Brexit deal agreed: What does Boris Johnson's withdrawal plan mean for green policy?

The UK Government and the European Union (EU) have finally come to an agreement on Brexit, which could see the UK leave Union laws through a set of ‘level playing field’ commitments on the environment and workers rights. Here edie rounds up what is known amidst the confusion.

The deal is now subject to a vote in Parliament on Saturday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed this morning that an agreement between the government and the EU on the UK’s departure from the bloc had been agreed. It means that the UK could leave the EU on the intended deadline of 31 October 2019.

However, the DUP have immediately vetoed the initial findings of the deal. Questions still remain as to whether Johnson

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CCC sets sixth carbon budget date, urges Treasury to ramp up net-zero plans

The Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) chairman Lord Deben has confirmed that the body will publish its recommendations for the UK’s sixth carbon budget in September 2020.

The UK has already met its first and second carbon budgets and is on track to meet the third – but off-course to meet the fourth ad fifth. Pictured: The SSE Ferrybridge coal power station

The budget will provide Ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions the UK can create between 2033 and 2037, if it is to keep to its 2050 net-zero goal.

It will be the first carbon budget to be created since the UK legislated for net-zero, with all other carbon budgets to date having been developed in

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Volvo Cars to become carbon-neutral by 2040

Volvo Cars has announced plans to become a carbon-neutral company by 2040, with short-term targets in place to slash emissions by 40% and generate 50% of its global sales from electric vehicles (EVs).

Between 2018 and 2025, Volvo Cars will reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint by 40%

Volvo has revealed that the new ambition will align with the Paris Agreement’s higher ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“We are transforming our company through concrete actions, not symbolic pledges,” Volvo Cars’ chief executive officer Håkan Samuelsson said. “So, at Volvo Cars, we will address what we control, which is both our operations and the tailpipe emissions of our cars. And we will address what we can influence, by calling

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FCA launches new measures to tackle 'greenwash' as green finance booms

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has unveiled a string of new measures designed to prevent issuers from ‘greenwashing’, covering challenges such as climate risk reporting and the accessibility of ‘green’ products such as mortgages.

The FCA said the statement ‘will provide a foundation for its future work on climate change and green finance’. Image: FCA

In a statement published on Wednesday (16 October), the body vowed to consult on new rules to improve climate-related disclosures, so that more issuers are reporting in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD’s) recommendations.

Launched in December 2015 by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, the TCFD recommendations notably call on companies to include impacts of different scenarios – including the 2C pathway

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Landsec hits science-based targets 11 years early

Commercial real estate firm Landsec has met its verified science-based target 11 years ahead of schedule, with the company’s latest quarterly energy data revealing that carbon intensity has fallen by 40%.

Landsec needs to ensure that the reduction levels remain the same for the end of Q4

The UK’s largest listed commercial real estate company announced the approval of its science-based target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 in March 2017. The London-based firm also committed to reducing both its energy intensity and emissions by 40% per square metre by 2030. These targets have been approved and verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The company’s sustainability manager Brendan Rouse posted on LinkedIn on Wednesday (16 October) to reveal that

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Odeon & Cineworld owner invests in onsite solar for UK cinemas

Empire Cinemas, the parent firm of Odeon and Cineworld, has signed a deal to install onsite solar arrays at up to 14 of its UK sites.

Empire Birmingham Great Park cinema (pictured) will play host to the first of the arrays. Image: Elliott Brown/ CCNBY-SA 2.0

The firm this week signed an agreement with US-based firm Solar Alliance Energy, which will see it install a 200kW rooftop solar array on its Empire Birmingham Great Park cinema.

Under the agreement, Solar Alliance and Empire Cinemas will also work together to develop onsite solar projects for up to a further 13 cinemas. The collaborative process will be used to assess feasibility, complete site design and carry out financial modelling.

Solar Alliance believes that each of

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'Broad support' for EU-wide plastic tax

A European tax on plastic waste is gaining momentum as a way to bring new sources of revenue to the EU budget as leaders prepare for a two-day summit in Brussels beginning today (17 October).

The proposed tax would apply to all kinds of plastics produced by corporates in all sectors

While an agreement to significantly increase the EU budget seems “unlikely,” the European Commission’s proposal for a plastic tax has gained “broad support” among EU member states.

That’s according to Finland, which has prepared a two-page memo on the state of play of negotiations on the bloc’s next long-term budget for 2021-2027 ahead of the EU summit on 17-18 October. Finland currently holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.

Much of the summit is

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson to chair Government climate change sub-committee

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been revealed as the chair for a new Cabinet committee on climate change that will drive progress towards net-zero across all areas of Government.

Image: Wikipedia/Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Johnson will steer the new internal committee, which has been established as part of the Government’s response to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) annual progress report, according to the BBC.

The aims of the sub-committee are to establish governance and enforcement mechanisms that accelerate cross-government efforts to deliver the legally binding net-zero target that is set for 2050.

The timing of Johnson’s appointment follows his criticism of the Extinction Rebellion protests last week, where he branded climate change protestors “uncooperative crusties”.

CCC recommendations 

The CCC’s report, issued

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Hold the front page: The Guardian targets net-zero by 2030

Guardian Media Group – the publishing house behind titles including The Guardian and The Observer – has pledged to become a net-zero business by 2030.

The publisher has not yet outlined how it will get to net-zero. Image: GMG

In a statement today (16 October), Guardian Media Group said it is currently developing a detailed plan for meeting net-zero in a “meaningful” and “permanent” manner.

Its first step will be to conduct a full audit of its emissions, which will be used to identify carbon “hotspots” and to determine how “net-zero” should be defined for the company.

Guardian Media Group claims it is the first UK-based media firm of its size to set such an early net-zero deadline.

The new emissions target

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Infinite Play: Adidas launches buy-back platform to combat fashion waste

Sportswear giant Adidas has launched a new circular economy service, whereby consumers can trade-in used or unwanted sportswear for rewards.

Adidas of any condition will be accepted – but they have to have been purchased in the UK within the past five years. Image: LWARB

Called ‘Infinite Play’, the service lets UK-based consumers return any Adidas branded products purchased within the past five years to the brand in exchange for a gift card and loyalty club points.

In order to make a return, Infinite Play users should upload details regarding their items to the Adidas website or app. They will then be given the option to have the clothes, shoes and accessories collected from their home; to use Freepost to send them from

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Pret-A-Manger: We can't greenwash our way out of the war on plastics

EXCLUSIVE: As consumers continue to push hard for food-to-go brands like Pret-A-Manger to ditch plastic packaging altogether, the firm’s global director of strategy & sustainability has urged the sector to avoid “over-simplified” announcements or token phase-outs.

Gutowski will appear at day one (4 February) of edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum 2020, to deliver a workshop on developing circular economy business models which engage all stakeholders

Over the past two years, consumer awareness of ocean plastics pollution and systemic issues with the global plastics recycling sector have grown to reach a fever-pitch, with eight in ten UK adults now ranking packaging above cost in terms of what they prioritise when choosing food and drinks and policy cracking down on food service items such as plastic

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edie's next webinar: Redefining business engagement to help reach net-zero

edie’s next webinar will outline how businesses can engage staff, consumers, stakeholders and suppliers to inspire a global movement towards net-zero emissions, with the UK Green Building Council’s chief executive already confirmed as a speaker.

The webinar will be available on-demand afterwards for those who’ve registered

Taking place on Tuesday 5 November at 3pm, this webinar will explore how sustainability professionals can engage internally and externally to create a collective movement to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050, at the latest.

Note: the webinar is part of edie’s Net-Zero November, a dedicated month of content and action to drive progress towards net-zero. More information will be released shortly.

Following 12 months of heightened climate awareness driven by the climate strikes that have occupied

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Igniting a decade of business transformation: Sustainability Leaders Forum 2020 line-up revealed

Experts, disruptors and innovators from companies including Unilever, LEGO and Firmenich have been confirmed for the star-studded line up of edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum – the UK’s only dedicated sustainability event that combines strategic insight with practical outputs for business.

Registration is now open for the forum, which takes place 4 -5 February 

In 2017, experts identified six key milestones – across energy, transport, land use, industry, infrastructure, and finance – that mankind must hit by 2020 in order to get a grip on global warming once and for all. They called this the ‘climate turning point’.

Taking place 4-5 February 2020, at the Business Design Centre, London edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Forum is all about chasing the positive and reaching the

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Google unveils $150m investment to power manufacturing with renewables

Google has committed to invest $150m (£118m) in helping its key manufacturers to source renewable power, and to help the regions in which they operate decarbonise their electricity grids.

The move from Google builds on its initial sustainability commitments on hardware, which were made earlier this year. Image: Alphabet

The funding will be used to support the creation of new renewable energy generation capacity – either in the form of new wind or solar plants or in extensions to existing arrays – in regions which Google believes are “key” to its manufacturing operations.

Google produces most of its hardware product portfolio in the US.

The tech giant predicts that its initial investment will catalyse around $1.5bn of investment in renewables globally. This level

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Optimistic but lacking action: Green groups offer mixed reaction to Environment Bill

The Environment Bill has been published today and the reaction is already in from the UK’s green business community on the legislation and its impact on corporate sustainability. 

The bill builds on the 25 Year Plan for the Environment. Pictured: Derwentwater in the Lake District

The UK Government has finally launched its Environment Bill today (15 October), a new governance system on issues covering clean air, waste management and plastics pollution, natural capital approaches and water stewardship. 

The Environment Bill sets out how the UK’s green standards and environmental protection laws will look after Brexit, and how these will take shape in future trade deals. It caters to the Government’s overarching ambition to “to leave our environment in a better state than we

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Government unveils new net-zero support for buildings and 'every single mode of transport'

The UK Government has published its highly-anticipated response to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) advice on meeting net-zero carbon by 2050, including new measures to decarbonise business buildings and transport, and to support the uptake of energy storage at scale.

As three of the UK’s most-emitting sectors, new measures for transport, the built environment and power were mentioned repeatedly in the response paper. 

Published this afternoon (15 October) to mark four months since the UK’s net-zero target was enshrined in law, the response paper states that the Government is aligned with the majority of the CCC’s recommendations.

It claims that the UK Government has allocated £2bn to decarbonisation projects since the amendment to the 2008 Climate Change Act was ratified, with

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Deposit return schemes and biodiversity net-gain: Raft of new policies unveiled in Environment Bill

The UK Government has launched its new governance system on issues covering clean air, waste management and plastics pollution, natural capital approaches and water stewardship, after the long-awaited Environment Bill was launched.

The Government has unveiled how it plans to leave the environment in a better state 

The Environment Bill sets out how the UK’s green standards and environmental protection laws will look after Brexit, and how these will take shape in future trade deals. It caters to the Government’s overall ambition to “to leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

A series of announcements were made within the Bill, including:

Local powers to tackle air pollution: Legally binding targets to reduce fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and by

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Survey: Brexit uncertainty halting sustainability investment

Almost a third of businesses claim to have delayed green innovation projects in the last 12 months due to the political uncertainty over Brexit, research from Schneider Electric has revealed.

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal. 

The research, published in the company’s ‘Rethink Energy’ report today (15 October), found 31% said they delayed projects while 13% had cut budgets for key projects, including those aimed at tackling sustainability.

In total 400 large businesses were surveyed, along with 120 SMEs and 2,000 UK consumers.

While sustainability remains “firmly” on the boardroom agenda, the number of businesses choosing to delay projects has increased by one-quarter in the last two years, Schneider Electric claims.

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Report: 'Sustainable' seafood in UK supermarkets 'wiping out wild fish stocks'

Farmed seafood sold in British supermarkets is regularly being fed with feed produced using methods which are “stripping the oceans bare and damaging marine ecosystems”, a new investigative report has claimed.

Pictured: Fish caught in The Gambia, where much FMFO originates. Image: Peter van der Sluijs / CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0 

Produced by Dutch think-tank the Changing Markets Foundation and published today (15 October), the ‘Fishing for Catastrophe’ report maps the world’s largest fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) supply chains on a “fishery-to-fork” basis.

Fishmeal is a commercial product made from fish and shellfish which are deemed unfit for human consumption. The majority of industrial fish feeds currently comprise of between 5% and 30% fishmeal – down from 50% in the 1980s – with the product traditionally

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WATCH: Al Gore on disruptive politics, Green New Deals and climate strikes

15 October 2019, source edie newsroom

During a 30-minute keynote speech at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, former vice president Al Gore gave a rousing speech on the climate crisis and global efforts to transition to a net-zero economy. Here, edie rounds up the key points of his speech for you to watch.

Click on each video to watch key snippets of Al Gore’s key note speech

Al Gore on climate facts…

With news emerging last week that big corporations such as Google and those in the automotive industry had allegedly been supporting climate-denying think tanks, Al Gore used the speech to remind us all of the stark challenges we face.

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Al Gore on

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