Top Stories

January 05, 2022


Veganuary sees both corporate and policy support in the EU & UK

The EU's 2022 promotional policy looks to encourage a shift to more plant-based diets after branding red and processed meat a “cancer risk”. While it has been lambasted by the livestock farming sector, the policy’s €185.9 million funding allocated to promoting EU agri-food products in and outside the EU in 2022 has been welcomed by civil society who stressed the need for more innovation in the plant-based sector. At the same time, over 75 UK companies have signalled their backing for Veganuary this year. Major companies including Harrods, Volkswagen, Sky, Superdrug, and M&S are among those to sign-up to the Veganuary campaign’s ‘workplace challenge', which commits employers to providing a wider range of plant-based food for their staff, as well as running events and educational initiatives that promote vegan diets. (Business Green; edie)



Decline in deforestation in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

Deforestation in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, home to some of the rarest species on Earth, declined in 2021 to its lowest level in seven years, following a surge in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Leuser is known for being the last place on Earth where critically endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers, elephants and orangutans coexist. Conservationists attribute the improvement of the situation to an increase in monitoring efforts, as well as greater scrutiny of palm oil producers operating in the landscape by brands and buyers with zero-deforestation commitments. The United States-based Rainforest Action Network (RAN), in its year-end review on Leuser, found that more palm oil producers previously implicated in forest destruction have stopped land clearing and issued new commitments to comply with the no-deforestation policies of major brands and traders. (Eco-Business)



Mercedes electric car breaks 1000km charge barrier & Ford doubles production

German automotive giant Mercedes has unveiled an electric car that it claims can travel more than 1,000km on a single charge, in an attempt to convince customers that a lack of charging infrastructure need not be a barrier to buying a battery-powered vehicle. The range, which far exceeded the industry average of about 300km, was calculated using internal digital simulations of real-life traffic conditions. Meanwhile, American automobile major Ford has announced plans to nearly double the production capacity of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles annually after receiving nearly 200,000 reservations for the new vehicle. The announcement follows a significant increase in Ford’s vehicle electrification plans over recent months, having  committed to invest over $30 billion in EVs through 2025.(Financial Times*; ESGToday)



Denmark aims for ‘completely green’ domestic flights by 2030

Denmark's Prime Minister has pledged to make all internal flights "completely green" by 2030, arguing the Scandinavian country could play a pioneering role in the shift towards zero-emission air travel. The new pledge puts Denmark among a small pool of countries that have set explicit goals for reducing fossil fuelled aviation. Sweden has similarly pledged to make its domestic flights fossil fuel free by the end of the decade, and international flights ‘green' by 2045, while France has pledged to ban domestic flights in cases where the same journey can be made by train in less than two and a half hours. It remains to be seen whether such an ambitious deadline can be met, with many of the technologies required to decarbonise aviation yet to be commercialised. (Business Green)



Record number of US employees leave jobs in the ‘Great Resignation’

A record-high 4.5 million American workers, quit their job in November 2021 according to recently released data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate among those who voluntarily quit was about 3% of workers in November, a high last seen in September 2021, which was itself a new record. The latest numbers reveal that the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ shows no signs of slowing down, although it isn’t affecting all job sectors equally. About 6.9% of those working in the accommodation and food services sectors quit in November, while only 1.7% of those working in finance left their jobs, reflecting those most impacted working in-person during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, economists point out that hiring figures remain higher than resignation numbers, which could signal “healthy dynamism” in the economy. (Fortune)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021