Top Stories

January 31, 2023


Investor coalition bans carbon removals in net-zero protocol

The UN-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), a coalition of investors representing more than $11 trillion, has unveiled the latest version of its decarbonisation methodology. More than 80 major investors, including Aviva, CDPQ, and Dai-Ichi Life, are members of the Alliance and will incorporate the Protocol’s methodology to help reduce emissions across portfolios, private equity investments, sovereign debt and real estate loans. The Protocol will align sub-portfolio targets with research based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) most recent pathways. The new Protocol asks members to consider how the benefits of the low-carbon transition can be shared but also the risks that this shift can bring for some carbon-intensive industries and communities. It also stipulates that members should prioritise emissions reductions over carbon removals. The Protocol has “disallowed” the use of carbon removals to achieve short-term reduction targets. (edie)


EU to loosen state aid rules to boost renewables investment

The EU is stepping up its green subsidy race with the US through plans to loosen state aid rules on tax credits for renewable energy projects. European policymakers have been under pressure to respond to the US ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, which aims to encourage renewables investment in everything from electric cars to wind turbines. The European Commission plans to loosen state aid rules to enable investment into production facilities in green industries. The draft proposals suggest some of a €800 billion Covid-19 recovery fund could be redirected towards tax credits. Brussels intends to set new targets for green industrial capacity and simplify the approval process for renewables projects. Biden’s new rules have reinvigorated the renewables market in the US, leading to a wave of new projects. (The Guardian)


Germany pledges funds to help Brazilian Amazon rainforest

Germany has pledged €200 million to help Brazil defend the Amazon rainforest. The sum, in credits and donations, was announced in the capital Brasilia where German Chancellor Olaf Scholz became the first Western leader to visit since President Lula da Silva was sworn in. The sum includes a donation of €35 million euros to the Amazon Fund to strengthen a billion-dollar initiative funded by Norway and Germany to protect the South American rainforest and fight deforestation. The Amazon Fund was re-activated by Brazil’s Environment Minister the day she took office. It had been frozen since 2019 when Bolsonaro abolished its governing board and action plans. The German assistance includes socio-environmental projects to support Brazilian states in the rainforest and low-interest loans to farmers for the reforestation of their land. (Reuters)


Top beauty brands called out for lacking climate action plans

Ten of the world’s biggest beauty and personal care companies have been found to be lacking in efforts to curtail their environmental impact, despite high-profile sustainability pledges. Climate advisory firm, the Carbon Trust, assessed the credibility of climate action taken by beauty and cosmetics giants L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Estée Lauder, Shiseido, Beiersdorf, Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kao, Coty and Johnson & Johnson using a tool that analyses publicly available sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions reports. The report found that the 10 companies’ main emissions sources were raw materials used in production, accounting for between 30-50% of company emissions. The report highlighted that companies’ net-zero transition plans were “either non-existent or lacked details on how deep emissions reductions would be delivered”. (Eco-Business)


Earth to exceed 1.5°C warming in next decade, AI study finds

The world is on the brink of breaching a critical climate threshold, according to a new study, signifying time is running short to spare the world the most catastrophic effects of global heating. Using artificial intelligence to predict warming timelines, researchers at Stanford University and Colorado University found that 1.5°C of warming over industrial levels will probably be crossed in the next decade. The study shows the Earth is expected to exceed 2°C warming, which scientists call a tipping point. Utilising a neural network, the scientists trained the system to analyse an array of global climate model simulations and asked it to determine timelines for given temperature thresholds. The model also found a near 70% chance that the 2°C threshold would be crossed between 2044 and 2065, even if emissions rapidly decline. (The Guardian)

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Important update

Corporate Citizenship Briefing has been published for over 30 years, making it the longest running daily news and analysis service in the responsible business sector. We've issued a daily news update by email since 2006. Over that time, we've often adjusted the format as technology has changed and the needs of practitioners have shifted. However, our mission has remained the same: to provide practitioners, companies and enthusiasts alike with key insights into the big issues facing corporate responsibility and sustainability. Now another shift is coming. We are moving away from reporting on a daily basis to focusing on analysing and interpreting the big trends in responsible and sustainable business on a monthly basis. The final Corporate Citizenship Daily Briefing will be published on Tuesday 31st January 2023. Thank you for being part of our journey.