Top Stories

May 23, 2022


Fossil fuel pollution found to be responsible for one in six deaths globally

A review has found that pollution is killing 9 million people a year, making it responsible for one in six of all deaths. The review concludes that toxic air and contaminated water and soil “is an existential threat to human health and planetary health, and jeopardises the sustainability of modern societies”. According to the report, the death toll from pollution dwarfs that from road traffic deaths, HIV/Aids, malaria and TB combined, or from drug and alcohol misuse. Researchers calculated the economic impact of pollution deaths at $4.6 trillion. Deaths from toxic air and chemicals have risen by 7% since the previous review in 2017 and 66% since 2000, driven by increased fossil fuel burning, rising population numbers and unplanned urbanisation. (The Guardian)


Pay gap between CEOs and workers is set to widen across FTSE 350

The pay gap between executives and workers is set to grow even wider in 2022, according to think-tank the High Pay Centre. The think-tank said cuts to executive pay during the pandemic led to a fall in CEO/median employee pay ratio across the FTSE 350 to 44:1 in 2020/21, down from 53:1 in 2019/20. The median gap between CEOs and their lower quarter employees also fell to 59:1 from 71:1 in 2019/20. However, the think-tank said early examinations of more recent disclosures indicate that pay gaps will widen again in 2022. Across the 69 companies that have disclosed pay ratios in the first quarter of 2022, the median CEO/median employee ratio was 63:1. This was nearly double the ratio for the same group of companies in 2021, at 34:1. (City A.M.)


Climate sceptic thinktank reported to authorities over fossil finance

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a climate sceptic think-tank, has been reported to the Charity Commission by the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and campaign movement Extinction Rebellion. The think-tank has charitable status, but climate campaigners argue that its funding links to fossil fuels mean it should be stripped of this status. In a letter to the Charity Commission, the GWPF is accused of being “not a charity, but a fossil fuel lobby group”. Set up in 2009, the GWPF has enjoyed a recent revival in its influence in parliament. The letter also claims that the think-tank flouts the rules that charities must be run for the public good. They argue the group’s funding could show a conflict of interest, and that its agenda is not working for the public good. (The Guardian)


Private equity investor asks portfolio companies to set GHG reduction targets

Software-focused private equity investor Vista Equity Partners has announced the launch of the ‘Vista Climate Pledge’. The initiative will see all its majority-owned companies in its $93 billion portfolio agree to measure and set reduction targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2022, and to reduce and offset emissions annually. The initiative follows a programme in 2021 by Vista to ensure all of its private equity portfolio companies measure their 2019 emissions, which included providing the companies with access to a GHG measurement platform and toolkit and embedding an emissions calculations automation tool in its ESG reporting. Vista also joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative in 2021, committing to achieve net zero across its portfolio by 2050. (ESG Today)


Canada sets mandatory climate disclosure as priority for industry council

The government of Canada has announced the next step in its process to introduce mandatory corporate climate reporting, setting it as a top priority for its financial industry Sustainable Finance Action Council. The Council, consisting of 25 of Canada’s leading financial institutions, insurance companies and pension funds, was launched by the government in 2021 to mobilise capital and investment necessary to meet the country’s climate goals. Under its mandate, the Council “will make climate-related financial disclosure its first priority,” and prepare advice to the finance and environment ministers on the most effective ways to implement mandatory climate disclosures by the end of 2022. The Council will also be responsible for helping to coordinate the Canadian financial sector’s input on the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) global baseline sustainability reporting standards. (ESG Today)





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