Snippets for 24 September 2020


Welcome to another edition of Snippets.

This week we look at emissions reporting and the joining of forces to implement required change, on a governmental and business basis. The NZ government’s proposed TCFD opens this week’s newsletter. Who does it apply to and when?

Investors have a lot of influence and are making their opinions obvious. They are demanding the world’s biggest polluters have better emissions reduction strategies, and the cross-border difficulties of emission reductions by global businesses are discussed.

More unified corporate sustainability reporting is becoming a reality with a recent proposal to create the ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (GAAP) for sustainability reporting.

Consumers vote with their wallets, and it seems some are politically biased when deciding between sustainably produced or other products.

A new clock in New York is a daily reminder of how we are doing in the big picture of climate change mitigation.

New ideas are needed for protecting our oceans – is geoengineering the answer? And who decides what is an acceptable practice?

We finish by revisiting the Microsoft underwater data center two years on, and what is being done about the huge quantity of food we waste.


Last week, in a world’s first, Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the proposed mandatory climate-related financial disclosure system or TCFD (Taskforce for Climate related Financial Disclosures). If approved by Parliament, financial entities with over $1b of assets in-management, would be required to make disclosures by 2023, including all registered banks, credit unions, licensed insurers and large Crown Financial Institutions, such as ACC and the NZ Super Fund. All up, over 200 organisations will be required to disclose their exposure to climate risk.Read more.....






The same day as the NZ’s government announcement, the Climate Action 100+ Group representing 518 institutional investors with US$47tn of assets in-management, demanded that 161 of the world’s biggest polluters back strategies to reach net-zero emissions. The 161 companies targeted by this action are collectively responsible for 80% of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions and include the likes of Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, BP, Rio Tinto, etc. Interestingly, 59 of those 161 companies have already formally endorsed making the disclosures required under TCFD. Read more.....


A lot of the talk around emissions reductions is based around nations meeting their international obligations, but the real challenge is reducing the emissions from the multi-national corporations that operate across borders. As 71% of all GHG’s emitted since 1988 have come from just 100 companies, the need for ‘climate alignment’ is increasingly important. This means aligning industry players behind specific emissions pathways and creating consensus around emission reduction targets. Read more.....








There is an increasing need for unified sustainability reporting so that customers, investors and regulators can understand an organisation’s environmental impact. Luckily, five of the most prominent sustainability reporting frameworks have announced that they intend to collaborate to create the ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (GAAP) for sustainability reporting. Their aim is to unify vision, language and visuals for not only sustainability disclosure, but for the future of corporate reporting. Read more.....






Sustainable products - is there a market for these, and will producers be rewarded for their efforts? A US based survey asked that question, and the answers showed some pretty solid statistics that should inspire hope. However, it also shows that people take their politics shopping with them and those who do not believe in climate change will punish responsible producers. The good news is that they are the minority! Read more.....









One of the best known landmarks in the world is the clock in Times Square that counts down to the New Year. Now New York has another clock that is counting down the time that we have to get our carbon emissions under control if emissions continue at the current rate. It is not all bad news though as the clock is also accompanied by an app that helps people understand what they can do to reduce their emissions and will add back time for any gains made. Read more.....






Humanity has waited so long to tackle climate change that we are getting to the point where all options are on the table; and that means the great unknowns of geoengineering. There are many theories about how a particular geoengineering proposal might be able to save us, but there are also many potential downfalls and it is hard to know what outcomes may be. The discussion now turns to ethics and how to avoid unilateral actions with global implications. Read more.....







We featured an article a while ago about Microsoft testing an underwater data centre. The test period has now ended, the data centre has been removed from the ocean floor and researchers are now assessing how it performed. So far things are looking promising, with a lower server failure rate with no pesky humans interfering (just 8 out of 855 servers failed), and it seems the nitrogen filled atmosphere reduces corrosion and is cooler.Read more.....






We waste copious quantities of food every year - over 157,000 tonnes in NZ alone. Food not being stored correctly and people buying takeaways instead of home cooked meals equates to huge wastage. And we throw out 29 million loaves of bread each year! Better buying habits, and actually cooking what you have would help minimise waste. There are many groups that collect “about to be wasted” food e.g Auckland-based Citizen collects unsold loaves of bread then uses the fermentable starches in the bread in their beer brewing process. Read more.....






We have another selection of interesting innovation articles this week...

  1. [if !supportLists]Device to curb microplastic emissions wins James Dyson award

  2. [endif][if !supportLists][endif]Scientists Are Storing Energy Using Uneaten Fruit

  3. [if !supportLists][endif][if !supportLists]These Face Masks for Cows Have Nothing to Do With Coronavirus



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