Climate comedy, Biodiversity net gain requirements expanded and Asia's pivotal role in the search for climate crisis solutions

Posted on April 5th 2024
Climate Environment Social Diversity & Inclusion

Climate Comedic on Business of Sustainability podcast

We have something very exciting coming up on the ‘Business of Sustainability’, our podcast created in partnership with City AM.

Alexandra Smith and Mike Penrose are joined by award-winning comic, podcaster, and climate speaker: Stuart Goldsmith (Comedy Supercharger).

Keep an eye out for updates!

Other episodes you can access now feature the likes of Oxwash, CHX Performance, L+R Hotels, BLOCKHEAD, The England and Wales Cricket Board, and Capita.

Listen and subscribe here.

80% of global investors have sustainable investment policies in place

The vast majority of global investors have put in place ESG investment policies over the past several years, research published by Deloitte and The Fletcher School at Tufts University has shown.

More than 1,000 asset owners, asset managers, and investment advisers across North America, Europe, and Asia were surveyed for the study.

Citing influencing factors, including regulatory requirements, improved performance, and talent attraction, the research found that investors are increasingly looking to minimise sustainability-related risk and capitalise on opportunities through implementing sustainability-focused investment policies.

The research also found that organisations have the opportunity to build investor confidence in their sustainability initiatives through better data - potentially driving more cost-efficient access to capital and stronger valuations.

Biodiversity net gain requirements expanded in the UK

The legal requirements for housing and infrastructure schemes in the UK, which require at least a 10 per cent net gain for biodiversity, have been extended to cover small developments from this week.

The expansion of requirements will apply to developments where the number of dwellings is between one and nine or where the site area is less than 0.5 hectares.

Biodiversity net gain is based on the principle that housebuilding projects and development should benefit nature rather than destroy it. For example, if a woodland is destroyed by new infrastructure, another needs to be recreated. This can happen either on-site or elsewhere.

“Biodiversity net gain will help us deliver the beautiful homes the country needs, support wildlife and create great places for people to live. This government is going further and faster for nature, since 2010, we have restored an area for nature larger than the size of Dorset, banned microplastics and set ambitious targets to halt biodiversity decline.” - Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister

There are concerns, however, that regulators lack the staff required to check that pledged habitat benefits actually materialise, with some sites at risk of leading to no tangible increases in biodiversity, and too few ecologists to oversee habitats or score them correctly.

University of Florida eliminates DE&I positions due to new state rule

The University of Florida in the U.S. has eliminated all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) positions following a new state rule that prohibits the use of state funds for DE&I programs.

The university cut all DE&I roles and closed the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, with the $5 million previously allocated for DE&I initiatives will now be directed to a faculty recruitment fund.

The regulation defines DEI as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

Speaking in response, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman, Steven Horsford, stated that “intolerance is toxic” and added that the move “is far out of step with the standards and values expected of a public institution of higher education.”

Asia becoming a pivotal player in the search for solutions to the climate crisis

The future trajectory of ESG may depend on choices made in Asia, Jonathan Rogers writes in Global Finance magazine this week.

Although the region’s per capita emissions are below those of the U.S. and EU, the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) is a massive carbon producer. It is also a key player in the search for solutions to the climate crisis, and has the resources and wealth needed to finance change.

Cultural expectations in many Asian countries also lean toward approaches to sustainability that seek long-term stability through meeting the needs of employers, employees, customers, communities and nature.

“We’re keenly aware of the growing importance that regulators, customers and stakeholders - including banks - place on ESG, climate change, and carbon emissions, in both managing risks and identifying opportunities,” - Gopul Shah, director of corporate treasury and structured trade finance at Singapore-based Golden Agri-Resources.

“There’s now a clear expectation for companies like GAR to disclose, comply, or explain what we’re doing in critical areas such as sustainable sourcing practices, investments in traceability or mapping and mitigating our carbon emissions.”

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