Top Stories

May 16, 2022


Ministers delay plans for UK corporates to disclose environmental data

Ministers made a last-minute decision to withdraw plans to force big UK companies and asset managers to disclose their environmental impact, according to government sources. The decision to drop the “sustainability disclosure requirements” from a new financial services bill comes amid a wider retreat by the government from tightening corporate governance. Other postponed measures included audit reforms, stronger powers for the internet regulator (Ofcom) and the regulation of professional football. The Treasury said it “remained committed to implementing sustainability disclosure requirement and will proceed with the necessary legislation in due course”. However, deputy chief of staff in Downing Street – David Canzini – told aides to drop or postpone policies which could be seen as “unconservative” in order to differentiate the party from Labour. (Financial Times)*


Industry groups partner to develop UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard

A cross-industry group across the built environment sector will collaborate to establish a net zero carbon standard for buildings. The group will develop the ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard’ that will enable those operating in the industry to prove their projects are net-zero carbon and in alignment with the UK’s climate targets. The group consists of BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS and the UKGBC. The standard will cover new and existing buildings, with performance targets to be created for both operational energy and embodied carbon emissions. The industry group aims to align these targets with the government’s net-zero target for 2050. The standard will also cover how the procurement of renewables and carbon offsetting to treat residual emissions can be leveraged in net zero buildings. (edie)


Climate scientists record highest levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

A new record for the highest daily level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been set this week, ringing alarm bells for the pace of global warming. The daily record of 421.37 parts per million (ppm) CO2 was recorded at Mauna Loa by the Earth science research organisation Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scientific consensus is that the planet remains healthy for humanity at up to 350ppm. The previous high was 418.95ppm in May 2021. After a record was set for April 2022, higher CO2 levels are expected in May. The longest continuous source of modern CO2 records comes from Mauna Loa, a volcanic island in Hawaii where measurements started in 1958. The Mauna Loa data are considered one of the most definitive proofs of human impact on the planet. (Financial Times*; Scripps)


Spain poised to issue legislation on menstrual leave for painful periods

Spain is planning to introduce up to five days of paid ‘menstrual leave’ per month for employees who suffer severe period pain. Draft legislation put forward by the government suggests that menstruation will be treated as a health issue. Women would be entitled to three days of sick leave with a doctor’s note, but this could be extended to five on a temporary basis if they suffered intense or incapacitating pain. The draft also includes extended paid maternity leave before childbirth. If passed, Spain would be the first country in Europe to introduce menstrual leave. Worldwide, menstrual leave is currently offered by a handful of countries including Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia. According to the Spanish Gynaecological and Obstetric Society, a third of women experience painful menstruation. (Personnel Today)


Federal judge blocks Alabama law on certain gender-affirming treatment

A federal judge has partially blocked an Alabama law that restricts gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors. In granting the preliminary injunction requested by the Justice Department and private plaintiffs, Judge Liles Burke said that there was a substantial likelihood that the court would find unconstitutional the law’s restrictions on providing transitioning medicines, such as puberty blockers, to minors. Other parts of the law – including its ban on gender reassignment surgeries on minors and its regulations aimed at school officials – remain in effect. The Judge stated that “at least twenty-two major medical associations in the United States endorse transitioning medications as well-established, evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors.” Among those challenging the law were minors, parents, and doctors, who argued that the law violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. (CNN)

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