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Signals Amidst the Noise: July 16, 2021

We curate updates on government, finance and corporate net zero news weekly from the world’s media. Here is today’s update.


Another busy week of activity on the net-zero front, with a host of new announcements from governments and the private sector working to decarbonise our global economy. Here’s the latest, curated by the Global Optimism team, for your celebration and scrutiny:



  • The UK released the Presidency Programme for COP26 to drive forward climate ambition and action against key issues alongside two weeks of climate negotiations in Glasgow.

  • The European Commission adopted the EU Fit for 55 package of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, land use, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. 

  • The European Commission additionally published its Sustainable Finance Strategy, detailing actions to increase investment while transitioning to a sustainable economy, and unveiled a European Green Bond Standard to help companies and governments raise money for projects and programs in line with the EU climate goals.

  • China is set to launch nationwide carbon emissions trading for the electricity sector in July.

  • Australia’s federal court formally declared the nation’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, has a “duty to take reasonable care” that young people won’t be harmed or killed by CO2 emissions if she approves a coal mine expansion.

  • Alok Sharma welcomed Barbados’ NDC, which includes an unconditional commitment to a fossil fuel free electricity sector and transport by 2030, during his visit to the country.


Investors and finance:

  • BlackRock raised $250 million for its Climate Finance Partnership to invest in climate infrastructure in emerging markets in Asian, African and Latin American countries.

  • HSBC Asset Management launched its first Paris Agreement-aligned exchange-traded fund. 

  • Four banks – NatWest, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Australia Bank, and Itaú Unibanco – are set to launch a voluntary carbon offset platform in August.

  • The Net Zero Insurers Alliance launched, bringing together eight of the world’s leading insurers and reinsurers committed to transitioning their underwriting portfolios to net zero emissions by 2050. Founding members: AXA, Allianz, Aviva, Generali, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re, Zurich.

  • The Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance called for transformation of global carbon-pricing mechanisms to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory.

  • ShareAction released a joint statement– signed by 115 investors holding $4.2 trillion in assets – calling on 63 major banks to strengthen their biodiversity and climate strategies before the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 and COP26. 

  • UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told G20 nation finance ministers and central bank governors that middle-income countries and small island states urgently need debt relief, and that developing countries need reassurance that their climate change ambitions will be met with financial and technical support.


Corporations & business:

  • KFC UK & Ireland committed to net zero by 2040.

  • Stellantis – the world’s fourth largest automaker with brands including Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot and Vauxhall – announced it will invest $35 billion in vehicle electrification through 2025.

  • NatWest announced the launch of a free carbon footprint tracking feature for its mobile app to help customers reduce the climate impact of their spending.

  • Enel placed the world’s largest $4 billion sustainability-linked bond, linked to the delivery of Enel’s emissions reduction targets. The issue was three times oversubscribed, with orders of approximately $12 billion.

  • The Global Cement and Concrete Association and WEF launched the Concrete Action for Climate initiative, a platform to create a global market for carbon neutral concrete by 2050 as part of the Mission Possible partnership.

  • The Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance of companies will pilot a SAF certificate (SAFc) this year, created to enable air transport customers to invest in high-quality SAF. The SAFc Framework was developed by the WEF Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative.

  • The COP26 High Level Climate Champions and WBCSD launched a new initiative – the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign – with retailers H&M Group, IKEA, Kingfisher and Walmart. The retailers have pledged their support to accelerate a movement in the retail industry to drive climate action and encourage other retailers to set out their plans to achieve 1.5C aligned emissions reduction targets.


New tools, guidance and research:

  • The UN Convention on Biological Diversity released the first official draft of a new Global Biodiversity Framework to guide actions worldwide through 2030 to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people.

  • MSCI’s quarterly Net Zero Tracker shows the world’s publicly listed companies must dramatically accelerate climate action if the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C target is to be met.

  • The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets published a new roadmap with next steps for creating a high-integrity, scaled, voluntary market for carbon credit trading.

  • The Financial Stability Board published a roadmap for cultivating the convergence of climate-related disclosure frameworks and delivering comparable, consistent disclosures.

  • The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment, an association of global automakers and suppliers, published a new guidance document to help companies in the automotive value chain establish a framework for carbon reporting.


Thanks for reading this week’s net zero news digest, we hope you found it useful. Prior issues of ‘Signals Amidst the Noise’ are available here.

This week our podcast, Outrage + Optimism features Katie Eder of Future Coalition, on youth organising and a special guest co-host, climate litigation guru, Alice Garton. Don’t miss it! Available wherever you get your podcasts or at globaloptimism.com/podcasts.

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