Top Stories

December 16, 2021


AstraZeneca to support biomethane and CCS project to decarbonise heat

AstraZeneca has forged a partnership with energy firm Future Biogas, to support the development of a 125GWh biomethane production plant fitted with carbon capture technology, so it can source low-carbon heat locally. The pharmaceuticals major will support Future Biogas to develop the new facility in East Anglia. In return, it will also become a priority buyer for the low-carbon energy generated at the facility. Energy produced at the plant will be used to power four of AstraZeneca’s six UK locations as the firm works to reach net-zero operational emissions by the end of 2025. The methane can be used by businesses as a drop-in replacement for natural gas, while the carbon will be captured using onsite man-made technologies. (edie)



EU unveils of low-carbon legislation for gas, buildings and transport

The European Commission has unveiled a package of legislation to align its gas, buildings and transport sectors with the EU's 2050 net-zero target. One of the key measures is a revision of EU gas market rules to prioritise renewable and low-carbon gases and ensure these have access to the EU energy market. For this, the Commission proposed increased support for hydrogen, including an obligation for EU countries to accept cross-border transit of natural gas which has been blended up to 5% with hydrogen. The Commission is looking at increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. With its revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, it wants countries to renovate their worst-performing buildings by 2033 at the latest. The Commission has also unveiled four initiatives on transport, including a green mobility package. (edie)



European supermarkets drop beef products over deforestation links

Sainsbury's, Carrefour, Lidl, Albert Heijn and Delhaize are among the group of top European supermarkets to announce boycott of Brazilian beef after investigation links products from meatpacking giant JBS to deforestation in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Pantanal. An investigation published earlier this month by environmental campaign group Mighty Earth and Repórter Brasil documented how European retailers were selling a range of Brazilian beef products linked to JBS sourced from farms thought to contribute to tropical deforestation. In response, Sainsbury's has pulled all Brazilian corned beef from its shelves, Albert Heijn in the Netherlands has committed to stop sourcing beef from Brazil across all its stores; and Carrefour and Delhaize in Belgium and Lidl in the Netherlands have all announced they will withdraw Jack Links beef jerky from their shelves. (Business Green)



Europe's banks lagging on sustainability, according to BlackRock study

Europe's banks are proving slow to act on sustainability and have only a limited grasp of their exposure to ESG risks, a report for the European Commission by asset manager BlackRock showed. The report said banks did not have a common definition of ESG risks, and that the integration of ESG risk into risk models and stress testing, as well as reporting, is at an early stage. The report suggests banks and supervisors work together to develop a granular definition of the ESG risks, and calls for the creation of an ambitious strategy with measurable objectives and timelines. The Commission plans to discuss the report together, with members of the European Parliament and other stakeholders, to help formulate future policy proposals. (Reuters)



£3.8 trillion investor coalition urges Government to act on National Food Strategy

A coalition of 18 institutional investors representing more than £3.8 trillion in assets under management, is calling on the UK Government to urgently introduce new regulations and incentive schemes for farmers, to help reduce the sector's environmental impact. The coalition is orchestrated by charity Food Foundation and spearheaded by Rathbone Greenbank Investments. The National Food Strategy sets out recommendations for systematic change in the food sector, to tackle pressing challenges such as emissions, nature degradation, waste, food poverty and poor diets. Recommendations on environmental sustainability include the creation of a land-use map by Defra to inform the creation of nature and carbon sequestration plans, core minimum standards for future post-Brexit trade deals, and ambition in implementing the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme detailed in the Agriculture Bill. (edie)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021