75% of European funds will be ESG-focused by 2027, Google launches new sustainable features and ECB launches tape ball competition

Posted on April 19th 2024
Economic Climate Environment Social Diversity & Inclusion

75% of European funds will be ESG-focused by 2027

A recent report from PwC Luxembourg has predicted that 75% of European funds will be ESG-focused by 2027.

SFDR Article 8 and Article 9 funds reached €6.2tn in 2023, an increase year-on-year of €1tn with projections now showing an increase to over €9tn within the next three years.

“Since the introduction of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation in 2021, sustainable finance investments have skyrocketed and continue to do so, as evident from the €1 trillion jump we’ve seen in AuM in Article 8 and Article 9 UCITS funds, reaching €6.2 trillion in end-2023. We do not expect this growth to slow down anytime soon, and now project ESG UCITS AuM in the EU to reach €9.4 trillion by 2027.” - Frédéric Vonner, Partner and Sustainable Finance & Sustainability Leader at PwC Luxembourg.

Article 8 and Article 9 funds refer to investment funds that follow certain sustainability criteria. These criteria are laid out in the European Union's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

Here's a simplified explanation:

Article 8 Funds: These funds promote environmental or social characteristics in their investments. They may consider factors like how companies manage their environmental impact, treat their employees, or contribute to the community. However, they might still invest in companies that don't meet strict sustainability standards if they believe those companies are improving or moving towards better practices.

Article 9 Funds: These funds have sustainable investment as their primary goal. They're often called "green" or "sustainable" funds because they focus on investing in companies that meet high sustainability standards. Article 9 funds avoid investing in companies that significantly harm the environment or society and actively seek out businesses with positive environmental and social impacts.

In simpler terms, Article 8 funds lean towards sustainability but may have some flexibility, while Article 9 funds are more strict, aiming directly for sustainable investments. Both are part of efforts to encourage more responsible investing and support businesses that prioritise environmental and social concerns.

Google launches new sustainable features to Maps

Google this week announced new features in its Search and Maps applications which will allow users to find more sustainable options more easily.

In Maps, the additions include a new feature that will show public transit or walking suggestions next to driving routes, if travel times are comparable and practical. It will launch soon in over fifteen cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Montreal, Paris, Rome and Sydney.

Other announced developments include the expansion of an existing feature to show train schedules and ticket prices directly in Search.

Maps will also see the addition of several new features to help electric vehicle drivers locate charging stations in the next few months.

ECB launches inaugural tape ball competition across Core Cities

FuturePlus member, The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced the launch of the National Core Cities Tape Ball Competition, as part of continuing efforts to make cricket the most inclusive sport.

Tape ball cricket is a variation of the game, which originated in Pakistan and is now played all over the world, often within South Asian communities.
A tennis ball is physically taped up to create swing and bounce variations in play. No protective equipment, such as helmets or pads, are required as the ball remains soft and the game can be played on any surface, in any area, making it widely accessible and popular.

Competition events will be held in Birmingham, Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds, Leicester, London (Middlesex, Essex and Surrey), Luton, Manchester, Sandwell, Slough and Nottingham.

“Tape ball is such an exciting and accessible form of cricket. Born on the streets of Karachi, it's already played passionately in many communities across England and Wales and shows that you don’t need lots of equipment or expensive grounds to enjoy playing cricket.

“As we continue our collective efforts to make cricket the most inclusive team sport in England and Wales, the new competition we're launching today will give players an extra chance to showcase and hone their skills.

“And with England Men and Women facing their Pakistan counterparts in white ball series next month, we’re looking forward to experiencing the passion of crowds and communities enjoying the contests - whether it’s watching friends and family competing to lift the National Core Cities Tape Ball trophy, or seeing some of the world’s best cricket players competing on the international stage.” - Leshia Hawkins, ECB Managing Director of the Recreational Game.

You can listen to the Business of Sustainability episode on Inspiring Inclusion with the England and Wales Cricket Board, here.

To find out more about Tape Ball, click here.

Apple to expand repair options with reused parts

From this autumn, Apple plans to incorporate genuine used parts into the repair processes of selected iPhones.

Customers and independent repair providers will be able to reuse pre-owned Apple parts with the objective of reducing the overall environmental footprint.

“At Apple, we’re always looking for new ways to deliver the best possible experience for our customers while reducing the impact we have on the planet, and a key part of that means designing products that last.” - John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering

Apple first launched its self-repair programme in the US in November 2021.

easyJet trials hydrogen refuelling in UK first

easyJet has trialled its first airside hydrogen refuelling facility in the UK at Bristol Airport.

The trial has been in development for more than a year and was set up in partnership with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as an independent reviewer of the safety cases.

During the trial, hydrogen was used to refuel and power critical parts of easyJet’s ground operations with the objective of proving that hydrogen gas can be a safe and reliable option in place of other fuels.

“Trials like this are very important in building the safety case and providing critical data and insight to inform the development of the industry’s first regulatory framework. This will ensure regulation not only keeps pace with innovation, but importantly also supports the industry in meeting its decarbonisation targets by 2050.” - David Morgan, Chief Operating Officer at easyJet.

In other recent aviation news, Wizz Air has teamed up with biofuel company, Firefly Green Fuels, to transform human waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Firefly Green Fuels has developed a process which will convert waste from sewers into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The aim is to begin supplying the lower carbon power source from 2028, providing up to 525,000 tonnes of SAF over a 15 year period.

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