Top Stories

August 05, 2021


US fires threaten carbon offsets as company-linked trees burn

Forests in the US that generate the carbon offsets bought by companies including BP and Microsoft are on fire as summer blazes rage in North America. In Washington and Oregon, at least two forestry projects are ablaze. The offset programmes carry a “buffer” of credits that are not sold to any companies but are available to cover any shortfalls resulting from problems with a project. Given the risks from fire and drought, forestry offsetting schemes contributed about 10-20% of the credits they generate to the “buffer pool”. Critics of the unregulated offsetting system have warned that buffer pools may be too small to compensate for the damage done by major fires, and that fires like the 2020 season could wipe out the buffer pool if they happen every four years. (Financial Times*)


Amazon sets initiatives to boost second-hand product offering

Online retail giant Amazon has opened the door to more second-hand products being offered by sellers on its site, announcing two initiatives which it said would make it easier for businesses to resell customer-returned items or overstock inventory. One initiative, which is already live in the US, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, will give UK sellers the option to use the Amazon’s existing wholesale liquidation partners and technology to recoup potential losses on returned and overstock inventory. Previously, a seller on Amazon would either need to have returned items sent back to them by customers, or have Amazon donate the product on their behalf. The other initiative gives third party sellers the option to sell returned products on Amazon as 'used' items instead of having them sent back or donated. (Business Green)


Fashion giants collaborate for supply chain transparency trials

Retailers including H&M GroupNew Look and Next have joined a new pilot scheme assessing how digital technologies can be used to improve supply chain transparency, thereby enabling targeted improvements to environmental sustainability and efficiency. Under the ‘Sustainable Supply Chain Optimisation’ scheme orchestrated by tech giant IBM, the retailers will trial a new technology platform that combines blockchain, artificial intelligence and sensors to create a tamper-proof audit chain of information about materials and products at each stage of the supply chain. The partners hope the technology could give retailers and brands better insight into the environmental impact of their supply chains and on how workers are treated, enabling them to develop and deliver more targeted interventions. This information could also be conveyed to consumers using on-product labels and retailer websites. (Edie)


UK workers feel pressure to hide mental health concerns

UK workers are still feeling under pressure to disguise their mental health struggles from colleagues despite feeling less able to cope than they did before the pandemic, according to research from a survey of more than 2,000 people commissioned by Lime Insurance. About half (51%) of respondents said they felt under pressure to put on a brave face at work, while four in 10 said they felt less resilient since the Covid-19 crisis struck. Fewer than one in six (16%) said they felt their mental health was very well supported at work, despite 81% wanting their employers to give them help with their mental wellbeing. The findings emerged just as government ministers start to ramp up pressure on the British workforce to return to their workplaces. (The Guardian)


Deloitte to educate all 330,000 employees on the climate crisis

All 330,000 employees at global consultancy Deloitte will be enrolled in a climate learning programme designed to strengthen their understanding of the risks presented by the climate crisis and the opportunities that could arise from the decarbonisation of the world's economy. The digital learning programme, developed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, comprises a module which features videos, 'interactive data visualisations', and personal testimonials from Deloitte staff detailing how they are taking global climate action. The programme is due to be rolled out over the next six months. The programme forms part of Deloitte's WorldClimate strategy, which was launched last year and set a target to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and promote green operations across all the regions in which the firm operates. (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