Maitland/AMO Sustain Monitor – 3 September 2021
Despite there being significant political and corporate will over recent years to tackle climate change, the recent Extinction Rebellion protests, which have caused disruption across London and parts of the UK, are an indication of a relatively small but vocal demand for more to be done, sooner.
The City of London was firmly within XR’s sites last Friday, with protesters targeting the financial institutions the environmental group claims have funded fossil fuels.
With a study by Rainforest Action Network finding that corporate polluters received $3.8tn from banks since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015, it is likely that the City will continue to be a target, despite numerous initiatives including the Net-Zero Banking Alliance seeing banks align their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emission targets.
There are 60 days to go until COP26.
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Top stories this week
ENVIRONMENT BILL UPDATES: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has issued changes to the Environment Bill that, if passed, would strengthen the Office for Environmental Protection, introduce local recovery strategies for biodiversity and tackle water pollution. The headline amendment seeks to “halt” species decline by 2030, strengthening the legal language of the UK’s nature-based efforts.
UK INDIA PARTNERSHIP: The UK and India has agreed a $1.2bn package of funding aimed at accelerating the roll out of renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure and tech. The package consists of public funding from the two governments alongside commitments to encourage private sector investment.
Preparing for the future…
OFGEM FUNDING: The energy regulator Ofgem has launched a £450m Strategic Innovation Fund, which aims to address strategic challenges including decarbonising heat, decarbonising transport, improving whole-system integration and accelerating the digitalisation and improvement of data. Particularl technologies that are set to benefit from the funding include battery storage.
NET ZERO INCENTIVES: The Energy Systems Catapult has called for market incentives to be aligned with the net zero agenda. In a report, the Catapult has also suggested expanding the new post-Brexit emissions trading scheme to cover heating and road transport emissions and called for the launch of a publicly-funded, centralised greenhouse gas removals system.
The direction of travel…
RECORD BREAKING BONDS: The Climate Bonds Initiative has announced that the total volumes for labelled Green, Social and Sustainability bonds, Sustainability-linked bonds and Transition bonds reached nearly half a trillion in the first half of 2021. This represents a 59% year-on-year growth from the equivalent period in 2020.
PENSION PRIORITIES: LGIM and Aviva pensions savers have identified pay and climate as their top voting priorities. 4,400 members of eight LGIM defined contribution schemes were given the chance to cast advisory votes on resolutions filed at portfolio companies as part of a trial with fintech Tumelo.
PRI DROPOUTS: According to the PRI’s annual report, 160 organisations ceased to be signatories, with 89 choosing to relinquish their status whilst 15 were delisted for failing to either report or meet the minimum requirements.
THE CEO STRUGGLE: KPMG’s 2021 CEO Outlook has found that just over 40% of the 1,235 CEOs surveyed struggle to tell a compelling ESG story. Around 70% of respondents said CEOs will increasingly be held personally responsible for driving progress in addressing social issues, but 56% said that they will struggle to meet expectations “with public, investor and government expectations of diversity, equity and inclusion rising so fast”.