Two out of three investors want to invest responsibly but are baffled by financial jargon, a study shows, as the government announces plans for a new generation of ‘green’ prisons. Meanwhile, a Greenpeace investigation finds that UK plastic waste is being dumped or burned in Turkey, a quarter of cities admit they cannot afford to protect themselves from the climate crisis, and Amazon launches its first sustainability bond. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Savers want to invest for good but baffled by jargon
Two out of three investors want to invest responsibly but are confused by financial jargon, new research shows.
The study by Close Brothers Asset Management reveals investors do not think they need to sacrifice financial returns in order to invest sustainably.
A staggering 85 per cent of those polled, who have an average of £320,000 invested, believe that investing sustainably will either improve, or provide the same returns, as traditional investing.
However, investing jargon around ‘environmental, social and governance’ goals tends to baffle them, with most admitting they have little to no understanding of the terms often used freely by the finance industry.
Less than one in five – 18 per cent – of investors know the term SRI (social responsible investing) while three quarters aren’t confident in their understanding of ‘impact investing’, ‘ethical screening’, ‘greenwashing’ or the ‘UN Sustainable Development Goals’.
New generation of eco-friendly prisons
A new generation of prisons will go green with energy produced from solar panels and mini nature reserves to promote biodiversity.
The next generation of prisons – with four being built before 2027 – will use heat pumps, energy efficient lighting and solar panels to cut fuel bills by half and carbon emissions by at least 85 per cent compared with current designs.
With the main structures built from recycled concrete and steel, there will be habitats for wildlife to promote biodiversity and ensure the local ecology is stronger than when before construction began.
The move is part of the Government’s drive to make Britain net-zero for carbon emissions by 2050. Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, said: “Our ambitious approach offers a unique opportunity to build back a safer and greener prison system. New jails will use new green technologies and modern methods of construction to ensure our prisons cut carbon emissions as well as reoffending.”
UK plastic waste dumped and burned in Turkey
Plastic waste from the UK is being exported to Turkey and then illegally burned or left to pollute oceans, according to a Greenpeace investigation.
The environmental charity warned Turkey was becoming Europe’s “largest plastic waste dump.” Around 40 per cent – or 210,000 tonnes – of the UK’s plastic waste was sent there last year. But rather than being recycled, investigators saw plastic waste from major supermarkets dumped by roads, burned, piled into fields and and left to spill into waterways.
Greenpeace said it had investigated 10 sites across southern Turkey and found plastic bags and packaging from UK supermarkets and retailers at all of them. Packaging for a coronavirus antigen test was also found, indicating the waste was less than a year old.
One in four cities can’t afford climate protection
One in four cities around the world cannot afford to protect themselves against the impacts of climate change, despite more than 90 per cent facing serious risks, new research reveals.
Cities are facing the increasing risk of flooding, heatwaves, water shortages, and damage to their infrastructure from extreme weather caused by climate change. The Carbon Disclosure Project, which surveyed 800 cities, found that 43 per cent – with a combined population of 400 million people – did not have a plan to adapt to the climate crisis.
A quarter said budgetary restraints were the key reason they remain unprepared, with many reliant on national governments for the funding needed to protect their infrastructure and vulnerable populations from climate threats.
The survey found that last year 422 cities had 1,142 projects to adapt to the climate crisis yet to be financed, requiring about $72 billion (£51 billion) in investment. The cost of water management projects alone that were yet to be financed was estimated at $22.6 billion (£16.02 billion).
Amazon launches $1bn sustainability bond
Amazon has issued its first ‘sustainability bond‘ in a bid to raise $1 billion to finance its transition to more environmentally responsible business practices.
The online retail giant is looking to raise $1 billion (£0.71 billion) to finance sustainability projects across five key areas: renewable energy, clean transport, sustainable buildings, affordable housing and socio-economic empowerment.
Amazon said the move is part of a new “sustainability bond framework,” which sets out how debt issuance can help the firm meet its in-house sustainability commitments while stimulating investment in technologies, products and services. It says this will have a “ripple effect”, helping to accelerate decarbonisation across the wider economy.