Top Stories

February 12, 2021


European aviation players aim to chart pathway to net-zero emissions

Airlines, manufacturers, air traffic controllers, and airports claim that it is possible to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 from flights within and departing from the European Economic Area, Britain, and Switzerland. The ‘Destination 2050’ roadmap, published by Europe's largest aviation associations, contends the sector can achieve net-zero by 2050 while simultaneously growing passenger numbers by 1.4% annually. The paper cites next-generation aircraft powered by hydrogen and battery electric technology, and sustainable aviation fuel as the main long-term measures to achieve that aim, and suggests offsetting as a short-term remedy until those technologies become widely available. The findings come amidst mounting pressure on the aviation industry to curb its environmental footprint, with Air France-KLM and Austrian Airways having climate conditions attached to their post-Covid bailouts. (Business Green)


Russia’s top gold company shifts mines to hydropower

Russia’s biggest gold producer Polyus will power its two biggest mines using hydropower, in a major step towards efforts by private businesses to reduce emissions across the country’s industrial sector. The company  estimates that the move will lead to  90% of its gold production being powered by renewable energy – roughly 1 billion kWh of energy – helping to reduce its company-wide greenhouse gas emissions by a third. Russia is the world’s fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, with an economy dominated by major oil and gas producers, mining companies and metal smelters. However, temperature rises in northern Siberia and the Russian Arctic, melting permafrost, flooding and annual forest fires are making climate change an increasingly important social issue in the country. (Financial Times*)


Facebook curbs Myanmar military over 'misinformation' as protests swell

Social media site Facebook has imposed widespread restrictions on Myanmar’s military rulers to prevent them from spreading “misinformation”, as tens of thousands of Myanmar citizens took to the streets in protests against the coup. The measures are not a ban, but will prevent certain content from getting recommended on news feeds, to reduce the number of users seeing the content. The restrictions will apply to an official page run by the army and one by a military spokesperson, as well as any additional military-controlled pages that repeatedly violate Facebook’s misinformation policies. The social media giant is simultaneously protecting content, including political speech, where the people of Myanmar express themselves and show what is transpiring inside their country, and has banned Myanmar government agencies from requesting content removal. (The Guardian)


Sustainable investments hit record highs in 2020

Sustainable funds reached record highs in 2020 with over $51 billion in new investments, more than double the previous record set in 2019, according to a  report from investment research firm Morningstar. The paper also found that sustainable funds – those that invest in companies with sound environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices – outperformed conventional funds and indexes, on average, last year. Three out of every four sustainable equity funds ranked in the top half of their Morningstar Category in 2020, or groups of funds with similar holdings. The worsening climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement are possible drivers of the increasing popularity of sustainable investing, which Morningstar predicts will keep growing in the near future.  (CNBC)


Cost of biodiversity action will double if delayed until 2030

Delaying action to protect biodiversity will double the cost and result in the extinction of more species when compared to immediate action, according to findings published by Vivid Economics and the Natural History Museum. The Urgency of Biodiversity Action’ study – submitted as evidence to the landmark Dasgupta Review – compares the costs and impacts of acting now to prevent biodiversity loss with deferring actions until 2030. It found that acting immediately could halve the costs of preventing decline in nature to citizens worldwide, and also slash the current rate of extinction by a quarter. The study urges governments to take measures now to curb biodiversity loss, mainly by improving the effectiveness of protected area enforcement, developing reforestation programmes and aligning market incentives with biodiversity goals. (Business Green)

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2021 Actions for Business