Eon electricity 100% green as London ditches Exxon: GWM news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 15th Jul 2019

Energy giant Eon becomes first of Big Six to switch UK customers to 1oo per cent green electricity, oil major ExxonMobil gets cut from the London Pensions Fund Authority’s investment portfolio, and a new study predicts that turtles born at a key breeding ground will all be turned female by climate change. Meanwhile, London’s new Government bond index enables investors to consider the climate change risk of countries where funds are based, and climate protest group Extinction Rebellion takes to the streets in five major UK cities today (Monday) in a fresh wave of action. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week. 


Eon switches UK customers to 100% green electricity

UK energy supplier Eon is to shift all of its residential customers to 100 per cent renewable electricity, making it the largest utility yet to move to green supply. The company, which supplies 3.3 million British homes, said all of its customers would be moved to renewable electricity supplies from tomorrow (Tuesday).

Michael Lewis, chief executive of Eon UK, said the ‘Big Six’ company wants to signal to the market that more wind and solar power will be needed in the future.

He said: “First of all, this is what customers want. But we also want to send a signal to the wholesale market that we want to drive uptake of renewable energy.”

Shell Energy – known as First Utility before its acquisition by Shell in March – and energy challenger Bulb also recently switched to 100 per cent green electricity.


ExxonMobil expelled from London funds

The London Pensions Fund Authority has cut oil giant ExxonMobil from its portfolio as part of a drive to tackle climate change.

The £5.6 billion fund, which is responsible for the pensions of 52,000 current and former government and non-profit employees, adopted a climate policy in 2017. The policy calls for a mix of engagement and divestment to mitigate its exposure to climate risk.

The fund has already divested from Coal India, BP and Shell, reducing its fossil fuel exposure to about 0.4 per cent of its total assets. Divestment has been taking off in recent months, with a growing number of funds, from Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to the UK’s National Trust, dropping fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, a new report by the University of Leeds reveals fossil fuels aren’t as cheap as previously thought. The study analysed how much energy is produced by fossil fuels compared to the amount of energy that is used to acquire them.

Estimated ratios for energy return on investment (EROI) have historically favoured fossil fuels over renewable energy sources, but researchers have found that these estimates are not accurate and the playing field is in fact much more level – with renewables likely to take over in terms of cost efficiency in coming years.


Climate change set to make all turtles female at key breeding ground

Loggerhead turtles born at a key breeding ground in Cape Verde will all be turned female due to climate change, a new study has warned.

Researchers at the University of Exeter predict that even in a low emissions scenario, 99.86 per cent of hatchlings will be female by 2100.

If emissions continue at the current rate then more than 90 per cent could be incubated at “lethally high temperatures”, killing youngsters before they even hatch.

Report author Dr Lucy Hawkes said: “Older males might continue breeding after new males stop being hatched, although at some point the population is very likely to crash.”


London launches ‘world’s first’ climate-based government bond index

Global index, data and analytics provider FTSE Russell has launched the ‘world’s first’ government bond index that measures the risks posed by climate change to countries across the world, and how they are managing them.

The FTSE Climate Risk-Adjusted World Government Bond Index (Climate WGBI) will offer a forward-looking assessment of the climate risks that countries face. It favours government markets that demonstrate a greater degree of resilience and preparedness to the risks of climate change.

It will enable investors to consider climate change risk when deciding which funds to include in their portfolios. Countries doing more to mitigate climate change will likely be seen as better long term investments and attract more investors, encouraging countries to do more to protect the planet.

The index is derived from the FTSE World Government Bond Index, a widely-used benchmark of investment-grade sovereign bonds of 22 developed countries.


Extinction Rebellion launches ‘summer uprising’ in UK

Climate protest group Extinction Rebellion will take to the streets in five major cities across the UK today (Monday) in a new wave of action.

The eco activists, who gathered across London in huge numbers in April, started their “summer uprising” this morning.

They plan to demonstrate in London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol and Leeds to “disrupt central spaces”.

“This is the next phase of the Rebellion, and it will be as large, if not larger, than the International Rebellion in London, but this time distributed across the UK,” a statement detailing the action said.


Ethical lender Fair for You voted UK’s favourite creditor

West-Midlands based ethical lender Fair for You Enterprise CIC scooped up three prestigious accolades at 2019’s Consumer Credit Awards and was voted the nation’s favourite credit provider. It also won Firm of the Year, Treating Customers Fairly Champion and Customer Service Champion – the only company to receive a triple whammy on the night.

Since being founded in 2016 to alleviate material poverty and challenge high cost credit expanding across the UK, Fair for You has provided over £15 million in small loans to help lower income households purchase essential items such as kitchen appliances, bunk beds, cots and other furniture.


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