Top Stories

July 21, 2021


BlackRock voted against 255 directors for climate issues in 2021

During the recent proxy season, BlackRock voted against more than four times the number of board directors it voted against last year because they failed to act on climate issues. The asset manager rejected 255 directors at companies including Berkshire Hathaway and Exxon Mobil in the period ended June 30, up from 55 a year earlier, according to its latest stewardship report released yesterday. BlackRock also failed to support the management of 319 companies for climate-related reasons, compared with 53 in 2020. Overall, BlackRock supported 35% of 843 shareholder proposals it voted on, compared with 17% in the previous year. Of those, it backed about two-thirds of the environmental resolutions, and about a third of the social and governance proposals, compared with 11%, 7% and 20% respectively in 2020. (InvestmentNews)


Climate friendly cooling tech firm gets $50m from Goldman Sachs

Phononic, a US-based start-up using a material called bismuth telluride to make cooling chips, has raised $50 million from Goldman Sachs Asset Management to scale manufacturing and market the climate-friendly refrigerant technology. So far, the cooling chips have been used to create compact freezers for vaccine transportation, convenience stores, and to prevent overheating in lidars and optical transceivers used in 5G. When electricity runs through the chip the current takes heat with it leaving one side of the chip to cool and the other to heat up. The bismuth telluride powder going into a chip is "benign" and can be recycled or disposed as it meets all chip safety and disposal standards. The funding will be used to build out high-volume manufacturing and to expand Phononic's markets and product line. (Reuters)


P&G's Lenor to pilot 100,000 paper-pulp bottles in Europe in 2022

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has joined the Paper Bottle Company (Paboco) collaboration, producing its first prototype paper-pulp-based bottle, which will be used for its Lenor brand and be piloted across 100,000 units in Western European markets next year. The current format consists of a pulp-based paper outer and an internal barrier made from 100% recycled PET, with Lenor bottles maintaining a plastic cap. Overall, the result is a 30% reduction in plastic used by weight. As such, the end-of-life stage is “not seamless”. Customers are being encouraged to remove the plastic barrier, placing the paper into their household recycling and seeking out a dedicated collection service for the plastic in the UK where most councils do not collect flexible plastics at curb side. (Edie)


IBM sets sustainability goals tackling energy, water & supply chain

Global technology company IBM has announced a series of environmental sustainability goals, including new and updated targets for renewable energy, water conservation and sustainable supply chain solutions, among others. Energy and climate change goals include targets to procure renewable energy for 75% of the electricity it consumes worldwide by 2025, and 90% by 2030, and to implement at least 3,000 energy conservation projects. Under conservation and biodiversity, the company aims to achieve reductions in water withdrawals, and to source paper-based packaging from certified sustainably managed forests. Pollution prevention includes new goals to divert 90% of non-hazardous waste from landfill and incineration by 2025, and to eliminate non-essential plastic packaging. In its supply chain, IBM announced a goal to require key suppliers in emissions-intensive industries to set emissions reduction goals. (ESGToday)


Russia's Central Bank advises domestic firms to disclose ESG agenda

Russia's Central Bank has advised domestic companies to disclose their environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda and evaluate related risks, adding that failure to timely identify ESG issues could trigger financial losses. The central bank said it has "recommended" Russian companies disclose their ESG compliance and evaluate ESG risks once a year in reporting, with a view to make this a requirement in future years. In related news, Moscow has released plans to boost the use of electric cars by rolling out a raft of charging infrastructure in coming years. The use of electric cars in oil and gas giant Russia currently lags far behind other European capitals. The city plans to install 200 electric charging stations annually starting in 2021. (Reuters 1; Reuters 2)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America