Top Stories

June 28, 2021


Food giants to trial traffic light 'eco-labels' in the UK and EU from autumn

A new on-pack 'eco-labelling' scheme for groceries is set to be trialled in the UK and EU from this autumn, and includes backers such as Tyson, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Costa Coffee, Marks & Spencer and VeeTee Rice. The system behind the labels, developed by researchers at Oxford University and WWF, covers the environmental impact of all parts of the upstream value chain for food, including farming, processing, packaging and transportation to stores. An overall grade is given based on carbon footprint, water used, water pollution generated and biodiversity loss. Carbon is weighted at 49% of the overall grade, while the other topics account for 17% each. This grade is communicated to consumers as a letter and using a traffic light system. The hope is to deliver a Europe-wide roll-out in 2022. (Edie)


EU carbon trading market to expand to shipping, housing and transport

Europe will apply emissions trading to shipping, housing and transport, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a summit of world leaders. The EU executive arm is currently designing the biggest reform of the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to date in order to align it with stricter climate targets for 2030. The commission wants to introduce a phase-in period for shipping companies in the trading system between 2023 and 2025, requiring full compliance with pollution caps as of 2026, according to a draft law. The extension of the EU ETS to maritime transport applies in respect of emissions from incoming voyages and emissions occurring at berth in an EU port. The new emissions trading program for buildings and road transport would be established from 2025. (Bloomberg*; Reuters)


Business alliance encourages consumers to behave sustainably

A new alliance of banking firms, consumer goods giants and digital platforms, including Mastercard, BBVA, FNZ and the Lazada Group, has been launched to encourage one billion consumers across the globe to use their spending habits to fund conservation initiatives, such as ocean and beach cleans and tree planting projects. The ‘Every Action Counts’ coalition brings together a global network of digital, financial, e-commerce, and consumer goods firms alongside experts in sustainability, nature, and biodiversity conservation, in a bid to share best practices to encourage consumer behaviour change to curb environmental impacts. Each coalition member has promised to pursue "locally-relevant approaches" to driving sustainable consumer behaviours. In the Philippines, for example, the GCash forest rewards app will allow users to plant trees in partnership with groups such as WWF. (Edie)


Glencore ups emissions goals & acquires coal assets from Anglo & BHP

Global miner Glencore has announced an acceleration in its emissions reduction goals, along with an agreement with Anglo American and BHP to acquire their stakes in their 3-way joint venture of Colombian coal asset Cerrejón. Glencore’s new emissions target include a cut of 50% by 2035 on 2019 levels, and a 15% reduction by 2026, which has been restated to reflect full ownership of Cerrejón. The transaction marks the completion of Anglo American’s exit from thermal coal production, and aligns with BHP’s goal to reduce its own exposure in this area. Similarly, Glencore has committed to a managed decline of its own portfolio, and hopes the acquisition of Cerrejón will be a better alternative than bringing on new partners and potentially extending the mine’s operations beyond its current concessions. (Financial Times*; ESG Today)


UK Government bans junk food adverts on TV before 9pm to curb obesity

The UK government will impose a UK-wide pre-9pm ban on TV adverts for food high in sugar, salt and fat. From the end of 2022, TV adverts for junk food that the government believes to contribute to obesity – including chocolate, burgers, soft drinks, sweets, ice cream, biscuits, crisps, and pizzas – will be allowed only between 9pm and 5.30am. The rules apply to products, rather than brands. The rules will apply during live and on-demand programmes but will exclude companies with fewer than 250 employees. There will also be new rules on online promotion, but firms selling junk food will still be able to run websites. The ban is intended to curb population obesity, as over 60% of the adult UK population are now overweight or obese, according to NHS Digital. (BBC News)

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Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America