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April 2021

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Tesco links supplier financial support to environmental goals

Tesco is offering preferential financing rates for suppliers that address their environmental impacts, under a new voluntary programme supported by Anthesis, KPMG and Santander.

The initiative is voluntary for suppliers

The initiative is voluntary for suppliers

Tesco’s supply chain programme will provide finance linked to the sustainability performance of companies located in its supply chain.

Launching in September, the programme is voluntary and has been in development for 18 months. Suppliers enrolled in the programme will provide annual greenhouse gas emissions data which will be verified by sustainability consultants Anthesis. KPMG will carry out assurance of the programme.

Suppliers that lead on decarbonisation will be offered preferential financing rates via Santander.

Tesco’s chief product officer Ashwin Prasad said: “In this critical year for climate action, we’re delighted to be able to offer thousands of suppliers access to market-leading supply chain finance linked to sustainability.

“This programme not only provides suppliers with a real incentive to set science-based emissions reduction targets, it will help embed sustainability goals throughout our supply chain and support the UK in realising its climate change targets.”

The initiative builds on the Tesco Supplier Network, an online platform giving more than 10,000 suppliers guidance on methods to improve sustainability.

On the emissions piece, Tesco was one of the first businesses in the world to have its targets approved in line with 1.5C by the Science-Based Targets initiative. It is aiming to reduce operational emissions by 60% by 2025, against a 2015-2016 baseline, and to reach net-zero by 2050.

Last year, Tesco established a £2.5bn revolving credit facility whereby rates and interest are tied to progress against the company’s key environmental targets.

Under the terms of the agreement, facilitated by BNP Paribas and NatWest, Tesco will benefit from a lower interest rate loan margin if it meets its commitments to reduce Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions; to source renewable electricity through on-site generation and power purchase agreements (PPAs); and to redistribute surplus food.

Santander Corporate and Investment Bank’s head Darren Jones said: “Action on climate change is crucial and from individuals to corporates, we all have a part to play. Supply Chain Finance can be an effective tool for influencing positive change by linking sustainability achievements with competitive financing.

“Santander recently announced its ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the group by 2050, and we are committed to supporting our clients in their transition to a low-carbon economy. We look forward to working in partnership with Tesco to provide this innovative solution.”

Deforestation concerns

The news comes as NGOs Mighty Earth and Greenpeace UK launch a campaign against Tesco urging it to cut ties with supplier companies that are driving the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado. 

A survey of Tesco customers from the two NGOs found that 88% believe supermarkets should do more to combat deforestation. The survey of more than 2,000 people (of which more than 800 shopped at Tesco) was issued after findings that retailers are failing to cut ties with suppliers linked to deforestation.

New data from Mighty Earth’s Soy and Cattle Deforestation Tracker, published this week, found that subsidiaries of JBS, the world’s largest beef company, and Cargill and Bunge, the two biggest soy traders globally – which manufacture animal feed ingredients – are heavily linked to deforestation of the Cerrado region.

Tesco has committed £10m over the next five years to fund a new initiative to transition to producing deforestation-free soy in the Cerrado region in Brazil.

Tesco, along with animal nutrition business, Nutreco, and Grieg Seafood have pledged to support soy farmers in the region, where around 50% of the natural landscape is believed to have been lost since 2000. 

However, research from the NGOs found that twice as much deforestation in the supply chains of these soy traders and meatpackers in the past year compared to the year before. Traders linked to deforestation supply to the UK’s biggest supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

Cargill, which has a zero deforestation policy, is linked to more than 66,000 hectares of clearance, while Bunge, which has pledged to end deforestation by 2025, is associated with almost 60,000 hectares of deforestation in just two years – an area larger than the New Forest – according to the report.

Mighty Earth’s UK director Robin Willoughby said: “Forest destruction in Brazil driven by supermarket meat is getting worse every year. This is accelerating climate change and wiping out the home of the jaguar. Tesco customers are crystal clear, they do not want their supermarket to do business with the companies involved in this destruction.

“It’s high time Tesco listens to its customers and drop the worst-performing companies driving the destruction of Brazilian forests – JBS, Cargill and Bunge.”

Tesco has previously committed to achieving net-zero deforestation for its soya and beef supply chains by 2020, as part of the Consumer Goods Forum. However, the company’s policy was tweaked in 2018 to move the date for soya to 2025. The NGOs claim that Tesco is yet to publish a credible plan outlining steps to achieve this goal.

Last year, Tesco spearheaded a call to action involving 160 of the world’s leading food companies to end deforestation arising from soy farming in the Cerrado Savannah. In 2018, a string of big-name investment corporations including Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), APG and Robeco joined dozens of large corporate buyers such as Unilever, Tesco and Marks and Spencer (M&S) in signing the Cerrado Manifesto to protect the area from biodiversity loss.

A Tesco Spokesperson said: “Clearing forest land for crops must stop – we are committed to fully playing our part to prevent deforestation and have met our commitments including our 2020 industry-wide target of certified ‘zero net deforestation’ for our own direct soy sourcing a year early. Recognising there is more to do, we were the first UK retailer to set an additional industry-leading target for the soy we use in the UK to be from entire areas that are verified deforestation-free by 2025, as well as a roadmap to reach this.

“Tesco sources a very small proportion of global soy and so we can’t transform the system alone, but we are working hard with other signatories of the Statement of Support (SoS) for the Cerrado Manifesto, through industry forums like the CGF and with the WWF to build the industry-wide support needed to deliver this. We’re playing a leading role in convening industry and government to protect the Cerrado but we need our suppliers, industry, NGOs and governments to work with us to end deforestation and protect our natural environment. Recognising our leading position in fighting deforestation, Mighty Earth ranked us top in their recent scorecard which evaluates the beef sourcing practices of the world’s largest grocery and fast-food companies.”

Additionally, Tesco informed edie that all its suppliers must meet environmental and zero-deforestation standards. Working with suppliers, Tesco met the 2020 industry-wide target of certified ‘zero net deforestation’ for its own direct soy sourcing a year early.

Matt Mace

News

EoN

E.ON has ramped up its clean energy offering for customers, unveiling a ‘sustainable’ charging tariff for electric vehicle (EVs) drivers and a new home energy tariff that supplies customers with renewable electricity and carbon-offset gas. The energy company said it had launched the tariffs to meet growing consumer demand for green products and energy.

Business Green 30th April 2021 read more »

News

US

An underground nuclear waste storage tank in Washington state that dates to World War II appears to be leaking contaminated liquid into the ground, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday. It’s the second tank believed to be leaking waste left from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The first was discovered in 2013. Many more of the 149 single-walled storage tanks at the site are suspected of leaking.

Statesman Journal 29th April 2021 read more »

Climate crisis features as never before in President Biden’s first address to Congress. The president touted his $2.3tn infrastructure bill, which allocates a significant chunk to tackle climate challenges, by calling it a ‘blue-collar blueprint to build America’

Independent 29th April 2021 read more »

News

B Corp Oddbox targets net-zero emissions by 2030

Surplus fruit and vegetable redistributor Oddbox has unveiled new pledges to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 and reduce emissions by saving 150,000 tonnes of food waste by 2025.

Oddbox’s own product surplus is also donated to charities The Felix Project and City Harvest

Oddbox’s own product surplus is also donated to charities The Felix Project and City Harvest

B Corp Oddbox has outlined new commitments to sustainability in its first annual Do Good Report. The company, which redistributes fruit and vegetables not wanted by retailers directly from growers to households, has committed to reaching net-zero by 2030.

Additionally, the company will attempt to save 150,000 tonnes of food from going to waste by 2025. Currently, Oddbox offers the produce to households who sign up to its community and the initiative is expanding to cover the Midlands and South West. More than two million new households now have access to the community.

Oddbox’s own product surplus is also donated to charities The Felix Project and City Harvest. More than 300 tonnes of surplus fruit and veg has been donated since 2018, providing the equivalent of around 700,000 meals to help alleviate poverty.

The 150,000 tonnes that Oddbox is aiming to be saved would lead to the prevention of 16 billion litres of water from being used for nothing, while also avoiding 164,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions. That equates to the amount of water that 270,000 people drink in their lifetimes and the emissions needed to power half of the homes in the UK for a whole day. 

Oddbox’s sustainability manager Heather Lynch said: “We’re making business a force for good. So alongside our food waste mission, we’re looking at ways of maximising the difference we make. We will be net-zero by 2030 alongside other B Corps – 20 years earlier than the deadline set by the UK Government.

“Last year we measured our own carbon footprint and from this, we have made a series of sustainability commitments, including reducing the carbon footprint of each box by 5% in 2021 and planning a fully electric delivery fleet by 2025, all working towards our overall net-zero goal.”

Food waste costs

In related news, new research from WRAP compiled by The UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers to mark Stop Food Waste Day (Wednesday 28 April) has uncovered the extent of food waste in the UK.

The research found that Brits waste 4.5 million tonnes of food annually. This waste is down to households throwing out food that is past its sell-by date or no longer needed. According to WRAP, this waste is equitable to £700 annually.

Food waste from all sources has decreased in recent years, however, a further 1.8 million tonnes of food waste will need to be prevented by 2030 if the UK is to align with SDG 12.3. WRAP believes that if 400 more businesses commit its roadmap, this figure can be achieved.

However, around £2bn of edible food waste occurred across the retail and manufacturing sectors in 2018, and the businesses involved in the new commitment will aim to work towards Defra’s target of halving food waste by 2030.

Fortunately, households are aiming to play their part. Lockdown has made many re-think the way that food is used, or waste. A recent survey found that 84% of households believe food waste is now a national issue.

Matt Mace

News

‘One Decade to Act’: Multiplex Europe plots course to net-zero

Major construction contractor Multiplex Europe has outlined a string of 2030 climate targets on the road to net-zero by 2050, including measures to cut on-site emissions and embodied carbon.

Image: Multiplex Europe/ Albert Soh

Image: Multiplex Europe/ Albert Soh

Called ‘One Decade to Act’, the plan is designed to put Multiplex on track to comply with net-zero targets set by the EU and UK by changing processes and culture. It is based around five pillars, all designed in recognition of the fact that 98-99% of Multiplex Europe’s climate impact lies outside of its direct operations and within the value chain of the major developments it supports.  

The first pillar commits the firm to zero emissions from all project sites by 2025. Major sources of on-site emissions that will need to be transitioned include generators.

All four other pillars have 2030 deadlines. They cover halving embodied carbon intensity; achieving net-zero buildings in operation; reaching net-zero transport emissions and eliminating all avoidable waste.

Halving embodied carbon intensity will require collaboration with both designers of structures and suppliers of materials. To this latter point, Multiplex is a founding member of the Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative, which unites businesses in a drive to tip market signals in favour of low-carbon steel production methods. Other high-carbon materials include concrete and cement.

The new 2030 targets, Multiplex Europe claims, are aligned with its existing 1.5C-aligned science-based emissions targets. Under these aims, the business will support at least 95% of suppliers to set their own science-based targets by the end of 2023.

To support the delivery of ‘One Decade to Act’, Multiplex Europe has developed a culture and behaviour change programme called ‘Educate, Engage, Empower’. Further details will be revealed to staff, clients and suppliers in the coming months.

“Success will come through actions, not words,” Multiplex Europe’s managing director Callum Tuckett said. “One Decade to Act is based on taking practical, evidence-based steps founded on climate science, research and collaboration. We must promote cultural and behavioural change within and beyond our business, working closely with our clients and supply chain to achieve these goals together.”

Readers interested to find out more about Multiplex Europe’s recent work and its wider views on creating a green recovery for the construction sector are encouraged to watch edie’s 2020 SustyTalk video interview with the firm’s senior sustainability manager Joshua Davies.

Decarbonising construction

While building materials and construction account for around 11% of global annual emissions directly, the sector also contributes to carbon and energy use in other high-emitting sectors including building operations and heavy industry. When the whole value chain is accounted for, the sectors contribute to more than 40% of annual global emissions.

Because construction projects have a long lifespan, the sector has had to move quickly to respond to the net-zero targets being developed by nations, regions, states and cities across the globe. Industry bodies like the World Green Buildings Council, and initiatives like UK Contractors Declare, have helped to support the uptake of aligned targets across the sector while also facilitating greater collaboration.

Other Europe-based construction giants with net-zero targets include Canary Wharf Group, Barratt Developments, Skanska, Morgan Sindall, Mace and Willmott Dixon.

Sarah George

News

Denmark

Danish companies take a lead in green technology. Denmark is home to a former oil company that transformed itself into a renewable energy giant (Orsted), one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, and a leader in helping products return to new highs (Vestas) from a financial collapse. Above all, it has energy efficiency (Danfoss). Danish businesses and politicians have shown Europe how green action can bring about adequate shareholder interests and economic growth, but they also point out some of the challenges ahead. It’s probably not surprising that Denmark’s public and private sectors work together in many ways, large and small. New energy island It will be built in the North Sea for joint promotion by the EU to raise its own goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

FT 28th April 2021 read more »

News

Ireland – Solar plus Storage

Following a successful first phase, Moixa’s partnership with Energia is to now offer solar and storage to a wider customer base. Occurring over the last year, this first phase saw a number of 4.8kWh Moixa Smart Batteries deployed to Energia’s customers in Ireland, with these homes then delivering frequency-related grid services from a virtual power plant (VPP) as part of a flagship project with Irish transmission network operator Eirgrid. Now, Moixa and Energia are to expand this solar and storage proposition to their wider customer base in a bid to encourage consumers to become prosumers through taking control of producing their own renewable energy and using it when it is most beneficial.

Solar Power Portal 27th April 2021 read more »

News

AECOM to become a net-zero business by 2030

Consultancy AECOM has committed to delivering net-zero operations this year and a net-zero value chain by 2030, as part of a sweeping new ESG strategy.

Pictured: The AECOM offices in Markham, Canada

Pictured: The AECOM offices in Markham, Canada

The climate commitments detailed in the new strategy, called ‘Sustainable Legacies’, build on AECOM’s membership to Amazon’s Climate Pledge and its work in co-founding the Pledge to Zero for the environmental consulting sector.

They include a commitment to reach net-zero operations by the end of 2021, building on previous in-house reductions and scaling up nature-based offsetting schemes. AECOM will then, in the longer term, strive for a net-zero value chain by 2030 and develop 1.5C-aligned science-based targets to ensure that reductions are delivered in line with climate science across all scopes.

AECOM has not yet published numerical estimates for science-based targets. However, it has outlined several key focus areas for decarbonization. Operationally, the firm will work to switch to an electric fleet and to source renewable electricity, while also mandating a 50% reduction in business travel against 2019 levels.

To tackle embedded and in-use carbon from projects, which accounts for a significant proportion of Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, AECOM has introduced a new accounting method to track and reduce life-cycle carbon. It will use the tool, called ScopeXO, to support the supply chain to halve the carbon impact of all projects this decade. Clients will also receive net-zero targets alongside targets on resilience and social value.

ESG pillars

Net-zero is one of the four pillars making up AECOM’s new strategy. The other pillars cover sustainable development and resilience; improved social outcomes and diversity; and enhanced governance.

Client targets account for the major part of the sustainable development and resilience pillar. AECOM’s president Lara Poloni said the firm’s clients “have new, evolving priorities focused on sustainability and delivering social impact through their projects and services”.

Under the ‘social outcomes’ pillar, AECOM is striving to ensure that women account for 20% of senior leadership and at least 35% of the overall workforce this year. It also includes commitments to ensure that all projects are more accessible and inclusive, maximising positive outcomes for the communities in which they are based.

The pillar relating to enhanced governance, meanwhile, commits AECOM to auditing ESG targets and metrics every year, to ensure they are in line with best practice. The board of directors will also receive more frequent reports from the firm’s safety, risk and sustainability committee.

In the wake of Covid-19, ESG is becoming a key talking point in the business sustainability space – both in terms of finance and in terms of reframing roles and reporting previously badged as ‘sustainability, ‘responsibility’ or ‘CSR’.

To the former, sustainability bond issuance reached a record high in 2020, according to Moody’s. Issuance increases were more pronounced for bonds relating to societal outcomes than to those with a climate or nature focus.

To the latter, some businesses are appointing chief value officers and others are creating their first ESG-specific roles, including Kao Corporation and Kraft Heinz.

Sarah George

News

UK’s food and drink sector targets net-zero emissions by 2040

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which represents more than 300 companies, has today (27 April) unveiled an ambition on behalf of the sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

The FDF will launch a dedicated roadmap to net-zero at COP26

The FDF will launch a dedicated roadmap to net-zero at COP26

The FDF has announced the net-zero ambition and is already engaging with its stakeholders and members across the entire food and drink supply chain to outline the steps they can take to respond to the climate crisis.

The net-zero commitment for 2040 is 10 years ahead of the national target. The FDF will launch a dedicated roadmap to net-zero and a handbook for business, which outline how ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, distribution and storage and the role of customers will all help reach net-zero. These documents will be launched at COP26 in November this year.

The FDF’s head of climate change and energy policy, Emma Piercy, said: “We are delighted to announce the FDF’s Net-Zero by 2040 ambition. Leading the sectors’ progress in decarbonisation requires essential collaboration across the supply chain, and together we are driving the delivery of Net Zero food and drink products on supermarket shelves by 2040.

“In food and drink manufacturing, the programme of support provided by Government and industry associations are key drivers to building momentum on Net-Zero. We thank Andrew Griffith MP in his role as Net Zero Business Champion on driving this forward and his work on the SME Climate Hub.”

Last year the FDF claimed that the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector will be able to slash emissions by almost two-thirds by 2050, but will require further action and ambition from the government if it is to go further and align with the national net-zero goal.

The FDF’s report found that Scope 2 (power-related) emissions account for the majority of the sector’s carbon footprint, with 97% of its direct footprint attributable to natural gas and the majority of the remaining 3% accounted for by electricity. Of the natural gas sourced by the sector between 2012 and 2020, 80% was used in boilers and direct-fired ovens.

The net-zero ambition builds on strong progress in the sector to date. The sector has collectively slashed carbon emissions by 55% since 1990, surpassing a target set for 2025.

FDF’s ‘Ambition 2025’ strategy is headlined by commitments to help members reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 55%, against a 1990 baseline, and to support year-on-year reductions in food waste on a “farm to fork” basis.

The Government’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP, said: “I welcome the ambitious steps being taken by the Food and Drink Federation in launching their 2021 work programme on Net Zero and the commitment to being net-zero by 2040. This pioneering target in such an important sector of the economy will strengthen the UK’s position as a global climate leader in this year of COP26.”


Mission Possible: Achieving a net-zero carbon future for food and drink manufacturing

As part of Mission Possible, edie’s award-winning campaign which empowers organisations to ramp up areas across all areas of sustainable development, edie is hosting an insight report exploring ow food and drink manufacturers are driving forwards towards net-zero across their own operations and the supply chain. 

You can access this downloadable 16-page report, produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions, by clicking here

Matt Mace

News

VistaJet targets carbon neutrality by 2025 as British Airways owner ups sustainable aviation fuel

Private flight firm VistaJet has committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2025, by reducing emissions and then offsetting, in the same week that International Airlines Group (IAG) set new sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) targets.

Image: VistaJet

Image: VistaJet

VistaJet operates a fleet of 70 jets, available for private hire by business clients. Its plans for reaching the 2025 goal come after the majority of members chose to voluntarily offset the emissions relating to their journeys in 2020.

To reduce emissions in the first instance, VistaJet will procure SAF from SkyNRG. The firm makes SAF using waste bio-oil, agricultural waste and ‘non-fossil CO2’, including captured carbon. It will also continue to work to optimise routes and fleet management using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce fuel consumption. For on-ground operations, VistaJet is hoping to shift to renewable electricity wherever possible.

Residual emissions will then be addressed using offsetting through Vistajet’s partnership with South Pole. The firm has pledged to ensure that emissions from all scopes are accounted for.

“While offsets and SAF are the current and available options to reduce its carbon footprint, VistaJet, together with its partners, industry and clients, will continue to actively seek and invest in new developments to help push the current boundaries,” the firm said in a statement. Many SAF proponents point to the fact that it is likely to be a mature technology before, for example, commercial-sized electric aircraft.

In addition to the commitment on carbon neutrality, VistaJet has pledged to begin reporting climate risk in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations this year. This framework includes ‘scenario analysis’ – mapping transition and physical risk at a range of warming trajectories, including the Paris Agreement’s ‘well below 2C’ pathway – and could soon be mandated for certain businesses in the UK and beyond.

Fuel for thought

In related news, IAG, which owns airlines including British Airways and Aer Lingus, has pledged to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030.

It has not clarified the percentage of SAF blend it will use; current restrictions cap biofuel blending at 50%. However, it has said it will purchase a million tonnes of SAF annually from 2030, in a move that will reduce annual emissions by two million tonnes. The business’s existing SAF suppliers include LanzaJet and Velocys.

“It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low-carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments,” IAG chief executive Luis Gallego said. “Government support is critical to meet this target by attracting investment to construct sustainable aviation fuel plants that will deliver enough supply for the airline industry, creating highly-valued green jobs and economic growth at a global scale.”

IAG had already pledged to spend $400m through to 2040 to develop SAF plants across the world. In the UK specifically, it is lobbying the Government to support up to 14 plants by 2030.

The state of play for SAF in the UK is mixed. The technology has been supported by dozens of big businesses and with standalone funding from the Government.

However, some had been hoping for more Government funding and long-term support as part of the Covid-19 recovery package. Moreover, the UK’s first waste-to-SAF plant, spearheaded by Velocys, was dealt a blow earlier this year after Shell pulled out of the venture. Shell said in a statement in January that it was exiting the project after agreeing to jointly fund another plant in Canada, which developers claim could produce more than double the fuel using less than half the waste. Velocys expects to begin producing fuel to the original timeline of 2025, without Shell.

Questions also remain about the extent to which SAF can reduce the aviation sector’s climate impact in line with the Paris Agreement. The UK Government’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) recommended that, along with SAF, more should be done to scale electric aircraft and to cap demand growth.

Sarah George

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