Top Stories

February 19, 2021


Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's largest brewer and the parent company of Budweiser and Corona, has announced the world's largest corporate sustainability-linked loan to date, priced at $10.1 billion. The loan’s rates will align with Ab InBev’s progress to source 100% renewable electricity through its RE100 membership; increase recycled content in PET packaging to a majority proportion; improve water efficiency in breweries and to reduce emissions. On the latter, AB InBev has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 sources by 25% by 2025 against a 2017 baseline. The ambition is being assessed by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). (Edie)


HSBC, Barclays, NatWest join Prince of Wales' net zero banking task force

CEOs from some of the world's largest banks have joined in a new task force convened by the Prince of Wales to accelerate the global transition to a sustainable future. The ‘Financial Services Task Force’ (FSTF) includes Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Macquarie, Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Citi, Coutts, Credit Suisse, NatWest and others. The collaboration seeks to shape transition pathways for decarbonising economies, to support "nature-positive solutions", and to develop credible industry practices to achieve net zero emissions in the banking sector by 2050. The partnering banks are also committing to publicly report on the FSTF's work in the run up to COP26, remove barriers to green infrastructure investment, and support the development of "a deep and liquid global market" for high quality carbon credits. (Business Green)


McDonald's looks for 'gender parity' by 2030 and ties executive pay to diversity

McDonald's has set a goal of having an equal number of men and women in leadership roles by 2030 as it looks to improve diversity at the company. The fast-food chain will also work to boost minority representation among the firm's senior US ranks from 29% to 35% over the next four years. Executive pay will be tied to meeting the targets, weighted at 15%. The effort follows claims of racial discrimination from black franchisees and executives in the US, and accusations from workers that the firm fosters "systemic sexual harassment" at its restaurants. Since then, amid widespread Black Lives Matters in the US, the firm announced a new diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. (BBC)


Call to tax international flights to raise climate funds for poor countries

Taxes on international transport could provide new flows of finance to help developing countries tackle climate change, a group of climate finance experts argues. The article contends rich countries are failing on their pledge to provide $100 billion a year to help poor countries cope with the climate crisis, jeopardising developing countries’ trust in the Paris agreement. Emissions from international aviation and shipping are currently excluded from countries’ emissions tallies under the Paris agreement. Charging levies on international flights and on ship’s bunker fuels could provide a steady stream of climate finance for countries in need.  Climate finance could help poor countries invest in renewable energy to cut their emissions, and provide assistance to cope with the impacts of climate breakdown, which few have the infrastructure to withstand. (The Guardian)


Shoppers increasingly looking for 'eco' and 'sustainable' homewares

Online retailer eBay has revealed that searches for 'eco furniture' and 'sustainable furniture' have more than doubled year-on-year, suggesting that shoppers are increasingly looking for pre-owned and refurbished products in lockdown. Searches for ‘eco furniture’ and ‘sustainable furniture’ were, respectively, up 123% and 171% in 2020 compared to 2019. Refurbished homeware companies on eBay, such as ClearCycle, have seen a significant growth in sales year-on-year. Business models centred around resale and refurbishment are designed to keep goods out of landfill or incineration. It counters a “fast” model of consumption, where products are cheap but not durable and are often thrown away after minimal use. (Edie)


2021 Actions for Business