Edition for 18 June 2020

Top Stories

Deep Learning’s climate change problem (Forbes)

  • Unless we are willing to reassess and reform today’s AI research agenda, the field of artificial intelligence could become an antagonist in the fight against climate change in the years ahead. 
  • In a widely discussed 2019 study, a group of researchers led by Emma Strubell estimated that training a single deep learning model can generate up to 626,155 pounds of CO2 emissions—roughly equal to the total lifetime carbon footprint of five cars.
  • As a point of comparison, the average American generates 36,156 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year.

Will Revisiting SEC’s Names Rule Clear Up ESG Fund Name Confusion? (CFA Institute)

  • Much of the impetus behind revisiting the rule is the proliferation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) or sustainable investment products entering the market.
  • The SEC is concerned that the names of these products may mislead investors given the lack of a universal definition of what ESG or sustainable investing means, so the ESG and sustainable funds or exchange-traded funds in the market vary widely in their philosophy of what defines ESG or sustainable investing.
  • The SEC’s own Investor Advisory Committee recently recommended that the SEC should update its reporting requirements for issuers to include ESG factors, and the Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee approved on May 21 a recommendation drafted by the committee’s investor-as-owner subcommittee on the subject.

Lyft commits to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. Here’s why it matters (Forbes)

  • Today, Lyft responded to stakeholder demands for rebuilding a better future – and in particular for climate action – through a bold committment to reach 100% electric vehicles (EVs) on the Lyft platform by 2030.
  • Lyft’s efforts have the potential to have an outsized impact by helping accelerate electrification of passenger vehicles and by introducing more Americans to electric vehicles. 
  • Lyft estimates that meeting its target will result in up to $10 billion in savings for drivers, from reduced vehicle operating expenses.

Swappie raises USD40m in Series B funding round (Private Equity Wire)

  • Swappie, an end-to-end online marketplace for buying and selling refurbished smartphones, has raised a USD40.6 million (EUR35.8 million) Series B funding round. 
  • Headquartered in Helsinki, Swappie operates its own refurbishment factory in the Nordics and sells directly to consumers via its online store. 
  • With more phones than people in the world today, empowering individuals to make sustainable choices when buying a smartphone is more important than ever.

Welton Investment Partners Launches ESG Advantage; Designed for Challenging Markets Like COVID-19 and Beyond (Newswire.com)

  • Welton Investment Partners (Welton), the alternative investment manager specializing in innovative, non-correlated, actively managed strategies that incorporate quantitative expertise for maximum investor impact, today announced the launch of ESG Advantage. 
  • The strategy incorporates two of Welton’s proven quantitative models in new ways to both modulate market exposure and integrate uncorrelated multi-asset class strategies that can protect a portfolio in periods of economic contraction.
  • “With ESG Advantage, we started by asking the question: ‘Can responsible investing be more responsible to the investor?’"

SSE plans to invest billions in two Scottish wind farm sites (The National)

  • Energy giant SSE has pledged to pour £7 billion into helping the UK economy come back greener from the coronavirus crisis – with two Scottish site earmarked for investment.
  • Over the next five years, it aims to invest nearly £4 million a day on green projects, including a £580m onshore wind farm in the Shetland Islands, and a £3bn offshore site which promises to be the largest in Scotland.
  • The news came as SSE presented its first set of annual results since selling off its energy supply arm to Ovo late last year.

Logitech Pledges Carbon Impact Transparency (Business Wire)

  • Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI), maker of cloud peripheral products, today pledged to communicate the carbon impact of all its products on packaging and the company website.
  • It expects the first carbon impact labeling to appear on its gaming products later this year, followed by a rollout across the full portfolio.
  • Logitech will be the first consumer electronics company to provide detailed carbon impact labeling on product packaging across the entire portfolio.

Coller Capital sees big leap in investor satisfaction with PE transparency (Private Equity Wire)

  • There has been a big leap in investor satisfaction with the transparency of GPs’ disclosures and communications, according to Coller Capital’s latest Global Private Equity Barometer. 
  • In the years following the Global Financial Crisis, only two in five LPs were satisfied with their GPs’ transparency. Four in five Limited Partners are satisfied today. 
  • Only half of North American LPs can report an internal consensus on climate change, and this proportion falls to just two in five for Asia-Pacific LPs.

The deep sea could hold the key to a renewable future. Is it worth the costs? (Grist)

  • But as companies inch closer to actually mining the ocean’s depths, a growing chorus of scientists and environmental advocates are pushing back, warning that such activity could cause irreversible harm to ecosystems we’ve barely begun to understand.
  • A number of companies and countries are interested in harvesting these nodules and extracting the metals inside them, which play important roles in green energy technologies, particularly lithium-ion batteries.
  • While the report calls for a deep-sea mining moratorium on the grounds that the environmental impacts could be severe, opponents to deep-sea mining are also skeptical that the industry will be necessary to meet the mineral demands of the green energy transition, as proponents often claim.

The Climate Sentinel is an AI-powered news assistant for ESG investors and those concerned about climate change, corporate social responsibility, and related topics. Learn more.

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