Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – Friday 9 August 2019

9th August 2019

In Business

  • CHRISTMAS MIRACLE: Tesco has announced that they will be switching to a plastic-free glitter alternative for its Christmas range of trees, plants and flowers. Traditional plastic glitter contains microplastic that can find its way into the ocean and affect marine ecosystems. Whilst a step forward, some have criticised Tesco for not cutting glitter from its own-brand cards, stationery and wrapping paper.
  • ROLLOUT THE EV CHARGERS: BP has partnered with Chinese ride hailing company Didi Chuxing (DiDi), to rollout EV chargers across China and develop the country’s EV charging network. The new joint venture will offer EC charge points for DiDi drivers and the general public.
  • SUSTAINABLE FAHSION: Burberry has launched a new capsule collection made from Econyl – a sustainable nylon created from leftover plastic, fabric scraps and fishing nets. The collection is in collaboration with Aquafil, a company who specialise in making Econyl.
  • REUSABLE SHOPPING: Waitrose will expand its refillable container scheme, which has involved removing packaging from more than 200 products to allow customers to full their own reusable packaging.
  • CARBON TARGETS BREAKTHROUGH: The UK’s leading retailers have met their industry climate targets two years early, the British Retail Consortium reveals. Morrisons, John Lewis Partnership, Kingfisher and Sainsbury’s have all cut their carbon emissions by 25%.
  • RECYCLED HARDWARE: Google has pledged to make all its products (including Pixel pones, google Home speakers and phone cases) from recycled materials by 2022. Google also said that it would pledge to make all its shipments carbon neutral by 2020 to promote sustainability in its hardware division
  • RAPID CHARGER: The first of 88 new charge points have been deployed by Engie, as part of plans to improve air quality across Leeds and Bradford. Engie said the new chargers would be supplied with 100% renewable power and the sites would be free to use until the end of October 2021.
  • EV MARKET BOOM: Global auto giants are teaming up to help fund their electric vehicle development programmes. In recent weeks, Toyota has announced a major partnership with China’s BYD, while BMW and Daimler are working together to deliver a $1bn urban mobility focused joint venture. Ford and VW have also launched a major joint project to accelerate the development of EVs and autonomous vehicles.
  • RAZOR RECYCLING: Gillette is collaborating with TerraCycle to help customers recycle their razors and blades. Customers are invited to register online for a special freepost envelope which allows them to return their used razors and blades.
  • SELECTA & VEOLIA: Vending machine manufacturer Selecta has launched a new coffee cup recycling service, which aims to transform millions of cups every week into recycled fibre goods (such as packaging and notepads). Developed in partnership with Veolia, the recycling service is available to more than 10,000 Selecta locations across the UK, including businesses, train stations, schools, and hospitals.
  • SAMSUNG GLOBAL GOALS: Samsung has announced a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme as a way of shifting focus to the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals for short). As part of the initiative Samsung will be releasing a Global Goals app that will come pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 10 series – the app will give people more information on the 17 Global Goals and suggest actions that can be taken to support them. Samsung will also be selling phone accessories, including a charger and case, that will have a Global Goals-themed design.
  • A MAGNUM CHANGE: Luxury ice cream brand Magnum launched a new range of newly designed tubs made from recycled plastic packaging. The launch will see 600,000 recycled tubs go on sale in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.

In Politics

  • UN LAYS DOWN THE LAW: The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has told world leaders to bring ‘concrete plans’ to the September summit. Guterres warned that the current crop of national climate action plans puts the world on course for 3C of warming – an outcome that would be ‘devastating’ for the planet.
  • LAND USE CHANGES REQUIRED: A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has revealed that urgent and radical land use changes are required in order to properly tackle the risk of climate change and hunger. The report highlighted the importance of afforestation and fuel crops to absorb carbon dioxide alongside the linked risks of land degradation and increased desertification.
  • SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT WEEK: LuxFLAG has announced its inaugural Sustainable Investment Week. The Luxembourg fund labelling agency will launch the event on 22 October and it will run until the 24 October. The event series will cover climate finance, ESG, impact investing and sustainable development goals.
  • AIRPORT EXPANSION BLOCKED: France has blocked plans to expand Marseille Provence Airport. The government has questioned the project’s compatibility with the country’s new target to achieve net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.
  • CHANGE NEEDED: The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has declared there is an urgent need for parliament to pass a “Sustainable Economy Act” that would essentially introduce full sustainability constraint on all UK economic activity. In their report, IPPR has said that policymakers have made a “catastrophic mistake” by underestimating the risks posed by environmental breakdown.
  • MASS TREE PLANTING: Ethiopia has planted a record 350 million trees in one day to counter climate change. The mass tree planting drive forms part of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Ahmed’s Green Legacy initiative.
  • LAND CLUSTERS: The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs offers farmers and landowners the chance to bid for a share of £2.5m of funding to support projects that provide environmental benefits to their local areas. Local groups of farmers or landowners must submit plans showing and explaining their ability to work together.
  • FARMERS FOR CLIMATE ACTION: Farmers for Climate Action, an Australian farming group, have called on the government for a fully funded national strategy to tackle climate change and agriculture. The group has warned that currently farmers don’t have the necessary support to properly manage the increasing risks associated with increasing temperatures. With farming integral to Australia’s ecosystem (48% of Australia’s land is privately owned or leased for agricultural production), they argue it is important that to have an overarching government strategy that will better co-ordinate the current separate attempts by government, industry and the non-governmental sector to take on global warming.

 In Innovation

  • MICROPLASTIC-BUSTING MAGNETS: Eighteen-year-old, Fionn Ferreira, has developed a non-invasive method for removing microplastics from freshwater, which involves the use of magnets. In a series of 1,000 tests, 87% of microplastics present were removed.
  • TESLA MEGAPACKS: Tesla has launched its first utility-scale battery storage technology, called ‘Megapack’, which will store up to 3MWh of storage and 1.5MW of inverter capacity. The development will lower costs of battery storage and creates a more efficient charging system
  • RECYCLABILITY SOFTWARE: Henkel has developed a tool which scans packaging labels in order to evaluate its recyclability based on its composition, colour pigment and weight. The system will help England reach its recycling target of 50% by 2020.
  • SOLAR FORECASTING: ESO has partnered with data science and AI body The Alan Turing Institute in a drive to make solar generation more efficient. They have developed a machine-learning-enabled solar forecasting system to predict when, where and why the UK’s solar generation network will experience peaks and lulls.
  • PRADA TO NADA: Prada has developed an Econyl handbag, comprised of regenerated nylon and fabric scraps, which is itself also fully recyclable.
  • NEXT-GEN BATTERIES: The number of electric vehicles in the UK rose by 50% in 2016-2017. Due to the lack of rapid charging infrastructure, an EV battery cooling system has been created that has the potential to make charging both faster and cheaper.

In Peril

  • EXTINCTION CRISIS: With 3m turtle doves being shot each year and thousands dying due to climate change, the bird has become a symbol for the extinction crisis in the UK. More than 40m birds have vanished from the UK over the last 50 years.
  • LEAKED REPORT: A leaked report from the IPCC suggests that without a mass transformation of food production, it will be impossible to keep global temperatures safe. Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s land surface and continue to add more climate damaging processes.
  • GLASS AND METAL FAIL TO MAKE AN IMPACT: A new study from environmental think tank Green Alliance finds canned water products are only fractionally better for the environment than plastic bottles. For example, if half of the UK’s plastic water bottle production was switched to cans, mining the aluminium could generate 162,010 tonnes of toxic waste, enough to fill up the Royal Albert Hall six times over.

In Investment

  • AMAZON TAKES A STAND: Amazon has upped its renewable energy efforts with investments in an Irish wind farm and a US solar development. Together, the plants are expected to produce 168,000MWh of clean energy per year that will help contribute towards Amazon’s goal of powering 100% of its operations with renewable energy.
  • SUSTAINABLE CATTLE: Marfrig Global Foods has attracted additional ESG investors for its $500m sustainable transition bond. This bond is helping to change supplies’ attitudes and create better practices and rules of engagement, whilst recognising the big carbon footprint left by the beef industry.
  • PLASTIC EXTINCTION: Morgan Stanley have made plastic a priority in the forthcoming MSIM research paper. The engagement could involve suggesting new approaches to managing plastic waste, monitoring companies and asking for more disclosure or more investment into recycling.
  • DIAGEO’S CORKING ENVIROMENTAL CONTRIBTION: Diageo has announced its largest environmental investment in a decade, pledging to spend £180m installing green energy and water recovery systems at brewing sites in Africa. This will stretch across 11 breweries, with £50m of upfront capital investment.
  • WASTE-TO-ENERFY PROJECTS: SIMEC Atlantis hopes to raise £7m via a new five-year bond offer to fund its pipeline of waste-to-energy and tidal power project. The company aims to complete the conversion of the ageing Uskmouth coal power plant to run on waste pellets by 2021. It is also focusing on a tidal energy project off the coast of France to be completed by 2024.
  • SOLAR POWERED CAR: Hyundai has launched the first solar powered car in Korea which promises drivers up to 800 miles of free driving a year. The car is a hybrid design, running in conjunction with a petrol engine. Left in the sunshine for six hours, the panels can charge the car’s battery by up to 60%.
  • UBS ESG: UBS Asset Management has launched three new ESG ETFs – Core eurozone ESG-screened blue-chips are now investible via the UBS ETF Euro Stoxx 50 ESG Ucits ETF. UBS AM has said that the new product allows investors to receive similar performance characteristics to the standard Euro Stoxx 50 exposure, with the additional bonus of ESG criteria factored in.