UK to fail on climate as Hilfiger goes circular

Written by Lori Campbell on 7th Sep 2020

The UK has ‘no plan’ to reach its own net zero climate target as fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger commits to being fully circular by 2030. Meanwhile, the government is set to force the biggest pension schemes to report on climate change risks, ice sheets are melting at a ‘worst-case scenario’ rate, and the war on plastic is putting the oil industry’s multi-billion dollar investment in the polluting material at risk. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief. 

 

UK has no plan to reach its own climate target, warn experts

The UK government has no plan to reach its own “net zero” climate target despite having written it into law last year, experts have warned.

The Institute for Government, a think-tank, said that “leadership has been lacking” and that the legal and political commitment has yet to translate into serious policy changes, despite the clock ticking.

In June 2019, Theresa May’s government committed the UK to reaching carbon neutral emissions by 2050, amending the earlier climate change act that included a less ambitious commitment. Boris Johnson has said he is committed to the policy.

However, academics studying the government’s approach accuse it of having “balked at measures that risk public opposition” and said ministers had not yet broken from a “business as usual” approach.

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Tommy Hilfiger vows to be ‘fully circular’ by 2030

Tommy Hilfiger has pledged to be fully circular by 2030 as part of its new environmental and social sustainability plan.

Called ‘Make it Possible’, the strategy is part of a two-year collaboration between the fashion giant and Futerra, and has the tagline: ‘Waste Nothing and Welcome All’.

To become fully circular, products must only contain materials that are part of a sustainable biological and technical loop. Tommy Hilfiger has pledged to change its designs and sourcing requirements to ensure that all its lines meet this criteria, shifting to recycled synthetics and regeneratively-produced natural materials.

The brand has already piloted fully-recycled jeans and trained 80 per cent of its designers on circular strategies.


Slow fashion: Top 5 sustainable fashion innovations


 

Pension funds to be forced to publish climate risk reports

The UK’s biggest pension schemes will be legally required to report on climate change risks within their investment portfolios under new government plans.
The proposals mean the 100 largest workplace pension schemes – those with £5 billion or more in assets, and all authorised master trusts – will be required to publish climate risk disclosures by the end of 2022.

Using these schemes to set an industry standard, about 250 more schemes with £1bn in assets would have to meet the requirements in 2023.

Thérèse Coffey, work and pensions secretary of state, said: “I am delighted to announce our proposals to make reporting on sustainable investments mandatory, one of the most significant steps to date in the UK’s progress on tackling climate change.

“We were the first major economy to commit to reaching net zero by 2050 – to deliver this we must start now, working with investors and others to achieve this ambitious target.

“These measures will ensure pension schemes are in an ideal position to drive change to a sustainable, low carbon economy which will benefit everyone.”


Find out where your pension is invested, in our Good Guide to Pensions


Ice sheets melting at ‘worst-case scenario rate’

Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a rate which matches the worst-case scenario for sea level rises, according to a major new study.

The research by scientists at the University of Leeds and the Danish Meteorological Institute warns that at this rate of melting, global sea levels could rise by another 17cm by the end of this century – exposing 16 million people to coastal flooding on an annual basis.

The vast majority of the planet’s ice mass is contained in the Antarctic ice sheet, which would cause sea levels to rise by 58 metres if it melted completely.

The much smaller Greenland ice sheet, which previous research suggests may have melted beyond the point of return, would cause a rise of just over seven metres.
While a complete melt isn’t expected, even small increases could have a devastating effect and new research reveals that global sea levels have already risen by 1.8cm since the 1990s – matching the worst-case scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The challenge (and opportunity) of investing in a changing climate


‘War on plastic’ to scupper oil industry’s £300bn investment

The global war on plastic waste is putting the oil industry’s multi-billion dollar investment in the material at risk.

Major oil companies, including Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell, plan to spend about $400 billion (£300 billion) to help grow the supply of virgin plastics by a quarter over the next five years. The idea is to compensate for the impact of electric vehicles and clean energy technologies on demand for fossil fuels.

Industry data predicts that plastics will be the biggest driver of oil demand growth in the coming years. However, new figures suggest these investments may be left stranded as global governments push through plans to cut single-use plastics and increase recycling to help tackle plastic pollution.

The report by think tank Carbon Tracker found that demand for virgin plastics is set to peak in 2027, as its growth then slows from 4 per cent a year to one per cent.