Top Stories

August 02, 2021


UK's largest fleet operators to switch to electric vehicles by 2030

Some of the UK's largest commercial fleet operators have committed to converting their fleets to British-built electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 at the latest, provided the UK Government introduces enabling policies. Working with the Government’s Electric Vehicle Fleet Accelerator (EVFA), bp, BT, Direct Line Group, Royal Mail, ScottishPower, Severn Trent and Tesco have committed to converting their fleets to EVs by 2030 and to buying 70,000 British-built electric vans. The group is calling on the Government to future proof the electricity network and invest to enable the integration of EVs into grid capacities. They are also calling for EV charging infrastructure to be fast-tracked into the planning system by working with local authorities and to increase the supply and diversity of UK-made EVs. (Edie)


Facebook, Google expect employees to get jabbed for office return

Big tech firms are altering their return-to-work plans for employees, as Covid-19 cases rise in the US, with some stipulating that staff working in the office must be vaccinated. Google announced that it would extend a global, voluntary, work-from-home policy through to 18th October. The company joined Facebook in saying it would require US workers returning to the office to be vaccinated. Google’s vaccination policy will be rolled out in the US, and later expand to other regions. The implementation of the policy will vary according to local conditions and regulations, applying only once vaccines are widely available in an area, with exemptions for medical and other "protected" reasons. Other tech firms, like Twitter, Amazon and Apple, have also put back, or changed, return-to-work plans in light of rising cases. (BBC News)


Zoom reaches $85m settlement over privacy & security

Zoom Video Communications has agreed to pay $85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users' privacy rights by sharing personal data with social media platforms Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice called “Zoombombing”. So-called “Zoombombing” is where outsiders hijack Zoom meetings and display pornography, use racist language or post other disturbing content. Subscribers in the proposed class action would be eligible for 15% refunds on their core subscriptions or $25, whichever is larger, while others could receive up to $15 under terms of the settlement. Zoom agreed to security measures including alerting users when meeting hosts or other participants use third-party apps in meetings, and to provide specialised training to employees on privacy and data handling. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)


UK supermarkets linked to beef-led Amazon deforestation

A major investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, carried out in collaboration with Repórter Brasil, has found that beef from farmers accused of illegal deforestation in Brazil – and subsequently sanctioned with embargoes – was still making its way into global supply chains, including those serving at least two of the world's biggest meat companies, JBS and Marfrig. JBS and Marfrig's UK customers include Sainsbury's, Asda, Lidl and other major supermarkets, as well as wholesalers, some of which supply the NHS. The findings of the investigation raise serious questions about the effectiveness and enforcement of Brazil's embargo system and undermine the 'deforestation-free' claims of multinational meat companies and their international customers. (Business Green)


Record £5.2bn England flood defence package unveiled

The UK government plans to spend a record £5.2 billion on flood defences over the next six years across England as it gears up for more frequent extreme weather events. The UK Environment Agency said it planned to spend £860 million over the next year alone on more than 1,000 schemes across England, its highest ever annual investment in flood and coastal management. The funding pledges were unveiled in the Environment Agency's new Flood and Coastal Erosion Investment Plan, which sets out a target to better protect 336,000 properties, avoid £32 billion in economic damages and reduce the national flood risk by 11% by 2027. Under the plans, tighter guidance will likely be introduced for planning authorities to deter the building of homes in flood-prone areas. (Business Green*)

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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