Top Stories

July 19, 2021


FSC expels palm oil giant Korindo amid rights and environmental violations

The Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s foremost body certifying the sustainable forestry industry, has ended its association with Korindo, an Indonesian-South Korean joint venture, because the company had failed to come to an agreement with the certification body on how to independently verify its compliance. A two-year investigation by the Council found a series of violations in the company’s operation in Indonesia’s Papua, including a failure to properly consult local communities about plans to convert their land into oil palm plantations; unfair compensation to the communities; and the clearing of 30,000 hectares of rainforest, some of which have high conservation value. FSC and Korindo could not agree on a process for appointment of a verifier and for conducting the verification of the performance indicators, leading to the company’s membership termination. (Eco-Business)


EU eyes new legally-binding targets to protect forests

The European Commission has published an outline for proposals on how to improve the health of Europe's forests and harness their ability to fight climate change. The Commission will propose legally binding targets to restore damaged forest eco-systems in Europe, and develop a system requiring countries to track data on the health of their forests, gathered from sources including ground-based monitoring. That would aim to help countries to respond to pressures facing Europe's forests - including demand for biomass fuel used to produce energy, and climate change impacts like new wildfire patterns or increased likelihood and spread of pests. But environment campaigners said the proposed plans to address the impact on EU forests from demand for energy from biomass - such as wood pellets and chips, do not go far enough. (Reuters)


Greenland scraps all future oil exploration on climate concerns

Greenland has decided to cease issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration on environmental grounds, saying the price of extraction was “too high.” The government based the ban upon economic calculations, as well as considerations of the impact on climate and the environment, citing the impacts of extraction on the country’s nature, fisheries, and tourism industry. The decision to abandon oil exploration comes amid increasing signs of global warming for Greenlanders. Average sea levels have risen about 9 inches since 1880, and about a quarter of that increase comes from ice melting in the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets, along with land-based glaciers elsewhere, according to a study published in Nature in May. The island isn’t banning other types of mineral exploration, such as gold and copper. (Bloomberg*)


U.S. CEO-to-worker pay ratio rose to 299:1 last year despite pandemic

The average S&P 500 chief executive made $15.5 million last year, 299 times the pay of the median worker and a higher ratio than in 2019, according to the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labour federation. The labour union claims that while many companies reduced salary and bonus payments to executives as they eliminated jobs during the pandemic, those cuts were more than offset by gains in equity compensation, resulting in an increase of $712,720 in the average S&P 500 CEO's compensation, which stood at $15.5 million last year. In contrast, the average US production and nonsupervisory worker earned $43,512 in 2020. The union cited the figures to argue for the passage of a bill known as the PRO Act to make worker organizing easier, arguing working people bore the brunt of COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. economy. (Reuters)


Seaspan issues $750m bond to tackle climate impact of ships

Containership owner and operator Seaspan, a subsidiary of asset manager Atlas, announced the closing of its Blue Transition Bond offering, issuing $750 million senior unsecured notes. The notes were issued under Seaspan’s recently released Blue Transition Bond Framework. The framework aims to align with the guidelines presented by the ICMA’s Green Bond Principles (GBP), and the company’s efforts to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to building clean and environmentally sound technologies (SDG #9) and life below water (SDG #14). Eligible use of proceeds outlined by the framework includes containership newbuilds targeting decarbonization by utilizing an alternative or low-carbon emission fuel source, as well as R&D, retrofitting, and vessel modifications to lower vessel emissions through efficiency improvements, use of low carbon fuels, or propulsion technology. (ESGToday)

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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