Top Stories

March 24, 2021


Climate Action 100+ benchmark shows companies not evidencing net-zero ambitions

The new Climate Action 100+ benchmark, a global engagement initiative of 575 members responsible for $54 trillion of assets, has released its first benchmark evaluating the action of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. Companies targeted by Climate Action are responsible for over 80% of global industrial greenhouse-gas emissions, including Airbus, Unilever, Maersk, Toyota and Walmart. The benchmark found that none of the 159 assessed companies in the Transition Pathway Initiative has fully disclosed how it will eliminate its net emissions. This is despite 83 of them pledging to reach net zero by 2050, and half including emissions generated by customers using their products. Scientists have urged the targeted companies to halve emissions by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. (MarketWatch; ClimateAction100)


Aviva Investors refuses to invest in Deliveroo amid concern over riders' rights

Aviva Investors, one of the UK’s top fund managers, will not invest in the meal delivery firm Deliveroo when it floats on the stock market, partly because of how the company treats its workers. Deliveroo’s workers are classed as “riders”, hence do not necessarily get basic rights for minimum wage, sick leave or holidays, whereas Aviva Investors says that it stands for “responsible investing” and believes how a company behaves regarding its employees is becoming more important. Gig-economy companies are facing major legal challenges around the world, as delivery drivers and riders try to improve their employment rights. Documents released ahead of Deliveroo’s initial public offering revealed the firm had set aside more than £112 million to cover potential legal costs relating to the employment status of its delivery riders. (The Guardian)


Unilever sets out net zero plans for shareholder vote at upcoming AGM

Consumer goods giant Unilever has become one of the first multinational companies in the world to publish a corporate net zero action plan for oversight by its shareholders. The firm unveiled its science-based strategy for achieving net zero emissions across its supply chain by 2039, with a focus on decarbonising its heating and cooling, encouraging its suppliers to set science-based targets, and stepping up its broader advocacy work in the run up to COP26. The 'climate transition action plan' is set for a non-binding, advisory vote at Unilever's AGM, with the company promising to report annually on its progress towards implementing the strategy in line with the guidelines of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFDs). (Business Green)


Europe and US could reach 'peak meat’ in 2025 with 1 billion tonnes of CO2 savings

The fast growth of plant-based alternatives to animal products could mean Europe and North America will reach “peak meat” consumption by 2025, according to a report by consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group  and alternative protein investor Blue Horizon Corporation. The study forecasts plant-based meats will match regular meat on price by 2023 and that nine out of 10 of the world’s favourite dishes – from pepperoni pizza to sushi – will have realistic alternatives by 2035. The report also deems it “very likely” that alternative proteins will capture at least 11% of the global protein market by 2035. Such a market hold could avoid an estimated  1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, free farmland the area of the UK from supporting livestock, and prevent 50 billion chickens from being raised. (The Guardian)


Green groups angered at UK Government’s £16bn oil and gas sector 'bailout’

Green groups, including Greenpeace and Just Transition, have expressed anger at the UK Government's £16 billion deal intended to align the oil and gas sector with the national net-zero target, while ending financing for overseas fossil fuel projects, with many frustrated by a refusal to end oil and gas licensing. The ‘North Sea Transition Deal’ promises to support oil and gas industry workers and businesses by introducing low-carbon solutions such as hydrogen production, Carbon Capture Usage and Storage, offshore wind and decommissioning. Interim targets have been set for the sector to reduce emissions by 10% by 2025, 25% by 2027 and 50% by 2030. However, the Government has set no concrete timeframe for decarbonisation, and has failed to rule out that oil and gas projects will be licensed in the future. (Edie)


2021 Actions for Business