Top Stories

August 17, 2021


Mining giant BHP quits oil, and piles into potash in sweeping overhaul

The world’s biggest miner BHP Group plans to drop fossil fuels to shift toward what it calls “future facing” commodities and clear up some longstanding questions facing investors. BHP will sell its oil and gas operations to Woodside Petroleum, as the company has been recently seeking to focus toward metals and minerals that will benefit from global efforts to reduce emissions, electrify cities and feed a growing global population. BHP has also approved the first stage of construction of the Jansen potash mine in Saskatchewan, expected to start production in 2027, which be one of the world’s top producers of the crop nutrient. According to the company, potash will provide BHP with increased leverage to key global mega-trends, including rising population, changing diets, decarbonisation and improving environmental stewardship. (Bloomberg)


US SEC prepares workforce disclosures for corporate America

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulator is working on a rule that will require public companies to disclose more information on their workforces, such as data on diversity, staff compensation and employee turnover. The regulator has been urged on by progressive Democrats, unions and investors, as the issue has become more urgent as the pandemic and social justice movements force companies to review working conditions, pay equity, hiring and retention policies. Companies were required to disclose only staff headcount until the SEC, under former President Donald Trump's administration, last year introduced a rule requiring them to disclose workforce information that they deem material. The demographics metrics are likely to include race, gender, sexuality, age and physical ability, according to groups pushing for the changes. (Reuters)


MUFG to measure and disclose climate impact of finance

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), committing to measuring and disclosing the climate impact of its loans and investments. The PCAF is a global partnership of over 135 financial institutions, representing $43 trillion in assets, with a mission to develop and implement a harmonized approach to assess and disclose the greenhouse gas emissions associated with loans and investments. In November 2020, the PCAF launched the Global GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard for the Financial Industry, designed to provide a standardized, robust and clear way for banks, asset managers and asset owners to measure and report the GHG emissions impact of their loans and investment portfolios. The company’s participation in PCAF aims to supports its commitments to align with the Paris Agreement goals. (ESG Today)


US Treasury to oppose development bank financing for fossil fuels

The US Treasury Department issued new energy financing guidance to multilateral development banks, claiming the United States would oppose their involvement in fossil fuel projects except for some downstream natural gas facilities in developing countries. The new guidance from the Treasury, the largest shareholder in major development banks including the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank, prioritises financing for renewable energy options and to only consider fossil fuels if less carbon-intensive options are unfeasible. The guidance would "strongly oppose" coal energy projects across the entire coal value chain from mining, transport to power generation, yet offered an endorsement of the Asian Development Bank's work to develop a plan to acquire coal-fired power plants and shut them down early, and offered multilateral development bank support for coal decommissioning projects. (Reuters)


UK Government unveils £4bn investment in delayed Hydrogen Strategy

The UK Government has published its delayed Hydrogen Strategy, outlining plans to unlock £4 billion of investment in blue and green generation, storage and usage this decade. The Strategy details plans for scaling up hydrogen production and consumption domestically and is based on a forecast that some 20-35% of the nation’s energy consumption could be met with hydrogen by 2050. Detailed in the Strategy is the launch of a £240 million ‘Net-Zero Hydrogen Fund’, which will go entirely towards new production plants. The Government plans to support both green hydrogen – produced by splitting water using electrolysers powered with renewable energy – and blue hydrogen, produced by splitting natural gas and capturing most process emissions with man-made technologies, an approach that has proven controversial among green groups. (Edie)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America