Top Stories

October 13, 2021


Asos offers staff flexible work and paid leave during menopause

Staff at online fashion store Asos will be allowed to work flexibly, as well as take time off at short notice, while going through the menopause. It is one of several new policies being introduced by the clothing retailer aimed at supporting its employees who are “going through health-related life events”. Other measures announced by Asos, which come into effect on Thursday, include 10 days paid leave for staff who have experienced a pregnancy loss, with the policy also applying to partners of those who were pregnant and for surrogate pregnancies. For those undergoing fertility treatment five days of paid leave will be provided per cycle to ensure appointments can be attended. The new policies are gender-neutral, with Asos’ chief executive adding that staff will be supported “personally and financially”. (The Guardian)


China launches biodiversity protection fund for developing countries

Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has announced the launch of a 1.5 billion yuan ($232.47 million) fund to support biodiversity protection in developing countries, as COP15 biodiversity summit talks continue on a new post-2020 global pact to tackle species loss. The President also announced a new national park scheme that would bring a land area of 230,000 km2 under stronger state protection to protect key terrestrial wildlife found in China, such as panda, tiger and leopard habitats.  Experts state that new sources of funding are only one part of the solution. They warn that whilst China is taking control of its domestic footprint, it must also take control of its footprint overseas, particularly its consumption of products like soy, which can contribute to biodiversity loss. (Reuters)


EU and NatWest allocate billions of pounds for sustainable finance

British lender NatWest plans to increase lending linked to sustainable and climate-related finance to £100 billion by 2025. The money will be used across its business and will include "green" mortgages with lower interest rates for customers buying homes with a better energy efficiency rating. Other uses may include lending to projects that benefit the environment, such as renewable energy or electric vehicles. In related news, the European Commission has launched the largest ever green bond in a €12 billion 15-year bond offering. The EU deal is the first green bond offering under its landmark €250 billion NextGenerationEU (NGEU) green bond programme. It is aimed at supporting the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis through investments geared towards making the EU greener, more digital and more resilient. (Reuters; ESG Today)


European firms and G20 policies still not on track for net zero

Whilst there is significant acceleration among European companies targeting net zero by 2050, the vast majority are not on track to meet this goal, according to research by professional services firm Accenture. Nearly a third of the more than 1,000 largest listed European companies have set targets to achieve net zero by 2050 or earlier. Yet, based on emissions reductions over the past 10 years, only 5% are on track to hit their net zero targets. In related news, a report published by the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero, an alliance of finance giants representing $90 trillion in assets, is urging G20 nations to end fossil fuel subsidies, bolster carbon pricing and introduce new climate mandates for businesses, to ensure long-term net zero pledges are credible. (ESG Today; Edie)


Global carbon capture and storage capacity grows rapidly in 2021

The pipeline of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects around the world has swelled as awareness and understanding of the need to mitigate carbon emissions has grown, data from the Global CCS Institute has revealed. The capacity of CCS projects planned around the world has grown by 48% over the last nine months, increasing from 73 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) in 2020 to 111 Mtpa in the first nine months of 2021 alone. There are now 27 operational carbon capture facilities around the world and a further 102 under development and 4 in the construction phase, with North America acting as the global front-runner in CCS deployment. Installed CCS capacity has also grown, increasing by 32% over the past nine months compared to the first nine months of 2020. (Business Green)



Would you love to work in sustainability, supporting big brands in their responsible business journeys? Click here to see info on our current openings. We can't wait to hear from you



17th, 24th and 25th of November, 2021

B4SI Annual Conference: Creating an environment for Social Impact

1st and 2nd December 2021

Post COP26: How to align your climate change strategy