UK leads climate fight as Bulb lights up leaderboard: the Good With Money weekly news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 10th Dec 2018

The UK and Denmark are named world leaders in climate change fight as renewable energy provider Bulb is revealed as the UK’s fastest growing company. Meanwhile investment industry heavyweights lobby to remove controversial weapons from main markets as Walkers bows to consumer pressure to recycle crisp packets. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.

The UK and Denmark lead climate change fight

Britain’s phase out of coal-fired power has helped to secure its place as one of the world’s leaders in reducing climate change, according to a new study.

The UK ranks second behind Denmark among 25 countries analysed in a report by utility company Drax Group Plc. and Imperial College London.

Britain’s uptake of electric vehicles is among the highest of all nations in the study, and its reduction of coal-fired generation has been the fastest. The report, launched at the United Nations COP24 summit this week, reveals that the UK has reduced carbon emissions from its power system by more than twice as much as some other countries.

Meanwhile the world’s biggest polluter, China, is making strides to reduce its environmental impact. In 2017, the number of green bonds issued financing climate projects hit $37.1 billion (£291.6 billion), up 4.5 percent from the previous record-breaking year.

Bulb lights the way as Britain’s fastest-growing private company

A renewable energy supplier established by two friends four years ago has been named as Britain’s fastest-growing private company.

Bulb, founded by Amit Gudka and Hayden Wood, secured the top spot in a new ranking of Britain’s top private companies compiled by online investment platform Syndicate Room. Using information supplied by data provider Beauhurst it said that Bulb had grown its valuation by a factor of 351 since 2015.

The business, which has almost 900,000 customers, is the nation’s biggest supplier of renewable energy.

In contrast with the array of tariffs offered by its “Big Six” rivals, Bulb is a single tariff energy provider supplying electricity from solar, wind and hydro-electric sources. It also provides 10 per cent of its gas from renewable sources.

Index groups face fight over controversial weapons

Index providers such as S&P Global, MSCI and FTSE 100 Russell are under pressure from a global coalition of investors to strip out controversial weapons manufacturers from their mainstream benchmarks. If it is successful, the move could drastically change the shape of global market investing.

The Swiss campaign, led by Pictet and Swiss Sustainable Finance, has the backing of more than 80 domestic and international asset owners and managers with assets of more than $3 trillion (£2,357 trillion).

European asset manager Candriam, Dutch financial services group ING, and the Church of England are among the latest to sign up.

The initiative aims to exclude companies involved in cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons from main benchmarks. The campaign’s call for signatories is open until December 21 but may extend into January.

Thames Water places multi-million pound bet on cleaning up its act

Thames Water has pledged to clean up its act under a new £1.4 billion green finance deal that links the rate of interest it pays to sustainability goals.

The UK’s largest water company must pay higher interest rates on its five-year revolving credit facility if it misses its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets.

If it beats its sustainability metrics, it will pay lower repayment rates and put the savings into its charitable community fund.

Thames Water hopes the innovative deal will help rebuild public trust in the utility, which has previously courted controversy by channelling cash through offshore tax havens.

It has also faced a series of fines for “failing its customers” by mismanaging water leaks and allowing almost two billion litres of untreated sewage to flow into the River Thames.

Walkers launches crisp packet recycling after customer protests

Walkers has launched a crisp packet recycling scheme after customer protested about plastic waste.

Snack fans began posting crisp packets back to Walkers, posting selfies under the hashtag #PackItInWalkers, because the material they are made from is not recyclable. The campaign came to a head in September when Royal Mail had to step in to ask people not to post the crisp packets without packaging them, as it became an expensive process for them.

Walkers bowed to the public demand and has now launched a scheme which will allow people to send the packets back to TerraCycle. They will then be shredded into plastic pellets to be used in everyday items such as outdoor furniture and trays.

COP24 fails to “welcome” key report

Attempts to incorporate a key scientific study into global climate talks in Poland have failed.

The IPCC report on the impacts of a temperature rise of 1.5C, had a significant impact when it was launched last October.

But this week, scientists and many delegates in Poland were shocked as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to the United Nations summit “welcoming” the report. Instead they supported a more lukewarm phrase, that the conference would “take note” of the report.

The landmark study, commissioned at the 2015 climate conference, said that the world heading more towards a 3C temperature rise this century rather than 1.5C. If warming was to be kept to 1.5C this century, then emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be reduced by 45% by 2030.

With no consensus on the wording, under UN rules the passage of text had to be dropped.

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