12m Brits in climate risk as Scottish Widows targets net zero

Written by Lori Campbell on 8th Feb 2021

The physical and mental health of more than 12 million Brits is at risk from the worsening effects of climate change, warns a major new report, as pensions and insurance giant Scottish Widows commits to net zero emissions. Meanwhile, Prince William urges young people to help “turn the tide” for a greener planet, sustainable investment app tickr secures £2.5 million in funding, and consumers believe only a third of companies do enough for the environment. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.

Health of 12 million Brits at risk from climate crisis

The physical and mental health of more than 12 million people in the UK is under threat from the worsening effects of climate change, including heatwaves and devastating flooding, warns a major new report.

The study from The Climate Coalition and the Priestley International Centre for Climate found that around 1.8 million people in the UK are living in areas that are at significant risk of flooding. This number is set to reach 2.6 million over the next 17 years. The report notes that flooding can have a significant impact on mental health, with one third of those affected by it experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Meanwhile, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of heatwaves caused by climate change. In the UK, heat-related mortality in people older than 65 years increased by 21 per cent between 2004 and 2018. In 2020, 16 nights were recorded where the temperature remained above 20C and heat-related deaths reached 8,500 in 2018.

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Scottish Widows to halve carbon emissions on path to net zero

Pensions and insurance giant Scottish Widows, which manages funds totalling £170 billion, has committed to halving its financed carbon emissions by 2030.

The firm said the move will put it on track to achieving net zero by 2050, which is the government’s legally binding target date.

Scottish Widows aims to achieve its ambitious target by investing “billions of pounds” in sectors like renewable energy generation, technologies that improve energy efficiency and low-carbon buildings.

At the same time, it will continue to divest from companies that are lagging behind on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Late last year, the company introduced a new exclusions policy that will see it divest some £440 million from businesses including those in the thermal coal and tar sands sectors.


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Prince William urges young people to challenge older generations on the environment

Prince William has told a group of young environmental entrepreneurs that their influence on older generations could “change the tide” in the battle for a greener planet.

The Duke of Cambridge was talking to seven young people who have been named 2020 Young Champions of the Earth by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). He said they could “be in the mix” for his £50 million Earthshot Prize, described as the “most prestigious environmental project in history”.

Those recognised include a manufacturer of sustainable building materials, an engineer who turns plastic rubbish into paving stones, and someone who is fighting to save endangered salmon. The winners will receive more than £7,000 in seed funding, plus tailored training to help scale up their ideas.

It comes as former central banker Mark Carney warns the world is heading for mortality rates equivalent to the Covid crisis every year by mid-century unless urgent action is taken.


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tickr secures £2.5 million funding

Sustainable investment app tickr has secured £2.5 million in funding from Ada Ventures, which focusses on providing finance for ‘impact’ start-ups.

The money will be used to fund product development, expand the user base, and eventually take tickr into other European countries.

As well as investing, the mobile app allows customers to spend their cash sustainably through partnerships with impact-led companies, and offset their carbon footprint by paying a subscription.

tickr says it is fast approaching 100,000 investors in the UK and is reaching a millennial audience, 90 per cent of which say they have never invested before. Average investment is £250 per month.


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Only a third of UK companies do enough for the environment, say consumers

Consumers believe only a third of UK companies are doing enough to help the environment, reveals a new poll by Gatehouse Bank.

However, while confidence is lacking in big corporates, the overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of Brits say they are taking personal action to help the planet. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) recycle household rubbish, and more than half (56 per cent) upcycle and reuse household items such as clothes and furniture.

It comes as Gatehouse launches a range of new Green Saver accounts, which will see a tree planted for every fixed-term and Cash ISA account opened. The carbon credits will be listed on behalf of Green Saver customers.


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