Top Stories

January 18, 2021


France’s Total quits powerful US oil lobby over climate policy

French energy company Total has become the first oil major to end its membership of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Big Oil’s powerful Washington lobby group with over 600 members, including ExxonMobil and Chevron. Total cited the API’s stance on climate change and support for politicians who opposed the Paris agreement as reasons for quitting the lobby group. The move exposes a growing rift between US and European oil supermajors on climate policy. Total also cited the API’s opposition to electric vehicle subsidies and its support last year for the Trump administration’s rollbacks of regulations to limit emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It is hoped that Total’s move will provide momentum to campaigners’ calls for other European oil companies to pull out of the API. (Financial Times*)


US retailers told to target forced labour in China after cotton import crackdown

A crackdown by the United States on cotton imports from China's Xinjiang region should spur retailers to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labour involving Uighur Muslims. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it would detain all imports of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang and require companies to either prove the products were slavery-free or ship them elsewhere. CBP officials state that while seizing imports will "send a message" over forced labour concerns in Xinjiang, businesses need to play a bigger role in preventing tainted cotton from entering the US, through extending due diligence checks to third and fourth tiers of supply chains. Under a 2016 law, it is illegal to import goods into the US that are made entirely or in part by forced labour. (Thompson Reuters Foundation)



2020 was hottest year on record by narrow margin

Last year was by a narrow margin the hottest ever on record, according to Nasa, with the climate crisis stamping its mark on 2020 through soaring temperatures, enormous hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires. According to Nasa, the average global land and ocean temperature in 2020 was the highest ever measured, surpassing the 2016 record. Due to slightly different methods used, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) judged 2020 as fractionally cooler than 2016, while the UK Met Office also put 2020 in a close second place. The European Union’s climate observation programme puts the two years in a dead heat. Regardless of these minor differences, all the datasets underlined the long-term heating up of the planet due to the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities. (The Guardian)


Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories, protective gear in US

Social media giant Facebook will ban advertisements for weapon accessories and protective equipment in the United States with immediate effect until at least two days after US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Following the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump on the US Capitol, Facebook said it will now prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the United States. Three US senators sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking for a permanent block on advertisements of products that are designed to be used in armed combat. Facebook has also blocked the creation of new Facebook events in close proximity to places such as the White House and US Capitol in Washington, as well as state capitol buildings, until 20th January. (Reuters)


Mars and DHL plot £350 million UK logistics hubs to slash one million road miles

The UK arm of multinational manufacturer Mars has announced a multi-year partnership with international courier service DHL, which will see the creation of sustainable logistics operations. The new warehousing sites in the Midlands and East London represent an investment of £350 million, and will be operational by 2022 and 2023. The partnership will reduce Mars’ outbound logistics carbon emissions in the UK by 7.7% - the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2. The new logistics operation is also set to remove a million miles a year from roads, all while increasing warehousing capacity by over 50%. The investment forms part of Mars’ targets to reduce its total GHG emissions by 27% by 2025 and by 67% by 2050. (Business Green*)

*Subscription required 


Wednesday, 27th January and 3rd February

Climate resilience: Aligning disclosure with TCFD recommendations