Top Stories

August 12, 2021


Shareholder advocacy group goes after 'environmental racism'

The shareholder advocacy group As You Sow has updated its Racial Justice Scorecard for S&P 500 companies to include four indicators focused on environmental racism, saying it would pressure poorly rated companies for change. The non-profit collected and analysed data from S&P 500 companies showing what it says is the environmental impact of operations on non-white communities, scrutinising their products, environmental violations and fines, and corporate actions. The group will initiate conversations with companies that are the worst culprits on the list and file shareholder proposals at their annual meetings next year. As You Sow named industrial chemicals company Eastman Chemical, car parts retailer O'Reilly Automotive and steel products manufacturer Nucor among the worst offenders on environmental racism in the S&P 500. (Reuters)


Blue hydrogen could cause more emissions than burning gas

Scientists are warning that 'blue' hydrogen, which is produced by splitting natural gas and capturing process emissions, could generate 20% more emissions over its life-cycle than burning the natural gas in the first instance, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University and Stanford University. While proponents of blue hydrogen often claim that more than 90% of the resulting emissions can be addressed using onsite carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and utilisation arrays, the study states that the capture rate varies from 15% to 90% for facilities currently in commercial operation. Moreover, these capture rates are only associated with the carbon dioxide released by the process of heating the methane component of natural gas, with methane still released in the extraction of natural gas. (Edie)


Japan to launch indicator combining GDP and carbon reduction

Japan's government will create a new indicator that will show the country's progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to gross domestic product (GDP), according to Japanese news site Nikkei business daily. The new indicator will examine greenhouse gas emissions released domestically and show whether they are increasing or decreasing compared to the actual GDP growth rate. Japan's greenhouse gas emissions have been declining in recent years, and the new measure will show the country's decarbonisation efforts from an economic growth perspective. The indicator would come after Japan in April set an ambitious goal for reducing carbon emissions, nearly doubling its 2030 target for cutting carbon emissions to 46% from 26% on 2013 levels. (Reuters)


UK is spending far more on polluting policies than green ones

The UK government is spending many times more on measures that will increase greenhouse gas emissions than on policies to tackle the climate crisis, according to analysis of the spring budget by conservation charity WWF. In collaboration with Vivid Economics, WWF used a “budget tagging tool” to assess policy decisions that affect the environment. Only £145 million in the March 2021 budget was devoted to environmental spending, most of it on the post-Brexit industry emissions trading scheme. However, the cost of tax breaks to companies to encourage investment came to over £34 billion, while maintaining the fuel duty freeze – for an 11th consecutive year – is costing about £4.5 billion in lost revenues. Overall, WWF found that measures in the 2021 budget that would increase emissions were worth about £40 billion. (The Guardian)


RSK Group signs for £1 billion sustainability-linked loan

The UK's largest provider of environmental, engineering and technical services, RSK Group, has signed for a £1 billion loan with interest rates tied to its progress against key sustainability targets. Under the terms of the loan, RSK will benefit from lower margins if it delivers its sustainability targets relating to carbon emissions, ethics, and health and safety. On emissions, the company pledged to set 1.5oC-aligned science-based climate targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) before March 2023. Targets relating to ethics and health and safety include implementing health and safety training for all staff, ensuring that all offices have a wellbeing champion, and training all team leaders on human rights by the end of 2021, as well as completing a full supply chain audit by the end of 2024. (Edie)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America