Top Stories

January 25, 2021


European lenders exit Amazon oil trade after campaigner scrutiny

Investment banking firm Credit Suisse, Dutch lender ING and France’s BNP Paribas will stop financing the trade in crude oil from Ecuador, following pressure from campaigners aiming to protect the Amazon rainforest. European lenders’ backing of the trade came under scrutiny last August, when a report by advocacy groups and Amazon Watch named six European banks as major financiers of Ecuadorean oil exports to US refineries. Indigenous leaders said the banks’ role made them complicit in oil spills, violations of land rights and the destruction of rainforest by Ecuador’s oil industry. Campaigners have accused the banks of using double standards, making climate change pledges while backing trade in oil from Ecuador, where the industry plans to drill wells in the Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Reuters)


UK solar industry exceeds expectations in 2020

The UK solar industry far exceeded expectations in 2020, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the industry operating in its first full calendar year without access to any form of subsidy support. According to new figures released last week by trade body Solar Energy UK and Solar Media Ltd as part of a new partnership, the UK added 545 MW of new solar capacity in 2020, up 27% compared to 2019. The new capacity helped deliver a series of generation records for the sector with solar hitting a new all-time peak generation record of 9.68 GW in April, while May saw solar supply 11% of all electricity. According to Solar Media the industry is "now operating effectively in a post-subsidy phase with strong growth dynamics". (Business Green)


India asks WhatsApp to withdraw privacy policy update

Messaging service WhatsApp has been asked by India, its largest market with over 400 million of the app's 2 billion users, to reverse its new policy change. India's technology ministry has asked the messaging platform to withdraw changes to its privacy policy, saying the new terms, that require users to share data such as phone numbers and locations with parent company Facebook, create concerns for the choice and autonomy of its Indian users. Upon WhatsApp's announcement of the policy change, Indian residents fuelled a global 4,200% surge in downloads for Signal, a rival encrypted messaging app. WhatsApp originally said users risk losing access to the app if they didn't agree to the new terms by February 8, but later delayed the policy change by three months to May after pushback. (Business Insider)


Hamburg plans green hydrogen plant with Shell, Mitsubishi, Vattenfall

Hamburg is planning to generate green hydrogen, which is produced from renewable power, at a plant it will develop with energy firms Shell, Mitsubishi and Vattenfall. Hamburg’s municipal heating company has signed a letter of intent with the three companies to develop a 100 MW facility to extract hydrogen from water through electrolysis. Hydrogen produced at the ‘Green Energy Hub’ would be derived from wind and solar power. The partners plan to apply for funding from European Union programmes under Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), they said. Subject to a final investment decision, production could start in 2025. The municipal gas grid’s hydrogen pipeline could also be expanded within 10 years. (Reuters)


French tech firm Schneider Electric tops global league of green firms

Paris-based tech company Schneider Electric has been ranked as the world’s most sustainable company according to the Global 100 index.  The annual green company league table, compiled by researcher Corporate Knight, ranked over 8,000 publicly listed companies which generate annual revenues of over $1 billion to find the most sustainable businesses. Schneider Electric climbed the index, from a ranking of 29 last year, overtaking wind-power giant Ørsted from last year’s top spot. Schneider supplies technology and energy solutions to the likes of retailer Walmart, hotel group Marriott and steel business ArcelorMittal to meet the firms’ climate targets. By the end of 2020 Schneider Electric had helped over 2,000 of Walmart’s suppliers to save over 230 million tonnes of carbon – almost a quarter of the retailer’s 10-year target. (The Guardian)



Wednesday, 27th January and 3rd February

Climate resilience: Aligning disclosure with TCFD recommendations