Businesses won’t walk the ESG talk as energy bills up £500

Written by Lori Campbell on 19th Apr 2022

The majority of businesses are failing to match their climate talk with investment action, as UK energy bills are set to rise by a further £500 in October. Meanwhile, electric vehicle maker Tesla, payments firm Block, and blockchain company Blockstream have teamed up to mine bitcoin using solar power, Marks and Spencer is offering its Spring clothing collection for hire to help combat fast fashion, and the carbon-cutting promises made at COP26 would see the world warm by just under 2C this century, according to new analysis. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.

Majority of businesses fail to match ESG talk with action

Nine in ten business decision-makers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa now class improving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance as their top priority, a new survey has found. However, most are failing to match this talk with investment.

The ‘global sustainability survey’, conducted by Google Cloud, polled 1,500 professionals with C-suite level seniority in businesses across a range of sectors about their approach to ESG.

The vast majority (90 per cent) said ESG is their organisation’s “top priority”, with most claiming they are willing to evolve or adjust business models to improve their social and environmental impacts.

But the research revealed that these businesses had allocated only nine per cent of their annual budgets to ESG efforts. Almost half (40 per cent) said there are no plans to increase related investments in 2022.

The Good ISA Guide 2022


Energy price cap could rise by £500 more

Gas and electricity bills could rise by a further £500 a year and worsen the UK’s already spiralling cost of living crisis, ministers have been warned.

Bills have already risen by up to 54 per cent this month, ​​resulting in an average increase of £693 a year.

The energy watchdog Ofgem has now estimated that the energy price cap could rise to around £2,400 this October, although the Government insists such figures are ‘highly speculative’.

This time last year the maximum average annual amount energy firms could charge stood at £1,042, but wholesale energy price rises followed by the war in Ukraine saw the figure rise to £1,277 in October, before leaping to £1,971 this month.

Tesla, Block and Blockstream to mine bitcoin off solar power

Electric vehicle maker Tesla, payments firm Block and blockchain company Blockstream have teamed up to mine bitcoin using solar power.

Tesla is building the solar power infrastructure in Texas, United States, and providing its Megapack batteries, Blockstream CEO Adam Back has said.

Bitcoin is created when high-powered computers compete against other machines to solve complex mathematical puzzles, an energy-intensive process that currently often relies on fossil fuels. Environmental concerns related to bitcoin mining prompted Tesla in May last year to stop accepting bitcoin for car purchases.

Blockstream and Block, which was previously known as Square, had said in June that they were collaborating to build an open-source and solar-powered bitcoin mining facility in the United States.

How bad is Bitcoin for the environment, really?


M&S offers Spring clothing collection for hire

Marks and Spencer is offering its Spring clothing collection for hire in a bid to combat clothes waste and fast fashion.

The High Street retailer has partnered with Hirestreet for the second time following a successful Autumn Winter rental collection.

The new collection includes 40 new season womenswear pieces from M&S’s in-house brands Autograph and Per Una, as well as M&S Collection for the first time, all available to rent for four days from as little as £10.

Although the fashion rental economy is typically associated with formal dressing, 53 per cent of Hirestreet customers have rented M&S products for casual social events.

Slow fashion: Top 5 sustainable fashion innovations


COP26 promises will hold warming under 2C

The carbon-cutting promises made at Glasgow’s climate summit COP26 would see the world warm by just under 2C this century, according to new analysis.

The study finds that if all the pledges made by countries are implemented “in full and on time”, temperatures would rise by 1.9-2C. However, the study is much less positive about the idea of keeping warming under 1.5C – the most ambitious target set by the Paris Agreement. It finds there is just a six to 10 per cent chance of staying under this key threshold.

When political leaders met in Glasgow last November, many of them brought new and improved plans to reduce their carbon emissions. Others, such as India, announced new, long-term targets to bring their CO2 output to net zero.

The new peer reviewed study looks at the plans that countries have made for the short term up to 2030. It says that on their own, these would see temperatures rise by 2.6C this century with devastating consequences for tens of millions of people.

But if countries fulfil their longer-term goals of reducing warming gases to as close to zero as possible, then the impact on temperatures is far greater.

3 key takeaways from COP26 ‘Finance Day’

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