Renewables rocket as climate fears boost ethical funds

Written by Lori Campbell on 21st Oct 2019

Global renewable electricity is set to rise by 50 per cent in the next five years, finds a new study, as climate fears prompt investors to move their money into ethical funds. Meanwhile, climate protest group Extinction Rebellion ignores a police ban to bring Central London to a halt, Dove unveils 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles and Pret A Manger gives its classic BLT a vegan makeover. Elsewhere, Legal & General invests £750m in new affordable housing. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week. 

Global renewable electricity to rise by 50% in five years

Global supplies of renewable electricity are set to expand by 50 per cent in the next five years, finds a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years. Its latest report predicts that by 2024 a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW – almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan.

Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “This is a pivotal time for renewable energy. Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and energy access goals.”




Climate fears prompt investors to move to ethical funds

More investors would move their money to ethical funds due to fears over climate change, a survey suggests.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of investors polled say they would move their money to an ethical fund as a result of news about the environment, Triodos Bank found.

Among those aged 18 to 24, more than three-quarters (78 per cent) would be prompted to move their money to “impact investments” – which have a positive effect on society and the environment. On average, investors would put £3,744 in an impact investment fund, an increase of £1,000 compared with 2018.

More than half (53 per cent) of the 2,000 investors surveyed believe choosing carefully where you invest your money is one of the best ways to help the planet, rising to 76 per cent among investors aged 18 to 24. However, three-quarters (75 per cent) agreed that financial providers need to be more transparent about where people’s money goes.

Extinction Rebellion ignores ban to bring Central London to a halt

Extinction Rebellion protests brought central London to a standstill despite police banning the group’s climate change demonstrations in the capital.

Activists blocked Oxford Circus with a wooden pyramid structure and descended on Westminster before moving to Trafalgar Square. One man, who was dressed up as Boris Johnson, scaled the scaffolding surrounding Big Ben. Police have made more than 1,760 arrests in connection with the London protests.

A “closing ceremony” to mark the end of nearly two weeks of protests was held in Trafalgar Square. Protesters moved there from Westminster, where an activist was arrested after climbing the scaffolding around the Elizabeth Tower.

The protests come despite a ban on two or more people linked to Extinction Rebellion assembling in London.


Legal & General invests £750m in new affordable housing

Legal & General Homes is to invest £750 million in developing new affordable housing projects across the UK.

The move will expand the business’s housing development to nearly 3,500 homes across 41 projects.

The UK continues to suffer a growing crisis as 1.1 million households remain on waiting lists for affordable homes. One in three low income earners have had to borrow money to pay their rent and the steep decline in social housing has led to huge increases in government welfare costs, as well as rising homelessness.


Across its growing portfolio, Legal & General is delivering a mix of social and affordable rental homes, grant-supported shared ownership homes and Section 106 schemes; as sole ventures and in partnership with best-in-class housing associations.

Ben Denton, Managing Director, Legal & General Affordable Homes, says: “There is an urgent need to innovate new ways to provide stable homes for the millions of households on waiting lists. Legal & General remains committed to deploying institutional capital at scale into this sector, to deliver the volumes of social housing which society desperately needs.”


Dove unveils 100% recycled plastic bottles

Dove is to remove all non-recycled plastic from certain bottle lines by the end of the year.

The beauty brand is also debuting a new, plastic-free packaging format for its beauty bar soap. The moves form part of parent company Unilever’s overarching commitment to mitigate the use of 20,500 tones of virgin plastics annually by 2025.

Dove will launch 100 per cent post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles across its markets in Europe and North America by the end of 2019. PCR content will be included “where technically feasible”, Dove said in a statement, noting that PCR plastic is not currently able to be used in bottle caps and pumps.

Dove will launch plastic-free beauty bar boxes for single-format bars by the end of 2020. The bars are currently housed in flexible plastic films in several markets. Building on this change, Dove will develop a zero-plastic solution for beauty bar multipacks.


Pret turns its BLT vegan

Pret a Manger has given its most popular sandwiches – including the BLT and tuna baguette – a vegan makeover in response to the fast-growing demand for plant-based food.

Two baguettes, one wrap and a sandwich will go on sale next week, with all four based on bestselling items from the Pret menu but using only vegan ingredients.

Its chefs have used chickpeas to mimic the texture and flavour of tuna and mushrooms to replicate bacon and duck in the plant-based versions of the bestselling tuna baguette, BLT, egg mayo baguette and hoisin duck wrap.

The new “chuna” mayo baguette, VLT, eggless mayo baguette and hoisin mushroom wrap have all been created in response to soaring consumer demand for more plant-based options.

They will be sold, initially, exclusively in the standalone Veggie Pret shops which sell only vegetarian and vegan products, but if successful they will be stocked in the main chain too.

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