Markets working to support sustainable development

In the News: November 9th 2015

Emma Blackmore
09 Nov 2015

Sustainable business and finance

  • Seventy-one per cent of UK companies believe there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some point within their supply chains, according to a new study launched by the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Ashridge Centre for Business and Sustainability. The study also raised concerns that social audits are not adequately revealing the presence of modern slavery. 
  • Research has shown that an additional trillion dollars will be needed for ‘clean’ investments every year up to 2030 in order to transition to a green economy (in infrastructure in energy, transport, buildings and industry). The financial sector is central to this. A group of 10 international banks, including BMCE Bank, ING Bank, Nedbank, Piraeus Bank, Société Générale, SEB, Standard Bank, Triodos Bank, Westpac and YES Bank have launched a ‘Positive Impact Manifesto’, calling for an impact-based approach to banking.
  • Are big investors increasingly thinking about sustainability when making their investment decisions? Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation’s recent purchase of 20 per cent of agricultural trader Olam appears to have been in part due to its ‘sustainable and traceable sourcing of agricultural products’. Find out more from the Financial Times.


Climate change

  • The Green Climate Fund has announced that it will start funding its first projects in developing countries this month, ahead of the UN climate conference in December. 
  • According to a recent UN report, the world is only half way to meeting emissions targets with current pledges, meaning efforts need to be significantly scaled up and commitments and ambitions strengthened to avoid crossing the two degree warming threshold. 
  • A new Pew Research Center survey shows there is a global consensus among citizens that climate change is a significant challenge, though Latin American and African countries are the most concerned about the threats posed by climate change. Worryingly, Americans and Chinese, whose economies are responsible for the greatest annual CO2 emissions, are among the least concerned.
  • A recent report has argued that the US stands to gain trillions of dollars from global climate change action. The research calculates the ‘social cost of carbon’ – things like lost agricultural and labour productivity, trade and energy supply disruptions, negative public health consequences, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, migration etc.

Extractive industries and energy

  • Concerns have been raised over the dissolution of Nigeria’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative board, which threatens its revalidation as an EITI-compliant country. This dissolution has happened as a result of the federal government’s recent decision to dissolve all the governing boards of its agencies.
  • A recent Guardian article has argued that investing in renewables is not just good for the environment, it’s also good for equality. This is explained by the differences in the way our energy system is structured. The fossil fuel-based energy system is characterised by complex, centralised infrastructures controlled by very few entities. The supply chain is vertical, and the benefits are shared only among a few stakeholders. The opposite can be said for more decentralised energy systems , as shown in Canada, Germany and Uganda.