Top Stories

July 20, 2021


Global Alliance for a Green New Deal launches global campaign

Lawmakers from the UK, USA, Brazil, Costa Rica, and the European Parliament are joining forces in a new Global Alliance for a Green New Deal. The Alliance is inviting politicians from legislatures in all countries to work together on policies that would deliver a just transition to a green economy ahead of COP26 UN climate talks this November. The Alliance wants governments to put measures in place that would boost the green economy as well as collaborating on global vaccine access for Covid-19, and debt restructuring for the world’s poorest nations. The governments will seek to share knowledge around the world of successful initiatives, such as the decarbonisation plan recently put forward in Costa Rica. The alliance currently has 21 members from 19 countries. (The Guardian)


Investors increase pressure on top companies over racial issues

Shareholder pressure on companies including Amazon, Union Pacific and JPMorgan Chase to address race and other diversity issues has risen to record levels this year, after the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic focused investor attention on social challenges. Figures from data provider Proxy Insight show investor support for resolutions at annual meetings that focused on diversity, such as calling for companies to report on their workforce inclusion efforts, has soared this year. The average of investor support for diversity-related resolutions globally in the first six months of 2021 was 42.4%, compared with 23.9% over the whole of 2020, the data showed. Several such resolutions received majority support from shareholders, including proposals calling for American Express and Union Pacific to report annually on diversity efforts. (Financial Times*)


UK food and drinks sector sets new sustainability goals for 2030

The UK food and drink industry has collectively pledged to accelerate its food waste and greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Waste charity WRAP announced the pledges as part of the Courtauld Commitment, which has been extended to 2030. As signatories of the Commitment, food and drinks companies have pledged to collectively reduce the sector's greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, from a 2015 baseline, having previously targeted a 20% reduction by 2025. Firms are collectively aiming to halve food waste per capita by 2030 compared to 2007 levels. The refreshed Courtauld Commitment also sets out a new goal to achieve sustainable water management – covering both water quality and quantity – across the top 20 most important product ingredient sourcing areas in the UK and overseas by 2030. (Business Green)


UK’s FCA launches guidance to prevent ‘misleading’ ESG funds

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the conduct regulator for financial services firms and financial markets in the UK, has published a letter with a series of guiding principles for fund managers to ensure that ESG-related claims are not misleading to the public. The principles contain key considerations regarding: fund names, communication of investment objectives and strategy, stewardship approach, ability to deliver on objectives, data and analytical tools, disclosure access and ongoing performance reporting, among others. The letter expresses concern that misleading assertions could erode consumer trust in sustainable investing. In particular, the FCA notes that several fund managers’ assertions about the sustainability aspects of funds are not backed up by actual strategy or composition, including ESG funds with high-carbon emissions energy companies among top holdings, and those with misleading names.  (ESGToday)


IEA warns global carbon emissions headed for record in 2023

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), only 2% of pandemic recovery spending is going towards clean energy measures, and energy-related carbon emissions are likely to climb to record levels in 2023 with “no clear peak in sight,” despite governments worldwide committing to “green recoveries”. Governments had allocated $380 billion out of a total of $16 trillion in pandemic support to clean energy, which the IEA calculates is insufficient to reach net-zero emissions globally by 2050. According to the IEA, most of the $16 trillion committed to date has been focused on emergency financial relief for households and businesses. Most of the spending related to sustainable energy so far has been linked to existing programmes, such as energy-efficiency grants and support for electric transport. (Financial Times*)

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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