Top Stories

August 05, 2022


Wildfires destroy almost all carbon offsets in 100-year reserve

Wildfires have depleted almost all the carbon credits set aside in reserve by forestry projects in the US to protect against the risk of trees being damaged over 100 years, a new study has found. As a result of fires, six forest projects in California’s carbon trading system had released between 5.7 million and 6.8 million tonnes of carbon since 2015, the non-profit research group CarbonPlan estimated. That was at least 95% of the roughly 6 million offsets set aside to insure all forest projects against the risk of fire over a century-long period. Under California’s rules, carbon savings linked to offsets must be guaranteed for at least 100 years. In 2021, fires ripped through forest projects that had generated offsets bought by companies including BP and Microsoft. (Financial Times)*


Tennessee sues Walgreens pharmacy over opioid distribution

The state of Tennessee has sued pharmacy retail chain Walgreens for accusations of fuelling the state’s opioid epidemic by wilfully flooding the market with an oversupply of prescription narcotics. The state argues the company violated consumer protections and public nuisance laws. The lawsuit claims Walgreens used its position as one of the state’s largest pharmacy chains to dispense over 1.1 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills within Tennessee from 2006 to 2020, roughly equivalent to 175 tablets for every resident. According to the lawsuit, Tennessee, one of the hardest-hit states in the US opioid crisis, documents at least three opioid-related overdose deaths daily. In May 2022, Walgreens’ parent company reached a $683 million settlement with Florida state to resolve claims that the pharmacy chain exacerbated an opioid epidemic in the state. (Reuters)


Hubbub & Virgin Media launch circular digital lending scheme

Environmental charity Hubbub and mobile operator Virgin Media O2 have awarded five charities a share of £400,000 from their ‘Tech Lending Community Fund’ to support programmes that reduce e-waste and provide technology to people in need.  Grants have been made to UK organisations that provide support to women seeking refuge from domestic violence, refugees, asylum seekers, and people at risk of homelessness. The Fund also aims to support the circular economy, providing an opportunity to ensure tablets are reused, extending their life, and preventing them from ending up in landfill as e-waste. The charities will collectively provide more than 1,000 tablets to people living in temporary accommodation and those who are digitally excluded. The tablets will help people improve their digital skills, access essential services, training courses, and apply for jobs. (Business Green)*


Hundreds of Amazon staff stop work in protest at 35p pay rise

Hundreds of employees at e-commerce giant Amazon have stopped work in its UK Essex warehouse in response to a 3% pay rise with inflation forecast to hit 13% in the UK in late 2022. The GMB union said about 700 of the roughly 3,500 workers at the site, one of the largest in Europe, gathered in the facility’s canteen for a meeting as they tried to protest the pay deal. Workers at the facility earn a minimum of £11.10 an hour and are calling for a £2-an-hour raise instead of the offered £0.35. The GMB said some workers faced disciplinary action and a withdrawal of pay over the stoppage, which Amazon denies. The company does not recognise trade unions in its UK warehouses, but GMB said it would support members on site who faced disciplinary procedures. (The Guardian)


New ESG disclosure requirements launch for EU fund managers

Fund managers will now be required to provide data on environmental, social and governance impacts of the products they offer in the EU. Amendments to the EU’s ‘Markets in Financial Instruments Directive’ (MiFID) include the introduction of standardised ESG disclosures for fund managers. Another key change is that financial advisors will need to ask clients about their ESG preferences when assessing options on their behalf. Investment advisors will need to accommodate interest in ESG investing. For investors, the amendments state that they should have the appropriate arrangements in place to apply ESG filters to their decision-making, looking at both risk and impact. Investors will soon need to have a minimum share invested in activities classed as environmentally sustainable, as defined by the EU green finance taxonomy. (edie)

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