Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – Thursday 26 September 2019

26th September 2019

Climate Week round-up

  • GREEN SKYLINES: To mark the kick-off of Climate Week NYC, several iconic buildings including One World Trade, 30 Rock and Madison Square Garden went green – turning the iconic NYC skyline green. In addition the largest and most iconic billboards in Times Square showed footage of the Amazon Rainforest.
  • EV100: Climate Week NYC saw companies including Takashimaya and Novo Nordisk sign up to The Climate Group’s corporate leadership initiative EV100, which aims to make EVs ‘the new normal’ by 2030 by transitioning fleets and installing charge points for customers and employees.
  • RE100: Several large companies pledged their commitment to sourcing 100% renewable energy by joining the RE100 initiative. New members include lululemon, Accenture and Deutsche Telekom.
  • UNGA: The first high-level General Debate at the UN General Assembly was on 24 September. In time for the 74th UNGA, 87 major companies across 27 countries pledged their commitment to align with the 1.5C ambition.

In Business­

  • APPLE INITIATIVE: Apple has announced that they have developed the world’s first smartphone to use 100% recycled rare earth materials. The new iPhone is a step towards the company’s goal to make its products using only recycled and renewable materials.
  • MORE JOIN IN: Over 50 companies including Burberry, Danone and Salesforce have agreed to set a 1.5C science-based target or hit net zero by 2050. The companies join 28 others worldwide who publicly committed to 1.5C goals in July this year.
  • AMAZON’S NEW PLEDGE: Amazon has co-founded the Climate Pledge with Christiana Figueres (founder of the Global Optimism group) – which calls on members to become net zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s global goal. As part of this, Amazon has ordered the largest ever order of 100,000 EVs.
  • SDP: The Sustainable Dairy Partnership has launched, with members including Danone and Nestlé. The initiative aims to bring firms in the market together to streamline and improve their sustainability efforts and processes.
  • POT-ENTIAL FOR CHANGE: Tefal has partnered with Sainbury’s to launch a new recycling scheme that will run for three weeks. Customers will be offered discounts on Tefal’s new recycled range of pots and pans and will be encouraged to recycle unwanted ones in ‘dump bins’ in 300 Sainsbury’s stores.
  • GETTING TO ZERO COALITION: The shipping industry has introduced the Getting to Zero coalition – a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, Friends of the Ocean, and the World Economic Forum that aims to lead and push the efforts for the sector to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The alliance aims to “lead the push” for delivering zero emission vessels by 2030 as part of wider green goals.
  • WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: Charities WRAP and IDG launched the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap last year with over 156 food businesses reporting food waste levels. By signing up, the companies have collectively prevented an estimated £85m worth of food going to waste over the past 12 months.
  • SEA THE FUTURE: Philanthropic organisation, the Minderoo Foundation has pledged $300m to Sea the Future – an new industry-focused initiative designed to make recycled plastics a cheaper alternative to virgin materials. The initiative was launched at the UN headquarters and is expected to raise over $20bn annually to help “keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment”.
  • COAL OUT: A Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) report has revealed that 400 of 746 of the largest coal plant operators and coal producers are still planning to expand their coal operations despite the ongoing global climate crisis.
  • BRILLIANT BATTERIES: A new report from the Global Battery Alliance has claimed that a rapid acceleration of battery uptake in the transport and power sectors could cut their collective annual carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. These results would mean the two sectors would align with the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory. The report further stresses that in order for this to be achievable, the battery value chain would need to expand by almost 20 times its current size before 2030.

In Politics

  • LABOUR’S GREEN POLICY: Labour party announced at its annual party conference in Brighton its plans to bring UK emissions to net zero by 2030, 20 earlier than the government’s initial target. The Green New Deal aims to decarbonise the UK through a “radical policy package to increase social and economic justice”. Changes include sustainable plans for the NHS, expected to save 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • GREEN CARS REVOLUTION: Labour Party has made plans to invest up to £6bn in the UK’s green car industry. The party’s plans to support electric vehicle new factories will preserve 186,000 jobs and create 32,000 roles to boost the UK’s auto industry.
  • MOVING GREEN: On the tenth anniversary of the Transport Technology Research and Innovation Grant, the Department of Transport announced that green tech start-ups are invited to apply for a £1m shared government funding to support innovative green transport projects.
  • OCEAN PROTECTION: The UK has announced it will lead a new global initiative to fight plastic pollution, warming sea temperature and reduce human impact on the world’s oceans and its wildlife.
  • BORIS’ CLIMATE FUND: PM Boris Johnson has announced a combined £1.2bn fund for climate emergency and protection of endangered species. The fund combines a £1bn fund for UK investors to green tech initiatives, and a separate £220m fund to preserve biodiversity.
  • ENGLAND’S NATIONAL PARKS: An independent review, led by writer Julian Glover, encourages bold action to preserve England’s National Parks and make them greener and accessible to everyone.

In Innovation

  • NOVAPRO: Yelo, a UK-based rapeseed oil company, is helping tackle the issue of deforestation with a new rapeseed-based feed for dairy cows. Soy production is a prominent cause for deforestation and Yelo’s ‘NovaPro’ is instead based on rapeseed. Farm trials have resulted in cows producing an average 1.7l more of milk daily.
  • COCONUT STORAGE: Dutch start-up CocoPallet is turning coconut husks into pallets. The pallets are cheaper, lighter and more environmentally friendly than their wood counterparts and require no glue in their assembly process.
  • COOL IDEA: Turkish white-goods brand Arcelik is helping consumers cut down their carbon footprint with their ‘Bio-Fridge’. The fridge is composed of lower-carbon plant-based plastics that emits only 20% of the carbon in comparison to their fossil-fuel-based equivalents over the course of its lifetime.
  • CARBON-FREE CARRIERS: An electric plane project called HyFlyer has received £5.3m in funding from the UK government to test and develop their zero-emission aircraft. The small plane is retrofitted with ‘high-power’ hydrogen technology.
  • BOAT MICROGRIDS: A report from the University of New South Wales has discussed the use of electric boats fitted with solar panels as microgrids for islands who have historically relied on fossil fuels. The report claims that this novel idea would help decarbonise electricity grids in a way that helps prevent issues including habitat deforestation.

In Peril

  • SWINE FEVER HITS SOUTH KOREA: South Korea has confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever. Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist and ASF expert, has described the current epidemic affecting China and South Korea as “probably the most serious animal health disease [the world has] had for a long time, if not ever”.
  • ANNUAL EXTREME EVENTS: A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has revealed that regardless of whether carbon emissions are curbed or not, extreme sea level events previously appearing once a century will now occur annually by 2050.
  • COD LOSES BLUE TICK: Sustainably caught North Sea cod could be due to disappear from the shelves of UK supermarkets as it is revealed that the Marine Stewardship Council has decided to suspend the ‘blue tick’ certification after it was discovered there was a dramatic decline in cod populations.
  • BYE BYE BIRDIE: A study published in Science magazine has revealed that the bird population in Canada and the US has fallen by 29% since 1970. The scientists who published the study called it a “widespread ecological crisis”. Whilst the reasons behind the population plummet weren’t analysed, a potential factor is loss of habitat due to urbanisation.

In Investment

  • EARLY BIRD: Ingka Group has invested €2.5bn in onsite and offsite renewables and aims to fuel its retail operation fully from renewables by 2025 and tackle fossil fuel-based heating and cooling by 2030. The group is set to achieve its clean energy targets at least a year early.
  • CLEAN MONEY: 130 banks representing about one third of the global banking sector, holding assets of $47tr, have agreed to the Principles of Responsible Banking. They have all agreed to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals to tackle the financial industry’s contribution to climate change.
  • DANISH GREEN TRANSITION: Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen announced that Danish pension funds, led by PensionDanmark, have committed to invest $50bn in the green transition by 2030, which represents almost 12% of its GDP.
  • NATIXIS’ GWF: Natixis now applies a ‘green weighting factor’ to its Corporate and Investment Banking branch, which will provide a framework to assess its investment based on their climate impact.
  • GCF: At this week’s UN Climate Action Summit, some countries, including Sweden and South Korea, made commitments to contribute to further contribute to the Green Climate Fund, adding a total of $1.4bn to the fund that now exceeds $7.3bn, following earlier commitments by Germany, France, UK and Canada.
  • BOND GREEN BOND: Italy’s Generali becomes the first insurer in the European Union to deliver a “green bond” which finances sustainable activities.
  • NORDIC WIND: Finnish wind power project Välikangas has been sold to Luxcare, one of the leading asset managers for renewable energy investments.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Woodland Trust is looking for 1m volunteers to join the UK’s biggest ever tree-planting campaign. The campaign is part of an effort to help the climate emergency. The event will be taking place on the 30th November.