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A round up of the latest business environment and sustainability plans, featuring Google, IKEA and Pepsico.
Google has announced that it will reach its goal this year to power its global operations using only renewable energy. The internet firm said it was now one of the world’s largest corporate buyers of renewable power, with commitments to purchase 2.6 GW of wind and solar energy. These commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5bn globally, about two-thirds of that in the US, Google said.
To achieve its aim of having a positive impact on people and the planet, furniture retailer IKEA has a €3bn fund to become resource- and energy-independent. This includes a new €1bn commitment to secure a long-term supply of sustainable materials by investing in forestry as well as companies active in recycling and developing renewable energy and biomaterials. Since 2009, IKEA has invested €1.5bn in wind and solar energy projects and it has allocated a further €600m to become energy-independent by producing as much renewable energy as it consumes in its own operations by 2020.
Spanish telecoms firm Telefónica, which operates O2 in the UK, has announced that half the electricity used in its operations will come from clean sources by 2020 and 100% by 2030. It estimates that energy-efficient projects and the use of renewable energy will generate savings of €90m, halve the energy consumption per traffic unit, and cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 5% in absolute terms.
Renewable energy procurement and consultancy service Almach Energy has achieved B Corp certification. B Corporations aim to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Certification involves an assessment of all aspects of the organisation, including social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Almach scored 86 in its assessment.
PepsiCo UK and Ireland has halved the water and carbon used to grow potatoes for Walkers Crisps in water-stressed areas as part of its ‘50 in 5’ commitments, launched in 2010. It said that around 100 British farmers were now equipped to grow more potatoes using less water and emitting less carbon.
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.