Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – Friday 6 September 2019

6th September 2019

In Business

  • RAISE A GLASS: Sainsbury’s has partnered with Norwegian recycling company TOMRA to trial a Deposit Return Scheme which will include glass. The reverse vending machines will see customers rewarded with a 5p coupon for each eligible drinks container inserted.
  • ALUMINIUM CUPS: Ball Corporation has unveiled their new aluminium cup in the war against single-use plastic. Famous for their red plastic cups, beloved by Americans, Ball’s new alternative is “infinitely” recyclable. The cups will be launched as part of a pilot programme in September.
  • TO(K)YOTA: Toyota are developing a range of EVs specifically for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which will see them providing 3,700 EVs as part of a bid to ensure that 90% of the official vehicle fleet at the event will be electrified.
  • PHONENOMENAL: Fairphone, a Dutch social enterprise company, has unveiled their sustainable smartphone the Fairphone 3 – claiming it has a 30% lower carbon footprint than its traditional counterparts. The phone features 7 modules that can be swapped and replaced, extending the lifespan of the device.
  • BFC: KFC is teaming up with meat-alternative company Beyond Meat to launch the Beyond Fried Chicken – a vegan alternative to their traditional fried chicken. The products will be sold during a one-day trial that, if successful, would result in BFC nuggets and wings appearing on menus in the US.
  • ICELAND HITS 1M BOTTLES: Iceland’s reverse vending machines have collected over 1m bottles to be recycled from just 5 stores. Machines were installed in May and June last year and one in January 2019. Shoppers receive a 10p voucher to put towards their shopping when they deposit a bottle.
  • NOT JUST SAUSAGE ROLLS: Based off the popularity of their vegan sausage rolls, Greggs has announced it will be rolling out vegan versions of all their bestselling ranges. Roger Whiteside, CEO, said: “”We are plugging away at seeing if we can come up with a vegan version of all our top-selling lines”.
  • FASHION PACT: 32 global fashion brands, including Selfridges and Burberry, have joined the Fashion Pact which aims to encourage brands to take action and tackle climate change, restore biodiversity, and better protect the oceans.
  • TAKEOUT (THE MEAT): The British Takeaway Campaign, a cross industry group originally launched by Just Eat, has found that the number of vegan takeaway orders has increased 388% between 2016 and 2018.
  • SECOND-HAND SHOP: Asda is encouraging customers to reuse, repurpose and recycle unwanted clothes with their new in-store ‘Re-loved’ pop-up store which will be in their Milton Keynes store for a month. The proceeds from the store will be go towards Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign.
  • WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE: Almost 60% of commuters who purchase a coffee dispose of the cup at work, making it a large missed opportunity for recycling efforts. Packaging firm DS Smith are tackling this with their new collection scheme ‘drop box’ which will be a collection point in offices with the capacity for 700 cups. When full, the boxes will be collected by Royal Mail and delivered to DS Smith to process and recycle.
  • GP TO EV: Boots is trialling a new EV initiative which will see patients’ prescriptions delivered by a green alternative to a regular car. The retailer has added give Renault Kangaroo iVans in a bid to improve the environmental impact of its operations.

In Politics

  • MONITOR OF ENGAGEMENT WITH THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: The government has published the results for the tenth year of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment survey. The survey provides data on how people engage with and use the natural environment in England, including that outdoor green and natural places are getting busier – particularly in towns and cities.
  • GREEN TRANSPORT FUNDING: The UK government has announced there will be over £300m of funding for innovative green projects (£125m of funding from the government with industry co-investment of £175m) as part of the Future of Flight Challenge.
  • FLOOD MANAGEMENT: Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency have created a natural flood management system as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme. The pilot project has involved planting 650 new trees near the River Aire to see how natural techniques can help slow the water flow and reduce flood risk.
  • PEERS FOR THE PLANET: A new organisation to bring together Peers who want to put environmental issues and threats on the top of the political agenda is being led by Baroness Lane Fox, Baroness Hayman and Lord Ravesndale. ‘Peers for the Planet’ will function both as a parliamentary group as well as a non-profit.
  • GREEN-LOVING IRELAND: The Irish government has announced that they have awarded 57 projects with funding through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Communities grant scheme. The total pot will be €25.3m towards €65.8m total project costs.
  • SWISS 2050 TARGET: Switzerland has become the most recent country to pledge to deliver net zero emissions by 2050. Other countries who have made this promise include France, Norway and the UK.
  • FIRST EVIDENCE SESSION: The Environmental Audit Committee held its first session on the inquiry into net zero government on Wednesday, focusing on the sustainability of the Government’s estate and procurement processes as well as what actions need to be taken to achieve the net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

In Innovation

  • ELEKTRO DUMPER: The world’s heaviest EV has been created by construction equipment manufacturer Kuhn Schweiz. The Elektro Dumper is a 45-tonne electric dump truck that is also able to recharge using energy created from regenerative braking.
  • POP UP, PLUG IN: Duku, a product design company, is helping local authorities scale up their charging point installation efforts with their “pop-up” EV chargers. The chargers can stand at 80cm tall or retract completely into the ground.

In Peril

  • BRAZIL’S FIRES: Whilst the Amazon rainforest has been on fire for the past month, President Jair Bolsonaro has declined $20m in aid from G7 world leaders. Currently the fires are still active and have been described by Brazilian archbishop Erwin Kräutler as a “true apocalypse”.
  • SWIM-FREE ZONE: Tourists will no longer be able to swim with bottle-nose dolphins in New Zealand’s North Island’s Bay of Islands region after the government introduced a ban to help protect the dolphin population. According to the department of conservation, humans were “loving the dolphins too much” which was impacting the dolphins’ resting and feeding behaviour – reflected in the 75% mortality rate among their young.
  • GOING BANANAS: The University of Exeter have published a study which suggests that global warming could have a negative effect on the world’s banana supply. Whilst banana crops have improved since higher temperatures since the 1960s, the research suggest that increasing temperatures and inconsistent rainfall patterns could affect future banana yields.
  • SAYONARA SEAGRASS: Over 92% of the UK’s seagrass by area cover has died over the last 100 years. Seagrass provides oxygen and a habitat for a plethora of marine plant and wildlife. Currently there are projects being introduced to help restore the seagrass population.

In Investment

  • MITSUBISHI INVESTMENT: Mitsubishi has invested £40m in British off-grid solar company BBOXX which will help the African-focused company extend its reach to Asia.
  • DOUBLE TROUBLE: The UK and France have both pledged to double their contributions to the Green Climate Fund over the next four years, bringing their totals to £1.4bn and €1.5bn respectively.
  • BLACKROCK BITES BACK: BlackRock has criticised shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues. The firm described some of the proposals as “poorly constructed” after supporting only 10 in the last AGM in the US.
  • INSURANCE COVERAGE FIZZLING OUT: The California Department of Insurance has found that several insurers are cutting back on homeowner coverage for people occupying high wildfire risk areas of the state after the bout of recent fires.
  • DERIVATIVES DOING GOOD: In the first six months of trading, Eurex’s ESG-themed derivatives have reached 235,000 traded contracts and peaked at €782m in open interest. The Frankfurt-based firm currently trades three kinds of ESG futures contracts – ESG exclusions, Climate Impact and Low Carbon.
  • MERRILL LYNCH GOING GREEN: Bank of America Merrill Lynch has joined the lively debate about the potential creation of a new market for transition bonds by encouraging the notion that at least 25% of the proceeds of the bonds classified under this new label should be used to finance green projects or assets.
  • WIND INVESTMENT: European renewables developer Statkraft has acquired UK onshore wind developer Airvolution Clean Energy Ltd in an undisclosed deal. Statkraft said the acquisition would help them to reach their goal of deploying 600MW of onshore wind and solar power in the UK.
  • AMUNDI UNVEILS FUND: Amundi has announced the launch of the Amundi Funds Multi-Asset Sustainable Future which is a sub-fund that tackles two current issues for investors: the need for conservative portfolios in the midst of increasing market uncertainty alongside the growing value associated with ESG considerations in investments.