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Sustainability News for Technology Partners, Business Management Consultants & CXOs: 21 March 2023

March 21, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Here is today’s sustainability, Net Zero and circular economy news, research and analysis. This daily update is designed for technology partners, management consultants, CIOs and chief sustainability officers (CSOs).

Send Us Your News Tips: Got news or chatter to share? Please email me.

Our updates for Tuesday, March 21, 2023 include…

A. Sustainability and Net-Zero News and Research

1. Research - Carbon Offset Project Concerns: A study covering almost 300 carbon offset projects found that the industry’s top registries have consistently allowed developers to claim far more climate-saving benefits than justified, Bloomberg reported. Researchers led by Barbara Haya from the University of Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy assessed the methods underpinning forestry projects responsible for 11% of all carbon offsets ever issued. They found shortcomings in each that resulted in bogus credits, Bloomberg said.

2. Green Supply Chain Pushback: Freight operators are rolling out a growing array of options for shippers looking to reduce pollution, from low-carbon aviation and marine fuels to electric trucks. However, some shipping executives say companies are proving reluctant to pay the higher prices for alternative fuels and zero-emissions vehicles that can easily double or triple transport costs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

3. Net Zero Banking: Singapore-based OCBC Bank has launched a financing solution that incentivizes corporates to set and work towards clear carbon emissions reduction targets aligned with internationally recognized, science-based net-zero decarbonization pathways for their sectors, The Asset reported.

4. Law Firm - ESG Practice: Ogletree Deakins, one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, has launched a nationwide Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Practice Group. The group is focused on the human capital issues inherent in ESG.

B. Sustainability and Net-Zero Government Policies

1. United States - ESG Investing: President Joe Biden rejected a Republican proposal to prevent pension fund managers from basing investment decisions on factors like climate change, in the first veto of his presidency, Reuters reported.

2. Texas - ESG Business Pushback: A Texas official added HSBC Holdings to an energy sanctions list, widening a crackdown on companies which in the state's view are too focused on energy transition, according to Reuters. The move could prohibit Texas' governmental entities from investing in one of Europe's biggest banks. Republican-led U.S. states have alleged companies are prioritizing environmental, social and governance policies (ESG) over their financial responsibilities to their shareholders, the report asserted.

3. United Kingdom - Carbon Capture Considerations: British power plant generator Drax will pause its planned multi-million pound investment in bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) in the UK until it gets more clarity over government support, Reuters reported.

4. South Korea - Scaling Back Goals: South Korea revised down its 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector, but the country maintained its national goal of cutting emissions by 40% of 2018 levels in what it called a reasonable adjustment, Reuters reported.

5. Africa: The Green Climate Fund, a $12 billion international climate finance facility, has agreed to make a $254 million African equity investment, backing infrastructure that can withstand the impact of a warming planet, Bloomberg reported.

6. France - Nuclear Fuels: France is planning a renewed push for recognition of nuclear-derived fuels in European Union renewable energy targets, setting up a potential clash between countries seeking to approve the goals in March 2023, Reuters reported.

C. Sustainability Funding, Financing, Mergers & Acquisitions

1. M&A - IT Consulting & Net Zero Strategies:  Accenture is acquiring industrial artificial intelligence (AI) company Flutura of Bangalore, India. Flutura will strengthen Accenture’s industrial AI services to increase the performance of plants, refineries, and supply chains while also enabling clients to accomplish their net zero goals faster, the buyer said.

2. M&A - Renewable Energy: KKR is selling its 50% stake in X-ELIO to Brookfield Renewable. Financial terms were not disclosed. Brookfield Renewable and KKR formed a 50-50 joint venture in X-ELIO in December 2019. X-ELIO specializes in the development, construction, financing and operation of renewable and sustainable energy projects with a global presence in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Japan and Australia. The company has 17 years of experience with more than 2.8 GW built. 

3. Funding: The Bezos Earth Fund, led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced $34.5 million in grants to improve greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and disclosure, and advance food systems transformation, the organization said.

4. Funding - Small Business Decarbonization: Coolset, formerly known as Greencast.io, has launched an automated decarbonization platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The platform enables SMEs to measure, analyze, reduce, and remove their carbon footprint in just a few weeks, the startup said. Coolset also raised €1.5 million in seed funding. The round is led by Global Cleantech Capital, and joined by first investor Shamrock Ventures, Horizon, The Sharing Group and various angels.

5. Funding - Electronics Marketplace: Reebelo, which runs an e-commerce marketplace for sustainable consumer electronics, has raised $50 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Cathay Innovation (Global) with participation from Moore Strategic Ventures (USA), Gandel Invest (Australia), and Antler (Global) and also marks Reebelo's official launch in the United States.

6. Funding - Sustainability Consulting: Sustainable Business Services, a consultancy in Newcastle, England, has received a £10,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund, Insider Media reported. Sustainable Business Services will use the money to expand its clients across the UK. Founder James Staniforth launched the company in 2020.

7. Startups - Accelerator Program: PepsiCo has launched the PepsiCo Greenhouse Program- APAC edition. The 2023 program seeks to collaborate and support entrepreneurs who are developing innovative solutions that promote the circular economy for packaging and climate reduction.

D. Sustainability Partnerships, Alliances and Associations

1. Partnership - ESG Consulting & Investing: Ittihad International Investment LLC (lll Group), a private investment holding company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has hired Renoir Consulting to develop an ESG framework and roadmap -- which will be implemented across III Group's entire value chain, the companies said.

E. Sustainability Conferences, Summits and Events Calendar

Here are five upcoming sustainability conferences and ESG events for business and technology partners:

  1. Sustainability Week 2023 (March 29-31, London, England)
  2. Responsible Business USA 2023 Sustainability Conference (April 4-5)
  3. Green Media Summit 2023 (April 13, New York)
  4. Sustainable Skies World Summit 2023 (April 17-18)
  5. EnerCom Dallas 2023 (April 18-19, Dallas, Texas)

F. Send Us Your News Tips

Got news tips, research or data to share? Please email me the details.

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