This week South Korea became the third large Asian economy to pledge carbon neutrality, marking a major milestone for the fight against climate change. All three countries, China, Japan and South Korea, are in the top 10 country emitters of carbon dioxide in the world due to a continued reliance on coal-powered energy, and together represent over a third of annual global emissions.
The election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States is a relief for those involved in sustainability. From an environmental perspective simply a return to science-based policy making will be hugely welcome. Biden plans to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement on day one of his presidency, and despite potentially not having control of the Senate he should be able to proceed with many of his green goals; a task force put together during the campaign identified 56 policy moves on climate and energy that do not need help from Congress.
Last month was the 50th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s influential report titled ‘The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits’, a mantra often heralded as the basis of the capitalist model used globally since, and now quite widely criticised as a cause of social inequalities and environmental externalities. The concept, as we are all aware of, was that business leaders should focus on creating as much value as possible for the owners of the company rather than on improving outcomes for a broader set of stakeholders.
California seems to be in the eye of the storm at the moment when it comes to the impacts of climate change. Images of yellow smoke-filled skies are proliferating news sources and social media, the result of wildfires that are seasonal for the state due to hot and dry weather, but that this year have burned through over 5 million acres already, worse than any year in the history books. The season for wildfires usually continues until December and may continue to force people to stay at home due to the air quality, further impacting businesses already reeling from the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
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We have written about renewable energy and the energy transition in Europe, the US and China. Today we look at Japan, where multiple factors collude to result in government policies that support a slower transition towards green energy, a source of frustration for many and garnering criticism.
The working day as we know it, in general lasting eight hours between 7am and 7pm and covering five days of the week, dates back 100 years. It has its origins in the industrial revolution, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life. At first the working day would range from 10-16 hours; the work week was six days and the use of child labour was common. A shorter working day as well as improved working conditions was raised by the International Workingmen’s Association at the Congress in Geneva in 1866, but the working week as we know it was not adopted in most countries until shortly after the first world war. There remain exceptions in developing countries and it depends on the type of work, but this structure has held for the majority of the global workforce since.
QUAERO CAPITAL scored an ‘A+’ rating for ‘Strategy & Governance’ in the 2020 PRI Annual Assessment Report, reflecting a continued investment in sustainable investment.
The fast fashion industry has been a significant economic success story of the last two decades, nearly doubling in size, employing 70m people worldwide and contributing 2% to global GDP. This has been driven by huge advances in supply chain management, shrinking lead times from six months to two weeks and enabling retailers to stock more choice, reduce prices and respond rapidly to consumer demand.
The polarisation of American politics is a subject well covered with the Biden vs. Trump campaigns heating up as we close down on the three-month point before the election. Every nationwide poll currently has Biden leading by between 6 and 15 points, but there is plenty of time for this to change and polls are often wrong.