Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 2 July 2021

2nd July 2021

Despite it feeling like Summer is yet to begin in the UK, cities in North America have been battling unprecedented heat waves, which scientists warn will become more common unless global carbon emissions are tackled.

 

Tragically dozens have died in Canada as British Columbia recorded temperatures as high as 49C. The heat over western parts of Canada and the US has been caused by a dome of static high-pressure hot air stretching from California to the Arctic territories. Before Sunday, temperatures in Canada had never passed 45C.

 

US President Joe Biden said the heatwave was tied to climate change during a speech he delivered earlier in the week on the country’s infrastructure network, which he intends to upgrade to help reduce the US’ emissions alongside creating thousands of jobs. Whilst linking individual weather phenomenon with climate change can be complicated, global temperatures rising above the 1.5C threshold will increase the frequency of such extreme weather events. As Sir David King, the former UK chief scientific adviser, asserts: “Nowhere is safe … who would have predicted a temperature of 48/49C in British Columbia?”

 

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

In Business

  • NISSAN GIGAFACTORY: Nissan has announced plans to create a new £1bn flagship EV hub and battery Gigafactory at its Sunderland site. The Group said the new plans would create a “world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem”.
  • ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK: Amazon’s 2020 sustainability report has revealed that whilst its carbon intensity decreased 16% last year (as it worked to decarbonise its fleet and shift to renewable energy sources), absolute carbon emissions grew almost 20% due to the pandemic e-commerce boom.
  • LEGALLY MONDE: Law firms including Slaughter & May, Mischon de Reya and Clifford Chance have joined the newly formed Net Zero Lawyers Alliance – a new initiative that aims to increase the ability of the sector to support to global net zero transition.
  • AVIATION PARTNERS: Rolls-Royce and Shell have signed a (MoU) to help build towards their net-zero targets by developing and scaling Sustainable Aviation Fuels for the sector.
  • GRIDSERVE EXPANSION: Gridserve has announced plans to launch a UK-wide network of rapid EV charging points in a bid to help combat range anxiety.
  • COKE AMBITION: Coca-Cola Great Britain is switching all plastics bottles of 500ml or less to 100% recycled plastics, reducing the company’s use of virgin plastics.
  • WASTE INVESTMENT: The Environmental Services Association, which represents the UK’s resource and waste management industry, has unveiled a sector-wide commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 through a £10bn investment into new recycling infrastructure.
  • UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION: An undercover investigation from Greenpeace has caught lobbyists for ExxonMobil on camera confirming that the Group is actively working to undo federal climate policies and has funded shadow lobby groups to spread active messaging around climate change denial.

In Politics

  • BIODIVERSITY RISKS: An Environmental Audit Committee report has found that recent sharp declines in nature-based losses have left the UK with the lowest biodiversity level of the G7 countries.
  • GREEN BOND: The Treasury has announced details of the UK’s debut green bond – The Green Gilt and NS&I’s Green Savings Bonds – with proceeds going towards renewable energy, climate adaptation and zero emission transport projects.
  • RIGHT TO REPAIR: The UK government’s new ‘Right to Repair’ rules have come into effect, with manufacturers now legally required to make spare parts available to people purchasing electrical appliances.
  • ZEFI: The government has launched the first round of its £3m Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure competition, which looks to support the development of the charging and fuelling infrastructure that could enable net zero emission flight and help support the industry reach net zero by 2050.
  • THE SOONER THE BETTER: The government has brought the official date for the phase out of coal-fired electricity in the UK forward a year to October 2024.
  • CLOSED CAGE: The European Commission is set to introduce legislation banning the use of cages in the animal agriculture system by 2027.
  • INQUIRY: The UK’s BEIS Select Committee has launched an inquiry into net-zero governance. The inquiry will examine the role of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in delivering net zero, and how it can best engage with other public sector bodies and the general public to drive the push for net zero.

In Investment

  • WHERE’S THE BEEF?: The FAIRR coalition, which consists of investors with over $5tr of AuM, has released a statement accusing G20 governments of failure to produce detailed plans to tackle agricultural emissions.
  • INVESTORS FOR A JUST TRANSITION: Finance for Tomorrow has launched ‘Investors for a Just Transition’ – the first global investor engagement coalition on the just transition. The coalition represents €3.6tr and includes Amundi, CPR Asset Management and Rothschild & Co Asset Management Europe.
  • COSTLY FAILURES: Global equity valuations could fall by as much as 20% if companies are suddenly hit with a $75 per tonne price on carbon, according to new analysis from Van Lanschot Kempen.
  • AXA UPDATE: The ‘warming potential’ of AXA Group’s investment portfolio is 2.7°C, well below the market average of 3.2°C, according to its 2021 climate report. The report says that the carbon emissions from AXA’s investments continue to decline, and it is on track to meet its -20% by 2025 target.
  • WELLCOME NEWS: The endowment foundation Wellcome has committed its investment portfolio to net zero by 2050, the largest commitment by a UK charity.
  • WATER IMPACT: Impax Asset Management and AP7 have released a report calling for water impact data to be included in corporate financial reporting where it is material and decision-useful.

In Research

  • WARNING: The world requires 1.2gt of negative emissions annually by 2025 in order to meet the targets of the Paris agreement, according to a new study by the Coalition for Negative Emissions.
  • LOST REVENUES: A potential €54bn of revenues were “lost or forgone” in the EU’s carbon market in the 2013-19 period because of the free allocation of carbon allowances, according to new analysis from WWF.