Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – 7 November 2019

7th November 2019

In Business

  • WRAP REPORT: Waste advisory body WRAP has published its latest Retail Survey which has revealed that whilst UK retailers are taking steps in the right direction to reduce food waste and help the environment, more action is needed. WRAP visited almost 60 supermarkets and examined 2,000 food products and found that over 20% of items on shelves had just two, or fewer, days left before their sell by date. The report also called for the phrase “freeze on day of purchase” to be removed.
  • COMPO(D)STABLE: Italian coffee company Lavazza has launched compostable coffee pods for their one-cup products – the first of its kind from a major manufacturer. The company further announced that they were planning to replace all home-use capsules with the eco-friendly alternative by the end of 2020, with no additional cost to consumers.
  • MGM SDG: MGM Resorts International has published their new sustainability strategy – ‘Focused on what matters’. The new strategy is aligned with the UN’s SDGs and includes steps including reducing carbon emissions per square foot by 45%.
  • DEAR GOOGLE: Over 1,000 Google workers have signed a public letter to the company to pledge their commitment to an serious “company-wide climate plan”. Demands include halting all contracts with fossil fuel firms as well as abolishing all donations to climate change deniers.
  • OCEAN FRIENDLY CAFÉ: Sky has opened a plastic-free café at their Brentford headquarters as part of their wider goal to eliminate all single-use plastic from their business by 2020. In place of virgin plastic the café has employed natural materials and recycled ocean plastic.
  • SCHUH LA LA: Shoe store Schuh has introduced a new scheme that will encourage customers to bring unwanted shoes to their local store to be recycled. The initiative is called ‘Sell your Soles’ and will allow any shoes in wearable condition to be re-used or recycled in return for a £5 voucher, the company believes that 98% of the materials will be recycled.

 In Politics

  • GREEN ELECTRION CAMPAGIN: The Green party launched its election campaign on November 6 with a series of commitments to accelerate the UK’s net zero transition through a £100bn green infrastructure plan. Party co-leader Sian Berry claims the £100bn plan would result in 100,000 energy efficient homes built each year, a revolution in transport infrastructure and the accelerated roll out of renewable energy capacity, all while creating a multitude of low-carbon jobs.
  • CLIMATE AGREEMENT WITHDRAWAL: Donald Trump has begun procedures to formally exit the 2915 Paris climate agreement, making the United States the only country in the world that will not participate in the pact. The withdrawal will be a one-year process, but the exit won’t be final until the day after the presidential election in November 2020.
  • LOCAL RENEWABLES PROJECTS: A new report published by think tank New Economics Foundation (NEF) noted that all new renewable energy projects in Scotland should now have to guarantee a minimum level of locally-made parts and local workers. This report argues that more should be done to ensure local communities to benefit economically from new renewables projects.
  • DIESEL BAN: Bristol is set to become the first UK city to ban diesel vehicles as it works to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. Bristol City Council yesterday approved plans to ban private diesel cars from the city centre from 7am to 3pm. The scheme, which requires central government approval to implement, is expected to start in 2021.
  • LABOUR’S GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Labour party has announced it would launch a £250bn home improvement plan to increase energy efficiency of 27 million UK houses and slash the country’s carbon emissions by 10 per cent. The “Warm Homes for All” would see 6.34 million homes fitted with heat pumps, 5.3 million fitted with solar thermal systems and 1.74 million with solar PV by 2030. Labour claims these changes should save 10 per cent of UK’s emissions by 2030.
  • POLITICAL INVITES: 30,000 invitation letters are being sent to random addresses across the UK from 6 November, calling for people to act in Parliament’s new citizens’ assembly on climate change. The invitation letter will be sent in order to ensure the ‘Climate Assembly’ launches before Parliament dissolves and MPs head out to campaign ahead of December’s General Election.
  • EV CHARGING POINTS SCHEME: Recent governmental data has highlighted “clear gaps in provision” for electric vehicles charging points, and ministers are therefore encouraging councils to apply for its £5m on-street residential charging scheme. The Department for Transport claims the UK still needs more charging points evenly distributed across the country to encourage more people to shift to EVs.
  • COP25 IN MADRID: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has confirmed the COP25 Climate Summit will relocate in Madrid, after Chile withdrew as host due to a wave of continuing protests and civil arrests.
  • ENERGY UK MANIFESTO: Energy UK has published a manifesto urging support from parties to place net zero emissions policies at the top of their agenda, in prevision of December’s General Election. Introducing policies aimed at boosting energy efficiency, enabling low carbon home heating, accelerating the rollout of electric vehicles, and increasing investment in renewables and carbon capture technologies are necessary to decarbonise the UK.
  • GREENER HOUSING TARGETS: Green building targets for London are driving greener developments and the adoption of low carbon homes technologies across the capital. New residential and commercial development pledge to avoid 39,000 additional tonnes of CO2 compared to last year’s projects.
  • WOODLAND CARBON GUARANTEE: The Government has unveiled a £50m market-based tree-planting push across England to provide long-term funding for farmers and landowners who invest in woodland creation. The Woodland Carbon Guarantee aims to encourage farmers and landowners to plant more trees and create new woodland in return for payments as those trees grow.
  • GREEN FAILURE: Sajid Javid has backed out on a government commitment to include net zero targets in official guidance to the UK’s financial regulators as he failed to mention key green pledges in the official letters sent to the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority.

In Peril

  • PYGMY POSSUMS: Scientists from the University of New South Wales have discovered an innovative approach to try to preserve mountain pygmy possum, an endangered Australian species under serious threat due to global heating. The research paper argues for the translocation of the species from its current habitat in the alpine regions of Victoria and New South Wales into lowland rainforests, as researchers say fossil records from 25m years show their ancestors always occupied these areas.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS: Climate activists are taking Norway’s government back to court, arguing that its plans to open the Arctic for oil drilling violate people’s rights to a safe and healthy environment. Greenpeace Nordic and Norway’s Nature and Youth organisation are expected to argue that the plans would violate a constitutional law, section 112, as well as the Paris climate agreement.
  • CAP REFORM: Scientists demand a reform of the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) to stop the intensification of farming practices that is leading to a decline in wildlife. 2,500 experts have written to incoming European commission president Ursula von der Leyen to urge major changes to the way the CAP operates
  • IVORY BAN: Antique dealers have failed to overturn a total ban on ivory trading in the high court. Conservation groups, who have argued that any dilution of the ban would revitalise illegal elephant poaching praised the decision, claiming that it would preserve the UK’s position as a fight leader in the fight against ivory trade. The 2018 Ivory Act, which attracted cross-party support, has yet to come into force.
  • RISING SEA LEVELS: Research has shown that future generations will face rising oceans and coastal inundations into the 2300s, even if internationally agreed climate goals are met and global emissions are cut. Researchers assume that all countries make their promised emissions reduction by 2030, but this 15-year period since the 2015 Paris climate agreement would still result in enough emissions to cause sea levels to increase by around 20cm by 2030.

In Innovation

  • FENCE-Y THAT: Complete Composite Systems, is helping cut down on the amount of cement and concrete used with their new device that enables the use of used chip shop fat to hold fence posts steady. Each fence post installed using it, eliminates the need for up to 60kg of concrete.
  • SOLAR SOLUTION: Cyclewear manufacturer POC has collaborated with Swedish tech start-up Exeger to develop helmets that convert solar power into electricity. POC claims that the helmets are safer than their non-solar counterparts and that the technology could be applied to other products.
  • DURAPULP READY MEALS: Waitrose has helped to cut their use of plastic with their new ready-meal packaging made from durapulp – a material similar to cardboard derived from Forest Stewardship Council certified sources. The packaging is available on selected meals and will be a permanent addition following a successful trail this summer.
  • LOW CARBON FAUX FUR: Stella McCartney has partnered with chemical giant DuPont to create KOBA Fur-Free Fur. The material is a fur alternative that is recyclable and has one-third of the carbon footprint compared to most faux furs.

In Investment

  • CPPIB ACQUISITION: Pattern Energy was acquired by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in an all-cash transaction for $25.75 per share, valuing the American renewable energy company at $6.1bn.
  • NATURAL CAPITAL COMMITMENT: Companies worldwide are being encouraged to sign a ‘Natural Capital Commitment’ to help reverse the loss of natural resources and develop a strong business voice to influence the political agenda on the matter.
  • EIB LOAN: Austrian energy company Energie Steiermark has received a €90 million loan for climate action and sustainable investment projects from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Energie Steiermark is the second company in Europe to receive an EIB Green Loan after Spanish energy group Endesa in 2018.
  • MERCER MANDATE: Mercer, the world’s largest institutional investment advisor, has awarded sustainability-focused investor Impax Asset Manager a $125 million mandate. The Sustainable Global Equity Fund, which is part of Mercer’s ‘delegated solution’ has been allocated to Impax’s Leaders Strategy, which invests in companies that generate more than 20% of their underlying revenue from the sale of environmental products or in the renewables market.
  • TIDAL ENERGY PROJECT: Tidal energy company Nova Innovation is looking to raise £500,000 to fund a three-year plan to lower the cost of tidal technology, increase its growth drive and expand into new international markets. The company announced the launch of a crowdfund campaign on investment platform Seeders.
  • LET’S GROW TOGETHER: Pan-European stock exchange group Euronext is to launch a green bond section across its six markets as part of the group’s three-year strategic plan ‘Let’s Grow Together 2022’.