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The European Investment Bank announces it will stop fossil fuel funding by 2021 as McDonalds ditches plastic lids across Europe. Meanwhile, Swiss bank Credit-Suisse unveils a new fund aligned with one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Mars debuts vegan chocolate as Burger King launches a vegan burger, and a new ‘reverse advent calendar’ invites consumers to give instead of receive in the run-up to Christmas.
European Investment Bank to stop funding fossil fuels by 2021
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to stop all funding for fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021 and will unlock €1 trillion (£0.85 trillion) in sustainable development over the next decade.
The EIB has provided €13.4 billion (£11.5 billion) in funds to fossil fuel projects since 2013. The new changes come after the bank received almost 150 written submissions from organisations concerned about its spending policy, as well as petitions signed by more than 30,000 people.
As well as cutting €2 billion (£1.7 billion) of yearly investments to fossil fuel projects, the EIB will support projects for low or zero-carbon technology. This will help the EU to meet its 32 per cent renewables share target by 2030.
McDonald’s ditches plastic lids across Europe
McDonald’s has announced it is removing plastic McFlurry and drinks lids from all of its Europe stores. The fast food chain is also trialling renewable fibre lids in France and a toy take-back scheme in the UK.
McDonald’s this week launched the ‘Better M’ platform to improve the recyclability of its packaging. More than 1,200 tonnes of plastic per year will be saved by changing McFlurry packaging so that a separate plastic lid isn’t needed. The change will be implemented across Europe by the end of 2020 following phase-out plans in the UK. Wooden and paper-based spoons are also being tested and could be rolled out in the same timeframe.
Meanwhile Boots has announced it will use 149 tonnes less plastic packaging to house its range of Christmas gifts this year than it did in 2018.
Credit Suisse unveils SDG-aligned consumer fund
Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse has launched a consumer fund aligned with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 12: Responsible Production and Consumption.
The move comes amid a surge in consumer demand for green finance. Money raised through the new ‘Responsible Consumer Fund’ will be used to invest in businesses whose core purpose is to drive a “paradigm shift” towards more sustainable models of consumption and production.
This could be designing low-carbon products that will work with a circular economy or helping to move away from material goods towards services such as rental or repair.
The fund will cover companies operating in four key sectors: food, urban systems, supply chains and lifestyle. To be chosen for backing by the fund, these firms will have to prove their work to date on delivering against SDG12 and their future potential for doing so across a range of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) indicators including carbon and water intensity.
The fund will be launched on 25 November for a three-week subscription period.
Mars debuts vegan chocolate as Burger King rolls out meat-free Whopper
Burger King has launched a meat-free version of its Whopper across 25 European markets while Mars has unveiled vegan Galaxy chocolate.
The move from Burger King will see the fast-food chain offer vegan patties made by Unilever-owned Dutch brand The Vegetarian Butcher in more than 2,500 of its outlets in mainland Europe.
Burger King has successfully trialled ‘the Rebel Whopper’ in Sweden, alongside trials of a meat-free burger made by Impossible Foods in the US. The Vegetarian Butcher’s patty is made using a mix of soy protein, wheat, herbs, spices and vegetable oil.
Burger King and Mars are just two of the companies striving to cash in on the global trend towards plant-based diets, which has been broadly attributed to concerns around animal welfare, the climate impact of livestock and health and nutrition. KFC, for example, recently began trialling a plant-based chicken alternative, while Lewis Hamilton is debuting his own vegan fast-food chain called ‘Neat Burger’.
Reverse advent calendar invites consumers to give not receive
Wealth manager EQ investors is launching a reverse advent calendar – Advent of Change – where people are invited to give, rather than receive, in the countdown to Christmas.
Each day represents a different donation to a charity. Last year, the celebrity-endorsed advent calendar raised £100,000 for its 24 chosen charities, It received an award from the Prime Minister in recognition of outstanding contribution to charitable causes.
This year with new braille, child-friendly and premium options, its creator 27-year-old Kristina Salceanu, hopes to more than double the amount raised last year, and help a total of 72 charities – 48 more than in 2018.