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September 2020

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The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has appointed Jean Llewellyn OBE as the new Security Non-Executive member to the Board of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Jean will take up the appointment on 1 October 2020 for a three year term and will Chair ONR’s Security Committee. She was the founder and Chief Executive of the UK National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN) for its first 10 years. This followed a career involving senior management, leadership and policy development roles in the private and public sector. In 2018 she was appointed as a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS).

ONR 28th Sept 2020 read more »


edie launches new report on achieving a green recovery for the manufacturing sector

edie has today (29 September) published the first in a new series of reports looking at how businesses from key sectors can respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic by focusing on a green recovery. First up, the manufacturing sector.

The report outlines the Covid-19 challenges that manufacturers face, but also the opportunities of the green recovery for the sector

The report outlines the Covid-19 challenges that manufacturers face, but also the opportunities of the green recovery for the sector

Accounting for more than 60% of direct industrial emissions in the UK, manufacturing is an energy-intensive industry that has been striving for decades to improve energy productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new push towards net-zero in the UK had been largely welcomed by manufacturing firms, but then the hideous impacts of the coronavirus hit.

As part of edie’s brand-new Mission Possible: Green Recovery campaign – which supports sustainability, energy and CSR professionals on our collective mission to drive a green recovery across all major industries in the UK – this latest series of reports will explore why a green recovery is so important for the respective industries being analysed; what a green recovery actually looks like for businesses large and small within those industries; and how sustainability and energy professionals can drive a green recovery from within.


The report has been created in assistance with Centrica Business Solutions and uses exclusive results from edie’s green recovery survey of 243 sustainability and energy professionals. This manufacturing report has also been produced with guidance from in-depth discussions with a steering panel of sustainability experts from some of the world’s most respected manufacturers in the vanguard of sustainability leadership.

As well as featuring a foreword from Professor Steve Evans, Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge, this report features the results of that exclusive survey, insight from the steering panel and key boxouts on how collaboration, innovation, net-zero and the COP26 climate conference will shape the confidence of the sector in delivering radical decarbonisation. Importantly, the report highlights the appetite within the manufacturing sector to deliver a sustainable future through new ways of thinking today.

“To make ourselves ready for this opportunity, reading this edie report is a great start. Here you can read about what others are doing and you can choose to ignore, ask more questions, or even act, on the many important insights offered into the position we find ourselves in,” Evans said.

“In my own reading, I noted the importance of collaborative action – whether ‘future-proofing value chains’ or building ‘next zero clusters’ and I hope the report acts as a spur to work better together for that exciting future.”

Click here to download the report.

edie staff


Willmott Dixon to become zero-carbon business by 2030

Construction firm Willmott Dixon has committed that all new build and refurbishment projects it delivers from 2030 onwards will be net-zero carbon in operation, as part of a new sustainability strategy that will see the company become zero-carbon in its own operations over the next decade.

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040

Willmott Dixon has been a carbon-neutral business since 2012 and has today made bold new commitments in relation to carbon as part of a 2030 sustainability strategy. As well as committing to all new build and refurbishment projects to be delivered as net-zero carbon in operation, the company will become zero carbon by the same date.

Whereas Willmott Dixon had offset unavoidable carbon via global carbon reduction projects, the new commitment will see the company cut all operational carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Willmott Dixon has reduced carbon emissions intensity from its operations by 61% since 2010.

The strategy will also aim for the company’s supply chain partners to be net-zero carbon in operation by 2040, which would deliver a net reduction in embodied carbon of 55% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

Willmott Dixon’s group chief executive Rick Willmott said: “We’ve set some ambitious targets, some of the toughest for the construction sector, as we feel that now is the time for bold action if we are to bequeath future generations a planet not suffering from the consequences of past inaction in tackling the causes of climate change, but instead is one that they can live and thrive in.

“In laying out our road map for the next decade, we are also setting out how we are going to work with customers, supply chain partners and industry colleagues in creating a carbon-free construction sector, as this is an issue that impacts on everyone, and we’ll need to work together to achieve our common aspirations for a ‘greener’ built environment.”

The new targets are underpinned by goals aligned to climate science, which have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as being in line with an overall need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Additionally, 100,000 trees will be planted by 2030.

The commitments come as the Government looks set to ramp up efforts to retrofit existing houses.

As part of the Government’s Green Homes Grants scheme, the Green Finance Institute has this week launched its Green Home Retrofit Finance Principles (GHRFPs), produced in collaboration with the Loan Market Association (LMA), to help inject capital into the retrofit market.

Finance will back industry-accepted standards for green buildings and retrofits by creating new frameworks for financial institutions to use. The principles have been backed by the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group, Ecology Building Society, UK Finance and the Building Societies Association.

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute, says, “Drawing experience from the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles and the ICMA’s Green Bond Principles, which showed the catalysing effects of having a set of financial standards ratified by the industry, the Green Home Retrofit Finance Principles will give the market clear guidelines on how to process and track lending for energy-efficiency works.

“The formulation of the Principles is a key enabler for many of the Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings’ initiatives, to be presented later this year in a second-phase report alongside outputs from the recently-convened Zero Carbon Heating Taskforce.”

The Institute has found that scaling up green retrofitting of the UK’s existing housing stock would require investments of up to £65bn while supporting the economic recovery.

Enter the Sustainability Leaders Awards

Willmott Dixon won the Team of the Year award at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards earlier this year, cementing the company’s approach to sustainable business as one of the best working examples.

Entries for the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards are now open. The edie Sustainability Leaders Awards are back, bigger and better than ever for 2021 with a host of new categories, new judges and an exciting virtual ceremony dedicated to accelerating the green recovery and solving the climate emergency.

The official entry deadline is Friday 30 October 2020. The Awards will then take place as a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday 3 February 2021.


Matt Mace


Electricity Trading

VEST Energy, a new energy trading company, has been launched to fill the gap between start-ups and less dynamic large trading companies. The company was launched at the end of July by Aaron Lally, who has previously held positions at Kiwi Power, AI Power Trading and Mercuria Energy Trading. VEST will use machine learning algorithms to predict energy prices, using a hybrid model that combines reliably informed artificial networks and fuzzy logic. This will allow the company to take advantage of high and low energy prices, choosing when to dispatch power from renewables and energy storage. With the growth of unsubsidised renewables in the UK, as well as energy storage coming out of Enhanced Frequency Response contracts, the country is “ripe for this type of product”, he continued.

Current News 28th Sept 2020 read more »


Incineration – Scotland

Plans to treble the amount of waste burnt in ten new incinerators across Scotland will prevent the Scottish Government from meeting its recycling targets, campaigners are warning. Companies are building or proposing waste incinerators in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Dundee, Aberdeen and elsewhere. Together they could burn nearly two million tonnes of waste a year. Friends of the Earth Scotland argues that a large proportion of household waste could end up being burnt instead of recycled. Incineration is “spiralling out of control” and will jeopardise government targets to boost recycling, it says.

The Ferret 27th Sept 2020 read more »

Scotsman 27th Sept 2020 read more »


Chanel links €600m sustainability bond to science-based targets

Luxury fashion and fragrance giant Chanel has issued a €600m transaction for bonds linked to the company’s progress against its 1.5C science-based targets.

Chanel is the first unrated issuer to have a public set of bonds linked to sustainability ambitions

Chanel is the first unrated issuer to have a public set of bonds linked to sustainability ambitions

The €600m inaugural transaction has been supported by BNP Paribas, and is considered the first in the luxury sector to be linked to the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Sustainability Linked Bonds Principles, which provide guidelines for corporates to improve environmental reporting and disclosure to increase access to capital for projects that can reduce emissions.

The bond will help Chanel progress against carbon commitments that have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory. 

The science-based targets were announced in March and cover the French multinational’s Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions, with Chanel pledging to halve its emissions by 2030.

To meet the promised Scope 2 reduction, Chanel has pledged to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2025. The company sources 41% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources in 2019 and expects this proportion to hit 97% by the end of 2021, as it invests in a mix of onsite arrays, new tariffs and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

Regarding Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, the new targets include an ambition to reduce supply chain emissions by 40% by 2030, against a 2018 baseline, on a “per product sold” basis – or a 10% reduction on an absolute basis.

Chanel’s chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux said: “The philosophy of Chanel is the creation of long-term value for the business and for society. This financing is entirely in line with these principles. In launching these bonds, Chanel hopes to support the development of the sustainable financing market and the wider social and environmental progress that this type of financing can advance.

“There is a growing recognition amongst investors that they have a role to play in helping to tackle climate change, and we look forward to engaging with them.”

Financing transitions

According to BNP Paribas, Chanel is the first unrated issuer to have a public set of bonds linked to sustainability ambitions. The way the bonds are aligned to the ICMA also means that investors will gain a better understanding of how to support the luxury sector with long-term decarbonisation through innovative finance.

The bank itself is taking steps to accelerate the low-carbon transition. Last year, BNP Paribas pledged to stop all funding for thermal coal globally by 2040, with an interim target of 2030 for EU Member States. The bank has since expanded the commitment to end the use of coal by 2030 to all OECD countries, with the 2040 target maintained for everywhere else. BNP Paribas will no longer accept new customers whose share of coal-derived revenue accounts for more than 25%.

BNP Paribas has also set a time-bound target for financing renewable energy development. In 2015, the bank pledged to double its renewable energy financing to €15bn (£12.83bn) by 2020. Having surpassed that target in December 2018, the firm will now work to provide a cumulative €18bn (£15.4bn) by 2021.

It is also amongst a cohort of financers to have joined the “green recovery alliance” set up by the European Parliament.

BNP Paribas’s chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafé added:: “Chanel is involved in a significant transformation program to decarbonise its business model. Sustainability-linked Bonds can be game-changers for accelerating climate action, and Chanel has demonstrated true leadership through the creation of an ambitious, transparent and scientific framework. We are honoured to support Chanel by structuring and issuing this ground-breaking transaction.”

IHS Markit is forecasting that the world economy will shrink by 5.5% in 2020, as a result of Covid-19. This contraction is around triple that felt during the 2008-9 financial crash, with most financial researchers also expecting a slower recovery.

But the pandemic seems to have placed a renewed focus on ESG or impact investing – particularly the ‘social’ aspect. JP Morgan recently polled investors from 50 global institutions, representing a total of $12.9 trillion in assets under management on how they expect Covid-19 to impact the future of ESG investing. 71% said it was likely to accelerate action.

Similarly, edie has explored what green finance will look like post-pandemic with a string of experts, with the overarching conclusion being that coupling of economic, social and environmental metrics and ambitions is the likely path.

Matt Mace


Small Wind

Scientists have developed a “tiny wind turbine” that can scavenge energy from the breeze made while walking. Imagine rubbing a balloon on your hair for a few seconds – can you hear the crackle of static electricity, see your hair stand on end? That energy, powered by the contact and separation of two materials, can be bottled up and stored for use, according to researchers working on the device. Scientists in China hope the device can generate sustainable power in a low-cost, efficient manner. Once placed on a person’s swinging arm, the airflow is enough to generate power, the researchers said.

Guardian 23rd Sept 2020 read more »



In a speech to world leaders today, Boris Johnson confirmed that the UK will co-host a climate event with the UN in December and will spend the coming months urging other nations to update their emissions targets. But is the UK keeping its own promises for a green recovery? And are world leaders walking the talk on their own commitments? Specifically, Johnson emphasised calls for nations to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement by the UN’s deadline of 31 December and to consider announcing “genuinely transformational net-zero targets and bold climate finance projects” at COP26 in November 2021.

Edie 24th Sept 2020 read more »


Future Homes Task Force to ensure housebuilding is aligned to UK’s net-zero target

A new cross-sector Future Homes Task Force is set to establish a multi-million-pound Delivery Hub to assist the built environment sector in improving the environmental footprint of new housebuilding.

The Government is ramping up spending on "greener" forms of housebuilding

The Government is ramping up spending on “greener” forms of housebuilding

The Task Force will comprise of organisations across the built environment sector, as well as utility providers, material suppliers and environmental groups. It will establish a Delivery Hub to ensure housebuilding aligns to environmental legislation set up by the UK Government.

As such, housebuilders will be tasked to work towards the net-zero commitment for 2050, as well as impending, timebound targets set to be unveiled as part of the Environment Bill. In an update to the Environment Bill, published 19 August, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirmed that it is developing time-bound, numerical targets aimed at tackling an array of environmental issues.

At least one “strong and meaningful” target will be introduced for each of the four priority areas for the Bill: biodiversity, air quality, water and waste. All targets will be deadlined for the mid-to-late 2030s and will be backed up with interim targets that will not be legally binding, to help spur early progress.

The goals should be set in statute by the end of October 2022 at the latest, the Defra documents state. The Department has promised to use a “robust, evidence-led” process for developing and implementing the new targets, such as was used for the UK’s updated Climate Change Act.

Specifically, the Delivery Hub will develop a masterplan to ensure homes are built with low-carbon heating and no new homes using gas by 2025. Housebuilders will also have more ambitious water efficiency standards and improved flood resilience. Green roofs, triple glazing, passive cooling and electric vehicle (EV) charge points will also be prioritised.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “This Government is improving building standards and overhauling our outdated planning system as a priority. By putting communities in control of what is built locally we will deliver better designed, more sustainable buildings and the homes that are needed for the next generation.

“I look forward to seeing the recommendations and plans of the Future Homes Task Force later this year to support this exciting agenda as we work towards a cleaner, greener and more beautiful built environment.”

The announcement comes one month after Business Secretary Alok Sharma called on tradespeople across the UK to access the Government’s new £2bn Green Homes Grants scheme to mobilise efforts to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.

The Green Homes Grants scheme was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Summer Economic Update to Parliament, which outlined measures to boost job growth as part of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of £2bn has been earmarked for the new Green Homes Grant for those who do not live in social housing. The grant will cover two-thirds of the cost of verified energy-saving home improvements – rising to 100% for the poorest households.

Home improvements up to £10,000 will be considered and the Government expects more than 600,000 UK homes to become more energy efficient as a result. It will also support more than 100,000 jobs in green construction. More than 1,000 businesses across the country have applied so far.

Additionally, the Future Homes Standard is currently under consultation and is due to come into effect in the latter half of 2020, covering England only. In its current form, it includes a headline goal to reduce the carbon intensity of new builds by 75% by 2025, which ministers plan to deliver through fresh mandates for housebuilders on triple glazing, low-carbon heating systems, onsite renewable generation and energy-efficient building fabrics. The 75% target is down from an initial proposal of 80%. 

Commenting on the news, Emma Howard Boyd, Environment Agency chair said: “Meeting the ambition that all new homes are net zero, climate resilient and make a positive contribution to the environment is an essential contribution to tackling the climate and nature emergencies. Government and regulators, including the Environment Agency, will need to play their full part, working collaboratively with industry, designers and environmentalists.”

Matt Mace


Grid Inertia

Welsh Power is to provide National Grid ESO with inertia thanks to the installation of a synchronous condenser and flywheel at its site at Rassau, Wales. Having been awarded a contract to provide inertia earlier this year – with £328 million of contracts awarded to five companies including Drax and Statkraft – the company is now working with its project development and finance partner, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, to install the technology. Traditionally, inertia – which is vital to the stability of the grid – has come from the kinetic energy in the moving parts of large generators while they are providing electricity to the grid. However, all of the companies that won the stability contracts are either modifying existing assets or building new assets to provide stability services from inertia, without having to provide electricity.

Current News 23rd Sept 2020 read more »

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