Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – 11 October 2018

11th October 2018

“You must look at facts, because they look at you”. World leaders have a moral obligation to act – concludes a landmark United Nations report into climate change. The report warns the world we have roughly 12 years to drastically limit man-man global warming and avoid devastating global consequences. To do so would require a massive coordinated transformation of the global order including drastic and lasting changes to energy, transport and food production. The report will be formally presented at the COP24 climate summit in December.

One of the report’s key findings is that pricing carbon dioxide is essential. This was mirrored by the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Economics, also announced this week, that went, in part, to William Nordhaus for “making a case that “the most efficient remedy for the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions would be a global scheme of carbon taxes that are uniformly imposed on all countries”.

In Business

  • DO US A FLAVOUR: Amid widespread outcry over their products, Walkers crisps have said they will introduce a recycling scheme for their crisp packets, pledging to make their packaging recyclable or biodegradable by 2025. Walkers also announced a partnership that will allow people to post any empty crisp packets to recycling plant, TerraCycle, for free, from December.
  • ALL PACKED UP: Mondelēz International has pledged to make all its packaging recyclable by 2025 and sustainably source all its paper-based packaging by 2020. The company’s brands include Cadbury, Oreo and Toblerone.
  • TRASHED: Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Unilever products were among the top producers of plastic rubbish found on beach cleans. Greenpeace volunteers cleaned beaches from 42 countries for nine months.
  • AMAZON II: Ben van Beurden, Shell’s Chief Executive, has suggested renewable power needs to be boosted with a huge tree planting project in order to meet a tougher global warming target. He also told the Oil and Money conference that renewable technologies would be a larger part of Shell’s business in the future.
  • OMIT OF THE EMIT: A YouGov poll has found 61 percent of C-suite executives and energy managers have not set goals to reduce emissions despite potential cost savings. 73 percent cited sustainability as very important to their business.
  • UNCHARTED TERRITORY NO MORE: M&S has launched an interactive map that allows customers and shareholders to track the origin of its seafood products. The company has also said it will soon outline its plans to source sustainable leather as part of a wider drive towards sourcing sustainable raw materials.
  • FUEL FOR THOUGHT: Bioenergy from liquid biofuels and biogas will remain the largest source of renewable energy according to a market forecast by the International Energy Agency. The report believes this is partly because bioenergy is increasingly used in heating and transport.
  • FAIR’S FAIR: The Fairtrade Foundation has said it is willing help food companies create their own schemes to ensure farmers in developing nations were treated fairly. The foundation said it championed authentic and transparent self-certification above promoting its own scheme.

In Politics

  • MIND THE GAP: Theresa May has launched a consultation to seek views on ethnicity pay reporting by employers. The consultation closes on 11 January 2019.
  • PIONEERS: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has awarded £10 million in funding to help future technology. Its new Regulators’ Pioneer Fund will encourage future technologies by helping to streamline legislative and regulatory barriers.
  • ENGLANDS PLEASANT PASTURES: The Agriculture Bill has returned to the House for its second reading. The Bill covers the UK’s first major domestic agriculture policy in 45 years.
  • QUAKING: Greenpeace has obtained a letter from Energy Minister, Claire Perry, suggesting the government is open to relaxing regulations that suspend fracking if low levels of seismic activity are detected. In a letter to a fellow Conservative MP, Perry says the monitoring system was currently set at “an explicitly cautious level”.
  • METERED OUT: The Environment Committee have recommended water companies be given new powers to introduce compulsory metering to help reduce waste.
  • FASHION FORWARD: The Environment Committee have written to several clothing companies as part of their inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry. Companies including Primark, Asda and Marks & Spencer’s may be called to give evidence before the select committee. This week the BBC also broadcast a documentary revealing the environmental damage of “fast fashion”.

In Innovation 

  • NOT YOUR AVERAGE OFFICE: Bloomberg’s European headquarters in the City of London has won RIBA’s Stirling Prize 2018. The building has been hailed as the world’s most sustainable office building and achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating against the BREEAM sustainability assessment.
  • HIVE MIND: Diseases contributing to a global decline in bees might be beaten using medicine created from mushrooms. Research led by Fungi Perfecti and Washington State University has suggested the extract is boosting the bee’s immune systems or actively fighting the viruses.
  • MOUTHING OFF: High levels of air pollution have been linked to an increase in risk of mouth cancer – according to research in Taiwan. Air pollution has previously been linked with several types of cancer, including breast, liver, lung and pancreatic cancer.

In Peril

  • NET LOSS: Photos showing a baby humpback whale tangled in shark control nets have been used by the Humane Society International and the Australian Marine Conservation Society to highlight how government proposals to create new exclusion zones around shark control equipment would create a “shark gag law”. The charities are pushing for non-lethal shark control.
  • TRAWLED: Scientists around the world have published new analysis that has revealed a quarter of the world’s seafood is caught using botton-trawling, a method that severely harms the seafloor.
  • PLANNING FOR DYSTOPIA? Dutch scientists have suggested insect-drones could pollinate crops if climate change drives bees to extinction.

In Investment

  • GREEN SCREEN: Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager, has announced its commitment to a new three-year responsible investment strategy. By 2021, ESG analysis will be integrated across all its funds.
  • FEATHERING THE NEST: The government’s workplace pension scheme, NEST, used a pensions conference to release research which suggests savers want pensions with strong environmental and social credentials. NEST said it believes focusing on issues including climate change could encourage people to save more.
  • GREEN GAIN: Masdar, a Future Energy company based in Abu Dhabi, has signed a green revolving credit facility, the first in the Middle East, with four local and international banks to provide funding for new and ongoing investments in its global clean technology and sustainable real estate projects.
  • DRIVING THE AGENDA: The latest FTAdviser Talking Point poll has revealed 52 percent of advisers are likely to recommend SRI funds to millennial investors.