Switching the UK to veganism would halve carbon emissions, finds a new report by conservation charity WWF, as renewable player NextEra knocks global oil giant ExxonMobil off the podium as America’s most valuable energy company. Meanwhile, HSBC has earmarked up to £772 billion in green financing in a bid to hit net zero by 2050, impact investing platform Ethex launches a share offer to combat homelessness, and Prince William and Sir David Attenborough join forces to launch the ‘Earthshot’ prize. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Switching UK to veganism would halve carbon emissions, says WWF
If the UK switched to veganism it could reduce the nation’s food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent, according to new research by conservation charity WWF.
In WWF’s recent Living Planet Report, the charity revealed that nature is in steep decline, with average global wildlife populations declining by 68 per cent in less than 50 years.
According to the report, our global food systems are largely responsible, accounting for 70 per cent of biodiversity loss on land and more than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In a bid to change the way our food systems work, the charity has launched the Planet-Based Diets Impact & Action Calculator to allow individuals and governments to assess the personal and national impacts of their diets on eight human environmental factors – such as biodiversity loss, water use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The calculator is customised across 13 food groups, from grains, dairy, sugar and red meat and is built on a bespoke dataset and analysis specific to each of the 147 countries included.
Renewable player overtakes ExxonMobil in market value
NextEra, a big player in wind and solar energy, has overtaken global oil giant ExxonMobil as the most valuable US energy company by market value.
NextEra’s market capitalisation has surged to $145 billion (£111 billion) compared with ExxonMobil’s $142 billion (£109 billion). It’s another indication of the Texas giant’s diminished status after it was bumped this year from the prestigious Dow Jones index after more than 90 years.
Founded in 1925 in Florida where it continues to supply power to five million households, NextEra has invested in solar and wind energy since the 1990s.
Those investments are now paying off with technological leaps in renewable energy. NextEra is the biggest producer of wind energy in North America and among the biggest solar producers in the United States.
Its worth has been boosted by investors becoming more focused on climate change and increasingly interested in companies that embrace renewables as a bigger part of the energy equation.
A similar sentiment has also made Tesla the most valuable auto company in terms of market value, outstripping General Motors and Ford, even though the traditional automakers sell many more cars.
HSBC earmarks £772bn in green financing to hit net zero by 2050
HSBC has earmarked between $750 and $1 trillion (£772 billion) in green financing to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its entire customer base by 2050.
The pledge is the strongest statement yet by Europe’s biggest bank on climate change, although it was met with criticism by environmental groups. They want HSBC to take more immediate action to curb its fossil fuel financing.
While other UK banks such as NatWest have set similar net zero goals, HSBC’s aim to achieve it across its huge Asia-focused client base is one of the most significant pledges made by a global lender to date.
However, the bank will be closely watched for how quickly and fully it pursues its new goals, which are mainly stated as aims rather than hard commitments
It will also face scrutiny on whether it has allowed itself leeway to continue financing some fossil fuel-linked clients, especially in developing markets.
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Ethex launches share offer to combat homelessness
Impact investing platform Ethex has launched a new opportunity to invest directly in combating homelessness.
The Common Ground Against Homelessness (CGAH) Community Share Offer aims to raise £650,000 (with a minimum raise of £335,000) by November 30, 2020. It will fund the purchase of a property in Edinburgh to be converted into supported accommodation for nine people living with addiction problems who are currently, or in danger of rough sleeping.
The property will be jointly owned by investors in the share offer (who will become members of CGAH) and will provide permanently affordable rent for CGAH, a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society.
The launch coincides with the latest report from The Edinburgh Poverty Commission, which found that almost one in three families in the city living below the poverty line are only in that position due to their housing costs. This compares with one in eight households who are in poverty across the country.
Minimum investment is £500, with a targeted financial return of up to five per cent.
Prince William and Sir David Attenborough join forces on ‘Earthshot’ prize
Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have joined forces to launch what they hope will become the “Nobel Prize for environmentalism”.
They have launched a search for 50 solutions to the world’s gravest environmental problems by 2030. With £50 million to be awarded over a decade, the ‘Earthshot Prize‘ is the biggest environmental prize ever.
The Prince said “positivity” had been missing from the climate debate – something the award could supply.
He said: “The Earthshot prize is really about harnessing that optimism and that urgency to find some of the world’s solutions to some of the greatest environmental problems.”
Anyone could win, he explained, as he called for “amazing people” to create “brilliant innovative projects”. These, he said, could help save the planet.