Edition for 01 June 2020

Top Stories

Coalition wants Nicola Sturgeon to produce virus recovery plan (The National)

  • A coalition of 80 organisations including charities, unions and churches has written to the First Minister calling for a radical economic recovery programme that prioritises people and planet over profit.
  • It comes weeks after concerns were raised by the environmental sector about the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery’s lack of green credentials.
  • The letter asks for new funds to be put into helping Scotland meet its emission cutting targets and address the biodiversity crisis.
  • Several organisations warned against a repeat of 2008, when banks were bailed out with public money following the financial crisis, which only led to greater levels of inequality and higher climate emissions.

How your savings could be invested in firms making deadly weapons banned under international treaty (The Independent)

  • Data collected by ShareAction shows that US money managers BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard – companies that invest largely for ordinary savers – hold at least $68m (£56m) in four companies that are among the largest cluster bomb makers in the world.  
  • Share Action wants big fund managers to use their immense power to bring about positive changes in company behaviour. They can pressure companies by voting down executive pay, or in favour of tougher climate change commitments. 
  • Big improvements have been made in recent years and an increasing amount of money is flowing into funds with stricter environmental, social and governance (ESG) rules, which are prevented from investing in certain assets.

Deep tech and the Māori economy can be the backbone of NZ’s recovery (The Spinoff)

  • Deep tech provides a chance for that recovery to be sustainable and values-led – an approach already bringing success to the Māori economy.
  • As for value, ask the investors – US deep tech companies typically attract three times the private investment obtained by others.
  • Last year, the Reserve Bank launched a $100m green investment fund, while investors such as Sir Stephen Tindall are backing sustainability, and local start-ups including Avertana, Aquafortus and Mint are leading the way.

Two Scottish councils lending £15m for English council to gamble with (The Ferret)

  • Two Scottish councils have loaned millions of pounds to an English council which borrows far more than any other council in the UK and gambles most of it on speculative solar power investments.
  • Thurrock Council rejected a TBIJ freedom of information request asking for the councils’ names.
  • Clark said he and his team had made this decision because releasing the information would be “detrimental” to the council’s “ongoing borrowing requirement to fund capital investments in Green Energy Bonds … that the council maintains via borrowing … from other local authorities on a rolling basis."

German industry demands subsidies for fossil fuel cars (Deutsche Welle)

  • Germany's top industry body on Sunday called for sales subsidies on electric cars to be extended to fossil-fuel-powered vehicles.
  • About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public.
  • The German Council of Economic Experts, among others, has spoken out against the new subsidies.

Investigations, prosecutions for polluting in Canada down sharply since 2015 (660 News)

  • According to figures provided last month in response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons, the department investigated 43 companies for violations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 2015-16.
  • In each of the last two fiscal years, however, the department investigated 12 companies. One was prosecuted and convicted.
  • Companies that have been convicted end up on a national registry of environmental offenders.
  • Muhannad Malas, the toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, an advocacy organization, said the Liberal government tries to bill itself as having the “gold standard” of environmental protections but there is just not very much enforcement happening.

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