ESG Essentials: in the news this week

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Climate graph of the week

This week, a new record was set for the highest daily level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The scientific consensus is that the planet remains healthy for humanity at up to 350 parts per million CO₂ (ppm) – this week we recorded 421.37 ppm.

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The new ESG realpolitik and the fossil fuel bonanza

ESG investors have to toe a tricky line when it comes to considering green investing strategies. Realpolitik is both practical and necessary: economies cannot pretend they are able to transition away from fossil fuels tomorrow (as difficulties over moving away from Russia’s gas supply have shown, for example).

It is therefore refreshing to see asset managers putting pressure on fossil fuel companies to decarbonise parts of their operations, rather than neglecting or divesting from them entirely. Being frank about that is as important for the reputation of ESG as it is for the future of the planet.

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Animal agriculture faces ‘Apollo 13’ climate moment, but solutions aren’t rocket science 

The FAIRR Initiative recently released an issue briefing analysing the findings of the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, warning of an ‘Apollo 13’ moment, whereby the animal agriculture industry must evolve or die. In an opinion piece for Reuters, FAIRR’s Executive Director, Maria Lettini, reflects on the findings and discusses the financial and physical risks posed by climate change and what they mean for the animal agriculture sector. 

FAIRR calls for investors, protein producers, policy-makers and consumers to work together to rapidly transform how our food is produced and consumed, to create a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future. 

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The climate is right for environmental disclosure 

Environmental disclosure through organisations such as CDP is the bedrock of corporate action, and two years into the Decade of Action, it is a must-have for corporates and investors to transition to a low-carbon economy and bring about systemic change. There are two reasons for this: disclosure data inform improved decision making and climate target-setting whilst enabling accountability. There are also tangible business benefits from disclosure, namely cost savings, uncovering business risks and opportunities, and reputational benefits. Moreover, it is essential to help us avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. As the latest IPCC report warns, it’s “now or never”.

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