Top Stories

February 04, 2021


Whitbread issues green bonds totalling £550 million

Hospitality giant Whitbread, which owns brands including Premier Inn, has priced two major green bonds at £300 million and £250 million respectively. The period for the first, larger bond runs through to May 2027. The second, smaller bond is due in May 2031. The yields will go towards Whitbread’s ‘Force For Good’ sustainability strategy, which includes a target to cut the company’s carbon emissions intensity by half by 2025 against a 2018/19 baseline, and by 84% by 2050, aligning the firm with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target. The strategy also details how Whitbread will eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic by 2025, halve food waste by 2030, improve water stewardship, and ensure human rights are upheld across its supply chain. (Edie)


ExxonMobil to invest $3 billion in carbon capture and other projects to lower emissions

Oil giant ExxonMobil will invest $3 billion over the next five years in energy projects to lower emissions. Exxon is creating a new business called ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions geared towards capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial plants. It is working on 20 carbon capture projects globally. The moves comes as the US Biden administration promises to tighten regulations of the fossil fuel industry, increase fuel economy standards for cars, and take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some institutional investors and environmental groups are also pushing Exxon and other companies to cut emissions from their operations and products. Exxon has been a frequent target of environmental campaigns because, unlike European oil giants like BP and Royal Dutch Shell, it has not invested in renewable energy. (New York Times)


Ryanair ordered to remove 'misleading' COVID adverts

Budget airline Ryanair has been told to remove "irresponsible" adverts depicting misleading claims about coronavirus vaccinations. The company’s adverts encouraged people to book holidays with Ryanair after receiving vaccinations, suggesting consumers could "Jab & Go". The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 2,370 complaints – the third highest ever received for an advert. Concern was raised that the adverts implied most of the UK population would be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the spring or summer of 2021. The ASA ruled that given the complexity of the fast-changing situation, it is impossible to predict if vaccinated customers would be allowed to go on holiday without restrictions, hence the ads were misleading. The ASA also ruled the ads were ‘distasteful’ but dismissed complaints that they trivialised lockdown restrictions. The airline has stopped the adverts. (BBC News)


Real estate giant CDL targets net-zero operations by 2030

Real estate company City Developments Limited (CDL) has become the first large business in Southeast Asia to sign the World Green Building Council's net-zero carbon buildings commitment. Signatories pledge to achieve net-zero operational emissions in all buildings under their direct control by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to reach net-zero operations by 2050. CDL will benchmark and disclose the Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of its managed buildings. CDL also aims to invest in smart energy management technologies, and to achieve 100% renewable electricity and phase out diesel in operations by 2030. For its Scope 3 emissions, the firm has committed to closely engage with suppliers to help them switch to lower-carbon alternatives. The approach will align the company’s climate target with 1.5◦C warming scenario. (Edie)


UN-backed report suggests plant-based diets are crucial to saving global wildlife

The global food system is the biggest driver of destruction of the natural world, and a shift to predominantly plant-based diets is crucial in halting the damage, according to a UN-backed report by the Chatham House think-tank. According to the report, agriculture is the main threat to 86% of species at risk of extinction, and without change the loss of biodiversity will continue to accelerate and threaten the world’s ability to sustain humanity. The report recommends a shift to plant-based diets, as well as restoring native ecosystems to support biodiversity, and farming in a lower-yield but less intensive way. This report comes days after the landmark Dasgupta Review concluded the world is at risk given the failure of economics to account for biodiversity depletion. (The Guardian)

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2021 Actions for Business