Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – 11 January 2018

11th January 2019

In Business

  • BEAUTIFUL: Personal care brand, Garnier, has partnered with TerraCycle to offer a beauty products recycling programme. Public drop-off locations have been coordinated around the whole country. The scheme will take common beauty packaging local authorities often do not including roll-on deodorants, flexible single use packaging, pumps and flexible plastic tubes. All brands are accepted.
  • PREMIER POWER: Premier Inn has announced it is trialling the UK’s first battery-powered hotel in Edinburgh.
  • COFFEE CUP CAP: Caffe Nero, Greggs, McDonald’s UK and Pret A Manger have announced they will join an industry wide scheme to recycle coffee cups. The scheme was launched in early 2018 by Costa Coffee.
  • IN THE KNOW: A new ranking of the fashion sector by anti-modern slavery charity, Know The Chain, has found Adidas, Lululemon and Primark are leading on actions to remove forced labour from their supply chain.
  • DOES MY BARK LOOKS BIG IN THIS? Stora Enso, a Finnish pulp and paper maker, has joined an initiative spearheaded H&M and IKEA to make sustainable textiles from trees. TreetoTextile will now build a demonstration plant for the technology at one of Stora Enso’s facilities.
  • CLEAN SHIPPING: Danish container shipping giant Maersk has pledged to become a carbon-neutral business by 2050. Maersk has said it will with governments and industry in order to initiate the development of net-zero vessels and shipping fuels in a bid to make such technologies commercially viable by 2030.
  • GREENING BUSINESSES: A survey of 900 SMEs in the UK and Ireland suggests 80% of firms recycle, 77% encourage environmental behaviours amongst employees and 64% would consider environmental CSR. However, 76% of business owners said cost was more important than environmental impact when deciding on products. The survey was conducted by Close Brothers Asset Finance.

In Politics

NHS Update

Theresa May unveiled her Long Term Plan for the NHS, including environmental commitments. These include:

  • Measures to improve the energy efficiency of NHS properties.
  • Measures to extend the NHS’s plastic phase-out, promising to reduce, without compromising sanitation, common consumables including rubber gloves, plastic medicine pots and surgical instruments.
  • Commitments to cut levels of air pollution produced by NHS vehicles by 20 per cent by 2024.

  • POWER TO YOU: The UK government has made a U-turn on its decision to end the solar “export tariff”, confirming that households which install solar panels in the future will be paid for excess power they generate and send to the grid.
  • (WHITE) ELEPHANTS ON PARADE? The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, has said she will target green energy policies during a Treasury review of projects. Truss said she wanted to weed out projects that were failing, had become outdated or diverged from their original mission.
  • COALED OUT: Environmental groups are urging the Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, stop an open-cast coal mine on a wild stretch of Northumberland’s coast. The proposed project would run beyond the government’s own deadline to phase out coal.
  • CABLE-TIED: Former Business Secretary, Sir Vince Cable, has criticised the government’s sale of the Green Investment Bank to Australian financial group, Macquarie in 2017. The bank has since been re-branded as the Green Investment Group. Cable set up the bank in 2012 to support investment in the UK’s green infrastructure and criticised the group for ignoring the UK in its increasingly global focus. The Green Investment Group has said it remains “firmly committed to the UK”.
  • IN THE RED: Green MP, Caroline Lucas, has called on the government to consider a meat tax to reduce the climate damage of farming.
  • DUTCH COURAGE: Nottingham City Council has become the first local authority to pioneer “Energiesprong”, a Dutch initiative to radically upgrade the energy efficiency of social housing. More than 150 homes will receive new wall cladding,windows and solar panels. Energy bills are expected to be cut in half.
  • SEEDS OF CHANGE: In a keynote speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, NFU president Minette Batters, called for British farmers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Batters said ambitious measures were essential to compete with the environmental standards of other nations.
  • ASK, DO NOT ER: Asker, a local authority in Norway, has said it will incorporate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its post-2020 development framework. Ratings agency, Moody’s has declared the move will pay off through “long-term gains” to the environment, economy and society.

In Innovation 

  • FIRED UP: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology claim to have created a “space fuel” by simulating interstellar conditions in a lab. The method could potentially be used to convert atmospheric CO2 into a new energy source.
  • 10,000 YEARS IN THE MAKING: A project tracking elephant poaching has discovered woolly mammoth DNA in illegal ivory samples seized in Cambodia. The WildGenes project, coordinated by Edinburgh Zoo, analysed illegal souvenirs from a Cambodian market and found woolly mammoth tusks.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS GO “DARK”: The latest Global Drugs Survey has found dark web sellers are branding their drugs as “vegan”, “ethically sourced”, “organic” and “sustainable”. The survey has found the UK is among the biggest global purchasers of drugs on the dark web, behind only Finland and Norway.

In Peril

  • LOST AND NEVER FOUND: It is feared that a new species of shark, identified from specimens collected in the 1930s, could be extinct from over-fishing and habitat loss. Dr Will White, from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, gave his team’s discovery the scientific name Carcharhinus obsolerus, meaning “extinct” shark.
  • MUSHROOM WAVE: An Oxford academic, Professor Laure Zanna, has calculated the global warming of the oceans is equivalent to an atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years. The research combined records of the surface temperature of the ocean since 1871 with computer models of ocean circulation.
  • ECOSYSTEM HIT: Conservationists have described plans by the Polish government to cull almost the entire wild boar population as “pointless, counterproductive and evil”.  The government has ordered a series of hunts to kill the country’s estimated 200,000 wild boar in a bid to tackle the recent African swine fever epidemic.
  • CHANGING POLITICAL CLIMATE: In an interview with Bloomberg, Ricardo Salles, Brazil’s new environment minister, says the country “owes nothing” in the fight against global climate change and should be “paid for its work so far”.

In Investment

  • BOND BOUND: HSBC reported global green bond issuance was at $140-$180 billion in 2018, up 8% on 2017. The rate of growth slowed due to market volatility and a move towards emerging market deleveraging.
  • DATA DUMP: A study by Opimas, capital markets consultants, predicts that the cost of buying ESG data will rise to £750m next year. This would be an increase of almost 50% from last year and almost 300% from 2014.
  • BANK IT: Global Canopy and WWF have argued regional banks in South East Asia and Latin America have a “historic opportunity” to safeguard their investments by better managing food security risks. The latest research argues the banks stand to benefit by minimising negative environmental and social impacts of seafood and commodity production.
  • DOUBLE UP: Shell has announced they intend to double its green energy investment to £3.2bn a year.
  • GOING UNDER (GROUND): 10 of the world’s largest insurance companies, including AXA and Allianz, have refused to underwrite a new coal mine in Australia.
  • TRUMPED? President of the World Bank, Jim Young Kim, has resigned three years early with no apparent explanation. There is speculation that Kim disagreed with the Trump administration over the Bank’s plans to increase its focus on low carbon projects. President Trump will now be able to nominate a successor who accords with his climate change scepticism.
  • BANKED-BOND: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has issued a five-year € 600m green bond. The organisation said the transaction represented its inaugural benchmark green bond in the euro market and its fourth benchmark-sized green bond.
  • FRESH FACES: The Private Equity Advisory Committee has announced the appointment of five new signatory representatives: Scott Zdrazil, Senior Investment Officer at LACERA, Jennifer Signori, Senior VP – ESG and Impact Investing at Neuberger Berman, Ignacio Sarria, Managing Director at New Mountain Capital, Stéphane Villemain, Director – Responsible Investment at PSP and Silva Dezelan, Sustainability Director at Robeco. The committee advises the PRI on the strategy and execution of the private equity programme.
  • SUSTAINED GROWTH: Sustainalytics, an ESG research firm, has announced the purchase of GES International as part of its plans to expand coverage and bolster its active engagement and screening services. The purchase also reflects the growing importance being placed on engagement by financial organisations.

Editorial of the Week

An editorial in one of Japan’s biggest-selling national newspapers, The Mainichi, laments the loss of “marine harvests” due to over-fishing and warming oceans: “As a country surrounded by oceans, Japan should be ashamed of the current situation…The country must tackle the crisis head on and exercise its leadership to introduce countermeasures.”