Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 26 June 2020

26th June 2020

Yesterday the UK’s Committee on Climate Change’s submitted its annual report to Parliament, calling on Ministers to “seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change.” Led by Chairman, Lord Deben, the report builds on the six key principles that the Committee had outlined in their May letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Committee has helpfully focused on five investment priorities for the coming months, which include:

1. Low-carbon retrofits and buildings that are fit for the future.
2. Tree planting, peatland restoration, and green infrastructure.
3. Energy networks must be strengthened for the net-zero energy transformation in order to support electrification of transport and heating.
4. Infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, and work remotely.
5. Moving towards a circular economy.

Finally, the report offers some words of advice for businesses looking to contribute to a net-zero economy. “A key step is to assess and disclose how they will be impacted and the actions they are taking in response to climate change risks and opportunities, including transition risks (mitigation) and physical risks (adaptation), through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as well as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).” To learn more about environmental disclosure, have a read of our ‘In the Hot Seat’ interview with CDP.

Have a great weekend.

Maitland/AMO Sustain Team

 COVID-19 and companies:

Global drinks giant has launched a new two-year global programme which will help pubs and bars to reopen the public and overcome the effects of the pandemic. ‘Raising the Bar’ is a $100m programme which will be launched in July 2020.

  • Guinness will convert unused kegs to help fertilise Christmas trees

As a result of COVID-19, Guinness had to reduce operations and will now use the hundreds of unused kegs to launch a forestry project which will see the kegs being used to fertilise Christmas trees during lockdown.

Traidcraft, a fair-trade company, is supporting charity Fare Share by running a month-long promotion that will see two packets of biscuits donated to the charity for those in need for every two packets sold.

Amazon Small Business Accelerator is a free, online educational programme

with a curriculum covering website building, selling online, social media, marketing, managing cashflow, selling on Amazon, and identifying growth opportunities. Attendees can also access events and offers from partners and join an intensive bootcamp experience.

COVID-19 and climate change:

119 scientists from 18 containers will publish a statement to reassure the public that reusable containers are safe to use. It comes at a time when some establishments were not accepting them, prompting a concern about the rise of disposable and environmentally-harmful items.

  • Hill-walking groups are concerned that Scotland and Wales will be overrun as lockdown is eased

Hill-walking and mountaineering groups, including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, have flagged concerns that some of the UK’s most popular mountains and national parks could be overwhelmed by visitors after lockdown ends in Scotland and Wales.

COVID-19 and communities:

Waste body WRAP has released new survey results and analysis that suggests that charity shops and collection banks in the UK could be overwhelmed with over 67m donated items once lockdown is eased.

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has started launching videos on Tik Tok that show their world-famous Renaissance artworks dancing to music. The move is hoping to widen their appeal to a wider audience and make their art more accessible.

In partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, the STV Children’s Appeal launched its Emergency Coronavirus Campaign in April to support vulnerable children and young people who have been severely impacted by COVID-19 in Scotland. Some of Scotland’s most popular music stars have also taken time out to support the campaign, with Annie Lennox, Marti Pellow, KT Tunstall, Amy Macdonald and The Fratellis all performing exclusive online gigs to raise funds as part of the appeal’s Songs for Scotland series.

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

In Business

  • TOY RECYCLING SCHEME: Hasbro and TerraCycle have partnered to offer customers a free to use UK-wide recycling scheme that will turn old toys into new products – including outdoor furniture and planters.
  • BRITISH LAND NET ZERO: British Land have made the ambitious pledge to deliver net zero emissions across its entire portfolio by 2030.
  • CLIMATE-FRIENDLY COSMETICS: L’Oréal has launched a new sustainability strategy “L’Oréal for the future”, laying down the Group’s latest set of ambitions for 2030. By 2025, all of L’Oréal’s sites will have achieved carbon neutrality by improving energy efficiency and using 100% renewable energy. In addition, by 2030, 100% of the plastics used in L’Oréal’s products’ packaging will be either from recycled or bio-based sources.
  • AMAZON CLIMATE PLEDGE INITIATIVE: Amazon has unveiled a $2bn venture investment program as part of its Climate Change initiative. The money will help scale up “visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy”.
  • BUSINESS FOR CLEAN AIR: Global Action Plan, an environmental charity, has launched a ‘Business for Clean Air’ – a new initiative that is aimed at assisting businesses decrease their air pollution emissions amid the easing of lockdown restrictions. The initiative is being backed by DEFRA and a number or large companies including Uber and Engie.
  • DPD FIRST TO TEST EV: DPD has announced that it will be the first business to trial the London EV Company’s new ‘range-extending’ taxi van, testing how the prototype copes with different driving conditions and different loads.
  • RIO LAUNCHES BOARD-LED REVIW ON HERITAGE MANAGEMENT: Rio Tinto has launched a board-led review of its heritage management processes within Iron Ore following the events at Juukan Gorge, with a focus on recommending improvements to the effectiveness of its internal processes and governance.
  • FAIR & INCLUSIVE:Hindustan Unilever has announced the rebranding of its flagship brand Fair & Lovely. In a statement, the company described the move as “taking forward the brand’s journey towards a more inclusive vision of beauty.” The new name is awaiting regulatory approval.

In Politics

  • £73M FUNDING FOR EV: The UK Government has delivered £73m of funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre to help support an electric vehicle innovation boost. BEIS has said the investment would additionally help boost the automotive sector’s recovery from the global pandemic.
  • EVERYONE AGAINST EMISSIONS: The International Emissions Trading Association has joined with The European Federation of Energy Traders, the Association of European Energy Exchanges, and Eurogas in calling on the UK government to clarify its plans for carbon pricing after the country leaves the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
  • SPOTLIGHT ON: E-WASTE: The Environmental Audit Committee will be holding its second public evidence session as part of its inquiry Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy. The evidence session will be split between two panels. On the first panel, the Committee will hear from representatives of some of the key campaigning NGOs working on e-waste issues, the Green Alliance, Basel Action Network and Fidra. During the second panel, the Committee will hear from repair advocates Restart Project, manufacturers body TechUK and campaigners for Electrical Safety First.

In Investment

  • LAUNCH OF NEW IMPACT PLATFORM: The IMP+ACT Alliance, a public good technology initiative, has launched the ICS (IMP+ACT Classification System), a digital platform which supports the investment community with more information about the social and environmental impacts of investments. The digital application was developed in consultation with over 150 organisations including practitioners, NGOs, standard setters and academia.
  • BLACKROCK VOTE OUT: BlackRock have voted to oust the CEO of AB Volvo, Carl-Henric Svanberg, citing his part in the company’s perceived failure to adequately disclose its climate risks.
  • BANKING ON BATTERIES: Gore Street Capital, a private equity investor, has acquired a 100% stake in the 50MW Ferrymuir utility-scale battery project in Fife via its Energy Storage Fund, marking an example in the UK’s growing battery storage market.
  • PRIVATE EQUITY TACKLES WASTEWATER: KKR and XPV Water Partners have acquired Environmental Dynamics International (‘EDI’), a leading global manufacturer of diffused aeration systems. Founded in 1975, EDI specialises in the research, development and application of advanced technology aeration and biological treatment solutions for municipal and industrial wastewater.
  • EIB WELCOMES CHAIR ON CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY: The European Investment Bank and the European University Institute (EUI) have announced the launch of a new chair, the EIB Chair on Climate Change Policy and International Carbon Markets. The Chair will work alongside researchers at different stages of their careers, carrying out research on carbon markets and sustainable finance; sustainable energy and industrial transition, as well as on the assessment of policies and regulation.

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