Deforestation hits a high as John Lewis opens £1m ideas fund

Written by Lori Campbell on 22nd Nov 2021

The Amazon rainforest experiences its highest levels of deforestation in 15 years as John Lewis launches a £1 million ‘ideas’ fund to help tackle the UK’s throwaway culture. Meanwhile, homelessness social enterprise Greater Change opens a £400,000 investment raise through Ethex, energy firm SSE announces plans to invest £12.5 billion over the next five years to accelerate its net zero plans, and the UK’s biggest heat pumps producer aims to crowdfund £3 million through sustainable bank Triodos. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.

Amazon sees worst deforestation levels in 15 years

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has hit its highest level in more than 15 years, new official data reveals.

A report by Brazil’s space research agency Inpe found that deforestation had increased by a huge 22 per cent in the last year.

Brazil was among a number of nations who promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 during the COP26 climate summit. The pledge included almost £14 billion of public and private funds, a portion of which will go to developing countries to restore damaged land, tackle wildfires and support indigenous communities.

The Amazon, home to around three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people, is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming.

According to the latest data, some 13,235 sq km (5110 sq miles) was lost during the 2020-21 period, the highest amount since 2006.

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John Lewis offers £1m for ideas to tackle ‘throwaway culture’

The John Lewis Partnership is to launch a £1 million fund for projects that can help end the high street’s “throwaway” culture.

The retail heavyweight – owner of John Lewis and Waitrose – is inviting academics, charities and start-ups that have ideas with the potential to reduce the environmental impact of the food, clothing and gadgets we buy, to pitch for a share of the money. The Circular Future Fund, run with environmental organisation Hubbub, aims to identify “innovators” that are challenging the industry’s now outdated “make … use … throw away” model.

Marija Rompani, the John Lewis Partnership’s director of ethics and sustainability, said that tackling the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution requires a “different kind of thinking”.

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Homelessness project launches £400,000 investment raise

A social enterprise that helps people to move on from homelessness has launched a £400,000 investment raise.

Greater Change is raising finance through positive impact platform Ethex to help achieve its vision of a future without homelessness.

Based in London, Greater Change is a pioneering digital enterprise enabling individuals to directly fund others to move on from homelessness through financing a specific goal. This could be anything from a deposit for a home to funding for training opportunities.

Between 153,000 and 280,000 people in England are homeless, according to the organisation. The average age of death for people experiencing homelessness is just 45 for men and 43 for women.

To date Greater Change has successfully supported over 350 people to create a brighter future and is on track to have helped over 550 by the end of this year.

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SSE pledges £12.5bn boost in renewables investment

Energy firm SSE has announced plans to invest £12.5 billion over the next five years in a bid to accelerate its net zero plans.

The plan would see it increase renewable energy output five-fold within 10 years, making the Perth-based firm the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world.

The announcement, with half-year results, follows pressure from an investment fund, Elliott Management, which has taken a stake in SSE.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE chief executive, said: “We are constructing more offshore wind than anyone else in the world right now and expanding overseas, delivering the electricity networks needed for net zero and pioneering carbon capture, hydrogen and battery technologies to deliver system flexibility.”

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Heat pump firm launches £3m crowdfunding campaign

A renewables firm is looking to crowdfund £3 million to help accelerate the installation of ground source heat pumps across the UK in efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Cheltenham-based Renewable Heat Holdings Limited (RHHL) is one the biggest owners and operators of heat pump systems in the country, overseeing more than 70 projects which generate more than 17,000 MWh of renewable heat per year.

The investment campaign, run via Triodos Bank, follows the Government’s announcement of regulatory changes to encourage low-carbon heating systems, including the banning of gas boilers in new homes 2025.

RHHL, formerly known as Rendesco, said the rule changes presented a “significant opportunity.” The seven-year bond will pay investors five per cent gross interest per year, with a minimum investment of £50.

What you need to know about: Triodos Bank

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