Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – 16 January 2020

16th January 2020

In Business

  • WIN FOR COAL: Global engineering company Siemens has confirmed that it will not pull out of a contract at the new Adani coalmine in Australia, rejecting calls from climate campaigners.
  • DIVESTMENT PROGRAM: 79 of the UK’s 154 public universities have signed up to divest from fossil fuels, either divesting or pledging to divest hundreds of millions from the fossil fuel industry.
  • NET-ZERO CONSTRUCTION: The Wates Group, one of the UK’s largest family-owned construction, property services, and development companies, has announced plans to eradicate waste and achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2025.
  • GREEN SMILE: Colgate has become the first toothpaste brand to launch a recyclable tube, The Smile for Good toothpaste. The majority of commercially sold toothpastes come in unrecyclable packaging, with an estimated 20 billion tubes of toothpaste used and discarded every year.
  • VESTAS: Vestas, the world’s largest turbine manufacturer, confirmed its plans to reduce its global carbon footprint by 55 per cent by 2025 and promised to hit net zero emissions by 2030 without using offsets.
  • CARBON NEUTRAL PHARMACEUTICALS: Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda aims to achieve carbon neutrality across its value chain by 2040 as part of a raft of ESG goals unveiled at the 38th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.
  • KIA’S ELECTRIC SHIFT: South Korean auto giant Kia Motors yesterday launched a long-term strategy to become a leader in EVs and mobility services, sketching out a detailed timeline for its transition from a business built on the internal combustion engine to a new driving force of the electric era.

In Politics

  • GREEN REDEVELOPMENT: The government is to assign £71m of new funding to help turn a former Teesside steelwork into a world-leading hub for clean energy, hydrogen technologies, and low carbon industry and manufacturing.
  • LONDON POWER: Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled City Hall-owned London Power on Monday. The plan to launch a new green energy company for the capital is part of Khan’s target to transform London into a zero-carbon city by 2050, while also ensuring Londoners can get access to low-carbon power at a fair price. Transitioning to London Power could save households up to £300 a year, City Hall claimed.
  • SUSTAINABLE PLAN: The European Commission is gearing up to unveil a sustainable investment plan next week aimed at mobilising €1tr over the next decade to kickstart the EU’s transition to a net zero economy by 2050 and implement a Green Deal strategy. Dubbed the Sustainable Investment Europe Plan, the document reportedly proposes devoting at least 25 per cent of the EU budget to the net zero transition.
  • GREEN BUS FLEET: Electric buses have begun operating in Glasgow for the first time in half a century as the city targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. The new single-decker buses have been funded through SP Energy Networks’ £20m Green Economy Fund, which was launched in 2018 to support Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.
  • WINDFARM SLOWDOWN: The UK’s current energy policies led to the construction of just one new onshore windfarm last year, raising fears that the country may fall short of the renewable energy it needs to generate to meet its climate targets.

In Innovation

  • URBAN ECO PACKAGE HUB: Logistics giant UPS has launched a five-year partnership with the University of Dublin’s Trinity College to integrate a sustainable last-mile delivery service on campus as well as offering internships and graduate opportunities.
  • RISING SEAS: Work has begun on a 40£ upgrade to Great Yarmouth’s flood defences to protect the town against the increasing threat of floods.
  • CIRCULAR ECONOMY: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has this week launched a new digital tool which enables businesses of all sizes and sectors to measure their contribution to the circular economy and identify new ways to close the loop further.

In Peril

  • CO2 LIMITS: Carmakers could remove models from the UK, the automotive industry has warned, as Britain’s taste for polluting vehicles clashes with the difficulty of meeting post-Brexit carbon dioxide limits.
  • PROTECT BIODIVERSITY: Almost a third of the world’s oceans and land should be protected by the end of the decade to stop and reverse biodiversity decline that risks the survival of humanity, according to a draft UN agreement on nature.
  • AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES: The Australian government has pledged $50m to help rescue and protect wildlife affected by the bushfire crisis, with a promise of more to come, as environment groups warn some species may have already been driven to extinction.
  • OFFSHORE WIND INVESTMENT: If the UK wants to reach net zero emissions by 2050 it will need to increase its capacity to produce low-carbon energy four-fold and invest significant sums in transforming the way the grid handles intermittent green power. That is according to engineering consultancy Atkins, which released a major new report late last week detailing the changes needed to the UK’s energy mix to bring net emissions to zero in just three decades.
  • COAL OUT: Plans to build Britain’s new deep coalmine in 30 years is unnecessary and incompatible with the UK’s aim to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to a report by thinktank the Green Alliance.

In Investment

  • BLACKROCK’S GREEN PUSH: BlackRock has unveiled changes to its business in a move to position itself as a leader in sustainable investing, after criticism that the company has failed to provide solutions to combat climate change. The fund manager will double the number of sustainability-focused exchange traded funds it offers to 150.
  • DENHAM CAPITAL: Energy-focused private equity firm Denham Capital has committed an investment of $250 million to Latin American power firm Ceiba Energy. Denham will fund the investment in the renewable and low-carbon energy assets owner through its International Power Fund.
  • BARCLAYS COAL DIVESTMENT: The Church Commissioners for England has unveiled its plans to vote in favour of a shareholder resolution calling on Barclays to phase out its financing for fossil fuel firms.
  • ECOLABEL: The EU has proposed to substantially lower the green assets limit needed for equity funds to qualify for its planned EcoLabel, after initial proposals were judged too ambitious.
  • VANGUARD: Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, has refused to sign up to a group of major investors demanding that polluters respond to the climate crisis, despite pressure to do so.
  • SUSTAINABLE EUROPE INVESTMENT PLAN: The European Commission has unveiled plans to mobilise €1tr over the next 10 years as part of its investment strategy to drive the decarbonisation of the EU’s economy. The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan proposes would direct a quarter of the EU budget to climate and environmental spending, a move that will channel €503bn into decarbonisation efforts between 2021 and 2027.

Misc.

The London Climate Change Festival, a new eight-week arts festival to raise awareness of climate change, is to run in Central London from 23 March until 16 May 2020.