Green Top 10 – March 2024

Bringing you the latest news about sustainability, green initiatives, renewable energy, conscious investments, climate actions and many more. Read the March 2024 Top 10 in Green edition.

Kardelen ÇelikContent Editor

March 27, 2024
6min read

1- CSRD & ESRS compliance: Challenges, strategies and global impact

The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), effective from January 2023, mandates extensive sustainability reporting for about 50,000 large and listed SMEs in the EU, as well as certain non-EU companies. Focused on double-materiality, it requires these entities to report on their impact on sustainability and vice versa. Despite its potential for enhancing sustainability transparency, a significant majority of companies find themselves unprepared, struggling with the directive’s complexities and the breadth of data collection required.

Source: IRMagazine

2- Here are the Nine Biggest Corporate Greenwashing Fines

New UK laws coming in May aim to combat greenwashing by requiring firms to ensure their communications are clear and not misleading. This is part of a global push against greenwashing, with significant fines being issued for misleading environmental claims, such as Volkswagen’s $34.69 billion penalty. With regulatory bodies worldwide tightening rules and increasing fines, companies are urged to ensure their environmental claims are transparent and evidence-backed to avoid penalties.

Source: CorporateKnights

3- Global Carbon Pollution Hits Record High Even as Renewables Surge

Global carbon emissions from energy sources reached a new high last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The increase was partly due to more fossil fuel use in countries where droughts reduced hydropower production. Despite a global expansion in clean technology, emissions rose by 1.1% in 2023 to 37.4 billion metric tons. The report highlights the challenge of meeting climate goals set in the Paris Agreement and emphasizes the significant impact of extreme weather on energy choices. While emissions fell in the US and EU, largely due to increased renewable energy, China’s emissions rose due to post-pandemic recovery, even as it led in adding solar and wind power globally.

Source: CNN

4- Why has ESG Become The Toxic Wordle In Asset Management?

The term “toxic wordle” highlights divisive business terms like “DEI” and “ESG.” Despite political debates, there’s a shift towards clearer communication on these topics post the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. Examples from Morningstar, ASC Advisors, Goldman Sachs, and Quality Shareholders Group demonstrate efforts towards clarity in ESG and sustainability, with varying degrees of adoption and success across the financial sector.

Source: Forbes

5- Water for Industrial Progress: UN Report 2024 Highlights

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2024 emphasizes the interplay between water management and industrial practices, noting that corporate supply chains account for two-thirds of global water use and 70% of freshwater pollution, with significant impacts from sectors like mining, manufacturing, and textiles. Despite trends towards reduced water withdrawals, operational risks from water sourcing remain high. The report advocates for innovative solutions like water recycling, eco-industrial parks, and Industry 4.0 technologies to improve water efficiency and sustainability. It also calls for better policies, regulations, and corporate governance to address water scarcity and pollution, urging a collaborative effort for sustainable water use and environmental protection.

Source: Environment+Energy Leader

6- Germany Kicks Off €23 Billion Green Industry Subsidy Scheme

The German government has launched an ambitious €23 billion subsidy program aimed at decarbonizing the industrial sector over the next 15 years. This initiative, involving “climate protection contracts” or “Carbon Contracts for Difference,” is designed to incentivize large industrial emitters to reduce their carbon emissions efficiently. Companies emitting over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 annually are eligible to compete for the initial €4 billion funding, with a second round of €19 billion planned for autumn. The scheme encourages companies to propose a hypothetical CO2 price that would enable them to maintain operations while shifting to greener production methods. This innovative approach has received approval from the European Commission and is seen as a significant step towards facilitating a smoother transition to low-carbon industrial processes, potentially saving 350 million tonnes of CO2.

Source: Euractive

7- US Announces $6 Billion to Transform America’s Industrial Sector

Biden’s Investing in America agenda is mobilizing up to $6 billion for 33 projects across over 20 states, marking the largest industrial decarbonization investment in U.S. history. Supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, these initiatives aim to cut industrial greenhouse gas emissions, support union jobs, and boost the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness. Focusing on high-emission industries like steel, paper, and glass, these projects are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 14 million metric tons annually. This effort underscores a significant move towards cleaner production methods and aims to ensure American leadership in the global clean energy economy, while prioritizing community and labor engagement and benefiting disadvantaged communities.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

8- Fostering Sustainability in the Workplace

Incorporating sustainability into workplace practices is essential for attracting and retaining talent, especially among Gen Z and Millennials who prioritize environmental concerns. Businesses are embedding ‘green’ clauses in employment contracts and policies, focusing on reducing carbon footprints and promoting sustainable behaviors like reduced paper usage and green commuting. Offering greener benefits packages, ensuring meaningful sustainability training, and fostering a culture that genuinely values environmental responsibility help avoid greenwashing. This approach not only aligns with employee values but also enhances a company’s reputation and competitive advantage.

Source: Kennedyslaw

9- Sustainability Awards 2024

Sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) awards recognize companies leading in green initiatives and sustainable practices. These awards highlight the importance of integrating sustainability into business models and celebrate achievements in reducing environmental impact, enhancing social responsibility, and governing ethically. Here are some notable awards: Sustainable Future Awards, Energy Globe Awards, SEAL Business Sustainability Awards, Global Good Awards, Business Intelligence Group Sustainability Awards, The International Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice, Sustainability Awards (formerly the Responsible Business Awards), AIPH World Green City Awards, edie Net Zero Awards, The Global Sustainability & ESG Awards.

Source: sustainabilitymag

10- CSRD Compliance: A Stitch in Time Will Save Nine

The CSRD mandates significant changes for EU and certain US businesses regarding ESG reporting by 2026, focusing on transparency in sustainability practices. With a preparation window of about 13 months, companies must adapt quickly to meet detailed reporting requirements or face penalties and reputational risks. The directive emphasizes the need for a thorough understanding of ESG impacts and robust data collection processes. This represents a challenge, especially for privately held firms less experienced with ESG metrics. Early preparation and leveraging professional services for compliance strategy are essential to navigate this new regulatory landscape effectively.

Source: Harvard Law School