Top Stories

February 21, 2022


Credit Suisse data leak unmasks criminal bank accounts

A major data leak linked to investment banking company Credit Suisse has uncovered 30,000 global client accounts totalling £80 billion, some of which were involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes. The company is accused of widespread due diligence failures, despite its pledges to remove illicit financial flows and dubious clients. Through an anonymous leak to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Credit Suisse has been accused of exploiting strict banking secrecy laws to conceal the illicit financial apparatus of human traffickers, bribery, state corruption and murderers. The company has rejected the allegations, saying the accusations are based on “selective information taken out of context” and noting that the allegations are largely historical, dating back to times when “laws, practices and expectations of financial institutions were very different”. (The Guardian)


Oil and gas firms have unlisted links to Westminster MPs

The Guardian has revealed lobbyists representing fossil fuel giants are helping run parliamentary groups on energy and climate policy without the need to formally declare their involvement due to not meeting a £1,500 in-kind benefits threshold. The trade associations, which are funded by oil and gas producers such as Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, provide administrative and public relations support to groups of MPs. The UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) plays an involved role in the running of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on downstream energy and fuels. Another body, Oil & Gas UK coordinates meetings, distributes invites and prepares minutes for the APPG. While there is no suggestion of impropriety, the findings have raised concerns about the possibility of APPGs being used to influence policymakers. (The Guardian)


Singapore raises carbon price to reach net-zero 2050 target

Singapore has announced an increase to its carbon tax as it looks to reach more ambitious climate targets for 2050. Prices for carbon will reach S$50-80 per tonne by 2030, up from S$5 today – one of the lowest prices charged globally for carbon pollution. The increases will be introduced in stages, starting from S$25 in 2024 and rising to S$45 in 2026 as the government seeks to use carbon tax revenues to invest in green technology. There is no mention for whether the criteria for those eligible to pay will be changing. Currently, entities that emit more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon annually are expected to pay. In related news, the Singapore government also announced a “transition framework” to help limit costs for emitters, tagged to efficiency standards. (Eco-Business)


Tesco touts removal of 500 million pieces of plastic in 2021

British supermarket Tesco has announced that it removed 500 million pieces of plastic packaging from its own-brand lines in 2021. This brings Tesco’s total figure of plastic packaging pieces removed to 1.5 billion between 2019 to 2021. In August 2019, Tesco updated its plastics packaging strategy, outlining a framework based on the ‘4 Rs’ – removal, reduction, reuse and recycling. Following this strategy, the company began assessing its plastic packaging formats and redesigning them. Removed items include bags used to house online deliveries, which are now optional add-ons. This change alone has mitigated the distribution of 200 million bags. Other replacements include 42 million plastic forks from prepared salad bowls and rice bowls and 48 million plastic straws. Tesco says that all plastic removed to date has been “unnecessary and non-recyclable”. (edie)


US unveils tool to direct green capital to poor communities

The US Council on Environmental Quality has unveiled its Climate and Economic Justice Screening tool to be used to determine where to invest billions in federal investment to bring clean energy and infrastructure to disadvantaged communities. The software, developed in 2021, will be used to ensure that 40% of the benefits of federal investments in clean energy get channelled into communities overburdened by pollution. The software uses census data to identify communities as being disadvantaged according to income and pollution measurements ranging from asthma rates to traffic, hazardous waste proximity, and unemployment. The tool has received criticism for not including race in its indicators. Some environmental justice advocates claim that the tool’s “race neutral” design is political and means it “is not telling the full story of a community.” (Reuters)



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