Firms urged to stop Russia investments as climate lobbying standard set

Written by Lori Campbell on 14th Mar 2022

Chancellor Rishi Sunak urges UK firms to stop investing in Russia to inflict maximum economic pain, as a group of investment giants launches a new climate standard for corporate lobbying. Meanwhile, the cost of living for the UK’s poorest households could jump by 10 per cent by the autumn, Amazon welcomes 100 new signatories to its Climate Pledge campaign and Ocado axes ‘best before’ labels on fruit and vegetables to reduce food waste. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.

UK companies urged to stop investing in Russia

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has called on UK firms to stop investing in Russia as he welcomed the decisions made by some to divest away from Russian assets.

Several companies such as the energy giants BP and Shell, along with investment firms Aviva, M&G and Vanguard, have announced their intention to reduce or sell investments in Russia in recent days after its invasion of Ukraine. Sunak has urging more UK businesses to join them.

He said: “I am urging firms to think very carefully about their investments in Russia and how they may aid the Putin regime – and I am also clear that there is no case for new investment in Russia. We must collectively go further in our mission to inflict maximum economic pain – and to stop further bloodshed.”

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Investment giants set global standard for climate lobbying

A group of investment giants has launched a new climate standard for corporate lobbying to help stop firms and their trade associations compromising efforts to deliver on Paris Agreement goals.

The Global Standard on Responsible Climate Lobbying sets out 14 requirements for climate-related engagement activity that companies must meet, or risk having their actions challenged in a shareholder vote.

Developed by Swedish pension scheme AP7, BNP Paribas Asset Management and the Church of England Pensions Board, the new standard will pressure boards to commit to responsible climate lobbying, disclose the support given to trade groups that lobby for them and take action if this runs counter to global climate targets.

It has the backing of investor groups with a collective $130 trillion (£99.4 trillion) of assets under management.

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Cost of living for UK’s poorest could jump 10% by autumn

The UK’s poorest households could see their cost of living jump by as much as 10 per cent by this autumn if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine leads to a prolonged conflict, a leading thinktank has warned.

The Resolution Foundation said food and energy prices are likely to continue to be driven higher, pushing inflation to a “second peak” above eight per cent in the autumn.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to deliver his spring statement on March 23 and faces mounting pressure to tackle the escalating cost of living crisis. Options could include increasing benefits in April by more than the planned 3.1 per cent, a new cut in the taper rate for universal credit so that claimants keep more of their earnings, or an increase in the national insurance threshold.

Labour and many Conservative MPs have urged Sunak to scrap the 1.25 percentage point rise in national insurance contributions, earmarked for health and social care.

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Amazon welcomes 100 new signatories to Climate Pledge

More than 300 major companies have now committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2040 by signing up to The Climate Pledge campaign led by tech and e-commerce giant Amazon and campaign group Global Optimism.

The campaign has welcomed nearly 100 new signatories, representing an almost 600 per cent growth in members over the past year.

New signatories include global shipping giant Maersk, software developer SAP, and timber firm Weyerhaeuser. Members of The Climate Pledge commit to regularly reporting emissions and implementing decarbonisation strategies in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement with the goal of achieving net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

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Ocado axes ‘best before’ labels on fruit and veg to reduce food waste

Online grocer Ocado is to scrap ‘best before’ labels on some fruit and vegetables in an effort to cut food waste.

The move is expected to save thousands of tons of edible food from being thrown away, by allowing customers to use their own judgment as to when a product is still good to eat.

Ocado will launch the initiative this week for items in its fresh produce range, including apples, pears and citrus fruits.

The retailer has also signed up to The Waste And Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Courtauld Commitment 2025, a voluntary agreement to cut waste in the grocery sector.

Meanwhile, Waitrose and Aldi are to stop selling disposable BBQs because of their impact on the natural environment and wildlife.

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