Pope Francis warns oil bosses that climate change threatens the future of the “human family” after summoning them to the Vatican, peer-to-peer ethical investor Abundance launches ethical investment to tackle social housing shortage, and climate finance by major development banks hits record high.
Meanwhile, Sustainable Living Brands deliver record 75 per cent of Unilever’s 2018 turnover growth, floating solar farms could help tackle climate change by extracting CO2 from seawater to produce fuel, and satellite technology reveals countries’ environmental impact to investors. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
Pope warns oil bosses of climate threat
The Pope has warned oil bosses that climate change threatens the future of the “human family”.
The oil executives were invited to the Vatican in Rome for an audience with the pontiff. Pope Francis told them a radical energy transition is needed to save what he called “our common home”.
BP boss Bob Dudley agreed that the world must find urgent solutions to environmental problems – but said all must play a part. The Pope told him and other bosses: “Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation.”
The oil bosses – believed to include Eni, Exxon, Total, Repsol, BP, Sinopec, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, and Chevron – were brought to the Vatican alongside fund managers who invest in their stocks.
Meanwhile, 700 major global firms including Amazon, Tesco and ExxonMobil, have been accused by a $10 trillion (£7.9 trillion) investor alliance of concealing their true environmental impact.
Abundance launches ethical investment to tackle social housing shortage
Peer-to-peer ethical investment platform Abundance has launched a new investment in the social and affordable housing sector. It follows the success of its first sustainable housing project, Merseyside Assured Homes, which is now under construction.
Through housing developer Octovo Homes, Pax Apartments Ltd is aiming to raise £3.1 million to complete the redevelopment of a warehouse in Liverpool’s Ropewalks area 33 one and two-bedroom apartments using.
Pax Apartments Ltd is raising money through tradeable debentures, offering 7 per cent annual interest for a 19-month term. This is a higher coupon over a shorter maturity than Merseyside Assured Homes, but around the same overall cash return. The minimum investment is just £5, and the debentures are eligible to be held in an Innovative Finance ISA so returns can be tax-free.
Climate finance by major development banks hits record high
Climate financing by the world’s six largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) rose to a record high of $43.1 billion (£34.2 billion) in 2018 – up more than 22 per cent on the previous year.
This is a huge 60 per cent increase since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
EBRD’s Energy Efficiency and Climate Managing Director Josué Tanaka said: “The MDBs are key partners in drawing more private sector investors and large institutional investors into the green finance sector.
Sustainable Living Brands deliver record 75% of Unilever’s 2018 turnover growth
Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brands portfolio accounted for a record three-quarters of its turnover growth last year.
The consumer goods giant’s latest accounts reveal that the Sustainable Living division, which aims to integrate sustainability into the group’s products and values, now covers a range of 28 brands.
The collection grew 69 per cent faster last year than the rest of the business. Seven of Unilever’s largest brands – Dove, Knorr, Persil, Sure, Lipton, Hellman’s and Wall’s Ice Cream – fall within the Sustainable Living brands division.
Giant floating solar farms could extract CO2 from seawater to produce fuel
Millions of floating islands that convert carbon dioxide into methanol fuel could help tackle climate change, according to researchers.
The team of scientists from Norway and Switzerland has put forward a proposal for “solar methanol islands” in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS.
They propose a combination of largely existing technologies to use solar energy to recycle atmospheric carbon dioxide into a liquid fuel.
Floating islands similar to large-scale floating fish farms could use photovoltaic cells to convert solar energy into electricity, say the researchers. This would power hydrogen production and carbon dioxide extraction from seawater. The gasses produced would then be reacted to form methanol that can be reused as a fuel.
Satellite technology reveals countries’ environmental impact to investors
New satellite technology could help to reveal environmental risk to sovereign bond investors, according to joint research by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Investec Asset Management.
The collaborative ‘Satellites and Sustainability report: New frontiers in sovereign debt investing’ found that advances in geo-spatial data and satellite imagery could help sovereign debt investors better assess and manage environmental risks. Investec head of fixed income Peter Eerdmans, said: “There is mounting evidence that environmental factors can shape the destinies of national economies and materially influence sovereign debt portfolios.”