Goldman Sachs goes green as Coca-Cola tests paper bottle

Written by Lori Campbell on 15th Feb 2021

US finance giant Goldman Sachs launches its first ever sustainability bond as Coca-Cola trials a paper bottle. Meanwhile, a new report reveals the huge cost to the climate of fast fashion with polyester production doubling in 20 years, Rolls Royce tests a 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel, and Tandem Bank strengthens its bid to become the UK’s first green digital bank with a new ‘green savers’ account. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.

Goldman Sachs issues first sustainability bond

US finance giant Goldman Sachs has issued its first sustainability bond, priced at $800 million (£575 million), as part of a plan to move $750 billion into green finance by 2030.

The bond will be used to finance businesses and projects working on green solutions such as clean energy, sustainable transport, waste management and healthcare.

The bank was forced to increase its offering by $50 million (£36 million) due to strong demand from investors. All finance will be allocated in line with its own sustainability issuance framework.

Goldman Sachs says it will report on the allocation of money from the bond every year, including details about its financial, environmental and social impacts. The bond has a five-year term and will pay out every six months.


Make a positive difference to the planet and your pocket with our Good Guide to Impact Investing


Coca-Cola company trials first paper bottle

Coca-Cola is to trial a paper bottle as part of a longer term bid to eliminate plastic from its packaging entirely.

The prototype has an extra-strong paper shell, made from sustainably sourced materials, and a bio-based lining that acts as a barrier for the liquid inside. There is still a thin plastic liner and plastic lid to the bottle, but these weigh significantly less than traditional PET bottles.

The goal is to create a 100 per cent recyclable, plastic-free bottle capable of preventing gas escaping from carbonated drinks. The barrier must also ensure that no fibres flake off into the liquid and risk altering the taste of the drink – or potentially make it fail health and safety checks.

Coca-Cola, ranked the world’s number one plastic polluter last year, has been working with other big-name companies, including Absolut, L’Oreal and Carlsberg, to develop the bottles through The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco). The bottles will initially be trialled in Hungary.

Meanwhile, vodka producer Absolut has met its target to use 50 per cent recycled material in its glass bottles four years ahead of schedule.


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Fossil fuel fashion: synthetics have doubled in 20 years

The production of fossil fuel-based synthetic materials has doubled globally within 20 years, according to a new report.

The ‘Fossil Fashion’ study, by the Changing Markets Foundation, reveals that polyester – the most common synthetic fibre – is now found in more than half of all textiles produced.

The process of making polyester is currently generating 700 million tonnes of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to the total annual emissions of Mexico or 180 coal-fired power plants. The report forecasts that emissions from the sector could double by 2030, as demand for cheap clothing continues to rise.

Some clothing brands are now producing as many as 20 collections per year, says the report, with people buying 60 per cent more clothes than 15 years ago and wearing them for half as long.


Slow fashion: Top 5 sustainable fashion innovations


Rolls-Royce tests ‘100% sustainable’ aviation fuel

Rolls-Royce is testing a potentially 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for business jet engines.

The jet engine manufacturer, based in Derby, said the successful test was part of its ambition to help the sectors in which it operates reach net zero carbon by 2050.

The tests were carried out in Dahlewitz, Germany, on the Pearl 700 – the latest business aviation engine in development. The turbine company said that a few weeks earlier, the new fuel was used for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 engine in Derby.

The fuel has been made by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California. SAF can be produced from a variety of sustainable sources. These include household wastes; cellulose waste from the forestry industry; used cooking oil; energy crops; and non-biological fuels like waste gases from steel works. They are a preferred alternative to biofuel, which can cause environmental damage.

It comes as plans have been revealed for a £600 million facility in Cheshire, which would convert non-recyclable household waste into SAF for use by airlines operating at UK airports.

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Tandem Bank launches green saver account

Tandem Bank has launched a new Green Instant Access Saver account as part of its bid to be the UK’s first green digital bank.

It comes as a survey commissioned by the bank found that almost two-thirds of Brits would switch banks if they were more environmentally friendly, but over half didn’t know where to go.

The bank has launched a new website which allows customers to download the app and start saving. The Green Instant Access Saver account has an interest rate of 0.5 per cent AER. The new product comes after Tandem bought established green homes lender Allium last year.

Ricky Knox, co-founder and CEO of Tandem Bank, said he is committed to building “The Good Green Bank”, one that enables customers to understand and reduce the environmental impact of their finances and help to create a more sustainable planet.
Knox says Tandem is looking to launch other green products including a ‘Green Mortgage’.