Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 26 February 2021

26th February 2021

For this week’s In the Hot Seat, we caught up with Lisa Beauvilain, Head of Sustainability & ESG at Impax Asset Management. Lisa is responsible for the development and oversight of Impax’s Sustainability and ESG analysis, including overseeing stewardship work in the Listed Equity team.


During the interview, we talked about how companies can become better informed of potential climate-related risks and why disclosure is so important. “Physical climate risk, or risks of extreme climate events (such as storms, heat or water stress or coastal flood risks) are linked to specific geographic locations.


“In order to assess company or portfolio-level physical climate risks, an evaluation of activities (e.g. sectors or greenhouse gas intensity or fossil fuel reserves) is not very meaningful, as an activity is not a very strong indicator of physical climate risk, but the location of companies’ facilities, plants or offices is critical” explained Lisa.


Unfortunately, companies are still not systematically disclosing the location of plants, warehouses, or facilities. For Lisa, “this is basic, but necessary, data in order to start physical climate risk assessments” which allows companies and investors “to understand, manage and mitigate physical climate risks, not just transition risks.”


And Lisa’s one piece of advice for someone considering a career in sustainability?


“With the growth, maturing and mainstreaming of sustainable investment and with increasing sustainability risks (climate change, pandemics, biodiversity loss and inequality), in-depth knowledge and expertise of sustainability becomes more and more important in effective investment processes. Investment teams require diverse skill sets and expertise, with specialists in climate science, medicine, social studies and computer science, as well as the traditional financial and economic expertise.”


The full interview can be read here.


Enjoy the weekend.


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

In Business

  • VIRGIN MEDIA NET ZERO: Virgin Media has announced plans to achieve net zero emissions 2025. It hopes to reach its target by slashing its absolute operational carbon emissions by a quarter and using investments in carbon offsets.
  • GREGGS ROLLS OUT PLAN: Greggs has announced its inaugural sustainability plan that includes actions on food waste, increased use of renewable energy and the cutting down of carbon emissions. The chain has said it will be on its way to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.
  • BT TOTALLY RENEWABLE: BT has signed a three-year deal with Total which will see the telecoms giant supplied with 100% renewable electricity from a range of sources including wind and solar from across the UK. The deal will see BT supplied with 1,124GWh of electricity annually, amounting to around 50% of the company’s total annual UK power consumption.
  • BG EV: British Gas has pledged to switch to an all-electric fleet of road vehicles by 2025 and has ordered 2,000 Vauxhall Vivaro e-vans.
  • MIGHTY MITIE: Mitie has introduced a host of green pledges including achieving net zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2035 and reducing energy use across its estate by 100,000kWh by 2022.
  • NEW NETWORK: A new network setup by The Resilience Shift and Resilience First to help businesses build resilience to the climate crisis and economic shocks such as the pandemic has seen over 600 companies pledge to join, including Tesco and HSBC.
  • ETSY PLEDGE: Etsy has pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions across its operations by 2030. CEO Josh Silverman said: “Climate change remains an ever-present threat to our environment and humanity, and we are bound and determined to do everything within our power to not only offset, but to reduce our overall carbon footprint,”.
  • FDF DELIVER: The Food and Drinks Federation have revealed that the Britain’s food and drink sector has hit its decarbonisation target five years ahead of schedule, reducing its CO2 emissions by over 50% sine 1990.
  • WEST BENHAR WIND FARM: EDF Renewables is set to begin construction of its 30MW West Benhar wind farm in North Lanarkshire on Monday with completion expected in 15 months.
  • BATTERY BUSES: Arrival has partnered with First Bus to pilot a scheme that will see them trial zero emission electric buses on UK roads later in the Autumn. The partnership will help support First Bus’s eco commitments including a pledge to not purchase any diesel buses for its UK fleet after 2022.
  • CANCELLED PLANS: Following heavy opposition from environmental campaigners, Drax has confirmed it will not go ahead with the development of its new gas fired power station, which would have been the largest in Europe.

In Politics

  • SFI 2021: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, a scheme that will reward farmers for managing their land in an environmentally friendly approach, will be launched later this year. Farmers interested in the programme will be able to express interest from March.
  • PROBLEMATIC PENSIONS: A report from Friends of the Earth and Platform has revealed that local government still continues to indirectly invest in fossil fuels with £9.9bn of investments in fossil fuel companies held by local government pensions across the UK in the 2019-20 financial year.
  • INCLUDE EMISSIONS: A coalition of green groups, including Greenpeace and the Aviation Environment Federation, have called on the Prime Minister in an open letter to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the national climate goals. It is argued that their inclusion would force the sectors to ramp up their decarbonisation efforts.
  • OLD ELECTRONICS: The Government is considering a recommendation made by the Environmental Audit Committee that would require online retailers and marketplaces to collect old electronics from consumers to ensure there is an equal obligation for the collection of e-waste as physical retailers.

In Investment

  • H&M BOND: H&M has issued a €500m sustainability-linked bond that requires the retailer to hit several of its 2025 sustainability targets. The bond, issued last week, was 7.6 times oversubscribed.
  • $12.5M FUND RAISE: Tevva, an e-truck company, has raised $12.5m from private investors and will use the money to prepare for series production of its 7.5-19T zero emission truck which is able to run for longer and is cheaper than its counterparts.
  • TRINITY COLLEGE DIVESTS: Following a long running student campaign, Trinity College Cambridge has confirmed that it will fully divest from fossil fuels over the next decade and announced a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  • JUPITER PLEDGE: Jupiter Asset Management has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 across its full range of investments and operations and confirmed it would release a detailed roadmap for its plan by the end of this year.
  • VANGUARD COAL INVESTMENT: A report by 29 NGOs, including Urgewald, Reclaim Finance and Rainforest Action Network, has accused Vanguard of being the “largest institutional investor in the coal industry”.
  • FAIR AND EQUITABLE: A $14trn coalition of investors has issued a call for a “fair and equitable” global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, urging governments to ensure better access to vaccines for the developing world.
  • IEA DIVERSITY PRESSURE: The Investment Association has outlined its expectations of companies on issues including climate change, diversity, and executive pay. A key focus will be on pressuring companies to improve ethnic diversity on their boards in this year’s AGM season.
  • GERMAN INVESTOR DEMAND: A report from Germany’s Sustainable Finance Committee has made 31 recommendations to the German government on ESG, which includes a suggestion for the government to rate all financial products from 1-5 on sustainability.

In Research

  • POSITIVE PROGRESS: New data from Chain Reaction Research has shown that 2020 deforestation levels are standing at just a tenth of historically high levels in Southeast Asia.
  • REA REPORT: A new report from the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology has said that 50% of the UK’s electricity generation could be provided by renewable sources by the end of 2022 and 100% by 2032.
  • PEACE WITH NATURE: The UN Environment Programme has published a report, which recommends that financial organisations stop lending to fossil fuels and develop finance for “biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture”