Brazil’s Amazon rainforest now emits more carbon pollution that it absorbs, an alarming new study reveals, as fashion giants join a pact committing to stricter environmental targets. Meanwhile, almost half of UK savers say they would switch to a green pension if their provider offered one, Tesco becomes the first UK retailer to offer sustainability-linked finance to its suppliers, and The Big Exchange announces partnerships with Artemis Investment Management and Schroders as well as a new mobile app. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.
Brazil’s Amazon now emits more carbon pollution than it absorbs
The Brazilian Amazon, which plays a crucial role in absorbing human-caused pollution, has now emitted close to one-fifth more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it has stored.
An alarming new study found that between 2010 and 2019, the Amazon in Brazil released 16.6 billion tonnes of CO2, while sucking up 13.9 billion tonnes.
“We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter,” the study’s co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron, a scientist at France’s National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), said. “We don’t know at what point the changeover could become irreversible.”
Meanwhile, the UK, US and Norwegian governments have joined forces in a $1 billion (£720 million) fundraising initiative to support the world’s tropical rainforests as part of a bid to tackle deforestation and reduce harmful emissions in the atmosphere by 2030. The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (Leaf) Coalition was unveiled at US president Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit on Earth Day.
Fashion giants pledge to halve climate impacts
Big-name fashion brands including Primark, JD Sports and ASOS have joined a new initiative committing them to halving their emissions by 2030.
They include halving carbon emissions (in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory) by 2030 with a view to reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest, and reducing the overall water footprint of new products sold by 30 per cent. Signatories will also have to become more circular, with circular economy initiatives going beyond one-off products or collections.
The brands will be offered support to change their product designs and business models to improve areas such as durability, recyclability of materials and waste reduction.
18 million UK savers keen to switch to green pension
Almost half of UK savers – around 18 million people – would switch to a green pension if offered one by their provider, reveals a new report.
The survey by Make My Money Matter also found that nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of UK pension holders want their retirement savings to help fight climate change, while 53 per cent want their pension to do good for both people and the planet.
More than half (55 per cent) of those polled by YouGov said they would switch provider if they discovered their pension was invested in deforestation or labour rights violations. Just under half (49 per cent) would do the same for the production of weapons, and 41 per cent would do so for the funding of fossil fuels.
However, the majority (80 per cent) of savers have never considered that their pension could contribute to global warming at all, with 63 per cent admitting that they have no idea where their pension is currently invested.
Every little helps: Tesco offers sustainability-linked finance
Tesco has become the first UK retailer to offer its suppliers sustainability-linked finance in a bid to encourage more companies to commit to science-based emission reduction targets.
The voluntary programme, which Tesco said it had been developing for 18 months, will launch in September and see annual greenhouse gas emissions data provided by suppliers independently verified and assessed by sustainability expert Anthesis.
Financial giant KPMG has been employed by Tesco to carry out assurance of the programme, which will then see Tesco suppliers offered preferential financing rates with Santander.
The scheme incentivises will track each suppliers’ performance on carbon data disclosure, emissions reduction targets and progress against sustainability goals.
The Big Exchange bags two of UK’s biggest asset managers
The Big Exchange has welcomed two of the UK’s biggest asset managers – Artemis Investment Management and Schroders – as new partners.
There are now 46 funds on the investment platform, all independently rated for their positive impact on people and the planet.
Campbell Fleming, Chairman of The Big Exchange, says: “The Big Exchange was launched to help people achieve their financial goals while doing good for society and the planet. Interest in this area has accelerated even more over the last year as the impact of Covid-19 has led to a mainstream re-evaluation of investment returns, both monetary and social. I’m delighted to welcome Artemis and Schroders as partners.”
The platform, which was co-founded by The Big Issue, has also launched a new mobile app to help investors keep track of all their finances in one place. The app provides budgeting tools, spending insights, and educational content to help build financial resilience.