UK plastic free by 2040’s as IKEA goes low rent: Good With Money weekly news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 25th Feb 2019

A new draft UK law aiming to end plastic pollution by 2042 is to be presented to the House of Commons today. Meanwhile, a British bus battery start-up is energised by a £25 million investment from Japanese power giants as governments and big businesses call on the EU to set a 2050 zero emissions goal. A new index reveals low carbon corporate investments are outperforming those in fossil fuels, and IKEA announces plans to rent its furniture in a push towards a circular economy. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.

 

New draft UK law aims to end plastic pollution by 2042

A draft UK law that aims to end plastic pollution by 2042 will be presented to the House of Commons today (Monday).

The Phase-out of Plastic Pollution Bill has already secured backing from campaign groups and MPs across the political spectrum.

The draft law proposes a ban on all non-essential, single-use plastic items in the UK by 2025. It calls on Environment Secretary Michael Gove to draft a strategy setting out robust policies needed to meet the new phase-out dates.

Its overarching aim is to eradicate plastic pollution in the UK by 2042.

Meanwhile, the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, which has one of the world’s strictest plastic bans, is to get even tougher.

Vanuatu banned single-use plastic bags, drinking straws and Styrofoam food containers last July. Violators face fines of $175 (£133) to $900 (£688).  Residents have been surprisingly receptive, and lawmakers are preparing to restrict even more disposable products.

 

UK battery start-up energised by £25 million Japanese investment

An energy start-up backed by the former boss of the National Grid has secured £25 million in funding from Japanese power giants.

Zenobe Energy, chaired by Steve Holliday, said it would use the funding from Japan’s Tepco and Jera to install battery charging points for electric buses. It completed the first such UK project in Guildford, Surrey, earlier this year.

Many cities are looking at switching to electric bus fleets to reduce pollution, but these plans have been hampered by limited power supplies to their bus depots. Digging up roads to install a more powerful grid connection can be costly and time-consuming.

Zenobe, founded in 2017, hopes to capitalise on this by installing giant batteries that can charge up during the day when the buses are in use and then be used to help charge the buses when they return to the depot overnight.

 

Governments and big businesses call on EU to set 2050 zero emissions goal

A group of European Union governments and companies have called for the bloc to set a goal for net-zero emissions by 2050 in its long-term climate strategy next week.

Ministers from 10 EU nations teamed up with businesses leaders to write a letter to the EU’s climate commissioner calling for a more ambitious policy to help limit global warming to 1.5C.

The letter, signed by the heads of Unilever, Virgin Group, French energy firms Engie and EDF among others, reads: “By setting this long-term target, the EU will set the direction of travel for all European businesses.

The European Commission will propose a strategy on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions next week ahead of U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, next month.

 

Low-carbon corporate investments outperform those in fossil fuels

Companies investing in low-carbon products and renewable energy have outperformed those that invest in fossil fuels, according to a new report.

Google’s parent company Alphabet topped a new index by Clean200, which ranks the world’s 200 largest publicly listed companies by revenue generated from clean energy products. Almost all (99 per cent) of the firm’s $111 billion revenue was accounted for by ‘clean’ products during the 12-month period.

The top five also includes technology giant Siemens, carmaker Toyota, US-based IT firms Cisco, and HP.

The index revealed that the Clean200 group of companies has collectively outperformed the S&P global 1200 energy index since 2016, achieving an average 1.29 per cent growth in value, compared with -2.49 per cent.

 

IKEA to rent its furniture in sustainability push

IKEA is to start renting its furniture, as part of a move towards a circular economy that includes refurbishing and re-selling products.

The trial furniture rental scheme, due to begin in Switzerland imminently, will initially include only office furniture. However, IKEA hasn’t ruled out leasing rather than selling kitchens and other products in future.

Inter IKEA chief executive Torbjorn Loof said: “You could say leasing is another way of financing a kitchen.

“When this circular model is up and running, we have a much bigger interest in not just selling a product but seeing what happens with it and that the consumer takes care of it.”

 

 

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