Top Stories

April 08, 2021


Target to spend over $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025

US retailer Target has pledged to hire more Black-owned companies, launch a program to identify and support promising minority entrepreneurs and add products from more than 500 Black-owned brands to its shelves and website. Altogether, it will spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025. The discounter’s plans include actively seeking out advertising firms, suppliers, construction companies and other businesses that are Black-owned. It will create a programme to help early-stage Black entrepreneurs develop, test and scale products. The company and its foundation are also giving $10 million to non-profit organizations focused on addressing barriers for Black communities. Over the past year, major retailers like Nike, Walmart and Ulta Beauty have rolled out their own pledges concerning racial inclusion. (CNBC)


China reveals cooperation with EU on green investment standards

China’s central bank is co-operating with the European Union to converge green investment taxonomies across the two markets, aiming to implement a jointly recognised classification system for businesses’ environmental credentials by the end of 2021. The People’s Bank of China has made it a primary goal to implement and standardise a green finance system in the country over the next five years, in co-ordination with global partners, in order to fulfil the national goals of having domestic carbon emissions peak before 2030 and turning carbon neutral by 2060. China is working with the EU to push for greater convergence of green finance taxonomies. It will also co-chair a study group at the G20 summit, to establish coordination on building a roadmap for advancing sustainable finance. (Financial Times *)


BlackRock’s CEO wants more sustainability data from private companies

Asset manager BlackRock’s Chief Executive Larry Fink has called for more disclosure requirements for private companies as governments create new accounting standards for sustainable business areas like climate change. In a letter to shareholders of the world’s largest asset manager, Fink wrote that government “must play the leadership role” in cutting emissions. He has called for mandatory disclosures for public and private companies worldwide, coupled with legal protections for companies making their best efforts at describing risks. The statement cites the risk that a lack of disclosure requirements for the private sector might create an unintended incentive to shift carbon-intensive assets to markets with less transparency and less regulation. The firm’s new wording comes as EU and US regulators review their new sustainability disclosure requirements. (Reuters)


UK says its seabed is more valuable than oil and fishing

The UK’s seabed is more valuable as a carbon sink absorbing pollution from industry than as a source of oil and natural gas, official estimates from the UK government show. The findings put the value of Britain’s marine “natural capital assets” at £211 billion. Using conservative estimates, sea-grasses, muds, sands and saltmarshes already capture at least 10.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent a year, with a value of £57.5 billion, which is higher than what is earned from producing oil and natural gas, or from fishing. The findings probe the benefit the UK gets from “blue carbon,” or the amount of greenhouse gases captured by the ocean and coastal ecosystems, as part of a global effort to use financial tools to understand the costs of using fossil fuels. (Bloomberg)


Shell invests in sustainable aviation fuel maker LanzaJet

Royal Dutch Shell has invested in sustainable-fuels technology company LanzaJet, adding to a string of deals positioning the oil giant for the energy transition. LanzaJet is building an “alcohol-to-jet” facility with capacity to produce 10 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, a year from 2022. Its technology can use ethanol made from “recycled pollution” for jet fuel production. As much as 90% of its fuels can be produced as SAF, with the remaining 10% as renewable diesel. The Anglo-Dutch major’s expansion into clean energy has so far comprised small acquisitions, as well as organic growth. That contrasts with European peers Total and BP, which have acquired billions of dollars’ worth of renewable assets. (Bloomberg)

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2021 Actions for Business