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July 29, 2021
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Spotlight on Sustainability: Your Monthly Sustainability Summary | July 2021

By Adrian Bishop | Time to Read: 00:10:00
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Spotlight on Sustainability: Your Monthly Sustainability Summary | July 2021
Financial Services

Spotlight on Sustainability: Your Monthly Sustainability Summary | July 2021

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Sustainability and financial services – a time for change

To coincide with a raft of news and debate about sustainability in the financial services sector – more about those later in the newsletter – comes an in-depth report from iResearch Services, which asks the key question: How Sustainable Is Financial Services?

The 44-page iResearch Services report highlights how now is the time for change: the themes and topical issues covered in this July Sustainability Summary reinforce that timely point. The exclusive survey results also reveal just how sustainable sustainability is for global financial services companies and their clients.

Among the main findings of the survey of 550 senior financial services executives in May and June 2021, from the C-Suite to department heads, to leaders of corporate sustainability initiatives, are:

  • Almost all respondents (89%) believe it is vital their firm is viewed as sustainable by customers and partners.
  • Almost one-third (30%) of the 550 financial services companies surveyed have a formal net-zero agreement. These are led by Chinese respondents on 58%, with the US on 28% and Russian participants on 8%.
  • Another 22% of firms are in the process of introducing a net-zero commitment
  • 45% of respondents believe the prohibitive costs of sustainability initiatives is the main reason hindering them.
  • 42% say policymakers must get involved to accelerate change and regulation and 30% are waiting for regulation before changing sustainability practices.
  • 63% of respondents say their products are green-friendly and 64% say their upcoming products are designed to be socially, environmentally, and economically friendly.
  • Nearly half believe sustainability will drive new customers.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of financial services firms invest more than £500,000 each year on sustainability initiatives, with 15% allocating £2 million-plus.
  • 57% of those taking part say governments need to do more to drive sustainability within the financial services sector.
  • 48% believe employees would work harder for a sustainable business.

iResearch Services chief executive Yogesh Shah says the global financial services industry is at a crossroads regarding sustainability. “There is an inexorable march towards adopting sustainability, but it is going to be an expensive and uncomfortable process.

“Sustainability provides value in many forms: commercially, through greater investment or lower business premiums when linked to sustainable corporate initiatives; to human and social value, found through giving back to both planet and people via communities, customers and clients. Firm commitments and action from financial services firms across its myriad sectors should build impetus and create a domino effect, where other firms, clients and partners follow suit.

“Sometimes businesses need a reason to do something; too often we see regulation brought in to solve an issue and organisations are forced to adapt. This method is more the carrot than the stick, so it is naturally going to be more effective. The time is now to build on this momentum and drive activity on all fronts for a better future.”

See one of our social media teasers for the survey highlighting some of the key statistics.

Download the full report

Making the EU financial system more sustainable

Speaking at the Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit on 14 July, Mairead McGuinness, EU Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union, reiterated the very real risks of financial system instability from climate change.

Not only has the EU announced major environmental changes to combat climate change, but it has also proposed a new strategy to make the EU’s financial system more sustainable.

The three-point plan is led by a new Sustainable Finance Strategy, which sets out several initiatives to tackle climate change, while increasing investment in the EU's transition towards a sustainable economy, including the roles of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The European Green Bond Standard proposal introduces a voluntary “gold standard” for bonds financing sustainable investment.

Lastly, a Delegated Act – non-legislative acts to amend or supplement legislation - has been adopted, covering the information to be disclosed by financial and non-financial companies about how sustainable their activities are. This is based on Article 8 of the EU Taxonomy, which establishes a framework to facilitate sustainable investment.

The strategy includes six action points to:

  • Extend the existing sustainable finance toolbox to facilitate access to transition finance
  • Improve the inclusiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers, by giving them the right tools and incentives to access transition finance
  • Enhance the resilience of the economic and financial system to sustainability risks
  • Increase the contribution of the financial sector to sustainability
  • Ensure the integrity of the EU financial system and monitor its orderly transition to sustainability
  • Develop international sustainable finance initiatives and standards, and support EU partner countries.

EU states will be asked to assess by June 2023 how their financial markets, including asset managers, pension funds, banks and insurers, contribute to their net zero carbon emission goals.

It has been reported that the EU hopes the changes will help facilitate hundreds of billions of euros into sustainable investments each year.

In March, the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) came into force, requiring certain asset managers and Financial Advisers to make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures to potential and current investors. This is set to be updated when regulatory technical standards are introduced in 2022.

EU Taxonomy regulatory requirements are still being defined but disclosures will be required from the end of 2021.

Kevin Anthony, Associate Director of Sales, Thought Leadership at iResearch Services, comments, “Although only around 4% of the total bond market, the green bonds sector is now worth more than $1 trillion worldwide. Europe is the world leader at just over $156 billion issued in 2020. It’s therefore important to prevent ‘greenwashing’ – false impressions that products are greener than they are in reality – and it is good to see that the issue is coming under more scrutiny by the authorities.”

In other financial sector news…

FCA calls on fund managers to improve quality of ESG applications

Faced with a growing number of poor-quality ESG fund applications, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a letter to Authorised Fund Managers. As more consumers take up ESG-related investment opportunities, it is essential that funds marketed with a sustainability and ESG focus describe their investment strategies clearly, says the regulator. It is also important that any assertions made about their goals are reasonable and substantiated.

“We have seen numerous applications for authorisation of investment funds with an ESG or sustainability focus. A number of these have been poorly drafted and have fallen below our expectations. They often contain claims that do not bear scrutiny,” the FCA says. “We expect to see material improvements in future applications. We also expect clear and accurate ongoing disclosures to consumers where funds make ESG-related claims, and we want to see funds deliver on their stated objectives and/or strategy.’ The letter includes a set of Principles that explain its expectations.

  • The Principles have been welcomed by many industry participants. Julia Dreblow, Founder of SRI Services and Fund EcoMarket provides a helpful response and guidance on the new FCA Principles.

 

New Diversity Disclosure Consultation

On 28 July 2021, the FCA also launched a consultation on proposals to improve transparency for investors on diversity within listed company boards and executive management. These include changes to its Listing Rules required for annual publication to set out:

  • “A comply or explain statement” on whether they have achieved targets regarding gender and ethnic minority representation on their boards; and
  • Gender and ethnicity data on the composition of boards and senior management teams.

The FCA also proposes changes to its disclosure and transparency rules regarding existing disclosures on diversity policies, ensuring these address broader aspects of diversity, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or lower socio-economic background, on key board committees. The FCA is also encouraging the provision of additional data on the outcomes of companies’ diversity policies on wider diversity and inclusion.

  • Read the full media release and Consultation documents.

 

Caution urged over ESG disclosure rules input

Hester Peirce, head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, says it should be wary of comments on proposed ESG disclosure rules by those with vested interests. Ultimately, they could lead to undermining financial and economic stability, she told a virtual event hosted by the Brookings Institution. "Lots of money will be mandated to chase green investment opportunities. As with past regulatory efforts to drive investment toward particular sectors, current efforts to green the financial system could precipitate future financial instability."

ESG website for Responsible Companies

One website is aiming to help top-level companies publish their sustainability information and reach investors around the world. Membership platform Responsible-Company.com published ESG Smart Papers and related webinars “to fill the knowledge gap on ESG/sustainability information and demonstrate and discuss peer best practice.” Among companies posting are American Electric Power, Novartis and Kellogg.

Pension scheme links fees to ESH

French public pension scheme Ircantec is linking performance fees to ESG and climate change-related criteria for new active management mandates. It recently launched two tenders, for equity and euro corporate bond mandates totalling €3.5bn-4bn and requires comprehensive reporting and delivery against quantitative targets, reports the Investment and Pensions Europe website, ipe.com .

ESG risks for credit institutions and investment firms

The European Banking Authority (EBA) examines Management and Supervision of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Risks for Credit Institutions and Investment Firms in a new report. The comprehensive 166-page report details how ESG factors and ESG risks should be included in the regulatory and supervisory framework for credit institutions and investment firms.

Record year for ESG proxy votes

We have reported on many of them, but so far this year there have been a record 34 majority votes in the United States for disclosure and action over ESG shareholder resolutions. That compares with 21 last year. So says the ProxyPreview website. Michael Passoff, CEO of Proxy Impact and co-author of the Proxy Preview, says, “This has been an extraordinary year with record high votes for climate change, diversity and political spending issues.

BlackRock turns spotlight on proxy voting

Influential investment company BlackRock has published its 2021 Voting Spotlight that focuses on stewardship and proxy voting. BlackRock aims to be the voice of the long-term investor, urging companies to focus on the governance and sustainability risks that can impact their ability to generate long-term financial returns. The report explores how factors such as climate change, the fair treatment of workers, and racial and gender equality are increasingly relevant to a company’s business operations. “For this reason, these topics are part of our conversations with leadership at the companies we invest in on our clients’ behalf and are important considerations when assessing their long-term value proposition and informing voting decisions.” BlackRock voted against management on one or more proposals at 42% of shareholder meetings, up from 39% last year, and against 10% of director elections.

Gurpreet Purewal, Vice President of Sales - Thought Leadership, at iResearch Services says, “BlackRock rightly believes that by echoing the voice of its investors in support for or concern about long-time issues and voting accordingly, that a company’s success and profitably can be enhanced. It has hit the headlines while making its views known about sustainability risks and opportunities and board quality and effectiveness, in its belief that climate risk is investment risk. Where BlackRock leads, others will follow, so this is a positive step in embedding sustainability efforts at the heart of the industry.”

Sustainable investments make up one in three in major markets

More than one in three deals in major markets are sustainable investments, a newly published report suggests.

Sustainable investment reached US$35.3 trillion in the US, Canada, Japan, Australasia and Europe, up 15% from 2018-2020, according to the 2020 Global Sustainable Investment Review.

The biennial report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), says sustainable investments in five major markets made up 35.9% of the total under management at the start of 2020, 1.5% more than in 2018.

Sustainable investment assets are continuing to grow in most regions, with Canada experiencing the largest increase in absolute terms over the past two years (48%), followed by the United States (42%), Japan (34%) and Australasia (25%) from 2018 to 2020.

Europe reported a 13% decline, but that was due to a changed measurement methodology from which European data is drawn for this year’s report. This reflects a period of transition associated with revised definitions of sustainable investment that have become embedded into legislation in the European Union as part of the European Sustainable Finance Action Plan.

Canada has the highest proportion of sustainable investment assets at 62%, followed by Europe (42%), Australasia (38%), the United States (33%) and Japan (24%). The United States and Europe continue to represent more than 80% of global sustainable investing assets from 2018 to 2020.

Investors are increasingly driven by environmental, social and governance related (ESG) factors. The most common sustainable investment strategy is ESG integration, followed by negative screening, corporate engagement and shareholder action, norms-based screening and sustainability-themed investment.

Simon O’Connor, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia and chair of the GSIA, says, “The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020 demonstrates that sustainable investment is a major force shaping global capital markets, and, in turn, is influencing companies and others seeking to raise capital in those global markets. “This growth is being fuelled by rising consumer expectations, strong financial performance and the increasing materiality of social and environmental issues - from biodiversity to racial equity to climate change.”

ENERGY

Japan set to double renewables share by 2030

Japan plans to double the share of renewable energy up to 2030 in its target to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions, it has announced. Japan expects non-fossil fuel power supply sources to account for roughly 60% of the country's energy mix in fiscal 2030-31, more than double the 24% share from 2019-20. As a result, Japan aims to aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by the end of this decade. Fossil fuels are targeted to drop from over 75% to 40% of the energy mix by 2030. Hydrogen/ammonia is set to make up 1% of the total. The targets are laid out in a draft Strategic Energy Plan published on 21 July. The measures have to go through a public comment process and be approved by the cabinet.

Call for end to ‘reckless’ G20 fossil fuel subsidies

G-20 countries gave more than $3.3 trillion in subsidies for coal, oil, gas, and fossil-fuel power from 2015-2019, a new report states. The Climate Policy Factbook from Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF says the policies are “reckless” and incompatible with the goals of the Paris agreement, which was signed in 2015. The report was released to increase transparency ahead of the G-20 Summit and Ministerial Meetings, the 75th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, and COP26. The Climate Policy Factbook says action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by: 1) phasing out support for fossil fuels, 2) putting a price on emissions, and 3) encouraging climate risk disclosure. In each of these areas, the report says the policies of many G-20 countries were significantly off-course.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions says, “Winning the fight against climate change requires urgent and bold action across every industry, and we need governments to lead the way. Our hope is that G-20 members take this report to heart, use its recommendations to hit their Paris Agreement targets, and show the world the health and economic benefits of building a resilient, sustainable global economy.”

China launches carbon market for power sector

Trading has started in China’s national carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS), the largest in the world. The first ETS trade carried out on 16 July was for Yuan 52.80/mt ($8.20/mt), a relatively low carbon price compared with US and Europe markets, reports S&P Global. The move paves the way for the decarbonization of China’s industries, starting with the power sector, and will help meet the country's aim of carbon neutrality by 2060. China produces more greenhouse gases than any other country and the ETS is a major tool to help cut CO2 emissions. Hitanshu Dhingra, Associate Vice President, Investment Research, iResearch Services, comments, “This is an important first step in helping to lower carbon emissions, but analysts wonder if it is enough to reach its 2030 interim goal and 2060 carbon-neutrality target. The fear is that the ETS prices may be too low and deterrents too weak, and that pressure of reaching GDP targets may be more influential.”

In other energy news…

TECHNOLOGY

Worried about ESG data lawsuits? Suck it up!

Some major tech firms in the United States have asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow them to leave some mandatory data out of climate change public filings. Amazon, Alphabet, Autodesk, eBay, Facebook, Intel and Salesforce submitted a joint letter, the GreenBiz website reports. “Given that climate disclosures rely on estimates and assumptions that involve inherent uncertainty, it is important not to subject companies to undue liability, including from private parties," they wrote among comments from various parties submitted during the SEC’s 90-day public comment period on mandatory ESG disclosures that ended on 14 June. They are worried that annual 10-Ks and quarterly 10-Qs data could open them up to costly lawsuits. Contributor C.J Clouse’s advice is simply, “Suck it up.” The tech giants are likely to have the comfort of a legal ‘safety net in the forms of estimates and assumptions and history shows that lawsuits brought against companies that have made vague or aspirational statements typically have failed in the courts. “Of course, lawsuits can be costly even if you win or settle, but you know what else is increasingly costly? Looking like a disingenuous greenwasher. Which, regardless whether true, is exactly the impression companies give the public and their investors when they object to ESG transparency,” she concludes.

New Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

Global computing giant Microsoft is launching a new cloud service to promote sustainability. The Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is designed to help companies measure, understand their carbon emissions, set sustainability goals and take action. It was announced as part of its Inspire digital conference in July and aims to help companies and organisations reach net-zero. Whilst it is vital that companies take action to reduce carbon emission, measuring the environmental impact of an organisation is challenging, says Microsoft. They need to move away from using manual data inputs to record and report their environmental footprint and use automated, accurate, real-time data on which to take action.

The Cloud for Sustainability includes Software as a Service (SaaS) that can discover and connect to real-time data sources. This will accelerate data integration and reporting, provide accurate carbon accounting, measure performance against goals and provide intelligent insights so more effective action can be taken, it says. Companies can produce a sustainability scorecard to track progress against their carbon emission reduction goals and pinpoint problem areas. Judson Althoff, Microsoft Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, says, “We are committed to accelerating the sustainability journey of organizations everywhere.”

In other technology news…

Read the latest reports on digital sustainability and technology:

Share your sustainability successes

Have you introduced an innovative green technology that makes a difference? Want to share your sustainability successes? Walterschindler.com, the website of law and business expert and pioneer of sustainable impact investment is looking for suitable guest blogs.

GOVERNANCE AND POLICY

Europe aims to be first climate-neutral continent

Amid news of devastating floods in Germany and Belgium, the European Union has unveiled its Green Deal that aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world.

What does “climate neutrality” mean? Well, it’s the same concept as carbon neutrality, but it goes further, covering net zero anthropogenic (pollution caused by human activity) greenhouse gas emissions, which includes carbon dioxide and more.

The European Green Deal, announced on 14 July, has three main aims:

  • no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth decoupled from resource use
  • no person and no place left behind

By changing climate, energy, transport and taxation policies in a “fair, cost-effective and competitive way”, the European Commission proposes to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

All this comes at a cost, with the European Union set to spend at least €100 billion up to 2027 to support those most affected by the move towards the green economy.

After the EU reached a provisional deal, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says, “The fossil fuel economy has reached its limits. We want to leave the next generation a healthy planet as well as good jobs and growth that does not hurt our nature. The European Green Deal is our growth strategy that is moving towards a decarbonised economy. Europe was the first continent to declare to be climate neutral in 2050, and now we are the very first ones to put a concrete roadmap on the table.”

The agreement still needs to be ratified by member states and the European Parliament, which could take two years.

By 2020, the EU aims to cut CO2 emissions from cars by 55% (up from the previous 37.5%) and from vans by 50% and plans to have zero emissions from new cars by 2035.

As it accelerates the move to Electric Vehicles, it will require member countries to install charging points at least 60 kilometres (37.3 miles) apart on major roads by 2025. As a result, there are set to be 3.5 million public charging stations by 2030 and 16.3 million by 2050. The cost of this is estimated at €80- €120 billion by 2040. To help the transition, plug-in hybrids will be classed as low-emission vehicles up to 2030.

From 2026, road transport will fall under emissions trading, putting a price on pollution, which will encourage cleaner fuel use and boost investment in clean technologies.

The EU is also proposing that the aviation and maritime sectors are included in carbon pricing. The EU will promote sustainable aviation fuels, including an obligation for planes to take on sustainable blended fuels when departing from EU airports. Major ports will need to reach targets to use onshore power for vessels, reducing the use of polluting fuels that harm local air quality.

A new 40% renewable energy target has been set for 2030 with more use of hydrogen by industry and transport.

The EU is the first to draw up a roadmap for CO2 emission cuts in the concrete industry – currently a large carbon emitter - on the way to being net-zero by 2050.

The Social Climate Fund will support EU citizens most affected or at risk of energy or mobility poverty.

It will provide €72.2 billion over seven years to renovate buildings against extremes of heat or cold and tackle energy poverty.

Public buildings are to be encouraged to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient.

Member States will be asked to renovate at least 3% of the total floor area of all public buildings annually, achieve 49% of renewables in buildings by 2030 and increase the use of renewable energy in heating and cooling by +1.1 percentage points each year, until 2030.

The Commission aims to restore Europe’s forests, soils, wetlands and peatlands, increasing absorption of CO2 from 230 million tonnes to 310 million tonnes, to make the environment more resilient to climate change.

As part of that measure, the EU has promised to plant at least 3 billion more trees by 2030.

The European Union says it intends to work closely with international partners and will share more ideas at the UN’s COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

IMF puts climate change at heart of work

The International Monetary Fund has told G20 meetings in Italy how climate change is at the heart of its work. The IMF is following three main global policy priorities, says Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. They are:

Making market signals work for the new climate economy, not against it. No matter how politically challenging, the world needs to rid itself of all forms of fossil fuel subsidies, which are equivalent to more than US$5 trillion annually. The IMF plans to publish updated research on the exact composition of these subsidies. By 2030, we need an average global price of $75 per ton of CO2, way up from today’s $3 per ton and up from the 23% current emissions coverage.

Green investments. The shift to renewables, new electricity networks, energy efficiency, low carbon mobility—offer a huge investment opportunity, including growth and jobs. Deficit-financed green supply policies could raise global GDP by about 2% this decade and create millions of new jobs.

A “just transition”— within and across countries, ensuring the shift to a low-carbon economy is fair and benefits all. Decarbonization can impact vulnerable households, businesses and workers in sectors with high emissions. Fair compensation measures will be required. Revenues from carbon pricing schemes can fund cash transfers, social safety nets, worker retraining, and relocation schemes.

Call for politicians from all countries to back a global green deal

The Global Alliance for a Green New Deal pressure group is calling on all politicians from all countries to create a “global green deal” to combat the climate crisis and COVID-19. The alliance of 20 lawmakers is pressuring for more cooperation and action to boost the green economy and collaborate on COVID vaccines for all. France ME, Manon Aubry, says, “As the consequences of the climate crisis become more and more alarming, inequalities are growing and the poorest are hit hardest by the impacts of a changing climate. If we want fair, systematic and effective climate policies, we need a radical shift away from free trade and free-market ideology.”

In other policy news…

Decade since UN Guiding Principals on Business and Human Rights

It’s now 10 years since the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the ground-breaking Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). It has underpinned important human rights initiatives including the European Union’s Sustainable Corporate Governance, which aims to introduce mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence requirements, writes Gina Gambetta in responsible-investor.com.

The Directive currently covers Limited Liability Companies, but European Parliament has approved plans to roll them out to all corporations operating in the EU internal market, including banks and investors. The EU Member States have some freedom on how they implement the rules and are drawing up national laws on human rights due diligence. For instance, Germany’s parliament has adopted a Supply Chain Act, which will apply to companies with 3,000+ employees from 2023 and those with more than 1,000 staff by 2024. The Netherlands’ Bill for Responsible and Sustainable International Business Conduct is set to apply to firms with more than 250 employees, or with a turnover of more than €40m.

Meanwhile, more institutional investors are requiring their boards of directors to commit to honouring the UNGPs across their operations and all investment activities. UK pension funds have urged for the creation of a “ TCFD for social risks” while members of the £7tn Find It, Fix It, Prevent It investor initiative, led by UK asset manager CCLA, are lobbying to incorporate modern slavery into ESG ratings.

Andrew Newby, Operations Director, iResearch Services, says, “It’s hard to believe that 10 years has passed since the UN’s guide on business and human rights was first published. The next major step forward is to find a way to make these voluntary principals mandatory and enforceable. Some countries are passing and paving the way to introduce such legislation, but more action is needed to protect human rights in business.”

LEADERSHIP AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Keep up with the latest iResearch Services thought leadership podcasts and blogs

Listen to a purpose podcast

In Episode 10 of the free podcast Can Marketing Save the Planet?, marketeers Michelle Carvill and Paul Frampton Calero discusses the role purpose has played in marketing and advertising - and the role marketing plays in driving sustainability.

Leadership and legacy

George Bandy Jr., Amazon's new head of worldwide circular economy, talks to Lauren Phipps, Director and Senior Analyst Circular Economy, of GreenBiz Group, about corporate leadership, personal legacy and the future of circularity.

Win an edie Sustainability Leaders Award

Entries are now open for the edie 2022 Sustainability Leaders Awards, which is hailed as the world’s largest sustainable business awards scheme. The award scheme from sustainable business brand, edie, recognises the best net-zero carbon programmes through to cutting-edge product innovations and heroes on the ground who are driving positive change. The Sustainability Leaders Awards is in its 15th year. Entries close on 1 October and are presented in London, UK, on 2 February 2022. Content Director Luke Nicholls says “Winning an edie Award empowers teams, inspires stakeholders and accelerates sustainable business growth. It’s a unique opportunity to have your achievements recognised and admired by thousands of businesses and climate experts across the world.”

SUSTAINABILITY STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

UK ‘greenprint’ for net zero carbon public transport

Transport Minister Rachel-Maclean says the UK can lead the next “ green industrial revolution” with initiatives like the Transport Decarbonisation Plan “What we’re seeing here is the start of a new industrial revolution, but this time delivering the double benefit to our economy and the health of our planet… We are determined to be a pacesetter of a green industrial revolution with transport decarbonisation at the core. It is our overwhelming priority and it’s a strong message we’ll send to every country around the world at COP26.”

In what is claimed to be the world’s first ‘greenprint’, the UK government has outlined plans for net zero carbon emissions from public transport by 2050. The 220-page Transport Decarbonisation Plan aims to create greener and cleaner, quieter cities with a raft of eco-friendly policies, including stopping the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicle (HGVs) trucks by 2040 – although this will be subject to industry consultation.

Before the pandemic, transport vehicles account for 27% of carbon emissions in the UK in 2019 and that is without adding in international aviation and shipping. UK aviation emissions are planned to reach net-zero by 2040, with UK rail and shipping following in 2050.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, says, “It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel. We will still drive, but increasingly in zero-emission cars.”

It has previously been announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be phased out in the UK by 2030 and that all new cars and vans will be required to be fully zero-emission at the tailpipe by 2035 and has produced a new Delivery Plan. The UK government says it will use all-electric cars and vans by 2027.

In other news…

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