TBLI Weekly - October 18th 2022


TBLI Weekly - October 18th, 2022

Your weekly guide to Sustainable Investment


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The TBLI BETTER WORLD PRIZE is a new initiative to recognize the Best ESG Measurement System.

30 November 2022

The TBLI Better World Prize event page is live - sign up to attend for free!

Click here to view it and see all the confirmed organizations and speakers that will be presenting their measurement system

Would you like to apply to present on behalf of your organization and discuss why your system for ESG measurement is the best?
Then Register here

There are no costs involved in this award.

For more info on this initiative click here

Radical Truth - TBLI Podcast

America's destructive healthcare system: How to support change for patients, not profit? /w Wendell Potter

Prior to resignation in 2008, Wendell Potter was vice president of corporate communications for the health insurance company CIGNA. He was one of the main forces to prevent the Clinton Administration to pass health care legislation. During his tenure, he was instrumental in preventing the health care system to work for those who were ill.

Potter is the first and only "health insurance insider" to have publicly criticized the industry's stance on the Obama health care reforms. A supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Potter correctly predicted in 2010 the final version of the law would increase health insurance industry profits and argued they would find a way to "game the system." He became a vocal advocate for Medicare for All in 2018, saying in September 2019 that "it's time to move to a program that makes a lot of sense economically as well as morally"

We are thrilled to welcome back Wendell for another discussion on how to break from the destructive healthcare system in the USA

Click here to listen to the episode on Anchor.

You can find also find our podcast here:

Rich countries must urgently help poor nations hit by climate crisis, says V20

Twenty countries facing worst impact of global heating set out proposals for loss and damage payments

Rich countries must urgently develop a plan to assist countries suffering the ravages of extreme weather, as failure to take early action on the climate crisis has left them increasingly vulnerable, developing nations have said.

The V20 – made up of the 20 vulnerable countries facing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, and least able to cope with them – set out its proposals on Monday for how rich countries should pay for the “loss and damage” caused by the climate crisis.

Its demands are likely to be a key issue at the Cop27 UN climate summit, which starts in Egypt on 6 November. Loss and damage refers to the most disastrous impacts of climate breakdown, such as hurricanes or severe floods like those that recently hit Pakistan.

Shauna Aminath, the minister of environment for the Maldives, told the Guardian it was the failure of the world’s richest nations to help poor countries build their resilience to extreme weather, for instance through constructing seawalls or preserving natural flood barriers, that had forced them to address loss and damage.

“The reason we are talking about loss and damage is that we have failed on adaptation finance for years,” she said. A longstanding pledge by rich countries to provide $100bn a year by 2020 in climate finance to poor countries has still not been fulfilled, and most of the money that does flow goes to emission-cutting projects in middle-income countries, rather than helping the poorest to adapt to climate impacts.

Aminath pointed out that rich countries had found cash to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, and to help Ukraine. “So it’s very obvious that it’s not a lack of money, or a lack of technology, that is the problem,” she said. “The issue is the lack of political will and the refusal to see the climate crisis as an emergency.”

Helping poor countries with the loss and damage they faced also had to go far beyond the standard disaster responses to the immediate impacts of extreme weather, added Aminath. When climate-related disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, hit they cause damage not just to physical infrastructure, which donors often concentrate on, but also on social wellbeing, including health and education.

“These are the social issues that are left behind after the donors leave [in the aftermath of disaster],” she said. “There is also internal displacement, and the resulting problems with social integration, which are very important.”

Many countries are already spending an increasing slice of their budgets on climate protection, which could otherwise be spent on health, education and lifting people out of poverty.

“Any discussion of loss and damage must recognise these socio-economic impacts,” said Aminath. “Climate change means our fiscal base is shrinking. This affects our social protections.”

Read full article

Overcoming the Challenge of Soil Pollution

Plastic pollution is a major environmental concern due to the fact it can damage natural habitats, cause harm to wildlife, and even enter the food chain, impacting food production. As plastic production is on the rise, the ubiquity of plastic stretches way beyond being solely an environmental issue; it is now also a human health concern.

Despite its concerns, farmers still use plastic, in the form of mulch films, across agriculture to prevent the soil and crops from becoming contaminated by certain atmospheric factors and encourage crop development. However, when it comes to the removal and disposal of mulch films, which are conventionally made of polyethylene (PE), some of the material may be left behind due to its predisposition to easily tear and break apart. Consequently, PE will remain in the soil and, over time, it can build up due to its inability to decompose.

Therefore, researchers are looking into alternative materials, such as biodegradable polymers, which could be broken down by microorganisms. The idea is that once broken down, biodegradable mulch film would not leave behind any traces of potentially problematic materials that could cause harm to the environment or human health.

Researchers from the Environmental Chemistry Group at ETH Zurich have recently published their findings in the journal Nature Communications regarding the development of a new method for tracking and measuring how polymer biodegrades, if at all, in soil.

Determining Polymer Biodegradation

Biodegradable polymers contain specific chemical “breaking points,” meaning that the microorganisms typically found in the soil can break down these polymers by releasing enzymes into the environment. The resulting degradation products are then consumed by the microbes and eventually respired to form the final product, CO2.

Read full article

Three decades of net-zero risks and opportunities for finance

Global price inflation, energy price rises and affordability crisis are among key challenges for decarbonisation this decade, report states

A report commissioned by Guernsey Finance has mapped investors’ main opportunities and challenges for the transition to net zero for the next three decades.

The report, Private finance and its role in supporting the transition to net zero, compiled by energy and environment consultants Baringa Partners, looked at topics including the need for a just transition, the impact of net-zero commitments on financial services firms and the potential role of Guernsey in the net-zero transition.

In terms of how financial services firms can make the transition themselves, Baringa recommended they identify key changes and risks in longer-term strategy development and risk management.

The group said its report, which incorporates just transition objectives and wider ESG considerations, provides an introductory framework for this task.

Transition this decade

In this decade, the key technologies required for the transition to net zero are already available, the paper stated. It is now necessary for mainstream capital to be employed to rapidly scale up renewables while more risk-focused investors back areas such as clean technology and climate technology, hydrogen, battery and storage.

The main opportunities identified for developed markets in the 2020s are this scaling up of renewables, increasing nuclear capacity, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. There is also the chance for electrifying light vehicles and promoting their adoption among consumers. Developed markets could also be investing in transmission and distribution networks and grid reinforcements and encouraging electrification and energy efficiency measures.

Read full article

Oil addiction will keep the west in hock to dictators

David Woollcombe and Richard Baker on the urgent need to move towards renewable energy

Simon Tisdall is right to call the Opec+ decision to lower production by 2m barrels a day “a stunning win for Putin” (Let Saudi Arabia’s friendship with Putin be a wake-up call for the west, 13 October). But anger, sanctions and stopping arms sales is an insufficient response. Rather, the west – and all UN member states – should use this moment to implement the recommendation by scientists to keep 60% to 80% of known oil reserves in the ground, thus incentivising the rapid transition from a fossil fuel economy to a green, renewable one.

The Opec+ move, and the fact that companies spend billions every year prospecting for even more fossil fuel and fracking opportunities, must inspire those meeting at Cop27 across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia to create a coalition of the willing to prohibit the production, sale and use of fossil fuels by, say, 2030.

The planet has been telling us to do this for some time. History is now piling on compelling arguments to do so sooner rather than later to stop aggressive dictators in their tracks. But are we listening?

David Woollcombe
Founder and president, Peace Child International

Simon Tisdall is right to call out Joe Biden’s approach to Saudi Arabia. We know its human rights record is appalling and we know of the regime’s involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. I believe change can only come with communication. Severing that achieves nothing. We also know our continued addiction to oil places us in a parlous position. Until our recalcitrant government invests in renewable infrastructure that weans us off that addiction, we have no choice but to shout from the sidelines.

Support of course can come from the people. Much anguish was displayed after the purchase of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia. But I wonder how many of the objectors – mostly other clubs’ supporters – ask the petrol station attendant where the fuel comes from before tanking up their cars? Self-serving hypocrisy exists at all social levels, from the president of the US to the average football fan.

Richard Baker
Darlington, County Durham


Solar panels and crops can coexist, but more study needed on how and where

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

A recent analysis reveals the daunting number of variables that need to be considered when attempting to pair agricultural production and solar generation.

Federal researchers know that solar panels and crops can coexist and provide mutual benefits in certain scenarios. A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) confirms this but also shows that such co-location can lead to crop or financial losses, including from complications like mold-causing dew accumulation and soil damage from construction equipment.

Advocates who see the concept as a potential solution to land-use constraints are now pushing for more funding and collaboration with farmers to test and document outcomes in as many different settings as possible. The hope is that they can prove benefits in enough scenarios to help the solution scale beyond the handful of small farms that have currently implemented it.

“We know we can grow food under solar projects,” said the NREL paper’s lead author, Jordan Macknick. “What remains to be seen is if we can scale up agrivoltaics in a way that meaningfully improves local food production and farmers’ bottom lines while also aligning with the realities of solar development costs, timelines, and practices.”

Moisture and soil

NREL defines agrivoltaics as the “sharing of sunlight between the two energy conversion systems: photovoltaics and photosynthesis,” and notes that “the solar and agricultural activities [must] have an influence on each other.”

Agrivoltaics includes planting pollinator habitat in and around solar panels, and allowing animals to graze around panels. But the sector with the most variables to study is arguably the growing of crops under and between solar panels.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy began researching agrivoltaics through the InSPIRE (Innovative Solar Practices Integrated with Rural Economies and Ecosystems) program. The August NREL paper compiles results from InSPIRE sites with university and other partners in states including Arizona, Georgia, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.

Read full article

Amid the climate gloom, surging renewables bring a ray of hope


Have we reached a positive tipping point in the race to decarbonise? New developments in green energy offer reasons for guarded optimism, writes Paul Rogers, emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University, England

In the latest of a series of warnings on the impact of global heating, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported recently that future impacts of extreme weather events on world energy supplies may be as serious as the impact of the war in Ukraine.

The WMO’s State of Climate Services report also concluded that if climate breakdown is to be avoided, we need to double the use of clean energy resources by 2030.

Its conclusions are broadly similar to those of the much-publicised UN paper that came out before last year’s COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, which called for an annual 7 per cent reduction in carbon emissions throughout this decade. One year later, and this has not been achieved, so that the reduction must now be of the order of 8 per cent a year, with the chance of getting anywhere near that target fading by the month.

On the face of it, then, there is cause for deep pessimism, with the Ukraine war just making matters worse. However, this is very far from the whole story, as there are other trends that can be seen as reasons for guarded optimism

For several years, renewable energy specialists have been pointing to a potential transformation in their field, mainly around a range of technical improvements that have resulted in a sharp reduction in the cost of generating electricity from renewables, with the potential for this to continue for some years to come.

In recent months, the results of research programmes at Stanford University and Oxford University have confirmed this, so much so that it now makes sense to develop and deploy renewable energy technologies in preference to just about any other means of power generation.

Read full article

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