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Force firms to reveal their impact on nature: major businesses

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Force firms to reveal their impact on nature: major businesses


Paris (AFP) Oct 26, 2022

UK takes aim at company ‘greenwashing’

London (AFP) Oct 25, 2022 –
Britain’s financial watchdog on Tuesday proposed rules against “greenwashing”, or deceptive claims by businesses about the evironmental impact of their products or climate actions.

The Financial Conduct Authority said it was proposing regulations, including investment product sustainability labels and restrictions on terms such as “green”, “sustainable” and “ESG” (environmental, social, and governance).

“Greenwashing misleads consumers and erodes trust in all ESG products,” said Sacha Sadan, an FCA director.

“Consumers must be confident when products claim to be sustainable that they actually are. Our proposed rules will help consumers and firms build trust in this sector.”

The FCA is running a consultation on its proposals until January 25, ahead of publishing final rules by the end of June.

Last week, a British watchdog hit out at HSBC for adverts promoting its green initiatives that failed to highlight the bank’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Advertising Standards Authority banned further use of HSBC posters that appeared a year ago ahead of the COP26 climate summit hosted by Britain.

HSBC insisted that the financial sector had “a responsibility to communicate its role in the low carbon transition to raise public awareness and engage its customers”.

But it also acknowledged the need to “consider how best to do this” as it delivers on the bank’s “ambitious net zero commitments”.

UK multinationals seeking to meet a British government target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 are frequently accused of “greenwashing” by environmentalists.

Europe’s emissions rise post-Covid, won’t meet targets: EEA

Copenhagen (AFP) Oct 25, 2022 –
Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions rebounded in 2021 due to the post-pandemic recovery and the continent must step up efforts if it hopes to meet its targets, the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned Wednesday.

Preliminary data reported by EU member states showed that greenhouse gas emissions rose by five percent in 2021 from 2020, mainly due to the post-Covid economic recovery, a new EEA report showed.

The emissions remain nonetheless six percent below the 2019 pre-pandemic level.

The EU target of a 55-percent reduction in net emissions by 2030 “is not expected to be reached according to current projections”, agency expert Melanie Sporer told reporters.

“We will need to double our efforts on greenhouse gas emissions every year from 2021 to 2030, compared to 1990 to 2020, in order to reach the different targets”, she said.

The biggest efforts were noted in the field of energy supply, the industry with the highest emissions, the EEA noted.

The sector’s emissions declined by 43 percent from 2005 to 2020, while they dropped by 15 percent in the transport industry and two percent in the agriculture sector.

The total share of renewable energies in energy consumption remained stable in Europe at 22 percent following several years of sharp expansion — a source of concern at a time when the transition to green energy needs to be accelerated.

The EEA said wind and hydro power needed to rapidly increase, by about 2.5 percent annually, to reach the target of 45 percent of renewables by 2030.

Businesses must be compelled to reveal their impact on nature, more than 300 firms said in an open letter to world leaders published on Wednesday ahead of crunch United Nations negotiations to halt catastrophic biodiversity loss.

Consumer goods group Unilever, furniture maker IKEA and India’s Tata Steel were among a slew of high profile corporations calling for stricter measures to impel firms to act, amid growing alarm over the devastation being wrought upon the natural world.

“We need governments globally to transform the rules of the economic game and require business to act now,” the Business for Nature coalition said.

It said its open letter had been signed by some 330 companies with combined revenues of more than $1.5 trillion.

International efforts to protect the world’s natural life support systems — including air, food and water — are set to conclude in Canada in December. Negotiators are hammering out a global framework to “live in harmony with nature” by 2050, with key benchmarks in 2030.

While businesses are beginning to report on their carbon emissions and climate impacts — albeit with some facing accusations of “greenwashing” — few firms give details on biodiversity.

The businesses that signed on to the statement said they wanted clarity from policymakers.

“This statement shows the extensive support from major businesses for an ambitious global deal for nature, with clear goals to drive collective business and finance action,” said Andre Hoffmann, the vice-chairman of Roche Holdings.

“The political certainty will accelerate the necessary changes to our business models. We stand ready to do everything in our power to shift to a society where nature, people and business thrive.”

In March, a report by central banks found that financial institutions and businesses were underestimating the risks of biodiversity loss and destroying the natural assets they depend on.

The new statement calls on heads of state to sign up to a target of mandatory requirements for large firms to assess and disclose their impacts and dependency on biodiversity by the end of this decade.

The task “won’t be easy but it must happen” the firms said, urging measures to ensure that the UN targets aim to both reduce negative impacts and encourage positive ones.

“The current rate of global economic activity is more than the planet can cope with,” said Steve Waygood, the chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, which also signed the Business for Nature statement.

“If nature was a current account, then we would be heavily overdrawn. This is bad for the environment and bad for long term growth.”

Many hope the UN deal, when finalised, will be as ambitious in its goals to protect life on Earth as the Paris Agreement was for climate change — even if the United States is not a party to UN efforts to conserve nature.

One landmark proposal on the table is the protection of 30 percent of wild land and oceans by 2030.

Another key focus of negotiations are harmful subsidies for things like fossil fuels, agriculture and fishing that can result in environmental destruction and encourage unsustainable levels of production and consumption.

These amount to as much as $1.8 trillion every year, or two percent of global gross domestic product, Business for Nature has estimated.

The world failed to meet almost all of a previous set of targets on nature in the decade to 2020.


Tata Steel




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French climate activists target store lights in Paris night raids

Paris (AFP) Oct 21, 2022

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