Sense and Sustainability - August 2022

Taking a stand

With July’s record temperatures continuing for most of August, we could have been forgiven for fearing that the fight against climate change was being lost. However, some of the hundreds of thousands or even millions of actions that need to be taken all over the world continued to materialise. As President Joe Biden signed into law a $430bn bill seen as the biggest climate package in US history, the low-lying South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu said it was willing to sue for climate reparations to help fund its adaptation to rising seas. After drought caused the Yangtze to dry up, sparking a shortage of hydropower, here’s why we should all care about the lack of rainfall in China. France approved a new law requiring all new commercial buildings to partially have their roofs covered with plants or solar panels.

CALLING THE SHOTS

Companies took positive action, with Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen signing electric vehicle and battery supply chain agreements with Canada and Edison client hydrogen fuel cells group Loop Energy reporting record revenues and upgrading purchase order guidance. As retailer Pandora launched a jewellery collection with recycled gold and lab-created diamonds made with renewable energy, Ethereum’s long-awaited ‘merge’ was said to be a big deal for the planet as well as for cryptocurrency mining. Edison client Agronomics’ latest cellular agriculture investments mark a shift in focus in favour of companies that appear to offer greater near-term commercial potential. Watch our interview with Arik Kaufman, chief executive of Edison client Steakholder Foods, an international deep-tech food company at the forefront of the cultured meat revolution.

MAKING IT COUNT

In ESG investing, the global scope of the European Union’s greenwashing crackdown spooked Wall Street, while Nasdaq’s growing ESG business was said to be coming under threat from the all-electronic US financial marketplace itself. Asia’s largest supplier of green bonds launched principles to standardise the national market and align standards with international standards. Read Edison’s report on how ESG is moving well beyond a box-ticking exercise.

CLOSING DIVIDES

On diversity and inclusion, one year after the World Economic Forum said it will take another 136 years to close the global gender gap, statistics released in Australia showed women’s full-time weekly earnings coming in almost $250 less than men’s. As the Euro 2022 success of England’s Lionesses highlighted the gender pay gap in women’s football, Nike bowed to pressure from activist investors and said it will release more data on the hiring and promotion of women and minorities. New rules that will create 1,300 board seats for women were passed in Hong Kong. And toy-maker Mattel unveiled Barbie and Ken dolls with hearing aids, vitiligo, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair.

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