Top Stories

January 25, 2022


Large EU banks to publish 'pioneering' climate ESG data by 2024

Large banks in the EU will have to show how they help or hinder the bloc from meeting climate goals by publishing “pioneering” indicators from 2024. The European Banking Authority (EBA) has set ESG templates for the top 150 banks, including Deutsche Bank, SocGen and UniCredit, to complete annually. This will enable investors to compare each bank’s exposure to polluting companies and monitor how fast lenders shift to sustainable business models. From 2023, banks will have to disclose their exposure to carbon intensive activities and assets that may experience climate-related risks. From 2024, banks will also need to publish a green asset ratio to show “green” assets as a proportion of total assets, and a banking book taxonomy alignment ratio measuring how a bank’s activities contribute to EU climate goals. (Reuters)


Lufthansa, Air France lobby against EU's climate plans for aviation

An alliance of airlines and airports, including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, has called for changes to the EU’s planned climate change legislation, arguing it will make them less competitive with non-European rivals. Aviation, which is responsible for 3% of global emissions, has been targeted by new EU legislation on CO2 emissions. The EU has also released new guidance on the use of synthetic fuel blends and implemented a kerosene tax. The alliance argues that long-haul flights via non-European hubs would not be subjected to the same associated costs, leading to a competition shift. The alliance rejects a kerosene tax outright and proposes that the environmental protection surcharge be placed on the entire flight route, not just feeder flights bringing passengers from the EU to international hubs. (Reuters)


Plastic Bank coalition prevents two billion bottles from entering oceans

A coalition of more than 200 businesses and communities under the Plastic Bank initiative has collectively stopped more than two billion plastic bottles from entering the world’s oceans. Businesses engaged in the initiative include consumer goods giants Coca-Cola, P&G, L’Oréal, alongside HelloFresh, CooperVision, Lombard Odier, and SC Johnson. The Plastic Bank works with businesses and communities in developing countries, providing them with the necessary training and infrastructure to grow recycling systems in a way that improves economic and social conditions. Collectors can exchange plastic waste for bonuses such as increased incomes, access to groceries, school tuition, health insurance and digital connectivity. The initiative collected over 1 billion plastic bottles for recycling in the last eight months alone, across the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt. (edie)


Biden revives 'clean energy' programme with $1b loan guarantee

The US Energy Department has announced it will guarantee up to $1 billion in loans to help Nebraska-based manufacturer Monolith scale up production of “clean” hydrogen to convert natural gas into commercial products used in manufacturing and agriculture. The revived loan programme is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to halve GHG emissions by 2030. Substance manufacturer, Monolith, is the programme’s first non-nuclear loan guarantee since 2016. The company produces a substance that enhances tires and other rubber products, and hydrogen used in ammonia-based fertilizer. Monolith says it can create both products while vastly shrinking their GHG emissions and expects to use the loan to expand its existing plants. Under President Obama, the programme supported Tesla in commercialising its electric vehicle production. (The Independent)


Pandemic sees rise in global corruption and human rights abuses

A report published by Berlin-based NGO Transparency International, has found that human rights and democracy globally “are under assault”, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has been used as an excuse by some countries to curtail basic freedoms. The annual Corruption Perceptions Index draws together insights from business leaders and experts to assign scores to 180 countries on their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The report found that two-thirds of countries scored below 50%. The report stresses that COVID-19 has exacerbated corruption and human rights abuses with countries using the pandemic as an opportunity to remove democratic freedoms and transfer state money offshore into illicit shell corporations. Transparency International urges increased pressure on governments to improve financial transparency and accountability to prove how and where public money is being spent. (Al Jazeera)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021