Top Stories

October 18, 2021


Boards link ESG to strategy, but don’t fully grasp risks -survey

ESG issues are becoming top of mind for corporate boards, yet a lack of understanding of these factors may be a barrier to implementing effective ESG strategies, an annual survey by professional services firm PwC found. Boards are increasingly cognizant of ESG issues, with 52% of respondents reporting that ESG is regularly on their boards’ agenda, up from 45% last year, and only 34% in 2019. Almost two thirds of directors say that strategy is now tied to ESG issues, up from 49% last year. However, many directors do not believe they have a strong grasp of ESG risk, with only 25% responding that their boards “very much” understand material ESG risks. Similarly, only 28% reported that their board has a strong understanding of the company’s ESG/sustainability messaging. (ESGToday)


UN's biodiversity summit progresses towards treaty adoption

The first half of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity has come to a close in Kunming, with China and the EU scaling up commitments to funding for nature conservation and restoration. The EU committed to double overseas funding for biodiversity-related initiatives by 2030. China pledged $230 billion to create a ‘Kunming Fund’ to support projects overseas in developing nations and domestic initiatives, whereas the Japanese Government, committed a further $17 billion to its domestic biodiversity fund. The round of talks helped to set the stage for the adoption of the UN’s post-2020 biodiversity targets internationally. In its current form, the draft plan outlines pledges to halt nature loss by 2030 and deliver a net-positive impact thereafter, that humanity may “live in harmony with nature” in all geographies by 2050. (Edie)


AXA unveils €1.5bn biodiversity and deforestation commitment

Insurance company AXA has unveiled a new €1.5 billion commitment to improve biodiversity and combat deforestation across key global hotspots. This includes €500 million in reforestation projects in emerging countries, in a move that will help capture 25 megatonnes of CO2 emissions annually. The company will also add extra scrutiny to investment and insurance across key markets that are drivers of deforestation, including soy, palm oil, timber, and cattle production. AXA is also joining the World Heritage Sites initiative, overseen by the United Nations Principles for Sustainable Insurance and WWF, to implement specific exclusions on its insurance activities to protect the main biodiversity reserves identified by UNESCO. Currently, AXA has covered more than 60,000 hectares of forests through certification schemes such as the Forest Stewardship Council. (Edie)


RES, Octopus and Ineos pledge billions to green hydrogen

Chemicals giant Ineos has announced that it will invest €2 billion in green hydrogen production in Europe this decade, while Octopus has partnered with renewable energy developer RES to funnel £3 billion into production within the same timeframe. Ineos touted the package as the largest ever single investment commitment in green hydrogen from Europe’s private sector. The first electrolysis unit will be a 20MW facility in Rafnes, Norway, where hydrogen will power production operations and will also be provided to external transport firms. Also confirmed is a 100MW electrolyser in Koln, Germany, co-located with Ineos’s ammonia and plastics production facilities. Octopus and RES have not yet confirmed the number or capacity of planned projects, with both firms stating that they wish to partner with large industrial businesses to deliver projects. (Edie)


British American Tobacco unveils new 2050 net zero goal

British American Tobacco (BAT) has committed to delivering net zero emissions by 2050 across its value chain and will bring its existing sustainability targets in line with limiting global warming to 1.5C after signing up to the UN's Race to Zero. The UN backed Race to Zero campaign works with the Science Based Targets initiative's Business Ambition for 1.5C coalition to rally businesses, regions, and institutions around the world to commit to halving global emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050 ahead of next month's COP26 Climate Summit. In related news, the John Lewis Partnership also joined the Race to Zero last week and committed to reducing its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5C. (Business Green)



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