Top Stories

February 24, 2021



Virgin Media targets net-zero carbon operations for 2025

Telecommunications company Virgin Media has committed to achieve net-zero operations by the end of 2025 and to transition its fleet to electric vehicles (EV) by 2030. The company has committed to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 25% by the end of 2025, source 100% renewable electricity, and purchase carbon credits to offset residual emissions. Virgin Media will also shift its entire fleet of over 4,000 vehicles to EV by 2030, achieve zero-waste operations, increase recycled plastic in set-top boxes and routers to 75% and eliminate non-recyclable and single-use-plastic customer packaging. The company will also help unpaid carers combat isolation using technology, give employees five annual paid volunteering days, and create opportunities for people from underrepresented groups. (Edie)


HSBC and Barclays challenged over bond linked to Vietnamese coal project

Highstreet banks HSBC and Barclays, which have pledged to stop financing new coal projects, have been challenged by a legal group over a Japanese bond it says will contribute to the financing of coal-fired power in Vietnam. While both banks have policies to refrain from financing new coal plants, the complaint focuses on their alleged role in helping to fund others who go on to finance such projects. The bond in question, issued by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, will support expansion of the Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power project in Vietnam. Legal experts believe this could be the first in a series of challenges to banks over indirect financing at odds with their climate commitments. (Reuters)


Half of UK electricity generation could be produced by renewables by next year

Half of the UK's electricity generation could be provided by renewables by the end of next year, according to a major report from the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA). According to the trade body, UK electricity generation could be powered entirely by clean energy by 2032, and half of all electricity generation could be provided by renewables by the end of 2022. The report estimates that the majority of energy demand for the heat and transport sectors could be met from renewable and clean technologies by 2035 and all bio-waste could be either separated and recycled at source or collected separately by 2023. The report argues that meeting these targets will be conditional on the government introducing the right policy environment and harnessing green job potential. (Business Green)


Greggs unveils new green energy and food waste goals

Fast food chain Greggs has unveiled its first ever sustainability plan, setting out pledges to reduce food waste, boost its use of renewable energy, and improve the environmental credentials of its high street outlets. The company has committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 using science-based emissions reduction targets. It is also looking to cut 25% of food waste in 2025 compared to 2018, send 100% of its surplus food to those in need. Greggs plans to work with local community organisations to support school breakfast clubs, providing around 70,000 free school meals each day. By 2025, it hopes to power all its operations with 100% renewable energy, and use a quarter less packaging by weight compared to 2019, with any remaining packaging made from widely-recycled material. (Business Green)


UK councils still invest in fossil fuels despite declaring climate emergency

Local councils that have declared a climate emergency are continuing to pour money into fossil fuels through their staff pension funds, by the campaign groups Platform and Friends of the Earth has shown. The assessment found nearly £10 billion worth of investments in fossil fuels, in local government pension funds in the last financial year. Three companies – BP, Shell, and BHP – account for about 40% of all direct investments in fossil fuels by local council pension funds, of which the majority are in oil and gas, with around a third in coal. Councils in Greater Manchester, Strathclyde, West Midlands and West Yorkshire had the biggest investments in fossil fuels, yet all of these combined authorities have declared a climate emergency. (The Guardian)


2021 Actions for Business