Top Stories

January 24, 2023


Just 7% of global bank’s energy finance directed to renewables

A study has questioned the extent to which leading global banks are financing clean energy projects, after revealing only 7% of their energy financing went to renewables over the past 6 years. Data produced for Sierra Club, Fair Finance International, BankTrack, and Rainforest Action Network, accused leading banks of “major failings” in their net-zero strategies which has resulted in low financial support for clean energy. The campaigners highlighted how the majority of banks are short of the goals they signed up to when joining the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which asks members to ensure low-carbon energy investments account for at least 80% of energy investments by 2030. According to the findings, Citi and JP Morgan invested the most in energy companies between 2016 and 2022 with $181 billion with just 2% invested in renewables. (Business Green)*


Investors ramp up corporate disclosure requests on forestry

A record number of investors are targeting companies to report on sustainability issues like climate change, forestry and water. Environmental disclosure platform CDP has found that companies are more likely to disclose information when directly engaged by financial institutions rather than coalitions or groups. CDP states that a record 260 financial institutions with nearly $30 trillion in assets participated in forest and water security reporting in 2022 –  a 56% increase compared to 2021 levels. The investors noted that direct engagement with corporates can lead to better disclosure returns. Investors engaged with almost 1,500 companies across 30 countries to report on key issues like climate change, forests and water security. The data found that 26% of companies responded and that companies covered every sector. Around 90% of companies asked to disclose in 2021 did so. (edie)


One-fifth UK workers reject jobs based on poor ESG targets

Research by consultancy KPMG has found that 20% of UK office workers would turn down a job if environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors were deemed lacking. KPMG surveyed around 6,000 UK adult office workers, students, apprentices and those who have left higher education in the past six months on their attitudes to work. The results show that ESG factors are influencing employment decisions for almost half of UK workers. It found that 46% want the company they work for to publish and demonstrate ambitious ESG commitments. Additionally, 51% of 18-24-year-olds value ESG commitments as a reason to work for a company, rising to 55% for 25-34-year-olds. Across all age categories, 82% want to be able to link values and purpose with the organisation they work for. (edie)


EU’s reforms aim to better protect power bills from volatility

European Union proposals to overhaul its electricity market will attempt to better protect consumer energy bills from short-term swings in fossil fuel prices, according to the European Commission. The EU is reforming its power market to avoid a repeat of 2022, when cuts to Russian gas supply drove electricity prices to record levels, hiking bills for households and industry. The Commission laid out numerous options to overhaul the way power plants sell electricity. It will aim to expand Europe’s use of long-term contracts that provide power plants with a fixed price for their electricity through “contracts for difference” (CfD) and power purchase agreements (PPA). The Commission suggested that CfDs could be required for new power plants receiving state support. (Reuters)


Microsoft confirms multi-billion-dollar investment in ChatGPT

Technology giant Microsoft has announced a deal with artificial intelligence firm OpenAI to secure multi-billion-dollar investment in its ‘ChatGPT’ programme. It said the deal would involve deploying the company’s artificial intelligence models across Microsoft products, which include the Bing search engine and its office software such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Since its launch in 2022, , artificial intelligence chatbot, ChatGPT, has performed a variety of tasks from writing recipes and sonnets to job applications. It markets itself as at the forefront of generative AI – technology trained on vast amounts of text and images that can create content from a simple prompt. Microsoft’s suggested $10 billion investment would include additional supercomputer development and cloud-computing support for OpenAI. (The Guardian)

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