The UK’s biggest pension fund Nest takes on banking giant Barclays overs its investments in fossil fuels as FIFA vows to deliver a carbon-neutral World Cup 2022. Meanwhile, house coal and wet wood is to be phased out by 2023 in a bid to cut pollution, hydrogen energy projects get £30 million in government funding and a new report reveals almost half of Brits plan to increase their sustainable investments in the next three years.
Nest tackles Barclays over fossil fuel financing
The UK’s largest pension fund, Nest, has called on Barclays Bank to stop financing fossil fuels.
The banking giant is facing growing pressure over its role in global warming, with Nest now insisting it present a “clear and robust” plan.
Government-backed Nest, which has 8.5 million members, said it would support a landmark climate change resolution that will go to a vote at Barclays’ annual meeting in May.
The proposal, which was filed by 11 shareholders with a combined £130 billion in assets, asks the bank to stop financing energy companies that are not aligned with the Paris Agreement to tackle global temperature rises.
Barclays is the world’s sixth-largest backer of fossil fuels and the largest financier of fossil fuel of any European bank, exceeding its peers by $27 billion (£20.9 billion), according to campaign group Rainforest Action Network.
The resolution is also being backed by the Church of England Pensions Board, which oversees the £2.8 billion retirement pots of Anglican clergy, and sustainable investment manager EdenTree.
FIFA vows to deliver carbon-neutral 2022 World Cup
FIFA and the State of Qatar have committed to delivering a carbon-neutral World Cup in 2022.
The 22-point sustainability strategy states that carbon-neutrality will be reached “before the tournament kicks off.” It commits FIFA and its partners across Qatar to design and construct sites in ways which minimise their energy, resource and carbon impact across both operations and embodied materials.
While it stops short of committing to any certification for sites, it binds all constructors to sourcing local materials and talent. As for operational emissions from the tournament itself, FIFA and the State of Qatar have pledged to “measure, mitigate and offset” all emissions related to match-day events. This includes energy-related emissions for sites as well as team transport emissions.
House coal and wet wood phased out by 2023
The sale of the most polluting fuels – coal and wet wood – burned in household stoves and open fires will be phased out from next year to cut pollution.
It’s part of government plans to tackle tiny particle pollutants known as PM2.5, which can penetrate deep into lungs and the blood and cause serious health problems.
Wood burning stoves and coal fires are the single largest source of PM2.5, contributing three times as much of the pollution as road transport, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Householders and suppliers will need to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels, which are cheaper and produce less smoke and pollution, before 2023.
Hydrogen energy projects get £30 million government boost
Five UK projects investigating whether hydrogen could help slash emissions have been awarded nearly £30 million of government funding.
UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said hydrogen could be a crucial way of decarbonising some of the more challenging areas of the economy such as shipping and road transport. It comes as the UK maps out how it will achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.
The award from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is part of a wider £90 million funding pot for research and projects examining how to reduce carbon emissions.
Brits to increase sustainable investment
Almost half (48 per cent) of UK investors expect to increase their sustainable investments over the next three years, according to a new report.
One in six (17 per cent) plan to do so significantly, reveals the study by online investment platform Charles Stanley Direct.
The findings highlight the growing role that Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is currently playing among UK investors, as well as the growing awareness of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) factors.
The poll showed that younger people are much more likely to already have sustainable investments. Of those aged 44 and under, 64 per cent currently have a portfolio that includes sustainable investments. This falls to 31 per cent among those aged 45-54 and then further to 15 per cent among those aged 55 and over.