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A round-up of business news, including Unilever, Kingfisher, Sainsbury's and Arsenal.
New sustainability commitments from Unilever include becoming carbon positive by 2030. The fast-moving consumer goods company said all energy across its operations would come from renewable sources by 2030, and that all electricity purchased from the grid would be from renewable sources by 2020.
Kingfisher, which operates B&Q in the UK, has unveiled plans to invest £50 million in renewable energy as part of a strategy to reduce its energy consumption from the national grid by 10% in the next two years. The money will be spent on a range of renewable technologies, with the immediate roll-out of photovoltaic solar panels in the UK and France on distribution centres and selected stores.
Ford is to invest $4.5 billion by 2020 in electrified vehicle solutions, adding 13 electric models, including the new Focus Electric. This will have fast-charge capability, delivering an 80% charge in about 30 minutes and have a projected 100-mile range. Meanwhile, Korean motor manufacturer Kia has announced that it will invest $10.2 billion in developing a range of eco-friendly models and building facilities to reduce the company’s CO2 output further. By 2020 the number of “green” models will rise from four to 11, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle production will be introduced within five years, and average fuel efficiency will improve by 25% against 2014 levels.
GM has announced that the manufacturing sites of Opel and Vauxhall are now landfill-free, meaning its European subsidiaries recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations.
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and Premier League football club Arsenal were among the 10 gold winners of the London mayor’s business energy challenge in 2015. The accolade is for businesses that significantly cut their energy consumption. Arsenal made a series of energy-friendly upgrades at its Emirates Stadium ground, while the installation of environmentally friendly technologies, such as LED lighting and solar panels, has reduced Sainsbury’s energy consumption over the past 10 years even though the retailer increased its square footage across the UK by 51%.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.
The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.