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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How Zest Labs is tracking produce to reduce waste

Back in 2015, the United Nations called on the world to cut its food waste in half by 2030. Four years later, during this year’s Climate Week, a significant number of organizations are still pledging to reduce their food waste.

Each year, the United States wastes between 125 and 160 billion pounds — up to 40 percent — of its food, according to nonprofit NRDC’s 2017 report (PDF). ReFED, leading food waste think tank, estimates that improving inventory management could divert 59,000 tons of food waste per year in the

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Are paper bottles a solution to reduce plastic waste?

Carlsberg has unveiled its latest designs for what it is hailing as the world’s first “paper” beer bottles, as the brewing giant continues its bid to drive down the amount of plastic used in its packaging.

The two research prototypes for its Green Fiber Bottle are made from sustainably sourced wood fiber and have an inner barrier to allow them to contain beer, the firm announced Oct. 11.

One prototype uses a thin recycled PET plastic polymer film, and the other a 100 percent bio-based PEF plastic polymer film, both

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Setting climate targets and creating tools to achieve them

To limit climate change to manageable levels, the federal government — all of it — needs to be in the deep decarbonization business. Proposals such as the Green New Deal reflect a growing recognition of this imperative, but don’t lay out specific mechanisms for getting the job done.

For years, though, red and blue states across the country have been building the policy architecture we need for ambitious national climate action. A fundamental component of this mobilization will be setting targets for greenhouse gas emissions and creating tools to achieve

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Microgrids could help California improve grid resilience in face of wildfire threat

More than 1 million Californians were without electricity during the largest public safety power shutoffs in state history. The shutoffs were implemented during the second week of October by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) over its vast service territory, one of the largest in the United States. Already facing bankruptcy as a result of claims from major wildfires that occurred over the past two years, the utility was being proactive in moving forward with an aggressive approach to public safety.

Weather forecasts showed good probability of major wind storms.

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Switching Electricity Providers & Slash Your Climate Footprint

We have talked a bit about Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist. She is getting a lot of publicity for her discussions about global warming and her attempt to force policy makers to make better environmental laws. She has even been nominated for a Swedish Nobel for her work to fight climate change.

While her voice is making a positive difference, there are a lot of issues that go unaddressed. Most people appreciate the need to fight climate change. However, we need to actually make real progress and take real action.

One of the simplest things that you could do is switch your electric provider. You might be surprised to hear that this can lower your carbon footprint a

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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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Energy Efficient Ice Rinks Do Their Part In The Climate Change Battle

Energy efficient solutions are essential to slowing the progression of climate change. Most of our efforts have focused on the industries that have received a reputation for leaving a large carbon footprint. However, some industries play a significant role in the global warming crisis, even if they don’t get a lot of publicity. The professional hockey profession is a prime example of a company that has contributed to global warming.

A lot of discussion has centered around the impact of climate change on hockey. Last year, Complex and USA Today both wrote articles on how global warming threatens the future of this beloved sport.

However, fewer people have discussed the impact that hockey and other businesses using ice rinks have

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Climate Change Is Doing Crazy Things To The Seasons

Climate change is a crazy and scary phenomenon that has gotten a lot of attention around the world. Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, has drawn a lot of attention to the issue in recent weeks.

Of course, Greta is not alone. The proportion of Americans that say global warming is a serious threat has risen from 40% in 2013 to 57% in September of this year. The rise has mostly been among democrats, but even republicans are starting to come around, especially among millennial conservatives.

While global warming has started to get more attention, we have not spent as much time talking about how it has affected us so far. There are some things that we all

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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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