Top Stories

April 12, 2021


Singapore to work on a charging model for disposable carrier bags in supermarkets

In Singapore, a fee-based model for disposable carrier bags at supermarkets to cut the consumption of disposables is being worked on, said the country’s Minister for Sustainability and Environment. The government will start public consultations with supermarkets and members of the public to develop the timeframe and charges for such bags. The government also aims to deliberate on any potential cost impact on low-income households, as well as on where the proceeds from the disposable bag fees would go to, with environmental causes being one of the considered options. It expects the fee will help to make shoppers more mindful about their behaviour towards using carrier bags and reduce single-use plastic consumption in the country. (Straits Times)


Biden tax plan replaces US fossil fuel subsidies with clean energy incentives

The US Treasury Secretary has released a tax hike proposal that would replace subsidies for fossil fuel companies with incentives for production of clean energy. The Biden tax plan would advance clean electricity production by providing a 10-year extension of the production tax credit and investment tax credit for clean energy generation, such as wind and solar power, and energy storage such as advanced batteries. The plan would restore a tax on polluters to pay for Environmental Protection Agency costs associated with Superfund toxic waste sites, addressing harm caused by fossil fuel production. The government estimates eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels would boost tax receipts by more than $35 billion in the coming decade. (Reuters)


Business travellers plan to cut flying, France bans short-haul flights

Two-thirds of business travellers in the UK expect to take fewer flights than before the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to increased use of video conferencing, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by the European Climate Foundation. The reduction in air travel caused by Covid-19 had no impact on the work-life or productivity of the majority of the 1,414 surveyed European business flyers, with one in five saying the shutdown had had a positive impact. The poll also found almost two-thirds of business fliers thought the tax-free status of jet fuels should end. In related news, French Lawmakers have voted to abolish all domestic flights on routes that can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours, as part of the country's new climate bill. (The Guardian; Business Green)


Diageo produces glass whisky bottles in waste-powered furnaces

Drinks giant Diageo announced late last week it had produced 173,000 recycled-glass whisky bottles in waste-based biofuel furnaces as part of a successful pilot project with glass manufacturer Encirc and government-backed R&D body Glass Futures, in a pioneering trial that could set a fresh standard for low-carbon glass bottle production. The low-carbon process tested in the trial has a 90% smaller carbon footprint than traditional glass manufacturing, because it uses low-carbon biofuel – instead of fossil gas – to melt raw materials into glass. The partners have touted the bottles as the most environmentally-friendly batch ever produced for a Scotch whisky brand, and regard the trial as a step in Diageo’s journey to decarbonise the glass manufacturing aspect of its supply chain. (Business Green)


Starbucks targets waste reduction in trial for reuse and return cup system

Global coffee chain Starbucks announced the launch of a trial of its ‘Borrow A Cup’ waste reduction initiative in five Seattle stores in the US. Through the trial, customers can pay a $1 deposit for a reusable cup that can be returned in exchange for credit in participating stores. Reusability would help to reduce waste associated with single-use cups, with the company estimating each reusable cup will replace up to 30 disposable cups. The trial aims to solve the challenge of convenience, enabling customers to choose reusables without introducing extra steps. It comes shortly after Starbucks released plans to introduce the trial programme in South Korea, pledging to discontinue disposable cups in the country by 2025, as the company aims to cut its global landfill waste by 50% by 2030. (ESGToday; CNBC)


2021 Actions for Business