Top Stories

April 29, 2021


Business giants press EU to ban petrol and diesel car sales by 2035

Ikea, Uber, Coca-Cola and Sky are among a coalition of 27 businesses urging the EU to ban new petrol and diesel car sales by 2035, in light of the bloc's long-term net-zero vision. In an open letter to lawmakers, the proposed ban would cover new petrol and diesel cars and vans with a combustion engine of any kind – including hybrid models. Second-hand sales and sales of other new ICE vehicles, like large trucks and motorbikes, would still be permitted. The coalition aims to put Europe on the pathway to deliver emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement while “providing a clear signal to automotive manufacturers and suppliers” and firms in related sectors. It intends to help governments work with the private sector to deliver “timely investments” at scale. (Edie)


US solar industry unveils guidelines to free supply chain of forced labour

The top US solar industry trade group has issued a set of voluntary guidelines to solar panel manufacturers that could help rid products installed in the US of components built with forced labour. The protocol recommends that rigorous descriptions and documentation be included with products as they proceed through factories and are shipped to the US, and that companies have their implementation of the procedures audited by a third party. US lawmakers have voiced growing concern that the industry is dependent upon products, specifically the raw material polysilicon, linked to work-camps in China’s Xinjiang region, where the US State Department made a determination that Chinese officials are perpetrating genocide. Last week, it was revealed that solar projects commissioned by the UK Ministry of Defence were linked to Xinjiang forced labour. (Reuters)


Chanel and CISL partner to champion sustainability solutions in business

Luxury fashion house Chanel has announced a new partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) designed to help champion sustainability solutions and leadership across the global business. Through the partnership, CISL will provide a curated education and sustainability leadership programme for core Chanel teams and management that will raise awareness and deepen knowledge on environmental topics including biodiversity and the responsible use of materials and resources. Chanel will also draw on expertise from across the University to help boost sustainable innovation in its products and processes, and wider business operations. The company will sponsor individuals from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds to join CISL's Masters in Sustainability Leadership programme, and work with students across the University to help them build leadership skills. (Business Green)


Air pollution affects non-white communities in the US disproportionately

A study in the journal Science Advances shows that pollution disproportionately affects non-white communities in the US across states, urban and rural environments, and income levels. The paper claims this holds true regardless of the type of pollution, suggesting that traditional mitigation methods may not be enough to fix the disparity. Of the six emissions sectors responsible for the largest disparities compared to the national average, four were the same across Black, Hispanics and Asian communities: pollution from industry, construction, light-duty gasoline vehicles, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Coal electric generation and agriculture were the only two sectors that affected white communities substantially more than average. The paper does not determine the causes or solutions for these disparities, yet cites the country’s  history of discriminatory housing policies as one possible cause. (Bloomberg*)


UK Office for National Statistics says nature contributes £12 billion to tourism spending

The UK’s Office for National Statistics, seeking to put a value on the environment, has estimated that nature contributed £12 billion to tourism and outdoor leisure in the latest year for which data is available. The estimate covers the value of trips and activities that rely on the outdoors. The findings mark the first figures covering the tourism industry in a new thread of research aiming to set out Britain’s “natural capital accounts”. The statistics office is supporting that effort by drawing up natural capital accounts across the economy. The last findings showed that the UK’s seabed generates more value for the economy by absorbing pollution and carbon dioxide than as a source of oil and natural gas. (Bloomberg*)

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Thursday, 6th May 2021

Worker Health & Wellbeing: A Material Sustainability Issue for Business