Oil giant Shell is sued by environmental action groups for not doing enough to tackle climate change as Adidas vows to make 11 million trainers from recycled beach plastic. Meanwhile, global sustainable investing rockets by over a third to £22 trillion as London launches its ‘ultra-low emissions zone’ with an air pollution charge, and new gender pay gap figures reveal eight in 10 firms are still paying men more than women. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
Shell sued by environmental groups for ‘inadequate efforts to tackle climate change’
Climate groups have launched a legal action against Shell, demanding that the oil giant do more to rein-in carbon emissions.
Friends of the Earth Netherlands, one of the groups involved, said it wants a court in The Hague to order Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45 per cent compared to 2010 levels by 2030, and to zero per cent by 2050, in line with the Paris Climate Accord.
The 250-page summons, along with boxes of supporting documents, was delivered to Shell’s headquarters on Friday.
In a statement, Shell said it agrees that climate change action is necessary and that the company is “committed to playing our part.”
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil shareholders have been denied a vote on the company’s emissions targets following a ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission. New York State’s pension fund and other investors had called for the oil company to start setting targets for reducing emissions in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But the SEC ruled last week that ExxonMobil could keep the proposal off the ballot at its annual shareholder meeting next month.
Global sustainable investing assets surged to £22 trillion in 2018
Socially responsible investing has rocketed by 34 per cent to $30.7 trillion (£22 trillion) over the past two years, according to the latest report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA).
The Global Sustainable Investment Review collates regional market studies of sustainable investment forums in Europe, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
It found Europe still accounts for the largest concentration of sustainable investment assets globally, totaling $14.1 trillion (£10.8 trillion), despite its overall global share falling from 53 per cent to 49 per cent between 2016 and 2018.
The second largest region by assets remains the US, where US-domiciled assets under management using sustainable strategies grew 38 per cent to $12 trillion (£9.9 trillion) as of January 2018, from $8.7 trillion (£6.6 trillion) two years earlier.
Adidas to make 11 million shoes from recycled beach plastic
Adidas is to make 11 million pairs of shoes from recycled plastic beach waste this year in a bid to help curb ocean pollution.
The sports goods manufacturer teamed up with environmental group Parley for the Oceans in 2015 to start making the recycled ‘Parley’ trainers. Customer demand has been so high that Adidas has vowed to make more than double the five million pairs it made last year.
The upcycled plastic waste, found on beaches such as the Maldives, is made into a yarn which is now a key component of the upper material of Adidas footwear. The company has also used the yarn to make the first ever football jerseys.
Meanwhile, a scientific study published this week in Marine Pollution Bulletin revealed that plastic costs the world $2.5 trillion (£1.9 trillion) every year in damaged and lost resources.
Eight in 10 UK firms pay men more than women
A quarter of companies and public sector bodies have a pay gap of more than 20 per cent in favour of men, according to new gender pay gap figures.
There was no significant improvement in the gender pay gap between 2017 and 2018, with it shrinking only slightly from 9.7 per cent to 9.6 per cent. Almost eight in 10 companies still pay their male employees more, leading one MP to say Britain still has a “long way to go” to tackle the gap.
All organisations with more than 250 employees have to publish their gender pay gap. The deadline for the public sector was 31 March, while charities and companies have until midnight on 4 April to file.
New air pollution charge: London’s ultra-low emission zone starts
A new air pollution charge is now in force in London with the launch of its ‘ultra-low emission zone’.
Drivers of diesel cars over around four years old and petrol cars about 13 years old must pay £12.50 to enter the centre of the capital.
Charges apply at all times and are on top of the already existing congestion charge, which is £11.50 between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. All vehicle types apart from black taxis are liable for the ‘Ulez’ charge unless they meet certain emissions standards or exemptions.
Mr Khan commissioned a study by two universities which found that poor air quality leads to about 1,000 London hospital admissions for asthma and serious lung conditions every year.