Top Stories

May 24, 2022


Retailers blasted over ‘deceitful’ plastic phase-out claims

A report by a coalition of environmental NGOs including Changing Markets Foundation, ClientEarth, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, has warned that European supermarkets and retailers are promoting false solutions to the plastics crisis that are failing to improve recyclability or reduce plastic use. The report warns that European retailers are failing to tackle plastics pollution by cutting back on usage, and questions the transparency and commitments of retail giants. It finds that many supermarkets promote false solutions, particularly noting flexible plastic take-back schemes where consumers return certain types of packaging to the store to be recycled. Researchers claim much of this waste is exported to countries that can’t adequately process the materials. Furthermore, just 18% of the 130 companies NGOs contacted were able to provide basic information on their plastic footprint. (edie)


US to invest $3.5 billion in four direct air capture networks

The White House has announced plans to invest $3.5 billion in four large-scale direct air capture (DAC) networks, as part of its plans to spur the roll out of the nascent clean technology. The US Department of Energy is to fund the ‘Regional Direct Air Capture Hub programme’, which will aim to support four regional DAC hubs across the US – each comprising a network of different carbon removal projects. The department said it expected each hub to permanently sequester a million metric tonnes of CO2 annually, either from a single unit or from multiple interconnected units. The project is aiming for the hubs to ramp up the widespread deployment of DAC technologies and associated CO2 transport and storage infrastructure across the US. (Business Green)*


ScotRail to hold talks with union in effort to resolve pay

Rail operator ScotRail will open talks with the rail union Aslef to resolve a pay dispute that has led to the train operator axing over 1,000 services from its timetable. The company confirmed that it would meet union leaders after Aslef’s Scottish organiser accused it of repeatedly ignoring invitations to negotiate. The newly nationalised company has cut about a third of its services after a large majority of its 1,200 drivers refused to work overtime. ScotRail relies heavily on its drivers volunteering to work overtime or on rest days. Its drivers voiced criticism and refused to take on extra shifts after ScotRail verbally offered a pay rise of 2.2% and a revenue-sharing agreement, which drivers argue is a real-terms pay cut with inflation nearing 10% currently. (The Guardian)


E.On UK boss warns 40% of customers face fuel poverty

UK energy supplier E.On has warned that up to 40% of its customers will be in fuel poverty by October 2022 as it called on the UK Government to support struggling homes. E.On has stated that, due to the “unprecedented” rise in energy prices, around one in eight of its customers are already struggling to pay bills, even before the energy price cap rises in October. This comes as the International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, has advised governments globally to provide subsidies for food and energy for the poorest members of society as people around the world struggle with the rising cost of living. Georgieva added that governments should also extend support to businesses that have been “most damaged” by the war in Ukraine to stabilise the global economy. (BBC NewsA; BBC NewsB)


BNY Mellon pays $1.5m SEC fine for ‘omissions’ on ESG

Investment banking service BNY Mellon Investment Adviser has agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges of “misstatements and omissions” about ESG considerations in making investment decisions for certain managed funds. According to the SEC, between July 2018 and September 2021, BNY Mellon represented or implied in statements that all investments in the funds had undergone an ESG quality review “even though that was not always the case”. The SEC found that “numerous investments held by certain funds did not have an ESG quality review score as of the time of investment”. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, BNY Mellon agreed to a cease-and-desist order, a censure, and the pay the $1.5 million penalty. (Responsible Investor)*

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