World Energy Outlook, investors target deforestation, Sarkozy lashes out, China a draw for millennials, Stella McCartney, business plea for climate, GSK tops for access, recycled plastic trainers

Fossil fuels era far from over, warns IEA

RENEWABLES and natural gas will be the leading technologies in the race to meet growing energy demand until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication.

“We see clear winners for the next 25 years – natural gas but especially wind and solar – replacing the champion of the previous 25 years, coal,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director. “But there is no single story about the future of global energy: in practice, government policies will determine where we go from here.”

A detailed analysis of the pledges made for the Paris Agreement finds that meeting more ambitious climate goals will be extremely challenging. Even if the pledges are met, they will only limit the rise in average global temperatures to 2.7°C by 2100, not enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Ambitions to further limit temperature gains, beyond 2°C, would require even bigger efforts.

“Renewables make very large strides in coming decades but their gains remain largely confined to electricity generation,” said Dr Birol. “The next frontier for the renewable story is to expand their use in the industrial, building and transportation sectors, where enormous potential for growth exists.”


Ceres and PRI join forces to fight deforestation

ADVOCACY group Ceres and the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) have announced a joint investor group to put pressure on food and timber companies, major contributors to deforestation. They said the new partnership will support global institutional investors pressing beef, soy, and timber companies to eliminate deforestation and related issues such as forced labour and land rights disputes, initially focused on South America.

“Investors have increasingly been making their voices heard regarding the material risks around climate change,” said Fiona Reynolds, managing director of PRI. “We saw this very strongly at COP21 last year. Deforestation and climate change are inextricably linked so investors need to keep using their financial muscle and engage with policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure these issues stay on top of the climate agenda.”

Over the next two years the group will map and develop a set of indicators for evaluating and benchmarking beef, soy and timber companies’ sourcing policies and their impact on deforestation; engage with low-scoring companies (including through shareholder resolutions) to press them to adopt sustainable sourcing policies and engage in public policy advocacy at the national and international levels.


Sarkozy proposes carbon tax on US goods

FORMER French president Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that Europe should impose a carbon tax on American imports if US President-elect Donald Trump pulls his country out of the Paris climate agreement.

“I will demand that Europe put in place a carbon tax at its border of 1%-3%, for all products coming from the United States, if the United States doesn’t apply environmental rules that we are imposing on our companies,” Sarkozy told French television channel TF1.

Europe could no longer be “weak” or “naïve”, he said, and called for European countries to use more products and materials made in the EU.

Sarkozy is battling former French prime minister Alain Juppé to be nominated to lead the centre-right Republicans Party in next year’s presidential elections. The winner will take on the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, who said the election of Donald Trump “shows that people are taking their future back”, and the French electorate would follow.


Millennials want to work in China, UAE, Brazil

CHINA and the United Arab Emirates are the emerging market countries that the world’s millennials most want to work in, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Shapers survey. The survey found that young people who would like to move overseas to get ahead in their careers say China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would be their top emerging market destinations, followed by Brazil, South Africa and Argentina.

Around 20,000 millennials aged 18-35 took part. The survey found that millennials still value salary (54%) and career advancement (46%) over a sense of purpose and impact on society (37%) in their jobs. When results are split between developed and developing nations, a sense of purpose is the top priority among millennials from western countries, while in major emerging economies, such as China and India, salary and career advancement remain the most important job criteria.


GSK tops list of pharma improving global access to medicine

BRITISH pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has topped the Access to Medicine Index 2016. The index, funded by the UK and Dutch governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, analyses the top 20 research-based pharmaceutical companies on how they make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible in low- and middle-income countries.

GSK accounted for the most research and development projects in areas of great need but with low commercial incentive. The company came first for the fifth time, followed by Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Merck. AstraZeneca jumped from 15th to seventh position after introducing a new affordability-based pricing strategy.

The Access to Medicine Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit, warned that while the availability of medicines is improving, the industry needs to do more on affordable pricing and the fight against corruption.


Adidas out of starting blocks with ocean plastic trainers

ADIDAS this week began selling the first 7,000 pairs of running shoes made almost entirely with marine plastic waste. The development was announced by its partner Parley for the Oceans, which recovered the waste from clean-up operations in coastal areas of the Maldives.

The waste recovered by Parley is being upcycled into Adidas’s UltraBoost Uncaged running shoe, as well as in new kit for football teams Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, which were also unveiled this week. The trainers are made from 95% ocean plastic and 5% recycled polyester. Adidas has set a goal of producing one million pairs by 2017, using 11 million retrieved plastic bottles.


Stella McCartney’s ethical sourcing ‘a model for Kering’

THE HEAD of sustainability at luxury goods giant Kering, Marie-Claire Daveu, poured praise on Britain’s ethical fashion doyen, Stella McCartney (pictured), saying her “courageous” decision to refuse to use leather and fur, and to choose materials such as organic cotton and viscose from sustainably managed forests in Sweden, “has inspired all of us at Kering. We look to her and her brand as a role model for the entire group …. She has set an example for the industry on how to innovate in its approach to luxury.”  

Daveu was speaking at the London College of Fashion this week, where she introduced McCartney, who gave the third annual Kering Lecture as well as the Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion to 10 LCF students. Kering has a five-partnership with LCF to support sustainable practices and innovation in the fashion industry.

McCartney said 53% of her new women’s collection and 45% of the men’s are now manufactured and sourced sustainably. Last month the brand released its first Environmental Profit and Loss report,  based on Kering’s open-source methodology to measure environmental impact. This showed that despite double-digit retail growth, its EP&L impact had only grown 7% in 2015, while its impact per kg of material used has fallen 35% over the past three years.  

 “We’re one of the fastest-growing brands that Kering has, and yet our business has reduced its environmental impact by 35%,” McCartney said. “More fashion brands need to realise that sustainability can be more profitable. It’s not rocket science, in fact it’s a bit about going back to where we all started."


US companies urge Trump to act on climate change

HUNDREDS of American companies, including Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss and Starbucks, have signed an open letter urging the new President-elect, Donald Trump not to abandon the Paris climate deal and to focus on turning “the billions of dollars in existing low-carbon investments into the trillions of dollars the world needs to bring clean energy and prosperity to all”.

In the letter, which is also addressed to members of Congress, 365 companies and major investors emphasise their “deep commitment to addressing climate change” and demand that he leave in place low-emissions policies in the United States. “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk,” the companies warn.

Main Image Credit: TTstudio


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