Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 25 June 2021

25th June 2021

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has had another busy week, launching two progress reports that offer the independent adviser’s appraisal on the twin climate challenges: cutting emissions to Net Zero and adapting to the climate risks facing the UK.

 

“The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action” was the verdict delivered by Baroness Brown, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee. In addition to the need to better adapt to climate change, the Committee is calling for comprehensive policy frameworks to drive the major scale-up in emissions reduction required to achieve Net Zero.

 

The government has now been put under pressure by the CCC to release a number of strategies ahead of COP26, including the Hydrogen Strategy, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the Nature Strategy, and the final conclusion of the Treasury’s Net-Zero Review. Without these, the CCC argues, the government’s overarching Net-Zero Strategy due in Autumn will not be able to deliver economy-wide decarbonisation.

 

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

In Business

  • CO-OP PPA: Co-op Power has announced a new host of Power Purchase Agreements, which it says will save customers 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a day.
  • LIKE: Facebook has released its second annual sustainability report, which outlines its progress on its environmental targets. The report revealed that the Group successfully cut its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 94% on 2017 levels, exceeding its 75% target.
  • EON PROJECT: ON will be launching a new £4m project in London designed to help the Square Mile reach its 2040 net zero goal. The project will see E.ON install one of the largest zero carbon heating and cooling systems beneath the City.
  • RE100 UPDATE: The Climate Group has announced that the total electricity demand of companies signed up to its RE100 initiative is now greater than that of the major G7 economies including the UK, signalling that big businesses are committed to helping drive the global roll out of green energy capacity.
  • WILD INGLEBOROUGH: Green groups including WWF and Natural England have teamed up with local communities in Yorkshire to restore over 1,200 hectares in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The project aims to demonstrate ‘an alternative future’ for the UK’s uplands ahead of the COP26 summit.
  • PP RECYCLING POINTS: Sainsbury’s will be rolling out collection points for hard to recycle polypropylene film (typically found in packaging for products such as bread and crisps) at 520 of its stores nationwide.
  • DRE: The IKEA Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have partnered to launch a $1bn renewables push, which is hoped will accelerate the rollout of distributed renewable energy technologies and help developing economies scale up their emission reduction efforts.
  • GREEN HOME LOANS: TSB has launched a new Green Additional Borrowing mortgage product that offers more competitive rates for mortgage holders who commence with green home improvements including solar panel installations.
  • CCS: Storegga has today announced that it has begun engineering and design of a Direct Air Capture facility that will permanently remove between 500,000 and one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.

In Politics

  • IN THE SLOW LANE: Labour has launched an attack on the government’s green transport agenda noting that none of the 4,000 zero emissions buses announced by Ministers over a year ago are yet to appear.
  • SUCCESS FOR EAC: The government has accepted the EACs recommendations for the National Infrastructure Bank be a public institution on a permanent basis.
  • POLLUTION SOLUTION: The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change has urged the government to introduce new legally-binding air quality targets, saying that current plans are insufficient to protect the public from harm.
  • EA WARNING: The CEO of the Environment Agency (EA) has said that better regulation is needed in order to protect the environment and boost the economy as a recent EA report highlights the importance of environmental regulation in protecting air, water and land from pollution.

In Investment

  • FCA RULES: The FCA has launched proposals to extend climate risk reporting requirements to cover life insurers, asset managers and regulated pension providers as part of efforts to increase investment in support of the net zero transition.
  • POLICY PAPER: Aviva and WWF have published a policy paper that has laid out a series of recommendations for how the UK’s finance sector can be reformed to drive the transition to net zero emissions.
  • NEW SIGN-UPS: The CDP has announced that a record 168 global investors with a combined $17tr AuM have joined its Non-Disclosure campaign, which urges companies with high environmental impacts to publicly disclose their environmental data.
  • INVESTOR TOOLS: Investors are now able to fully assess the impact of investment portfolios on nature, people and society, according to a new report by the WWF, which analyses available tools and services for assessing portfolio impact.
  • TPR STRATEGY: The Pensions Regulator has announced its new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which outlines how the regulator plans to embed D&I throughout its organisation and support its regulated community to do the same.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION PLAN: The World Bank has announced its new Climate Change Action Plan that aims to deliver record levels of finance to assist with climate action in developing countries, decrease emissions and align financial flows with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In Research

  • COTTON CRISIS: A new report from the Cotton 2040 initiative and Forum for the Future has warned that the cotton industry is at risk of severe disruption due to the climate crisis, with 50% of the world’s cotton growing regions expected to face exposure to extreme temperatures and water shortages by 2040.
  • MISSION POSSIBLE: New analysis from the Energy Systems Catapult and Good Energy has found that the UK can reach its 2050 net zero goal at a relatively ‘low cost’ of £14bn a year through the development of an almost entirely renewables dominated energy system.
  • CHEAPER AND BETTER: Almost two-thirds of wind and solar projects built globally last year will be able to generate cheaper electricity than even the world’s cheapest new coal plants, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy.
  • EBA REPORT: A new report from the European Banking Agency has said that ESG-linked bonds are unsuitable to be used as a capital buffer by banks to offset potential risks and losses.