Top Stories

March 16, 2021


Major French energy group Total to help build forest in Republic of Congo

Major French energy group Total has partnered with Forêt Ressources Management, a company specialised in sustainable planning and management engineering of forests in tropical regions, to plant a 40,000-hectare forest in the Republic of the Congo, as companies around the world step up policies to help the environment. This forest would create a carbon sink that would sequester more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over 20 years, and that will broaden the ecosystems’ biodiversity by selectively planting trees on sandy plateaux. The project will also boost local socioeconomic development by creating employment opportunities for several thousand people, and by establishing a local development fund that will support health, nutritional and educational initiatives to benefit neighbouring villages. (Reuters; Yahoo Finance)


Volkswagen plans six European battery factories by 2030

German carmaker Volkswagen will build or open six battery factories across Europe by 2030, tightening its grip on the supply chain for electric vehicles. The plants will have a combined capacity of 240 gigawatt-hours a year, which would produce cells for almost 5 million cars annually, with the company hoping to increase the number of high-powered charging points across Europe fivefold by 2025. As carmakers try to meet tightening global emissions requirements, the industry is grappling with how best to secure battery supplies for electric vehicles. Volkswagen is raising its stake in Swedish battery start-up Northvolt and buying its partner out of a planned gigafactory in Germany. This will reduce VW’s reliance on the dominant global battery producers such as South Korea’s LG Chem and China’s CATL, which supply many different carmakers. (Financial Times*)


Study finds UK Ministers watering down green pledges post-Brexit

Ministers are weakening the UK’s environmental protections in the aftermath of leaving the EU, despite promises of a green Brexit, according to a report by Greener UK, a coalition of 12 environmental campaigning groups. Legally-binding commitments on key areas of pollution, nature restoration, waste and resource use have been put off to 2037, and the new environmental watchdog’s powers are set to be too weak. The report argues newly published environmental principles, supposed to prevent branches of government from acting in environmentally-harmful ways, will not apply to key departments such as defence and the Treasury. The study also finds new regulations on chemicals likely to be costly and ineffective, while ministers have repeatedly refused to enshrine in law a commitment that future rules will be no weaker than EU rules. (The Guardian)


Global aluminium industry must cut emissions by 77% by 2050 to meet climate goals

The global aluminium industry must slash greenhouse gas emissions by 77% by 2050 to meet climate change goals, largely through shifting to green electricity, the International Aluminium Institute has said. The aluminium sector must find ways to slash its CO2 emissions from the current levels of 1.1 billion tonnes to 250 million tonnes by 2050, otherwise emissions are projected to grow to 1.6 billion by 2050. Demand for aluminium is due to grow by 80% by 2050, partly because it is needed to help other sectors cut emissions: in electric vehicles, green buildings and power cabling. About 60% of aluminium emissions are from electricity used to smelt raw materials into the lightweight metal. The industry must look to using renewable energy sources in production and aim to recycle more aluminium.  (Reuters)


FW and Fartech reveal circular economy models success

Outerwear brand FW and fashion platform Farfetch have revealed the results of two-year pilots of circular economy models, pledging to expand them following positive financial results. The trials, in partnership with ReLondon and QSA Partners in 2019, included FW adding a repair service to its new brand, and Farfetch offering re-commerce options. FW saw costs associated with its returns under warranty decrease by 60%, as customers increasingly opted for verified repairs over refunds or replacements, reducing both environmental impacts and costs. Meanwhile, ‘Farfetch Second Life’ initiative enables shoppers to sell designer handbags in exchange for store credit, and ‘Farfetch donate’ enables users to raise money for charity and store credit . Farfetch states purchases of pre-owned products replaced a consumer’s purchase of a new item in around 60% of cases. (Edie)

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2021 Actions for Business