British households brace for a record 54 per cent energy bill rise as the price cap is raised, and a new study finds many of the world’s biggest firms are failing to meet their own climate change targets. Meanwhile, Lidl and Waitrose are the UK’s ‘greenest supermarkets’, according to a new sustainability table from Which?, Scottish Widows pledges to invest up to £25 billion by 2025 in companies that are actively tackling the climate crisis, and the government unlocks £179 million in funding to help curb carbon emissions from social housing and bring down spiralling energy bills. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.
Brits face record 54% energy bill rise as price cap is raised
British households face a record energy bill increase of 54 per cent from April after the regulator lifted the cap on default tariffs to £1,971.
Energy regulator Ofgem lifted the maximum rate that suppliers can charge for an average dual-fuel energy tariff by a huge £693, following a four-fold increase in energy market prices over the last year.
It means that 22 million households that pay by direct debit will face an average of bill of £1,971 a year for their gas and electricity. Homes using a pre-pay meter, which are typically more vulnerable, will on average face a steeper hike of £708 and an annual bill of £2,017.
Top companies exaggerating their climate progress
Many of the world’s biggest firms are failing to meet their own targets on tackling climate change, according to a new study.
The 25 global corporations studied – including Google, Amazon, Ikea, Apple and Nestle – also routinely exaggerate or misreport their progress, the New Climate Institute report says.
Corporations are under huge pressure to cut their environmental impact as more consumers demand planet-friendly products. But the study says: “The rapid acceleration of corporate climate pledges, combined with the fragmentation of approaches, means that it is more difficult than ever to distinguish between real climate leadership and unsubstantiated.”
The firms analysed account for five percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the report says – so although they have a huge carbon footprint, they also have enormous potential to lead in the effort to curb climate change.
Lidl and Waitrose named ‘greenest supermarkets’
Lidl and Waitrose are the UK’s ‘greenest supermarkets’, according to a new sustainability table which ranks food retailers on their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, food waste and plastic.
Lidl took the top spot on emissions and came third for plastic but scored poorly on reducing food waste, according to the rankings from consumer charity Which?
The Co-op was the best supermarket on plastic due to cutting its usage and 94 per cent of its own-brand plastic packaging being recyclable in household collections. Waitrose used the least amount of plastic for the products sold.
Which? placed Iceland last, noting the frozen food chain’s high energy use, but the firm has called the list “flawed”.
Scottish Widows to invest £25bn in climate-friendly companies
Pensions giant Scottish Widows has pledged to invest up to £25 billion by 2025 in companies that are actively tackling climate change.
The firm said at least £1 million would help to finance firms developing climate solutions, such as alternative green energy, sustainable agriculture, and pollution prevention.
Scottish Widows has already set a target to halve the carbon footprint of its investment portfolios by 2030, and aims to reach net zero across the entirety of its investments by 2050.
Maria Nazarova-Doyle, head of pension investments and responsible investments at the firm, said: “By committing to gradually reduce the overall emissions contained in our investment portfolios to net zero, we’ll be supporting and incentivising companies we invest in to decarbonise at a scale and pace to meet the 1.5°C global warming objective of the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Government plans £179m energy efficiency scheme for social housing
The UK government has pledged £179 million of funding to help curb carbon emissions from social housing and bring down spiralling energy bills.
The money from the Government’s £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will attempt to increase the amount of social housing stock that meets an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C or higher.
It should mean that 20,000 social housing properties with an EPC rating of D or lower will receive energy efficiency upgrades such as better wall and roof insulation, replacement windows and new technologies like heat pumps and solar panels.