Top Stories

February 02, 2022


Fashion firms using 'zombie data' to mislead on sustainability claims

Financial think-tank Planet Tracker has published findings which reveal that the fashion industry has been relying on “zombie data” to promote products and services as sustainable. Zombie data refers to collected data that can be deemed false, unverifiable or lacking credibility. Planet Tracker says this type of data has become common amongst corporates in the fashion industry trying to demonstrate sustainability. Using cotton as a reference point, the think-tank notes that some data suggests cotton needs 2.4 litres of water per gram to create a shirt, but the amount could be closer to 20 litres per gram. Planet Tracker stresses that data ambiguity can lead to reputational damage for corporations, alongside exposure to regulatory scrutiny, while investors are vulnerable to “significant financial risk” because of the use of false data. (edie)


Give tax breaks to clean tech firms that make affordable products

Researchers from the University of Sussex have published a paper in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, which analyses the equitability of clean and low-carbon technology. The paper calls on governments to introduce tax breaks for manufacturers who produce affordable versions of clean technology, saying that tax incentives can enable governments to accelerate accessibility of low-carbon technologies. The research emphasises that electric vehicles and solar panels are mostly limited to richer households who can afford the upfront costs and have space for charging points, which leads to ringfencing of low-carbon technology. The paper recommends the wider use of citizen and climate assemblies that can engage a cross-section of society on the changes required to deliver a net-zero future, with a focus on reaching women, the elderly and racially marginalised groups. (Business Green)*


First net-zero guidance released for private equity portfolios

The world’s largest climate change investor body, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), has extended its ‘Net Zero Investment Framework’ (NZIF) with draft guidance for private equity firms. The guidance is the first of its kind in enabling private equity portfolios to develop net-zero emissions strategies. The NZIF will be relevant to both the general partners who run private equity firms and the limited partners who invest in them. The guidance sets out the scope of portfolio companies that should be covered by a private equity firm’s net-zero strategy, how to set targets and measure progress, and how to drive decarbonisation. The move comes as private equity firms face growing calls to emulate other parts of the investment community and establish clear net-zero targets and strategies. (Business Green)*


Brands missing out on £4.5bn due to lack of inclusive products

Highstreet brands could be missing out on £4.5 billion spent by multi-ethnic shoppers due to a lack of diverse product options according to research published in the Black Pound report by culture change agency Backlight. The report found that Black, Asian and multi-ethnic customers are often forced to spend their money in specialist shops due to a limited product range in the UK’s biggest chains. Researchers found that multi-ethnic customers spend £230 million per month on health and beauty, 25% more than any other customer, with 22% of this group buying from specialist shops. One in five multi-ethnic customers said they were not able to readily buy what they need in shops, with nearly 4 in 10 Black female respondents saying they found it difficult to find cosmetics and skincare. (The Independent)


Earth has 9,200 more tree species than previously thought

A study involving research compiled by 140 international researchers has revealed that there are 14% more tree species than previously thought. Of the 73,700 estimated tree species, researchers predict 9,200 are yet to be discovered. Diverse natural forests are the most healthy and productive, important to the global economy and to nature. However, researchers are concerned that 43% of all undiscovered species are in South America where there is deforestation driven by food production, climate change and fires. A lead researcher from the University of Minnesota said the findings showcase the vulnerability of global forest biodiversity. The research will be used to assess where biodiversity is most exposed in order to support in prioritising conservation efforts. (BBC News)

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B4SI Annual Review 2021