Olympics goes for green as 2019 hottest on record: GWM news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 13th Jan 2020

The Tokyo 2020 olympics is having a green makeover with cardboard beds and recycled medals, as 2019 is officially the second hottest year since records began. Meanwhile, sustainable debt hits a record high, Quorn rolls out carbon footprint labelling and the London Mayor launches a green energy company to reduce fuel poverty in the capital and help towards it becoming a zero-carbon city. 



Olympics goes for green with cardboard beds and recycled medals

The bed frames for athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be made from recyclable cardboard.

The mattresses for the beds will be made from polyethylene materials that will be reused for plastic products after the events.

Around 18,000 beds will be needed for the Olympics, and 8,000 for the Paralympics.

As part of plans to be more environmentally friendly, the Olympic torch is made from aluminium waste and the podiums from recycled household and marine plastic waste, while electricity will come from renewable sources.

Medals for the games are to be made entirely from recycled consumer devices.

The Tokyo Olympics take place between 24 July and 9 August 2020 and the Paralympics from 25 August to 6 September.

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2019 second hottest year in Earth’s recorded history

Last year was Earth’s second hottest year on record, with the decade as a whole the warmest in history, according to the European Union’s climate monitoring service.

Data released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) found that the average temperature in 2019 was only a few hundredths of a degree below the record 2016 level.

In Europe specifically, 2019 was the hottest year on record. Within the decade, Copernicus also found that the five last years were the hottest on record for the planet.

“These are unquestionably alarming signs,” Copernicus director Jean-Noel Thepaut said.

Global temperatures in 2019 were 0.6 Celsius hotter than the average in 1981-2010. Additionally the last five years were 1.1C-1.2C warmer than the pre-industrial era.

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Sustainable debt hit record high in 2019

A new record was set in 2019 for the volume of sustainable debt issued in any one year.

The total hit $465 billion (£358 billion) globally, up a massive 78 per cent from $261.4 billion (£201 billion) in 2018, according to new figures from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Last year also saw all-time, cumulative issuance of sustainable debt smash through the $1 trillion (£0.77 trillion) barrier, reaching $1.17 trillion (£0.9 trillion) by December 31.

Sustainable debt covers a range of products, from green bonds through to sustainability-linked loans. Green bonds made up more than half of the entire sustainable debt market in 2019, with $271 billion (£208 billion) issued – up from $182 billion (£140 billion) in 2018. Green bonds are securities with proceeds used entirely for environmentally friendly projects, like renewable generation or marine habitat conservation.

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Quorn rolls out carbon footprint labelling

Quorn Foods is introducing labels showing the carbon footprint of its products.

The new labels will provide carbon emissions data on a “farm to shop” basis and will be rolled out across 60 per cent of the company’s products, by volume, this year. In the interim as new packaging is introduced, Quorn Foods is publishing carbon footprint information on 30 of its products on its website.

Quorn Foods is collaborating with The Carbon Trust to ensure the accuracy of its figures. Quorn has worked with The Carbon Trust for several years to research the climate benefits of Mycoprotein compared to beef. Quorn recently became the first major food manufacturer to sign the Carbon Trust’s Climate Leadership Framework. The Framework is designed to help businesses develop a roadmap for reaching net-zero emissions in line with, or, where possible, ahead of, legal deadlines.

Quorn Foods said in a statement that it hopes its decision to introduce carbon footprint labelling without a legal requirement to do so will encourage other brands to follow suit, so that consumers can make better comparisons of the environmental impact of their products.

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London mayor launches green energy company

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched green energy company ‘London Power’ in a bid to reduce fuel poverty and make the capital a zero-carbon city.

Londoners currently spend an estimated £3.5 billon on gas and electricity household bills each year. According to the energy regulator Ofgem, London has the one of the lowest levels of switching energy supplier and one of the highest levels of pre-payment meters in the UK. This leads to higher prices and less access to good deals.

London Power claims it could save the average household paying by direct debit around £300 a year. It says the average pre-payment customer could save £160.

London Power is a landmark partnership between the Mayor and clean energy supplier Octopus Energy.

Meanwhile, Co-op Energy, operated by Octopus Energy, is offering homes across the UK the first ever energy tariff providing clean energy exclusively from community projects

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