Top Stories

September 22, 2022


Bloomberg to spend $85 million against US plastic factories expansion

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched an $85 million campaign to block the planned construction of plastic and petrochemical plants across the US. Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman who currently serves as a UN special envoy on climate ambition, said his philanthropic organisation’s ‘Beyond Petrochemicals’ campaign will “turbocharge” efforts by local communities in places like Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, Texas, and Appalachia to block the permitting and construction of heavy emitting plants. The industry’s planned expansion could account for 15% of US greenhouse gas emissions, which could make the US miss its goal under the Paris climate agreement of halving its emissions by 2030, Bloomberg Philanthropies said. At least 90 petrochemical and plastics projects have been proposed over the last decade, including 42 major construction projects. (Reuters)


HSBC fund arm toughens thermal coal policy to curb climate change

Financial services company HSBC has announced it will stop financing the expansion of thermal coal from funds it manages actively with immediate effect. Thermal coal, a cheap energy source used widely across Asian markets, is one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels. In a new 10-point plan, HSBC Asset Management, which oversees around $600 billion in assets, said it would immediately stop investing in listings or primary debt issuance of any company engaged in thermal coal expansion. HSBC said it will have engaged with all listed companies in its actively managed portfolios with more than 10% of revenues from thermal coal by 2023. By 2030, the group’s active portfolios would hold no listed securities of companies reliant on coal for more than 2.5% of revenues in the EU or OECD markets. (Reuters)


Eco beauty company hires director to represent nature at its AGM

A beauty company has appointed a director to represent nature on its board, giving the natural world a legal say in its business strategy. Faith In Nature, which sells soap and haircare products, alongside household cleaning products and dog shampoo, says it is the first company globally to give nature a formal vote on corporate decisions that might affect it. Working with lawyers from Lawyers for Nature and the Earth Law Center, the company updated its corporate documents to state that alongside benefiting shareholders, it would do its best “to have a positive impact on nature”. A non-executive director will join the company’s next board meeting to speak on behalf of the natural world. The director’s pay is ringfenced from the main board so they can remain independent. (The Guardian)


Indigenous leaders urge businesses to stop supporting deforestation

Indigenous leaders from the Amazon have implored major western brands and banks to stop supporting the destruction of the rainforest, warning that the ecosystem faces collapse. Representatives of Indigenous peoples from across the Amazon region have travelled to New York during ongoing climate and UN gatherings to stem the flow of finance to activities that are polluting and deforesting large areas of the rainforest. A report by the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples alleges brands such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla all have products that may be tainted by gold illegally mined in Amazon Indigenous territories. Indigenous activists have also accused major US financiers, including BlackRock, Vanguard and JP Morgan Chase of funding ongoing logging and mining activities in the Amazon that are contributing to its degradation. (The Guardian)


Majority of Britons support tax rises and more spending, survey finds

The majority of Britons are pro increasing taxes and welfare spending, while nearly half support the redistribution of income to benefit the less well off, an annual public attitudes survey has shown. Some 52% of survey respondents said the British government should increase taxes and spend more on health, education and social benefits, according to findings by the National Centre for Social Research. The level was up 2 percentage points from the previous year and 36% from a decade ago, reflecting a shift in public concern around social inequalities as the country confronts a cost-of-living crisis. The findings come ahead of the mini-Budget to be released, in which the government is expected to announce a package of tax cuts for wealthy individuals and profitable companies. (Financial Times)*

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