combined $5 trillion in assets, is making the call after a recent commitment to set tougher carbon limits on their portfolios. The alliance recognises that to meet the terms of the Paris Agreement on climate change, developed economies need to phase out most thermal coal by 2030, with a global phase out by 2040. (Reuters) 

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