Top Stories

October 19, 2021


Some large UK firms will have to disclose climate impact

New rules set to be brought in by the UK government will require UK businesses, investment products and pension schemes to start disclosing their environmental impact. The new sustainability disclosure requirements (SDR) will aim to consolidate and streamline existing climate reporting requirements and are intended to be more comprehensive than the TCFD framework. They will mean a company's sustainability claims will have to be justified "clearly", and their net zero transition plans properly set out. In addition, an investment product will now have to set out the environmental impact of the activities it finances. It is unclear when the rules will come in, or what will happen to firms that do not comply. Details of the specific reporting requirements will only be developed after a public consultation. (BBC News, Herbert Smith Freehills)


U.K. unveils £3.9 billion plan to drive down buildings emissions

The UK Government has unveiled the Heat and Buildings Strategy, a £3.9 billion plan to drive down carbon emissions from the U.K.’s homes and offices and to position the country as a leader in the fight against climate change. Measures include £5,000 grants for homeowners in England and Wales from next April to help them to replace old gas boilers with low carbon heat pumps. It is hoped no new gas boilers will be sold after 2035. The funding also includes £1.4 billion to help public sector bodies reduce emissions from heating their buildings and install energy efficiency measures, £950 million to help insulate low-income households, £800 million to decarbonize social housing and £338 million for district heating programs. However, experts claim the budget and strategy are not ambitious enough. (Bloomberg, BBC News)


Fashion and textile achieve carbon and water goals, fail on waste

Back in 2012, businesses responsible for 60% of clothing sales in the UK signed onto shared goals overseen by charity WRAP to reduce emissions, water and waste by 2020. While the carbon and water targets have been exceeded, the businesses collectively failed to deliver on waste reduction. Signatories have reduced their collective absolute carbon emissions by 21.6% since 2020, exceeding a commitment to a 15% reduction, and their water footprint by 18.2% within the same timeframe, exceeding a 15% target. Nonetheless, both of their targets on waste were not met. The initiative was hoping for a 15% reduction in clothing waste from households but had delivered just a 4% reduction by 2017 –the last year for which WRAP has data–, with progress likely plateauing through to the end of 2020. (Edie)


Biden releases government strategy to address climate risks

The Biden administration announced the publication of its comprehensive government-wide strategy to address and mitigate the financial and economic risks of climate change, highlighting actions being taken by federal government agencies and regulators under the direction of the administration. The strategy focuses heavily on improving ways to measure, analyse and disclose on the financial and economic impact of climate risks, highlighting the Securities Exchange Commissions’ ongoing development of a recommendation for mandatory disclosure of climate risks by public companies. The administration’s report also pointed to actions it is taking to protect personal savings and investments from climate risk, and the need to address climate risks in the insurance sector, including assessing the availability and affordability of coverage in high-risk areas for underserved communities. (ESG Today)


BHP's London investors endorse climate change plan

BHP Group investors endorsed the miner's climate change roadmap, despite concerns that its long-term plans to tackle customers' greenhouse gas emissions do not go far enough. Some 83% of BHP Plc's investors voted in favour of the resolution at the company's general annual meeting (AGM) in London. Proxy advisers Glass Lewis and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum had recommended that investors vote against the plan, with the first saying that the company was not specific enough about disclosures of customer emissions. BHP has said it is pursuing the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 for its customers, including the heavily polluting steel industry. But it has stopped short of setting a target largely due to uncertainties over how technology will develop. (Reuters)



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