Top Stories

May 27, 2021


Dutch court orders Shell to accelerate emissions cuts in landmark case

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell has lost a landmark legal case, with a Dutch court ordering tit to increase its emissions cuts to 45% lower than 2019 levels by 2030. The ruling followed a legal campaign led by the Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Greenpeace, and could set a precedent for similar cases against the world’s biggest corporate polluters, which may now face similar lawsuits. Shell has announced cuts in the carbon intensity of the fossil fuels it produces, but has not yet set reduction targets for its fossil fuels production. The legal case against Shell is among a growing number of so-called human rights-based cases, and will require a change of policy from the company that could curb its potential growth. (Financial Times*)


Australia has legal “duty of care” not to harm children in new coal projects

Australia’s government will need to ensure that children are not harmed by its decisions to approve coal projects in a landmark ruling that could have big implications for the country’s fossil fuels industry. Applicants asked Australia’s Federal Court to prevent approvals for a coal mine in New South Wales expected to generate 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 26 years. The judge contended that the minister for environment had a duty to take “reasonable care” not to cause Australian children personal injury when granting mine approvals, citing evidence  that thousands of children would suffer premature death from either heat stress or bushfire smoke if temperatures rose 3◦C above pre-industrial levels. Legal experts said the establishment of a legal “duty of care” principle represented a victory for campaigners. (Financial Times*)


Manufacturing giants unite on £1 million flexible plastic recycling fund

Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever are supporting a new initiative to improve the recyclability of "flexible" plastic. The businesses join producer compliance scheme Ecosurety and environmental charity Hubbub in launching the ‘Flexible Plastic Fund’. The £1 million fund aims to make flexible plastic – such as bags, wrappers, films and sachets – easily recyclable, by guaranteeing a minimum value of £100 per tonne of recycled material to incentivise recyclers. The initiative aims to recycle at least 80% of plastics collected in the UK by 2023. Currently, flexible packaging often contaminates rigid plastic recycling and clogs up machinery, making it a low-value material that often ends up in landfill. As a result, just 16% of UK local authorities offer household collection of flexible plastics, of which just 6% gets recycled. (Edie)


Thousands of hospitals sign up to UN-backed Race to Zero campaign

Healthcare institutions representing over 3,000 hospitals from 18 countries have joined the UN ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, committing to halve their emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The new group has committed to deliver on a new Road Map that aims to reduce the sector's emissions by 44 gigatons of CO2 over 36 years, resulting in emissions savings equivalent to keeping 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground. Hospitals are set to pursue plans to switch to 100% renewable electricity, invest in zero emissions buildings and infrastructure, incentivise the production of low-carbon pharmaceuticals, and work to provide healthy, sustainably grown food and support climate-resilient agriculture. The news come after pharma giant GSK was announced as a principal partner of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. (Business Green)


Microsoft joins 1.5◦C Supply Chain Leaders greener business group

Tech giant Microsoft has joined the ranks of major corporates working to decarbonise their supply chains in line with a 1.5◦C global warming pathway, as the tech giant was today unveiled as the latest member of  he 1.5◦C Supply Chain Leaders initiative joining the likes of IKEA, Ericsson, BT Group, Unilever and Nestle. Launched last year, the coalition aims to encourage small and medium-size businesses to take action to drive down their emissions, which is critical for larger companies they work with to deliver on their own net-zero targets. With the addition of Microsoft, the Initiative now brings together companies with €402 billion combined turnover. The group's SME Climate Hub portal collates free resources and tools curated by Oxford University that support suppliers to switch to more sustainable business practices. (Business Green)

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