Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 21 January 2022

21st January 2022

This week BlackRock CEO and Chairman Larry Fink released his annual “Dear CEO” letter to shareholders, delivering his annual update on what he views as the pressing ESG concerns for BlackRock, and the wider investment sector.


With Mr Fink being at the helm of the world’s largest fund manager, his annual letter is a widely read edict that this year has outlined his views on stakeholder capitalism, BlackRock’s commitment to remaining invested in fossil fuel companies, lest they fall into the hands of the less regulated private market, and the need to address employment and labour concerns.


Despite Fink seeking to reject accusations of being ‘woke’, he has received backlash from conservative US lawmakers concerned about the impact he may have on the nation’s fossil fuel sector. Conversely, he has won few plaudits from environmental activists due to his engagement, rather than divestment approach.


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Top sustainability stories this week..

Green transport..

CROWNING SPIRIT OF INNOVATION Rolls-Royce’s battery-powered plane has been recognised as the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle, flying at 623km/h in test flights. Despite this advancement, further research will need to be undertaken to reduce the weight of batteries to assist with longer endurance and distance for Rolls-Royce electric planes.

BRITISHVOLT TO POWER THE EVS Britishvolt has announced that the UK government will invest £100m in Britishvolt’s Gigafactory from its Automotive Transformation Fund. Britishvolt’s Gigafactory is expected to construct batteries that can support 300,000 EVs per year and is anticipated to create 8,000 new jobs across the UK.

Must do better..

NO TIME TO DIE The UK has published its Third Climate Change Risk Assessment, which assess the future damage of climate change, including the harm it will cause biodiversity and the impact of extreme heat and increasing frequency of power failures, should action be delayed.

DECONGESTING TRAFFIC London Mayor Sadiq Khan is considering raising London’s road pricing, after it was found that the capital only achieved a 7% reduction in traffic greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding the transition..

SCOTLAND FOR THE SCOTWIND Crown Estate Scotland has announced that of the 74 applications submitted, 17 projects were selected for the ScotWind leasing round, the first offshore wind round in Scotland in over a decade. A total of just under £700m will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees, which will be passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.

TRANSFORMING ENERGY TRANSITIONS Carlyle Group is to back New York City based NineDot Energy, a developer of community-scale clean energy projects. The investment will enable NineDot to develop, build, and operate over 400 megawatts of clean energy systems in New York by 2026.

HIGH FASHION, BIG LOAN Burberry has recently signed onto a £300m sustainability-linked loan from Lloyds Bank that will aim to advance the luxury retailer’s goal of becoming net-zero by 2040.

Net zero ambitions..

YES TO NET-ZERO A recent PWC survey reported that of the 4,500 CEOs across 89 countries, the UK’s CEOs are slightly ahead in the race for net-zero goals, with 34% of them committing to net-zero compared to 22% globally.

EXXON JOINS THE PARTY ExxonMobil has recently pledged a net-zero goal to cut its oil and gas emissions by 2050, despite previously claiming that a 2050 net-zero goal was unrealistic.

And finally..

HEALTHIER PLANET, HEALTHIER LIFE  According to a new study conducted by Blue Horizon and MSCI, 485 companies with ties in the plant-based and alternative proteins markets are more likely to have, on average, 95% lower value chain risks due to their strong commitment to decarbonisation.