Top Stories

September 10, 2021


KPMG's UK arm among first to set targets for working class staff

KPMG has said it had become one of Britain's first companies to set a target for staff from working class backgrounds to help close a pay gap and diversify its workforce. While companies are already taking steps to diversify by increasing the number of women and ethnic minority employees, targets for socio-economic background have featured less in corporate diversity efforts. KPMG are aiming for 29% of partners and directors to be from a working-class background by 2030. KPMG has defined working class as having parents with "routine and manual" jobs, such as drivers, cleaners and farm workers. Currently 23% of KPMG's partners and 20% of its directors are from a working-class background, with working class representation across KPMG’s board at 22%, dropping to 14% in its executive committee. (Reuters)



World’s biggest ‘direct air capture’ plant starts pulling in CO2
As Zurich-based Climeworks opened its Orca “direct air capture” project in Iceland, co-chief executive Jan Wurzbacher told the Financial Times it had started design work on a facility 10 times larger that would be completed in the next few years. Orca will collect about 4,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and store it underground — a tiny fraction of the 33bn tonnes of the gas forecast by the IEA to be emitted worldwide this year, but a demonstration of the technology’s viability. Despite being the most expensive carbon offsets in the world at €1,000 a tonne of CO2 removed, Wurzbacher said commercial demand had been so high that the plant was nearly sold out of credits for its entire 12-year lifespan, prompting the accelerated development of the much larger plant using the same technology. (Financial Times*)



$1.6trn investor coalition pushes chemicals sector on net-zero

It is technically feasible to fully decarbonise the production of chemicals by 2050 and it is becoming increasingly economically viable to do so, according to responsible investment group ShareAction.  Despite its contribution to climate change, the chemicals sector has been largely untouched by shareholder engagement, the group said. One reason for this lack of attention is that the sector has typically been seen as hard-to-abate, with investors focusing their attention on lower hanging fruit in the energy and transport sectors. However, the report stated that as renewables and green hydrogen come to undercut the cost of their fossil counterparts by 2030, the transition to an emissions-free chemical sector is becoming increasingly economically viable. (edie)



Google to replenish 20% more water than it uses by 2030

Google aims to replenish 20% more water than its offices and data centres use by 2030, the company said, addressing concerns about water-guzzling tech facilities amid record droughts. According to Google, the company’s main water uses include cooling its data centres, in its offices and campuses around the world, and in its value-chain including the manufacturing of its hardware products and data centre equipment. Google plans to reach its new target by using less water at its buildings and then helping with conservation in surrounding communities, starting with those where water is especially scarce.  This follows announcements from Microsoft a year ago, and Facebook last month, of goals to be water positive by 2030 without specifying a replenishment target. (ESG Today)



Just Eat to trial reusable packaging service

Just Eat has announced it is to trial reusable packaging across six of its takeaway providers in London over a three-month period, as the leading food delivery app looks to ramp up its waste reduction efforts. The company has partnered with green packaging specialist CLUBZERO to test how reusable food boxes can work in the delivery sector, raising the possibility of the service being rolled out more widely across the Just Eat network of restaurants. Customers ordering from Just Eat will have the option to choose reusable packaging when ordering from any of the six participating restaurants during the trial and will then be asked to return the packaging to CLUBZERO. (Business Green)

*Subscription required


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America