Top Stories

June 10, 2021


Multi-trillion dollar investors call for bolder national climate plans

A group of 457 investors, managing $41 trillion in assets, including Schroders, Legal & General, Allianz, HSBC, Aviva and Amundi, have teamed up to urge world leaders to step up their climate ambition in what has been billed as the "strongest-ever investor call" for governments to tackle the climate emergency. In the joint 2021 Global Investor Statement, the investors said countries that introduce ambitious climate policies and targets would become "increasingly attractive investment destinations" as demand surges for clean technologies, green infrastructure, and other assets that can deliver a net-zero economy. The statement also warned weak climate ambition from governments to date is currently hampering financiers' ability to roll out mass investment programmes in infrastructure and services that are critical to the net-zero transition. (Business Green)


Airbus and Air France want EU green funds used for jet incentives

Airlines Airbus and Air France-KLM have urged policymakers to use EU-backed green stimulus funds to support aircraft sales, according to documents released by climate lobbying watchdog InfluenceMap. In papers to EU officials, the companies argued that taxpayer-funded incentives on current plane models could cut emissions by retiring a greater number of older, less efficient jets. InfluenceMap’s documents also show European industry bodies and airlines, like Lufthansa, have been lobbying against stricter European Commission rules for the sector under the EU’s carbon-trading system. Some of the industry has also objected to creation of taxes for carbon-intensive fuels, alluding to their pandemic-ravaged balance sheets. The disclosures come as investors increasingly press carbon-intensive industries for transparency about their lobbying on climate issues. (Reuters)


Child labour worldwide has increased for the first time in 20 years

Child labour has risen for the first time in two decades and the pandemic threatens to push millions more young people towards the same fate, according to a report by Unicef and  the International Labour Organization.  It states child labour numbers stood at 160 million at the start of 2020 – an increase of 8.4 million from 2016. The increase began before the pandemic hit and marks a dramatic reversal of a downward trend that saw child labour numbers shrink by 94 million between 2000 and 2016. While the percentage of children in child labour remained the same as in 2016, population growth meant numbers rose significantly. The agencies warn the pandemic risks worsening the situation, and that urgent action is needed to prevent increasing numbers of families plunging into poverty. (The Guardian)


US-Canadian Keystone XL pipeline project has been terminated

TC Energy, the Canadian pipeline company that had long sought to build the Keystone XL pipeline announced that it had terminated the embattled controversial project, which would have carried petroleum from Canadian tar sands to Nebraska. On the day he was inaugurated, US President Joe Biden, who has vowed to make tackling climate change a centrepiece of his administration, rescinded the construction permit for the pipeline, which developers had sought to build for over a decade. That same day, TC Energy suspended work on the line. This week the company wrote in a statement that it will continue to coordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project. (The New York Times)


Supermarket Morrisons faces investor heat over unhealthy food

Morrisons has become the latest British supermarket group to be targeted by activist shareholders over the amount of unhealthy food it sells. Responsible investment group ShareAction, along with seven institutional investors managing $1.1 trillion between them, has written to Morrisons Chairman calling on him to boost sales of healthier food and drink products. The investors want Morrisons to disclose the share of total food and non-alcoholic drink annual sales by volume made up of healthier products, and to publish a long-term target to significantly increase that share, arguing the company’s target to increase the number of healthier own-brand products to 65% by 2025 does not go far enough. Last month  British supermarket Tesco agreed to increase healthy food options in Europe and Britain after ShareAction filed a landmark shareholder resolution. (Reuters)


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