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October 2021

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International Council on Mining and Metals targets net-zero emissions by 2050

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has unveiled a new strategic target for its members to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 “or sooner” with pathways and plans to account for Scope 3 emissions to be published over the coming years.

The current commitment does not yet cover Scope 3 emissions

The current commitment does not yet cover Scope 3 emissions

The ICMM accounts for 28 mining and metals company members and more than 35 national, regional and commodities association members. It has today unveiled a net-zero target for Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

“As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to decarbonisation and sustainable development, we embrace our responsibility to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment. That is why today, we collectively commit as members of the ICMM to a goal of net-zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement”, the ICMM states.

The ICMM will ensure that members set clear pathways to achieve net-zero emissions “through meaningful short and/or medium-term targets”, with pathways to be published “no later than the end of 2023”.

Members will also have to set Scope 3 targets within the same timeframe and these will cover all material sources of emissions with a focus on absolute emissions rather than intensity-based targets.

Plans include deploying zero-emission mining vehicles across operations through the Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative. A Skills for our Common Future initiative will also help upskill communities to drive net-zero progress.

Some organisations within the sector have already published individual net-zero targets. Swiss multinational mining and materials giant Glencore, for example, has set climate targets headlined by a 2050 net-zero vision, covering all scopes.

Commenting on the announcement, Boston Consulting Group’s managing director Konrad von Szczepanski said: “Mining undoubtedly has a decarbonisation challenge ahead. At the same time as the sector reduces its emissions, mining companies are vital to produce the materials needed to build the future green economy.

“The imperative for the mining industry is to adapt to changes in demand. For example, BCG expects nickel demand to increase by a factor of more than 15 between 2015 and 2040 to supply electric vehicles with batteries, while demand for thermal coal will diminish by more than 20% over the same time. Businesses need to shift portfolios and invest accordingly. While the journey will come with its hurdles, critical to its success will be forming impactful, collaborative partnerships between government, business and industry leaders to accelerate action to achieve net-zero.”

Some of the members to the ICMM are also members of the World Gold Council, which recently committed to reporting their progress on managing climate-related risks, in line with the recommendation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Many also have their own net-zero targets.

The Councils’ chief financial officer Terry Heymann added: “The World Gold Council is very supportive of the objectives and commitments expressed in this letter. As both a member of the ICMM, and as an organisation committed to ensuring progress on gold’s contribution to the decarbonisation of the global economy, we are encouraged by such a firm commitment to collective efforts across the mining sector to reduce emissions and better manage the industry’s climate impacts.”

Matt Mace 


Orkney flexibility trials deliver 24,000 peer-to-peer trades

A Government-backed local flexibility market trial has seen more than 24,000 peer-to-peer trades take place, enabling local wind energy to power homes and provide flexible services to the national energy market.

Project TraDER, led by Electron, was funded via the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s FleX fund

Project TraDER, led by Electron, was funded via the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s FleX fund

Orkney hosted the two-year Project TradDER trial, led by Electron. The trial aimed to demonstrate how energy storage, demand-side response and clean energy generation can be combined to create flexible energy exchanges that tap into both local and national markets.

Electron aimed to create a trading platform for markets and players to bid for services to improve flexibility. Orkney was chosen due to the high levels of curtailment of renewable generation on the island and the lack of access to national grids.

More than 24,000 peer-to-peer trades took place across the trial. The concept of TraDER is based on a Distribution System Operator (DSO), whereas other demonstrator projects are usually single-supplier-led or DNO operated.

Electron’s chief executive Jo-Jo Hubbard said: “Orkney is one of the windiest places in the UK and wind farms connected to the local distribution network can be asked to turn off if there is too much generation and not enough grid capacity or consumer demand.

“Unlike generators connected to the national transmission network, they get no compensation. So not only do local generators miss out on revenue streams when curtailed, but clean energy is wasted. We wanted to create a price-driven market, enabled by a neutral market entity, that can accommodate a range of different technologies, including large and small-scale generation, while minimising administrative and technical barriers to participating in new markets.”

Project TraDER, led by Electron, was funded via the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy’s FleX fund and supported by CGI, Community Energy Scotland, EDF, Elexon, Energy Systems Catapult and Kaluza, as well as National Grid ESO, and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

Electric shift

Those involved in the project believe it can provide some key learnings for clean and flexible grid interactions moving forward.

Electricity demand is set to swell in the UK as electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps rise in uptake. Indeed, balancing costs for decentralised generation have already increased from £506m in 2015 ro £1.3bn in 2020. Electron believes local trading platforms can therefore reduce costs while improving grid flexibility.

According to National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios, more than 11 million EVs will be on British roads by 2030. As for heat pumps, the Government is targeting the installation of 600,000 pumps annually by 2028. Groups including the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) have warned that better supporting policies will be needed to meet this target.

The results of the trial arrive in the same week that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated his intention to develop plans for shifting all electricity generation to clean sources by 2035.

This would mean the entirety of the nation’s electricity generation mix would be accounted for by renewables – primarily wind and solar – as well as nuclear. During each month in 2020, an average of 41% of generation was accounted for by these sources, according to the National Grid Energy System Operator (ESO).

Matt Mace


Solar Shell

Royal Dutch Shell has made a push into solar energy in the UK as it scales back its traditional oil and gas business. It signed agreements with Island Green Power to develop a project with more than 700 megawatts of generation capacity, and another with Clearstone Energy for projects with a combined export capacity of 100 megawatts. The investment in joint projects marks a shift by Shell, which previously had a five-year agreement with British Solar Renewables to buy all the electricity generated by their Bradenstoke solar power plant in Wiltshire. This time Shell is investing directly in the assets in this area, marking a first for the company in the UK.

Times 5th Oct 2021 read more »


McDonald’s targets net-zero value chain globally by 2050

Fast-food giant McDonald’s has set a 2050 global net-zero target covering operations and the supply chain, while its UK & Ireland business has set a more ambitious 2040 deadline.

McDonald's has long been the target of green campaigners, over its climate impact, packaging footprint and meat and dairy supply chains

McDonald’s has long been the target of green campaigners, over its climate impact, packaging footprint and meat and dairy supply chains

The company told Reuters today (4 October) that it will work with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to update its existing climate goals, which are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s less ambitious 2C pathway.

A major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2018 revealed the likely differences between a 2C world and a 1.5C world, in depth, for the first time. This has prompted a shift in the conversation, to the point that 1.5C alignment is now the best-practice standard. Indeed, the SBTi is currently working to make 1.5C the minimum target-setting requirement.

The IPCC report recommended that global net emissions are halved by 2030 and brought to net-zero by 2050, as a minimum, to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis.  

Reuters is reporting that McDonald’s is set to develop targets to reduce emissions from its operations and supply chain by around one-third this decade, to support its long-term net-zero vision.

Under its previous climate targets, McDonald’s Corporation was targeting a 36% reduction in emissions from restaurants and offices by 2030, with 2015 as a baseline year. There were also aims to cut the emissions intensity of the business, per tonne of food and packaging produced, by 31% within the same timeframe.

UK & Ireland focus

McDonald’s UK & Ireland, meanwhile, has provided more in-depth information on how it plans to reach net-zero by 2040.

The firm has confirmed that a new restaurant, opening in Shropshire next month, will be delivered to a net-zero standard developed by the company. The standard covers embodied and operational carbon emissions. From 2022, McDonald’s UK & Ireland will apply the standard to all new-build locations.

A 2030 net-zero target has been set for the operational emissions of existing restaurants and offices. McDonald’s will likely need to explore retrofitting and carbon offsetting to meet this milestone; it has already switched to 100% renewable electricity.

As for the supply chain, there are new targets to ensure all soy for animal feed is deforestation-free by 2026; to develop a new sustainability scorecard for sourcing by 2023 and to expand regenerative agriculture efforts in the beef supply chain.

There are also plans to offer customers more plant-based options in the coming years, building on the recent launch of the ‘McPlant’ burger, manufactured by Beyond Meat. The business will establish a new Nutrition Innovation Council, tasked with researching and developing plant-based options as well as options that are lower in salt, sugar, fat and calories.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s chief executive Paul Pomroy said the business’s new ‘Plan for Change’, in which the net-zero pathway is laid out, is a “business priority” rather than a “sustainability strategy”.

He said: “McDonald’s has a long history of taking action where it really matters to the communities we serve. But we are at a moment now where we need to accelerate our ambition and work even harder to look after each other and the planet.”

Competitor KFC UK & Ireland recently announced a 2040 net-zero target. Unlike McDonald’s UK & Ireland, KFC UK & Ireland is a member of the Zero Carbon Forum, which was set up late last year to develop a pathway to net-zero for the UK’s hospitality sector. Other members include Burger King, Pizza Express and Nando’s. 

Sarah George


Climate Protests

Eco-protesters who hold motorists hostage by blockading roads will face jail sentences of up to six months, Priti Patel is to announce. The Home Secretary will on Tuesday unveil plans to increase the maximum penalty for obstructing a highway from a £1,000 fine to six months in prison. The move is also designed to prevent protest groups like Insulate Britain from mounting repeat blockades of roads even after they have been released on bail.

Telegraph 3rd Oct 2021 read more »

Times 4th Oct 2021 read more »

EXTINCTION Rebellion activists have said they have “no choice” but to cause disruption in Glasgow during COP26. Thousands of delegates, world leaders and media will descend on the city during the first two weeks of November for the climate summit, which is being held at the SEC.

Herald 4th Oct 2021 read more »

Now eco-mob block the Blackwall Tunnel, Hanger Lane and Arnos Grove: Insulate Britain launch three-pronged attack on their ELEVENTH day of protests… 24 hours after ministers threatened six-month jail terms for protestors.

Daily Mail 4th Oct 2021 read more »


Environmental Regulation

New independent standards body with enforcement powers set up to protect environment in Scotland. A new independent body set up to help Scotland achieve and maintain the highest standards of environmental protection has been officially launched today. Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) will play an important role in ensuring governments and public bodies comply with environmental laws as well as assessing how legislation is implemented and whether it is fit for purpose.

Scotsman 1st Oct 2021 read more »


Five UK councils commit to launching green bonds

The Green Finance Institute (GFI) has announced the first five councils to sign on to its Local Climate Bond campaign, which commits members to developing green bond issuance plans within 18 months.

Pictured: Eastbourne

Pictured: Eastbourne

The participating councils are Eastbourne District Council and Lewes District Council in East Sussex; Cotswold District Council in Gloucestershire; Islington Council in Greater London and Blaenau Gwent Council in Wales.

Each council will work with the GFI and the Institute’s partner for the campaign, Abundance Investment, to develop the bonds. They are also implored to consult with local residents and businesses to identify and prioritise which projects should be funded.

Abundance first trialled its green bonds for councils last year, with West Berkshire and Warrington councils both issuing a £1m bond. Unlike typical corporate green bonds or sovereign green gilts, the local bonds were open to investment from local people with a minimum requirement of a £5 investment.

West Berkshire and Warrington councils are using their bonds to finance solar projects, but the GFI and Abundance have emphasised that proceeds could be put towards other renewable energy schemes; electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure; habitat conservation and restoration and other initiatives which will help councils meet their net-zero goals.

According to BBC analysis, 121 of England’s 149 ‘top-tier’ councils have made a climate emergency declaration, with most of this cohort also targeting net-zero ahead of the national, legally binding deadline of 2050. But organisations including UK100, Green Alliance and the Government’s own National Audit Office (NAO) have warned that many local authorities need additional funding to walk the talk when it comes to their climate plans.

The GFI’s chief executive Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas said: “Many councils across the country have been driving forward ambitious plans to transition their public buildings, places and services to support a greener, cleaner future; it is exciting to see our first cohort formally committing to this innovative financial solution and we look forward to working with them, alongside Abundance Investment, to support net-zero ambitions that will directly benefit their residents.”

Looking at the climate commitments of the participating councils, Eastbourne District Council is targeting a carbon-neutral town by 2030, while Lewes District Council has the same carbon reduction aim and is also targeting “full climate resilience” by the end of the decade. Cotswold District Council’s overarching ambition is net-zero carbon by 2045, without the use of offsetting. Islington Council is striving to deliver a net-zero borough by 2030.  Blaenau Gwent Council is aiming to become a carbon-neutral organisation this decade and is currently updating plans for reducing emissions across the region.

Abundance has estimated that up to £3bn could be leveraged if all UK councils launch green bonds using its framework.

The news comes shortly after the UK Government launched its first sovereign green gilts, with a £10bn package having raised funding on 21 September. A further £5bn is in the pipeline and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stated that additional green gilts will be announced in the near future.

Sarah George


Heat – Scotland

Social innovation agency, Nesta in Scotland, commissioned Energy Systems Catapult to help Scotland better understand which dwellings are most and least well suited to the transition to ground and air source heat pumps.

Energy Systems Catapult 16th Sept 2021 read more »

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