Top Stories

March 31, 2021


Reckitt partners with WWF, pledging £10 million donation

Reckitt, the parent company of brands including Air Wick and Dettol, has announced a three-year partnership with environmental charity WWF focusing on nature conservation. The corporation will donate £10 million to the NGO over the duration of the partnership, which has three key focus areas for collaborative work. Firstly, Reckitt will receive expertise and knowledge from WWF to help it develop products with a lower environmental footprint and with value chains that benefit communities. Secondly, the partners will leverage Reckitt’s reach to implement customer engagement programmes. Finally, the partnership will fund conservation projects in the Ganges and Tapajos river basins. On the same day as its new partnership announcement, Reckitt also revealed it has signed on as 'hygiene partner' for COP26. (Edie)


China’s Xiaomi to launch electric car business with $10 billion investment

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has announced plans to launch an electric vehicle business and invest $10 billion over the next 10 years. The technology firm will set up a wholly-owned car-making subsidiary in China, where it will compete against established automakers like Geely and Warren Buffet-backed BYD, and upstarts such as Nio and Xpeng Motors. Internet companies have also entered the smart electric vehicle arena, with Chinese search giant Baidu launching a standalone electric car company earlier this year in January. Electric cars have taken off in China thanks to policy support from Beijing, including subsidies. As a result, research firm Canalys forecasts that 1.9 million electric vehicles will be sold in China in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 51%. (CNBC)


Major US airlines commit to carbon neutrality by 2050

Airlines for America, a group representing major US airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and others, announced it is committed to working with the aviation industry and the government to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The trade group intends to work towards a rapid expansion of the production and deployment of commercially viable sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to make 2 billion gallons of SAF available to US aircraft operators in 2030. The group has already been in contact with the Biden administration’s climate change officials to discuss expanding the sustainable aviation fuel market. (Reuters)


UK Government proposes making tobacco firms pay for litter clean up

The UK government is considering a “regulatory approach” to the issue of cigarette-related litter, potentially via new powers set out in the emerging Environment Bill. Among the options being looked at by ministers to tackle the issue, is a regulatory extended producer responsibility scheme for cigarette butts in England. This would require the tobacco industry to pay the full disposal costs of tobacco waste products, ensuring the sector takes sufficient financial responsibility for the litter its products create. According to Defra, cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in the UK and cost authorities around £40 million a year to clean up. Littered cigarette filters can persist in the environment for many years and release chemicals to air, land and water, harming plant growth and wildlife. (ENDSReport, Business Green)


Forest destruction surged in 2020 even as global economy slowed

Destruction of the world’s forests increased in 2020 even as pandemic shutdowns curbed economic growth, adding greater need for nations and business to stem their deforestation practices. Tree loss in the most critical tropical areas increased 12% in 2020 from 2019, according to released by Global Forest Watch, an initiative by the World Resources Institute. Tropical losses overall contributed 2.6 billion metric tons of CO2 pollution, or the equivalent of annual emissions from 570 million cars. The UN Secretary General brought diplomats, business leaders and activists together in 2014 for a climate summit, where many would agree to halve deforestation in six years. The official failure to meet that goal comes at a time when overall pressure to reduce CO₂ emissions has increased dramatically. (Bloomberg)


2021 Actions for Business