Net zero transition – the latest signals of change: June 9, 2023We Mean Business Coalition
Net zero signals of change this week include billions of euros for industrial decarbonization in Germany.
Net Zero Economy / Finance
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a new report that helps to define ‘greenwashing’ from the authority’s point of view. The Progress Report on Greenwashing identifies drivers of the issue, including firms struggling to implement the governance processes and tools required to produce high-quality sustainability disclosures; challenges in accessing and producing “relevant, high-quality sustainability data”; and the fast-changing regulatory framework.
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has launched a new standard setting out expectations for credible net zero plans in the banking sector, and will publish their first assessment of banks this summer. The group, which convenes more than 400 investors with over $65 trillion of assets under management produced the standard in partnership with the London School of Economics.
And Inditex, owner of the Zara clothing chain, is considering setting up a vehicle to invest in startups and technologies that it hopes could help green its business. The project could see the fashion retailer create an in-house venture capital fund or become the anchor investor in a fund along with several other brands, according to Bloomberg.
The CEO of ReNew Energy has said that India’s energy transition plans could offer a $500 billion investment opportunity for companies through to 2030. Sumant Sinha believes that government plans to auction 50GW of wind, solar and hybrid projects every year offer a huge opportunity to firms like his – which is among India’s top renewables producers.
The U.S. solar industry enjoyed a record-breaking first quarter, adding 6,100 megawatts of capacity in three months of 2023 according to new figures released this week by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. This historic figure marks a major rebound from 2022. The report also says that the U.S. solar market is expected to triple over the next five years.
And Cambodia has proposed plans to scrap its rooftop photovoltaic capacity charge, which currently penalizes installations, and to introduce new tariffs. The changes are a response to the garment industry’s wish to install more rooftop solar to “reduce the carbon footprint of goods and products,” as required by international buyers, according to the country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.
Japan’s top automaker Toyota and German truck maker Daimler have announced plans to collaborate on new technologies to help fight climate change. The companies said Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., whose top stakeholder is Daimler, and Hino Motors, the truck maker in the Toyota group, will merge with the aim of cooperating on the development of zero emission vehicles, including those run on hydrogen fuel cells.
Indonesia’s largest taxi operator PT Blue Bird will receive delivery of 500 EVs – largely produced by China’s BYD – this year, the company’s president has said. As well as the delivery from the world’s second largest EV manufacturer, which is considering building new EV plants in the region, PT Blue Bird will purchase a smaller number from Hyundai.
And under the ‘Atlantic Declaration’ agreed by UK prime minister Rishi Sunak and US president Joe Biden, UK electric car firms ‘may gain access to US green tax credits and subsidies,’ the BBC reports. The declaration marks the start of talks aimed at removing barriers to trade, including those affecting electric vehicle batteries.
Land & Nature
Business and civil society actors including CLG Europe have reiterated calls for the EU to stand by its proposed target to restore 30% of degraded land across the bloc. The trade group WindEurope said that the nature restoration targets do not undermine the EU’s climate and energy goals and that on- and offshore wind farms could in fact help protect nature by ensuring their sites stay undisturbed after construction.
This point was further proved by a new study from Solar Energy UK, which uncovers how solar farms are home to a number of species that have found a haven living in and around ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. The authors of the study – Solar Habitat: Ecological trends on solar farms in the UK – said it shows that “well-designed and well-managed solar farms can help address the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity”.
Meanwhile M&S, a leading supermarket chain in the UK, is removing more use-by dates from its products this month in a bid to fight food waste. This follows similar changes made for fruit and vegetables last year, aimed at stopping consumers arbitrarily throwing out food that’s safe to consume. The retailer stated that because milk quality and shelf life have improved in recent years, it was safe to switch ‘use-by’ labels to a ‘best-before’ alternative.
Built Environment & Heavy Industry
Large manufacturers across Germany are in line for roughly €50 billion in subsidies from a governmental push to drive their emissions cuts. The program, which still needs EU approval, would run over 15 years and be open for companies with at least 10 kilotons of carbon emissions annually, including manufacturers in the steel, chemicals, cement, paper and glass sectors. From the initiative, the government expects a reduction of 350 million tons of carbon by 2045.
With its global energy efficiency conference underway this week, the IEA has released a new report showing that doubling efficiency worldwide by 2030 could create 12 million new jobs and improve energy access for more than a billion people. The Energy Efficiency: Decade for Action report details that global energy intensity decreased by 2.2% last year, twice the average of the previous 5 years, as policymakers brought in measures in response to the energy crisis.
And in the U.S., an unnamed automaker has reached a billion-dollar deal with Ascend Elements to reprocess old batteries into cathode material for EV batteries. This could help to solve two key supply chain issues: where to source the critical minerals needed to make EV batteries, and how to dispose of them when they are spent. The contract covers cathode for at least 40GW hours of batteries a year, said Ascend – enough for 750,000 electric cars.
Total number of companies committed to RE100: 410
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: 5,235 (2,435 committed, 2,800 approved)
Total number of SMEs committed to SME Climate Hub: 6,116
Total number of companies committed to The Climate Pledge: 417
Webinars & Events
Eurelectric Power Summit: June 20-21
London Climate Action Week: June 24-July 2
Various posts at BSR
Various posts at CDP
Various posts at Ceres
Various posts at CLG Europe (CISL)
Various posts at Climate Group
Various posts at WBCSD
Various posts at SBTi