Top Stories

February 25, 2022


UK PM Johnson unveils 'severe' sanctions against Russia

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled the nation’s largest-ever sanction package against Russia, targeting banks, members of Vladimir Putin’s closest circle and wealthy Russians in London. Western nations are coordinating action to impose sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. In its 10-point sanctions package, the UK government said it would impose an asset freeze on some major Russian banks, including state-owned VTB, and stop major Russian companies from raising finance in the UK. The prime minister went further than some Western countries, calling for Russia to be excluded from SWIFT – an inter-bank messaging network key to international finance. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, London’s capital markets have been the favoured destination for Russian companies seeking to raise capital outside Moscow. (Reuters)


Manufacturers lobby to weaken UN global plastics treaty

Ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), chemical and plastics industry association the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has been lobbying to weaken a proposal for a landmark UN global plastics treaty. The industry group, which includes ExxonMobil, Shell and Dow among its 190 members, has pushed back against a proposal for UN negotiations that was put forward by Peru and Rwanda. Before UNEA starts next week, global negotiators have convened in Kenya to finalise the scope of the proposed international plastics treaty. The original resolution aimed to tackle pollution through the plastics lifecycle supply chain, from chemical production to disposal. However, the ACC prefers an alternative put forward by Japan that focuses exclusively on recovering plastic waste in oceans. The group spent $16.6 million on lobbying US policymakers in 2021. (Financial Times)*


UK’s climate credibility at risk, warns climate change advisor

The UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned the government that future oil and gas exploration in the North Sea risks undermining the credibility of the UK’s global leadership on climate change. The CCC’s newly published findings outline its review of the government’s proposed climate compatibility test to ensure licences for proposed oil and gas developments are in line with 2050 net-zero targets. The committee said the proposed compatibility test for future North Sea developments does not provide appropriate grounds to assess the climate impacts. In a letter to UK business secretary, the CCC said continued extraction from the North Sea basin “may weaken UK diplomacy to encourage other countries to adopt ambitious climate policies”. The CCC supports a tighter limit on domestic oil and gas production, stringent tests and “a presumption against exploration”. (Financial Times)*


Asda rolls out new plastic-free food protection technology

Supermarket giant Asda has announced plans to stock citrus fruits and avocados coated in innovative materials in an effort to reduce plastic packaging and food waste. The materials, produced by technology company Apeel Sciences, are made using protein and cellulose found in fruit and vegetable seeds, peels and pulps. The material is sprayed onto produce, acting as a barrier to keep moisture in and oxygen out. Apeel claims the technology extends the shelf life of produce without the need for plastic packaging. According to Asda, the partnership marks the first time that fruit and vegetables coated in the material will be available commercially at this scale. The supermarket has committed to removing three billion pieces of single-use plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2025, against a 2018 baseline. (edie)


Apollo Global targets $50 bn in sustainable investments

Alternative asset manager Apollo Global Management has launched a sustainable investing platform with a target of deploying $50 billion in decarbonisation and energy transition opportunities over the next five years. The firm has deployed more than $19 billion in energy transition and sustainability-related investments in the last five years, including in renewables, electric vehicles and decarbonisation. It now seeks to deploy more than $100 billion by 2030. In 2021, the International Energy Agency said that annual clean energy investment globally will need to more than triple by 2030 to around $4 trillion to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Apollo’s investments will be deployed from existing capital pools such as credit, private equity, impact investing, infrastructure, real estate and natural resources. (Reuters)

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