Top Stories

August 26, 2021


Southwest & American airlines set up evacuation flights for Afghan refugees

Major air carriers American Airlines (AA) and Southwest Airlines (SA) on Monday joined the Afghan evacuation effort, freeing up parts of their fleets to aid in the US withdrawal from Kabul. AA is deploying three wide-body planes to US military bases and other third-country sites to transport Afghan refugees who were flown out of Kabul airport by military aircraft, whilst SA announced it will dispatch four flights on Monday. The commercial airplanes are part of a Civil Reserve Air Fleet announced by President Biden, expected to eventually consist of 18 airplanes from various other airlines, including Atlas Air, Delta Airlines, Moni Air, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines. The flights are intended to ease the pressure on US military forces as they evacuate Americans and Afghans after the country’s Taliban takeover. (New York Post)


Swiss Re and Climeworks sign “world’s first” 10-year direct air CO2 capture deal

Insurance and risk knowledge giant Swiss Re has signed the world's "first and largest" ten-year agreement with carbon capture tech firm Climeworks, in a $10 million investment under which it is purchasing carbon removals from direct air capture (DAC) facilities and associated carbon storage. The company committed in 2019 to achieving net-zero operational emissions by 2030, and removing residual emissions was part of its plans for “netting” operational emissions. The partnership with Climeworks will see Swiss Re directly buying tonnage removal of carbon through DAC technologies, from either new or existing facilities. Climeworks currently operates 14 DAC facilities, one of which is commercial scale. The tech firm claims the carbon associated with developing and operating the DAC facilities is typically equivalent to 10% of the carbon that will be captured. (Edie)


UK's anti-deforestation laws leave millions of rainforest hectares at risk

The UK Government is being urged to strengthen its plans for eliminating deforestation in international supply chains, with wilderness preservation NGO WWF’s new report warning current proposals could leave 2.1 million hectares of Brazilian rainforest at risk to the soy sector alone. Legislation proposed by the UK’s Defra is designed to eliminate all illegal deforestation from the international supply chains of commodities with a high forest risk – including soy, palm oil, cocoa, beef, rubber, leather wood and paper – by subjecting UK corporations procuring such materials to a “comply or explain” requirement to prove their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation. WWF warns key supplier nations for these materials do not have a broad scope for criminalising deforestation, calling on Defra to strengthen the proposed laws. (Edie)


US authorities probe Deutsche Bank’s DWS over ESG investing claims

US authorities are investigating Deutsche Bank’s asset-management arm, DWS Group, after the firm’s former head of sustainability said it overstated how much it used sustainable investing criteria to manage its assets. The accusations, citing documents and the firm’s former sustainability chief, claimed the firm was struggling with its strategy on environmental, social and governance investing, and at times painted a “rosier-than-reality” picture to investors. The probes indicate regulators’ interest in money managers’ efforts to offer products related to climate change, social issues and corporate governance risks. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this year established an enforcement taskforce to look for misleading ESG claims by investment advisers and public companies. (Wall Street Journal*)


Delta Air Lines sets $200 insurance hike for unvaccinated employees

Delta Air Lines has announced that its employees will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums starting November 2021 if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19, citing steep costs to cover employees who are hospitalized with the virus. Unvaccinated employees will face other restrictions, including indoor masking and weekly Covid-19 tests, under the airline’s new Covid-19 policies for employees. The measures are the latest attempt by a US corporation to drive up Covid vaccination rates, with rival United Airlines establishing a vaccine mandate. Delta also said starting September 30, in compliance with state and local laws, Covid-19 pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection. Unvaccinated employees who contract Covid-19, without exemptions, will have to use sick days. (CNBC)

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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