Fossil fuels in freefall as biodegradable plastic found

Written by Lori Campbell on 14th Apr 2020

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are set to plummet by 2.5 billion tonnes in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions as researchers discover a new plastic that breaks down in certain types of seawater in just 30 days. Meanwhile, Minecraft launches a new module that teaches young people about sustainable energy, UK-based ethical investors The Craftory achieves B Corp certification and sustainable investing app Clim8 Invest launches a crowdfund to raise £400,000. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief. 

 

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels to fall by 2.5bn tonnes in 2020

Global carbon emissions from the fossil fuel industry could fall by a record 2.5 billion tonnes this year – a reduction of five per cent – due to coronavirus.

The pandemic has triggered the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record.

The unprecedented restrictions on travel, work and industry due to the outbreak is set to remove billions of barrels of oil, trillions of cubic metres of gas and millions of tonnes of coal from the global energy system in 2020.

This would lead to the fossil fuel industry’s biggest ever drop in CO2 emissions in a single year, eclipsing the carbon slumps triggered by the largest recessions of the last 50 years combined.

Meanwhile, renewables have overtaken fossil fuels as the main source of electricity in the UK for the first time after a particularly windy season, and a slowdown in demand due to coronavirus.


Find out how to make a difference with your money in our Good Guide to Impact Investing


New plastic breaks down in seawater in 30 days

A new plastic that breaks down in seawater in just 30 days has been developed by researchers.

The plastic, which can be used to make watertight containers, is made from cassava starch and wood pulp.

The project was a joint effort from Osaka University and Nippon Shokuhin Kako Company, a Japanese agricultural giant that produces starch-based food products.

The plastic is reported to be twice as strong as conventional plastic made from polyethylene, one of the main components in plastic bags. In tests, it breaks down fully within 30 days in a seawater sample with a high concentration of microorganisms.

Meanwhile, a new study by charity Tearfund reveals that four of the world’s biggest brands – Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle – are responsible for half a million tonnes of plastic pollution being burnt or dumped every year.


The technologies helping to clean up our oceans from plastic pollution


Minecraft launches renewable energy game module

Minecraft, one of the best-selling games of all time, has launched a new educational module that teaches young people about sustainable energy.

Minecraft: Education Edition will attempt to help the 1.5 billion students affected by school closures worldwide due to coronavirus. The module, launched to coincide with Earth Day on April 15, has initially been developed for 9 to 15-year-olds by EIT InnoEnergy in partnership with KU Leuven and Minecraft creator Blockworks. It teaches children about how sustainable energy can be used to power cities built in Minecraft.

Minecraft Director of Learning Programs, Adam Tratt said: “The combination of fun in-game energy challenges and relevant learning content makes us especially excited to bring this amazing set of Minecraft worlds to classrooms and homes around the world for Earth Day.”

Sign up to our weekly newsletter

Get better with money, in every way.

Ethical investors The Craftory achieves B Corp certification

The Craftory, which invests in consumer goods brands with environmental or social purpose, has achieved B Corp certification.

The London-based firm is the first UK investment company focusing on purpose-led consumer goods to achieve the award.

To certify as a B Corp, The Craftory has demonstrated that it meets rigorous standards of accountability, transparency, and social and environmental performance impact.

The Craftory’s co-founder Elio Leoni Sceti said: “For us, becoming a B Corp was a no brainer. Just as brands that have a reason to exist beyond simply making money have always been our focus, purpose has been in our DNA since day one. The tide of history has turned – for today’s consumers it’s about honesty, provenance, quality and sustainable use of our planet’s resources.”


Six symbols for planet-conscious shopping


Sustainable investing app Clim8 app launches crowdfund

New sustainable investment app Clim8 Invest – which enables people to make a profit and a positive impact on the planet – has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £400,000.

The app aims to make it simple for anyone to invest their money in publicly-listed businesses that are actively helping to tackle the climate crisis and bring about tangible positive change.

The app already has a waiting list of 5,000 people, with many of them also signed up to the crowdfunding round. The latest fundraise comes on the back of a successful seed campaign in October which raised £650,000 from a group of finance executives. The new funds will be used to complete the platform build, grow the team and support further business growth.