Top Stories

June 15, 2022


West Virginia implements anti-ESG legislation for banks

A bill in West Virginia that could see financial institutions blacklisted if they are found to have engaged in boycotting energy companies has now come into effect. First introduced in January 2022, ‘Senate Bill 262’ will allow the state treasurer’s office to create a “Restricted Financial Institutions List” consisting of financial institutions that have been identified as refusing to deal with or terminating business activities with energy companies “without a reasonable business purpose”. All companies involved in the extraction and handling of fossil fuel-based energy are covered by the legislation. Once financial institutions are placed on the list, the state treasurer will be authorised to exclude them from the selection process for state banking contracts. The state will review publicly available statements to assess an institution’s inclusion on the list. (Responsible Investor)*


Apple faces German antitrust probe over app tracking rules

Technology company Apple is being investigated by Germany’s antitrust watchdog over whether the company’s tracking rules for third-party apps gives it preferential treatment or undermines rivals. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office opened an investigation into the way Apple tracks third-party apps, raising concerns that the company’s rules were “self-preferencing” and harmed competition given Apple’s ability to “unilaterally set rules for its ecosystem”. Apple’s new tracking rules, introduced in April 2021, force third-party apps to ask users for permissions before they track their behaviour to serve them personalised ads. The changes significantly affected the advertising revenues of large companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Germany’s probe comes after industry bodies representing Facebook, Axel Springer and others filed a complaint about Apple’s rules. (Financial Times)*


Companies ‘overstating’ benefits of renewables certificates

Analysis of emissions data from 115 companies has concluded that they collectively overestimated the emissions reductions caused by sourcing renewable electricity certificate schemes threefold. A research paper assessed the real-world emissions benefits of businesses purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). The research scoped 115 companies between 2015 and 2019. All companies set targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to reduce their emissions. The scoped companies collectively reported a 31% reduction in Scope 2 emissions, attributing most of their progress to REC purchases. However, researchers calculated that the actual reduction in Scope 2 emissions by these companies is closer to 10%, highlighting that the emissions associated with RECs are rarely zero. Researchers showed concern that using RECs to meet SBTi-aligned targets was becoming “the norm rather than the exception”. (edie)


UK migrant flight to Rwanda grounded by European Court

Britain's first flight to take asylum seekers to Rwanda did not take off as scheduled after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued last-minute injunctions to stop the deportation of migrants on board. The UK government’s plan to send some migrants to the East African country has been criticized by opponents, charities, and religious leaders who say it is inhumane. It has been forced to fight a series of legal challenges in London courts aiming to stop it going ahead. Shortly before the plane was due to leave, the ECHR granted injunctions to prevent their deportations. The High Court in London is due to hold a judicial review in July to decide the legality of the scheme. (Reuters)


UK launches licencing round for carbon storage projects

The UK government has launched its first licencing round for projects that will enable the large-scale storage of captured carbon under the North Sea. Operated by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the licencing round is inviting bids for projects in 13 areas within the North Sea and will be open for bids until September 2022. Plots of land are being offered off the coast of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire. The chosen 13 areas are “a mixture of saline aquifers and depleted oil and gas field storage opportunities”, the NSTA said. It is expected that the new licences will be awarded in early 2023. The NSTA said that some projects could come online within six years of being granted a licence and lease. (edie)

*Subscription required




Would you love to work in sustainability, supporting big brands in their responsible business journeys? Click here to see info on our current openings. We can't wait to hear from you



Actions for Business 2022

B4SI Annual Review 2021