Top Stories

May 19, 2021


Food giants accused of links to illegal Amazon deforestation

Three of the world’s biggest food businesses have been accused of buying soya from a farmer linked to illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Cargill, Bunge and Cofco sourced soya beans from the Chinese-owned Fiagril and the multinational Aliança Agrícola do Cerrado, both of which have allegedly been supplied by a farmer fined and sanctioned multiple times after destroying swathes of rainforest. After land was deforested in 2019, the farmer supplying soya to Aliança and Fiagril had land embargoed by Brazil’s environmental regulators on multiple occasions. Fiagril and Aliança, as well as Cargill, Bunge and Cofco, are signatories to the soya moratorium. Signatories commit to not “sell, purchase and finance soya from areas deforested in the Amazon biome after July 2008”. (The Guardian)


Google & Microsoft among firms tracking clean energy 24/7

More than 100 global companies, including Microsoft, Google, Vattenfall and Engie are taking part in a new worldwide initiative, that aims to demonstrate the viability of verifying clean electricity supply on an hourly basis. The initiative, spearheaded by the independent non-profit EnergyTag, hopes to use the hourly record to provide accurate 24/7 data. Currently, most energy attribute certificates are issued for each unit (MWh) of clean energy production, and fail to cover the volatility of clean energy supply, including cases where renewables generation might be scarce, and fossil fuels contribute more to grids, or where renewables are oversupplied and therefore wasted. The companies have announced six demonstrator projects that will trial hourly data on renewables generation and how grid flexibility and energy storage can help deliver a zero-carbon system. (Edie)


Shell faces shareholder rebellion over fossil fuel production

A shareholder resolution calling for Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell to set binding carbon emissions reduction targets to wind down fossil fuel production received 30% of votes at the oil company’s annual meeting. The Shell rebellion came on the day that the International Energy Agency said that exploration for new oil and gas fields must stop this year if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The result represents an escalation of the pressure on Shell to commit to meaningful decarbonisation, after a similar resolution, also put forward by campaign group FollowThis, at BP gained 21% of votes last week. The Shell rebellion sailed past the 20% threshold, forcing the company to consult shareholders and report on their views within six months, under the UK corporate governance code. (The Guardian)


EU Parliament approves €17.5 billion green transition fund

The European Parliament gave its final approval to a €17.5 billion fund that will help the most coal-dependent European Union regions shift to a climate-neutral economy. The vote on the ‘Just Transition Fund’ comes before a May 24-25 summit of the bloc’s heads of government, who will discuss how to reach stricter 2030 climate goals. The fund will include €7.5 billion from the EU budget for 2021-2027 and €10 billion from the region’s economic recovery programme. It  will help finance investments in areas such as renewables, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and digital innovation. The biggest beneficiaries will include Poland, Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic. The 27-nation EU is tightening its emissions-reduction policies under the Green Deal, an overhaul that envisages net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Bloomberg Green*)


Aldi launches in-store recycling scheme for problem plastics

German supermarket chain Aldi has added collection points for soft and flexible plastics, which most UK councils do not collect from homes, to 20 of its UK stores. Customers will be encouraged to return packaging like crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags from all brands. The materials will be sent to an as-yet-undisclosed recycling partner, who, in partnership with Aldi, will establish the best course of action for recycling. Almost all UK flexible plastic packaging (94%) is sent to landfill or incineration annually because fewer than one-fifth of local authorities have capacity to collect from homes and businesses at kerbside. The collection bins have been added to 20 Aldi stores across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Greater Manchester, with the supermarket considering a nation-wide roll-out if the trial is successful. (Edie)

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