Top Stories

July 13, 2022


Top businesses urge Tory leadership to pledge to net-zero

An open letter signed by more than 15 leading business groups has urged Conservative MPs vying to become Prime Minister to publicly endorse climate-related Conservative manifesto commitments. Specifically, the letter asks leadership candidates to pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and restore nature within a generation. Leadership hopefuls Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch have both advocated for the UK to pause or rethink its net-zero targets. Sajid Javid added that the government should look to “minimise the costs of transition to net-zero”. The letter’s business group signatories include the UK Corporate Leaders Group, BITC, the UK Green Building Council, Food and Drink Federation, the International Chamber of Commerce and Renewable UK. The letter emphasises the importance of policies that unlock low-carbon infrastructure investment while stabilising global temperatures. (Business Green)*


Australia probes retail giants over customer ‘faceprints’

Australia’s privacy watchdog has launched an investigation into two retail giants over their use of facial recognition technology. Hardware firm Bunnings and department store Kmart collect customers' "faceprints" in some locations. Consumer advocacy group Choice says the technology is unethical, invasive and being used without proper consent or reasoning. Both retailers defended its use as an anti-theft and safety measure. The Australian Information Commissioner said her office had opened an investigation to determine whether they had breached privacy laws. Choice argued Bunnings and Kmart were only disclosing their use of the technology in small "conditions of entry" notices at the front of stores, and in privacy policies online. The consumer group surveyed more than 1,000 households and found more than 75% had no idea the technology was in use. (BBC News)


Electricity prices pose ‘barrier’ to steel sector’s decarbonisation

Steelmakers in the UK are being deterred from shifting from lower-carbon, electricity-powered operations by prohibitively high industrial electricity prices, trade body UK Steel warns. The trade body, convened by sector organisation Make UK published a report outlining its vision for aligning the steel sector with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target. The sector is targeting a 95% reduction in emissions within this timeframe and will leverage offsets to target residual emissions. On electrified processes, UK Steel is warning that most firms see high industrial electricity prices as a “key barrier” to investment. The trade body acknowledges the importance of continuing production in the UK but notes that the UK’s steelmakers are currently paying some 60% more than their counterparts in EU member states for electricity. (edie)


Business giants team up to chart course to zero-emission HGVs

UK supermarket Tesco and consumer goods company Coca-Cola European Partners are among the firms spearheading a new collaboration on accelerating the adoption of zero-emission HGVs. The initiative, called HGVZero, also includes logistics providers Eddie Stobart and XPO and delivery service DPD within its founders. Representatives from these businesses will map EV charging infrastructure across geographies where they operate, identifying gaps. They will also map refuelling infrastructure for alternatively-fuelled HGVs. Both mapping activities are set to be completed within six months. The maps will inform a joint action plan, outlining how players across the HGV value chain will tackle shared challenges relating to zero-emission HGV technologies and related infrastructure. Few businesses have adopted pure electric HGVs to date due to challenges related to electrifying heavier vehicles. (edie)


Venture capital firm targets sustainable tech with €1bn fund

A global venture capital group Cathay Innovation backed by petroleum company TotalEnergies has launched a €1 billion fund to invest in technology start-ups with an eye on sustainability. Cathay Innovation’s third venture fund – also backed by multinationals including French drugmaker Sanofi – will focus on sectors such as artificial intelligence, digital health, new mobility and financial technology. "We believe the time is now to accelerate digital transformation over the next ten years as innovation represents the biggest opportunity to take on some of the world's largest challenges," Denis Barrier, the group's co-founder, said in a statement. Cathay Innovation, which has invested in the Chime banking app and delivery service Glovo, currently manages assets worth around €2 billion. (Reuters)


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