Top Stories

July 06, 2021


Big tech threatens to quit Hong Kong over privacy law

The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), an industry group including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and LinkedIn has warned that tech companies could stop offering their services in Hong Kong if the Chinese territory proceeds with plans to change privacy laws. Proposed amendments to privacy laws in Hong Kong could see individuals hit with “severe sanctions” that are “not aligned with global norms and trends”, said the letter sent by the industry group to the Hong Kong privacy commissioner. The AIC argues that legislation to prevent “doxing” – publicly releasing private or identifying information – can “have the effect of curtailing free expression” and must be proportional. The businesses also highlighted that the only way to avoid these sanctions for technology companies is to refrain from investing and offering their services in Hong Kong. (The Guardian)


Two-thirds of UK finance firms not meeting climate aims

While most of the UK's biggest banks and asset managers have updated their climate targets, finance flows are still ultimately favouring high-carbon projects and businesses. Created by the Climate Policy Initiative, the interactive Net-Zero Finance Tracker dashboard covers more than 1,200 UK-based firms with investing power in the private sector and represent some $25 trillion of managed and owned assets. It reveals that around 800 of these organisations had set public climate target as of the end of 2020, however, the report warns that financial firms are not converting targets into action rapidly enough. Moreover, there are currently 10 times as many institutions whose share of portfolios exposed to climate-critical sectors is misaligned with the Paris Agreement as there are aligned institutions. (Edie)


UK Power Networks unveils £4.5billion investment plan

UK Power Networks (UKPN), which owns and maintains electricity cables and lines across London, the South East, and East of England, has published details of its draft business plan for 2023 to 2028, setting out its goal to put "customers and communities at the heart of net zero". The plan confirms the company's intent to increase investment in its electricity networks by 7% over the next price settlement period, while reducing its component of average energy bills by 10%. UKPN is aiming to improve current levels of on-street public chargers by 25%. It has also set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions across its own operations by 2028, and claims to be the first network operator to have its emissions reduction plan verified by the Science Based Targets initiative. (Business Green)


Cement industry initiative creates pathway to net-zero

Some of the world's largest cement and concrete businesses have joined a new collaborative platform aimed at transforming the sector to enable the delivery of carbon-neutral concrete by 2050. The ‘Concrete Action for Climate’ initiative (CAC) has been launched by the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Already, more than 40% of the industry globally has joined the initiative through GCCA membership and it is inviting others to join and help develop a net-zero roadmap.  The global cement industry is estimated to account for 6-7% of GHG emissions annually and is widely considered hard-to-abate. However, the industry has delivered a 20% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of cementitious material along with a ninefold increase in alternative fuel use since 1990. (Edie)


Maersk signs deal with Hyundai on carbon-neutral ship

Integrated container logistics company A.P. Moller-Maersk have announced an agreement with shipbuilding company Hyundai Mipo Dockyards for the world’s first carbon-neutral methanol fuelled container ship, having initially announced its aim in February this year. The 172-meter, 2100 TEU vessel will feature a dual engine, enabling it to sail on either methanol or traditional very low Sulphur fuel, and is expected to be delivered by mid-2023. Maersk noted that over half of its largest customers have set or are in the process of setting science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains. According to the European Maritime Safety Agency, shipping accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to air pollution close to coastal areas and ports.  (ESG Today)

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Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America