Top Stories

March 02, 2021


Banks in EU to publish world's first 'green' yardstick from 2022

Banks in the European Union would have to publish a “green asset ratio” (GAR) as a core measure of their climate-friendly activities from 2022, according to a proposal by the EU’s banking watchdog. The European Banking Authority’s (EBA) proposed ratio will measure the amount of climate-friendly loans, advances and debt securities compared to total assets on a lender’s balance sheet. Banks will also have to publish three other indicators showing the extent to which fees from advisory services, major trading operations and off-balance sheet exposures are derived from climate-friendly activities. The new EU “taxonomy” would be used to define which assets are environmentally sustainable. According to the EBA, banks are likely to face pressure from investors to show what steps they are taking to increase their GAR over time. (Reuters)


UN warns nations' CO2 emissions pledges 'far away' from Paris target

Countries’ pledges to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade are only a fraction of the effort needed to avoid climate breakdown, the UN Climate Change’s assessment has found. According to the UN, national pledges submitted so far would cut emissions by 1-2% by 2030, compared with 2010 levels. However, scientists claim a 45% reduction by 2030 is needed to keep global heating to no more than 1.5◦C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris agreement. The assessment covers countries responsible for about a third of global emissions. Only 75 of the 197 signatories to the Paris accord submitted their national action plans for reducing emissions in time to be assessed, which excludes some of the world’s biggest emitters, including China, the US and India. (The Guardian; Carbon Brief)


Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars to only sell electric vehicles by 2030

Swedish carmaker Volvo will only sell electric vehicles by 2030, phasing out all car models with internal combustion engines by then, including hybrids. The carmaker is also planning to invest heavily in online sales and simplifying its products. The move comes as the demand for electric cars grows, including in China, which is already one of its biggest markets. Carmakers are also responding to pressure from governments around the world to lay out their electric car plans, with the UK having banned the sales of cars fuelled by diesel and petrol by 2030. The news follows General Motors’ announcement in January that it will stop selling petrol or diesel vehicles by 2035, becoming the first of the world’s largest carmakers to set a deadline for combustion engine vehicles sales. (BBC News)


Plant-based Beyond Meat signs deals with McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut

Fast-food chains McDonald's and Yum! Brands - the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell- have extended their partnerships with plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat to expand their offering of plant-based products to more markets. Under a three-year deal, Beyond Meat has agreed to supply McDonald's with meat-free ‘McPlant’ burgers, with the ambition of selling the products in several key markets. Beyond Meat will also help the McDonald’s to create and market other meat- and dairy-free offerings. At the same time, Yum! Brands will work with Beyond Meat to expand KFC's ‘Beyond Fried Chicken' product and Pizza Hut’s plant-based pizza toppings, after both lines were successfully trialled in recent years. (Business Green)


UK government to launch interim environmental watchdog and emissions trading scheme

The UK Government has confirmed that England's post-Brexit environmental watchdog will launch in July on an interim basis and that its domestic emissions trading scheme (ETS) will launch in May. The watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), is meant to ensure businesses and local authorities comply with the UK’s long-term green policy requirements. The Interim OEP will have the powers to produce independent assessments of progress on the 25-Year Environment Plan. It will be open to receive complaints from the public about cases of potential non-compliance with environmental law, and to develop the body’s long-term strategy, enforcement policy and voice. The UK’s ETS will enter operation in mid-May, giving businesses and operators clarity over this year's supply of emissions allowances. (Edie)


2021 Actions for Business