Top Stories

April 22, 2021


US vows to cut its emissions by at least 50% by 2030 ahead of climate summit

The US has vowed to cut its planet-heating emissions by at least half by the end of the decade, in a ramping up of ambition aimed at rallying other countries to do more to confront the climate crisis. Ahead of a virtual climate summit, called by President Biden, gathering dozens of world leaders, the US has announced it will aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 50% and 52% by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The Biden administration wants the US electricity grid to run 100% on clean sources such as solar and wind by 2035 in order to meet its goals. It has shied away, however, from mandating all vehicles sold by 2035 be zero emission models, despite calls from state governors to do so. (The Guardian)


Business giants including Burger King & Whitbread mark Earth Day with new climate targets

Several well-known brands, including Burger King, Cisco, Whitbread, and Visa, have marked Earth Day by announcing new climate targets, such as net-zero ambitions. Burger King’s UK business has had new carbon reduction goals through to 2030 approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5◦C trajectory. The chain will strive to reach net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions this decade, and cut Scope 3 emissions by 41%, against a 2019 baseline. Technology firm Cisco will spend $100 million on non-profits working on climate mitigation and adaptation this decade. Hotelier Whitbread is targeting net-zero by 2040, moving forward its original 2050 deadline. Visa was one of the 53 companies to join the Amazon co-created Climate Pledge earlier this week, pledging to reach net-zero globally by 2040. (Edie)


Unilever launches first laundry capsule using captured carbon from heavy industry

FMCG multinational Unilever has successfully developed a laundry capsule using emissions captured from heavy industry, after pledging to remove all virgin, fossil-based carbon from cleaning and laundry products by 2030. At present, most cleaning and laundry products made by large businesses, including Unilever, contain chemicals made from fossil fuel stocks. Unilever’s plans for eliminating such materials include sourcing bio-based alternatives and carbon from carbon capture and storage facilities and waste material recovery centres, known as purple and grey carbon respectively. Unilever has confirmed success in developing what it claims is the world’s first laundry capsule based on purple carbon. The process generates 82% less life-cycle carbon emissions than traditional, virgin fossil-fuel-based processes. (Edie)


EU publishes sustainable finance taxonomy to classify ‘green’ investments

The European Commission on Wednesday published its long-awaited system to classify green investments in sectors from industry to transport, but delayed vexed decisions on whether to label nuclear energy and power plants fuelled by natural gas as green. The EU’s ‘sustainable finance taxonomy’ will decide which activities can be labelled as a sustainable investment in the EU, in a bid to steer private capital into activities that support EU climate goals and avoid “greenwashing”. The Commission will address natural gas in a second set of criteria due later this year, and will review nuclear power separately. The delays follow intense lobbying from governments and industry over the unacceptability of labelling gas, a fossil fuel, as green, or the sections on forestry and bioenergy being too lax. (Reuters)


Apple and Google accused of ‘holding data hostage’ to stifle competition

Tech behemoths Apple and Google have been accused of holding “data hostage” from small apps and forcing competitors to pay high commissions, stifling their ability to compete, according to competitors in a US Senate hearing. Smaller competitors including Spotify, Tile and Match, aired their grievances in the hearing against the firms, such as their experiences within Google and Apple’s app stores. Apple and Google are accused of using their power to exclude or suppress apps that compete with their own products and charge fees so high that they affect competition. The complainants’ representatives complained the requirement to share up to 30% of their in-app revenue and the strict inclusion rules set by Apple and Google could amount to anticompetitive behaviour and suggest a monopoly problem requiring stiffer anti-trust rules. (The Guardian)


Thursday, 6th May 2021

Worker Health & Wellbeing: A Material Sustainability Issue for Business