Top Stories

January 20, 2022


State Street to require firms to align reporting with TCFD

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), one of the world’s largest investment managers, has announced the focus areas for its asset stewardship programme for 2022, with climate change and diversity issues at the top of its priority list. In an open letter to portfolio company CEOs, SSGA President and CEO, Cyrus Taraporevala, outlines the investment manager’s expectations for board members, along with the firm’s expected engagement approach. One of the key expectations is a requirement for disclosure from companies aligned with the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, including reporting on board oversight on climate-related risks and opportunities, Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, and targets for emissions reduction. SSGA states that it will take voting action against companies that do not meet these disclosure expectations. (ESG Today)


First NI environment strategy 'should be more ambitious'

The Royal Society of for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a UK charitable organisation, has organised an open letter to Northern Ireland’s ministers criticising the jurisdiction’s first-ever environment strategy as “unambitious”. The open letter states the strategy consultation failed to “adequately address” the climate emergency, and points to targets falling short of legal requirements with the majority of the strategy commitments “not time-bound or binding”. The letter includes signatories from over 30 organisations and individuals including Friends of the Earth NI, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Action Renewables and Ulster Wildlife. The strategy currently includes proposals to increase woodland cover in the region to 8.8% by 2030, but officials state this figure will be made more ambitious in the final version of the document. (BBC News)


Global material resource use hit record high levels in 2021

Circle Economy, an NGO promoting scalable implementation of the circular economy, has published findings in its latest report revealing that 101.4 billion tonnes of virgin materials were used in 2021, up from 100 billion in 2019. Despite this increase in consumption, there has been no improvement in the rate of reuse and recycling, which has stagnated at around 8.6%. According to Circle Economy, the world needs to cap virgin raw material use to stop it spiralling to the current trajectory of 170-184 billion tonnes per year by 2050, which is incompatible with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Circle Economy urges resources to be used less, for longer, and recycled more by nations and corporates. This comes as global consumer goods companies call for a global pact to combat plastic pollution. (edie)


EU beats 2020 renewable energy goal, France lags behind

The European Union used renewables for 22% of its energy consumption in 2020, beating its 20% target, according to latest EU statistics. The bloc is increasingly turning to wind, solar and other renewable sources to meet the EU-wide ambition of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Sweden led the pack with 60% of energy consumption derived from renewable sources, surpassing Finland at 44% and Latvia at 42%. Statistics showed that Malta, Luxembourg and Belgium had the lowest proportions of renewable energy consumption, between 11% and 13%. France was the only country that fell short of its national goal for renewables of 23%, missing it by 3.9%. The state was ordered by a French court last year to prevent an additional rise of carbon emissions by December 2022. (Reuters)


Global warming 'could reach 4°C by end of this century'

Joint research from the University of Exeter and the Met Office, analysing worldwide policies, has found that limiting warming to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement is slipping out of reach. Researchers state that while COP26 agreements have reduced the likelihood of warming reaching 4°C, it remains possible. The report, which informed the government’s Third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, shows projections of worldwide warming of between approximately 2°C and 5°C by the end of the century depending on the rate of GHG emissions and the response of “the climate system to these emissions”. The report calls for the UK to take more action to prepare for a change in weather patterns and rising sea levels which are expected to emerge even in a 1.5°C warming scenario. (Sky News)



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