Maitland/AMO Green Monitor – Thursday 28 November 2019

28th November 2019

In Business

  • COMPOSTABLE MEDICINE BAGS: Boots will now offer customers compostable pharmacy bags in an effort to cut down unnecessary plastic waste. The bags are 100% compostable and made of potato starch.
  • PREMIER INNS CUT DOWN ON PLASTIC: Parent company of Premier Inn, Whitbread, has announced a new plan to cut out all unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025. The company called the move against plastic waste the “most far-reaching commitment in the hotel industry to date”.
  • PLASTIC-FREE CHRISTMAS: Iceland will be offering customers the option of plastic-free or reduced-plastic Christmas dinner options – with the entire range consisting of 97% less plastic packaging than in previous years.
  • CHARGE PARK: NCP and Centrica have partnered to open the world’s first ‘charge park’ for EVs, in a bid to make it easier for commercial fleets and taxis to charge their vehicles in public spaces.
  • HYDO-TRAINS: The RSSB, a rail industry body, has appointed engineering firm Arup to put together a study regarding the issues and timings of putting hydrogen-powered trains on the Great Britain mainline. The study is set to close in February next year.
  • IKEA’S GREEN INVESTMENT: IKEA has announced it will invest €200m into its ‘climate positive’ sustainability strategy to help tackle issues such as carbon emissions, deforestation and environmental protection.
  • ONE-WIPE BAN: Selfridges has introduced a ban on single-use beauty wipes after research showed that customers were unaware of the harmful effects of wipes on the environment. A single-use plastic-based wipe can take up to 100 years to fully degrade, however, around 20% of Selfridges customers surveyed used them daily.
  • AXA CLIMATE STRATEGY: AXA has introduced a series of new initiatives to help them contribute towards the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement including doubling their green investment target to €24bn by 2023 and setting a new ambition towards a 0% coal energy world.

In Politics

  • GREEN DONATIONS: Ecotricity owner Dale Vince has emerged as Labour’s largest election donor as he donated £15,000 to the political party days before it pledged to boost the renewables sector by building thousands of wind turbines.
  • TORY MANIFESTO: The Conservative Party has launched their election manifesto. The party has pledged to reach “Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution”.
  • ALARMING WARMING: The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) annual Emissions Gap Report was published on Tuesday, warning that global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions must increase if the world wants to achieve its warming target limit. The report claims global emissions must drop by 7.6 per cent every year in the next decade to meet the target. However, scientists claim it is still possible to limit warming to 2C. The report highlights the necessity for the EU to have totally carbon-free electricity; for the US to have 100 per cent new electric cars by 2030 and for China to ban new coal power stations.
  • LABOUR’S DECARBONISATION PLANS: The radical plan announced at Labour’s party conference to become net zero by 2030 is absent from the manifesto’s climate policy narrative. Instead, there is a commitment to a more moderate Green New Deal which plans for nearly 90 per cent of electricity and 50 per cent of heat to be delivered using renewable and low carbon sources by 2030.
  • BOLDER 2030 CARBON TARGET: A group of some of Europe’s largest businesses has called on the EU to increase its emissions goal for 2030 from 40 per cent to 55 per cent cut. This decision argues that early action to cut emissions over the next decade will help put the bloc on the most cost-effective path for ensuring climate neutrality by 2050. Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed to make bolder climate action central to her mandate.
  • ING SURVEY: According to a major survey of European, American, and Australian consumers released by ING, almost three quarters of European consumers are willing to accept slower economic growth in favour of increased environmental protection. In the UK, over 70 per cent of people said protecting the environment should be a priority, even if it slows growth.
  • ECOCIDE: The Green Party has pledged to make ‘Ecocide’ a criminal offence if it wins the upcoming General Election, vowing to impose individual liability on company directors for environmental damage. The proposed law would punish companies responsible for polluting rivers and oceans, as well as firms involved in large-scale deforestation and pollution.

In Innovation

  • SUNLESS SOLAR FARMS: Lightsource BP have announced the results of a breakthrough trial which demonstrates the power of solar in balancing the energy grid at night. The trial showed the UK-based solar developer use one of its solar plants to provide “reactive power” assistance, helping to manage the flow of energy on the grid during the night.
  • ECO-CONSCIOUS CONTACTLESS: iZettle has launched the world’s first credit card reader that is made from 75% recycled ocean plastic. The company also announced plans to incorporate recycled plastic in all of its new products.
  • BEER ECO-DELIVERY: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), which owns brands including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, announced the completion of its first zero-emission beer delivery, 18 months after placing an order for 800 hydrogen-electric semi-trucks. Nikola Motor Company claims the AB InBev delivery marked the first time one of its hydrogen-electric semi-tucks has been used to make a commercial journey.
  • BYE UBER: Transport for London (TfL) confirmed on 25 November that Uber is not “fit and proper” to hold a private hire operating licence following concerns around passenger safety and data security. However, it is questioned whether this move will help or hinder the sustainable mobility transition, as Uber has set a time-bound target for electrification in London.

In Peril

  • SPAM: A new study commissioned by energy company OVO has found that 64m unnecessary emails are sent in Britain every day and warns that these emails have a weighty carbon footprint. The study claimed that if every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day, it would save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year.
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES FACE MORE TROUBLES: A report published in Nature Climate Change has found that almost 99% of endangered animals in the US are vulnerable to climate change.
  • SICK SEALS: Seal and otter populations in the Alaska have been hit by a killer infection from the North Atlantic that was spread by melting Arctic ice.

In Investment

  • GREENWASHING: AMF’s Robert Ophèle has called for Europe to speed up the introduction of common standards for ESG investing to prevent widespread greenwashing.
  • ACQUISITION BATTLE: A Mitsubishi-led consortium has acquired Dutch utility company Eneco for €4.1bn in an all-cash deal, beating rival offers from Royal Dutch Shell and private equity group KKR. The article mentions that after the completion of the transaction, Mitsubishi will also transfer more than 400 megawatts of its offshore wind activities to Eneco.
  • SDIC’S LSE DEPOSITARY RECEIPT: Chinese energy generation firm SDIC Power confirmed it would offer 10 per cent of its shares as global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). SDIC is worth £6.4bn, which means that the offering could be worth up to £640m. The Company said the proceeds would be further invested in renewable energy sources.
  • DOWNGRADE: Moody’s announced last week it’s considering stripping US oil company ExxonMobil of its triple-A credit rating. Concerns over ESG standards are most acute in the fossil fuel sector, where companies have been under increased pressure. Emissions targets could pose a threat to many more industries, as Moody’s has identified 11 sectors with a combined $2.2tn in rated debt as being in danger of a downgrade amid climate change concerns.
  • CRÉDIT WEARS PRADA: Italian designer Prada has secured a €50m deal with Crédit Agricole Group for a sustainability-linked loaned aimed at boosting the designer’s fashion label towards meeting environmental targets covering energy efficiency and more sustainable materials.
  • COAL DIVESTMENT: French banking company BNP Paribas vowed to cease all financing related to the European thermal coal sector by 2030 and set a new renewable energy investment target of €18bn by 2021. The banking giant will cease coal investment globally by 2040 in a move to limit its exposure to fossil fuel industries in favour of greener, lower risk investments.