Top Stories

January 26, 2021


Firms with science-based targets make great progress towards the Paris Agreement

Corporates that have set Science-Based Targets (SBTs) to tackle their contribution to climate change are on course to exceed them, cutting emissions at a pace that goes beyond the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to the new annual progress report from the Science Based Targets initiative, the 338 companies with the scientifically validated targets in place have reduced their combined emissions by 25% since 2015, resulting in emissions savings of around 302 million tonnes of CO2e. The research also suggests the planned emissions savings of companies with SBTs are set to drive $25.9 billion of new investment into climate mitigation initiatives over the next decade. Over a thousand companies, accounting for 20% of global market capitalisation, have now set or are committed to setting an SBT. (Business Green)


MPs push Bank of England to improve green standards in bond purchases

Members of the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee have urged the Bank of England (BoE) to start aligning its corporate bond portfolio with the Paris Agreement before November’s COP26 summit, describing the central bank’s purchase of high-carbon assets as a “moral hazard”. MPs have demanded that the central bank ensure all its corporate bond-buying programmes are aligned with the Paris Agreement, and that large companies receiving support from the Covid Corporate Financing Facility are compelled to publish climate-related financial disclosures. They also demand the BoE stop funding companies in carbon-intensive sectors without conditions to make a transition to net zero. Paris signatories agreed to limit warming to a 1.5◦C rise compared with pre-industrial levels. In contrast, the BoE’s £20 billion corporate bond portfolio is aligned with 3.5◦C of warming by 2100.  (Financial Times*)


Circular economy can slash global emissions by 39%, says major new report

This year’s Circularity Gap Report, published by the think tank Circle Economy, states that 39% of global annual emissions could be mitigated by changing the ways in which we use natural raw materials, linking linear systems of excessive production and climate change. It states that 22.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted due to the production of new materials and products every year – equivalent to more than double China’s national annual emissions. The report highlights the built environment sector as the biggest opportunity for reducing emissions, representing over one-third of the world’s energy demand. It estimates that using recycled, reused and responsibly-sourced materials to build energy-efficient structures that can be linked to low-carbon heating and cooling could mitigate at least 11 billion tonnes of CO2e emissions globally each year. (Edie)


Shell acquires UK's largest electric vehicle charging network

Shell will acquire the UK's largest electric vehicle (EV) charge point company Ubitricity, almost trebling its on-street EV charging points. Ubitricity owns 13% of all the UK's EV charge points, as well as extensive charging networks in France and Germany. The acquisition comes as sales of plug-in cars continue to surge in the UK and carmakers look to expand their electric offerings in preparation for the 2030 ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars. Major oil and gas companies are also diving into the green economy as they face increasing pressure to diversify and decarbonise their businesses in line with 'net zero' goals. (Business Green*)


UK supermarkets not doing enough to cut plastic use, says report

A new report by environmental NGO Greenpeace has found that, between 2017 and 2019, UK supermarkets failed to reduce their plastic footprint. In 2019 the 10 biggest UK supermarkets put 896,853 tonnes of plastic packaging on the market, an increase of 1.2% compared with 2017. Despite the overall increase, the report praised many supermarkets for banning single-use plastic bags, the sale of which fell by 56% between 2017 and 2019.  The report, which ranks supermarkets in terms of their efforts to reduce plastic pollution, shows Waitrose at the top for the second consecutive year, and Iceland in tenth place. Of the five largest UK supermarkets by market share, Aldi ranked first. (The Guardian)

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Wednesday, 27th January and 3rd February

Climate resilience: Aligning disclosure with TCFD recommendations