Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance

January 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance Joel Makower Thu, 01/21/2021 – 01:30 Adapted from the premiere issue of GreenFin Weekly, a free e-newsletter focusing on trends in ESG and sustainable finance. Subscribe using this sign-up page . What a moment to launch a newsletter on ESG and sustainable finance. The topic has become front and center in sustainability and finance circles and, suddenly, in Washington, D.C. A vast ecosystem is in play. Investors have awakened to the notion that how companies manage environmental and social issues is nearly as key to their risk profile and profitability as are financial fundamentals. Banks and insurers are factoring climate risk and social issues into their products and portfolios, accelerating a shift that’s been gearing up for years. Companies are warming to a world of deeper transparency and disclosure demands by investors, lenders, customers and others, and are trying to keep up with the dynamic world of standards and frameworks with which they’re being asked to comply. Oh, and it’s the dawn of a new U.S. presidential administration that sees virtue in assertive action on a range of social and environmental issues. We’re entering a new era, one in which companies are less able to hide behind their pronouncements and good intentions. We’re entering a new era, one in which companies are less able to hide behind their pronouncements and good intentions. Accountability is the new watchword. Action, not announcements, is the currency. The arrival of Team Biden itself promises to be a game changer. By the time you read this, we already may have learned about some of the incoming president’s first moves in this arena. Suffice to say that the new administration’s ambitions are significant — and the expectations could not be higher. After years of spinning wheels and grinding gears, there’s renewed hope for moving forward. All of this is bringing new players to the table — those inside organizations whose remit up to now hadn’t included such things as climate risk and human rights. Those in finance, investor relations, government affairs and risk management are grappling with new kinds of disclosure, increased investor scrutiny, new regulatory regimes and stepped-up activist pressures (not to mention media enquiries) around a host of nonfinancial issues. Investors, for their part, are similarly finding themselves swimming in uncharted waters. Even job seekers are starting to scrutinize the ESG data of prospective employers. We’ve been covering many of these topics for years on GreenBiz.com. Now, we’re stepping things up, elevating ESG and sustainable finance across our portfolio, starting with this newsletter and the GreenFin 21 conference in April as well as through webcasts, podcasts and many other things we do. Each week, a member of GreenBiz’s stable of journalists will take the helm of GreenBiz Weekly on a rotating basis, offering a fresh perspective on ESG and sustainable finance, and point to key stories from across the Web. We won’t cover everything — just the important things. Here are just a few storylines we’ll be following in this newsletter: The convergence of standards: This is No. 1 with a bullet. The mélange — some would call it a morass — of ESG standards and frameworks has been a problem for years. Now, various efforts to align these disparate approaches aim to create harmony from this chaos. But even these harmonization efforts are competing with one another. Which one(s) will win out? It’s an open field. The secret life of ESG data: How it’s compiled and deployed isn’t always clear. As such data is used for everything from assessing creditworthiness to determining where the next generation of talent wants to work, understanding the data itself — how it is compiled and used — will be critical. It’s time to bring ESG out of the black box. The growth of sustainability-linked finance: Another year, another record in the issuance of green bonds, climate bonds, sustainability bonds and others, as well as sustainability-linked loans. But issuing such bonds can be fraught with complexity. How are companies managing? We’ll take you behind the scenes. Investor expectations on DEI: As diversity, equity and inclusion issues have grown inside companies, investors are struggling to understand how to assess company actions. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and other social movements are seen as both risks and opportunities for companies, and large institutional shareholders are starting to weigh in. Nature on the balance sheet: Biodiversity is an emerging area of investor interest and concern and is being integrated into ESG disclosures. What should companies be doing to prepare? The role of boards: Getting boards of directors on board with ESG issues is no small thing, and many boards aren’t prepared to provide adequate guidance and oversight. What are the competencies boards need to have? What are some key policies boards are adopting? That’s just a taste. As I said, it’s a fast-growing, ever-changing field. There’s no shortage of topics — and we’re just getting started. We look forward to joining you on this journey each week as we uncover and analyze new topics, interesting people, insightful reports, emerging trends and other useful resources to help you and your team move forward. To subscribe to GreenFin Weekly, published Wednesdays, click here . Pull Quote We’re entering a new era, one in which companies are less able to hide behind their pronouncements and good intentions. Topics Finance & Investing ESG GreenFin Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance

The E-Fan X jet heralds an electric passenger plane revolution

December 28, 2017 by  
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The E-Fan X is a hybrid-electric jet plane that may herald a new era of electric power in transportation . Designed by a consortium that includes Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens, the E-Fan X will offer partially electric powered flights that are cheaper, quieter, and more sustainable. “Aviation has been the last frontier in the electrification of transport, and slow to catch up,” said Rolls-Royce chief technology officer Paul Stein, according to the Guardian.  “This will be a new era of aviation.” This breakthrough in energy-transportation technology, which may encourage the growth of short-distance, small-to-medium passenger capacity aircraft, could change how airports are structured and incorporated into urban design . While the E-Fan X will be a major step forward for electric planes , it will fly on a hybrid engine because purely electric passenger flight is beyond current technological limits. “Aviation has always eluded electrification largely because of the size and weight of components involved,” said Stein, according to the Guardian . “But technology has moved on apace. Electrification is now poised to make a significant impact.” In light of these advances in the field, there is likely to be growth in three kinds of electric planes. Related: Boeing to reveal mysterious space plane of the future The first group includes air taxis, such as Uber Elevate , which are capable of transporting small numbers of people over relatively short distances. These would most likely be used to avoid urban congestion on the ground if one needs to cross a city . The second group includes regional jets, such as the E-Fan X. “Our target end game is a fixed wing, regional hybrid design,” said Stein. The third group includes long-distance commercial jets, which are much less developed under current technology. However, battery technology has made great leaps and bounds in recent years, so perhaps it may not be as faraway as we think. Via the Guardian Images via Airbus

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The E-Fan X jet heralds an electric passenger plane revolution

New 1 km solar road opens in Jinan, China

December 28, 2017 by  
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China is getting in on the solar road -building action. A one-kilometer stretch of solar highway developed by Qilu Transportation Development Group just opened for testing near Jinan, the capital city of China’s Shandong Province. According to Quartz the expressway has three layers: the solar panels rest in the middle, with insulation below and transparent concrete on top. Solar panels sprawl across 5,875 square meters, or around 63,238 square feet, covering two lanes and one emergency lane in China’s new solar road now open for traffic. These panels can generate one million kilowatt-hours of clean power every year – that’s enough to meet the daily needs of roughly 800 households, according to Xinhua . Project designer Zhang Hongchao, in an interview with CCTV cited by Quartz, said the road can handle 10 times more pressure than normal asphalt roads. Related: France officially opens world’s first solar panel road Qilu Transportation Development Group chairman Xu Chunfu told Xinhua, “The project will save the space for building solar farms and shorten the transmission distance.” The electricity generated by the solar road could go towards powering street lights, a snow-melting system, surveillance cameras, signboards, and toll gate facilities, with excess energy sent to the state grid. The plan is for the clean power to one day also charge electric vehicles . Xu did not disclose the project’s cost to Xinhua, but did claim it was half of similar projects in other countries, saying, “With the development of solar power in China, the cost can be further reduced.” Zhang said the road cost about 3,000 yuan, or $458, per square meter, and as that is more than regular streets, it may take some time for the project to expand. The Qilu Transportation Development Group described the road as the “world’s first freeway photovoltaic pavement experiment section.” There are other solar roadways throughout the world – around a year ago France opened a one kilometer-long solar panel road in Tourouvre-au-Perche. Via Xinhua , Quartz , and Qilu Transportation Development Group Images via Qilu Transportation Development Group

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New 1 km solar road opens in Jinan, China

Looking beyond reputational risks for the clean energy transition

July 12, 2017 by  
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Kate Gordon, senior advisor of the nonpartisan think tank, the Paulson Institute, wants you to look at the granular level to understand the business risks and opportunities when designing for the clean energy transition. “When it comes to climate change, we are in a new era,” she said. “An era where companies are taking action in their own self-interest.” 

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Looking beyond reputational risks for the clean energy transition

Let your product do the talking: the rise of smart labels

July 29, 2016 by  
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Technologies from Avery Dennison, IBM and a Kodak-backed startup could usher in a new era of supply-chain transparency.

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Let your product do the talking: the rise of smart labels

Lyft, GM, Google ask Congress for hands-off rules on self-driving cars

March 16, 2016 by  
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An autmaker, a tech giant and a ridesharing titan headed to Capitol Hill as lawmakers grapple with safety, cybersecurity and privacy in a new era of transportation.

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Lyft, GM, Google ask Congress for hands-off rules on self-driving cars

Report Report: A business guide to the energy revolution

March 16, 2016 by  
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In case you are behind in reading the latest sustainability reports, this Report Report provides a snapshot of recent reports on the energy industry.

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Report Report: A business guide to the energy revolution

Why the next generation demands sustainable, innovative business

October 24, 2013 by  
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SAP's co-CEO says we need to innovate with young dreamers to usher in a new era.

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Why the next generation demands sustainable, innovative business

Will Apple’s iPhone 5 launch a new era for e-waste recycling?

September 25, 2012 by  
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Tech toy's arrival anticipated to launch windfall of valuable materials available for booming industry to collect.

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Will Apple’s iPhone 5 launch a new era for e-waste recycling?

How NREL is improving GHG calculations for power plants

September 25, 2012 by  
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A new analysis shows more precise estimates of emissions for renewable and conventional electricity generation technologies.

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How NREL is improving GHG calculations for power plants

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