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October 2020

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Energy Industry

A variety of energy companies and organisations have written to Ofgem to urge the regulator to make net zero central to the next price controls. In the letter, they argue that RIIO-2 will be a “critical enabler” of net zero, stressing that with at least 40GW of renewables needing to be efficiently connected by 2030 and millions of electric vehicles (EVs) needing to charge easily, the network infrastructure must be ready. As a result, net zero must be at the heart of RIIO-2 “from the start, not as a subsequent ‘uncertainty’” the letter states. The RIIO-2 price controls have already been the subject of fierce debate regarding their impact on net zero. In their scathing responses to Ofgem’s Draft Determinations, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Transmission and ScottishPower Energy Networks (SPEN) branded the proposals as “risking the delivery of net zero” and being “manifestly flawed” respectively.

Current 27th Oct 2020 read more »

News

edie launches new report detailing how the hospitality sector can achieve a green recovery

edie has launched its latest sector insight report, examining how the hospitality and leisure sector can build back better from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by focusing on low-carbon strategies as part of a green recovery.

The report features insight on how innovation, collaboration and net-zero will shape a green recovery in the sector

The report features insight on how innovation, collaboration and net-zero will shape a green recovery in the sector

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 reports have been created in assistance with PHS 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 hospitality and leisure firms in the vanguard of sustainability leadership.

—–DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE—–

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 how a strong focus on energy innovation within the sector has created the building blocks to deliver a green recovery moving forward.

Additionally, viewpoints from PHS and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance help set the tone as to why businesses can be optimistic when approaching the green recovery through net-zero targets and new business practices.

In the foreword for the report, the Sustainability Hospitality Association’s trustee Stephen Farrant said: “As we are witnessing the devastating impact of the pandemic on lives and businesses, so we are reminded that we all have a responsibility to ensure that the combined effects of climate and the loss of nature do not have a similar or greater effect. There is a growing realisation that ultimately, we are all subject to the laws of nature and science. A green recovery is therefore the only logical future for the hospitality and leisure industries.

“A green recovery is therefore firmly on the agendas of many leaders and boards – within the industry and beyond. Recognition is growing that we need to build strong foundations for a resilient industry that’s better prepared for future crises, and that actively helps to regenerate the natural systems upon which it depends. Sustainability professionals can start to drive a green recovery from within but, as advocated by the Global Goals, we also need to enhance collaboration between key stakeholders in the value chain, including governments, civil society, the private sector and other strategic partners.”

Click here to access the Mission Possible: Achieving a green recovery for Hospitality and Leisure report.

edie staff

News

Renewable Finance

Finance houses join the rush toward supporting the energy transition. Earlier this year, State Street, one of the world’s largest asset managers, threw its support behind a shareholder petition urging Japanese bank Mizuho to disclose more information about how it is aligning its investments with the Paris agreement on climate change. Closer to home, Boston-based State Street joined a shareholder proposal asking JPMorgan to report how it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with its lending business in alignment with the Paris accord.As banks this year have drawn fire from asset managers — themselves sometimes accused of greenwash — over the risks of inaction, the banks are now putting pressure on giant oil-and-gas companies to accelerate their renewable strategies. The European Central Bank and other regulators are also starting to scrutinise what climate change risks are under-appreciated by banks. For banks, the energy transition is a massive opportunity. Coal, oil and gas account for about 65 per cent of electricity generation, according to a Morgan Stanley report. To comply with the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting man-made global warming to no more than 2 degrees centigrade, $14tn in clean, renewable energy will be needed over the next 30 years. BP, for example, will need to double or even triple its annual wind and solar investments for the next 30 years to meet net-zero carbon emissions targets. European banks are leading the pack globally. In 2018, BBVA, BNP Paribas, ING, Société Générale and Standard Chartered together pledged to steer their portfolios toward the Paris agreement’s goal. The Dutch bank ING, for example, has increased its renewable power generation financing in 2019 while reducing its exposure to coal power plants by 22 per cent. As a result, renewables accounted for 59 per cent of power generation lending outstanding at the bank at the end of last year.

FT 27th Oct 2020 read more »

News

Japan – Climate Policy

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has said the country will become carbon neutral by 2050, heralding a bolder approach to tackling the climate emergency by the world’s third-biggest economy. “Responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth,” Suga said on Monday in his first policy address to parliament since taking office. “We need to change our thinking to the view that taking assertive measures against climate change will lead to changes in industrial structure and the economy that will bring about growth.” To applause from MPs, he added: “I declare we will aim to realise a decarbonised society.”

Guardian 26th Oct 2020 read more »

News

Wind & Bird Deaths

The results of a multi-year scientific study in Denmark has concluded that birds are quite good at avoiding wind turbine blades, putting a serious dent in a common argument raised by anti-wind and -renewable activists. The new study, carried out by three relevant consultancies for Swedish power company Vattenfall, investigated the area around 11 turbines every three days for three periods of just over a month in both the first and third years after the erection of the 67.2MW Klim Wind Farm in northern Jutland, Denmark (pictured above). The research was carried out between August 2016 and May 2017 in the first year of operation, and August 2018 and May 2019 in the third year of operation. In an effort to determine an annual collision rate for the pink-footed geese and cranes, 11 selected turbines were inspected during autumn, winter, and spring.

Renew Economy 23rd Oct 2020 read more »

News

Energy Regulation

Greg Jackson, CEO, Octopus Energy: Today, lobbyists, consultants and entrenched interests risk similarly stifling the transition to renewable energy. While it is inevitable that we will decarbonise energy, it could end up taking a lot longer than necessary, and costing vastly more. Insidiously, the costs are buried deep in the system, making them opaque and regressive as they flow through to energy bills. We have had a regressive two-tier energy system for decades, where customers who don’t “engage” have been charged up to 50 per cent more than those who do (and even worse for those on prepay meters). This has been tempered by the energy price cap – but is still a feature of incumbents’ pricing models. Note that this “engagement” has no impact on the overall cost of the energy system, it just shifts costs from some customers to others – mainly benefiting high income households at the expense of low-income households. One observer repeats the dangerous myth that challenger brands at the heart of much of the innovation in the market are not that interested in attracting vulnerable customers because they are likely to come with bigger costs to serve. He says: “You have customers who are proactively engaged, they are tech savvy and have the ability to seek out the best deals and take advantage of decarbonising their house and fundamentally reducing their energy bills.” This is, frankly, rubbish.

Utility Week 21st Oct 2020 read more »

News

Net-zero by 2030: Lime becomes first micro-mobility firm to pledge to science-based targets

E-scooter and e-bike giant Lime has set a 2030 net-zero target and said it will develop science-based emissions reductions targets in the coming months.

Lime has until October 2022 to develop its targets and have them verified in line with 1.5C

Lime has until October 2022 to develop its targets and have them verified in line with 1.5C

The company operates in more than 30 countries and the net-zero target will cover the entirety of its global operations and supply chain, including the electricity used to charge its rental bikes and scooters.

Because Lime has stated its commitment to set science-based targets to underpin its net-zero goal to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), it now has 24 months to develop targets and have them approved. For targets to be validated in line with 1.5C, which Lime is aiming for, they must include commitments to tackle Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

In the interim, as Lime develops pathways for emissions reductions, it has pledged to become a carbon negative business by 2025. It will need to offset more carbon than it generated to achieve this vision.

The emissions targets form part of a new partnership with WWF centred around promoting low-carbon, zero-carbon and active transport in urban areas after Covid-19 lockdowns.

The partnership will also see Lime and WWF launch communications promoting a new digital tool which tracks air pollution and climate change data, called ‘Travel Better’, and encouraging cities and nations to change their transport systems approaches in line with climate science. Nations including the UK, US, Sweden, Spain and Bulgaria will be among the first in which the new campaigns will launch.

“Today more than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities… and as cities build back post-Covid-19, we need to rethink transport alternatives, tackling air pollution, carbon emissions and congestion, working with policymakers to move from car-centric urban design to more human-centred, low-carbon and active transportation, like walking, cycling and shared micro-mobility,” WWF’s global lead for cities Jennifer Lenhart said.

Scooting towards sustainability

Legal restrictions on e-scooters were lifted in the UK earlier this year and, since then, the Government has ring-fenced a multi-million-pound pot for real-world trials and more than 50 local authorities have applied to host e-scooter pilots which.

Among them are the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), which is working with Swedish e-scooter rental giant Voi. By law, e-scooter pilots can run for a maximum of 12 months.

Aside from e-scooters, Boris Johnson has confirmed that some £2bn of the UK’s Covid-19 stimulus funding will be spent on walking and cycling. Investment in infrastructure is planned alongside a subsidy scheme for bicycle repairs. Additionally, some GPs will be prescribing active travel. 

Sarah George

News

Octopus

A green energy business says a “substantial” number of the 1,000 new jobs it is creating will be in Leicester. Sustainable power firm Octopus Energy said it is planning 1,000 new jobs across England including a new technology, data science and artificial intelligence centre in Manchester. Octopus Energy says moves like theirs will mean the UK will become “the Silicon Valley of energy”. The Leicester firm’s announcement was welcomed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said it will create “exciting opportunities across the country for those who want to be at the cutting edge of the global green revolution”.

Leicester Mercury 5th Oct 2020 read more »

News

New scheme to help UK’s schools align with net-zero

Charities including Ashden, Global Action Plan and the Fairtrade Foundation have teamed up to launch a new initiative helping UK schools transition to net-zero.

Pictured: Year 2 pupils at a participating primary school

Pictured: Year 2 pupils at a participating primary school

Called ‘Let’s Go Zero’, the initiative will provide schools which have not yet set net-zero targets with the inspiration, motivation and practical support they need to do so. Schools with net-zero targets will also be supported to share best-practice advice with each other, develop roadmaps for delivery, and to promote their climate-related activities to staff, students and their families.

Several of the schools taking part in the campaign have already seen impressive results from implementing behaviour change campaigns on walking to school; setting up ‘eco-rep’ schemes for students and changing internal processes relating to green space, energy use, water use, waste management and procurement.

But they also recognise that many barriers remain on the road to net-zero, like dealing with hard-to-abate emissions from things like heating and cooling; ensuring that offsetting schemes are robust and financing retrofit projects.

With this in mind, the initiative provides a platform for schools to collectively lobby the government for broader and longer-term initiatives that support energy efficiency. The £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme, announced at the Summer Economic Update, is open to schools but will only run for 12 months. Let’s Go Zero claims that 60% of the energy consumed by schools is out-of-hours and, therefore, largely wasted.

“From car-free school runs and plant-based canteens, schools across the country are already inspiring entire communities to think and act differently – but many feel like they are doing so alone and with stretched resources,” Global Action Plan’s co-chief executive Sonja Graham said.

“Let’s Go Zero provides a powerful route for schools to drive impact-led action and unite behind a call for much-needed funding to help all schools to become cleaner, healthier and sustainable learning environments.”

Climate news for kids

In related news, broadcaster Sky has this week launched a new digital programme for schools aimed at improving media literacy.  

Called The Edit, the programme helps students to create their own news reports on topics such as climate change. It provides them with access to Sky’s back-catalogue of broadcasted reports and to Adobe’s creative suite of software.

The Edit is being piloted across schools in low-income regions which collectively represent more than 30,000 students. Sky said in a statement that it had taken this approach to bring the knowledge and skills to pupils who may otherwise miss out, and to help make the array of voices represented in the media more diverse. At present, more than 94% of journalists in the UK are white and more than half are former private school students. This proportion rises past 80% for senior editors.

Students which produce a report through The Edit will be encouraged to submit their project to the Sky News team. Journalists will judge the entries and announce a winner on the channel’s FYI programme in 2021.

“Every child, in every community, should have access to digital programmes,” Sky’s executive vice president and chief executive for the UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen, said. “The Edit can help them find their voice and build the essential digital skills that the future of our economy relies upon.”

Sarah George

News

Moncler commits to carbon neutrality and 100% renewable electricity

Luxury fashion brand Moncler has pledged to ensure that its direct operations are carbon-neutral within a year and to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2023.

Moncler had already signed the Fashion Pact, coordinated by Kering to deliver a sector-wide transition to net-zero 

Moncler had already signed the Fashion Pact, coordinated by Kering to deliver a sector-wide transition to net-zero 

The commitments form part of the company’s new sustainability strategy, called ‘Born to Protect’ and published today (22 October). They make up the strategy’s ‘climate action’ pillar – other pillars being the circular economy, fair sourcing, diversity and giving back to communities.

On the carbon neutrality target, Moncler has reduced its direct (Scope 1) and power-related (Scope 2) emissions by 30% since 2017 by investing in energy efficiency measures and renewable electricity. It uses 100% renewable electricity across its Italian operations and at its factory in Romania, which it owns.

It will need to purchase carbon credits to offset the remaining emissions and has said it will continue to prioritise reductions. At present, the company does not have a time-bound commitment for Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, but it is a member of the Fashion Pact, which binds it to address this issue in the coming years.

The circular economy pillar of Moncler’s new strategy includes pledges to eliminate single-use plastic packaging by 2023; recycle more than 80% of nylon scraps by 2023 and shift to 50% recycled nylon by 2025.

It also details a commitment to source down through traceable systems, creating an audit chain for information around waste and animal welfare, and to begin applying this system to down recycling next year. Moncler uses third-party inspectors to check its processes across the down life-cycle.

Moncler classes down and nylon as key materials. ‘Born to Protect’ includes a commitment to ensure that the supply chains of all key materials are fully traced within three years.

Commenting on the new strategy, Moncler’s chair and chief executive Remo Ruffini said it would take “new ways of thinking and working and innovative solutions in new places” to meet the updated targets.

He said: “The world is facing ever more urgent social and environmental challenges. The pandemic is a reminder that we can, we must, always go beyond what we have already achieved if we are to make our future better.”

On the social side, the new strategy sets out plans to enrol all employees on a three-year cultural awareness plan and to launch a diversity and inclusion council in early 2021. It also includes a commitment to donate to projects that reach 100,000 people over the next three years and to co-run one high-level social project biannually.

Refashioning finance

‘Born to Protect’ has been published shortly after Moncler signed for a €400m revolving credit facility with margins linked to key sustainability targets. Environmental targets only are taken into account, meaning the business has an incentive to deliver against its carbon, energy, water, waste and sourcing goals.

Other businesses with sustainability-linked loans include supermarket giant Tesco, soft drinks manufacturer Britvic and Finnish forestry firm UPM.

Some other firms have taken the decision to link sustainability and finance by launching green bonds or tying executive pay to factors like emissions reductions. BMW, Shell and BP have adopted the latter, while corporates to have issued green bonds this year include Visa, Alphabet and Chanel.

Sarah George

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