Net zero transition – the latest signals of change: July 14, 2023We Mean Business Coalition
Net zero Signals of Change this week include a plan for COP28 and the EU Nature Restoration Law.
Net Zero Economy & Finance
Sultan al Jaber, COP28 President, laid out the UAE’s plans for this year’s global climate summit at a meeting of governments this week. The plan is built around ‘four Fs’: fast-tracking the transition to a low-carbon world; fixing climate finance; focusing on people, lives and livelihoods; and full inclusivity. Keeping the 1.5°C temperature limit within reach will be the “single north star” of this year’s COP in November, according to al Jaber.
Australia has become the latest nation to join the international ‘climate club’ of countries committed to accelerating climate action. Others to join the group, formed by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during his country’s G7 Presidency last year, include Argentina, Indonesia, Switzerland and Singapore. “This isn’t just the right thing to do by the environment, but this is also the right thing to do by jobs and by our economy,” said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Companies and financial institutions have contributed to a pledge of over $2 billion to help finance efforts to reduce CO2 emissions across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The package, announced at a UK-U.S. summit this week, includes projects such as a coalition of businesses looking to identify at least $1 billion of initial projects in emerging markets using nature-based solutions.
Vodafone and Iberdrola have signed new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Portugal, Spain and Germany, totaling 410 GW of solar power each year. Vodafone, an RE100 member, said that the agreements provided “improved energy security and long-term price certainty as we work towards achieving net zero in our operations by 2030.“
In Turkey, Nordex Group has been commissioned by VRES Enerji to supply wind turbines for a 56 MW extension of its Kartel wind farm. To date, Nordex has installed 3,571 MW in the region with an additional 889 MW under construction.
And in the U.S., the Secretary for Energy is backing a largely unused clean energy solution called reconductoring that could help avoid permitting problems and tackle the logjam in delivering new renewable power. The solution involves using existing high-voltage towers and re-stringing them with new cables employing state-of-the-art technologies.
French automaker Stellantis is to receive over $11 billion from the Canadian government to support the construction of its EV battery plant, Bloomberg reports, in a sign that Prime Minister Trudeau is upping the ante on corporate subsidies to keep Canada competitive in response the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act in neighboring U.S. When completed, the 45 GW factory is expected to provide 2,500 jobs, with production beginning next year.
Amazon has deployed a further 300 electric delivery vans on the roads of Germany as part of its flagship order of 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) from Rivian. The vans will join an existing 1,000 EVs in Amazon’s German fleet. The company says it delivered more than 45 million packages in Germany with electric vans and e-cargo bikes in 2022.
SSE has kicked off a trial of First Hydrogen’s hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered delivery vans. The firm will use the vans, which can refuel in five minutes and can carry heavy loads without compromising on range, in its day-to-day operations in Scotland. “In line with our commitment to net zero and EV100 pledge to electrify our fleet, we’re keen to explore all alternative fuel options,” said Chief Procurement Officer at SSE, Ronnie Fleming.
Land & Nature
Following concerted campaigning by businesses and civil society groups, the EU Parliament voted in favor of the Nature Restoration Law to introduce binding targets to restore the continent’s natural environment. The proposed law, which aims to help the bloc reach its commitment to protect 30% of land and water by 2030, will now be negotiated with member countries.
In Brazil, officials have reported that deforestation in the Amazon is down by a third so far this year, compared to 2022. The so far unverified government satellite data, showing that the crucial ecosystem shrank by 2,600 square kilometers in the first half of this year compares to almost 4,000 last year, was welcomed by Indigenous leaders.
Sports brand Puma has committed to source its cow leather from deforestation-free supply chains. The company has signed on to the Deforestation-Free Call to Action for Leather, an initiative by Textile Exchange and Leather Working Group, which commits brands to sourcing deforestation-free leather by or before 2030.
Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Beauty company Estée Lauder has launched a Responsible Store Design program in a bid to boost the sustainability of its bricks and mortar stores. The company has had Green Building Standards in place since 2020 to ensure all new construction and renovation of its spaces meet sustainability standards. Stores participating in the new program benefit from energy efficiency technologies and, for free-standing stores, access to Estée Lauder’s Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA).
Germany has announced plans for a network of hydrogen pipelines to connect its Rhein industrial hub with the rest of the country. The government is designing subsidy packages to kickstart its green hydrogen strategy, which it is due to unveil this quarter. The grid plans include connections to major industrial centers, storage facilities and power plants, with a total length of around 11,200 km.
And Cargill Metals has signed a strategic framework agreement with Norway’s Blastr Green Steel. The deal includes supply of ultra-low-carbon steel products as well as green shipping and logistic support. The agreement “demonstrates our shared ambition of realizing Blastr Green Steel’s vision to enable significant reductions of CO2 emissions along the steel value chain,” said Blastr CEO Hans Fredrik Wittusen.
14 companies committed to set near-term science-based targets.
13 companies committed to set net zero science-based targets.
26 companies had their science-based targets approved.
45 SMEs had their science-based targets approved.
4 companies joined the SME Climate Hub.
Total number of companies committed to RE100: 412
Total number of companies committed to EP100: 125
Total number of companies committed to EV100: 130
Total number of companies committed to EV100+: 5
Total number of companies committed to SteelZero: 36
Total number of companies committed to ConcreteZero: 30
Total number of companies and SMEs committed to SBTi: 5,593 (2,492 committed, 3,101 approved)
Total number of SMEs committed to SME Climate Hub: 6,339
Total number of companies committed to The Climate Pledge: 417
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