Top Stories

April 23, 2021


Nations commit to new climate targets following Earth Day climate summit

Several nations have committed to new climate targets following US President Biden’s climate summit on Thursday. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, pledged that Canada will reduce its emissions by 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, an acceleration of its climate policy. Japan’s Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, set a new interim climate target for the country, targeting a 46% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2013 levels. The new goal marks a significant increase from the country’s prior pledge of a 26% reduction. In related news, South Korea will halt state-backed financing of future coal-fired power plants overseas and also plans to increase its current target to reduce emissions by 24.4% by 2030 from 2017 levels, in the second half of the year. (Bloomberg 1*, Bloomberg 2*, ESGToday)


Amazon's net-zero The Climate Pledge passes 100 corporate signatories

Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo, Heineken, Visa, Aecom, Quorn Foods, Telefonica and Sainsbury's are among the 52 businesses joining ‘The Climate Pledge’, co-organised by Amazon and think tank Global Optimism. The Pledge was created in 2019, following mounting pressure from consumers, investors and Amazon’s own staff to firm up its environmental ambitions and actions in line with its scale. The Pledge requires signatories to reach net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2040 at the latest. To ensure that signatories are not over-reliant on offsetting, there is also a requirement for businesses to prioritise energy efficiency, renewable energy and creating a closed-loop for materials. Signatories are also encouraged to collaborate on key focus areas relating to clean energy, energy efficiency and the circular economy. (Edie)


GSK and Unilever among businesses joining $1 bn deforestation pledge

A group of businesses including Amazon, GSK, Unilever, and Nestlé has joined the UK, US and Norwegian governments in setting up a new public-private initiative committing $1 billion to combat the climate crisis through the conservation and preservation of tropical forests across the globe. The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition aims to support emissions reductions by ensuring tropical forests that act as carbon sinks are protected from deforestation while protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and members of local communities. Finance will be allocated to countries and jurisdictions that can showcase commitments to protecting their tropical forests. US non-profit Emergent will facilitate transactions and oversee administrative duties for the coalition. (Edie)


NYC sues Exxon, Shell, BP for ads calling products ‘cleaner’

Supermarket chains Lidl and Morrisons  are offering free sanitary pads and tampons in a drive to tackle "period poverty” – a lack of access to period products, washing facilities and education – which charities say has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ireland, discount store Lidl plans to become the world's first major retailer to offer free pads and tampons in branches nationwide to women and girls struggling to afford them. The initiative launching in May comes as the Irish parliament considers a scheme to make period products free for anyone in need. In Britain, some branches of Morrisons have been giving out free period products under a discreet initiative, whereby shoppers can ask for "a package that Sandy has left for you." The supermarket will consider expanding the scheme in future. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)


NYC sues Exxon, Shell, BP for ads calling products ‘cleaner’

New York City sued three major oil companies for allegedly running deceptive advertising campaigns claiming their products are “cleaner” and “emissions-reducing” while failing to disclose their harmful effects on the climate. The city sued ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and industry trade association the American Petroleum Institute, in state court for “systematically and intentionally deceiving” New Yorkers about the leading role fossil fuels play in driving climate change. The goal is “attracting new consumers to their fossil fuel products and preventing the mass defection of existing consumers to cleaner alternatives that contribute substantially less to climate change,” the city said in its complaint. It is seeking an order blocking the companies from violating its consumer protection laws plus civil penalties. (Bloomberg*)

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