Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – Thursday 11 July 2019

11th July 2019

In Business

  • TOUGH ACTION NEEDED: Sir David Attenborough spoke to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee and warned that urgent action was needed to tackle climate change. Tough, unpopular steps would need to be taken by the government – including increasing the price of airline tickets – otherwise we risk areas of Africa becoming uninhabitable and coral reefs turning stark white and dying.
  • EV100 GROWS: Centrica, SSE and Mitie are the latest firms to join the EV initiative – pledging to electrifying their entire vehicle fleets by 2030.
  • GOALS!: Forest Green Rovers FC have unveiled their new football kit, which is made from 50% bamboo and uses less plastic than traditional football gear. The kit is a step towards their aim to become ‘the world’s greenest football club’.
  • SAVE MONEY. LIVE BETTER: After a successful trial, Asda will now offer free tap water refills at all of their in-store cafés. The initiative is a partnership with City to Sea, who hope to reduce plastic and create a network of these free refill points in every major UK town and city by 2021. The refills will be available to all members of the public, regardless if they are a customer or not.
  • DEAR STARBUCKS: More than 46,500 people have sent an online letter to Starbucks, urging the coffee chain to stop charging more for non-dairy alternatives. The letter, organised by PETA, stresses that choosing an environmentally friendly option should not add a financial burden.
  • WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: Tesco is helping to cut down on food waste by recycling unsold bread and baguettes from their in-store bakeries into a range of olive crostini and bread pudding which will be sold in 24 stores nationwide. Tesco has estimated that they could cut their bread waste by 50% if the new products were sold across all stores.
  • JUST ADD WATER: Unilever has launched their innovate new bottles for Cif cleaning spray bottles, which are expected to remove around 1.5m plastic bottles from UK supermarkets, whilst saving customers money. Customers will be able to purchase the Cif ‘ecorefill’ product which is made using 75% less plastic than traditional bottles, the lightweight bottle is designed to be attached to the top of current Cif bottles and releases concentrated formula which consumers dilute with water at home.
  • IMAGINE: Paul Polman, ex-CEO of Unilever, has unveiled his first major initiative since leaving the consumer goods giant. Polman has announced plans for Imagine – a new sustainability foundation which will aim to tackle the climate crisis, global poverty and help companies to step up action in order to reach the UN’s 2030 SDGs.
  • WHAT’S IN A NAME: Octopus Energy Investments has announced their rebrand and will now be called Octopus Renewables. The company says the name is “intended to more accurately relect the business’ core mission – to accelerate the transition to a future powered by renewable energy”.
  • NESTLE PACKAGING INITIATIVE: Nestlé has launched new recyclable paper packaging for their YES! snack bars. The coated paper packaging is from sources certified as sustainable and is a step towards Nestlé’s pledge to ensure all packaging is recyclable or reusable by 2025.
  • E.ON MAKES SWITCH: E.ON has announced that all tariffs have now switched to 100% renewable energy as standard. The energy giant moved all 3.3m of its domestic customers to 100% renewable energy supplies at no extra cost to the customers.
  • BIGGER & BETTER: Extinction Rebellion has announced there are plans to disrupt London that will eclipse the April protests earlier this year. Over 1000 people were arrested during Extinction Rebellions’s April protests.

In Politics

  • BALI BANS PLASTIC: Bali Governor Wayan Koster has announced a total ban on all single-use plastics in order to reduce ocean pollution. The cut is hoped to reduce marine plastic by 70% within a year.
  • PEOPLE AND NATURE CAMPAIGN: The People and Nature campaign,  backed by MPs including Caroline Lucas, calls on the UK Government to tackle ‘ecological crises’ in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Methods suggested include making all UK aid “nature positive” to enhance the natural environment and ceasing all harmful investments that contribute to deforestation and climate change.
  • EV INVESTMENT: The Government has allocated £37m for innovative EV charging projects, specifically aimed at initiatives that focus on ensuring more EVs can charge without the need to plug in a cable. Recipients of funding include Urban Foresight and Char.gy.
  • APGG FOR NATURE: The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Nature has now launched – the group will engage with Parliamentarians about nature and issues relating to its management, protection and enhancement.
  • INVASIVE SERIES QUESTIONING: The Environmental Audit Committee has held the final evidence session of its inquiry regarding the threat of invasive species.
  • SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSPARENCY: The Home Office has launched a consultation on transparency in supply chains as part of action to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. Proposals include making reporting on specific topics compulsory – currently the government only suggests organisations report on six areas. The consolation also proposes the government develop an online registry for modern slavery statements and amend legislation to make publication on this registry mandatory for business.
  • IMPROVEMENT NEEDED: The Environment Agency has called on water companies to vastly improve their efforts to protect the environment. In a report published by the EA, they called current efforts undertaken by water companies as ‘simply unnaceptable’.
  • GREEN TAX: France has announced the introduction of an environmental tax on airlines that fly out of the country. The green tax will be progressive and levied on tickets – it is hoped the measure will bring in €180m in 2020.

In Innovation

  • PAINT THE TOWN GREEN: Graphene Company has released the UK’s first commercially-available ‘carbon neutral’ graphene paints. For each square metre painted with the innovative formula, 120g of CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere over the course of its lifetime.
  • CO2 PELLETS: Research from the University of Sheffield has revealed that captured CO2 could be used to create fertiliser pellets that could help restore soil health and increase harvests. Lab test results have shown that the pellets boost yield by 38% and improve soil retention by 62%.
  • CUT METHANE IN COWS: Research from the University of Adelaide has revealed it is possible to breed cattle to reduce their methane emissions. The study shows that the genetics of an individual cow strongly affect the make-up of the microorganisms in its stomach.

In Peril

  • CATASTROPHE: The UN has warned about the dangers of climate crisis disasters, claiming that they are occurring at a rate of one a week. Whilst large scale catastrophes make global headlines, smaller scale ‘lower impact events’ are occurring much faster than predicted.
  • SOMETHING FISHY GOING ON: Across the Gulf of Tunis, domestic and industrial waste from the capital is impacting fish populations and presenting a hazard to human health. Locals describe the few fish left are dirty claiming, “If you open up their gills, you can see that the inside is black”.
  • CO2 RISKS: Whilst most are aware of the dangers of air pollution, researchers are now warning about the levels of CO2 we are exposed to. A study released has detailed how indoor levels of carbon dioxide could be clouding our thinking and pose a real threat to human health.
  • FOUL FOWL: An investigation has revealed that more than 1m salmonella-contaminated chickens have been sent to the UK in the last 2 years. Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of frozen chicken, exported $750m of chicken to Europe in 2018, but it was found that one in five birds were contaminated with salmonella.
  • SUNNY LONDON: A report in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, has revealed that more than 75% of the world’s major cities will experience different climates in 2050, even if carbon dioxide emissions are drastically reduced in the next ten years. London could be more like Barcelona, Milan like Dallas and Seattle more like San Francisco.

In Investment

  • RE-LABEL: LSE has re-labelled a group of oil and gas companies as ‘non-renewable’ in its FTSE Russell index. The relabelling signifies a shift in the industry as there is growing pressure from investors for fossil fuel companies to consider more eco-friendly business practices.
  • GREEN GERMANY: Germany is preparing to launch its first green government bond, a statement released by the German Federal Ministry of Finance said “Against the backdrop of Germany’s specific role as a benchmark issuer in international capital markets, this process must be conducted with utmost scrutiny and discretion.”
  • CARBON PRICE CAMPAIGN: Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Ovo Energy, has pledged £1m to a campaign that calls for a ‘general carbon charge’. The ‘ZeroC’ campaign was launched by Fitzpatrick, who believes that a carbon price is the only way for the UK to meet its 2050 net zero emissions target.
  • WORLD’S FIRST: FTSE Russell has launched what they are claiming is the world’s first climate risk government bond index to offer a quantitative measure of the risks posed by climate change to a nation’s sovereign debt. The FTSE Climate Risk-Adjusted World Government Bond Index is derived from the index provider’s benchmark of investment-grade sovereign bonds for 22 developed countries.
  • GCF INVESTS: The Global Climate Fund has pledged to commit $266.9m in 10 projects in emerging markets. The total amount invested, including co-financing, will be $1.4bn for low emission, carbon-resilient development. The fund – now in its fifth year – is looking for its first top-up as initial resources will be invested by the end of 2019.
  • HSBC GREEN LOANS: Following the launch of HSBC’s UK green finance strategy, the firm has introduced a range of green loans for small and medium sized UK enterprises. The introduction of these loans aims to support the government’s net zero 2050 emissions target. The minimum investment will be £300,000.
  • MAN GROUP ESG ANALYTICS: Man Group has launched a new dashboard-style tool that will allow their investment teams to monitor non-financial risks and analyse ESG factors across single issuers, portfolios and indices. Man Group ESG analytics will help improve the group’s responsible investment abilities and will also feature stewardship data to users.
  • GREEN CREDIT CONTINUUM: The European Investment Bank and Amundi have launched the Green Credit Continuum – a programme that allows  Europe’s smaller enterprises to gain access to green debt instruments. The programme will commit €60m with the aim to raise €1bn within three years.
  • CHINA CAUSES DROP: Global investment in clean energy dropped to its lowest level in five years during the first six months of this year, as a result of China’s sharp decline in renewable energy projects. Levels fell 14% to $117.6bn.
  • MSCI CHANGES: MSCI has increased the coverage provided by its ESG research team  with the launch of new ratings for 32,000 funds and ETFs. The move is designed to increase transparency in ESG investing.

MEAT IS MURDER PICNIC

On Saturday 20th July, vegan group Meat is Murder will be hosting a vegan outreach in Piccadilly Circus followed by a picnic in Green Park.