Climate A list shrinks as unis take oil money

Written by Lori Campbell on 13th Dec 2021

Less than two per cent of the world’s companies score an ‘A’ grade for climate action in a new report, as UK universities have taken £89 million in funding from oil giants over the last four years. Meanwhile, green energy projects in the UK can now bid for a share of a £285 million a year Government funding pot, Animal Trust launches a £2 million crowdfund with Triodos, McDonald’s opens its first net-zero carbon restaurant in the UK, and EV charging firm Iduna opens a £6.5 million crowdfund with Abundance. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief. 

Less than 2% of companies get ‘A’ grade on climate standards

The number of businesses scoring highly on climate action and transparency has fallen sharply this year, according to a global study of more more than 13,000 firms.

Just 200 companies – less than two per cent of those that provided information – scored an ‘A’ grade for measures to reduce their climate impact, down from 280 last year. Oil and mining groups Chevron, ExxonMobil and Glencore are among the nearly 17,000 companies graded an “F” after failing to provide any environmental data to CDP, a non-profit group that runs a global disclosure system. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which has investments in coal, also failed to disclose.

Fourteen companies were singled out for special praise, including L’Oreal and consumer goods giant Unilever, which owns a hundreds of brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Domestos and Dove. AstraZeneca and Colgate Palmolive also scored highly.

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Top UK universities took £89m from oil firms in last four years

Some of Britain’s most prestigious universities have shared in funds totalling at least £89 million from major oil companies in the last four years, a new study has found.

Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London are among the universities to have been given donations from some of the world’s biggest oil firms, including BP, Shell, Total, Equinor, Eni, Chevron, Exxon and ConocoPhillip.

There has been increasing pressure in recent months on institutions to break links with the fossil fuel industry, which is the main contributor to climate change.

However, the new research by openDemocracy found that Imperial College London has accepted £54 million from oil giants since 2017 – by far the most of any institution surveyed. This was followed by Cambridge University, which has received more than £14 million, while Oxford got almost £8 million.

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£285m in funding up for grabs for renewable firms

Green energy projects in the UK can now bid for a share of a £285 million a year funding pot as part of a Government scheme to support renewable energy.

The latest round of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme aims to secure 12GW of electricity capacity – the biggest amount in the scheme’s history. From the funding alone, this could generate enough electricity to power around eight million homes.

The scheme is open to offshore and onshore wind, solar, tidal, and floating offshore wind projects. Between the scheme’s first round in 2015, and its third in 2019, it has led to the price per unit of offshore wind falling by 65 per cent.

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Animal Trust launches £2 million crowdfund with Triodos

Veterinary social enterprise Animal Trust has launched a £2 million crowdfunding campaign to help it treat more pets from lower income households.

The ‘community interest’ company has opened the new bond offer on the Triodos Crowdfunding platform. Animal Trust’s mission is to make good veterinary treatment more affordable and accessible for pet owners earning the Real Living Wage.

It seeks to open sites in areas where the available veterinary services are too expensive for local residents. As a community interest company, it reinvests the majority of its profits back into the business. This allows it to provide more comprehensive veterinary care for pets, while keeping the costs affordable. It provides free consultations for sick and injured animals brought to the surgeries, to ensure that pets are seen as soon as they become ill.

Investment is available from £50 and the £2 million, and the five-year bond will pay six per cent per year interest. It is also available within the tax-efficient Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) wrapper. Returns are not guaranteed and your capital is at risk.

What you need to know about: Triodos


McDonald’s opens its first UK net-zero carbon restaurant

McDonald’s has opened its first net-zero carbon restaurant in the UK. The new branch in Market Drayton, in Shropshire, will act as a ‘blueprint’ for future restaurants around the country, the fast food giant said.

It’s packed with environmentally-friendly features such as a Drive-Thru lane made from recycled tyres, wall art made from recycled polystyrene cups and kerb stones out of recycled plastic bottles. Building cladding is made from recycled IT equipment like printers and computer monitors, as well as recycled white goods such as refrigerators and dishwashers.

McDonald’s said the new restaurant is ‘net zero’ in terms of both its construction and operations. However, it admitted that items on the menu are not included in this, even though beef is said to be responsible for around 30 per cent of the company’s carbon footprint.


EV charging firm launches £6.5 million crowdfund

Electric vehicle (EV) charging firm Iduna has launched a £6.5 million crowdfund through Abundance.

The new offer will enable the rollout of 65 fast, rapid and ultra-rapid public EV chargers across the northwest of England. These will operate under Iduna’s Be.EV brand, which the company says is Greater Manchester’s biggest public EV charging network, with over 7,500 members.

Iduna Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2 offers investors the opportunity to earn eight per cent interest per year over a five year term. Minimum investment is £5.

The new offer follows Iduna raising £4 million through its first offer in April. The funding was used to install 50 fast or rapid EV chargers around Greater Manchester.

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