Sense and Sustainability - April 2022

Facing harsh realities

As war in Ukraine led monthly ESG fund inflows to fall to just $15bn, we faced harsh realities, with the latest IPCC report warning that the world can only hope to stave off the worst ravages of climate breakdown through a ‘now or never’ dash to a low-carbon economy and society. While China overtook the US as the largest climate investment market outside Europe, BlackRock failed to win support for switching its iShares exchange traded fund to an ESG index. As critics urged a reassessment of the value of ESG investing, some activists said ESG is not enough and it’s time to add an H for the health and wellbeing of employees and communities. Scientists uncovered evidence that recycling doesn’t keep plastic out of our stomachs, lungs or blood.

DRIVING CHANGE FROM OUR WALLETS

As American Express launched an initiative enabling corporate clients to track and offset the carbon impact of their spending, a new grocery app allowed people to scan items for ‘sustainable choices’ before purchasing. Beauty firms tapped into waterless skincare and ethical cleansing, while Boots decided to stop selling plastic-based wet wipes in Britain and fashion retailer H&M launched compostable baby clothes. Japanese scientists invented ‘electric’ chopsticks that make food seem more salty, while Swedish researchers claimed a sea-farmed supercrop of seaweed could transform the way we live. Edison’s Feeding the world report highlighted how rising demand for alternatives to conventional pesticides is driving investment in the development of environmentally-friendly biological crop protection products.

POWERING A NEW FUTURE
As an Airbus A380 completed a flight fuelled by cooking oil, climate groups said a change in coding could reduce bitcoin’s energy consumption by 99% and professional services company Cognizant set a new goal to source 100% renewable energy for its facilities by 2026. As decarbonisation provides a potential opportunity for aluminium producers, learn seven things investors need to know about hydrogen fuel cells and Loop Energy and five essential facts about everyday decarbonisation from fellow Edison client Itaconix.

CELEBRATING ACHIEVEMENTS

As you digest the new business models emerging from the circular economy, here’s how you can invest sustainably in AI for ESG applications. And, after social justice in America took a leap forward, with Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as the Supreme Court’s first Black judge, here’s what we learned from the world’s largest study on kindness

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