Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 11 September 2020

11th September 2020

In the latest edition of ‘In the Hot Seat’ we caught up with Baroness Mary Goudie, member of the British House of Lords and global advocate for the rights of women and children, to hear how companies can promote equality and tackle Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

When discussing women in leadership, Mary talked about the importance of having “the right mentoring/development structures in place to create a fair pipeline where men and women have the same opportunities.” She also pointed out that companies must “take responsibility” and actively address the weak links within their supply chain.

 

Education was another key topic. For Mary, governments around the world need to ensure education remains a priority and that “women and girls do not lose out on opportunities of an education as they take on more responsibility at home or are forced to work to pay family bills.” So how can we drive change? Well Mary was a firm advocate for legislation, arguing that it was important that “governments have legislation in place to stop FGM, child marriage and violence.” The full interview can be read here.

 

Turning to the Environment, Business Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma gave some insight as to the upcoming COP26 agenda during a grilling from the Environmental Audit Committee.

 

Sharma’s announcement that there will be a number of “finance events” in the run up to COP26 was particularly noteworthy as the events will see Mark Carney showcase the recent action he has been undertaking as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and could possibly make quite an impact on the sustainable finance agenda.

 

On COP26 itself, Sharma stressed that a physical “face-to-face” summit would be required to deliver the level of negotiations needed to create a new global agreement on climate action. Whilst it is encouraging to hear the Secretary of State’s commitment to securing real progress, Covid-19 might still be a disrupting factor during November 2021 when the COP is due to be held. With COP26 already suffering a one-year delay, it will have to go ahead in some form to secure the global coordination required to tackle the ever-growing threat of climate change. Businesses may therefore need to be adaptable if they wish to make an impact during the event.

 

Maitland/AMO Sustain Team 


A round-up of this week’s sustainability news…

In Business

  • RIO TINTO BOARD CHANGES: Following investor pressure over the Juukan Gorge incident, Jean-Sébastien Jacques has stepped down as CEO of Rio Tinto. Chris Salisbury, CEO Iron Ore and Simone Niven, Group Executive Corporate Relations are also stepping down.
  • ZAP-PAY: Zap-Map has launched a new service which enables users to pay to charge their EVs on different networks via one app – Zap-Pay. The first network available will be Engenie followed by additional partners including Hubsta, LiFe and ESB EV Solutions.
  • SUSTAINABLE SPORTSWEAR: Presca, a sustainable fashion brand, has partnered with Poseidon Plastics and Teesside University on a new project that it hopes will lead to the creation of a range of “fully circular” sportswear. The fashion brand already sells a circular t-shirt dubbed the Forever Tee, which is created using 5.2 plastic bottles and can be sent back to the brand to be recycled.
  • RECYCL-IN: INEOS Olefins & Polymers has announced a partnership with Saica Natura to help increase and improve its recycled plastic offering. The two firms will expand the Recycl-IN range of products to include flexible packaging solutions with over 60% recycled content.
  • PLANT-BASED PIZZA: Dominos is expanding its plant-based offering with two new vegan pizzas that will be available at 1,200 stores across the UK. The move follows a successful trial at 46 locations earlier this year.
  • VIRTUOUS VODKA: Arbikie Distillery has created a climate positive vodka that generates saves on carbon. The Nadar Vodka is made from peas, which are more environmentally friendly than the cereal crops usually used to produce the spirit.
  • SEASON OF SUSTAINABILITY: Sky has announced that all Premier and English Football League matches shown on its Sports channel will be certified as 3-star albert sustainable productions. The ‘Season of Sustainability’ is due to kick off with the Liverpool vs Leeds United match.
  • ECO-SHAMPOO: L’Oréal has announced that its Elvive hair brand will now use packaging made from 100% recycled plastic, saving 900 tonnes of plastic annually as part of its efforts to tackle the plastic crisis.
  • AA EV: To mark the launch of the world’s first EV Day, roadside support firm the AA has announced it will be launching a dedicated EV Support Service for both EV drivers and charging networks.
  • PROFESSOR GREEN: Oxford University, in partnership with Swiss investment firm Lombard Odier, has announced the creation of the first professorship dedicated to sustainable finance. The Lombard Odier Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Sustainable Finance will be based at Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment within the School of Geography and the Environment.
  • I’M LOVIN’ IT: McDonalds has partnered with Terracycle to use their circular packaging service Loop, which will enable customers to opt for a durable Loop-created cup for a small deposit that will be redeemed by returning the cup to a restaurant where it will be cleaned and reused through Loop. The new system aims to reduce packaging waste and will be trialled next year in several UK locations.
  • UBER EV: Uber has announced that 100% of its rides will be fully electric in Europe, the US and Canada by the end of the decade, and the rest of the world by 2040. Uber has pledged $800m of investment to help drivers make the electric transition by 2025.

In Politics

  • INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGY: The Confederation of British Industry has published a new report which calls for regulatory bodies to be awarded more responsibility for ensuring the delivery of infrastructure is in line with the UK’s net zero emissions target.
  • WORLD EV DAY: The UK government marked World EV Day with a host of announcements to help accelerate the electric transition, including a £12m funding package for promising EV tech.
  • ALL TALK NO ACTION: Business Secretary Alok Sharma has promised that the government will tackle the net-zero 2050 emissions pledge through a “joined-up thinking” approach but was unable to confirm or layout any concrete policy announcements that would make sure that fossil fuels weren’t locked into the future economy.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS: Climate Assembly UK has sent the government a report that outlines policy and lifestyle recommendations to help the UK shape its net zero transition.

In Investment

  • FUND(ER) THE SEA: Credit Suisse is set to launch a new fund in partnership with the Ocean Foundation that will be specifically aimed at improving marine health. The new fund will support the bank’s strategy to back projects that drive progress towards the UN SDGs.
  • HOME REIT IPO: Alvarium Home REIT Advisors has announced its intention to launch an IPO of ordinary shares in Home REIT in order to raise £250m to invest in a diversified portfolio of UK real estate assets that will provide accommodation for the homeless.
  • WORKING GROUP: Twelve investment firms in the UK, including Mercer and Willis Towers Watson, have come together to establish the Investment Consultants Sustainability Working Group, which aims to improve sustainable investment practices across the investment sector.
  • ONE TALK, ONE TON: New York Life Investments have launched the One-talk, One-Ton Challenge, which encourages financial advisors to pledge to have one ESG conversation with a client each week beginning on Zero Emissions Day (September 21) and ending on October 23. For each conversation that takes place, New York Life Investments will offset one ton of carbon with an ultimate goal of offsetting 10,000 tons of carbon over the course of the challenge.
  • AIIB & AMUNDI: Amundi and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have partnered to launch the new AIIB-Amundi Climate Change Investment Framework – a new investment benchmark tool that is the first to holistically assess climate risks and opportunities in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • TRAFIGURA: Trafigura Group, an independent aluminium trader, has established a new ‘Low Carbon Aluminium’ financing platform of up to $500m with support from Natixis and Rabobank.
  • BAMBOO AND PALLADIUM: Bamboo Capital Partners and Palladium have agreed a long-term strategic partnership, which will see Palladium take a minority stake in Bamboo to help mobilise $1bn in impact capital by 2023.
  • EMF: Over 30 leaders from some of the world’s largest banks and asset managers, including BlackRock and Lloyds, have backed new research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which emphasises how green finance can stimulate the economy.
  • CREDIT SUISSE: Credit Suisse and the Climate Bonds Initiative have come together on a project to broaden sustainable finance. The two have published a framework for defining transition pathways for ‘brown businesses’. Credit Suisse have said the goal of the project is to establish a framework that “keeps a high bar to avoid greenwashing”.

In Research

  • NEED FOR FUNDING: Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called for increased funding to help tackle air pollution. His calls come as researchers at the Clean Air Fund released a report that highlights opportunities for collaboration between charitable and government-funded efforts to tackle a range of air polluting sources.
  • CLEAN AIR FOR THE ECONOMY: A new study from CBI Economics and the Clean Air Fund has revealed that the UK economy could be boosted by £1.6bn if the World Health Organisation targets for air quality were met. The research suggests that this would help reduce working days lost due to the effects of air pollution on public health.