This week, Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, opened the doors on its ‘all-electric’ hotel in Swindon, that for the first time in company history will have no connection to the gas mains. It will instead rely on new electric technology to heat its rooms and water supply, significantly increasing its efficiency and environmental performance.
Lessons learned from this construction project will be used to inform future strategy for Whitbread’s newbuilds, contributing to their overall strategy to remove gas connections across their estate by 2040 wherever possible.
The use of natural gas contributes significantly to the hospitality sector’s overall emissions profile, which makes up 1% of all global emissions. Companies such as Whitbread that use technology intelligently will be key in bringing these emissions down.
New research from Financial Exclusions Tracker has found that climate related concerns appear to be the most prominent reason companies are excluded from investment portfolios, showing that an understanding of climate related risk continues to be an important motivating factor for financial institutions.
However, despite these fears, data still appears to indicate that climate related risks are still deeply material to investors.
According to a new report in Semafor, international climate finance negotiations are increasingly being held up by a major factor, the restrictive amounts of debt held by developing nations.
Economists have estimated that the developing world will need to raise $1 trillion annually by 2030 for climate related projects, a staggering figure that most suggest will come in the form of investments or loans. However, these loans may be counterproductive in many areas of the world, which already suffer with the consequences of vast debt. Almost 3.3 billion people live in countries that spend more on debt interest than on social needs like education and healthcare.
Increasingly, for climate finance to be successful, it is becoming apparent that sovereign lenders and financial institutions will have to factor in a degree of debt alleviation or climate for debt swaps to ease these burdens.
The leaders of some of the largest mining operations worldwide have claimed that there is a lack of mines under development to meet future demand, a reality which would be a critical blow to the sustainable transition. Copper, among other vital minerals and metals, is crucial for manufacturing electronics and batteries – all prerequisites of low-carbon power and transportation.
Mines typically require many years to reach full operational capacity, meaning that construction will need to begin well in advance of anticipated demand. According to current estimates, copper demand will outstrip demand by over 12 million tonnes.
Investors have become increasingly vocal about the need to increase mining supply to meet transition goals. One organisation, the Global Investor Commission on Mining 2030 argues that to retain investor support, the industry needs to improve its social and environmental performance in order to attract the crucial investment needed for expansion.
These key changes, such as improving their record on tailings dams and community cohesion may therefore be the key to meeting rapidly increasing demand.