Greenwashing is to be legally defined to help crack down on firms falsely advertising investment funds as climate-friendly, as deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest hits a record January high. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola says 25 per cent of its packaging will be reusable by 2030, the highest glacier on Mount Everest loses 2,000 years of ice in three decades due to global warming, and the One Ocean summit sees more than 100 countries commit to measures to save the ocean from human harm. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.
EU to legally define greenwashing as “climate-friendly” funds soar
The European Union’s markets watchdog is to create a legal definition of greenwashing to help enforce action against firms that falsely advertise funds as climate-friendly.
Regulators are concerned about the deluge of money going into investments that tout their environment, social and governance (ESG) credentials. Few if any investment firms have been punished for “greenwashing”, or exaggerating their ESG credentials, as there are currently no hard rules on what it means.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said that in an ideal scenario it would be tackling greenwashing based on a complete set of rules that set boundaries on market behaviour and practices that are not allowed.
It comes as Morningstar has cut more than 1,200 funds with a combined $1.4 trillion (£1.04 trillion) in assets from its European sustainable investment list after an “extensive review” of their legal documents.
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Record high Amazon deforestation in January
The number of trees cut down in the Brazilian Amazon last month is the highest January total since records began in 2015, according to satellite data.
Despite government pledges to bring deforestation under control, 430 square kilometres (166 square miles) of rainforest were lost in January – an area five times larger than in 2021. Environmental researchers have accused President Jair Bolsonaro of allowing deforestation to accelerate since he took office in 2019.
Cristiane Mazzetti, of Greenpeace Brazil, said: “Even in January, when deforestation is usually lower due to the rainy season in the Amazon region, destruction has dramatically skyrocketed.
“The government has created a golden opportunity for those who want to clear forests illegally or seize public lands; there is a deliberate lack of environmental inspection.”
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Coca-Cola says 25% of packaging will be reusable by 2030
Coca-Cola has pledged to make 25 per cent of its drinks containers reusable by 2030, following intense pressure from environmentalists over its packaging policies.
The drinks giant said the move will be implemented globally and include glass and plastic bottles it sells to consumers as well as containers used at soda fountains and dispensers. Currently, around 16 per cent of its drinks containers are reusable.
Coca-Cola made the commitment in response to a shareholder proposal filed by As You Sow and Green Century Capital Management, asking the company to set stronger refillable goals.
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Highest glacier on Mount Everest loses 2,000 years of ice in three decades
Mount Everest’s highest glacier has lost ice accumulated over 2,000 years in just three decades, according to scientists at the University of Maine.
The South Col Glacier, standing nearly 8,000m (26,000ft) above sea level, is thinning around 80 times faster than the time it took to form the ice at the surface.
Researchers say global warming has turned the glacier’s surface from snowpack to ice, causing it to lose its ability to reflect solar radiation. The glacier is now thinning at a rate of approximately two metres per year.
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Once Ocean summit: billions promised to save oceans
More than 100 countries have committed to measures to help preserve the ocean from human harm, including stamping down on illegal fishing, cutting plastic pollution and better protecting international waters.
At the One Ocean summit 2022, 27 EU states and 16 others agreed to pursue a global agreement by the end of the year to regulate the sustainable use of the high seas – waters lying outside any one country’s jurisdiction – and preserve their biodiversity.
European public banks pledged €4 billion (£3.3 billion) of ocean finance by 2025 and a major new private-sector coalition was formed with the aim of leveraging increased investment in marine conservation and restoration projects.