Maitland Green – Our Weekly Update: 11 April 2018

11th April 2018
China boosted its burgeoning environmental credentials this week by unveiling a new Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The vastly enlarged department sees staff increase from 300 to 500. In 2013 China’s own Environment Minister called the department one of the world’s most “embarrassing”, but the new Ministry will have direct oversight over climate change and emissions reduction policies, agricultural pollution and marine conservation. This follows the partnership between the City of London Green Finance Initiative, China Green Finance Committee and the Principles for Responsible Investment who have created a private group of UK and Chinese financial institutions to pilot TCFD reporting in 2018.
In recognition of China’s growing green presence, financial institutions such as UBS have also developed their green portfolio within Asia, after launching a portfolio that invests only in green stocks and bonds in Asia.
In the UK, the issue of waste and pollution continues to gather pace as one of the most pressing environmental concerns in the public mind. Pollution is more tangible than climate change, tackling it feels more empowering. Emotive pictures of its direct effects, such as baby whales with stomachs full of plastic, have spurned public demands for action. It will be interesting to see if this continues as more and more research is published into less tangible, more complex, pollution such as micro-plastic particles in fertiliser and medical drug waste in rivers.

The News in Brief:

Energy & Clean Tech
In Westminster and the EU
  • Efforts by the government to bring down the cost of energy by upgrading insulation in the home has been brought into doubt as it emerged that cuts to the scheme mean it would take 400 years to complete.

Waste & Resources
  • A new study from the University of Bayreuth, in Germany, has found micro-plastics can enter freshwater and soil via compost. The study looked at several different kinds of biowaste that is composted and spread across German farmland, including household compost and grass clippings and supermarket waste. Compost samples taken from supermarket waste contained the greatest amount of plastic particles, with 895 pieces larger than 1 millimeter found per kilogram of dry weight.
  • Waitrose will remove all disposable coffee cups from stores this year. It is estimated the move will save more than 52m cups a year across the UK.
  • Iceland supermarket announced it would cut palm oil from its own-brand products by the end of 2018.
  • A study by European Waters revealed there are significantly fewer plastic bags on the seafloor since a number of European countries introduced plastic bag charges. Researchers found an estimated 30 percent reduction in plastic bags in waters around Norway, Germany, Norther France and Ireland.
  • Researchers at Heriot-Watt University concluded humans likely consume an average of 114 plastic microfibers at each meal from household dust. In comparison, the study calculated that eating mussels would only lead humans to ingest 100 microplastics yearly. Each mussel they studied contained an average of two plastic particles.

Natural Environment
In Westminster and the EU

Green Finance & Responsible Investing

Tweet of the Week

The average European produces five tonnes of waste and consumes 14 tonnes of raw material a year. The European Parliament is calling for a transition to a circular economy where things get reused, repaired or recycled. ♻️ 🎥➡️