Top Stories

January 06, 2022


Fossil fuels among big spenders on Google ads that look like search results

Fossil fuel companies and firms that work closely with them are among the biggest spenders on adverts designed to look like Google search results, in what campaigners call an example of “endemic greenwashing”. ExxonMobil, Shell, Aramco, McKinsey, and Goldman Sachs were among the top-20 advertisers on the search terms. The Guardian analysed adverts served on Google search results for 78 climate-related terms, in collaboration with thinktank InfluenceMap. Over 20% of the studied adverts – more than 1,600 in total – were placed by companies with significant interests in fossil fuels. The adverts appeal to the businesses because they are very similar in appearance to search results: more than half of users in a 2020 survey reported they could not tell the difference between a paid-for listing and a normal Google search result. (The Guardian)


England’s farmers to be paid for land rewilding and species recovery

Farmers in England will be given funding to rewild their land, under plans for large-scale nature recovery projects announced by the UK government. The move hopes to lead to vast tracts of land being newly managed to conserve species, provide habitats for wildlife and restore health to rivers and streams. Bids are being invited for 10-15 pilot projects, each covering at least 500 hectares and up to 5,000 hectares, to a total of approximately 10,000 hectares in the first two-year phase. These pilots could involve full rewilding or other forms of management that focus on species recovery and wildlife habitats. Rare fauna such as sand lizards, water voles and curlews will be targeted, with the aim of improving the status of about half of the most threatened species in England. (The Guardian)


UK government funds low-carbon heat network projects in England

Over £19 million of UK government funding has been unlocked to support the development of low carbon heat networks in Bristol, Liverpool, London, and Worthing. The funds, drawn from the government’s £320 million Heat Networks Investment Project capital investment programme, aim to help decarbonise heat supplies for thousands of homes, university residences, and public buildings across the country. Suggested technology includes deploying underground pipes to carry heated water from a central site to a a cluster of buildings. Underground pipes represent a low-cost decarbonisation solution for buildings in close proximity to sources of waste heat, such as industrial or power plants. The government hopes accelerating the roll-out of low-carbon heating systems across the UK will help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and drive down energy costs. (Business Green)


Lenovo to offset lifecycle carbon emissions of consumer PCs

Computer manufacturer Lenovo has announced an expansion of its CO2 Offset Service, rolling out the carbon emissions compensation programme to its consumer PC models Yoga and Legion. Initially introduced last year for its Think commercial PC brand, the CO2 Offset Service enables customers to add offset to their device purchase, supporting one of several United Nations Climate Action projects. The initiative considers the lifecycle emissions of PCs, factoring in emissions produced from the manufacturing and shipping of each individual product, as well as those estimated from five years of product usage. According to Lenovo, since the programme’s launch, the CO2 Offset Service has allowed business customers to offset more than 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to annual emissions from more than 100,000 passenger vehicles. (ESGToday)


Aramark introduces climate-friendly food choices at US universities

Food services company Aramark will roll out ‘Cool Food Meals’ for ten US-based universities in the Spring 2022 semester, enabling students to make climate-friendly food choices. In 2020, the World Resources Institute (WRI) launched the Cool Food programme label meals to communicate to consumers which menu options have a low carbon footprint, in line with its 2030 climate goals.  The WRI has estimated that in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, the carbon footprint of the food we consume daily will have to decline by 38% by 2030.  WRI measured the carbon footprint of Aramark’s recipes to find items that meet the criteria of Cool Food Meals, based on the ingredients, and the land used to produce the meal, certifying the meals that meet the criteria. (ESGToday)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021