Top Stories

November 02, 2022


Ellen MacArthur Foundation: recycling targets ‘unlikely to be met’

Big businesses are unlikely to meet timebound commitments to only use reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025 according to the latest progress report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The Foundation’s report tracks the progress of the signatories of its New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The Commitment, launched in 2018, has more than 80 corporate signatories including Danone, Unilever, Mars, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company and L’Oréal. It aims to eliminate single-use packaging materials, increase reused or recycled plastics in new products and target 100% of plastic packaging to be reused, recycled or composted by 2025. However, the Foundation’s progress report warns commitments are unlikely to be met, in part due to the increased use of flexible packaging and a lack of investment in collection and recycling infrastructure. (edie)


G20 fossil fuel support reaches highest levels in 2021 since 2014

G20 nations are slowing progress on reaching the Paris Agreement after providing $693 billion of fossil fuel support in 2021, the highest levels recorded since 2014. Research released by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF found that G20 nations provided $693 billion in fossil fuel support in 2021, with spending support for producers and utilities surging by 16% year-on-year as a result. The report notes that the spike in spending isn’t merely due to economic recovery and higher energy usage following the pandemic, but that more finance was being used to support fossil-fuel producers and utilities. China accounted for the largest share of the support at 26% but is well below other G20 nations on a per-capita basis at $111 compared to Saudi Arabia ($1,433), Argentina ($734), and Canada ($512). (edie)


Germany calls for ‘pause’ before deep-sea mining industry starts

Germany has called for a pause in the controversial deep-sea mining industry, saying little is known about the likely impacts of digging up the ocean floor for metals. The country’s opposition carries significance as it holds two of the 22 licences for exploration of the seabed. Scientists have warned that the damage to ecosystems from mining nickel, cobalt and other metals on the seabed would be “irreversible”. Germany’s call for a “precautionary pause” in the emerging industry – which has not yet begun mining for commercial purposes – follows demands by Spain and New Zealand to halt exploitation of seabed metals until further research on its environmental impact has been carried out. German carmakers BMW and Volkswagen are among companies that have declared they will not buy metals mined from the seabed. (The Guardian)


UK technology watchdog warns of emotion-analysis tech risks

Companies should not use immature biometric technologies to analyse emotion, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned. The ICO is worried organisations are making critical decisions about people without appreciating that there is no scientific evidence the technology works. The ICO also warns the technology could cause “systemic bias, inaccuracy and even discrimination”. Biometric information is based on physical and behavioural characteristics, such as facial movements or heartbeats. Scientists told the ICO there was no robust link between people’s inner emotions and intent and the expression on their face or sweat on their skin. Researchers at the University of Cambridge recently raised similar concerns about claims made for artificial intelligence image-analysis systems being used to assess job candidates’ personalities. (BBC News)


China pledges high-tech support for climate, environment problems

China will seek high-tech solutions to resolve its complex environmental challenges and make use of innovations in big data and artificial intelligence to tackle pollution, habitat loss and climate change. In a new action plan, the Chinese government said it would build a “green technology innovation system” over the 2021-2025 period to tackle air, soil and groundwater pollution, reduce waste and protect ecosystems, noting that current technologies were not mature enough to serve the country’s long-term needs. The system will be backed by tax incentives and new “green technology banks”, and China will also encourage enterprises to provide more support to innovative green technologies. The plan aims to support the country in meeting its targets to bring emissions to a peak by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060. (Reuters)











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