Top Stories

May 07, 2021


Retailers in England gear up for 10p single-use carrier bags charge

All retailers in England will be forced to charge customers 10p for a single-use carrier bag from 21st May, in a bid to further drive down plastic pollution. First announced last year, the new higher charge doubles the current 5p rate levied on single-use plastic bags by larger retailers – which has helped drive a 95% drop in plastic bag sales in major supermarkets since 2015. It also extends the charge to include smaller retailers for the first time. As a result of the policy, the average person in England now buys four single-use carrier bags each year from major supermarkets, compared to 140 in 2014. UK government department Defra expects the new charge to cause a 70-80% drop in plastic bags handed out by small and medium sized businesses. (Business Green)


Australian bank Macquarie announces plan to exit coal by 2024

Australian investment bank Macquarie has signalled that it will stop financing coal projects by 2024 in a move that coincided with a political debate in Australia over banks’ withdrawal from the sector. The Sydney-based firm said it expected its lending exposure to the commodity to “run off” within three years as it outlined a climate policy to align its financing activities with global commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. However, Macquarie will continue to fund oil and gas developments. Australia’s parliament is conducting an inquiry into the financial sector’s treatment of export industries, as Australia’s minister for resources accused banks and pension funds of “corporate activism” as they side-line investments in coal despite the country being one of the world’s largest exporters of the fuel. (Financial Times*)


Shareholders demand transparency on McDonald’s antibiotic use

Shareholder advocacy NGO The Shareholder Commons will present a shareholder proposal, co-filed by Trinity College at the University of Cambridge and leading asset manager Amundi, at the annual shareholder meeting of McDonald’s, asking the company for disclosure regarding the systemic costs of antibiotics use in the fast food giant’s supply chain. The NGO warns excessive use of antibiotics in raising animals for food contributes to antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, which threatens global health by reducing the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs and is estimated to cause a $54 trillion economic loss by 2050. The NGO will encourage the company to discuss an optimal global scenario for the food industry to eliminate or internalize AMR costs, and to describe how the company’s policies and procedures, including lobbying, would affect that scenario’s realization. (ESGToday)


UN says cutting methane emissions quickest way to slow global heating

Slashing methane emissions is vital to tackling the climate crisis, according to a new UN report. In 2020 there was a record rise in the amount of the greenhouse gas emitted by the fossil fuel industry, cattle and rotting waste. The report found that methane emissions could be almost halved by 2030 using existing technology and at reasonable cost, and that a significant proportion of the actions would actually make money, such as capturing methane gas leaks at fossil fuel sites. Achieving the cuts would avoid nearly 0.3◦C of global heating by 2045 and keep the world on track for the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5◦C, making it the strongest action available to slow global heating in the near term.  (The Guardian)


Facebook has six months to decide if Trump can return to platform

Social media platform Facebook’s oversight board upheld the company’s suspension of former US President Donald Trump but said the company was wrong to make the suspension indefinite and gave it six months to determine a “proportionate response.” The board, created by Facebook to rule on a small proportion of its content decisions, said the company was right to ban Trump following the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters in January. Facebook indefinitely blocked Trump's access to his accounts for Facebook and picture-sharing app Instagram over concerns of further violent unrest. The board said Facebook should not have imposed an indeterminate suspension without clear standards and said the company should determine a response consistent with rules applied to other users. (Reuters)

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Wednesday, 16th June 2021

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