Our Voice Q1-2021 | Top Sustainability News

April 7, 2021 | Nicole Anderson

The Redsand Ventures team has collated some of the biggest sustainability news and innovation stories from the first few months of 2021…

As we all know only too well, the last year has been a time of great turmoil as we strive to adapt to the new normal forced on us by the Covid-19 pandemic

Despite the ongoing lockdown restrictions and the changes we’ve made to how we live and work, innovation continues to evolve. The forced adaptation has been a great catalyst for how people think about the future.

And so too are the exciting developments within the worlds of sustainability and and fintech. Here, we have hand crafted our top favourite newsworthy items for the first quarter of 2021.

10. London retains reputation as hub for tech innovation

Despite Covid-19, London has cemented its role as Europe’s leading tech hub after a near-record year of investment as overseas investors target the capital’s best firms.

Global tech investors have gone in on the capital with a total $10.5bn (£7.7bn) investment recorded in 2020. This figure represents a quarter of Europe’s whole venture capital investment for the year. 

More could be done and needs to be as this reference to the fintech review by the Kalifa FinTech Review reveals.

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9. Luxury brands embraces sustainability 

French luxury fashion label Chanel has raised a €600m bond with terms linked to its sustainability goals

Managed by BNP Paribas, the bond is a new type of debt known as a sustainability-linked bond. This is a way in which businesses can finance themselves by tying any repayments to meeting green targets. In these scenarios, any funds raised need to be invested back into a specific green project. If Chanel fails in its green endeavours and does not successfully cut emissions, then the company will have to pay a premium when the bonds mature.

Elsewhere, car giants such as Jaguar Land Rover and Porsche have also unveiled green commitments, demonstrating how this sustainable trend is spreading…

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8. Fintech firms form net zero taskforce

Led by green energy supplier Bulb and supported by Tech Nation, the taskforce has set itself the aim of accelerating the UK government’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

A number of UK fintech companies such Starling, Revolut, GoCardless, Moneysupermarket Group and Onfido have joined the taskforce to support the UK to become the top destination for green investments by educating consumers on sustainable choices.

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7. The US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement 

The appointment of John Kerry as Joe Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate ensures the US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement and has sent an incredibly strong signal that America is on course to join the EU’s lead in the global green transition.

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6. Climate-related disclosures for corporates 

The UK government has launched a consultation on introducing mandatory climate-related financial disclosures for publicly quoted companies, large private companies and LLPs, set to come into effect from April 2022.

These proposals build on the expectation set out in the government’s 2019 Green Finance Strategy.

This objective aimed to require that all listed companies and large asset owners should disclose in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations by 2022.

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5. More net zero commitments from big industry players

Many big businesses are unveiling green commitments as sustainability becomes an increasingly mainstream concern. 

Nearly a third of the UK’s largest businesses have pledged to eliminate their contribution to carbon emissions by 2050. Together these firms, including BT Group, Sainsbury’s, and Unilever, represent a total market capital of £650 billion. 

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4. Majority of world’s population want climate action 

The largest ever survey on populations’ concern on climate change revealed some fascinating data. The Peoples’ Climate Vote quizzed 1.22m people in 50 countries with positive results around sustainable action. The most popular climate policies were conserving forests and land (54% public support), more solar, wind and renewable power (53%), adopting climate-friendly farming techniques (52%) and investing more in green businesses and jobs (50%). 

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3. World’s first wildlife bond to track rhino population launched

A new bond designed to raise funds to grow the population of endangered black rhinos in South Africa will be sold by the World Bank.

The five-year, 670 million rand ($45m) security will be the world’s first wildlife conservation bond. The initiative could be expanded to take in other endangered species such as lions, gorillas and tigers. 

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2. Biodiversity an increasing priority for investors

Global biodiversity finance makes up just 0.1% of global GDP but investors are increasingly starting to wake up to the challenge of addressing biodiversity. 

As many as 55% of respondents who took part in the Credit Suisse and Responsible Investor survey believe the issue needs to be a key priority during the next 24 months.

According to the report, in a business-as-usual scenario without any action, between 2011 and 2050, the biodiversity loss could be as much as $10tn. 

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1. Dasgupta Review 

Earlier in the year, the Dasgupta Review was published exploring the economics of nature. 

The report calls for GDP to be ditched as a measure of wealth and nature valued to protect wildlife and humans. The 600 page document is a huge, groundbreaking undertaking and brilliantly shows how, without action, we risk endangering our home and the future of humanity for good. 

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ESG and sustainability are topics of unprecedented interest as 2021 progresses. And this is coming from all market players: from governments and investors to corporate players and more, everyone is starting to think sustainably. It was tough to pick the stories for our first selection but we’ve aimed to curate those that talked best to the innovation and private market investment community.

We’ll be offering another round up of the top stories for quarter two. But in the meantime, please connect with the Redsand Ventures Your Voice Group for regular updates and stories from the innovation community.

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