Top Stories

July 23, 2021


G20 nations poured $3.3trn into fossil fuel since 2015

G20 member countries collectively allocated subsidies topping $3.3 trillion to the oil, coal, gas and fossil-fuelled electricity generation sectors between 2015 and 2019 – a level incompatible with the Paris Agreement, according to a major new report from Bloomberg NEF and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Direct support for fossil fuels from the G20 governments in 2019 topped $636 billion – a decrease of just 10% since the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Seven of the members had increased financial support during this period, namely Canada, the US, Australia, Indonesia, France, China, Brazil and Mexico. During the five-year period assessed, nations collectively provided $3.3 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies, with 60% going to producers and utilities and 40% going to consumer-facing subsidy schemes. This figure is likely to be an underestimate, Bloomberg believes. (Edie)


Supermarkets Asda and Waitrose up EV commitments

British supermarket Waitrose has announced it is working with Shell to install 800 electric vehicle (EV) charging points across the UK by 2025. Up to 100 Waitrose sites could feature EV charging points under the agreement, with each site expected to have six 22kW and two 50kW rapid charging points so customers can charge their vehicles while they shop. In related news, supermarket Asda has committed to moving its entire company car fleet of 600 vehicles to electric by 2025, estimating a save of over 2,411 tonnes of carbon emissions on its road to net-zero. The decision was taken, in part, due to 85% of Asda workers who opted for a company car in their benefits packaging choosing an EV over the past 12 months. (Edie 1; Edie 2)


LG is targeting a full transition to renewable energy by 2050

Consumer electronics giant LG Electronics has announced a commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, forming the next step in the company’s sustainability strategy. LG’s energy transition will begin in North America, with plans to power every office and manufacturing site in the region with renewable energy by the end of this year. Within four years, it aims to have all manufacturing facilities outside of Korea converted to 50% renewable electricity. To meet its new goals, the company will install high-efficiency LG solar panels on its buildings, utilise power purchase agreements to buy directly from suppliers, use Renewable Energy Credit Certificates, and participate in the Green Premium programme to buy clean energy from Korea Electric Power Corporation. (ESGToday)


US workplace injuries caused by heat severely undercounted

US government agencies are likely significantly undercounting the number of workplace injuries caused by extreme heat, according to new research. While heat-related injuries including dehydration and heat stroke are recorded, injuries such as falling due to heat-induced dizziness are not typically categorised as heat-related injuries. The research shows that when such injuries are taken into account, the actual toll of heat on US workers is orders of magnitude higher than official counts. For example, in California, the state’s occupational safety division counts about 60 heat-related injuries annually. Whereas, this paper estimates that, between 2001 and 2018, the number of heat-related injuries was actually about 24,800 each year. The research highlights that the findings are particularly salient as Americans are projected to experience more hot days due to climate change. (The Guardian)


Asia's apparel industry threatened by rising sea levels

Large swathes of apparel-producing areas in Asia will be underwater by 2030, threatening thousands of suppliers with submersion unless they relocate to higher ground, according to an analysis which overlaid maps of rising sea levels onto factory locations.. The analysis covered Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Tirippur, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Columbo, and Ho Chi Minh City, and was produced by two Cornell researchers as part of a paper commissioned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It warns that the problem of rising sea levels is receiving little attention from those leading sustainability efforts in the sector. The paper argues that while larger, transnational suppliers may be able to shut down facilities in vulnerable areas and consolidate production on higher ground, smaller-scale suppliers will be most impacted, highlighting the example of Bangladesh. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America