Top Stories

September 06, 2021


Europe's biggest banks fail to end coal financing despite net-zero pledges

Fewer than half of 25 of Europe’s largest banks have committed to ending financing for coal activities, according to a report by non-profit ShareAction. The report assessed the banks on overarching net-zero targets, sector-specific decarbonisation policies and emissions disclosures,  biodiversity targets, and how executive remuneration is linked to sustainability. Only three of the banks with net-zero targets – Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group and Nordea – have committed to halving financed emissions by 2030. Moreover, just 12 of the banks have formally committed to end financing for activities relating to the thermal coal sector by the recommended deadlines of 2030 for OECD nations and 2040 for other nations at the latest. Furthermore, only seven of the banks restrict corporate financing for companies planning to expand their coal mining portfolios in the future. (edie)



Indigenous leaders push declaration to protect Amazon from deforestation

Indigenous groups have urged world leaders to back a new target to protect 80% of the Amazon basin by 2025, saying bold action is needed to stop deforestation pushing the Earth's largest rainforest beyond a point of no return. Amazonian delegates from the COICA alliance have launched their ‘Amazonia80x2025’ campaign at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, hoping for the congress to endorse its declaration as scientists and leaders lay the groundwork for UN talks on biodiversity in the Chinese city of Kunming next year. Under 50% of the Amazon basin is currently under some form of official protection or indigenous stewardship. If deforestation reaches 20%-25%, it could tip the Amazon into a death spiral in which it dries out and becomes savanna, according to Brazilian earth system scientist Carlos Nobre. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)



Investors call for global sustainability disclosures body to be London-based

Bodies representing swathes of the UK's financial sector have called for a planned new global body overseeing sustainability-related disclosures from businesses to be based in London, following bids from Canada and Switzerland. The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) was first proposed by the not-for-profit the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) earlier this year. The new Board will aim to unify disclosures from corporates, helping investors and other stakeholders to properly meaningfully compare their sustainability performance and related risks. Several of the biggest industry associations in Britain’s finance space have urged the Foundation to select London, including the ICEAW, and the City of London Corporation which manages the Square Mile district, TheCityUK, Investment Association and The 100 Group. (edie; ESG Today)



Global South climate activists doubt COP26 participation over vaccine delay

Activists have raised concerns that Britain is moving too slowly to vaccinate developing-country delegates hoping to travel to November’s key UN COP26 climate talks, warning they will not be able to afford quarantine, putting their participation at risk. The British government, which is hosting the event, has offered to vaccinate attendees who cannot otherwise get inoculated against Covid-19 ahead of the climate conference. However, with two months to go before COP26, vaccines are yet to be administered according to climate campaign groups including the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development. While vaccination is not mandatory for COP26 delegates, it remains unclear how the UK government plans to ensure the health and safety of delegates. The UK government has stated that first doses of vaccines will be administered by mid-September. (Eco-Business)



UK urged to back development & sale of artificial meat to tackle climate crisis

The UK should back the development and sale of artificial meat to tackle the climate crisis, according to the thinktank Social Market Foundation (SMF). The paper points to the benefits of supporting alternative proteins, including opening up a green export opportunity for British businesses, reducing the risk of zoonotic diseases and improving animal welfare. Raising cows, sheep and chickens contributes significantly to carbon emissions, with animal agriculture accounting for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The UK’s Climate Change Committee has said the amount of meat people eat in the UK needs to be cut by more than a third by 2050. The SMF warned that the UK should increase its commitment to support new alternative protein research, or risk being left behind a global race to develop meat-alternatives. (The Guardian)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America