Renewable investment triples as world’s first vegan ETF opens: GWM weekly news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 9th Sep 2019

Global investment in renewable energy projects is set to triple to £2.1 trillion this decade as the world’s first vegan Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) launched this week on the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, major oil companies are undermining the UN climate goals with $50 billion of new projects, Prince Harry launches sustainable travel initiative Travalyst and electric car sales triple their market share to hit a record high. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week. 

Global renewables investment to triple this decade

Global investment in new renewable energy projects is set to triple to $2.6 trillion (£2.1 trillion) this decade, according to a UN report.

The figure (which excludes large hydropower projects) is equivalent to 1.2tw of new renewable energy capacity. That’s more than the entire amount of electricity generated by the US today.

The report by the U.N. Environment Programme reveals that the increase stems from a fall in interest rates in major economies and a slump in costs.

The biggest investing country during the decade is set to be China, which committed $758 billion (£616 billion) between 2010 and mid-2019. Over the same period, Europe invested $698 billion (£567 billion) and the United States spent $356 billion (£289 billion).

Solar power has attracted the most investment this decade at $1.3 trillion (£1.05 trillion).

 

World’s first vegan exchange traded fund opens

The world’s first vegan-friendly and climate-conscious Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) has opened this week.

The US Vegan Climate ETF, which backers Beyond Investing launched on the New York stock exchange on Tuesday, points to a wider trend of investors paying more attention to the opportunities – and risks – presented by the food industry.

The Vegan Climate Index is an ethical stock that offers investors an investment option free of fossil fuels, agro-chemicals and plastics. It has 61 per cent less carbon, 89 per cent less waste and 83 per cent less water in its footprint than the unscreened Solactive US Large Cap Index, according to Impact Cubed Squared.

With 2019 set to the ‘The Year of the Vegan’, the rise of veganism shows no sign of slowing down. Global vegan meat sales hit £15.7 billion in 2018, according to a report by Euromonitor International; the global vegan cheese market is forecast to hit £3.24 billion by 2024, according to the Vegan Society; and meat substitute sales grew 451 per cent in the European market in the four years to February 2018, according to the University of Hohenheim.

 

Big Oil undermines U.N. climate goals with $50 billion of new projects

Major oil companies have approved $50 billion (£40.9 billion) of projects since last year that are not in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, reveals a new report.

The study by think-tank Carbon Tracker found that investment plans by Royal Dutch Shell, BP and ExxonMobil among other companies will not be compatible with the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Every oil major is betting heavily against a 1.5 degree Celsius world and investing in projects that are contrary to the Paris goals,” said report co-author Andrew Grant, a former natural resources analyst at Barclays.

Carbon Tracker’s analysis, co-authored by Mike Coffin, a former geologist at BP, found that 18 newly approved oil and gas projects worth $50 billion could be left “deep out of the money” in a lower carbon world.

The projects include Shell’s $13 billion (£10.5 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) Canada LNG project, a $4.3 billion (£3.5 billion) oilfield expansion project in Azerbaijan owned by BP, Exxon, Chevron and Equinor, and a $1.3 billion (£1.05 billion) deepwater project in Angola operated by BP, Exxon, Chevron, Total and Equinor.

 

Prince Harry launches sustainable travel initiative Travalyst

Prince Harry has launched a sustainable travel initiative to help tackle climate change and grow local economies.

Travalyst is the first project to fall under the umbrella of Harry and Meghan’s new charitable foundation, Sussex Royal. The prince spent more than two years working on the ambitious endeavour with partners Booking.com, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor, and Visa.

“As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population, the prince said in a statement. “Bringing companies, consumers, and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations.”

 

Electric cars triple market share to record high

Sales of electric vehicles in the UK have tripled in August to hit a new record high.

New data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals sales increased by a staggering 377 per cent for the month.

A total of 3,147 “fully electric” cars were registered in August, eclipsing the 659 electric vehicles delivered to customers in Britain a year ago, says automotive news site Motoring Research.

The Tesla Model 3 came in third on the table of vehicle sales, beaten only by the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf – two strong-selling cars that have frequently appeared at the top of the sales charts throughout the year.

Meanwhile diesels dropped by 12.2 per cent, representing the fuel type’s 29th consecutive month of decline.

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